Imagine a world with mega-humans. A world that relies on genetic engineering to enhance human features such as intellect, body structure and appearance. Well, you could be looking into the lens of the future. Genetic Engineering has spanned over to the field of reproduction, giving parents a whole new set of options. This world is moving in the direction in which parents can customize their own offspring’s sex, physical structure and appearance, all thanks to science. The upside to genetic engineering, is it can save many children from living a life with a disability or a permanent, life-threatening disease. Despite the positive features, it is still a heavily controversial, scientific advancement, because it defies the natural custom of human nature. Michael Sandel’s video presentation called: The Case Against Perfection, brings up several different cases pertaining to the use of genetic engineering. In the beginning, he gives a true account of a lesbian couple that preferably wanted to have a deaf child. Being apart of the deaf community, they wanted a child like themselves. So, they sought out a sperm donor with five generations of deafness in his family. (Sandel, The Case Against Perfection) They were successful. Now, the question is whether the children’s parents had the natural right to design their own child’s physical abilities. There are two sides to the prism. One side argues for the couple, saying that it is their choice to pick and choose the features that they would find pleasurable in their offspring. Even if it’s deafness. One man in the audience had argued that when finding a mate, people subliminally go after someone who has admirable characteristics and traits that they would like to mix with their own gene pool. Now, the side arguing against the couple, denies their parental right to take away the ability to hear from their offspring.
“To deny a child the ability to listen to music is abominable.” One woman had shared in the audience. (Sandel, The Case Against Perfection)
Genetic Engineering can go as far to completely divide the human race into the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ through transhumanism. Transhumanism relies on advanced technology to upgrade the human condition. (Bostrum, A Transhumanist Perspective) Those with the financial means, can design their offspring to be remarkably adept intellectually, physically and in appearance. Through advancements in technology, people can design a new race, completely eradicating the natural human organism. A long term result would be a split in the human race. The advanced ability to the ‘upgraded’ human would overshadow those to the ‘natural’ human. So, not only would it be split based on biological makeup, but also socially through jealousy. I feel like there’s a good movie idea in here somewhere. Anyways, keep looking into the future, because designer babies just might be there.
Bostrum, Nick. Human Genetic Enhancements: A Transhumanist Perspective. (2003) https://nickbostrom.com/ethics/genetic.html
Sandel, Michael. The Case Against Perfection. Fora.TV. http://library.fora.tv/2008/07/17/The_Case_Against_Perfection_Michael_Sandel