It's ironic that we're so much more advanced by nearly every standard, yet in the areas of ethics and morals we've never made the same progress. Our actions may be less barbaric today, but they are generally more effective and more certain. To think we're going to have less complexity about bio-ethical issues is nothing but wishful thinking.
Though it is a humour website, they are quite factual in the topics they choose to cover. It is quite on topic with this discussion so I thought I would share it with you.
The biological world is currently in crisis, as climate change takes hold, species are increasingly endangered, resources are more scarce and the world's population still growing. Add to that the technology we have developed for gene therapy, stem cells, genetically enhanced agriculture, even robotics and cloning and the number of bio-ethical issues seem to be multiplying.
Like the above posts say - these issues will only increase. The universe is far too huge and complicated to ever come to a stopping point.
Knowledge and understand only breeds further knowledge and understanding. The more we know, the more we question. The more we question... you get the idea. It is a cycle.
As we evolve technologically as a society I think we are definitely going to run into more bioethical issues. I also think we will find ourselves running back into such questions we once defeated. Scientists are constantly teetering on the edge of bioethical issues.
As the human genome project comes to a close, I can bet there will be more eugenics debates. The last eugenics era led to the second world war, who knows what will happen when we develop the ability to further manipulate a person's genetic code. We already do it with plants and animals by experimenting with hybrids. One day someone is going to come along, and want to experiment on humans. Talk about the cascade effect that is going to cause.
Essentially, the more we learn about ourselves, the better we will be able to manipulate it. Keep people alive longer than was supposed to be natural. Correct problems that were once thought to be uncorrectable. Breed super people destined to do a certain job. Create biological machinery to do things faster or safer than humans can.
Not only are such ethical question being addressed with humans, but they are with animals as well. At what point does an animal deserve the right to life, liberty, and freedom from experimentation? What gives us the right to assume ownership over everything within eyesight? Very interesting, and definitely very heated stuff.
Science fiction has been addressing such questions for decades. Take a gander at any of the Star Trek series, and in each there are plenty of episodes dealing with the biomechanical right to choose for themselves, and the pros and cons of biological machinery.
I definitely think that as we progress into the future bio-ethical issues and dilemmas will increase exponentially. For example, medical science is advancing, as some argue, an alarming rate. Look at recombinant DNA technology. We can now use this technology to accomplish things that in the not so distant past were unimaginable.
Additionally, animal researchers can now, and have been for years, cloning new species and improving on the ones that already exist. Several months ago, I accompanied colleagues on a field trip to a major university, which will remain nameless, and we witnessed animals that had been genetically altered. All in the name of science. I must admit that I somewhat taken aback by what I saw, actually it was quite scary.
I think that there is no way that the number of such issues will decrease in the future. I think it is inevitable that the number will grow. The reason for this is the fact that our technological capabilities keep increasing and the new technologies often bring up new issues.
Just think of the ways in which cloning, stem cells, and the ability to keep people alive mechanically have led to bioethical issues. All of these issues are new since I was a kid and they have come about because of new technologies. The same thing is likely to happen as we come to know more about the human genome -- there will be issues about such things as genetic engineering.
So technological change is certain, in my mind, to bring about more bioethical issues.