Written Work by Graham T. Baden
I cannot analyze Linda Markert’s position regarding biotechnology, xeno-transplantation, or cloning because, as this text is a chapter from a textbook, she has accordingly hedged her comments and posited a rather lukewarm argument. Markert presents a thorough case, showing both economic interests and religious anxieties, but carefully takes neither side. That being said, I will take a side without any hesitation (because I’m overly opinionated like that).
The cultural fear of biotechnology is based on a traditionalist vision of the future; one that has no foresight, only retrospect. As well, the capitalistic techno-centric modus operandi is the desperate pursuit of resources, and thus the centralization of power within the hands of the few. Those few are so committed to their acquisition of wealth-above-all that they fail to realize their stealing from their own children. Neither of these dualistic, narrow-minded binaries are sustainable, and will ultimately collapse. (see Marx, Memmi, Fanon, etc, etc) The sciences of the future, the manipulation of living matter, and the experimentation of what it will look like to be “conscious” in coming generations, are realities that our children will confront, even though they could not have decided it for themselves. In order to sustain our technological crescendo, and to ensure popular support, society must adopt two strong cultural shifts. Free, ubiquitous access to information and an unprejudiced posture towards the plurality of genders, species, and consciousnesses will be required to create a world that is ready for the eventual impacts of biotechnology.
Like Markert states pointedly, “society must manage and control the developments of biotechnology with foresight based on convergent thinking and systematic decision making.” (Markert, 2003, 51) Yes, we have to think a little further ahead than the end of our noses. Yes, we’ll need to utilize “convergent thinking,” but more than that, we need to let everybody know what we’re up to. I know I am not taking a popular position by suggesting that information (i.e. intellectual property) should be free and accessible to all, however, in the words of the open-source generation, “protect it as much as you want, we’re going to steal it anyway.” Further, as xenomorphs and clones become as commonplace as androids, we as a society will need to accept the new definitions of this so-called life. Otherwise we will be doomed to repeat and repeat the failures of previous generations of racists, misogynists, and bigots.