Beyond Our Capabilities.

As human beings, we have choices. What separates us from other animals is the great ability to rationalize things (the argument of some doing this better than others is another topic in itself). We can go through something step by step, figure out an array of outcomes, and make a decision based on that knowledge. Once someone or something steps in the way of our ability to make decisions, we should feel threatened; especially when it comes to decisions about our bodies.

In Justin Cronin’s The Passage, science over steps its boundaries in forcing inmates to be a part of Project Noah. Because these individuals have lifetime sentences and has done (or wrongly accused) of doing something very bad, it does not erase their humanity. At the end of the day, they must give consent to partake in this research therapy. Even though they must sign the dotted line and give these scientists the OK, I feel like it wasn’t real consent. It’s a manipulated choice, and even in that, science wins. Amy was no different from these inmates. She is young and isn’t fully aware of the world around her, yet because she is needed for testing, she must partake in it. In both cases the individual’s choice is taken away or manipulated.

I believe that research is a great thing. To discover new information and potentially use it to our advantage to cure sickness is a positive thing. However, all these practices and experiments on humans and other animals can take it a step too far. Unless the subject consents to being part of this experiment, I don’t think science should force themselves on anyone. It is important to have the ability to choose. So, if someone is willing and able to contribute to the world of science, then by all means. Though, if science just takes and takes with no consent, it is a major problem.

Human desire for greater knowledge is inevitable. Our brains just work differently from other animals. We are inherently curious! We shouldn’t say “no” to the desire to know, but we should be aware that our minds do have a capacity. There is only so much we can stuff in this noggin of ours, as well as process. To be all-knowing is impossible for humans so we should aim too high. Plus, it’s good not to know everything. To have too much knowledge means added responsibility and can even be threatening. So when should we draw the line? Well, if you feel like your head is about to explode…maybe you should take a breather.

There is a really interesting article that gives a warning to the alternations of embryos. In a new genome-editing method, scientists are able to extract, add, or completely change a particular gene in the cell. This is supposed to fix “bad cells” or cure mutations. But this method and research has caused quite a debate. Those opposed to further research state that changing DNA can affect other generations to come and we really can’t see that far into the future. The alterations made can cause side-effects and we just don’t have all the answers. Testing on embryos are far different then testing cells of a monkey or rat. To say that previous experiments on other animals will have the same effect on humans already raises a red flag. Sometimes, we can’t rely on all the data that is gathered or assume something will go smoothly. Everything has potential to experience errors.

I found this article to be very interesting and it definitely raises awareness of the long-term effect science can have on life. Going back to the topic of choices, I felt that this article emphasizes on the effects of future generations: babies, little tiny embryos that can’t speak or say “no.” It is a warning. That because of science’s efforts to create a new future, to make a choice that can affect the upcoming generation’s decisions later in life, it puts stakes even higher. This is all a gamble, with potentially dire consequences; not only for the immediate generation but for all of humanity in the future.


One thought on “Beyond Our Capabilities.

  1. Hey Clarissa,

    I definitely agree that when it came to the alteration of all the prisoners and Amy it was really bad how they just took them without official consent. I can agree with you as well that as long as someone is voluntarily signing up to participate as an experiment in research that is acceptable as well – but if the project is negative/dangerous that doesn’t take away from the dangerous project. I really thought your article was a good read and a little trippy to find out that they are altering embryos, it scares me wondering what other things they may be altering – and after reading stuff like “The Passage” it wouldn’t be surprising if this would eventually become our reality.

    – Ash


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