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Crazydawg's avatar

Should we play God?

Asked by Crazydawg (1253 points ) 2 months ago

We have the ability to manipulate our genes with the possibility to eliminate most diseases. We are using stem cells is achieving medical breakthroughs making the impossible possible.

Now we can get Vampire Terapy that can reverse the aging processes of the body.

I am using the word “God” metaphorically to ask about the moral and ethical ramifications of being able to literally play God in manipulating the selective process of natural and life and death.

I wonder about someone creating a perfect human even super human. If we don’t do it some other country will. Will the race to create perfect humans become the next “arms race”?

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17 Answers

filmfann's avatar

Therapy, not terapy.
And that is the problem. You can redesign certain genes or change out our blood for younger stuff, but we can overlook a small detail and end up causing other troubles. This is the path that can destroy civilization by just a few doctors.
Movies like “I Am Legend” aren’t that far out in science fiction.

flip86's avatar

I think you mean attempt self evolution. Why not? If we can overcome our current limitations, why shouldn’t we?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

We wanted to fly. We invented airplanes. No different than altering genes for wings… ‘cept you won’t have to get the rub down from the TSA.

ragingloli's avatar

What do you mean, “play”?

rojo's avatar

Yes, we have an obligation to ourselves as a species to make whatever improvements we can.

jaytkay's avatar

I wonder about someone creating a perfect human even super human. If we don’t do it some other country will. Will the race to create perfect humans become the next “arms race”?

China is very actively working on it.

Here’s an article. Sorry the whole thing isn’t available without a subscription, but it discusses the fact that China doesn’t have the legal and cultural restrictions as the West, in regards to “playing God” by breeding people or genetic engineering for desirable traits.

The New Yorker – January 6, 2014 – THE GENE FACTORY – A Chinese firm’s bid to crack hunger, illness, evolution—and the genetics of human intelligence.

Update: I found some unabridged articles.

MIT Technology Review – China’s Genome Factory Sequencing a complete human genome may soon cost less than an iPhone. Will China’s BGI-Shenzhen decode yours?

Wired – July 2013 – Why Are Some People So Smart? The Answer Could Spawn a Generation of Superbabies

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I am already perfect. Why bother with terepy.

As for playing God, if he does exist and did create the universe from nothing but his own energy, then it follows that we, and everything in existence are God.

kritiper's avatar

Yes. We have the technology. If there was a “God,” he/she would have foreseen this.

flutherother's avatar

That’s why we don’t believe in God anymore. We think we can do a better job ourselves.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@flutherother And have we done a better job.

Crazydawg's avatar

When this topic comes up I can’t help but get images of failed creations ala The Island of Dr. Moreau

flip86's avatar

This comes to mind.

ragingloli's avatar

But seriously, every time a doctor saves a life, humanity “plays god”.
When humans cultivated plants and domesticated animals and shaped them through artificial evolution, humanity was “playing god”.
When humans create technology, they are creating something that did not exist before. They are “playing god”.
Humans “Play god” all the time.

Crazydawg's avatar

@ragingloli I do agree with your sentiments. I am more afraid of the nefarious aspects of gene manipulation to create super humans or worse. Then you get into to moral aspect where I could easily see human forms being farmed for body parts and organs. There are a lot of directions this could go for the betterment of humanity and for less than noble intentions.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@ragingloli Actually, the farmers and ranchers are not “playing god,” they are merely caretakers of the land.
If we ever manage to create DNA where there was none, that would be playing god, but mere manipulation of genes is only kids playing with fire.
Doctors save lives, not by playing god but by going to school and learning how to do so from other doctors. You might notice they are merely practicing medicine.
Creating new technology is not playing god. It is playing mad scientist.

So you see, humans pretty much never actually play god.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

Play God? Hardly. That would imply that such a thing exists which I don’t believe. I think of it as trying to advance and better the species. Something mankind seems to have been trying to do since… I dunno, the dawn of man?

ibstubro's avatar

I think we’re already walking the tight-wire on GMO, and it’s only going to get trickier and trickier.

I liken it to the old practice of improving our regional environments by introducing miracle plants, like kudzu. I’m not totally against experimentation but I think we’re going too far, too fast.

Did you hear that they are in the first stages of replicating human sperm from skin cells? So a monomaniacal tyrant in North Korea could just artificially inseminate 1,000’s, 10,000’s without anyone being the wiser. Including the women. I agree that it’s scary crap.

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