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Problems with Genetic Manipulation - Essay Example

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Problems with Genetic Manipulation

In Wood's society of predetermination through genetic alterations, no one has to take any measure of personal responsibility.
In the introduction of Better Living through Genetics, James Wood uses persuasive speech (logos) as well as a somewhat morally appealing argument (ethos) to convince the reader of the benefits of genetic engineering. An example of this is the sentence "Genetic analysis during in vitro ("test tube") fertilization enables couples to eliminate sickle cell anemia and a host of other diseases from their offspring.". What parent to be would not wish to ensure the healthiest of offspring There is certainly a sense of moral fiber behind wanting to make sure that one has healthy, disease free children. This statement is therefore supported by both logos and ethos. Logos is the part of Aristotelian argument that specifically deals with persuasive argument through speech.
As the essay continues, Wood tried to convince his readers of the boundless benefits of literally designing and predetermining their offspring in an almost Hitler like ideology. The statement that follows is an example of something one would assume came straight out of the holocaust ".Nevertheless, society will still have to protect itself from criminals. The only practical solution, until defects are purged from the species, is mandatory genetic testing and preemptive action, including putting people with "criminal genes" in prison before they commit crimes."
The fact that the reader cannot escape the notion that Wood's "utopia" is an almost genocide or ethnic cleansing of sorts, allows one to determine that both pathos (appealing to one's emotions) and ethos (moral competence) are completely abandoned. Although, a few statements such as the above idea that one can prevent one's offspring from genetic deformities and disease, may be arguably an example of either pathos or ethos. The overall essay however, deviates from both. In addition, the essay is somewhat choppy and therefore lacking in logos (argument through speech). If the piece had been more eloquently written, one may be able to find it more persuasive. This is not to say that some of the statements here and there are not worded reasonably well and therefore slightly convincing. For example, Wood discusses that the process of creating his genetically engineered "utopia" would take place in stages and eventually appeal to everyone "Almost every one of the myriad incremental steps toward utopia appeals to some value such as competitive advantage or convenience". This causes the reader to wonder if perhaps they are not being open minded enough or perhaps they have missed the greater picture. This is an example of logos (argument and persuasion through speech.
The summary of Wood's essay sums up the "utopia" he desires as essentially a planet with robotic organisms devoid of any spirit or autonomy. This is the absolute opposite of the very nature of humanity and is therefore very amoral. Therefore, ethos is not an element of argument used overall in Wood's essay. The following statement in Wood's summary explains this machine run "utopia" void of humanity"In sum, the new technologies ...Show more


To begin with a broad, overall criticism of this essay according to Aristotelian argument, this essay as a whole does not use ethos (moral competence) as an argument form. This can be substantiated through statements that, although persuasive at times, are simply not appealing to any sense of moral code…
Author : johnssantiago
Problems with Genetic Manipulation essay example
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