How are we preparing for a time when trasngenetic beings will live amongst us? In Part I last week we looked at the implications of humans that are optimzed using gencodes from other humans. Now we will look at transgenetic modifications.
What are transgenetic organisms?
It is also possible that gene sequences from plants or other animals are used in human DNA enhancement. In such cases one speaks of “transgenic” interventions or beings. This is ethically more difficult to evaluate. The focus is more on innovative gene design and leads to results that would probably not occur in the natural germ line. Both in the first generation and in the long term, the results are hardly predictable for the population on earth.
Is this brand new?
Over the millions of years of life on our planet, however, it is not new. It is normal that existing life forms disappear, and new ones emerge. In so far, we may also put our personal concerns into perspective. Based on the terraistic world view, one could formulate that the concern arises from the fact that current humanity (we), for some reason or another, takes itself especially important and considers itself – as it happens to be right now – to be the unchangeable crown of creation and evolution.
Is it a sacrilege in itself?
Some people claim, that a change of our DNA would contradict the will of God who created us. However, the same, allmighty God created the planet and evolution. Therfore beings with the ability to influence their genetic make-up and even develop transgenic ones are part of god’s plan. Interestingly, many of us who do not believe in a God nevertheless share instinctively the same – difficult to justify, human-centered – worldview. I call this – for lack of better terms – a “humanistic religion” or a form of general anthropocentrism. This anthropocentrism only places the human being in the center of the world. It is part of such a belief system that mankind as he currently is the best imaginable one and it comes along with an undefined unease to intervene in his own evolutionary development. This “feeling” adds the religious dimension to such kind of anthropocentrism.
Will it actually happen?
Are these discussions theoretical? Is it still possible – unlike cyborg technologies – to prevent existence of transgenic creatures? The answer is: No! Even the creation of transgenic creatures is already happening today and now. The required technology is called CRISPER/Cas Scissors. It is not particularly expensive and is already being mastered by many people and companies in many countries around the world …