Playing God

For my research paper I am going to be discussing genetic engineering of crops. It has both ecological and philosophical debates that I feel fit well into the topics that we have discussed in the class.

My thesis: Although there are benefits to genetically engineering our food sources, ultimately it is unethical and poses too many threats to both our own species and the environment around us.

The first part of my paper will focus on explaining the actual process of genetic engineering. It’s slightly difficult to have an opinion on something that you do not understand, so I figured this would fit best in the beginning. I will then speak about how exactly the safety of genetically engineered food is determined. Next I will go over the few pros of genetic engineering and then focus on the cons of the topic. Cons include both risks to humans and risks to the environment. The rest of the paper will be used to discuss the ethical and philosophical issues of the topic. This includes: looking at the issue in terms of deep ecology (where all living organisms have rights); the fact that it will decrease biodiversity; viewing the environment in a holistic approach in which not changing nature to benefit humans is better; using Diehm’s identification-as-kinship to draw connections between humans and the environment and how most of us would not want to be genetically engineered; how engineering food may help to provide more food at quicker rates, thus condoning the increase in population of the earth (which at the rate it is increasing we all know is catastrophic); and finally how it is unethical in the aspect that we are “playing God.”  Finally, I will conclude with how the cons out weigh the few pros there are and how we should stick to non-genetically engineered crops and organisms.

Here are five of my sources in APA format:

1. Regal, P. J. (2003). Foundations for Safe Genetic Engineering? Perspectives from Ecology, Evolution, and Agriculture. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica: Section B, Soil & Plant Science, 5357-59.
This article discusses many things relative to genetic engineering, including “leapfrogging” (spreading of genetically mutated plants) and other ecological concerns.

2. Jefferson, V. (2006). The Ethical Dilemma of Genetically Modified Food. Journal Of Environmental Health, 69(1), 33-34.
This article speaks about the ethical concerns of genetically engineered food. It includes a utilitarian approach to argue for it and the view that it could cause harm to argue against it.

3. Henry, R. J. (1998). Modern biology, genetic engineering and the food supply. Australian Journal Of Nutrition & Dietetics, 55(1), 25.
This article spends the majority of the time speaking about the benefits to biotechnology (genetic engineering is a form of biotechnology).

4. Risks of genetic engineering. (2002, October 30). Retrieved from http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/risks-of-genetic-engineering.html
This online article gives detailed explanations of the risks of genetic engineering to both humans and the environment.

5. Shorrocks, B., & Coates, D. (1993). The release of genetically-engineered organisms. British Ecological Society, (4), Retrieved from http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/The-release-of-genetically-engineered-organisms.pdf
This article discusses how exactly genetically engineered organisms are created.

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