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Bioethics and Biotechnology

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Christian Karns

Bioethics and Biotechnology

In "Bioethics and Biotechnology", Donal P. O'Mathuna argues that there needs to be a greater amount of ethical consideration of biotechnology, and there are great risks with biotechnology as a whole. O'Mathuna says that even though biotechnology has possible benefits to the human race there are inherent risks and points that need to be evaluated from an ethical side of the topic. Biotechnology is defined as a search for greater understanding of life and using that knowledge to benefit mankind. O'Mathuna argues that technology in all of history has only affected man's way of living, where biotechnology can change human nature as a whole.

O'Mathuna is right that more ethical evaluation is needed for biotechnology, and mankind should proceed cautiously with this controversial topic. There are some important discussions and considerations that need to be made before major biotechnological advances should be made. Ethical consideration is viewed as a road block for technologies because there is a huge competition for grant money and the aspiration of many scientists to be the first to make or discover a new technological avenue. This is a problem because biotechnology has a far greater impact than any other previous discovery or technological advance.

The research and alteration of human genes can affect the way a human is defined and what rights a human should be given. O'Mathuna says, "One approach is that all humans are inherently entitled to all human rights" (O'Mathuna p.116). But this offer does not say how humans should treat non-humans or nature. From this, biotechnology has granted rights to things that have certain attributes and characteristics. If humans are modified to have better characteristics, then the possibility exists that humans without more desired traits will be have less rights than modified humans. If people are modifying their children to be smarter in school and more athletic, then the kids whose parents chose not to modify them are behind the average of most students. The people who are not as modified can be looked at as unequal to modified humans causing a rift between the two "types" of humans. In a society ran by enhanced humans the traditional humans will not have very good jobs because they are not as smart or as skilled as humans that have been modified.

The future consequences of biotechnology are unpredictable and dangerous if serious consideration and ethical implications are not discussed with the public and professionals. In the past technology has only affected the way humans have lived, but biotechnology can alter the very definition of human life. Kaczor says in his book, "Contemporary science also holds out the possibility of human life beginning without union of sperm and egg"(Kaczor, p.47).

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