Speech Plan = Should we as humans have boundaries on our knowledge?
- Where do we, as a race, draw the line? How far is too far? What is ethical and what isn’t? Which avenues of the world should we continue to further our knowledge in?
Speech Draft =
How far is too far? Who decides these things? Where do we draw the line? Should we have boundaries?
This speech is on the boundaries that we – as humans – have in order to keep ourselves in check. The boundaries in question here are those surrounding the knowledge that we as a race currently have and the knowledge that we could potentially gain – and then put to use – from continuing our exploration of science. Should we have these boundaries? I aim to portray the perspectives of the people on both sides of this argument as well as my own opinion on the topic, to whether or not these limits to this knowledge should be put and/or kept in place.
The topic of knowledge is an interesting one because there are so many aspects of it. However, very aspect of every argument is formed using the limited knowledge that a person has, and the arguments on the topic of knowledge is no different. However, this fact shows that most arguments about knowledge are actually just a matter of perspective and personal gain from the out come even though there is a strong moral side to them too. Even so the opinionated arguments remain and one is based around the scientific exploration topic of growth and creation; this topic being on the creation of human life in a lab rather in the natural way. The cliche is that ‘there are two sides to every story’ and this is true for arguments too, the two sides to this argument are that we either should or shouldn’t have boundaries which we cannot cross when exploring human evolution, birth habits, and genetic modification in order to create the ‘perfect human’. Along with these two perspectives, come the corresponding arguments to whether or not we should have boundaries surrounding the amount of knowledge we can gain and then use in certain fields of life.
The text that this topic relates to is Mary Shelley’s, “Frankenstein”. These ideas relate to the text because in the plot, Victor Frankenstein meddled in the natural way of human creation and tried to create the ‘perfect human’. However this turned out to be a mistake and the unnatural creature was ‘born’ and ended up hating his creator who spurned him and left him for dead. The main similarity between this text and the idea of the boundaries we could have related to genetic modification and creating the ‘perfect human’ is just the ethics and opinions that people have about the topic. In a way, Victor Frankenstein actually did accomplish his goal to create the perfect human; his creature was an upgraded version of himself and the rest of humanity in some ways. The creature was bigger, stronger, more adaptable, smarter, more resilient, kind, innocent, and had the learning qualities of a child in the way that it absorbed information like a sponge. Yet, its looks scared away VF meaning the creature was left alone, without a guide in the world which left him vulnerable to the harsh side to the world. This left the creature to become a harsh monster without morals. Not only did the creature become a murdering psychopath, which leaves doubt in the idea of tampering with the natural way of life, but the means that VF used in order to make his creature were completely unnatural. Frankenstein used the limbs and body parts of dead people to construct his creature and then somehow brought it to life. While this is nothing near what the scientists of today would do, they are also possibly crossing some other ethical lines and rules that people have formed.
The first perspective on this topic is that we – as a race – should not have any boundaries on the knowledge we can work to obtain in any field of life, including that of the modification on developing babies to create the ‘perfect human’. I believe that this perspective stems from the idea of science rather than that of religion. the scientific perspective on this idea is that us humans should have an influence on what and how babies come into this world rather than leaving it up to a higher power that may or may not exist.
There are two sides to this perspective with one being slightly less blaring. The first side is the more headstrong approach which is only thinking about the benefit to the overall race and to the subject of science that these acts would happen. This approach believes that there should be no boundaries to the knowledge that we as a race can acquire and then use in the scientific exploration of today’s world. This view is acquaintanced with the idea that the boundaries which formally forbid any man-made influence – other than the traditional means of creating a baby – to interfere with the outcome of a birth, is an old-school, out-of-date idea which should no longer apply because of the huge advancements in knowledge and science that have already been made up to today. Those in favour of the continuation of advancement in human knowledge in this area believe that, because we already cut up deceased bodies to obtain knowledge we should be able to interfere in and ‘enhance’ the baby being born in order to create the ‘perfect human’. The second side to this perspective is that we could cure disorders that cause the mind to deteriorate and other heartbreaking afflictions which lower the standards of life that a person lives with. These kind of experiments could also potentially cure diseases like cancer and so have a positive and practical use that would benefit everyone.
The second perspective on this topic is that – as humans – we should definitely have boundaries for which we cannot cross in all ways of life, including that of genetic modification on babies. These boundaries right now are the moral ethics and laws that we have in place in order to ensure that anyone enlisted to get a treatment has the right to either accept or reject the offered treatment, and that their word is final in the decision. This perspective respects all ethical and moral ideas represented in this idea and stays safely within the boundaries set around the knowledge that we as a race have in this particular field. I believe that this perspective stems from religion. I believe this because in most religions, there is an idea of some higher power – or powers – than ourselves, the idea of a ‘superhuman’ or a ‘god’. This belief is that these higher being(s) are, or should be, the only ones who have control over life and death and the making of the creatures on this earth…
“One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought…” One of the things that I believe both sides of this argument clash on is just how far would we would go with the scientific exploration. Would we stop after this discovery or would we continue on in the pursuit of more knowledge without any regard to the ethical boundaries that could possibly be being crossed. This quote represents the extreme boundary that we would like to think we would never cross, yet the doubt is still there for those against this expansion of knowledge, as to where the boundary would now be set, as the boundary they see as uncrossable has already been crossed by those who are all for the expansion. Another clash between the two sides to this idea is that – as I said earlier – the ‘for’ side to this argument believes that, “because we already cut up deceased bodies to obtain knowledge we should be able to interfere in and ‘enhance’ the baby being born in order to create the ‘perfect human’” whereas the ‘against’ side of this argument believe that the working on already deceased patients is only ethical because they volunteered and were donors whereas the babies are given no choice meaning it isn’t ethical. Overall, the main idea portrayed as a clashing point between the two sides of this argument is a mix between the different boundaries set by the opposing perspectives on this idea as well as an air of vagueness about where the line will be drawn if this expansion of science and knowledge crosses the already present one of messing with the natural process of birth with man-made influences.
My opinion on this practice is partially in agreement with both arguments although it is more strongly in line with the second perspective. I only agree with the positive aspect of the first perspective in a small way and that is because I believe that if this procedure could possibly rid the world of the diseases and disorders that deteriorate the mind or body to the point where it severely affects the way of life of the patient. This is the point of the ‘for’ side that I personally can back because of its positive effects on everyone rather than just those who would benefit from the gained knowledge from all test that would take place. However, other than this point, I fully agree with the statement produced by the ‘against’ group towards this argument in the way that I personally believe that it crosses a moral line to alter a human, no matter how young, without their prior approval and consent.