If we could genetically improve human nature, should we? Let's face it, we are a rubbish species... violent, destructive, greedy, sexually obssesed, dominating, self-righteous and forgetful. We...

If we could genetically improve human nature, should we?

Let's face it, we are a rubbish species... violent, destructive, greedy, sexually obssesed, dominating, self-righteous and forgetful. We are not gentle, nor caring.

If our smartest scientists manage to genetically decode human nature and create methods of genetic engineering to improve the human race, do we have a moral obligation to eradicate our destructive nature and transform ourselves into more civilised beings?

Asked on by dancer7

14 Answers | Add Yours

lfawley's profile pic

lfawley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

This is an interesting question because it calls into the debate ethical arguments whether viewed from the religious or secular perspective. Although genetic improvement could one day eliminate disease, saving us a great deal of financial strain as well as the heartbreak of watching a loved one suffer, many religious thinkers would view this as unethical because it is like playing "God" if you will - using the term "God" to apply to the spiritual entity of a number of religions. However, there is a conundrum in place even if you look to secular wisdom. German philosopher Emanuel Kant proposed that  individuals should have complete freedom as long as they were doing no harm to another individual thereby basing morality on doing no harm. Does genetic modification do harm? We don't know for certain.

thompso's profile pic

thompso | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Posters #1 and #2 make strong cases.  I can add a bit of evidence.  We already alter our brains, which dictate behavior, with medications that alter serotonin.  We do it to counteract depression.  Some brains operate in such a way that brings about depression.  Serotonin medications alter this.  This isn't messing with DNA, but it certainly is altering negative and dangerous behavior.   

You make a great point. We alter humanity on a daily basis through behavior modification, drugs etc. However, altercation of DNA seems to be crossing a line in my opinion. 

thompso's profile pic

thompso | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

If we could genetically improve human nature, should we?

Let's face it, we are a rubbish species... violent, destructive, greedy, sexually obssesed, dominating, self-righteous and forgetful. We are not gentle, nor caring.

If our smartest scientists manage to genetically decode human nature and create methods of genetic engineering to improve the human race, do we have a moral obligation to eradicate our destructive nature and transform ourselves into more civilised beings?

What happens when these new technologies get into the wrong hands.  Some of these people that you speak of may ultimately be making the decisions on what how the human race should be "improved" and "improvement" to them may mean something different than it does to us. 

lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

This is a slippery slope. while I agree that it would be great if we could find a way to "fix" the rapists and child abusers, who are we going to trust to "fix" these people. We can't even agree as a country on a health care program!

herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Never say "no" to improvement. It is a mandate that there should always be some room for it, and that we should always strive to achieve improvements. Even a piece of corn, potatoes, whatever, can be improved and made more nutritious, less caloric, and maybe even cheaper. Absolutely. If we could turn humans into better potatoes, or better specimens, let's do it ASAP!

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

If it were possible to alter many of the deficiencies found in man--from behavioral disorders to inherent violence to depression--I think it would be a wonderful thing. As one post pointed out, we already alter ourselves with various drugs (legal and illegal), so the process is already underway.

ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

What a better place the world would be if we could alter human nature. While there are many examples of human nature at its best, the truly evil examples of human nature seem to dominate our culture. Child abusers, rapists, murderers--how could life not be improved if they were genetically altered to have their questionably human natures improved? My concern would be who determines what, and how do we prevent the abuse of this power.

dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Posters #1 and #2 make strong cases.  I can add a bit of evidence.  We already alter our brains, which dictate behavior, with medications that alter serotonin.  We do it to counteract depression.  Some brains operate in such a way that brings about depression.  Serotonin medications alter this.  This isn't messing with DNA, but it certainly is altering negative and dangerous behavior.   

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do not really agree with the idea that we are a rubbish species.  We have our faults but we are also capable of great good.

To me, the only worry about changing our DNA to make us nicer (if we actually could do this, which I doubt) is that it might take away our drive.  If we are no longer aggressive in any way, will we be able to improve ourselves at all?

nusratfarah's profile pic

nusratfarah | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I would like to focus on something very different angle. I think, if humans were going to be genetically improved, the digestion and metabolism process should be thus modified that they have to take less food than ever.

subrataray's profile pic

subrataray | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Genitic -transformation has given birth clone , and it is the worst outcome of genetic -technology and researches .The hybrid of plants , fruits , fishes , cock and hen , etc did not produce any guality value , rather in them the food -value , and life -force have got lessened .

The present question is the burning issue of hybrid -technology , concerning genetic-science . Since Man dale , we have the beginning of genetic researches .But , experiences teach us that the deliberate attempt of changing nature would cause a great harm .

My opinion is that we can not be and should not be genetically be improved .If that forbidden attempt is taken , in that case man will be turned to thoughtless clone .

sili's profile pic

sili | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

the thing is that we able just a few more curious about our futurew if we simply leave on the scientist to see what is good and what is bad it would be better it5 is better to get advanced but every thing has a limit and we are at our limits

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

How can one object to improving human nature. But when you talk of genetically improving human nature, there is a big catch in it. Is it really possible to improve human nature genetically. Overwhelming possibility is that any improvement of genetically improving human nature genetically will create more problems than it solves. Among the greatest folly of this suggestion is that human make up determines human nature. It is very well known that human nature depends more on up bringing, training, and the like, rather than on genetic code. Then how can genetic engineering improve human nature?

elfgirl's profile pic

elfgirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

We already make strenuous efforts to alter the human race; through 'nurture'; We consider it a moral imperative to raise all our children to have the best possible moral and humanistic values. We already attempt to 'mould' and 'shape' and 'design' our children from the moment they are born.

So if science discovers a way to produce improvements through 'nature', then it is simply one more step in our development and should be welcomed with open arms.

There is nothing intrinsically immoral about altering our DNA. We must be careful of course, but it is not 'wrong'.

Nature or Nuture. Does it matter which we use, if the end result is a better society?

We’ve answered 318,928 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question