Most of us can understand the serious consequences modifying our food and life can be. Whether it is injecting pesticides in our food to make them last longer or wanting to change the genes in our children, they can seem great at first but they can end up having unintended dangers that can soon to be harmful for not only us, but animals and plants as well. Those who do understand the negative effects to these topics and agree, don’t intercede and take the time to solve the problems that can end up helping others and themselves. But, those who disagree don’t interpret how harmful they can be. They need to ask themselves “what responsibility do we have for what we create?” and how can it affect us or others. According to Silent Spring, Frankentsein, and various academic sources, when developing new technology, people have a responsibility to think before they act and be liable for any consequences.
First, Silent Spring and other research illustrate society’s need to consider the unintended dangers when dealing with pesticides and modifying organisms. “A repeated dose of toxicity is one of the largest challenges in the process to replace animal testing” (Berggren 1232). This is telling us how much of a challenge it is to deal with toxins and other pesticides. With it being one of the largest problems, we need to find other ways to prevent those unintended consequences in the future. “The need for a new systemic toxicity testing arising from the complete ban on animal testing and how any substance may adversely affect human health”(Berggren 1233). From this we can learn that the chemicals they use in our products and our food can potentially harm us and even animals. Using these chemicals also can put our plants in danger. These pesticides may seem like they help us but in reality, they have unintended consequences that can leave plants poisonous, human and animals sick, and even all to die. “Many of the concerns about the genetic engineering of animals are similar to those about the engineering of plants. Loss of biodiversity, vulnerability to disease, and business control over livestock are all frequently mentioned objections to the genetic manipulation of animals” (Bankston). These few examples are just enough to prove that genetically modifying any type of life can potentially have some serious consequences. There is much more to prove why genetically modifying any type of organism can have its unintended dangers and why it can potentially harm plants, animals, and humans.
Another important consideration when developing new technology is possible dangers occuring, as discussed by Frankenstein and supporting outside evidence. “There is no doubt about the benefit of mainstream applications of genetic information to diagnose diseases and improve the lives of many patients. However, the potential for abuse has opened a heated debate about how far the use of the technology should go” (Elliott 23). The benefits to genetic engineering but then contradicting that statement by explaining the downside effects that could happen like how it could potentially hurt the baby or could ruin other things in the child’s future which has people debating whether it is ethical or not. “Additional scientific discoveries coupled with technology improvements like high throughput sequencing, gene splicing and epigenetics have allowed many advances in disease management as well as the prospect or personalized health and even potential cure of genetic conditions” (Elliott 23). With the use of modern technology, it is easier to experiment but there can always be mistakes especially with “gene splicing” so it there can be possible dangers to it not working which can make it difficult and can great genetic problems in the child’s future.
When comparing the ethical issues of Silent Spring and Frankenstein, both technologies touch on the same ethics and lessons about what we create. Although Silent Spring touch on different topics and one is fiction and one is non-fiction, they both deliver the same lessons and provide the same morals and ethics of their topics. “They point out that selective breeding, a slow process, has led to the accumulation of about two hundred genetic diseases in purebred dogs, so the faster and more drastic changes introduced by genetic engineering could cause even greater suffering” (Bankston). Both Frankenstein and Silent Spring, include genetically engineering and organism in some way in their stories. With this they both connect on how drastic some of the consequences can be when changing the genetics in something. “Some of the greatest ethical and social problems with genetic engineering involve its use on humans” (Bankston). On the topic of Frankenstein, the doctor was creating one of these ethical and social problems by creating his monster which is genetic engineering with is on the same topic of Silent Spring when talking about genetically modifying our food to be better like how the doctor wanted to create a human who was better. “The resulting decision was that both plants and animals must be protected from biological manipulations that would offend their “dignity”. This and subsequent rulings from the committee threatened to prohibit even some traditional plant hybridization practices, drawing strong criticism from scientists worldwide” (Bankston) With some of the options with genetically modifying organisms being prohibited, it can potentially stop some of the unintended consequences that they have begun in the first place but, scientists and farmers will continue to change the genes in our food, in animals, and even us which could be harmful for most organisms if we consume or manipulated with. The way Silent Spring and Frankenstein are so similar is because they touch with the same ethics, morals, and lessons about what we create.
Now, with the knowledge of learning the consequences of what we create, we can learn from our mistakes and think about our actions. We need to think about the responsibility we have for what we create and think about the unintended consequences they might have. With now knowing what we have been doing, we can learn and prevent the possible dangers of dealing with genetically modified organisms and pesticides. Like Silent Spring and Frankenstein, when developing new technology, people have a responsibility to think before they act and be liable for any consequences.
- Bankston, Carl L. ..III, PhD, and Sean A. Valles. “Socio-Ethics of Genetic Engineering.” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health, 2019. EBSCOhost
- Berggren, Elisabet, et al. “Chemical Safety Using Read-Across: Assessing the Use of Novel Testing Methods to Strengthen the Evidence Base for Decision Making.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 123, no.12, Dec. 2015, pp. 1232-1240
- Elliott, Dr Gene. “Ethics of Genetics: More Than Just Designer Babies.” Laboratory News, Sept. 2016, p.23. EBSCOhost
- Paul, Frankenstein: The 1818 Text, Contexts, Criticism. New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2012. Print.
- Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1962. Print.