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Name: Alex Lefkowitz

Course: Biol-1090-Su14-Olsen
Book: Biology 1090, Human Biology, SLCC, Taking Sides readings
Issue number: Issue 12. Title of issue: Is Genetic Enhancement an Unacceptable Use of
1. Author and major thesis of the Yes side: Political philosopher Michael J. Sandel is the
author of the Yes side, The Case Against Perfection. Sandels major thesis seems to be that
genetic enhancement is an unacceptable use of technology because said enhancements negate our
appreciation for human life as a gift. In other words, human genetic enhancement will destroy
our relationships, moral decency, and natural gratitude for life.
2. Author and major thesis of the No side: Physician Howard Trachtman is the author of the
No side, A Man Is a Man Is a Man. Trachtman argues that as a species, our quest for
improvement and perfection is natural, even expected, and thus should be pursued. He also notes
that perfection can never be achieved, and that we should embrace the progress that modern
technology allows us rather than fear it.
3. Briefly state in your own words two facts presented by each side:
Yes Side: 1. A team of researchers lead by H. Lee Sweeney, of the University of Pennsylvania,
has developed a synthetic gene that prevents natural muscle deterioration. As of yet the gene has
only been tested on mice, but has promising implications as it has also been shown to reverse
natural muscle deterioration. 2. As early as the mid-1980s, humans have been able to manipulate
human height. This is done vie human growth hormones, and has been approved for children
who are much shorter than average.
No Side: 1. In 1992, Fracis Fukuyma wrote, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, that the global
community was entering a phase of prosperity and harmony. 2. As we create more antibiotics for
diseases, we are, for the most part, also creating more active, infectious, and varied organisms in
the long run. The common cold or virus is an example of this; organisms that adapt and change
to antibiotics when we create them.

4. Briefly state in your own words two opinions presented by each side.
Yes Side: 1. The biggest problem with genetic enhancement is the sense of grandeur it will give
us in our ability to remake nature and our world; we are not gods, and so it is unnatural. 2. In
order to fully appreciate our children we must accept them as they are. To change their genetics
is to eliminate our appreciation and love of our children.
No Side: 1. Many physicians and bioethicists have unrealistic and wild opinions or fantasies of
the negative or adverse implications of advances in genetics and neurobiology. 2. Throughout
our entire human history, there has not been a single biological or genetic enhancement that has
done exactly what we thought it would do. In other words, every treatment has also had negative
5. Briefly identify as many fallacies (lack of reasoning or validity) on the Yes side as you
can: The Yes side presents no references or citations for his writing. The Yes side makes many
inferences of human ethics, seeming to indicate that a certain set of ethical standards are
universally accepted as right. In general, there are numerous points where the author states
what most people believe which takes credit away from his argument as scientific. I think the
biggest misconception of the Yes side, which also undergirds most of his other fallacies, is that
he views genetic enhancement as an aberration. In other words, rather than viewing the
technology as something that naturally occurs as a result of time and increasing technology, he
seems to view it as an evil and unnatural occurrence.
6. Briefly identify as many fallacies on the No side as you can: The No side seems to assume,
or gives the impression that he does, that there are no potential negatives to genetic enchantment,
be they individual or societal. They author makes many generalizations about human behavior
I would like it more if he specified it as American behavior or Western World behavior.
7. All in all, which author impressed you as being the most empirical in presenting his or
her thesis? Why? It was very close, but I would say that I am narrowly more impressed with
Howard Tracthmans No side as being most empirical. In short, this is because Tracthman
seemed to be coming from a more solid place of logic. That is, his arguments were more
intelligible to me. In addition, I believe he presented far less opinion than Sandel. It also helped
that Tracthman had inline citations and references.
8. Are there any reasons to believe the writers are biased? If so, why do they have these
biases? There were not any specific phrases that the authors used which lead me to believe that
they were biased. However, I think you can tell that they are somewhat biased based on the
overall tone of their arguments. Sandel in particular appears to be biased in that what he
considers to be ethical is the overriding truth of what actually is ethical. In other words, I think
he fails to properly account for other ethical philosophies and thus assumes that the majority of
America agrees with his views on ethics.
9. Which side (Yes or No) do you personally feel is most correct now that you have
reviewed the material in these articles? Why? Before reading the articles, I was of the opinion
of the Yes side. After reading the articles, however, I feel that the No side is more correct. This is
because I feel that genetic enhancement is the natural progression of evolution. In other words,
Trachtman helped me to see that it is in fact completely natural for humans to be using
technology to improve ourselves. In my opinion, the very way that evolution occurs is changing.
Evolution, in humans, is no longer a result of natural selection to harsh environmental conditions
over many, many decades. Instead, evolution is a result of technology, and the possibilities are
seemingly endless. I, for one, am excited.