Ethics in advancement
30th December 2002 at 11:06 pm #38907RagParticipant
This is an offshoot (sp?) of ADM’s thread Mice Get Cured. I’m not gonna recap, can’t see the point. It’s all there. Go read it (as with the majority of the threads on this site, it’s worth reading – finished sucking up now). So modern medicine is advancing at a great rate of knots, in new and exciting directions. We can modify the genetic structure of the food we eat, we can grow replacement organs (as long as we have enough mice and pigs), we are only a few steps from curing the most hideous of diseases, we can (if you believe the religious ‘groups’) grow clones of humans, and we are on the cusp of being able to swap faces. But should we? At every turn in scientific development there is always some voice, or group of voices saying that we shouldn’t be going in those directions. If we had listened to those voices of old, we would still be living on a flat lump of rock that just sat there while the universe revolved around us. We would be curing all known diseases with leaches and restorative bleeding. You could argue (and probably would) that history has proven these voices of descent wrong. But are we stepping into areas that these questions should be raised again? The advances in science are, at face value, far more potentially damaging to the human race than previous developments. Or are they just the modern day equivelents to those historic bombshells? OK, down to specifics. GM crops. The populous are very concerned about the effect eating GM foods will have upon us. Er, news flash, WE’VE BEEN DOING IT FOR YEARS! You think Strawberries got so plump and juicey and tastey by accident? And all the ‘activists’ who go around burning GM crops… I am willing to bet a sizable number of their bretherin are partakers of the ‘weed’. This is the most genetically modified substance known to man. It has been tweaked and spliced over the last few decades to make it the potent beast we know and love today. But I don’t expect them to give up the J’s because of the possible knock on effect to their genetic makeup. (Hypocrasy bugs me). Cloning will have a huge impact in medicine. Imagine. Someone has kindey failure. Rather than transplanting and trying to get a organ to match and not be rejected, they just take a sample of your genetic makeup and grow you a knew one. No risk of rejection, cos it’s you aready. Sounds ‘kin great to me. But there is the risk (slim risk admittedly) of someone seeing the attack of the clones and having the idea of global domination using millions of themselves. Or terorists cloning and replacing world leaders, etc. You should be getting my drift by now. Every scientific advance has potentially catastrophic implications (the H bomb for 1). Should we press on regardless? Should we rely upon the ethics of the people in power (assuming that they have ethics) to keep the hazardous stuff out of immoral hands (and how the hell are they supposed to do that)? Do those voices of descent have a valid point, or are they just luddites voicing the sorts of fears that inhibit progress? Is it all just progress for the sake of progress and to hell with the concequences? The floor is open…30th December 2002 at 11:38 pm #64775ADMParticipant
I think it ever did come down to being a risk to the world, then there are ways of getting around it, it’s been said that there are genetic markers left in a clone’s celluar structure that identifies them as a clone.
Certainly world leaders would undergo regular screening if a threat became present.
Yes we do always here opposition to new scientific marvels, and for the best part they come from the hated enemy of science…religious morons.
These are people praying on other’s fears, all because it doesn’t fit into their way of thinking, i.e it is an afront to god…ummm crap, it’s not an afront, it’s simply because their faith can’t handle it so it must be evil.
Unfortunately many of the world’s population live in the dark ages, in that science is the work of the devil, either because they don’t understand it or are too ignorant to even try.
Face facts, religious nuts, our progression as a species hasn’t come from a superior being, everything that has happened isn’t due to the grace of god, it’s damn well science, we invented it and we did it all by ourselves.
Anyhoo, back to topic, the main problem is , is that it will take another 20-30 years before the big doubters pop their clogs, we have at least three generations of the one’s that say ‘things were better when we were younger’, they live in the past and refuse too accept the present, and these are the one’s that hamper progress, oh them, and the religious nuts!!!
ADM31st December 2002 at 9:38 am #64776AnonymousGuest
Next time why don’t you pick a complicated topic to discuss?
I despise the thought of holding back scientific research for the sake of religious dogma. Once you get past that though, there do seem to be certain areas of science where the ramifications of new technology outstrip our ability as a society to come to grips with them in a rational manner. Medical advances for example: while we can do some wonderful things nowadays, we’ve also felt compelled to prolong the suffering of some patients and their families beyond the point of reason, simply because we’ve developed the ability to prolong life into meaninglessness. It’s only been over the last few years that we’ve tried to come to grips with the problem through living wills and so on. How do you deal with such issues before you cause so much harm? I wouldn’t trust either politicians or religious “leaders” with anything this important.
The clones are another example: ADM says we can develop tests to screen for clones. But what does that mean? Are we going to breed clones as second-class citizens? Aren’t they going to have the right to hold public office, get married, reproduce, etc.? We’re rushing headlong into cloning people simply because today’s technology allows the attempt, but as usual we’ve neglected to take any responsibility for dealing with the results. Should we expect scientists to hew to some “ethical” standard that we can’t really define? What if you can make LOTS of money by going just one little step farther down this slippery slope……
I have no answers except open discussion and a well-informed public–which is of course a pipe dream and may not do much good in the end anyways.
I think I’m going back to the astronomy topics now.
elmey31st December 2002 at 12:15 pm #64777AnonymousGuest
Well there are no facts in metaphysics.
That said my personal view is this. For all we know by cause and effect the human race is already dead and gone. Some vital bug or germ may already be in our systems and wont affect us as a race for several generations. The radiation levels which have steadily advanced since ww2 could have already had permanent affects upon our genetic evolution as far reaching as our extinction. A meteor bumped over a billion years ago may reach us tommarrow. We just dont know.
What we do know is us, our planet, are finite. With that in mind, the only ethics in question are personal ethics. Everything else is just perception.
As Hawking continually reminds us the only way to take the “Finite” out of the picture is to start colonizing new worlds. Until such time the Human race will continue to live on borrowed time.
If I were King of the World, Id set our entire focus upon this. Nothing will change in the longrun, war will still exist, hunger, oppression. But we can guarentee by spreading ourselves out far enough that the Universe wont be totally devoid of Humanity.
As for Genetic Engineering (henceforth referred to as GE) we tread upon the language of Creator/Gods whatever you wanna call it. Should we? It’s not a question we can answer at present.
Just keep in mind, if our race was to die out entirely EVERYTHING becomes moot. We can commit all the atrocities and acts of kindness we wish, but when all is said and done this planet is finite and requires great leaps of both ethical good and evil.
America drops nuclear weapons upon North Korea. Several years later its found out the Earth was about to leave its axis and the bombs prevented this.
Does it suddenly become ethically right because it saved our entire race regardless of motive?
Lets say it doesent happen. The Earth is without atmosphere and the last remaining huddled humans who slowly die of exposure in an underground bunker curse the names of those who said:
“Oooh its not morally right to do that!!”
Thats why there are no facts in metaphysics, and why survival and our fear of extinction will always drive us to do terrible things in the name of progress.
[ 31-12-2002: Message edited by: LexxLurker ]31st December 2002 at 1:09 pm #64778GadriamParticipant
Someone said that if you have to write down your ethical code, you´ve already lost. Well, these codes are taken down everywhere which tells me that the feeling for right and wrong is getting a little scarce.
I absolutely agree that the metaphysical sphere almost seems made to disagree about, so lets disagree!
I don´t know right from wrong.
Cloning for spares? OK. A genetical twin in the fridge? Let´s head for Human Value-Space in whatever the superpropulsion of your favourite serie is called.
Are they people? Why? Why not?
The spare twin, grown from your DNA, is he/she/it just like you? Or maybe a little stronger, or smarter. Healthier for sure, otherwise what´s the point?
Does money decide your ethics, your views on human value? When real people are starving, how can it be right for me to use so much of our dwindling resources to fix my liver up after some hard boozing.
Inconsistent conclusion: Thinking too much just gives you headaches and ethical dilemmas. Never take ethics too seriously.
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