Genetic engineering will rapidly change the type of society we live in by changing the people living inside of it. It will be hailed as a blessing initially. People will be able to prevent certain types of diseases that are being passed onto their children. They will be able to accurately predict what types of cancers or disorders that they, and their children, are predisposed to, effectively giving them and their medical team the upper hand in preventing the potential illness(es). Today you can pay to choose the sex or even the eye color of your baby. The next step is human enhancement, and there seems to be a huge taboo around this subject. This is something that needs to be discussed from every angle because these decisions will affect us, our children, and the society we live in.
The world is not going to come to a mutual agreement on this, there are already dozens of countries that have some sort of ban on editing embryos. Some proponents of legalizing this practice say that the changes made to these embryos will be passed on to future generations (who obviously don’t have a choice in the matter). I don’t quite understand this argument because who even has a choice in being born? And when they are born, they had no control in selecting the traits they were given. Genetic engineering’s goal should be human enhancement. I can understand the side that says this could lead to a dystopian world where there are super-intelligent humans, and then there are those who are the docile slaves working in factories for their corporate overlords. The super-wealthy are going to enhance their children to give them an edge over their peers. They will go to another country where it is legal in order to achieve this. What happens to the other people who aren’t given the choice, or fearfully opt out of the option?
After accepting the inevitability of human enhancement, the question is, given the chance to enhance your child, would you? If you discovered your child would have Down’s syndrome a few weeks into conception, would you change the fetus so that he or she could live a normal life? If you said yes, is this not enhancing the child? We need to rid ourselves of our previous convictions that tell us genetic engineering will lead to a terrible world. It can of course be used for harm, and that should be extensively discussed. But its potential for improving the human condition is something we’ve never quite seen before. We could rid ourselves of physically and mentally crippling diseases if we learn how to harness this technology responsibly. My view on this may be completely wrong, and I’m open to hearing both sides. Regardless, we will need to begin a discussion on this subject because the technology to perform these wonders has arrived.