Michael Specter offers a well thought out and seemingly modern question to ask those who read his article, is the ability to alter the “code of life” an ability we should use? This wasn’t always the question. In fact, we can track science revolutions just by the questions people ask in regards to the subjects at hand. In the beginning, it was “how do certain species develop certain traits”, moving to “can we combine certain traits with certain species” and finally “can we modify the species as a whole?”. This timeline shows and roughly simulates human advance towards genetic processing and the digitization of DNA. Harris points out the work of Francis Crick and his work with CRISPR-CAS9 system in the United Kingdom. Running through a series of arguments and backlash, his embryos would only grow to 7 days. Harris also points to those who are against the technology (or processing of human DNA thereof) Marcy Darnovsky for example, explains the unforeseeable outcomes in human processing. That is, we cannot fully comprehend the outcomes of this endeavor to any extent. Many others who follow this project agree closely as well.
In listening to the technology being explained in presentations and by those who designed it, it fails to bring up a fact of “biological economics”. Ecologist would agree that the world runs on an unspoken harmony; things come into life and things leave said life. It is a “golden ratio” that all living things must die so the next generation may have a chance of living and continuing the natural meaning of life; to procreate and continue the cycle. Evidently humans are no different. The only difference between a deer and a human is the car we drive, we have the same functional meaning as that of a deer and any other species which, again, is to procreate and pass on the cycle. CRISPR technologies unfortunately does not take into the “economics of life”. In a perfectly free market, if the supply and demand trends reach a certain point in middle, where supply is in perfect rate with demand with no surplus or shortage, its called an equilibrium. Anyone can understand this. Much like life, if we supply too much of a product (say humans who cant be killed off by disease) the demand goes down and we start to develop a surplus of people. This consequently means that we will not have enough resources for said “surplus”. We will be over-populated. As “edgy” as the all black dressing, punk-music blasting rebellious teenager that was in your high school biology class would say, “humans need to die”, and they’re not wrong about that. Taking a very fragile ratio and throwing it out of mathematical equilibrium for the advancement of human life will, undoubtedly, not advance human life at all, subsequently doing opposite. Let us not, as an intelligent species, forget why we have diseases in the first place. Its a check and balance system. Humans need to be killed off at a certain rate to protect ourselves. As paradoxical as this may seem, the only escape from death itself is open arms. The whole philosophical reasoning behind all of this is our fear of the great unknown; when we die. The more we try to prevent his unavoidable event, the more it creeps unto us through external problems. We have people live longer, we have famines, food rationing, economical strains and political backlash nightmares. The system of life can only take so much. As an intelligent species as we are, unfortunately we will be the ones to break it all.
The system resets.