tinkering with the god God’s perfect design
… if there is no belief that people have worth and value beyond the natural world, then there really is no sound moral argument to made for not tinkering with the design. In fact, people who do not accept that we have a spiritual aspect to ourselves, can’t very well claim that we have a design at all. If we just sprouted up out of the universe randomly, than attempting to alter the very nature of ourselves is really no big deal. It’s not like anyone has intellectual property rights to us or anything. (Insanitybytes)
Here we face the typical accusation from religious types that because we don’t have an old book that we believe was written by an invisible god to refer to, those of us without belief in a creator deity can’t make sensible decisions. As I’ve said on countless occasions, this sense of morality isn’t a mysterious and magic, unfathomable feeling beamed down on us from a perfect being, but a mixture of some very obvious circumstances:
1. We live in co-operative societies where treatment is reciprocal. In any given so-called “moral dilemma” we obviously ask, how would I like to be treated, how would I like someone I love to be treated?
2. We look at the evidence available, what history shows us and analyse the potential positive and negative outcomes from as many angles as possible.
What is our dear friend Insanitybytes concerned with?
So, biological tinkering, that design I am compelled to constantly try to advocate for, manifests itself in so many ways, in attempting to rewrite the scripts between men and women, in trying to alter the reproductive rules, in manipulating DNA, in gene splicing and genetically manipulating crops, in biological warfare, in artificial intelligence, in great debates over religion and philosophy and ethics.
And here we get to the nutshell of a problem humanity faces as we try to progress – masses of people of a religious persuasion who can only make their arguments for and against innovation is terms of not ‘tinkering’ with a ‘design’. Let’s be clear, yes, humans often make a mess of things experimenting with change in areas that are only on the fringes of our understanding. These disasters often happen with the best of intentions, for example drugs meant to cure that have horrific, unintentional side effects. Does that mean we should stop using medicine because it’s ‘tinkering’ with your invisible god’s disease-filled creative vision for humanity? Few Christians would argue this is the case.
Perhaps we should stop using machinery, because the god God envisaged humans toiling on the land.
Perhaps women should endure drug-free birthing, because the god God envisaged women suffering for eternity as a punishment for Eve’s actions in the Garden of Eden. I’ve been informed by super-blogger Victoria Neuronotes, that this is indeed a belief held by some Christians.
Perhaps we should abandon all research into artificial intelligence, because the god God designed all the intelligence he desired, in the form of man (in which case why did he give humans the ability to do anything??)
When it comes to negative effects from GM crops, dodgy experiments on humans and animals, biological warfare, and every other questionable technological advance humans make, the objection should never be based on the grounds that an invisible deity would disapprove because he ‘designed’ it differently. Any objections should be based solely on what the balance of both short-term and long-term outcomes are for individuals, for society and for our planet as a whole, with reference to any financial or power motivations driving the decisions. We won’t always have the complete answer, but at least we’ll know our actions are logical and, in the true sense, moral.