TEXT OF ESSAY

For the past millions, if not billions of years, life on earth has been in the hands of evolution. Humans, in addition to all other life forms on earth are on this planet as a result of evolution. Through advancements in medicine, we have been able to manipulate evolution more and more. Now that the Human Genome has been mapped out, the process may end up completely in the hands of the human race. Being able to do this, such as inserting genes into fruits and vegetables to make them more viable or choosing the genes we want for our children, raises much controversy. Manipulation of evolution also has many potential problems that may even be able to end mankind's survival on earth for good. However, progress in the field of genetic manipulation, like genetic engineering and stem cell research, would help the current situation of our race immensely. At the same time, many other organisms on earth would suffer at our expense.

Since the beginning of modern medicine, evolution and fate have been played with for the benefit of our "superior" species. Removing appendixes, transplanting hearts and consuming medicine to lengthen the years in a human life all negate evolution and fates' effect on our lives. If fate was the sole dictator of our lives, many would die every year from simple illnesses like the common cold. People are supposed to die from exploding appendixes, heart failure and the flu so that the gene pool could be improved as a result of evolution. The weak, those with unfavorable genes, are supposed to die because of the way evolution works. Medicine has changed this completely and because of this, traits like an unfavorable appendix or tonsil are being passed down. Although this sounds very cruel, it is how evolution works and how fate should supposedly work.

With Genetic Engineering, we will only be having a greater amount of control over evolution, which is what medicine has already started for us. I believe that genetic engineering should be allowed for certain areas of our lives. This includes the vegetarian food industry (as long as it is proven 99% safe). Fruits and vegetables should be injected with genes in the future to increase their growth rate and hardiness in harsher climates. This way countries like those in Africa, full of famine and disease, could rid itself of these problems. The solution is to give farmers the opportunity to grow fruits and vegetables that have the ability to cure diseases and feed large amounts of people at the same time. Inserting genes into our meat, on the other hand, is wrong. If we are playing with the lives of animals, anything that can move or feel, I am against it. Putting growth hormones into cows to have more meat and maturing agents into fish to make them grow faster is unethical. Simply put: playing with the lives of other living, breathing and feeling organisms only lessens our respect for these animals. We would be abusing and potentially harming the quality of life for animals so that we could have more food on the dinner table.

Similarly, putting specific traits into our genetic make-up would only lessen the respect we have for ourselves and as a species. We would be thinking of children as objects that can be changed to suit one's personal needs rather than gifts from God. Also, parents would appreciate their children much less. Seeing your child excel at something is much less exciting and appreciated when it is already expected of them because the parents ordered the genes to give their son or daughter this ability. If the gene fails to work, parents may even come to resent and be discontented by their children. For example, if a gene to become an excellent piano player was inserted into a child's genetic make up but failed to surface, the parents would be disappointed by their child. Phrases like, "you were supposed to be this, you were supposed to be that" would be common in a household where the child's genetically engineered skills do not show. Not only would the parents be disappointed, but the child would be in an even worse position. His or her morale would be incredibly low, thinking that they are the biggest failure in the world and that they disappointed their parents who wanted a "perfect child."

Everyone's opinion on the "perfect child" is also very dependent on the individual. Leaving something like your child's traits up to parents would lead to a disastrous future. Look at the current financial mess our nation is in, it because of millions of peoples' bad decisions. To avoid people from making bad decisions on their child's traits why don't we leave it to the government or scientists to make them for us? Sounds good doesn't it? Well this would lead to a world much like what Aldous Huxley wrote about in his dystopian-society novel, Brave New World. People in the book's society had nothing to do all day but please themselves with lustful and pleasureful feelings. Since those genetically engineered to be at the top of society were already born "geniuses," they did not have to work very hard to get what they wanted in life. Therefore, they did not appreciate what they had. Also, since all the people in Brave New World did was engage in pleasureful experiences, their brains were not the healthiest. The scientists, the leaders of the society, evidently genetically engineered humans to have smaller brains as well. If genetic engineering is allowed on humans, Brave New World is the future we have to look forward to.

As for the use of stem cells and therapeutic cloning, I believe that further research should be conducted because this is where medicine is taking us. Is a single fertilized egg more important than a multi-cellular human being who has already established an existence on earth? The single fertilized egg may not even become a fully grown person due to all the complications with pregnancy. Therefore, it is not worth saving something that is indefinite over an actual person who is suffering from some form of paralysis. Although the use of stem cells destroys a potential life for the benefit of another person, it is worth it. Simply scratching your nose actually scrapes off more cells, or potential life, than the amount used in an experiment in stem cell research. Under the Bible, every life should be valued the same. If the value of life is so important, then we should first look at pest control services and fishing, we should maybe even turn to vegetarianism. Since therapeutic cloning only affects an unfertilized egg cell, it is not as controversial. If this practice is more widely accepted than the option of stem cell research, then scientists should make the most of it. Although the technology is far from being reached, every advancement we take, the closer we are to the goal. Even helping quadriplegics and paraplegics obtain the slightest amount of movement would be an exceptional accomplishment.

Overall, genetic engineering could lead down a slippery slope and could possibly mean the end of mankind. That is why we must proceed with much caution, regulating it along the way. Limiting it to only the vegetarian food industry would protect moving, breathing and feeling organisms from suffering from the degradation of being genetically altered for another species. However, it would be impossible to stop further advancement in science and more particularly medicine. Stem cell research and therapeutic cloning is what medicine has finally come to. From its earliest days where spells and magic cured diseases to body parts being amputated with bio-hazardous equipment, the medical field has been through many years of refinement. Even today we find ourselves at times where the newest technology cannot help with a condition. So, we need stem cell research and therapeutic cloning to answer these questions for us becuase they are the medical solutions for the future.