Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Time to re-rent Gattaca, honey

Eugenics is real. It's not a matter of "when" is going to happen but "how far are we willing to take it?" It is a topic that both interests me and worries me. No one can deny the huge benefits it potentially has for the human race and at the same time most people realize the dangers that could come in messing with our species' genetics. But regardless of its uses for good or evil, it will have a major impact on our society and will change life as we know it. And I don't think enough people are taking this topic seriously.

Genetically enhanced humans could lead to a class society. Time to rent Gattaca again and see where we're headed.

Currently eugenics is used to cure genetic diseases. It's used to seek out cancer, Downs, Gaucher's disease among others. Certain religions condemn this because man is messing with the basic code of life. Leave that to God. Even though being able to detect an embryo to have a genetic disease and avoid implanting it in the woman's uterus for pregnancy has to certainly be more acceptable than the option of abortion. Maybe not, maybe both life forms are identical to the naysayers.

So let's assume we take it one step further. Let's say we take eugenics beyond genetic-disease detection. Let's say parents are given the option to make their child stronger, blond, green eyes. They get to choose the gender, the build. This most certainly would lead to a class system. "I am genetically superior to you" will replace "My dad can beat up your dad" on the playground. The non-genetically altered people might put up a good fight, show that genetics can't outdo the human spirit but eventually, we will become the dinosaur. Extinction is eminent for us normal folk and soon the world is populated with a genetically-altered human species. What now? More genetic weaknesses will be classified, more genetic improvements will be ordered. Someone has to be the low order in the class system. Where will it end? 8 foot tall people with biceps as large as a bowling ball might be common place. It seems weird to you and me, but in the race to be superior and to rise above the rest, it might be accepted. Will the system just collapse on itself? How far will we be willing to go? Think about this. This is very real and we will be confronted these issues in our lifetime.

And oh yeah, get those taxes in Americans. I'm ok, I did mine last April.