Make your own free website on Tripod.com
On Genomic Suicide
    The science of genetics and genetic engineering is one about which you hear nothing but cautionary tales and horror stories, but it is in fact one of the most important of our sciences. All the writers who tell of the dangers of "tampering with nature" miss the point. Human beings are, thus far in our racial experience, alone in their ability to modify their environments and themselves by conscious, rational decision and intentional action.
    One of the greatest threats to our continuation as a species is, ironically, racist by its very nature - it's called natural selection, and regardless of arguments to the contrary, we are rapidly selecting ourselves for extinction. Unfortunately for all apologists of "racial equality," there isn't any. Each "race" of human beings has its own seeds of genetic destruction built in - the white predilection for cancer or hemophilia, for instance, or the black propensity for sickle - cell anemia.
    However equal human beings may be at the moral level, they are innately inequal at the genetic level, the only balancing factor being the fact that although the problems are different for each race, they are present in each in approximately equal proportions. According to natural selection, this is no big deal - children born with genetic defects die before they can breed, thus avoiding further contamination of the gene pool, and gradually filtering out those defects which are a legitimate threat to continued good racial health.
    The problem with this natural function is that our medical science has advanced to a point where it can keep alive, and breeding, people who would ordinarily die from their afflictions. Children born with cystic fibrosis, for example, or hemophilia now are able to breed and pass along their defects, whether latent or fully realized, thus perpetuating those defects within the gene pool rather than allowing them to be weeded out by nature. This would not be such a crisis were that all there was to it, but in the last 50 years, mixture of the races has become more and more commonplace globally, with the result that formerly race - specific genetic ailments are becoming part of the common gene pool.
    The horror with which human beings regard genetic engineering is a crucial part of this. There is a mistaken assumption that if scientists were allowed to pursue genetics as a science, they would create a race of genetic "supermen," who would then proceed to take over the world. The mistake is that it is far easier, in fact, to modify an existing organism in such a way that the modifications are inherited than it is to create a new organism from nothing. Medical science can not now, nor will it in the near future, succeed at the latter of these two efforts, for there is simply too much in the science of genetics that is misunderstood for such an effort to work.
    Modification, on the other hand, is entirely possible. If you could go to the drugstore, pay $5.00, take one pill, and never get a cold again in your life, would that not be preferable to spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars over your lifetime on patent medicines and palliatives designed to obscure the fact that you still get sick? And why, I ask, is it considered normal to wear colored contact lenses every day, but not to simply change the color of your eyes?
    The reality is that we are rapidly breeding ourselves into extinction. At some point, I feel in the near future, we will reach a crisis of heredity. Our persistence at covering symptoms rather than curing diseases, and our seemingly endless fascination with adding as much "variety" into our racial gene pools as possible, is rapidly contaminating our genetic code to the point where we will no longer be able to produce viable young. In other words, we will be past the point of no return, a point at which our genetic code is so hopelessly flawed that we cannot breed for the errors.
    Genetic engineering is the only real, moral solution to this problem. I find it difficult in the extreme, if not impossible, to believe that anyone can seriously argue that curing cystic fibrosis, rather than treating it continuously and allowing the sufferer a twilit half - life, would be wrong. Sadly, people have become so deluded that they argue against genetic engineering with an almost instinctive, visceral horror, as though scientists were suddenly going to place guns to the heads of the population at large and demand that, for example, "everyone in the world shall now have blond hair."
    Undoubtedly, as the science of genetic engineering grows ever more advanced, there will be those who wish to modify their physical forms more than in such minor ways as choosing their hair and eye color. This, I believe, will force a redefinition of the term "human" into terms of mind rather than body - the standards we should have used in the first place. But regardless of feelings to the contrary, the fact remains that we are running out of time. Genetic diseases which were once race - specific are now appearing in the population at large, and the aggregate error in the human genome grows every day.
    My personal estimation is that at our current breeding level, we will reach the point of genomic suicide in approximately 250 years - far enough off that the man on the street can comfortably ignore its specter, but soon enough that the warning signs are already in place. Genetic engineering must begin on a global scale within the next 50 years if we are to avoid this.
    One final question that has been addressed to me on this subject is that of job - specific engineering. People, having reached the point where engineering is a reality, might "accidentally" create job - designed sub - races, such as men and women with overdeveloped musculature for manual labor, for example, or increased brain mass, intelligence, and efficiency for scientific positions. The answer to this is simple. We must pass laws prohibiting modification of the germ plasm, the reproductive cells, for any such purpose. If a person wants to get a genetic modification allowing them to better their performance in their chosen field, they should be allowed to do so; but each person should start out at basic human stock, with any modifications made, for example, only after they reach their majority, and only by their own express permission.
      We will find, I think, as we move forward into the age of genetic engineering, that most people will opt for modification of some type when given the choice. I, for example, would definitely choose to be modified to avoid my family propensities for cancer and arthritis, and I doubt anyone could come up with a sound reason why I should not do so if I were given the option. Genetic diseases are not as difficult to eliminate from the gene pool as people like to think, and there is no reason children should be born to suffer when they could just as easily be born in good health. All humanity could benefit from genetic engineering, and there are in fact few real dangers. Laws could be enacted preventing, for example, germ - plasm modification outside of removal of birth defects, and forbidding entirely the practice of cloning, or of creating "super - soldiers," and these would suffice as controls over the burgeoning industry.
    Without genetic engineering we are on a collision course with reality. We have only three choices; either we choose to commit genomic suicide, or we scale back the progress of modern medicine and allow children to die rather than breed with defects, or we allow correction of those defects in such a way that they will be permanently removed from the gene pool. Neither of the first two choices being very palatable to anyone, I believe that the time is near when we will embrace genetic engineering as a savior rather than as a potential destroyer. . .now if only we can get the science fiction authors to stop scaring everybody.

                            -12 June 2000
                            -Priest of Chaos