Humanenhancement destroys fairness/equality
Formany years, human beings have yearned for perfection. They desire ahuman being with all desired features and qualities that wouldpresumably make him or her function optimally in this world. Thiswould include being beautiful/handsome, right physical proportions,highly intelligent, live longer if not forever and be free fromdisease among many others. These ideas of a perfect being may varyfrom one individual to the other or from one society to the other. Asit is now this impossible. However, there is promising scientificprogress in this direction indicated by cloning technology and humanenhancement. Such technologies have elicited a lot of debates and thecurrent ones questions the suitability of human enhancement. Humanenhancements, from simple definitions involve any process that makesany given human beings better. This would include exercise, eatingright and such. However, the type of human enhancement considered inthis context pertains to that which alters human nature. The typethat boosts human capabilities beyond the “statistically-normalrange of functioning” for human beings of beyond what isrepresentative of human beings (Alloff, Lin, Moor, & Weckert,2009, p. 8). Some of these enhancements have the ability to interferewith the human genetic composition which basically creates a newspecies. Therefore, this paper argues that human enhancements destroyequality in human beings and poses a threat to human race in the longterm.
Geneticengineers are already working on a line of research that enhanceshuman beings from a genetic point of view. The process, known as gene‘therapy proposed’, by Dr. W. French Anderson and others, seeksto eliminate undesirable genes from the human embryo. This involvesinterfering with the natural genetic composition of human beingspassed on from parents to their offspring naturally (Begley 1998).When this process of natural reproduction is interfered with then itmakes these individuals unnatural and it gives them undue advantagesover others and erodes the concept of fairness as intended by nature(Alloff et al., 2009). Disease, illnesses and death are all part ofthe natural order of things from thousands of years ago. Creationistsand evolutionists reckon that the since the beginning, all livingthings have continued to experience imperfections in form of diseaseand death as part of nature. Thus, it is nature’s intention forliving things to remain natural and within the natural limitsatypical of particular species.
Fukuyuma(2002) weighs in on this issue of embryo enhancement from a moralperspective. He argues that no one, parents and doctors, have themoral right to decide what a child is to be born like. He even citesa very dumbfounding example where a deaf lesbian couple in the USsought to have an embryo implanted and hoped the child would be deaftoo. Again, some deaf people’s societies have opposed to use ofcochlear implants arguing that deafness is not a disability (Stock2002). This is absurdity of the highest level. It is clear thusparents have taken an unethical approach to pursue their selfinterest at the cost of their children.
However,the ethical value of such extreme enhancements varies with differentethical theories. Utilitarianism for instance offers the greatestsupport to human enhancements as it supports courses of action thatincrease utility and reduce suffering. Other ethical approaches andcultures especially in Asia do not support the idea of humanenhancement (Ida 2009). One such approach is consequentialism whichconsiders the long term effects of such actions. Interfering with thehuman nature will result into destruction of humans same way ashumans currently linger on total destruction of the environment ashighlighted by ozone layer depletion and extinction of some species.To preserve humanity therefore, the current trend in humanenhancement must stop (Stock 2002).
Onthe other hand, it is only proper to appreciate there are some majorbenefits that can be gained from human enhancement. Shaer (2009)observes that the current technology in prosthetics is far fromachieving the exact functioning of a normal limb. If humanenhancement research is directed towards growing human organs, thenpeople missing limbs would benefit very much. It is even hypocriticalto criticise this technology whereas people continue to benefit fromorgan donation and modern medicine (Minutes n.d.). Additionally, theability to eliminate human suffering both for children and parentscan be achieved by human advancements that seek to eliminatehereditary diseases in embryos or attain desired traits in babies inwhat is now termed as designer babies is a sign of man taking controlof his future (Begley 1998). However, given the history of humannature, such technology can be abused if people are driven by greedfor profits. Nonetheless, it is the only hope now towards resolvingproblems that other approaches have failed to solve.
Onthe overall, it is clear that the intention of human advancement isan understandable desire to live optimal lives. However, asbiologists would attest, defects in the functioning of the human bodyare part of nature’s plan. There is no way of going around this. Ifhumans are allowed to carry out extreme advancements beyond thenatural human capabilities, then the future generations facedestruction. One can only guess that future generations will betaking the same drastic measures to save the human race that thecurrent generation is taking to save the environment. One can onlyassume that industrialization and its effect on society startedsomewhere without people first acknowledging its effect on theenvironment. Therefore, the time to act is now. Interfering with thehuman genealogy creates other species. To save the human race, thenextreme human advancements that break the natural human capabilitieslimit must stop now.
Alloff,F., Lin, P., Moor, J., & Weckert, J. (2009). Ethics of HumanEnhancement: 25 Questions
&Answers. US National Science Foundation.
Begley,S. (1998). Designer Babies. Newsweek.
Fukuyama,F. (2002). We will undermine the principle of equality. Times HigherEducation.
Ida,R. (2009). Should we improve human nature? An interrogation from anAsian perspective.
InSavulescu, J. & Bostrom, N. (eds.) Humanenhancement.New York: Oxford UP.
Shaer,M. (2014). Giantsteps.Technology.
Stock,G. Choosing our genes.