Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Genetic Engineering Introduction Both Our Posthuman Future and Gattaca theorize that developments in biotechnology will lead to widening of the class divide in society. This thesis comes out clearly in both works where we see discrimination and inequality arising out of technological developments such as genetic engineering…
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The movie Gattaca plays out in a dystopian future where genetic coding has become commonplace. In this setting, people do not have children by natural means, opting to genetically preprogram them. Rhetorical strategy is how a writer draws the audience in, captivates them and elicits feelings in them. Fukuyama and Andrew Niccol use several methods to illustrate the dangers of genetic engineering and other forms of biotechnology. Discussion According to Our Posthuman Future, biotechnological developments will have a strong impact in the social and political arena. The most predictable outcome, according to him, is that class division will widen. The rich will be able to afford medical technology that the poor cannot. The rich will be capable of prolonging their lives, replacing worn-out organs and designing their babies (Fukuyama, p.54). This creates a state where class wars can erupt at any time. The technological revolution is the next big leap after the agrarian and industrial revolutions, which caused severe social upheavals. It is, therefore, within reason to believe that this next revolution will also cause a major upheaval in the human condition. This is what Fukuyama terms the 'post human' (Fukuyama, p.84). In Gattaca, the rich can afford to design their babies to exact specifications while the poor make do with natural, or God-babies. People are divided according to whether they are programmed or natural. The naturally produced humans are categorized as invalid and degenerate while the genetically programmed ones are termed valid. This society deserves the dystopian label because of its repressive nature. Though things appear normal and perfect on the outside, in reality, there is massive suffering due to discrimination. Society treats the invalids as physically and mentally inferior to their valid counterparts. They are locked out of well-paying jobs and relegated to menial tasks. Our Posthuman Future alludes to Thomas Jefferson's argument that science promotes equality between men. Biotechnology will eventually result in a reversal of this as some people become enhanced: "What will happen to human rights once we are able to, in effect, breed some people with saddles on their backs, and others with boots and spurs?" (Fukuyama, p.106) This allegory referring to slavery induces feelings of horror and fear that science can plunge us back into the dark ages. It also shows that humans will always find ways to discriminate and oppress each other. The writer uses harsh examples from history in a bid to demonstrate the evils perpetuated in the name of science. Other fear- inducing examples include the eugenics theories that attempted to breed the perfect man, Nietzsche’s Ubermensch. Eugenics eventually led to Nazism. This tinkling with human nature in an effort to achieve perfection is demonstrated in Gattaca by the twelve- fingered pianist. The pianist was engineered to bear twelve fingers so that he could play a particularly beautiful but complicated piece of work. The idea of programming someone with twelve fingers so that they can be a maestro pianist is revolting and goes against the very nature of humanity. It invokes repulsion and disgust, and shock that people would go to such extreme lengths. I also felt outraged that a society would permit and even celebrate specific genetic programming. This child's fate was out of his hand from the moment
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