Technological advancements will continue to grow faster than we have the moral capacity to deal with them. This does not mean we shouldn’t consider the potential consequences of technologies that may be a reality in the future. The question of technological manipulation of genetics is a very controversial topic. It is hard to have a conversation about how these advancements should be limited if at all while we still cannot form an uncontroversial definition of consciousness. However, when these possibilities are considered we must take into account the current flaws of society. The society cannot be separated from the technological inventions because it is the origin of the inventions and the environment the inventions will inhabit. Perhaps the most significant current flaw of society is the problem of severe inequalities. There is good reason to believe that these existing inequalities will be exacerbated with the availability of technological manipulation of genes.
I believe inequality is inevitable in any society but those inequalities should be limited the minimum amount. The limited amount of inequality is the inequality of your genetics. People are born with different natural abilities do to certain things and through appropriate opportunities they can figure out their natural abilities and improve them. When people are given equal opportunities to improve their skills on one thing some people will simply be better at that thing than others. The randomness of these “gifts” as Sandel puts it, makes these inequalities acceptable. When this randomness is taken away through genetic manipulation, the talents a person is born with is now forced upon them by their parents and now controlled. It is no longer seen as a gift from an unknown higher entity, whether it be God or luck, it is now seen as something directly given to you by your parents. This may cause people to be more inclined to feel deserving of the talents they are born with and feel more worthy of their success than others. Today it would sound fairly absurd to say to an athlete, “well you should’ve been born taller.” But in a society with genetic manipulation it may not seem so absurd to tell an athlete, “your parents should’ve made you taller.” These are two different things. This may be acceptable if everyone’s parents had the same exact access and capability to genetically engineer their kids any way they choose and is possible. This becomes a problem when we consider the fact that we live in a society where people are not granted equal opportunities and their is an obvious advantage among the rich. Any time there is a new technological invention the rich are the first to have access to it and there is no reason to believe this would be any different with the technological manipulation of genes. This is why current inequalities would not only continue to exist with this invention, it would become increasingly worse as the rich are able to manipulate the genes of their children to make them smarter, more athletic, and more successful than poor children. As a society we must be very careful when it comes to genetic manipulation and consider the consequences based on our current state.
Sandel, M. (2004, April 01). The Case Against Perfection. Retrieved November 19, 2020, from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2004/04/the-case-against-perfection/302927/