With the news coming to light yesterday regarding the creation of a new synthetic life form, the scientific community, as well as religious and policy-based institutions, are engaging in strong debate (with, perhaps, the strongest yet to come) involving the ethics of creating new biological species.
At the heart of the debate is the age old question, “does man know enough about life yet to create it?” Still others would argue, “will mankind ever know enough about life to take its complete manipulation–to the point of creation–into its hand?”
I recently provided a bit of commentary at my blog, The Gralien Report, as to how the future of our species might potentially be corrupted through the continuation of a genetic alterations and modification to our species, or for that matter, the modification of other species.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who has expressed a little concern over the foreseen potentials. Eric Hoffman of the organization Friends of the Earth recently told Reuters, “We must ensure that strong regulations are in place to protect the environment and human health from this potentially dangerous new technology,” while still others have warned that “scientists may not yet know enough about life to attempt creating it.”
Could there indeed be a host of inequalities thrust upon our unsuspecting species, should the advent of human genome-mapping and DNA modifying technologies present ways around the typical threats to humanity via aging, disease, and physical limitations? For instance (and if we were to follow a rather abstract example), what if a majority of the future population who had been genetically modified could utilize teleportation to travel, thus relinquishing the need for automobiles? Those who couldn’t teleport would be at an extreme disadvantage, and furthermore, the upkeep of a waning transportation industry in a world of teleporters would become a costly burden.
This, as I stated, is an abstract example, but it illustrates a fundamental point: how would future societies deal with inequalities and social classes diversified by the advent of genetic manipulations of greater magnitude? Not to be an alarmist by any means, but such things certainly must be considered, especially now that the initial achievement of synthesizing “life not as we know it” has already taken place. Let’s just hope we can rest our faith in the inherent goodness of mankind… if indeed such a thing exists on any incorruptible level.