HST 207 – History of Science and Technology
Mary Hill Young
Though I understand the implications of the CRISPR technology that is being developed, and discussed in these articles, I cannot find any example of the CRSPR technology that seems worthy of promotion. That is not to say that I disapprove on religious or luddite grounds, more ethical ones. While “exiting and terrifying”, or “exhilarating and frightening” might characterize the possibilities offered by CRISPR technology, deeply worrying might do an equally good job. The possibilities of such technology are untested, and will remain so, until the subjects of such testing begin to exhibit what if any symptoms.
Like any technological fix CRISPR will quite probably have side effects that result at a much later date and without our understanding. Like the results of hard rock mining, and the arsenic sequestration of mining reparations, CRISPR technology will inevitably have unpleasant, unexpected, and unwished for results.
The possibility of editing the human genome also raises the question of the morality inherent in such an act. Regardless of religious affiliation and expectation the ethical dilemma that is presented by gene editing is vast, as is its stupidity. Humanity clearly has a track record of terrible choices when it comes to the use of technology and experimentation where it is concerned. From alchemy to the mercury treatment human experimentation with technological improvements to the human body have invariably been disastrous, however promising they may look. Human gene editing seems to fall under the same banner of promising but ultimately idiotic attempts to alter what time has proven to be a relatively reliable formula. There are certainly opportunities to be found in the use of CRISPR technology but the end result seem far more likely, as with all of human experimentation with technology, to result in vast and catastrophic failure and subsequent large scale disaster. Though it seems important to note that the generation who will suffer most significantly from the results of such experimentation, will certainly not be the generation who develops, implements, and benefits from it.