“There are more than one million fewer deaths since 1990 caused by cancer because of biomedical technology”(Sawyers). Should the same technology that is slimming the number of deaths caused by cancer be restricted on account of ethics? Many people look down upon biomedical technology because they believe that it is unethical and futuristic. However, this technology could bring forth what some may call “medical miracles.” Often times those who dispute the validity of biomedical research lack proper knowledge and information. There are many misconceptions in biomedical technology, mostly caused by the many viewpoints and opinions concerning it. When formulating opinions and viewpoints, it is crucial to be properly educated about that particular topic. The lack of knowledge and moral dispute may hinder scientific research. Although critics argue that it is unethical to manipulate DNA, with genetic manipulation, certain diseases can be eliminated, and cloning holds the ability to produce human organs viable for transplant. Critics argue that it is unethical to manipulate DNA. Some say it is dangerous because there is not much knowledge about it. However, genetic manipulation is not a new concept. Some may say that Hitler had this idea before most scientists. An Aryan race is what Hitler strived for. If only he knew that his idea of deciding what genes people receive would carry on even to this day. Scientists are discovering new ways to control what traits are passed through heredity. In the future parents may get to decide what traits their children receive. This breakthrough in technology is very controversial. “Some critics continue to argue that it’s unethical to manipulate the genetic makeup of human eggs even if they’re unfertilized”(“The Specter of Human Cloning”). Many religious and moral leaders believe that manipulating DNA crosses a boundary that only God has the right to cross. Many also believe that scientists should not use human embryo in testing because it is wasting human life. Scientists are developing new tests that can determine whether or not a child has a birth defect or disability very early on in pregnancy. In this, parents can decide if they would like to keep their child or not. Religious and ethical people are outraged at such tests because they believe that human life should not be a choice. “The problem is that researchers aren’t allowed to use human embryo in such tests, Kniss said, so instead, they use animal embryo”(Pelzer 6). The conflict with using animal embryo, is that scientists do not get the same results as they would if they were to use human embryo. People expect exact results and breakthrough discoveries but they are not willing to pay the price. Genetic manipulation holds the chance that certain diseases can be eliminated. This is one of the many benefits that come with genetic manipulation. Some say that scientists are finding new ways to control what traits get passed through heredity. If that is so, scientists can make the traits that carry heritable diseases vanish. If scientists can manipulate DNA to relinquish the formation of certain diseases, they will know what causes that disease. This advancement will not only prevent people from obtaining disease but will also eliminate it in people who already have it. “We will see disease eliminated in the future, or we will witness the creation of new and possibly more dangerous genetic conditions that cannot be cured once they are unleashed”(Tagliaferro 75). Some believe that once technology goes so far it will be an unstoppable, dangerous force. Many think that scientists manipulating DNA is simply too far. “Can we, however, ignore opportunities to improve human health”(Tagliaferro 51). What if no one in the world had cancer, down syndrome, or other disabilities and diseases? People would not oppose research so much if they knew what the outcome would be. People are afraid to take risks; they do not want to put their fate in someone else’s hands. What if those hands cured illness and disease?
In addition, new biomedical technology such as cloning holds the possibility of cloning human organs that are viable for transplant. Thousands of people each year die because of organ shortages. Cloning human organs can eliminate this epidemic. If organs can be specially made for each individual who needs one, organ transplant waiting lists can be eliminated. “...An average of 18 people die each day waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the shortage of donated organs”(“The Need Is Real: Data”). These deaths can be prevented by cloning. However, many people believe that cloning is very unethical and goes against religion. This hinders the formation of cloning and holds back scientists from imperative research. The lack of support given by the people for cloning research impedes government and local funding and aid. The delay in funding and aid creates a rift in research. Many people support biomedical technology and cloning, but only to a certain extent. Most religious people are concerned about cloning because they believe that only God has the right to give and take life in any form. In reality, fear and the lack of knowledge inhibit many religious and ethical people from supporting the idea of cloning. “If we hope to direct the course of this powerful technology, we should strive to learn as much as we can about these molecular tools and then let scientists and corporations know our wishes. Only then can we truly expect to avoid the risks and enjoy the progress and the promises of our genetic future”(Tagliaferro 112). Advocates and antagonists both need to strive for further knowledge about this subject in order to tell scientists exactly what they want. How can scientists know how far to take their new technology, if no one has the correct knowledge to tell them where is too far?
In conclusion, there are many opinions and viewpoints on the topic of biomedical technology. These can help but they can also hinder scientific research in many ways. One of which is the opinion of religious and ethical people. These people can bring up valid points and bring forth new thoughts and useful ideas about biomedical technology, but they can also let their personal views get in the way. Often times the opinions of religious and ethical people are blurred or disrupted by their personal views. This can lead to extremist views that believe all biomedical technology goes against religion and is unethical. Many people will align themselves with one ideal or theology without educating themselves and considering other viewpoints. In order for both sides of this debate to reach a compromise there must be an open forum of not only communication but also education between both parties. One way to do this is for religious leaders to educate themselves and participate more in scientific realms. As well as scientists to better educate themselves on religious matters so that both can reach a common understanding and compromise as to how far biotechnology should go. As with most controversial ideas, parties on both sides require better education and understanding in order to not only make a well educated decision that will ultimately save lives and strengthen the human race.
Pelzer, Jeremy. "Lawmakers Try Again to Ban Human Cloning, Human-Animal Hybrids." Cincinnati Enquirer. 08 Dec. 2013: p. 6. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 05 Mar. 2014. Sawyers, Charles L. "American Association for Cancer Research Cancer Progress Report 2013: Continued Advances Made Against Cancer, Sustained Research Funding Needed." American Association for Cancer Research. AACR, 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. Tagliaferro, Linda. Engineering Humans. Genetic Engineering: Progress or Peril. N.p.: Lerner Publications, 1997. 51, 75, 112. Print. "The Need Is Real: Data." Organdonor.gov. HRSA, 5 Aug. 2013. Web. 1 Apr. 2014. "The Specter of Human Cloning." Los Angeles Times. 17 May. 2013: p. A.16. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.