Rhetorical Analysis: Are We Asking Our Scientists To Play God

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Mankind has always been motivated by the desire for progress, accomplishment, and empowerment. The exceptionally steep rate of technological development during the twentieth century starting with the invention of the zeppelin in 1900 and advancing to the creation of more sophisticated technologies such as the world wide web is evidence of this truth. In the midst of all of these impressive innovations, biological scientists developed recombinant DNA techniques that gave them the power to alter genetic material. As biotechnology has become more refined and the application of genetic engineering in both agricultural and medical fields has become more common, the practice has fallen victim to harsh scientific and ethical scrutiny. The debate is…show more content…
In response to the prospect of germline intervention as a genetic manipulation technique that could be used as a human enhancement, Peters shares that “some scientists and religious spokespersons are putting a chain across the gate to germline enhancement and with a posted sign reading, ‘Thou shalt not play God.’ A Time/CNN poll cites a substantial majority (58%) who believe altering human genes is against the will of God” (Peters). There are several rhetorical strategies that Peters uses in order to make his argument appear credible and therefore more persuasive. By referencing “scientists and religious spokespersons,” he creates the illusion of authority without any firm evidence in which to anchor his claims. In a much more direct way than Atwood, Peters manipulates an exceptionally recognizable allusion to the bible in order to make his own commandment: “Thou shalt not play God.” Since commandments are associated with divinity, Peters’s phrase is both blaringly reprimanding and opens the door to a wide range of religious considerations; however, even though such arguments often lack tangible or indisputable evidence, they still weigh in heavily on the reader’s conscience as God is the possessor of the ultimate…show more content…
Unlike many of the other authors examined thus far, Gert is much subtler in his argumentative approach by utilizing carful phraseology and ambiguity rather than decisive declarations. In the introduction of his article, Gert acknowledges that he is not an expert in genetics, but simply a philosopher setting out to resolve the controversy surrounding alteration of the human genome. After thoroughly describing his definition of morality, Gert claims, “The moral force of the objection [towards] genetic engineering… is that we do not know that there are no risks. A proper humility, that is, recognition that human knowledge is limited and that all human beings are fallible, is required for reliable moral behavior” (Gert 47). Aside from the authority that results from being published in a peer-reviewed journal, Gert writes in a rather serious and academic tone to prevent the reader from taking his words too lightly. By calling attention to the fact that “we do not know that there are no risks,” Gert’s argument transcends all limitations and fosters a creeping feeling of uncertainty and fear. In some aspects, opting to argue the general possibility of negative side effects of genetic engineering rather than naming specific possibilities enhances his argument as the
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