Drummond's article recommends a theologically inspired attitude of prudence and caution in regards to scientific changes in genetics, from a moralist perspective that is Christian in nature. As the author notes, "When no absolute map exists to tell us exactly what route to follow through these ethical difficulties, getting in touch with the personal good through wisdom will be indispensable in serving the common good when formulating public policy" (Drummond, 369). This quotation seems to be good general advice, but there is also somewhat of a lack of specificity in terms of what one should actually do to determine that wisdom, and what exactly it should be based upon. My reaction to this feature of the article is that one must take a stand on this issue rather than vacillating. It is an important subject on which to have a specific opinion, because if people just blindly accept cloning and genetic engineering, we may as a society be propelled to a future where couples will choose "designer babies." Drummond argues that coming from a Christian theological perspective the notion of prudence "needs to include both fortitude, which is a sense of willingness to suffer for the sake of the good, and charity, the ability to love beyond what we might be able to do through our natural instincts towards friends and family, and temperance, the ability to say no when our needs, rather than our wants have been met (sic)" (Drummond, 374).
When people join a society and enjoy its benefits, they sign a social contract. This means accepting the moral status quo of that society, as well as its other educational and ethical status quos. There is a real danger that unless ethical and moral leaders are willing to make a clear and plain statement against it, technology will enable people to let parents engage in casual eugenic racism based on characteristics for their babies that are socially popular. In this way, parents will be able to foist their own ideas of what superficial beauty means (eye color, hair type, etc.) onto their innocent spawn at a state of pre-birth. To me personally, this is a dystopian scenario that requires activism and advocacy in the present, rather than hesitation and vacillation. Any new technology is likely to have good and bad aspects, depending on how it is used.
Drummond, C. (2005). Fabricated Humans? Human Genetics, Ethics and the Christian Wisdom Tradition. Dialog: A Journal of Theology . Volume 44, Number 4 . Winter.
Sadler, T., and D. Zeidler (2003). The Morality of Socioscientific Issues: Construal and Resolution of Genetic Engineering Dilemmas. London: Wiley
Author InfoRon Schooling
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Public school technology writer and researcher.