TEXT OF ESSAY

“Why not seize the power?” Because not everyone is ready to accept the power of genetic engineering into their lives, that’s why. Not everyone is ready for GMP’s (Genetically Modified People). It seems so simple to say that since we have the power then we are obligated to use it in everyway possible. Personally I am tired of hearing the main argument against genetic engineering being the “slippery slope”, it is such an overused cliché that every time I hear it I want to punch the person that said it. My main problem for committing full force to using the science of genetic engineering on humans is that not enough is known about it and too many people oppose it. Whether you like it or not, Dr. Silver, we live in a democracy where no one person gets their way, and that includes you. I am not saying that I am against genetic modification for curing diseases; I am simply saying you should not be so quick to vindicate unlimited research in a highly controversial field. You have a webpage that mocks those who are anti-genetic engineering for their short sightedness of the potential scientific good that it could do, while you make an excellent point I would like to point out that you have people who do not agree with you. You seem to be short sighted in realizing that there is a controversy and you seem unwilling to compromise. You seem to be clumping all genetic engineering into one category, putting genetically modified food with the potential use of genetic engineering on people. You seem to ignore the fact that most people have come to terms with GMO in food but not that many people have come to accept using genetic modification on humans. I don’t think you realize that your unrestricted favoritism for everything science scares people. The human race has a tendency to shy away from the things which frighten them, and with our fears of a Frankenstein monster rising up as the child of genetic modification gone horribly wrong is what people envision. Make no mistake, genetic engineering is as you see it “the science of the future”, but that’s exactly what it is, the future. You will most likely never see assembly line genetic engineering on a human embryo, and most likely neither will I; but with time the human race will come to accept genetic engineering and the possible benefits which can come of it. I would also like to point out that genetic engineering is not the only way which we can control the outcome of our lives. As you have said it is largely environment influences which influence who we are, and I would just like to take it a step further and say that our environment influences almost all of who we are. I believe that love is more capable of genetic engineering than scientists are. I believe that intelligence is in genes, but it is brought out by parents who read to their children everyday before they go to bed. Who our friends are and whether or not we come from a stable or broken home has more impact on how our genes are activated than the actual genes that we have. If someone has a increased risk for obesity and their parents keep them active in sports or some physical activity and their parents love them and are not divorced and the parents support a health lifestyle the chances of become obese are relatively small. But if the parents are neglectful, and they never sign up their kid for sports and the parents get divorced which make the kid depressed which in turn makes the kid eat away his problems with a Twinkie or two. It just seems like it is so much easier to influence our own destinies with our choices and actions than with a complicated science that we do not even understand yet. The same goes for someone with an increased risk of heart attack; if you stayed healthy then you are at a significantly lower risk than a lazy obese person. I also want to point out that we may never fully understand the human genome. Scientists say that we have “junk DNA”. Personally, as long as we have a region of DNA which scientists call “junk DNA” I do not feel comfortable with scientists messing with the human genome. But the question still remains; where do we draw the line on genetic modification on humans, disease? The overuse cliché is that we will not be able to draw the line of what is a disease and what is not a disease. I will prove that it is a false statement. Please answer in yes or no format. Is being short a disease (one that I have been afflicted with for quite some time now). Is being dumb a disease? Is having diabetes a disease? Is being susceptible small pox a disease? Is being weak a disease. Is having sickle cell anemia a disease? A normal person would have answered yes to three and no to three. We simply know a disease when we see it. Using genetic engineering to make our kids more musical or smarter or better looking does not count as disease Professor Silver, the ethical and health implications of using genetic engineering to make everyone smarter or better looking are numerous. What if perhaps an attempt to enhance intelligence ends up reducing intelligence? The progressive science regarding genetic engineering holds more potential dangers and threats than any other science possibly conceived at its origin. If we attempt to make ourselves more immune to a disease and instead create a “super disease” which none of our modern medicine can fix? Instead of messing with the human genome I suggest that we start with something less important than human life: food perhaps. We have been living with GMO’s for a long time, since before the 21st century bt corn and other crops have been planted and farmed to help feed our growing population. However, the way by which animals and plants are being genetically modified must be carefully monitored by the government, much more so than is happening now. What happens if a corn that causes allergic reaction in some people gets into the corn of America? Corn is in nearly everything in America. Corn syrup, cornstarch is in almost everything fast food consuming overweight Americans eat, so if this happens, those who are allergic to the new corn are in quite a predicament. Also you argue that stem cell research is the only new science with the power to cure the modern epidemical diseases of our generation. The question against this argument however is whether or not these blastocysts being used are human life. Personally I refrain from speaking too intently on this subject, my expertise on the subject is less than complete. However, I see embryos as human life, and unless embryos are the product of IVF that would otherwise be destroyed I do not favor embryonic stem cell research. However, I find it hard to develop my opinion when I do not understand the potential benefits or the difference between the types of stem research. For example I do not fully understand the details of the science of Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (or Therapeutic Cloning) and am not even sure if it involves the destruction of a fetus (or blastocyst)? Even so I do not know if I consider 150 cells human life. I realize that the potential exists, but I do not know if that is life. The whole debate over whether a fetus has a soul is kind of odd to me. I believe that if a human was to be cloned and the clone could think and reason as a human did I believe that God would love that clone the same as me or anyone else, so that leads me to wonder about the entire soul debate from conception. But as I said earlier, we live in a democracy and until you can muster up a 50% +1 then we are not going to have a lot of embryonic stem cell research going on. But if there must be embryonic stem cell research in the future I propose this solution. The only fertilized eggs which a scientist can work on must be a product of the scientist and his/her spouse. If it’s a male scientist the egg must be of his sperm and his wife’s egg and if it is a female scientist then it must be her egg and her husbands sperm; it seems only fair that those who most support the science should subject their own “potential life” to the research which is supposedly important to them. How about you Mr. Silver, are you ready to take your wife to the doctor to have her eggs removed and are you ready to go to the doctor to have your sperm removed?

This being besides the point stem cell research is an ethical issue with two sides to the argument. Both sides have good points, and like the American senate, the people who oppose stem cell research if they are numerous enough to hold a filibuster without being overridden, have the legal right to do so.

But all in all I struggle with the stem cell research, if I was paralyzed then I would want everything that could be done to heal me. If embryonic stem cells held the best chance of healing me I would want the research to be performed, so I guess I’m being hypocritical, but, opinions change with circumstances. As long as there are these ethical implications of stem cell research Adult Stem Cell Research is an uncontroversial option which should be used while the ethical debate of stem cell research is raised.

Even with the potential gains that science holds, our society is not will to make definitive changes to its overarching structure then scientist such as yourself will simply have to live, and experiment on alternative methods of research. It is better to work on something rather than nothing; get to work Professor Silver.