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Designer Babies

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The Perfect World.
Imagine a world full of Lebron James, Adrian Gonzales, Beyonce, and Brad Pitt, which was developed by the parents that chose to transmit featured genes into their fertilized eggs through IVF (in vitro fertilization clinic), and these so-called genetic engineers are able to mutate both internal and external physical traits exactly the way our dear parents desire. Sharon Begley, in her “Designer Babies,” portrays how genetic engineers and scientists have recently come to an issue that would involve our radical opinions of direct manipulation.

She acknowledges and addresses both the positive and negative effects of the IVF, but appears to ignore her stance of which side of the argument she is directed to. Clearly, the majority of her tone in the essay was unbiased which makes her argument more implicit, or rather none existent. Through the use of rhetoric, Begley effectively depicts readers numerous oppositional arguments on how genetic modification can both enhance and undermine the future generation of historical traits.

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When it comes to information on science and its connection to the society, Begley, who have been the science editor of The Wall Street Journal and senior editor of the Newsweek magazine for twenty five years, seems like an effective source to rely on the topic of genetic engineering. In her essay, Begley tends to appeal mostly to the younger generation and to those working with a genetic disease or mutation, explaining the drastic possibilities of our future and the extreme enhancement that could exploit to our current world. Also because Begley is a scientist, the information and scenarios presented generates a logical manner that makes her writing seem very persuasive. The strength in her essay lies in her research and quotations from other scientists that study and work with the subject of human cloning and germ-aline engineering. She makes strong points on both the positive and negative views to the reader like myself to think about our own opinion on genetic engineering, leaving an antithetical stance on the majority of her passage. Begley’s another strong point is that she uses metaphors to ease the understanding of germ-aline’s scientific process since not all her audiences are scientists . “Once [molecular string of genes is] activated, the genetic scissors snip out the introduced gene and, presto, it is not passed along to future generations”(14). Begley uses “scissors” to describe an enzyme in the process of germ-aline engineering to help the readers create a better imagery and understanding.

Throughout the passage, Begley’s strongest and most favorable logical fallacy is the use of argumentum ad verecundiam, also known as argument or appeal to authority. She proclaims almost every statement and information through other scientists and researchers who have a title in their professions in the field of genetic engineering. And through this, it seems that she is arguing two different positions at once. Through an antithetical stance, on one perspective she seems like she approves germ-aline engineering to cure all the mutations that has passed down from an affected generation. “As James Watson, president of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and co-discoverer of the double-helical structure of DNA, said at a recent UCLA conference, ‘We might as well do what we finally can to take the threat of Alzheimer’s or breast cancer away from a family.’” (14). She also uses this fallacy in order to counter her argument on `germ-aline. “But introduced genes, though targeted at only blood or immune-system cells, might inadvertently slip into the child’s egg (or sperm) cells, too.

If that happens, the genetic change would affect that child’s children unto the nth generation. ‘Life would enter a new phase,’ says biophysicist Gregory Stock of UCLA, ‘one in which we seize control of our own evolution.’” (14). Not only does Begley confront that there can be mistakes within the germ-aline processing but that the perception of it will lose control over time and this too is stated with an appeal to authority.

Despite her strengths of her argument, Begley risks a slippery slope argument when she tries to proclaim what germ-aline can lead to in the future. For example, she exposes a fiction film to her audience: “It isn’t hard to foresee a day like that painted in last year’s film Gattaca, where only the wealthy can afford to genetically engineer their children with such ‘killer applications’ as intelligence, beauty, long life or health” (14). The problem with this statement is that it is overly stated on how germ-aline that is discussed to destroy and enhance mutated cells today, can lead to a political wealth explosion when it hasn’t even been regulated or approved yet, thus it is very misleading. Another situation where her support argument is Non Sequitur is when she tries to convey the possibilities and situations that can happen when we legalize germ-aline. “If you like today’s blame game – it’s Mom’s fault that you inherited her temper – you’ll love tomorrow’s: she intentionally stuck you with that personality quirk” (14). Begley’s claim portrays to the readers that with no evidence, genetic mutation can lead to physical, emotional, or mental traits. Analyzing the quoted statements, I felt as if her arguments were not based on real evidences but rather her assumptions with a certain dilemma that can be possible.

In another antithetical opposition , Begley appeals to pity in describing the benefits of germ-aline engineerings. “ If her baby is a boy, when he becomes an old man he, like his father and grandfather before him, will develop prostate cancer. But the cell-suicide gene will make his prostate cells self-destruct. The man, unlike his ancestors, will not die of the cancer. And since the gene that the doctors gave him copied itself into every cell of his body, including his sperm, his sons will beat prostate cancer too.” (13). This leans towards Begley’s pro perspective of germ-aline engineerings that genetic engineering should be approved to some sense with control. However, throughout the end of the passage, it is very clear that Begley’s stance lies as a counter argument against approving germ-aline engineerings.

Her use of diction has negative connotations when trying to persuade the readers that approving the germ-aline would cause a harmful impact to the community. For example she refers genetic mutation as a “sci-fi idea”(14) and “neurotic” (14). Another negative connotation she offers is her complex questions: “How soon might we design our children?”(15) and “Do we know where to stop?” (15) which makes the reader, myself, lean more towards the negative perspective of germ-aline engineerings. Not to also mention that the title of this passage is “Designer Babies”, where it is straight forwardly arguing that scientists will soon be able to design a child with their knowledge.

Despite the difficulties of configuring Begley’s stance or opinion on this issue until the very end, her overall use of rhetoric analysis throughout her writing is very effective, and her oppositional arguments strongly gave both positive and negative perspective of germ-aline engineering: She explained valid information on the method that may be used to stop a disease in an unborn child, but she also illustrated many scenarios that can occur if genetic engineering is not kept under control. I believe that the title, “Designer Babies”, alone brought a lot of attention and a valuable and debatable argument. Since she addressed the current issue of the germ-aline engineering and therapy before most cases were discussed, I found the her argument inductive.

Cite this Designer Babies

Designer Babies. (2016, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/designer-babies/

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