July 3, 2012
Up to now, Nature (God?) has called the shots with regard to how we evolve and grow and learn and become a "better species".
But the practice of actually manipulating human genetics opens the floodgates of real manipulation in human evolution...I think Aldous Huxley ("Brave New World") would be flattered to know his predictions of "designer humans" will, indeed, come to be part of the culture sooner or later.
[Huxley's novel was written in the early 1930s, and set in London in the distant future. In fact, it's the year 2540 A.F. -- "After Ford" -- (yes, Henry Ford) -- which (I guess) means two thousand, five hundred forty years after Henry Ford's birth, which was in 1863, meaning the story apparently doesn't take place until our calendar year 4403].
OK, so we're a bit earlier than that, but I can't say I'm real fond of the concept of us tinkering with life in this way. Perhaps it is "progress" that is inevitable, given that we've learned enough about how things work to even be ABLE to do such a thing. Perhaps we're SUPPOSED to learn this stuff so we CAN make improvements?
Will we have the "Alphas", "Betas", "Deltas" (etc.) that Huxley's tale featured? Hard to say...I guess if we know how to manipulate the genes, anything is possible. Perhaps the first genes we should manipulate are those which give us a true vision and a complete understanding about how our experiments of today might play out over time. Don't know if we know enough yet to do something like this the right way.
Do we really have the "wisdom"? Will corruption and greed and other human "ugliness" take over and destroy any positives which could be gleaned from such knowledge and technology? Will our "learning curve" of doing such things mean we'll end up with generations of people with grossly mutated bodies or brains or thought processes? Will we create 'monsters' before we learn how to really do something like this the right way?
I think the future looks a little scary in some ways...and this might be one of the things that contributes to that perspective, since it's something we've come to think of as "shades of Frankenstein", y'know? "God help us all!" I'm just sayin'...
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