Friday, February 29, 2008

Vote or Die

“Such adult human cloning of embryonic tissue could also be used to create a body double for organ transplants. Even brain transplantation would be possible if neuroregeneration of severed spinal columns are successful in humans, as they have been in laboratory rats.”

Cool! This study popped up first when I searched for the quote on page 356 during the opera, “primate cephalic transplantation: neurogenic separation, vascular association.”

This seemed to be the final act. After reading more about the stages of this experiment, the opera made a lot more sense.

So we seem to have the power to switch the heads of monkeys while keeping them alive, growing brains, and cloning each other. We have the power to do heart transplants, discover antibiotics, and make vaccinations. We have the compassion to research for new cures. We have the power to create nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and bacterial weapons. We have the greed and the hatred to use these to wipe out entire populations. So, no wonder we are so skeptical when faced with the possibilities to manipulate our own bodies and other forms of life genetically. There is no way to see the long-term effects short of doing it and observing it. If it is a mistake – too late! And, what are the exact intentions of those with the ultimate power?

Mr. Jones pointed out that the ending of the book could reflect the fact that those with money have more power than those with the expertise. With the capability we have today, the stakes are high.

Hey guys, don’t forget to vote!


Ana said...

I think that we like to believe that the intentions of genetic engineering are precisely those good things we can do with them, like clone vital organs and increase the life expectancy. However, as you said, we're messed up enough as a species to develop weapons of mass destruction to kill each other, so what's not to say that we're going to end up breeding military children that are property of the government and end up having a genetically modified new race of killers. Stuff like that is kind of scary to me. I think there's a big problem with playing god... we don't know the consequences of what we can create with science. However it's pretty freaking cool that we actually have the ability to do it.

Ana said...

PS. I didn't vote... : (

kdl63 said...

I thought they monkey part of the book was really interesting. Just a month or two ago I saw a show on the history channel about something like that. Some doctor was trying to figure out if you could take a quadriplegic's head and attach it to a recently deceased body to give the quadriplegic a body transplant. The doctor did the transplant with two monkeys and it surprisingly worked to some degree. Weird stuff

Cheney said...

I have always thought about the brain transplant. There are a lot of weird stories out there of people who had other transplants and all of a sudden crave other foods or show interest in things they hadn't previously. Obviously a person would lose all memory and capabilities that were a part of their old brain but would they pick up the other persons thoughts where they left off. This is a pretty crazy concept to think about.
When I was younger I always wanted to see through another persons eyes for a day because maybe they see things completely differently and whatnot. I wonder if people think thoughts differently.

Alyssa said...

I agree that its really cool how we can manipulate life. We can't foresee the consequences, but if our choices are between knowing our capabilities and not putting it to use or putting it to use, I'd side with the later. I don't however believe that advancing technology will ever accomplish anything beyond....well advancing technology (and whatever immediate goals it serves).