Building Babies from the Bottom Up: A Good Idea?

In his article “Building Babies from the Gene Up,” Ronald Green discusses the concept, benefits, and risks of using gene modification to create genetically perfect children. Green, a professor and expert in biomedical ethics, religion, and morality, discusses how tinkering with genes during the pregnancy process is an unavoidable outcome that could have positive consequences, such as improved health. Green explains in detail how genetically modifying children during the prenatal stage would result in a “perfect” offspring, free of genetic conditions such as cancer, obesity, or any other genetic disease. Even though there are clear risks in doing so, Green points out that, the positive effects of gene modification outweighs the negatives. While Green articulates on the subject, supporting his claims with strong pieces of evidence, his logic and explanation are imprecise, unclear, and seemingly contradictory, and ultimately disqualifying his opinion. Thus, while new human genetic modification technology may have great potential in the prevention and elimination of numerous life-threatening diseases, the dangers that come along with the technology are equally great.

Green enumerates and lists his claims then follows them with satisfactory responses. Besides, he splits his paragraphs with different proofs and concerns to drive his point home. Firstly, in his claims on the negative effects of genetic modification, Green points out the concept could create a problem within the social classes where one superior class – with modified genes – looks down upon the one without (Green, Robert, 450). Further, he points out the new parental mentality will shift to that of seeking perfection for their offspring, rendering things such as talent – which would be easily modified –invaluable (Green, Robert, 450). Finally, he points that the technology pits religion against science, where scientists seemingly play God in deciding how things should be in regards to the human’s biological features (Green, Robert, 450). On the positives, Green suggests that gene modification can enable humanity to get rid of genetic disorders such as Tay-Sach., breast cancer, anorexia, and even obesity. Additionally, he points out that with advancement in technology, human beings are advancing in nature, and he sees no reason not to use it to modify the biological aspect of the humans (Green, Robert, 452). Throughout, Green maintains a clear tone, and eloquently supports his presented proofs and claims.

Clearly, in the article, Green fails to distinguish between the different applications of genetic technology. While the article starts off with the example of the parents protecting their child from a genetic disorder, Green instead concentrates on the capability of genetic modification in promoting “heritable genetic enhancement” throughout the rest of the article. Moreover, he points out that the eugenic technologies – relating to the production of offspring – could be an avenue for the elimination of class divide, but fails to substantiate the claim and its applicability in the real world. More so, even the statistical evidence – 80 percent of the class at Dartmouth Medical School oppose genetic modification – fails to support his claims of genetic benefits or popularity of the technology (Green, Robert, 452). Lastly, as an expert in biomedical ethics, it is absurd that Green would champion for the concept of genetically modified children, while in concept seemingly qualifies as scientists playing God.

Looking at the claims presented by the author, I disagree to some extent on the benefits of genetic modification. Unmistakably, it is one thing to enable couples to protect their child from their genetic disorder such as Tay-Sach, and it is another to create children with “enhanced” capabilities that could be turned down from generation to another. While the empowering and protecting the child from the negative eventuality is a good thing, abusing the technology would turn the world into a race towards the “the perfect human being”. As Green points out, those with money will purchase towards perfection while the rest will be regarded as “invalids” (Green, Robert, 451). Therefore, contrary to Green’s argument, while the concept is beneficial to a great extent, when encouraged, the negatives of genetic modification rightfully outweigh any positives.

In conclusion, Greens article is an excellent pieces of claims – some – reasonably backed up. Moreover, he presents the article in clear and precise paragraphs, each expressing a different claim and support. However, it seems that Green’s thesis was to show that genetic modification was right, he seems to have lost it while presenting the claims. Thus, in the end, he lost his sense of closure and showed how the benefits of the genetic modification override the consequences. Green may have presented great points and a great article, but without driving towards his point, he convinced me that genetic modification was not only wrong but dangerous.

Works Cited

Green, Robert M. “Building Baby From the Genes Up.” Current issues and enduring questions: a guide to critical thinking and argument, with readings. Barnet, Sylvan, and Hugo Adam. Bedau Cincinnati: Bedford/St Martins, 2011. 449-452

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