What’s Wrong with Genetic Engineering? Ethics, Socioscientific Issues, and Education
In “Moral-Ethical Character and Science Education,” Michael Mueller and Dana Zeidler ground their ecojustice ethic mostly within a consequentialist theoretical framework. Consequentialism is the philosophical theory that determines the morality of an action by looking at the various consequences or effects that the action produces (Troyer 2003). One does not judge an action as morally defensible or indefensible by critiquing the action in of itself, but rather the good or bad effects that follow. For the authors, it is not the immediate act of biogenetically transforming the species Danio rerio into the ornamental, fluorescent-glowing pet fish, “GloFish,” that is morally suspect. It is, instead, the various social and environmental consequences and risks that might, and in fact have, ensued from this act. For this response I will primarily focus on the ethics of what is clearly a forceful socioscientific issue – genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – and extend the ethical-educational conversation started by Mueller and Zeidler.
KeywordsGenetic Manipulation Ethical Theory Human Person Selective Breeding Nonhuman Animal
I thank Bryan R. Warnick for his thoughtful comments on previous drafts of this response.
- Cavalieri, P., & Singer, P. (1994). The great ape project: Equality beyond humanity. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
- Habermas, J. (1990). Moral consciousness and communicative action. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Kant, I. (1785/1981). Grounding for the metaphysics of morals. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
- Regan, T. (1983). The case for animal rights. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Rousseau, J. J. (1762/1979). Emile: or, on education. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Shannon, T. (2000). Made in whose image? Genetic engineering and Christian ethics. Amherst: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
- Smith, K. R. (2003). Animal genetic manipulation: A utilitarian response. In S. J. Armstrong & R. G. Botzler (Eds.), The animal ethics reader (pp. 323–331). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Troyer, J. (Ed.). (2003). The classical utilitarians: Bentham and Mill. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar