Moral and Ethical Issues in Gene Therapy

5753 Words24 Pages
Moral and Ethical Issues in Gene Therapy Introduction Genetic research has advanced in a dramatic fashion in the last decade or so, to the point where it has now become possible to attempt therapeutic genetic modification, in a few cases of human genes, where a defects exists which manifests itself in certain serious diseases. This possibility, known as gene therapy, is only in its infancy. At present, no one knows how effective it will prove to be, even in the few conditions on which it is being tried - whether it will only be of relatively limited application, or whether it will open up many wider possibilities. It suffers both over-optimistic claims from some quarters and exaggerated dangers from others, over which the church needs to…show more content…
Putting it in more scientific terms, we are far more than the sum of our DNA complement. Moreover, human beings can be described in terms relationship - first to God who is himself a Trinity of persons, then to ourselves in a true self-awareness in the light who we are in relationship to God, thence to other human beings, and to the rest of God’s created order. Each of these relationships leads to moral precepts which sets bounds to what we may do within such a relationship, which may be applied to genetic technology. In scripture, the problems in which human beings find themselves are expressed in terms of disobedience to God, arising from a broken relationship with him. Failing to relate to God, and thus to our fellow humans, leads to distortions of human behaviour with false precepts, and also to attempting to set up alternative and substitute alliances with things which are non-relational - idolatry. Hubris and Humanity In contemporary technological society, one manifestation is in notions of endless human evolution and improvement - the attitude that “the sky’s the limit” to human endeavour, which finds an echo in the Old Testament story of the tower of Babel project. Some of the more extravagant claims for the potential of genetics see the human genome project as a further step along the road of human autonomy and mastery over nature. Another basic distortion is the tendency to evaluate all things in a material and economic frame of reference, seeing the
Get Access