Science and improving humans


#1

Would it ever be permissible to “enhance” human beings using science? For example, implanting a technology in one’s eye which magnifies the vision.

EDIT: To clear up confusion, the “enhance” im talking about is using technology to shape humans I.e attaching a technological device to the human body that gives them the capability to store vast amounts of information without forgetting them


#2

The example you gave, probably, would be okay. To be honest there are a group of Christians that say all medicine or technology is bad and I’d just have to disagree. Now, with that said, we should probably be a little weary of technology, but not outright against it especially if it’s going to improve people’s health.


#3

I have an implanted bit of machinery that allows me to walk, an artificial hip.

My husband has a sophisticated bit of science implanted that keeps him alive (a combination pacemaker/heart monitor/defibrillator).

My friend’s kid has amazing super hearing from a device, a cochlear implant.


#4

A friend of mine is attracted to a computerized machine that keeps her alive- an insulin pump.


#5

Thinking about this, my bifocals are an amazing bit of science that does magnify/improve my vision.

Some people have their eyes augmented with surgery, and perhaps one day our bifocals will be implanted!


#6

Doesn’t lasik eye surgery already effectively do what you question?

If you are thinking of mechanical enhancements, we do that all the time as well.


#7

I follow scientific developments almost daily. The ethical and real-life implications for some technologies are clearly military in nature. A few are allowed to trickle out into the wild and reach the public. But ethics don’t matter to some, sadly. Technology used to help average people with some bodily defect or problem is one thing, human enhancement is generally not useful to the public and all signs point to it going to military use first - with little thought being given to its misuse, just its usefulness in a combat environment.


#8

True.

I hear of night vision contact lenses currently under research.

No doubt it will be used by the military first.

Just like GPS satellites.


#9

I don’t follow your logic, you are also making an argument with the conclusion worked out.

FYI, the military pioneered lasik type eye surgery techniques as well. 20/20 vision is not normal, it is an enhancement over nature.


#10

Perhaps this thread is attempting to address things like enhanced “computing power” via processor enhancement to the braim, via direct Web Access to information… effectively memorized bible in your head you can pull up at will, or directly quote some speech, or whatever. Or KNOW native language equivalent to Latin during Mass. Or see the readings of the day directly.

Of course, it could take a more sinister path…


#11

Those who have no belief in an afterlife have thus painted themselves into a corner, from which the only escape as they see it, is to “perfect” humanity and slow or stop the aging process.

They are part of a loosely knit bunch that practice the religion of science and mathematics as the salvation of mankind.


#12

The Church has already addressed this in the case of genetics, I cannot see any pertinent difference between that and other forms of “enhancement”:

  1. The question of using genetic engineering for purposes other than medical treatment also calls for consideration. Some have imagined the possibility of using techniques of genetic engineering to introduce alterations with the presumed aim of improving and strengthening the gene pool. Some of these proposals exhibit a certain dissatisfaction or even rejection of the value of the human being as a finite creature and person. Apart from technical difficulties and the real and potential risks involved, such manipulation would promote a eugenic mentality and would lead to indirect social stigma with regard to people who lack certain qualities, while privileging qualities that happen to be appreciated by a certain culture or society; such qualities do not constitute what is specifically human. This would be in contrast with the fundamental truth of the equality of all human beings which is expressed in the principle of justice, the violation of which, in the long run, would harm peaceful coexistence among individuals. Furthermore, one wonders who would be able to establish which modifications were to be held as positive and which not, or what limits should be placed on individual requests for improvement since it would be materially impossible to fulfil the wishes of every single person. Any conceivable response to these questions would, however, derive from arbitrary and questionable criteria. All of this leads to the conclusion that the prospect of such an intervention would end sooner or later by harming the common good, by favouring the will of some over the freedom of others. Finally it must also be noted that in the attempt to create a new type of human being one can recognize an ideological element in which man tries to take the place of his Creator.
    In stating the ethical negativity of these kinds of interventions which imply an unjust domination of man over man, the Church also recalls the need to return to an attitude of care for people and of education in accepting human life in its concrete historical finite nature.

Obviously, intervention to correct defects is entirely different.


#13

That’s what I’m talking about. With God removed from the equation, some humans decide that humans are the salvation of others. Eternal life? From God? Nah. We’ll just invent something to double, at least, the average human life span. We will become greater than any god we can imagine (from a statement by Arthur C. Clarke).


#14

It is clearly seen in the medical field, which increasingly looks to science as the be-all and end-all of human existence. It is their theological virtue of hope.

Clarke, Orwell, Huxley - morose prophets of our age.


#15

Yep. Well said.


#16

Hmm. So, genetic engineering for non-medical purposes is against Church teaching?


#17

The Church looks at motives to achieve ends. If the motive is to help people deal with or overcome disabilities through genetic engineering, then the end is a good. Other motives to use genetic engineering to create radical changes solely for, say, increasing the military effectiveness of a soldier, can be bad. Example, whoever invented body armor for knights saw their creation fall by the wayside when arrows were used. Or, the country with the first atomic bomb was viewed as a threat by others until they could develop their own. Human beings, all of us, have a good side and a bad side. Or some have too much money and time that without sound ethical principles to guide them, might order the creation of just about anything.

What if an enemy made a breakthrough in genetic engineering that would increase the survivability of their soldiers on the battlefield to double of what is normal? That would be viewed as a threat. I’ve seen the numbers of soldiers who were unable to fight due to disease and certain types of non-life threatening injuries during World War II (and some conflicts after). If they could be ‘patched up’ using genetic engineering in the field, the enemy would be a more potent combat force.


#18

The CDF didn’t declare the act of non-medical genetic engineering to be intrinsically evil, but anything which would promote its normalization to be harmful to the common good.


#19

These are simple memorization exercises. It is something that has been lost in the past decades, but for most of human history memorization of texts, speeches, was simply part of education.

My dad has a friend who has memorized the entire New Testament. This was not unheard of for evangelicals during the Cold War as the belief was the Communists would take over America and take away our Bibles. The only Bible that would be had was what was memorized.

I grew up in that time, have very large amounts of Scripture committed to memory because that was part of what Christian kids in my world did. We had competitions for memorization! Scripture, poems, speeches.


#20

I intend to bring ORDER world-wide “By any means necessary”

AIman


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