Genetic engineering poses a challenge equal to AI’s
“transhumanism” in its implications for human dignity and the very notion of
what it means to be human. Indeed, there seems
to be a confluence of gentech and AI since they are closely related.
While gentech promises unprecedented new powers
for humans to redesign God’s creation, AI seems to provide the necessary
technology for manipulating such a Brave New World. Gentech’s
enormous potential benefits include altered plants which can withstand diseases
or vicissitudes of climate and thus yield more abundant crops to possibly end
hunger in the world. New discoveries in
bio-sciences, such as the ability to grow skin tissue from DNA to repair damaged
or burnt skin of fire or accident victims, may extend to growing entire organs
or limbs which could revolutionize medicine, replacing organ transplants and
prosthetics. Just like in nature, where
amphibians can re-grow missing limbs, humans might be able to do the same.
As with many successful human inventions, from
the submarine to the airplane, nature has the secret key to regeneration
processes which gentech might discover. But
gentech’s social, psychological, and spiritual implications pose even greater
challenges to human self-understanding. As in
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984, the
central question concerns not only science or technique, but their impact on
human self-identity and free choice. Gentech and
AI may appear to replace God and elevate man in His place, since the new powers
promise to fulfill humanity’s quest for self-sufficiency and immortality.
As stewards of God’s creation, we face the
challenge, then: how can science and technology benefit, rather than enslave,
Genetic Engineering & Human Dignity
March1, 2013. Send
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return/SASE) to: Dr. O. Gruenwald, JIS Editor, IIR, 1065 Pine Bluff Dr., Pasadena,
CA 91107, USA. Early mss.
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