The assignment was to read 4 essays from our english book and do a report on them. I was limited to only a few essays to choose from and this was the best theme i could find. Can someone please reveal my errors?Report on Current Affairs and their affect on the Human Experience
"The research rat of the future allows experimentation without manipulation of the real world. This is the cutting edge of modeling technology" (John Spencer). Contrary to John Spencer's description of the "cutting edge of modeling technology," today's research rats are instead manipulating our world with their experimentation by risking human health. This scientific manipulation is the common theme I found after studying essays from authors including: Eric Schlosser, Barry Commoner, and Robert A. Weinberg, and Emily Martin. By reporting on each essay individually, I will attempt to reveal how different technological advances are manipulating our world by endangering human health, and how scientific reasoning can be biased.
Barry Commoner attempts to educate the reader on the way scientists are manipulating our food using genetic engineering in his essay; "unraveling the DNA Myth; the spurious Foundation of Genetic Engineering." The "foundation of genetic engineering" is based on the "central dogma theory" (Commoner 693). Commoner defines "central dogma" on page 694 as "a theory concerning the relation among DNA, RNA, and protein in which the nucleotide sequence of DNA exclusively governs its own replication and engenders a specific genetic trait." Apparently, the "central dogma theory" has been proven false. Commoner states, "Between 1990 and 2001 in one of the largest and most highly publicized scientific undertakings of our time, [known as] the Human Genome Project[;] the [central dogma] theory collapsed under the weight of fact (695). The "scientific foundation of genetic engineering and the validity of the biotechnology industry's widely advertised claim that its methods of genetically modifying food crops are 'specific, precise, and predictable'" is now broken (commoner 695). Even though it is possible to genetically alter, or manipulate a product to give it an advantaged trait, the future side effects may create dangerous prions, which will collapse the DNA of its victim. Scientists are aware that the foundation of their work is invalid and that they could cause people to suffer or die in the future, yet they continue to genetically engineer our food because it is profitable. The technological manipulation of food does not end with genetic engineering; the utility of food is also being manipulated.
"Why McDonalds Fries Taste So Good," is an Essay that Eric Schlosser wrote regarding the manipulation of the taste, color, and texture of our food. According to Schlosser, companies like McDonalds, who provide nourishment for millions of people every day, do not create the taste of the food, but instead buy it from the "flavor industry." They do this because "canning, freezing, and dehydrating techniques used in processing destroy most of the food's flavor" (Schlosser 309). The flavor business takes place in a factory where scientist called Flavorists mix chemicals together for the purpose of creating new flavors to sell to the highest bidders. Coloring food is another important job of the Flavorists, and sometimes the method of creating these colors becomes controversial. To produce the color pink they ground a bug called the "Dactylopius Coccus Costa" into a pigment which "violates religious dietary restrictions, [and] may cause allergic reactions" (Schlosser 316). The side affects of these chemical concoctions are unknown and using them to manipulate the taste, color, and texture of our food may be dangerous. Human health is being risked once again. So far, we have revealed two ways that scientist can legally endanger human health, but there is one new technology that may benefit human health; except its illegal!
In "Of Clones and Clowns," Robert A. Weinberg discusses the importance of cloning and the threat against its progress. Ironically, unlike the other two authors, he supports manipulators. However, the manipulators Weinberg supports are scientists; not "clowns". Weinberg describes these clowns as "those who think making money, lots of it, is more important than doing serious science" (720). "The cloning circus opened soon after Wilmut, a careful and well-respected scientist, reported his success with Dolly" (Weinberg 720). The "Dolly" he is referring to was a sheep that was successfully cloned in 1997. Evidently, after this sheep was cloned, the money-crazed clowns decided to compete in the race to master the science of cloning. Instead of participating in the "peer-review process," which is vital to the validity and progress of cloning, they turned a cold shoulder to the scientific community and went straight to the press with their results (Weinburg 720). The information the clowns gave the mainstream media caused the science of cloning to look corrupt and unethical. One of the clowns, Ben-Abraham, "told a German magazine Der Spiegel, 'We were all created by the Almighty, but now we will become the creators'" (Weinberg 720). Weinberg, a scientist who has made some of the most influential advances in the treatment of cancer, thinks that testing medications on clones may be the way to find the cure. Because these clowns were manipulating technology, and giving the science of cloning a bad reputation, George Bush, "yielding to the pressure of religious conservatives," banned Cloning in the United States (Weinberg 722). Without identical subjects to test new treatments on, it will be very difficult now to cure cancer and allow humans to experience life without this fatal disease.
Emily Marin's essay, "The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles," deals with a different type of scientific manipulation. This time instead of doing something that can harm human health for the purpose of making money, male Scientists are instead manipulating the truth about the roles of the egg and the sperm. Since Scientist are mostly male they get to dictate what goes into the text books and since they are sexist, they make female organs look wasteful while male organs are productive (Martin 672). Martin states," the egg is seen as large and passive. It does not move or journey, but passively 'is transported,' is 'swept,' or even 'drifts' along the fallopian tube. In utter contrast, sperm are small, 'streamlined,' and invariably active (673). She goes on to explain how new research continues to be sexist. She thinks that the social implication make woman feel inferior to men and negatively affect their self-esteem. She wants the information to be fair and balanced so that both the sperm and the egg are considered equal.
Although these four articles deal with different aspects of science they all share the theme of scientific manipulation, and they all affect our experience as human beings. Without the ability to test new drugs on clones, millions more may die of cancer. If genetic engineering continues to alter our food, our DNA may give way, and we will die out. The Flavorists work may have long-term side effects that can harm us or tempt us to eat food that lacks nourishment. Will modeling technology continue to affect the real world? What new dangers may be on the horizon, and how will the current ones play out?