The reason that this topic interests me so much is that one, I see it as a close inevitability to be brought to the public stage, “designer babies” being one of the key ones popping up a lot in moral debates over whether it is moral or just to augment one’s child to something more appealing or desired by the parents such as sex/hair color. This topic merely covers the surface of what is possible, as when we get farther into devolving this technology, we may be able to augment a child who is infected with Hunting’s disease genome to where that child will no longer fear having that horrible illness, this more then likely can only be done by gene therapy because of the fact that this disease is the dominant gene making it unavoidable, just as like having a hip bone is. Now on the topic of Sci Fi, gene augmentation takes a new light, with that of splicing genes in to a chimera, and that of altering the human genome to new heights. Most Sci fi depictions have seen gene augmentation as ruling out all the weaknesses of humanity, making one smarter, stronger, quicker and ultimately seen as wiser because of this, but this brings up a lot of questions such as, if under taken, is one still human after the augmentation? How far can we go with this? should everyone be subject to it if it benefits so much? what other alternatives are there? and what if those augmented see those not as less humans because of it?
I would like to frame this presentation with the Warhammer 40k universe in mind as one of it’s mascots are the space marines, gene warriors forge to fight for humanity and it’s Imperium. they possess traits that far out weigh normal humans, they are of course faster, stronger, “smarter”, they only need to sleep once every month, they spit acid, ect. now while they are vastly different then normal humans they still have that human element to them of individuality, some are incredibly set in their ways unable to break form them while others are more fluid, some are calculating machines while others are extremely empathetic, some even betray their vows and fail, like humans.in the W40k verse before even having gene soldiers they had self advancing machines that where feared by everyone but humans, until they ultimately turned on their masters, the men of iron they where called “The men of Iron” and the reason they where so scary was because they ate data, and that includes the raw data of space, they where ultimately stopped but so was humanity’s first space venture. Trying to define humanity by our blood is incredibly semantic and I believe the writers (for the most part…)as what ultimately binds us to humanity is our individuality and our takes on life since we all can travel since humanity is not really a concept set in stone or confined to a box, but more like and ever growing and branching tree.
Reflection: Man I feel like being given a project that is a choose what you want project is hard, actually addendum, having a short from project that is like this is a bit hard for me since I want to grab very be concepts and go with them, but having a time crunch in class kinda shoots most of them down. then once I got one thing I really wanted to do and began writing, it changed, and it changed again, and again, etc. until I reached gene augmentation a concept that can be, for the most part explained in simple quick ways with depth. I also wanted to do something that could be more aligned with Sci Fi as most other concepts have been done in Fantasy tales, like aliens are just other races on different space rocks, different dimensions have the same Issue as they both delves in to the exact same concept , same with robots as magical constructs, or as the unfeeling undead/ demonic hoard. gene therapy is really the only thing that maybe “unique” in the sense that, in every fantasy tale has any augmentations being that of the soul or spirit which can be fought against and beaten. gene augmentation is something a lot more permanent and can not be beaten with the strength of will or wished away or some other mumbo jumbo. Plus I am really into self sacrifice themes as that shows an elevation in humanity. since gene augmentation is for the most part permanent, it draws me to it, and the whole risk versus reward and how each person is still and individual despite the augmentations is really fascinating to me. or when you have a character that has to make a sacrifice in order to save them selves from a different fate, that ether being an incurable illness or life as a peasant/ city rat is what I think really compels us to read and analyse a concept more closely, and that is what I really like most of Sci Fi is the far flung concepts on the horizon that will influence humanity and make us have deeper moral and philosophical principles.
T Weber – Gene Therapy, 2017 – nature.com
DS Williams, A Chadha, R Hazim, D Gibbs – Gene Therapy, 2017 – nature.com