TEXT OF ESSAY

I feel that I this essay may not adequately convey my message, but I believe that it will get the job done. Genetic engineering is what could be considered "cutting edge" technology. However, despite it's numerous advantages, many people still oppose it. Why? Morals. Many activists believe that an egg, fertilized or not, still has the same rights as a human being. I'll be blunt about it: those people are wrong. As humans, our goals are to preserve and improve society for future generations. As it is, we are destroying this planet with global warming, so we must have a redeeming quality to this generation. I believe that, despite moral oppositions, stem cell research is the most beneficial research that could be done right now that would greatly improve the world as a whole.

Therapeutic cloning is seemingly a "no brainer" issue to concur with, but nonetheless receives much opposition. A non-fertilized egg is used to reproduce cells in order to allow the host to accept the cells transplant as the cells contain that host's DNA. A non-fertilized egg has no real potential to become a human being: only a ninth of a woman's eggs can be used for child birth, and that is only if she decides to have a child growing in her at all times. So why let those other eggs go to waste? This is exactly my point.

My father has extensive nerve damage to his spine. With therapeutic cloning, his spinal cord could possibly be healed and greatly reduce, if not entirely eliminate, the constant shooting pain he has throughout his legs and his back. Why would one be against such a beneficial process as therapeutic cloning? Because they believe that an egg, fertilized or not, is considered human life. But that is one viewpoint. Why should we sacrifice the good of countless other beliefs to support a select few with this viewpoint? Life is not always present in an egg. I agree, an egg is potential life, but it is not life. Not every egg will be used for procreation. Not every egg will become fertilized. We, as humans, have enormous potential, but the opposition to therapeutic cloning and stem cell research (which I will discuss shortly) is destroying our potential. So we must decide what has a greater potential: the eggs that will be used, or countless lives working to advance mankind? Sure, the eggs could develop into extremely smart scientists, but we cannot assume that all eggs will be as intelligent or devoted as the current ones working towards this goal. Even if all the eggs were fertilized (which is highly unlikely) and they all develop into incredibly intelligent scientists with endless potential (again, highly unlikely), their research will be limited by the same restrictions that limited the scientists before them. We must use the resources we have at hand to our benefit. It is what makes us human: the ability to address a problem and attempt to solve using logic and reasoning. We cannot let the potential of today's scientists go to waste.

Earlier I mentioned stem cell research. This topic has a grey area, whereas therapeutic research should be separated between black and white. Stem cell research requires the exhaustion of a fertilized embryo: seen by Christians, Catholics, and many others as a human life. These religions believe that life begins at the moment of conception. Judaism, on the other hand, believes that life begins when the child leaves the mother. So which is right? To have a completely unbiased view on what dictates life, we must do the impossible: remove religion from the equation. Looking at it from a purely scientific viewpoint, life begins when the embryo develops consciousness: the ability to think. According to research done by Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D, "Hence, by the 9th gestational week, the fetus will display spontaneous movements, one week later takes its first breath, and by the 25th week demonstrates stimulus induced heart rate accelerations." Taking this into consideration, fetal "consciousness" does not begin until the ninth week at the earliest. Despite the "stimulus induced heart rate acceleration" stage being the most likely to indicate fetal consciousness, we shall be lenient in this discussion. The ninth week shall be the point where a fetus becomes a human life: sixty-three days after conception. Again, this is from a purely scientific standpoint. Fertilized eggs used in stem cell research never come close to being sixty-three days old. In all honesty, the numerous animals slaughtered every day have more of a right to life than these fertilized eggs. The difference? The animals can breathe, react to stimuli, and live outside of their mothers' wombs. So why the large amount of opposition? Simple: religion and ignorance. The two make a combination lethal to the potential of mankind. Religion, when presented to an ignorant person, will often consume that person's belief system and take its place. If religious activists were to research these issues and make a logical decision based on science rather than an ancient text and their interpretation of it (which often differs from person to person), many of them, if not all, would realize that a fertilized egg should not be considered life, as a fertilized cannot support itself outside of the womb or an environment created to simulate the womb, an incubator if you will. Thus, if this egg, fertilized or not, has as much right to life as the chair I sit upon, why should the enormous amount of knowledge that can be gained from it be kept under lock and key? There is only one answer: it shouldn't.

The last topic I must address is this: fear. People believe that, if society were to advance to the point where we could genetically engineer people before birth, society would become deeply separated between the "Natural Born" and the "Engineered". As in the film "Gattaca", this is an extremist point of view. One must realize that regulations will be created upon this new technology (if the radicals were to think logically and allow it). Common sense dictates that a laissez faire ideology applied to genetically engineering would be absolute stupid and, in turn, would lead to a society like that found in Gattaca. Despite the extremely low probability of a society where one's genes dictate social rank, it is an outcome that must be considered. Lines must be drawn between what shall be engineered and when that line is crossed. Physical attributes, such as height, eye color, stature, hair, ect. shall not be allowed to be decided before birth. However, diseases, disabilities and defects must be given the opportunity to be altered. Despite the numerous people living with the diseases and disabilities today, mankind as a whole could possibly be helped with this new technology. Not to say that the disabilities are weighing down society; rather, disabilities take away from one's ability to live life to its absolute fullest, hence the term "disability". This service should be provided at cheap (or free, if possible), as socioeconomic status shall not dictate health. However, this depends on the difficulty of the process, which may prove to be somewhat difficult if ever fully understood. But what of those who cannot afford the therapy or choose not to? Their status in society shall not be affected. DNA tests will be banned for the purposes of discovering whether or not the person has been genetically "altered" and whether or not they have a tendency for certain diseases. If these tests were abandoned, the natural order of society will be abolished and replaced by one completely determined by the inhabitants of the society.

This argument comes down to one thing: the use of common sense. Therapeutic stem cell research is an extremely beneficial project that must be pursued for the betterment of mankind. Embryonic is a bit more controversial, but as previously established (by eliminating all religious factors as not all people worship the same), embryonic life starts at the age of nine weeks (at the earliest). This process is much more beneficial than therapeutic and must be pursued as well. This research will not lead to the "slippery slope" that so many believe it will. Believe it or not, humans have been granted with extraordinary resources, namely common sense and logic. Using these, a society like that found in "Gattaca" would never come into existence. All the aforementioned processes have no downside, as they are not ending new life, rather improving current life. Fear is understandable, but it should be noted that the typical fears would never come to pass. This is why society must let this technology thrive: not for the improvement of one person, not for the improvement of even this generation, but for the improvement of mankind as a whole and the generations to come.