Ethics are a method of establishing the differences between right and wrong. So that people could work from a common base. It was felt that what man ought to do ,was not always based on rational and objective thoughts, beliefs and attitudes,Drowatzsky 1996. So the principle of the ideal objective observer was drawn upon,under the collective field of thought known as supernaturalism. Supernaturalism teaches us,that there is no tangible ideal observer. God is the only observer of that calibre. Man should base his actions and practices on what god would desire of him.
It was believed in doing so we would be doing the will of God;as the guidelines for what is right and wrong stem from the teachings of the bible. Conrlict is thrown up when addressing the problems that aethists face. Aethists are people who have kept the morals associated with their religious teachings,but have rejected the origins and the basis of those teachings. In this way supernaturalism is subject to ones relationship with God . As such,it will not be of benefit, to a porportion of society in deciding what is right or wrong ,in the course of ones actions, Gensler 1998.
The value of life is a stable value ,in terms or the teachings of the bible. With all lives being valued equally,irrespective of age, sex,race, religion,social status or there potential value. The original ethical teachings taught us this;the law upheld it and religion introduced it. Self preservation was the only instance when a life could be justifiably be taken,PerrettxxxxREF. Contemporary ethics on the other hand claims to assert this right ,on the condition that the individual has got a consciencious interest in their own future. That they have potential as human beings in the temple of society.
There are other instances ,where the sancitity of life is not upheld;for an ongoing list of rational and justifible reasons. The list unfolds as ethics committities are faced with the introduction of new technologies,which can manipulate humanities existance. Forcing us to look at new problems. In some cases solutions may be defined but from whose perspective. It is not only our early ethical teachings that were based on the belief that God was the giver of life, and shoul have the sole right to take it away. The basis of our criminal system was also adament in its stand for the sancitity of life.
If one is to live in a society that does not value life,it is a society not worth living in,Cohen 1998. Cohen refers to tht introduction of technology as a minefield for conflict. With the introduction of the respirator machine for example. Life can be manipulated at the whim of their operators The shortening of life by only a few seconds, is classed in law, as murder. So, who is playing God;what are their qualifications;and where are the boundaries. For the purpose of this essay the author aims to focus on the role that technology has played in the field of genetics and reproduction.
As it is through reproduction we as a species maintain our sustainability for future generations. Our actions today will have an impact on their values attitudes and beliefs. Bauman cites Beck ,Bauman 1992,who states that in our quest for industrialization,be it in the form of progress or modernisation ;we have over stepped the mark and we are now living in what he calls arisk society. A systematic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities,induced and introduced by modernisation itself Beck 1992,Bauman 1996
Initially all technological advances are seen for what they can do ,and this is how they are judged . What maladie can this new invention cure,how will it benefit mankind. But the drawbacks or problems that technological advance may cause are not obvious and may only become apparent with time. By than it may be too late. As society gets hold of new technological advances ,we have far too often been foolishly led to, believe that as the know how is available there is no further need of its justification for being.
Science does not hold a clearly defined goal,as the development of new technologies is a method of dissociating ourselves from past inefficicncies,and traditions which in todays society ,may be percieved as embarrassing,cumbersome and not a good example of just how far man can push himself . We need to reach the very limit of a limitless goal. Science does not contain any order as each technician is trying to outdo the next. Making their invention ,more ,better and bigger by varying degrees this way or that.
Science makes itself indispensible ,by throwing up new problems that only themselves can solve,Bauman 1996. It is as though the problems which arise through technological fixes are insolvable as they represent a bottomless pit,Black Bauman 1996. “Female biology is grounded in principles and practices of childbearing”Szikla 1996. The role of women has been predominately been determined by men who have held up their ideas of what the ideal woman should be. In the past it was men who defined the boundaries of what the ideal woman should aspire to,hoa she should present herself and behave.
A womans role was traditionally viewed as caregivers and mothers. Women had been judged on how well they performed this role,and by the value of their offspringWith the womans liberation movement ,Women have found means and ways of penetrating higher working positions and have demanded to be viewed at an equal level to menREF .Man has successfully been able to harness the natural behaviour of the female reproductive system. ;through the development of technological interventions made possible by the accumulation of scientific knowledge and understanding.
The first test tube baby was born in 1978 as a result of invitro fertilization,this was to become a major landmark within the medical sphere , it paved the way to a new age of conception and has made it possible for women to leave their childbearing years to a time when it would make more practical sense. DEVELOP When prenatal screening was first being developed its primary function was to put the mothers mind at rest,that all was well with her baby. The aim was to result in a less anxiety ridden pregnancy. But what if the mother is than faced with the possibility that her child is deformed or handicapped in any way.
She is than faced with the decision of whether she should abort that baby or not ;a decision that she hoped and felt she may not have had to face. This would surely counteract the original purpose of the exercise ,Szikla 1996. Amniocenthesis is performed by sampling the fluid from around the amniotic sac ,it is used to detect down syndrome and other abnormalities,Hutchinson 1998. Mothers may feel that they have a duty to undergo such testing ,as it is in the best interests of the child. These tests have not been proven to be 100 percent correct ,and have been known to result in spontanious abortions of healthy foetuses .
REFSociety puts demands on us to be perfect . This may be extended to what we produce. This may result in mothers deciding to abort through a sense of duty and not always a sense of choice. Utilitarianism and consequentilism ,are based on sililar beliefs . The former focuses on how actions should be taken in order to produce the greatest good for the largest proportion of society;the latter tells us that actions should be taken in order to maximise good consequenses,Gensler,YEAR. Geiger argues that just because an action is believed to maximise good consequenses for the majority .
It does not mean that the actions themselves are good. Actions that are taken from this ethical perspective ,may in fact be performed,in order to produce immediate gratification. Human thought processes may not be engaged in order to see the broad consequences of those action. Furthermore the vast majority may be happy to go along with an action,believing that the consequences will produce justifiably good results. But they may be ill informed ,and so ,their actions are not based on rational judgement. An example of this misled sense of duty ,being manipulated for immoral and unethical actions is the holocaust.
In which the nazis believed that by being antisemetic;they would produce the greatest good. They were led to believe that they were the master race. The consequenses of Hitlers power was the elimination of thousanda of Jews,handicapped adults,and those who were percieved to be of a devient nature,by those who were placed in a position of authority. There was atime when Hitlers ethnic cleansing regieme was deemed to be unethical and bad ;but in these days of postmodernism it seems that anything goes ,Bauman 199 .
And although the contemporary mrthod of ethnic clensing hides behind a smokescreen of ethical committes ,laws and scientists,it still remains in the form of prenatal screening tests and cloning. By threatening the lives of handicapped foetuses ,Byrne claimes that we are threatening the lives of adults in a similar position,Byrne 1990 . How far we cango in the future is limitless as we have already discussed ,as there are no limits to what can or cannot be tolerated;Todays society is made up of a few in power and the rest of us wait watch and eventually applaud their efforts. Because they will tell us what we want to hear.