Genetic Interventions and the Ethics of Enhancement

essay: Genetic
Interventions and the Ethics of Enhancement

In Savulescus Genetic Interventions and the Ethics of Enhancement, the author maintains that to extend human life span and provide a better chance of well living, it is not only permissible but morally obliged to adopt genetic enhancement. The ends of a well-prosperous life could justify the means of genetic enhancement. To qualify his core point, Savulescu offers three relative argument points, applying analogy to demonstrating process, as how diet and environment manipulation act upon human, and how human could biologically form good characters to achieve better life through genetic enhancement.

First of all, he comes up with an analogy between genetic enhancement and diet. He assumes how important the diet is for the intellectual development of newborn babies. He assumes that parents are morally responsible for their children™s mental development by supplementing appropriate diet, so does genetic enhancement. Analogy between diet and enhancement should be reasonably acknowledged, as both serve as a tool. Whether it be diet or enhancement, if it serves well for the stunning intellect, it should be adopted. Therefore, enhancement should be morally permitted.

Secondly, genetic enhancement acts on human in almost the same way as environment does, which explains why it should be morally justified. As some people might oppose that diet serves a bad analogy to genetic enhancement, the author compares the effect upon human brain between environment intervention and enhancement. He assumes that people™s mental development is largely based upon physiological or biological elements. Natural development bears unquestionable moral justification. As for how the environment shapes people, the author argues that the environment intervention causes a biological or physiological change inside human, whereby it influences his intellect, brain or something else. He quotes striking evidence from rat model Huntington™s Chorea as how environment changes the rat biologically. Besides, genetic enhancement directly influences human™s genes or causes biological change, while the environment shapes it indirectly. But both share the same outcome. Therefore, the genetic enhancement should be morally justified, as it only differentiates from environment manipulation in a more direct way.

Thirdly, genetic enhancement stands a good chance of providing people with a promising life, as it can help shape some well-admired qualities for people. The beneficence of making for a happier life could offer a solid foundation for genetic enhancement. The author assumes that some qualities such as impulse control are profoundly affected physiologically, and can have great impact on success in life such as good interrelationship, proper understanding of the world. Another assumption is that everyone pursues a happy and successful life within the limit of his abilities and qualities. Enhancement, through interference with human gene, could set people on a smooth path of better well-being by way of cultivating their characters. Apart from that assumption, he argues that some characteristics are essentially bad in life, which could be traced back to gene. He quotes an example of how male members in a Dutch family are induced to criminal for the reason of gene. Without the genetic intervention, people inherited with such gene are highly likely to commit criminal regardless of their education or life experience. Genetic enhancement could technologically help achieve such ambition by forming good characteristics and avoiding bad ones, and therefore, it should gain moral ground.

Genetic enhancement is an instrument which would not differentiate itself largelyfrom a diet and environment manipulation, and could lead human to a good life by way of forming some characteristics. Overall, it is evident that Savulescus relies upon the theory of purpose could justify process to draw a conclusion that genetic enhancement should be morally permissible when considering lots of benefits it could bring to human beings.


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