Humanities

Watch Stewart Brand’s TED talk, the dawn of de-extinction, do some research, and respond to these questions: What is the sixth wave of extinction; is it ethical for humans to bring species back from extinction and reintroduce them to the wild?; are there any reservations you have about this?

https://www.ted.com/talks/stewart_brand_the_dawn_of_de_extinction_are_you_ready/transcript?language=en

Using the uploaded reference material sources 1. Powell, R. (2015). In genes we trust: Germline engineering, eugenics, and the future of the human genome. Journal Of Medicine & Philosophy, 40(6), 669-695. doi:10.1093/jmp/jhv025

2. Ummel, D. (2016). Dream or nightmare? The impact of American eugenics, past and present. Cross Currents, 66(3), 389-398., and two other new authoritative sources and must be used in APA format to respond to these next five questions.  Make sure to support assertions with evidence and a direct link from your research to the sources. The minimum word count is 350 words per question in this section.

  1. Describe genetic engineering on a cellular level. In other words, what exactly takes place during genetic engineering that inserts a trait into an organism that did not have that trait before? Give an example.
  2. According to the provided source materials, what made someone or a group of people considered to be “unfit” members of society? Based on your research, are there any categories or types of people we systematically marginalized today?
  3. What is Eugenics and what were the goals and policies of the American Eugenics movement?
  4. Which cells do the authors identify as the ones most likely to hold the key to increased human longevity and vitality and how might this work? Describe one alternative to cloning that the authors mention.
  5. What are some arguments against extending human life in the way the authors describe? Please describe at least one objection mentioned in the reading and one objection from your research and experience.

Answers:

Question 1: Describe genetic engineering on a cellular level. In other words, what exactly takes place during genetic engineering that inserts a trait into an organism that did not have that trait before? Give an example.

Genetic engineering is the process of altering an organism’s genetic material to achieve a desired trait. This is done by manipulating the DNA or RNA of an organism using biotechnology tools such as CRISPR/Cas9. A new piece of genetic material can be introduced to replace or complement an existing sequence, or an existing sequence can be deleted or modified. The goal is to produce an organism with new or improved traits, such as resistance to disease or increased productivity.

An example of genetic engineering is the development of genetically modified crops. Genetic material is introduced into crop plants to produce traits such as resistance to pests, herbicides, or environmental stress. For instance, scientists have introduced a gene from a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis into corn plants. This gene produces a toxin that is toxic to insects but harmless to humans and other animals. As a result, the corn plants are resistant to pests and require fewer pesticides, resulting in lower production costs and a smaller environmental impact.

Sources:

  • Powell, R. (2015). In genes we trust: Germline engineering, eugenics, and the future of the human genome. Journal of Medicine & Philosophy, 40(6), 669-695. doi:10.1093/jmp/jhv025

Question 2: According to the provided source materials, what made someone or a group of people considered to be “unfit” members of society? Based on your research, are there any categories or types of people we systematically marginalized today?

The concept of “unfit” members of society has been used to justify discrimination and oppression of various groups throughout history. In the early 20th century, the American eugenics movement aimed to improve the genetic quality of the population by promoting the reproduction of “fit” individuals and preventing the reproduction of “unfit” individuals. “Unfit” individuals were defined broadly to include people with physical and mental disabilities, people with certain medical conditions, immigrants, and people of certain races or ethnicities.

Today, various categories of people are still systematically marginalized, including people with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ people, and low-income individuals. Discrimination and oppression take many forms, such as unequal access to healthcare, education, and employment, police brutality, and voter suppression.

Sources:

  • Powell, R. (2015). In genes we trust: Germline engineering, eugenics, and the future of the human genome. Journal of Medicine & Philosophy, 40(6), 669-695. doi:10.1093/jmp/jhv025
  • Ummel, D. (2016). Dream or nightmare? The impact of American eugenics, past and present. Cross Currents, 66(3), 389-398.

Question 3: What is Eugenics and what were the goals and policies of the American Eugenics movement?

Eugenics is the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the human race by selective breeding and genetic manipulation. The American eugenics movement, which emerged in the early 20th century, aimed to improve the genetic quality of the population by promoting the reproduction of “fit” individuals and preventing the reproduction of “unfit” individuals. The movement was based on the belief that certain individuals and groups were genetically inferior and that their reproduction should be restricted or prevented. The movement promoted policies such as forced sterilization of people with disabilities or mental illness, immigration restrictions based on race or ethnicity, and marriage restrictions based on genetic testing.

Sources:

  • Powell, R.

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