People are not peas

There are two types of people in this world. People who hate peas…and people who are peas.

This is a good place to begin if you’d like to learn how DNA, our genes and genetic variations works. Gregor Mendel, the former abbot and a XIX century monk was the one who worked out the fundamental principles of genetic inheritance. Thanks to peas we can read the DNA, information about the body, health and diseases.

But human beings are not a product of the genetic recipe book.
We are more complicated than peas…

Like a kid who’s just stumbled on his father’s cool toolbox, the allure of human DNA modification can sometimes seem too attractive to ignore. And this has captivated our minds so much that it’s been the theme of several science fiction films.

Let’s takeX-Men” – mutant humans exist amongst us with varying levels of gargantuan superpowers. Cool? Yeah… Whether realistic or ludicrous, the movie reveal something deeper – our innate fascination with human upgrade via DNA enhancement.

But why are scientists so slow in pursuing breakthroughs in this regard?

human enhancement
clones
creation of designer babies

Even if we don’t get to shoot lasers from our eyes or run at 40 miles per hour, shouldn’t we be trying to do something useful with our knowledge of DNA? How about we work towards creating genetically-engineered bodies that just never get fat? Or perfect brains, so our husbands always remember our anniversary? Imagine the number of genetic diseases that could potentially be wiped out from humanity, if scientists would just get a grip.

The desire to keep improving and innovating is what has brought mankind this far. I mean, the first computer was as large as a cargo truck, but look what we have nowadays.

If we can modify and improve computers, we should be able to modify humans, right?
Wrong!

First of all, it’s important to realize that nature takes care of these upgrades by a careful and (possibly) intelligent process called evolution – which takes BILLIONS of years. Attempting to speed up the process by DNA tweaking is akin to a cook trying to prepare her own thanksgiving turkey in 1 minute.

It often ends in disaster…

The questions surrounding genetic modification have arisen for decades now, and they are worthy of serious discourse. Let’s look at cloning for example: deciding to create cloned/designer babies can potentially open up a can of worms which can be difficult to reverse. First of all, it could create a gap in society and set off delicate ethical dilemmas. They could also be at risk of some previously-unknown viral or genetic diseases which could throw humanity into chaos.

Are we ready for this? I think not.

Child robot

Mankind has always been an innovative species, blazing trails in wildernesses and leaving development in its wake. But one has to wonder, should there be a limit to our expeditions?

What bridge do we cross, where we begin to play God?

These are some of the questions that would need answering as we guard our sanity in the wake of unpredictable new technologies. As Oliver Twist taught us, more isn’t always better.

The cloning of humans is on most of the lists of things to worry about from science, along with behaviour control, genetic engineering, transplanted heads, computer poetry and the unrestrained growth of plastic flowers. Lewis Thomas


Next post – “Write. Publish. Repeat.” Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, David Wright #takeaways

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55 Responses

  1. WOW! This was very very new to me and I at times run away from Science but I read the whole post..was exciting to read. 👌👌

  2. You are correct, we humans have an unhealthy fascination with DNA upgrades, human enhancement,
    clones, creation of designer babies are all stuff of Frankenstein, 😀 I say we should leave our bodies as god intended. Great post though❤

  3. Tom Schultz says:

    As the Jeff Goldblum charcter in “Jurassic Park” says, Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

  4. Really enjoyed this, great work!

  5. Hyperion says:

    I was just having a conversation similar to this ethical question. I look around at the condition of the world and it occurs to me we do need to create some mutants with super powers and also some AI robots to thin us out a little so mother earth can recover from the horrendous damage we mutant rodents have done to the world and each other. I think this is a great sci-fi story that every young budding scientist should read and then try to make real. There comes a knock on the door. Is it your termination date or was your request to visit Mars accepted? Well, let’s open the door to see what the muscular guy in blue skin tight ballet hoisery wants. ZZZZZAP! Another pollutant breeder gone. Muwaaaa haaaa haaaaa! Science is scary but sci-fi writers are scary as Hell. 🦹🏻‍♂️

  6. kinkyacres says:

    “Mutant” rodents…………speak for yourself! Science looks at screwing with DNA the same as looking at their computers. For how much good they have done, they have provided equal + bad!
    Victoria, have a safe and joyful holiday away from here!

  7. Wow i enjoyed reading this

  8. Interesting analogy

  9. masercot says:

    The only thing certain: If it CAN be used to make super-soldiers, it WILL be used to make super-soldiers…

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      True…and the day it will = the end of this world?

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      No doubt…and this is how the world ends?

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Happy holidays 🌺💃🎻☀️

    • EDWIN B WOLLET says:

      This might be true and the world might come to end because of it. However, consider this. More intelligent humans tend to be more empathic, and more empathic people tend to be more peaceful. So, isn’t the opposite also possible? Isn’t it possible that a more intelligent version of H. sapiens or a more intelligent species than H. sapiens would actually bring more peace to the world?

  10. ortensia says:

    Humans are a scary specie 😬

  11. EDWIN B WOLLET says:

    Sorry but this is already happening:

    https://www.apnews.com/4997bb7aa36c45449b488e19ac83e86d

    • EDWIN B WOLLET says:

      Lastly, this might pose an ethical dilemma in today’s world; however, in two hundred years, it will be commonplace. Yes, there will likely be winners and losers, but it is going to happen whether we like it or not. So, we may as well adapt.

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Yes I guess so …bcz most of us will be ”pushed” to adapt (if we want survive). And happy holidays 🎈🍫🎻❄️⛄️

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Crazy…but yes, I wrote the post bcz I read about it too 🙂 I see it as a wrong move tho

      • EDWIN B WOLLET says:

        This might seem like the wrong move in the short-term. I’m sure there will be a lot of trial and error, but the overall trend will be to improve our species or perhaps create a species that is superior (more intelligent, more adaptive). That would likely mean the propagation and continuation of life on Earth and beyond.

        Our species isn’t faring too well, imo. The status quo might be more dangerous to continuing life on our planet than its alternative. I realize there are serious moral and ethical questions that have to be answered, but if genetic engineering brought about a more adaptive species, wouldn’t the benefits outweigh the costs?

      • EDWIN B WOLLET says:

        And, Happy Holidays to you, too. Hope yours was merry and bright. 🙂

  12. Vyache says:

    Merry Christmas! ⛄👌

  13. I am always in awe at how people are always in a rush to “make things better” Our food comes to mind. I was raised on a farm, and we grew every vegetable we ate. The plants would yield us food for my whole summer vacation because it was my job to pick the food. Ahhh the memories hahaha. Now, the seeds that grow food in my little garden yield one or 2 pickings at best, and it is useless. What happened between then and now? Man! We decided to “make it better” and genetically modified the seeds to ward off bugs mainly but for other important reasons, that I am sure are above my pay grade. Anywho, this genetic modification to the seeds has resulted in less fresh home grown food. The seeds cost more, and you can’t make your own seeds from these new genetically modified seeds. They are one and done. Don’t even get me started on now how they are blaming lots of health issues on the new and improved, genetically modified seeds. Which brings me back to the lecture at hand. If they couldn’t get seeds right, what makes people think they will get people right? I pray your holidays were full of blessing Ray 🙂

    • Edwin says:

      Science is full of stops and starts, and making things better very rarely goes in a straight line path upwards. Here’s an example. Ptolemy of Ancient Egypt knew the Earth was round. In fact, he measured the circumference of the Earth based on that theory. As you know, that theory fell out of favor until Magellan circumnavigated the world. Europeans accomplished a lot with this knowledge, but their path to fame and fortune was far from perfect. A lot of people died along the way. But, death shouldn’t stop progress. In fact, I would claim that if we stagnate as a species, we will encounter many more problems than if we progress.

      Your garden vegetables versus GMO veggies is an interesting debate. Unfortunately, with an exploding world population not everyone will have access to non-GMO vegetables. That’s just a fact. Yes, GMO has a long way to go. But, like the early scientists who speculated about a spherical Earth, a lot of good will be done with GMO products. Some not so good, but the overall trend will be to “make things better.”

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Got it about Ptolemy 🙂 & Magellan. The thing is …everything becomes business & when some big corporation will see the result (or feel it’s possible to sell) – it will take a power over “designing a new people” – & it will be the end for a poor healthy human being.
        Everything has 2 ends of coz (+ & -), but greed chooses what makes more money

      • I understand what your saying Edwin. My point with the GMO veggies is, it didn’t make it better. The old seeds produced food for the whole growing season. Enough to feed everyone on the farm and more than we could stuff in cans and in the freezer. Enough to feed 4 families for a year. You could harvest seeds from them, and not have to buy seeds the next year. It was substainable, and plenteous in the yeild. The new improved gmo seeds won’t produce but one picking, and then maybe another half picking. That will last you a couple of meals for 1 family of 4. It will not feed you all year, like the old seeds. So, it really doesn’t help in the long run. If the goal was to feed a booming population, I would think they would want it to produce as much food as possible not less food. I don’t mean a meal or 2 less. I mean a whole year of food less.

        The seeds were just one example of us making things better, and the first thing that came to mind. If we can’t get seeds right, medicines that have more side effects than the disease, techonology that destroys the environment, equipment that destroys the air we breath. The list goes on and on. At this rate, we will progress ourselves right into extinction.

        Thank you Edwin for your engaging, thought provoking insight. I enjoy any discussion that generates positive dialog.

      • Edwin says:

        Hi Margaret:

        The key phrase in your reply is: “didn’t make them better.” Like Ptolemy and Magellan’s views and discoveries, there were many naysayers early on. And, at first, this idea of a spherical Earth didn’t do a whole lot of good. Many sailors lost their lives; however, we wouldn’t enjoy many of the fruits of their labor if the naysayers had prevailed.

        The story of GMOs is just beginning and there are many naysayers. Many of their concerns are spot on, but if we throw the baby out with the bathwater, we’re going to lose out on technology that has the potential to change the world in some pretty profound and beneficial ways.

        Anyway, I’m sorry Ray if I hijacked your post. I would much rather spend time under my rock, writing bad poetry about classmates.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Yeah, they modified it to sell more, pure business. And pure Greed. Everything is business nowadays. Food, books (literature), human brains, our health, Earth…
      and u r right, I don’t think they’ll create the best version of us (because the best is already created, natural way), but again…if they can sell it = someone will buy it, then it will be a mass production at the end. Or simply, The End.

      • Edwin says:

        Have you heard of the “Brain in a Vat Theory”? This theory says that our brains are hooked up to electrodes that are being controlled by alien scientists and that everything we experience is actually a function of those alien-controlled electrodes. There was a movie made based on this hypothesis, but I’m not much of a moviegoer so I don’t recall its name. You might like reading more about it.

        I had an extensive library under my rock and I’m a Gilbert Harman fan. You have no idea how long digging that library took me and the never-ending pain of bent and broken fingernails. I would do anything for a good book.

      • Edwin says:

        I disagree with you about greed choosing who makes more money. A quality product or service that is in high demand is what drives the market. So, consumers as well as producers determine the winners and losers of the biz world. Here’s an example: I do most of my shopping on or through Amazon, because they provide quality goods and couple that with quality service.

        So, my desire to save money by shopping on Amazon could be seen as greed. The more money I save, the more I have. Likewise, Amazon is looking to beat its competition by saving money on its products and logistics. When was the last time you consumed goods or services from a large corporation? Every time you do, you sacrifice small business owners. You are just as culpable as the big corporations in wanting to save money.

        By the way, I am not proud of shopping on Amazon. They do combine good products with great service; however, they are anemic in the area of social responsibility.

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Got it. I’ll answer as soon as I can, I’m in Puerto Banus now ☀️☀️🎻🕺, on the go …

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        I don’t see saving money as a “damaging” greed 🙂 depends on – why you’d like to spare. If for the house on the tree (or under) – it’s fine. But also: do u really need a second house? U already got one, under ur rock 🙂 haha
        About greed in general, yes, it drives business & society & development of countries/economics, but greed a coin with 2 faces too 🙂

      • Edwin says:

        I’ve anguished over this point for a while. And, you are right, having two homes is frivolous and vain. I’m returning to my rock and the library I built underneath it. I will only leave to get good Internet connection.

      • Edwin says:

        I guess I made your point, didn’t I? LOL. Greed does determine a lot.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Thank you 🙂 have a happy holidays you too 💙🎻🎻🎈🎁☀️

  14. Haha! So you did write about peas! Thoroughly enjoyed it, Ray. 😀

  15. Transplanted heads I can deal with. Designer little Eric Trumps, (because elites will be first) is more than I can handle. Great Post. Truly a disturbing topic.

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