The Genetic Engineering Debate Essay

1694 words - 7 pages

In recent discussions of genetic engineering, a controversial issue has been whether genetic engineering is ethical or not. In “The Person, the Soul, and Genetic Engineering,” JC Polkinghorne discusses about the moral status of the very early embryo and therapeutic cloning. J. H. Brooke’s article “Commentary on: The Person, the Soul, and Genetic Engineering” comments and state opinions that counter Polkinghorne’s article. On the other hand John Harris’s ““Goodbye Dolly?” The Ethics of Human Cloning” examines “the possible uses and abuses of human cloning and draw out the principal ethical dimensions, both of what might be done and its meaning, and of public and official response” (353). While in C. Cameron and R. Williamson’s article, “In the World of Dolly, When Does a Human Embryo Acquire Respect?” discusses about the debate of genetic engineering, the authors also look at several religious views of when life begins according to fertilization. Also Cameron and Williamson discuss when life begins in a “Dolly embryo” (Cameron and Williamson 218). Cameron and Williamson go into depth on when an embryo or a “Dolly embryo” acquire respect. I will argue when dealing with genetic engineering a human embryo is entitled to dignity/respect, this topic needs to be dealt with informative people, and religious groups are biased in the genetic engineering debate.
Dignity is the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect. Some say that dignity has to be earned and others say you are born with it. Cameron and Williamson declare that the definition for an embryo is “an animal in the early stages of growth before hatching; developing unborn human during the first eight weeks after conception” (Cameron and Williamson 217). Cameron and Williamson determine how an embryo acquires respect by saying “it is not a question of fact but a question of value” (Cameron and Williamson 219). They concluded that a human embryo and a “dolly embryo” acquire respect differently. A “dolly” embryo is no different genetically when in the laboratory from the somatic cell from which it is derived from. A somatic cell is any cell of a plant or an animal other than a germ cell. A human embryo acquires respect when it meets the criteria that “its development status of the embryo, the embryo’s potential, and the value of the embryo to other people or to themselves” (Cameron and Williamson 218). When dealing with a “dolly embryo” it obtains dignity/respect “upon the successful act of implantation, because after implantation development takes place which, if uninterrupted, leads to the birth of a human being” (Cameron and Williamson 218). I agree with Cameron and Williamson that a human embryo and a “dolly” embryo differentiate when they acquire dignity/respect. A human embryo is formed during fertilization, while a “dolly” embryo doesn’t require fertilization to become an embryo. Fertilization is the action or process of fertilizing an egg, female animal, or plant, involving the...

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