The ghost of a happy world: are we going to a post-human scenario?
Author: Staff | Source: Catholic.net
In the year 1932 the British writer Aldous Huxley published the novel "A Happy World". In it he looked forward a perfect society, achieved on the basis of genetic manipulation and an inflexible social organization that differentiated those genetically "sublime" of the "less privileged", the "imperfect", on whose shoulders the heavy work and overwhelming.
For many would not be far away the days when technological, scientific and genetic advances make this utopia a reality. In his book "Remaking Eden" biologist Lee Silver glimpsed the nightmare of a "Happy World" when he predicted that it was close to the time when biotechnology and eugenics would make possible the existence of a system in which two "classes" would coexist of human beings: rich enough to afford the genetic aggrandizement of their descendants, the so-called "Rich gene"; and the "Naturals", a lower level occupied by the poor and disadvantaged, with no resources to achieve full genetic development. The first, of course, would govern the second.
The British magazine "The Economist" reported that progress achieved in biomedical techniques, such as "in vitro fertilization" and therapeutic cloning, subjected moral standards to extreme dilemmas, approaching the day when modifications Genetics would force "redefine" the meaning of the human. The publication stated that a science was emerging that would require rethinking the meaning of the good and the bad.
However, immediate questions arise: would this situation be positive for the human being? Would it give you more happiness? What is the limit of science and who would have the right to have it? They are certainly complex problems.
The essayist John Tierney announced that a group of American biologists had succeeded in cloning the embryo of a primate, foreshadowing the day that a human clone would be born. But he added that despite the fact that American and European researchers have made tremendous progress in biotechnology, they continue to face a major obstacle: "God! as defined by some Western religions".
In other words, God was considered to be the spoilers of science, because he supposedly tackled scientific development. That influential current of essayists and scientists sought to arouse a secular morality based on their understanding of science, enabling independent research into any moral norm.
In the face of this reality Conor Cunningham, theologian of the University of Nottingham, referring to the core of the debate, warned of the dangers of a "scientific naturalism" understood as a closed form to any ethical, moral or religious criterion in order to banish The divine at any cost. "Those fundamentalist atheists, he pointed out, are willing to bring down the house as long as they do not give way to God. They tell us that science should be restricted to what is considered natural; And that the natural is all that exists. In fact, it is all that can exist". (1)
One of the instances that discusses the naturalistic approximation of science is the Catholic Church. Certainly their questioning is not directed against genuinely scientific truths or the laws of nature, but against a reductive view of knowledge. It is thus distinguished between science, which leads to a true knowledge, and scientific, whose reductive character eliminates a priori possible explanations on the origin of the stars, the biochemical mechanisms or the origin of the life simply because they do not conform to their research methods.
The defense of life does not come only from a religious conscience, but also from a respect for the dignity of every person precisely for being a person. Leon, one of the most influential American bio-ethics, said that questioning issues such as cloning and genetic manipulation implies more than defending the Judeo principles. It's about protecting human dignity. The special status attributed to the person in places like the book of Genesis was to be defended not only because it is supported by biblical authority, but because that teaching reflects a cosmological truth essential to human dignity. (2)
In the Easter Vigil of the year 2012 Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI touched on the nerve of the problem posed by scientific and the relativistic and naturalistic approximations: "The darkness about God and his values are the real threat to our existence and for the world in general. Without God and values, the difference between good and evil, remain in the darkness, then all the other enlightenments that give us such incredible power, are not only progress, but are at the same time also threats that endanger us, to us and to the world".
1. Journal of Religion and Ethics, 22/5/2012.
2.Are Scientists Playing God?, in New York Times, 20/11/2007.