By Mark Antony Rossi
A person does not have to be a cave dweller to be ignorant of the term “bioethics.” It is beginning to be bandied about with increasing frequency due to the fact that more books are being written on the subject and, of course, the ever expanding media coverage of bioethical topics such as Stem Cell research or Human Cloning.
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary describes “bioethics” in this manner: “A discipline dealing with the ethical implications of biological research and applications, esp. in medicine. “The shorthand is rather simple and to the point: “Do no harm in scientific research.”
The potential to do serious harm on a worldwide basis has never been as exponentially significant as the last ten years. Scientists are unlocking various genetic secrets. Human cloning is at our doorstep. The Human Genome Project has completed mapping every gene in the human body; thus making it possible to treat or cure terrible diseases but also opening the door for genetic discrimination by employers and insurance companies.
I am concerned for the future. I am deeply involved in the good verse bad use of scientific knowledge, achievements and inventions. I want you to share my concern. Neither this article nor any of my arguments or revelations revolves around technophobia or science bashing. I, as millions of others, am grateful for what good science has achieved to make our lives safer. The key phrase here is “good science.”
The science that has noble cause to conquer suffering and pain and not cause more of the same. As any concerned and informed consumer my view is a high expectation of quality control on a product. I want that baby seat to be tested and approved before I chance the life of my infant. This attitude must extend to even more crucial matters such as medications and super technological procedures that without a thorough quality control, i.e., ethical oversight, have the enormous potential to harm or kill millions in the name of scientific achievement.
Bioethics should be a household word. I hope one day to make it such so that millions understand their stake in scientific achievements good and bad. American Democracy was formed with the notion that absolute power corrupts absolutely and power in general is both intoxicating and dangerous without a foundation of checks and balances to oversee permitted to govern. This excellent principle is exactly what needs to be applied to science to insure the safety of the commonwealth.
Bioethical oversight is urgently required more than ever before as we begin to witness colleges selling patent rights to corporations, scientists hawking products and inventions to the highest bidder, and independent researchers promoting human cloning experimentation with privately raised capital. Big money is fast becoming inseparable from Big Science and this spells big trouble for the average person still fighting for a piece of the American dream.
We need to find the strength to be human in this day of machines and not fall victim or captive to every device promising paradise and resulting in death, injury or more work than the older method. We must actively try to scale back the fantasies of super humanness, for these only lead to division, disharmony and destruction. If we truly want to build the better human, we should raise them right from birth. If we truly want to create the better person, we can encourage and practice forgiveness, charity and understanding. In these attributes are found the better people because they know how futile it is to make the strongest man or the biggest brain when the most important element, the education of the human heart is again neglected for the flashiness of science or the sexiness of enhancements. How can we truly appreciate nature if we ignore its Creator? Fix the heart and you’ll fix humanity.
About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. http://markantonyrossi.jigsy.com