Playing God

How far would you go in using medical technology to enhance your life?

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Comments (6)

(5) Gary Burk, December 8, 2012 6:14 AM

Yes, I would try to improve as much as possible

We need not be concerned about our doing something un-natural. Nature's laws are unbreakable, no police or courts are needed to enforce them. We should be concerned about optimizing our life, and, as always, that's the rub. If we were to Know that a man-made enhancement was safe and certain, of course we should use it. That's the advantage of survival by adaptive intelligence instead of physical attributes. In reality, we never know, for sure, of the consequences of actions, so this simplistic "Of course I'd use safe enhancements" is not much help. We live "on the slippery slope" and must always observe,study, think, and decide - well knowing we are fallible and there is a risk of error. There is no algorithm or recipe to guarantee a good life.

(4) Anonymous, December 7, 2012 2:46 AM

Rabbi, G-D gave us the ability to create such wonderful life changing drugs and operations. If I knew that by taking something or doing something I would not be harming my body yet improving my life I would. What if my taking these pills a young man or woman has the ability to change the world or their community. Maybe, they have the personality to become a great Rabbi who can bring Jews closer to Judasim yet he is lagging in the ability to get accepted to the best Yeshiva were he will need to receive his Rabbanical license in order to be taken seriously. This is just the start of possible potentials available.

(3) Tami, December 6, 2012 3:38 AM

only for genetic diseases...

No, I wouldnt take it. I know I'm fully capable of learning everything without drugs; No, I wouldn't modify any part of my body to get better results in anything. I think people are going too far on that... The advantage I could take out of the science and medicine going so far is selecting my genes and my future husband's genes (whoever he is) so that my future children don't have genetic diseases, such as diabetes (that part of my family has it when they get to their 50s... and its very hard :/). So, yeah, for the sake of my children, Id pick the best genes for them, if possible, so that they dont suffer in the future... (even though im still faaaar from having kids haha). It's a good reason, don't you think?

(2) SusanE, December 4, 2012 12:55 AM

Everybody wants the easy way.

Most of my friends have new lenses in their eyes after cataract surgery and no longer have to wear glasses. Many friends have had some form of cosmetic surgery. Smaller tummies, fuller lips, bigger curves, hair implants, better smiles from tooth implants, Lasik surgery to cure near-sightedness. . Friends have new knees, new hips, cochlear implants to hear better. Seems technology is already an old accepted practice to make us better. My friend had electrodes implanted in both sides of her brain to make her function better while living with Parkinsons. Would I use technology to be better, feel better, perform better......... I don't know, maybe if the risks weren't too great. Remember the tide of diet pills back in the 70's. The advent of Birth control pills that easily prevented pregnancy? Millions took them. Most musicians who had incredibly sucessful carreers in music during the 60's and 70's wrote and played while on cocaine and other mind altering drugs. Look how many mothers have put their little children on Ritalin cause they are too active? Rabbi, People drug to sleep, stay awake, feel happy, feel calm, get a high, have fun, and hallucinate. Used to cast a broken bone. Now technology does surgery, opens the area and pins, screws and put rods in where the breaks are. The surgery is sometimes worse than the break. No one wants inconvenience or discomfort. I worry for the whole world. Thank you for your video.

(1) TMay, December 2, 2012 11:50 PM

first reaction

I do not want me, my cats, to be guinea pigs. That is my reaction to GMO's, Genetically Modified Organisms, BT, in food. They are changing the DNA of plants, animals, fish. It can spread way beyond where it was used. It is created in a lab not by cross-breeding within a species. It is cross species. Some farmers, labs complain about infertility in the offspring, and cancer, leaky gut, misery. Where is the quality control? If we really don't know what we are doing, how can we have quality control? I will ask a scientist when I meet one, but if a horse mates with a donkey, they have an infertile mule, because the gap between a horse and a donkey is too large. How then do they rationalize putting frog cells into tomatoes, eel cells into salmon. We were told that the cells die when we digest the food. A study at University of Sherbrooke found that the toxin producing living organism put into corn to kill corn eating insects is not digested, but alive and well within us and producing toxins, in me, you, in pregnant women, it crosses the fetal barrier, is in infants in utero. The companies that make money from this, Monsanto's atty Michael Taylor is the Food Safety Czar of the US. The testing takes place at the company. The testing lasts days. They do not make the experiment long enough to test the health of the offspring of the animals fed the stuff. There is crony capitalism. When they stop working for the FDA, the USDA they go back to their corporate positions. They give huge amounts to politicians, more than other companies. Conflict of interest. The US govt pushes this stuff on less developed countries. It is banned or labeled in sth like 62 countries, but not here. I am worried about the effect on bees. who pollinate our food, and also the effects on the soil. We are getting super bugs, super weeds. This is like feathers in the wind. You let it go, the seed blows into nature and into surrounding farms. Once you alter DNA it is changed forever. Eat organic.

Robert, December 6, 2012 5:59 PM

Scientist response

Not all of your information is correct here. BT is a type of bacteria that produces a toxin that kills certain insects ( This bacteria is used as a biological control of insects in some organic farming practices ( Some companies now have a way to produce only the toxin and sell that as a pesticide. The gene that produces the toxin has been genetically engineered into some crop plants. If the toxin is used as a pesticide, simple washing produce will remove the toxin. The question is whether BT toxin produced by a crop will cause problems when we eat the toxin. I do not know the answer to this question, but I do know that many studies have been done. One cannot put frog cells into a tomato. One can take specific genes from a frog and put that gene into a tomato. I do not know if there is halacha with regard to this sort of "breeding," and I do not know if this would be considered crossing between species since only one gene out of >20,000 is being taken from a frog and placed in a tomato. One gene out of >20,000 does not make a frog. The reason for failure in crossing two species is that their entire genome is different and not "compatible." It is not that a single gene differs by so much that the cross fails. Failure in this case is much more complicated. With all that said, I do prefer organic but because I do not like ingesting some of the pesticide residuals that are likely present.


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