Wednesday, June 8, 2016

#105: Genetics

Perhaps humanity’s greatest contradiction is how we as a species are capable of rational thought while so many of us don't act rational. Our human rationality has allowed us to benefit greatly from science, yet too many of us remain ignorant of the very subject.

How contradictory is it for us as a species that we have been able to gain the collective scientific insight to visit the moon and cure innumerable diseases, while simultaneously, other individual members of our species still believe the sun revolves around the earth while others believe vaccines cause autism?

Also, how contradictory is it that we as a species have been able to gain invaluable scientific knowledge from deconstructing the very building blocks of life, potentially allowing us to cure diseases, regenerate human tissue and organs, and grow more nutritious and plentiful crops, yet too many of us, whether it be Bible-thumping “conservatives” or anti-corporate “liberals”, reject that very knowledge out of fear of “playing God” or “tampering with nature”?

The willfully ignorant among us who fear that we may be “tampering with nature” are about six thousand years too late. Ever since we started tilling the soil to grow our vegetation, we have been “tampering with nature.” Ever since we started domesticating animals for our own food, clothing, or companionship, we have been “tampering with nature.” Ever since we started mining the earth for resources, experimenting with herbs and plants to create medicine, and building our own shelters, roads, and societies, we have been tampering with nature.

And humanity have been better off because of it!

There was never an idyllic past where we as a species lived in "perfect harmony" with nature in its untampered state. Even 150 years ago, people only lived to see the ripe age of 30, dying from preventable diseases and inhospitable living conditions. During our time as a species, our “tampering with nature” has allowed us to vastly improve our own conditions, and in doing so, has allowed us to live longer, healthier, and overall happier lives.

The knowledge we will gain from genetics, be it though cloning, stem cell research, or genetically-modified organisms, will allow us to further scientific progress, and in turn, human progress. Most of us as a species would like to see us to continue moving forward. Everyone else (especially those who unironically call themselves "progressives") can either join us or step aside and be left behind.