Ever hear the infamous phrase, “back in my day…” Yah me too, a MILLION times. Why do adults keep brining up “their day”, it’s today, that doesn’t make any sense right? Well for a moment, take some time to think about your parents and your grandparents growing up. I know, hard to think of them as kids but lets give it a shot. Think of when someone told them that one day they would be able to pay bills on their phone and facetime with anyone around the world within seconds. Although it is common knowledge to us and a privilege we are numb to, this was science fiction to our parents and grandparents. The move Back to the Future was literally science fiction but many of the inventions in the movie are now reality. It must be really strange for them to adjust to this and for some, they may still be in denial or totally against it.
Now for us, the millennial generation, we are at a similar impasse with genetic modification. It’s something that I am aware of but don’t really look into because I think of genetic modification as something scientists do in a lab and the affects never really reach me. But that’s far from the truth. For all of humanity, we have messed with the genetics with plants and animals but never really understood what we were doing. Then we identified what we know as DNA and more structured experiments began with different foods and plants. The first genetically modified food went on shelves in 1994 and was a tomato that had a much longer shelf life. Ever wonder how surrogate’s work? Genetic modification. Ever see featherless chicken, glow in the dark fish, fast growing salmon, or see through frogs? Genetic modification. But are these little experiments all we could do with it?
I know I’m not a science personal and I think most people in this class aren’t so I’m going to try to explain this in laymen’s terms. When you’re body fights infection, there is something called CAS 9 that is like a database for your DNA that cuts out the bad parts of your DNA and copies good parts in it. There’s a process called CRISPR that can be programmed (genetically modified) to create a continues sweep of any defects in your DNA and can essentially create perfect DNA. CRISPR has the ability to change DNA and cells for you to modify it as you please.
So what are the possibilities? Curing cancer, getting rid of disease that runs in the family, enhancing metabolism, extraordinary intelligence, and anything you can think of including aging. As the possibilities grow with the progression of science and the process, the main point is that this is going to happen. Whether it is ethical or not shouldn’t be our concern but more so how do we make it ethical. Is it a free for all or are there regulations put in place? As a philosophy major, there is a belief that this is a world of opposites. For everything that exists there is an opposite. Hot and cold, tall and short, good and bad, etc. If we are able to create the perfect human, what will be its opposite? There are a lot of questions and this may be uncomfortable to know. If we deny this science it will only go underground and into the wrong hands so rather than ignore it, we must get ahead of it. So in relation to our class discussion on how science makes you think critically and explore option, we are going to need to explore these options. Only time will tell what will happen.
Here is a link to a video that explains it all in the shortest amount of time possible. Other videos were hours long so I’ll save you the trouble.