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Thought Fourteen

The Hidden Danger


Technology has advanced greatly over the last century. Advanced technology has brought many blessings and dangers to mankind. I use mankind as a generic term, not meaning everyone, just our general direction as a whole.

Mankind has proven over and over again that he is not careful with what little technology he has been given. He uses his knowledge for immediate benefits, without much thought to the long term results. Sadly, a few use it for evil purposes.

It is much like a small spoiled child given an extra big candy bar. The inexperienced child enjoys every bite of the treat given him. He would wine and act up if you tried taking his candy away. The child doesn't see the stomach ache that will result from to much candy in one sitting.

Technology, in some cases, turns out to be the candy bar to mankind. He is often ignorant to the long term results of his behavior. And just try taking away some of the benefits of technology. Or even just mention using it responsibly. A heated emotional response will occur.

Higher intelligence withholds technology to mankind, just as a parent withholds a candy bar. Those proven responsible will be given all some day.

When the dangers of technology are thought of, nuclear bombs and gas masks come to mind. Others would argue global warming and ozone depletion. Genetic manipulations in the lab for use outside the lab leave room for concern. The knowledge of biological and chemical weapons leaves little comfort.

There is another great danger sneaking up on mankind, which could be more difficult to reverse if left unchecked.

This danger has been progressing for a long time and picks up speed everyday. Mankind ignorantly searches for ways to speed up this disaster, because the immediate fruits are so sweet.

Mankind is playing God by interfering with the natural process of life. They are not taking precautions to ensure that permanent damage and danger don't evolve.

In nature, when a living thing has a genetic defect, the gene pool of the species is protected by the death or weakness of the specimen. Only those who are healthy enough live to pass on their genes to their offspring. This is the filter that keeps the gene pool clean and ensures the species survival.

Mankind closes their eyes and ignores simple truths of nature while practicing medicine. There might be mass rebellion to do otherwise.

Imagine the 10 year old with a life threatening heart condition, caused by a genetic defect. Surgery will solve the problem and the child will have a long and prosperous life. Truly a miracle of technology and reason for great joy to the family. This child does go on to have a long and prosperous life. During his long and prosperous life he has four children. Two of those children also develop a heart condition. Many generations pass on with many of his offspring developing heart problems. This is coupled with genetic issues passed on and corrected by technology from others. Where does this leave mankind?

There is a couple with infertility problems due to genetic issues. They go through all the treatments for infertility, and finally reach the goal of their own child. This child passes on the infertile genes to its offspring. The process continues for many generations, and mixes with the infertility passed on by other family lines.

Genetic infertility will become a more and more common problem. Long into the future, meaning many, many generations, more and more couples will need infertility treatment until it becomes the norm.

Because it takes so many generations for genetic problems to become an issue, no one is in a hurry address it. Let the future worry about the future may be the sentiment. Does mankind want to leave bad genes to its posterity?

Precautions should be taken to protect our posterity from sickly, infertile life's filled with surgeries and pills. Gene screening ones offspring by checking eggs and sperm for ideals may considered a taboo by many. But these procedures may become necessary for those whose life's were saved from genetic problems by technology. Consequences of gene screening should also be examined very closely before mankind fully develops and uses this technology.

Until such technology is fully examined, what other options are there to protect the gene pool? There are none that will be painless. We can't just let people die from their genetic ailment. Forbidding anyone whose life is saved from a genetic problem from reproducing may be the only answer. Forbidding the treatment of any infertility caused by genetics may also be necessary. Forbidding a second child to anyone who's needed a cesarean section to keep it from becoming the norm.

These are issues so close to home for most people. So many have been blessed by medical technology directly, or through a loved one. Genetic precautions would effect many, many people. Precautions would be a bitter cup for many. The suggestion of genetic precautions will anger many concerned only with their own posterity and legacy. The heck with mankind as a whole.

Faced with reality, I would eat the whole candy bar myself. The decision can't be left to the individual. It must be addressed like other dangers posed to the common good.

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Copyright © 2002 by Brian Bresee. All rights reserved. The text of this book may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever, whether by graphic, visual, electronic, filming microfilming, tape recording, or any other means, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief passages embodied in critical reviews and articles.