Bioethics in Alodus Huxley s
A Brave New World
Biology is the science of living things, but with the advancements in the fields of technology many moral questions raise the eyebrows of the biologists all over the world. It used to be simple, observing organisms under a microscope, no harm is done. Now biology has expanded into many fields, filled with mines of morals ready to explode.
The results of advancements are all around us today. There are the good: greater knowledge of organisms, vaccines, and the greater knowledge of our own bodies. However to every good result there is also a bad or immoral result, such as, abortion and genetic engineering. The problem does not lie in the deed itself as much as it lies in the people who perform these actions. Many times doctors are technicians disposing medicine rather that one who relates to the patient in anyway possible(McCormick, 21). Ethical thoughts are blunted in a country with immoral values (McCormick, 21). More and more doctors forget the gift of life and make inhumane decisions. As in the medical procedures of euthanasia and abortion. As Richard A. McCormick stated, "The most basic value in the practice of medicine is obviously the sanctity of live." (21)
Alodus Huxley s novel, A Brave New World deals with many controversial moral conflicts. From the beginning of
the novel when Huxley introduces us to his world with ectogenesis (test tube babies) which is one of the most controversial religious and ethical dilemmas (Huxley, 1-17). Among the many other issues in A Brave New World are the Anthrax bomb (and germ warfare in general), hypnopaediae (implanting subconscious prejudices without letting the person know), and phosphorus recovery (taking minerals from dead bodies) (Huxley 1-247).
All of these things are part of Huxley s view of Utopia. Utopia being (in some sense or the other) a perfect world where humans live in peace with one another, However Huxley s vision of a world where the lives of millions are controlled by a select few and lives are created and categorized and where children are all trained to think alike is quite different from the more common views of Plato and Aristotle. The original vision of a perfect and just world was thought of by Plato and later repeated by Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, and Aquinas. However in around 1516 Utopia had lost the interest of the public and remained lost until the 19th Century. In their writings Utopia is a classless society surrounded in perpetual beauty, free from the pressures of modern society (Surtz, CLV).
The pressures of modern society brings us back to the main subject at hand, bioethics. Since the 1950 s new experiments have complicated moral issues and over the years bioethics have bee recognized as its own discipline. There are five many types of ethical problems, society's role on the individual, economic issues, death, research ethics, and reproductive medicine. Sometimes society forces a person to avoid treatment and endangers the community, resulting in society versus individual (U. Penn, 5). The increasing emphasis in the 1990 s was on the cost of life saving equipment, resulting in economic ethics U. Penn, 4). Some may think that death, however, may not raise that many questions but with advancements such as respirators, many wonder what the definition of clinically dead is (U. Penn, 2). Research often goes to extremes and can raise ethical questions when subjects are abused (U. Penn, 2). However the most controversial ethical issues is, without a doubt, reproductive medicine. There are many examples of this in the world today like, abortion, artificial insemination, and in vitro fertilization (U. Penn, 2-3). Finally the last and most recent ethical issue, although not listed as the sixth issue, is cloning. Recently scientists in Scotland cloned a sheep, name Dolly. From this incident many ethical supporters protested the cloning of animals. The main fight against this is that human being should not be creating life. These experiments, however, do have a positive side to them. By cloning sheep scientists are closer to cloning humans and in cloning humans they will be able to use the clones as test patients and will also be able to use clones for organs used in transplants. Again raising more ethical concerns.
With the ongoing research in the many fields of biology it is impossible to find a way of experimenting that will satisfy everyone. It is appalling though to see the methods that some scientists use on their patients or test subjects. It appears that many doctors, scientists, or biologists have lost their respect for the priceless gift of life. The scientists argument is good, they are performing these actions to further human society. Those supporting bioethics also have a good argument, should finding a way to further human society involve such brutal acts toward human lives? The argument has been fought for many years, and until there is no more disease, plague, and pestilence on the earth, the argument will continue.
Moore, John, et al. Biological Science: An Inquiry Into Life. New York: Havcoury, Brace, and World Inc., 1963
Huxley, Alodus. A Brave New World. New York : Harper Collier s Publishers, 1989
McCormick, Richard A. How Brave A New World : Dilemmas In Bioethics. London: SCM Press, 1981
Surtz, Edward, Hexter, John, ed. Complete Works of St. Thomas More. Forge Valley, 1965
Bioethics For Beginners. U of Pennsylvania. 15 November 1998 .