Posted: November 28th, 2013
Various forms of technology have been developed and introduced within the medical field for other reasons aside from treating illnesses. This form of development is commonly referred to as the enhancement mechanism because the goal is for improving the appearance of living organisms and adjusting their emotions. Although these enhancement technologies are significant for helping individuals in adapting with the constant change of lifestyle in society, the subject creates room for conflicting ethical issues.
For example, some of the medical technologies applied have uncertainty, meaning that the medical experts involved might fail to be well acquainted about their implications on the living organisms. As a result, the uncertainty could cause danger through destruction of lives. This debate has also been brought up by several writers and other scholars within the medical profession. However, this debate will focus on two different articles written by two authors, Gregory Stock and Michael Sandel.
The main purpose of the debate is to determine whether the medical institutions should concentrate on treating existing illnesses or use their power to improve the mental and physical states of individuals with the aim of forming a healthier and strong human generation in the future. In Sandels’, article known as The Case against Perfection, he lists some of the various forms of medical enhancements including the ability to improve body organs and elements including the muscles, reminiscence and the frame of mind plus the alteration of gender. However, he opposes by stating, “Science moves faster than moral understanding resulting to men and women struggling to express their discomfort” (Sandel 2011).
Sandel explains that although the modern noninterventionist societies begin aiming for independence, justice and human rights, it leaves the moral language inadequately equipped in addressing the most challenging queries created by genetic manufacturing. He also adds some of the procedures and medical enhancements involved can be dangerous. For example, he states, “Most scientists agree that cloning is unsafe, likely to produce offspring with serious abnormalities” (Sandel 2011). This means that the outcome of medical technology comes with greater consequences.
On the other hand, Gregory Stock on his book, Redesigning Human similarly argues that genetic enhancements will give human beings the power to maneuver the genetic features of their children. In addition, he states, “One day, we will manipulate the genes of our children in sophisticated ways using advanced germinal choice technologies” (Stock 126). To describe the manipulative nature of human beings following the advancement of genetic technologies, he states, “In spite of a general uneasiness about such technologies, we will likely use or misuse them as soon as they arrive.” Sandel explains that some forms of medical enhancements goes against an individual’s right to independence.
He adds, “By choosing a child’s genetic makeup in advance, parents deny the child’s right to an open future” (Sandel 2011). This means that such parents fail to give their children a chance to develop in the appropriate stage where they can decide on how they want to appear genetically. However, Sandel considers medical enhancements in a positive light when he argues that they can be used to recover the abilities that have been lost by an individual due to the aging process. Sandel uses the example of memory, where he states that, “Although such treatment would fail to cure any illness, it would restore capacities a person once possessed” (Sandel 2011).
Despite the consequences of medical enhancements, Gregory Stock continues to explain how the attempts of banning such medical practices can end up being pointless. He states, “Bans in any country will not prevent the medical advancements from spreading” (Stock 127). He explains that when a large population in any particular developed country feels the need to acquire something that small medical institutions fail to offer, they will always find a way to obtain it. In an example, Stock states, “enhancements would help individuals and nations in competing with other rivals” (Stock 127). This means that it would be impossible to stop the spread of medical enhancements despite them not being for curing illnesses. This is because it is significantly needed by individuals in proving that they are in a better physical and mental state to contribute to the society.
Stock, Gregory. Redesigning Humans: Choosing Our Genes, Changing Our Future. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. Print.
Sandel, Michael. The Case Against Perfection. Trans. S. H. Butcher. Catholic Education Resource Center. Web Atomic and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2004. Web. January 5, 2011. ‹http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/medical_ethics/me0056.html›.
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