Week 6: Biotech by Matthew Robertson

    It seems to me that as science advances and the technology exists to create a wider range of objects, that eventually we will be able to create “synthetic” living organisms that are identical to natural ones. Personally, I do not believe in a soul or any sort of existence other than what is physically in the body; the body of a living thing is nothing except for an arrangement of molecules that behaves how it does due to chemical reactions. It seems to me then, that arguments on what can and cant be done with genetically engineered things are merely specifying arrangements of molecules that are sacred and untouchable. I think this is a bad way to approach science and the future.

    That being said, I think that most of the art we saw in lecture this week was very disturbing and hard to look at. I had a hard time sitting through the lecture as I did not like looking at what was being displayed on the screen. I can understand that the ethics of this field are potentially very involved and complicated, however, they are ethics that I find exploring and arguing over to be something that I don’t want to do. I do not want to think about the animal that was killed to test the medicine that is saving my life, in the same sense that I do not want to think about a chicken that has spent its entire life in captivity to give me a meal. While the fate of the animals is very sad, its not something that I want to consider or have revealed to me. Accepting very strict rules on how animals are treated, becoming vegetarian, etc, raises too many difficult questions about the nature of existence and what it means to be alive.
    One particular problem is that many of the animals that are being killed or mistreated would not exist if not for the element of society that mistreats them. Is it better to have a horrible life than to not exist at all? At what point would the animal prefer life? Can a system of points (or a score) model how just an animals life is? Is it fair to decide this? If you object to an animal feeling pain, what if it is given a sedative or is bred to like pain and want to die? 
Matthew Robertson


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