The Unnecessary Paranoia of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake
The novel Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood provides a dystopic vision of the outcome of unregulated pursuit of knowledge and control over nature. It is unlikely that the scenario portrayed in the novel would ever occur beyond fiction. The reason being the United States and many other countries already have regulating agencies and oversight commissions that would prevent scientists such as Crake from ever developing his ideas into reality. Atwood incorporates realistic experimental methods into her novel, which eventually lead to pigs being able to grow human organs, and creating “pigoons” that appear to be more horrific than Frankenstein himself. Consumers are the ones to decide what is put to use and what is not. There is a fine line between benefiting society and damaging society. This novel illustrates what may happen when that line is crossed a thousand times over; a horrific image. Atwood takes many of today’s scientific ideas with the potential to benefit society and turns them into tomorrow’s nightmare and creates a false paranoia. However, without new scientific advancements or technology, there will be no hopes for those who are in critical health conditions; therefore, we should overlook the arbitrary ethical proclamations of certain groups of people, for genetic technological progression is the only key to the sustenance of the population in terms of being able to be cured from the infestation of nature.
The pharmaceutical and biotech industries must be free to develop and research life saving medicines and other advancements that will benefit society. If this cannot be done, progress would never be made. People would still be contracting polio and smallpox, we would fear the flu and cancer, diabetes would be an immediate death sentence, and the average life expectancy would be half what it is today. We already do live in a world with an unregulated pursuit of knowledge and that is how it should be. Instead of rigid government regulation, we should have oversight and industry self-regulation. The government should stay out of the way as much as possible. The government for example, should not create legislation prohibiting human cloning just because people are afraid of a new race, like people such as the “Crackers.” This would be ludicrous because no scientist would ever consider taking on such a task. The criticisms from others in the industry and the public would be immense. There is no rational or logical reason into creating the Cracker race except for sport or personal preferences and pleasure. This would never occur in real life and is not a reason to fear the unregulated pursuit of knowledge.
Some of the scientific developments in the novel include synthesizing human tissue for use in medical patients. Jimmy’s father says they now have “genuine human neo-cortex tissue growing in a pigoon (56).” Some of the benefits to society would be to be able...