Well I was going to blog about something happy, but this came up instead.
So my mother called me up about a half hour ago while I was in the shower to ask me to answer some random-butt question. I said go for it, thinking my mom is just giving me a chance to gain another tidbit of wisdom or exercise my ability to analyze things. I guess she does this sometimes because she is curious how my brain works, what I think, and its a less direct way of saying “what are your values? what have a taught you?”
But sadly, it was not for that reason at all. It was to give an answer to my cousin who had a homework assignment due in class, but I am assuming was “way too busy” studying for her exam to even throw a thought in the direction of the homework.
Granted, I know how difficult it is to be a college student, especially adjusting in freshmen year, and even if an exam percentage is greater in weight, I am very old fashion when it comes to school work. I’m a very do-or-die type of person sometimes, I like to put my 100% effort into everything for a course, especially one relating to my major directly.
Health care ethics is a huge factor in the field. I mean, your opinions & values determine the actions you take, especially those involving patients and other lives.
That being sad, I am disappointed that I contributed to this little “cheating ring” my family has built, even if it is not a “big deal.”
Anyways, the only good of it that came was that I got a couple of minutes to think about some great questions.
1. What is your opinion on eugenics?
So after doing a quick Wiki search (because I admit I have not encountered this term in class yet), I found that eugenics is defined as manipulating human genetics to wipe out “undesirable,” inheritable traits, thus increasing the chances of “desirable” traits to be expressed.
First side note: I LOOOVE to Wiki things. Contrary to what some teachers & professors say, Wikipedia is a great TOOL, but is NOT A RESOURCE. Whenever I have a very overwhelmingly difficult research paper or report on hand, I try to Wiki or Google very general terms (for example when I did my 40 minute lecture presentation on a paper on tau-induced neurodegneration involving filamentous actin, the first keywords that came up were “Alzheimer’s disease” and “neurons” ). Then based on that basis, you can start combing through real scientific articles and journals with an idea of what you want to find. It is very easy to get tangled in small details and get intimidated by technical terms, but honestly if you can relate everything back to the “big picture,” your research project will probably be clearer to understand and more relative and less boring.
Back to eugenics. In a nutshell, I’m on the fence. My excuse is that I’m a student, and I need more time & exposure to form these opinions 🙂 However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few thoughtful things to say about eugenics.
Right now, I think that it has potential for a lot of great medicinal possibilities. There are some horrible diseases, such as Tay-Sachs, that are heritable & dominant, so even one allele could lead to death as young as 6 months and as late as 4 years old. The elimination diseases like this would be fantastic of course, because then it would avoid not only death ultimately, but suffering both on the the patient and their family. Not to mention, certain races that are susceptible to specific diseases have a better chance of surviving. In fact, since the disease’s expression is to be suppressed, survival would technically be at 100%.
However, I still have my reservations. 3 things that bother me about the topic.
1) The “you are playing God” card of course comes up. I’m not a “super Christian” (our Campus Crusade here thinks I am evil because I am Catholic and don’t take the Bible literally word for word), but religion is still a huge factor in my thought process. It is one thing to treat a patient after the fact they have developed a condition or even to administer a vaccine so that the body can produce its own antibodies again the disease, but to prevent it so far as before that individual is born seems like a very extreme thing to me. It’s predestination, medical style.
2) Not to mention, couples are already using this to determine how they want their baby to look, on a superficial level. For example “make my baby have blue eyes” is something a doctor can now manipulate an embryo to express.
3) Survival of the fittest. Yes, Mr. Darwin would be proud I brought this up. Messing with the integrity of natural to that degree just sounds like it could go wrong really fast. Then again, that argument could be made with a lot of other branches of research. Despite that, eugenics makes me really uncomfortable. I see why they continue research in it, but I can’t say I whole-heartedly respect it, yet. I should probably read into it some more.
2. How can selling human organs go wrong?
A shorter & quicker answer. Have you heard of the black market? Anything that people can make huge lots of money out of, you can bet it can be exploited. It’s sad to say, but for some people the numerical value of the organ is more important than the potentiality of saving a life.