PSYCH3 Thought Provoking Question#2

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PSYCH3 Thought Provoking Question#2

PSYCH3 Thought Provoking Question#2

PSYCH3 Thought Provoking Question#2

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PSYCH 3 Thought Provoking Question #2

PSYCH 3 Thought Provoking Question #2

This Assignment’s Thought Provoking Question or Article #2 is:

The Frankenstein Syndrome

“When the Gods are angry with you, they grant your wishes.”  – Oscar Wilde

What was the name of Frankenstein’s monster? Do you remember? Such thinking often comes to mind when the subject of genetic engineering and cloning arises, it’s “that Frankenstein thing.” When Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley penned her novel in 1818, little did she know how prophetic her tale about good and evil, and a creation that destroys its creator, would be. In 1984, D. F. Glut published a five-hundred-page volume entitled The Frankenstein Catalogue. This definitive piece of work, to my astonishment, listed over 2,666 works about Frankenstein, including 145 editions of Mary Shelley’s novel! Why, I asked, has so much been written about Frankenstein? The answer, perhaps, lies in the uneasiness we feel in the deep regions of our souls when humankind tinkers with what nature has created. Like vintage dialogue from horror movies of long past, our inner voices remind us: “There are certain things humans were not meant to do,” and genetic engineering and cloning, to many, are just such areas. This fear derives from the earliest biblical scripture, describing Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Perhaps we fear the human tendency to screw things up, as reflected in a government poll revealing that 46 percent of the public believes “we have no business meddling with nature.” What do you think? Such a view derives from public perception that there is far too much horror awaiting us at the hands of the same science and technology monster that unleashed the atomic bomb. The tabloids cater to the Frankenstein anxiety in all of us, spewing out weekly tales of environmental carnage, ozone wreckage, and freaks of nature, brought on by ill-conceived tinkerings with what should only be the pre-serve of God. The Challenger space disaster, environmental havoc, and AIDS are all misguided human experiments, the tabloids say. Is there some middle ground for humankind, science, and progress?

Exactly what is Genetic Engineering and Cloning? First, it is important to remember that all living things are a marvelous mixture of commonality and uniqueness. Genetic engineering is the process of introducing new genes, never before incorporated in a particular animal or species, and passing them on to the next offspring. The process catapults what would otherwise take evolution and breeding thousands of years, if at all. This process can even bypass the wonder of fertilization. For example, cloning of a frog was done in 1968, and in 1993 a researcher cloned identical twins, though they were not gestated in vitro or in vivo. In early 1997, a sheep was cloned from the DNA of a donor sheep. It was identical to the donor. What are more recent examples? Let us now return to our opening question. What was Frankenstein’s monster called? Well in fact, it had no name of its own. It took on the name of its creator, Victor Frankenstein. The message and inference seem clear. Those who would muddle and meddle with God and nature have a sacred obligation to assure no such monster or horror stalk humankind, lest they have their creation placed before their feet, forever haunted by that monstrous being inheriting their name for all millennia. What are some ethical concerns for genetic engineering and cloning? What role does Bio-ethics play in these decisions? What does this frontier ultimately offer us anyway? And, as we stand in the doorway of the 21st century, who shall decide?

Be sure to weave into your discussion the importance of ethical considerations in psychological research, as this was an important aspect of this week’s textbook reading.

PSYCH 3 Thought Provoking Question #2 References

The author highly recommends, and acknowledges some quotes from, Rollin, B. E. (1995). The Frankenstein syndrome: Ethical and social issues in the genetic engineering of animals. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Glut, D. F. (1984). The Frankenstein catalog: Being a comprehensive history of novels, translations, adaptations, stories, critical works, popular articles, series, fumetti, verse, stage plays, films, cartoons, puppetry, radio and television programs, comics, satire and humor, spoken and musical recordings, tapes and sheet music featuring Frankenstein’s monster and/or descended from Mary Shelley’s novel. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland.

Office of Technology Assessment. (1987). New developments in biotechnology: Public perceptions of biotechnology. Washington, D. C.: Office of Technology Assessment.

A vision of ourselves. (1985, July 29). Time, p. 55.

Kelly, G. F. (1996). Sexuality today: The human perspective. (5th ed.). Dubuque: IA.: Brown & Benchmark, pp. 279-280.

[This article is by J. Davis Mannino and originally appeared in his book Sexually Speaking, published by McGraw-Hill in 1999. All Rights Reserved.)

— This a great link for additional information about cloning and all things science

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