“There’s no gene for Fate”
I have had braces, been vaccinated, and had my wisdom teeth removed. I don’t need contacts, but if I did I would wear them, and if I got cancer I would certainly do all within my power to cure it. I know I am not the only one who thinks that medical advances have made my life better, and I am not afraid of the search for cures. Because technological progress is regarded so positively in most of society, I find it strange that genetic engineering gets such a bad rap in the media, when it really isn’t all that different than most surgeries and medical procedures that are commonly practiced.
In Science and Literature class we just finished “A Brave New World,” and “Gattaca.” I enjoyed both immensely, but don’t think I’m on the same page with their messages about the future of genetic engineering. Both pieces serve as a warning to the human race, showing us the dangers of having too much power and changing too much, leaving us in a cookie cutter society. I don’t want to be genetically programmed as an Epsilon as much as the next guy, but I also don’t see that being a problem.
As Vincent in “Gattaca” shows, it’s not all about your genes. He out-performs his genetically superior brother because he has the capacity and the work ethic to do so. The human spirit will still define a person, even if they are purposefully born without a disorder or disease. Furthermore, medical practice doesn’t tend to take a personal course. Looking back in medical progress’s history, there is little indication that we are moving in the direction of an anti-human, anti-personal society. Science wants to improve human life, and doctors do this everyday even without genetic engineering.
I don’t see a huge difference between genetically fixing eyesight before a baby is born and getting Lasik surgery once out of the womb, except that the former could be more successful if genetic technologies improve. The apprehension and skepticism that surrounds genetic enhancement is overblown in my opinion, because a vaccine accomplishes what we wish genetic enhancement could. With pure intentions that are easily located in the medical field, genetic research might be able to do a lot of good.
When the telegraph was invented, people were terrified. Since then, the telegraph changed the world and made communications overseas possible. The Internet attracted similar fears, and we can all see how that went. The same can be said for medical advances, in that everyone is afraid until they realize that it works. In the case of genetics, we need to get out of our own way. I’m not saying that genetic research will lead to anything as drastic as the Internet, but I am saying that it might, and I know I would be bummed if we missed out on a medical breakthrough just because it makes us a bit uncomfortable.