Metaphors Of Fear Essay

1831 words - 7 pages

Metaphors of Fear

“Resistance to science is born of fear. Fear, in turn, is bred by ignorance. And it is ignorance that is our deepest malady.” (Lunsford 241) This quote from “Enemies of Promise”, by Michael Bishop, clearly illustrates why people are so opposed to scientific progress. The fear of the unknown causes chaos, and begins people on a downward spiral of misinformed conclusions opposing scientific discovery until no logical thought remains. Leaving nothing but pure fear to cause people to blurt out phrases such as, “those people are bringing DNA into my neighborhood.” People’s fears are unfortunately a very profitable target. Throughout history Hollywood film makers have capitalized on fear of humanity to make a very comfortable living. Doomsayers and pessimistic authors publish book after book, and essay after essay, feeding people’s paranoia that the end of the world is approaching, and if there is any chance for survival, we most stop those scientists. The arguments from these authors lack concrete details and logical thought processes. Instead arguments are illustrated through weak metaphors and unqualified conclusions. In Biotech Century: Playing Ecological Roulette with Mother Nature’s Designs, Jeremy Rifkin gives us an example of how a doomsayer strikes fear in the hearts of people around the world without using a single bit of concrete evidence or a complete logical thought. If studied closely the comparisons and arguments Rifkin creates, further illustrate that many arguments against scientific discovery are “born of fear.”

The first metaphor in Rifkin’s article suggests that genetic alterations are tantamount to a, “Second Genesis.” (Lunsford 245) First, the Genesis was the beginning or origination of the natural world. By this logic Rifkin is suggesting that by tampering with the genetic code of plants and animals, the world will originate again. If you were to construct a house could you then reconstruct it? The answer is yes, but only if the house is destroyed. By this logic the only way for a “Second Genesis” to occur is for the world to literally be destroyed and erased from existence. Therefore, the term “Second Genesis”, is in itself contradictory. However, let us ignore this contradiction and look at the facts Rifkin uses to support this metaphor. Rifkin continues to explain how up until this point genetic alterations have been restrained by “species boundaries”. Once we are able to manipulate genes on a fundamental level, Rifkin believes that thousands of novel life forms will be created. If throughout evolution two types of plants are never crossbred and human beings artificially decide to go against nature’s will and perform the hybrid, how does that differ from creating a change in an organism at a more fundamental level? It doesn’t. Ultimately the evolutionary system is being bypassed and new life forms are being created. Rifkin then continues to describe all the benefits of...

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