Now that we have the scientific technology to alter people’s genes, should society allow for the alteration of human genes to eliminate criminal predispositions or to improve upon desirable traits? Use scholarly resources to support your explanations. *Here scholarly references REQUIRES citing of PSYCHOLOGY and CRIMINOLOGY specific scholarly references. Citing websites should be MINIMAL and should only include .org, .gov, or .edu cites. The expectation is that you review scholarly articles, journals, books…..not just the Internet.
Title: The Ethical Dilemma of Human Gene Alteration: Balancing Criminal Predispositions and Desirable Traits
Recent scientific advancements in genetic engineering have opened up possibilities for altering human genes. As society contemplates the ethical implications of this technology, one pressing question emerges: Should we allow the alteration of human genes to eliminate criminal predispositions or enhance desirable traits? This debate resides at the intersection of psychology, criminology, and ethics. This paper will critically analyze the arguments for and against gene alteration, drawing on scholarly sources to support our exploration.
Overview of Gene Alteration Technology
Gene alteration technology, such as CRISPR-Cas9, allows for the precise editing of DNA sequences in human beings. With the power of this technology, scientists can potentially eliminate or modify specific genes associated with criminal predispositions and enhance traits deemed desirable by society. However, before considering the ethical implications, it is crucial to examine the scientific basis for linking genes to criminality and the potential for altering human traits.
Genetics and Criminal Predispositions
Understanding the genetic basis of criminal predispositions is a complex and ongoing area of research. Numerous studies have examined the potential influence of genes on criminal behavior. For example, twin and adoption studies have consistently demonstrated that genetic factors contribute to variations in antisocial behavior (Rhee & Waldman, 2002). Furthermore, specific genetic variants, such as those related to neurotransmitters and impulsivity, have shown associations with criminal behavior (Beaver et al., 2013; Gao et al., 2018).
It is important to note that genetic factors are just one piece of the puzzle. Environmental and social factors also play significant roles in the development of criminal behavior. The interplay between these factors is complex, and it would be reductionist to attribute criminality solely to genetics. Therefore, gene alteration as a means to eliminate criminal predispositions should be approached with caution.
Enhancement of Desirable Traits
In addition to targeting criminal predispositions, gene alteration technology holds the potential for enhancing desirable traits. Enhancements could range from improving cognitive abilities to enhancing physical attributes. However, the notion of determining which traits are considered desirable raises ethical concerns. Who gets to decide what is desirable, and how might these determinations reinforce existing social inequalities?
Scholarly Perspectives on Genetic Alteration for Criminal Predispositions
Scholars have presented compelling arguments from diverse perspectives regarding the option to alter human genes to eliminate criminal predispositions. Proponents of gene alteration argue that it can potentially prevent individuals from engaging in criminal behavior, contribute to public safety, and reduce the burden on the criminal justice system. For example, the use of gene editing technology to eliminate genes associated with aggressive behavior could contribute to a reduction in violent crimes (Jones, 2017; Gershon, 2020).
However, critics caution against the societal implications of gene alteration for criminal predispositions. They argue that using gene editing to target specific genes associated with criminal behavior raises significant ethical concerns. The potential stigmatization of individuals with certain genetic profiles and prejudiced assumptions about their criminal tendencies could reinforce existing biases and lead to discrimination (Fowler, 2017). Moreover, the long-term consequences of altering genes related to criminal behavior are uncertain, and unintended consequences may arise due to the complex nature of gene-environment interactions (Duster, 2019).
Scholarly Perspectives on Genetic Alteration for Enhancing Desirable Traits
The possibility of gene alteration to enhance desirable traits has also garnered attention from scholars. Proponents argue that using gene editing technology to improve cognitive abilities or physical attributes can lead to various benefits. For instance, enhancing cognitive abilities could improve overall societal productivity, while improving physical traits could contribute to better health outcomes (Savulescu & Persson, 2012).
Conversely, critics caution against the unequal distribution of benefits that gene enhancement might bring. They argue that allowing gene editing for enhancing desirable traits may exacerbate existing societal inequalities. The wealthiest individuals or societies could feasibly afford such interventions, creating a further divide between the privileged and the less fortunate (Earp, 2018). Additionally, there is concern that pursuing enhancement technologies might divert society’s resources away from addressing more pressing concerns, such as poverty or education (Sandel, 2004).