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Do you think that designer babies would be improving on Nature? - Discuss

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Introduction

Title Do you think that designer babies would be improving on Nature? - Discuss Improving on nature is basically when we, as a society, interfere with the natural process of nature e.g. plant growth. A present day example of when we have been trying to improve on nature is Genetically Modified Foods, a topic that is currently the subject of a lot of debate. The people who are entrusted to improve on nature, the scientists, do it with the intention of giving us a better quality of life. The latest major idea to come from the world of science on how we can improve on nature is the concept of genetically modified embryos, or so-called "designer babies". It is reported that scientists are coming very close to having the technology to manipulate and screen embryos so that any diseases could be eliminated or immunised against. The technology could even be used to manipulate eye colour and other characteristics of an embryo, even gender. When we began our class debating and research of designer babies, I immediately took an extremely conservative and one-sided outlook on the topic. I believed that any thought of genetically engineering babies was sick and that there was no way we could put our future generations at risk by making them into some mad scientist's warped experiment, no matter how good were the intentions about wiping out disease were. ...read more.

Middle

Another big issue for people who are against genetically engineered embryos is that there is no legislation in place to state who would be able to access genetically modifying technology if it ever became available. At the minute, there is great debate about whether IVF should be put on the NHS, yet there has been no foresight in parliament to debate legislation on designer babies. People against designer babies have taken heart in the fact that research into embryos has been slowed down by this law. No live embryo may be kept alive, beyond 14 days after fertilisation nor may it be used as a research subject beyond that time. Another debate that is linked to the designer babies debate is the Nature, Nurture debate. This focuses on whether people's genetic make-up is the reason for different people doing different things e.g. taking drugs or committing crimes. Or whether it is the environment people grow up in, that shapes them e.g. if you grow up where drugs are prevalent, are you more likely to take drugs? People in favour of genetic modification are more inclined to agree with the nature aspect of this debate, as this would add more bulk to the argument in favour of genetic engineering, because the technology would be able to manipulate the genes and eradicate things such as addiction. People who disagree with genetic modification would agree with the nurture debate as it undermines the nature debate. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I agree with many of these aspects, to an extent. My fundamental view is that we would be hypocritical of our laws and values if we did not allow our doctors, who would need to be specially trained, to use this technology to save lives and only save lives. I believe that if we allow this technology to spiral out of control, i.e. genetically engineered looks and personality, it would be a disaster for our society. I also think that allowing scientists to encourage parents to design their "a la carte" babies would also be catastrophic. It is essential that legislation is drafted and that detailed, informed debate takes place immediately otherwise we could end up with a human spare parts industry or a warped Utopia, like Brave New World. The voice of history and literature should not be ignored as they can serve as warnings to the governments today. The attempted Swedish eugenics of the 1970's is only today fully coming to light and Brave New World is so frighteningly accurate it chills my spine thinking about it. I believe strongly that depending on the choices of our governments now, we are either on the verge of a discovery so great it could change human life for the better like never before, or, if the wrong choices over legislation and the extent to which genetic engineering can go are made, then we could, over an amazingly short period of time, initiate our own self destruction. By Barry O' Kelly 11J ...read more.

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