Where does science clash with ethics?

Researchers and invited dignitaries watch gathered at the University of Nevada, Reno's new Earthquake Engineering Laboratory in Reno, Nev., on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, before a series of tests on new bridge designs intended to better withstand violent temblors. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

With the growth of modern innovation, the limits of scientific research are nearly endless. Modern scientific breakthroughs allow for the promotion of human health around the world. This knowledge, however, can be used to cause social regression. The unethical development of modern medicine and warfare have arisen as a product of great knowledge and growing demand for innovation.

Advancement of biomedicine eliminates many limitations faced by human nature, such as aging, disease and genetic disadvantages. It is commonly argued that we, as a species, are changing our own evolution. Biological disadvantages are acknowledged as the central factor of evolution and natural selection among all species on the planet. Medical advancements, therefore, give humans the ability to overcome these disadvantages and ultimately hinder the natural selection process.

However, this does not mean the human race cannot evolve. Medicine allows the development of the human genome and anatomy to maximize the span and health of modern human lifestyle. Take 23andme for instance, a biotech company that provides consumers detailed information about their ancestry and possible diseases they may be prone to due to their genetic makeup. This breakthrough allows for more necessary and individualized precautions in order to prevent diseases and lengthen the human lifespan. The analysis of the human genome is crucial in the development of human health and medicine.

This field of study goes beyond exploring the human genome. Researchers are now able to manipulate the genome to be able to engineer improvements that they believe will benefit the human race. For example, researchers are now attempting to redesign humans in order to improve the human race altogether. While genetic modifications can be used to prevent inherited diseases or disabilities, they should be used to modify the traits of human children and allow parents to choose the features of their own offspring. Eliminating genetically inherited traits that are labeled as undesirable by societal norms will gradually erase traits that are not of inferior nature, but are rejected by the social construct of the westernized world. Innovation that promotes these modification are therefore an unethical use of scientific knowledge since they will ultimately cause social regression.

Engineering is the fastest-growing field of the decade. It is the main source of modern innovation. With the invention of self-driving cars, security robots and rovers, humans are able to automate almost any task. We learned to use renewable energy efficiently, to reuse natural resources and build entire markets and industries dedicated to innovating and promoting “green” lifestyles. The modernization of security through technological breakthroughs has ultimately improved the development of the modern world. Engineering and innovative sciences have spread into modern warfare development in the introduction of the atomic bomb and nuclear warfare. The development of more mass weaponry and defense have commenced and have sky-rocketed (pun intended) in the past decade, with the growing tension in international relations. For example, the intensification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the spread of war and violence in the Middle East, military groups have modernized their weapons. Israel’s invention of the Iron Dome in 2011 by  Rafael Advanced Defense Systems allows for more efficient national protection from incoming bombs. The development of bombs, such as the Qassam, Grad rockets and Fajr-5 have increased accuracy and operational range when firing into enemy territory . This genre of innovation is powerful enough to cause social regression in the modern world. The ethical implications behind the use of modern engineering must be enforced to prevent global destruction and promote the development and futurization of the westernized world.

    With the spread of modern scientific knowledge, advancements in medicine and engineering have pushed back boundaries and allowed for the improvement of human health and planet protection and have made everyday tasks more efficient. In her inaugural speech, Dianne Thompson, CEO of Camlet Group, mentioned that “with knowledge comes power, and with power comes great responsibility” ; we hold a responsibility to make progressive, rather than socially regressive, use of the great knowledge we have come to gain.

Keren Blaunstein is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at keren.blaunstein@uconn.edu.