Limiting Science

What to do when it starts to hurt us and the places we live

Combined Editorial

Oh, opinions.


The roar of opinions drowns out logic, facts and sometimes even proper manners. No one wants to hear opinions anymore, especially during an election year. It’s practically warfare! We understand that no one wants to hear opinions. However, there are some opinions that are becoming dangerous and must be addressed. So if you’re getting sick of hearing what other people think, you’d better grin and bear it. These opinions in relation to the limitless state of scientific research and development need to be heard-- and changed.


Science as a whole has brought about countless beneficial innovations, however, when it begins to extend into the gray areas in regards to morals and safety, limits must be established.


Gray areas in science? Trust us. There are plenty. Gray areas happen when science makes an attempt to do good at the expense of the environment, safety or human lives. We want to examine and debunk four opinions that extend into the gray areas. These include opinions about the growth of GMOs, the destruction of embryos to harvest stem cells, the development of deadly biochemical weapons and the unmonitored experimentation with Artificial Intelligence.


Opinion number one: The growth of GMOs will not harm humans or the environment.


This is not true. “Genetically engineered foods are hurting more people than they are helping” and it has been shown in several studies that genetically modified corn has presented harmful effects on the livers and kidneys of rats (Ellie). It has also been shown that the pollen of GM corn can land on milkweed, the main food source for the monarch butterfly, and kill the butterfly. How can the opinion that GMOs do not harm the environment exist in light of studies such as these?


Opinion number two: Stem cell research is totally ethical.


The main argument in favor of this opinion claims that the embryos that are used in stem cell research have no nervous system or consciousness and they, therefore, are not considered humans. In the eyes of stem cell research supporters, this justifies the destruction of a human embryo. However, in a normal pregnancy, “the nervous system happens to be one of the first things to develop in the embryonic stages” (Samie). The argument that claims destroying embryos because they have no nervous system is invalid because embryos, if allowed to develop, will gain a nervous system and have a consciousness before anything else. Embryos are life and the good intentions of stem cell researchers cannot make the destruction of life more ethical.


Opinion number three: There should be no limits on biological warfare.


Biowarfare has been going on since the ancient times when the Romans took to “poisoning the wells of enemies of the state” and the Tartars used “victims of the bubonic plague by flinging them at their enemies” (Dallas). At the time this was bad enough, but as technology has developed, biowarfare has grown to be even uglier. It is a concern that bioweapons, in the wrong hands, could spread disease and death all over the world. Disease knows no borders. Many claim that biological weapons should be developed because they are cheap and fast acting, but the overall risks of the use of bioweapons outweigh any amount of money, making this opinion nothing more than absurd.


Opinion number four: The idea of artificial intelligence becoming a threat is stuff of science fiction.


This, of all of the opinions listed above, is the most logical and stable viewpoint. It seems impossible that robots could possibly take over the world. Even though a “robot apocalypse” will not likely occur any time soon, limitations must still be placed on how robots are used in the world (Erica). The concern of a robot acting as a human and convincing companies and families to give out “important information such as credit card and social security numbers… to a potential malignant source” is a very real one (Erica). If the evolution of robots and robotic technology is not limited, the intelligence that humans have developed could become the intelligence that humans cannot control. As bizarre as this may seem, AI going unchecked could spell real disaster for humans all over the world.


It’s easy to brush of the opinions of others when they do not affect you. However, these dangerous opinions affect the safety, health and morality of everyone-- whether you care about them or not. The best defense against dangerous ideas is information. Stay informed about these opinions. Unchecked, they could be destructive. Unchecked, they could be more than just opinions-- they could be monstrous.



Sammie True: Stem Cells

Samie True

Mrs. Harrison

Brit Lit Per 7

3-3-16

Making a Monster of Morality: The Argument for Limiting Stem Cell Research

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein with the intention of cultivating horror in her readers. She takes amazing scientific advances and spins them into a tale of blood curdling terror, meant to force readers into a careful respect for science. The lesson of Mary Shelley's horror story is being ignored in the scientific field today, especially in the area of the code for all life on earth-- genetics. Geneticists in charge of stem cell research today are under the impression that toying with life, just as Victor Frankenstein did, will have no consequences. They are wrong in this assumption, and they overlook the fact that this research has already numbed their morals as human beings. Although stem cells offer infinite possibilities for the advancements of medical science, the heedless waste of life that is displayed in stem cell research proves that when just anyone becomes an inventor or an innovator and science goes without limits, morals are abandoned and monsters are created.

The argument against stem cell research includes many compelling points, but there are several that are very striking, including the complete disregard for human life and morals, the lack of limitations on the research and the absence of significant results after almost twenty years. 1998 was the first time that stem cell research reared its ugly head in the scientific spotlight. With the introduction of stem cells came the promise of cures. Scientists claimed that it had the power to create new muscles, nerves and bones. This promise, bearing striking similarities to Mary Shelley’s horror story, came as an inspiration for scientists and medical experts. However it came at a price. The medical advancements could only be gained by sacrificing the life of a human embryo. The only limits that were put on the research that is in essence murder required that the embryos were “created using in vitro fertilization for reproductive purposes and were no longer needed for this purpose” and that the embryo was “donated by individuals who sought reproductive treatment and who gave voluntary written consent for the human embryos to be used for research purposes” (“Embryonic Stem Cells”). Despite its complete lack of limits, stem cell research has shown no results in turning research into actual treatments. It has been eighteen years since scientists “removed the mass of stem cells from a blastocyst and were able to grow a line of human embryonic stem cells in the laboratory” and no advancements have come out of embryonic stem cell research (“Stem Cells”). Several patients have received treatments for blindness provided by stem cells, but little progress has come from these treatments, and scientist were unable to call them successes. Why have limitations not been placed on this unsuccessful science? Why have morals and ethics not played a role in stem cell research? Limitations must be placed on the science of toying with human life, especially when that life cannot yet defend itself.

Those in support of stem cell research use several arguments to defend the science. Many would claim that the destruction of the embryo is ethical because embryos are not humans, stem cell research will save “real” humans and that the promise of stem cells cannot be matched by any other type of research. Many claim that “the embryos destroyed in stem cell extraction have no nervous systems and thus have no consciousness or awareness” (“Stem Cells”). This, to them, justifies the use of humans to further medical science. There is also the argument that claims that the sacrifice of embryos will save the lives of “real” humans. They claim that if this research were to turn into real cures, it would save hundreds of people, keep families together and practically eliminate all suffering caused by diseases. To them, the ends justify the means and they can overlook the lives of the embryos they are destroying. They argue that their research “protects life” by taking lives. The argument might here be raised that the embryos that are used by stem cell researchers were never going to grow to be human beings anyway, so why not use them for scientific advantages? Lastly, supporters of stem cell research hold that stem cells are the only way to make advancements in the medical field. For research and for cures, supporters believe that nothing, not even morals, should stand in the way. As a whole, this group of stem cell research supporters believes that science does not need to be limited because the advancements and results are much more important than the means of getting those results.

In a world full of terrible illnesses and debilitating diseases, the research for a cure-all medical breakthrough makes sense. As a race, we would not destroy human embryos if we did not feel the crushing hopelessness of loss and sickness. In this light, stem cell research is understandable. That does not, however, make it acceptable. Stem cell research is not a medical advancement, but a desperate effort to save mankind from suffering, and every justification given by stem cell supporters is evidence. For example, stem cell supporters claim that they are not killing humans because embryos have no nervous system or consciousness. However, embryos are beginning to develop a brain, a heart and a spinal cord. The nervous system happens to be one of the first things to develop in the embryonic stages during a normal pregnancy. So what makes the embryos in stem cell research different from a regular embryo? The fact that the baby is in a petri dish? No. The fact that stem cell research only uses the “leftovers” from fertilization clinics does not justify stem cell research or differentiate an embryo in a lab from the embryo inside its mother’s womb. Secondly, attention must be called to the vast amount of attention that has been given to stem cell research when, in reality, it is not the only concept that could radically advance science. A recent experiment showed that scientists were able to change an adult skin cell into a cell that was very similar to an embryonic stem cell. Charles Vacanti, an expert in the study of stem cells at Brigham and Women’s Hospital holds that “it may not be necessary to create an embryo to acquire embryonic stem cells” any longer (“Researchers create embryonic stem cells without embryo”). Why has no effort been poured into this field of research that could save the lives of so many and protect against the creation and destruction of human embryos for the sake of science? Finally, what makes humans believe that we are entitled to scientific advancement at any cost? Where is it written that we can put certain lives aside to save others?

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was meant to cultivate respect and put limits on what science should be able to do. Mad passion for science drove Victor Frankenstein to his deathbed. He faced the ultimate consequences for drinking of the “intoxicating draught” that is the knowledge and power that science can bring (Shelley 25). Victor Frankenstein took into his own hands power that did not belong to him and he regret it deeply. Humans ought to learn from the fiction of Frankenstein and turn from the enticing power of stem cells by placing not only a limitation on the science, but a ban. Science must be limited for the sake of life and morals, but most of all, to keep the humans from becoming the monsters.




Works Cited

"Embryonic Stem Cell Research." AAMC. The Association for American Medical College, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.

Nobes, Patrick, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Frankenstein. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.

Schroth, Lori J. "Researchers Create Embryonic Stem Cells without Embryo." Harvard Gazette. Brigham and Women’s Hospital Communications, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.

"Stem Cells." Opposing Views. Opposing Viewpoints, n.d. Web.



Ellie Wellensiek: GMOs

Ellie Wellensiek

Mrs. Harrison

Brit Lit P.7

4 March 2016

GMO’s: Problem or Solution?


Technological advancements these days seem to always question whether humanity is going too far. In some cases it may seem that way, but it’s always important to properly weigh out the pros and cons before forming an opinion on whether certain scientific progress should have, or already has reached it’s limit. However in this case, when it comes to GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, the consequences far exceed the benefits. GMOs prove that science should indeed have limits becuase when it comes to our health and safety, we shouldn’t compromise that for profit. The innovation and idea behind GMOs may have had good intentions at first, but any good inventor must realize that when repercussions involve serious health issues, that maybe their invention is more of a problem than a solution.


Genetically Modified Organisms are “living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering” (Non GMO Project). This relatively new science lets otherwise organic combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature, taste and look better as well as last longer through crossbreeding. Genetically modifying food seems like a good idea when it means farmers can make more money, but in retrospect this is a selfish solution when our bodies and the environment gets the short end of the stick. Genetically engineered foods are hurting more people than they are helping, and that just shows that certain inventions that are deemed “unnatural” aren’t necessary if they pose a threat to our lives.


Another term used for GMOs are “Frankenfoods” because essentially nature is being tampered with. In the book Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley the monster's creator, victor, is more interested in his scientific goal than the lives he may destroy in his path when he says, “One man's life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought” (Shelley). This similarly parallels to farmers and how they care more about their well being than the rest of the world’s, if it means they get a profit.


Although some people believe that GMOs can get more food to people faster, this isn’t as true as we wish it was. People are still starving around the world no matter the amount of food America claims they can produce when genetically modifying it. This so called scientific advancement isn’t advancing anything other than their jobs. GMOs are a threat to our environment, and even if they slightly help the economy, our environment must always come first. Many studies have proved that GMOs are unsafe and dangerous to the environment. There’s the International Journal of Biological Sciences, which revealed “adverse effects of GM corn on rats’ livers and kidneys” and not to mention the recent studies that show “loss of biodiversity” and “Insects may soon evolve into stronger, more virulent species that are tolerant to the pesticide embedded in genetically modified plants” (Genetically Modified Food).


Science like this needs it’s limitation becuase it’s simple, GMO’s aren’t solving anything as much as they just create more problems. Our environment, and our overall health and well being are far more important than making our food last longer on the shelves. When it comes to our food we want good, fresh foods, and if that means smaller grapes and bruised apples, I’d prefer that any day over being unhealthy.


















Works Cited


"GMO Facts." The NonGMO Project RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.


"Genetically Modified Food." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2015.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.


Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. Madrid, España: Edimat Libros, 2000. Print.


Erica Young: Artificial Intelligence

Samie True

Mrs. Harrison

Brit Lit Per 7

3-3-16

Making a Monster of Morality: The Argument for Limiting Stem Cell Research

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein with the intention of cultivating horror in her readers. She takes amazing scientific advances and spins them into a tale of blood curdling terror, meant to force readers into a careful respect for science. The lesson of Mary Shelley's horror story is being ignored in the scientific field today, especially in the area of the code for all life on earth-- genetics. Geneticists in charge of stem cell research today are under the impression that toying with life, just as Victor Frankenstein did, will have no consequences. They are wrong in this assumption, and they overlook the fact that this research has already numbed their morals as human beings. Although stem cells offer infinite possibilities for the advancements of medical science, the heedless waste of life that is displayed in stem cell research proves that when just anyone becomes an inventor or an innovator and science goes without limits, morals are abandoned and monsters are created.

The argument against stem cell research includes many compelling points, but there are several that are very striking, including the complete disregard for human life and morals, the lack of limitations on the research and the absence of significant results after almost twenty years. 1998 was the first time that stem cell research reared its ugly head in the scientific spotlight. With the introduction of stem cells came the promise of cures. Scientists claimed that it had the power to create new muscles, nerves and bones. This promise, bearing striking similarities to Mary Shelley’s horror story, came as an inspiration for scientists and medical experts. However it came at a price. The medical advancements could only be gained by sacrificing the life of a human embryo. The only limits that were put on the research that is in essence murder required that the embryos were “created using in vitro fertilization for reproductive purposes and were no longer needed for this purpose” and that the embryo was “donated by individuals who sought reproductive treatment and who gave voluntary written consent for the human embryos to be used for research purposes” (“Embryonic Stem Cells”). Despite its complete lack of limits, stem cell research has shown no results in turning research into actual treatments. It has been eighteen years since scientists “removed the mass of stem cells from a blastocyst and were able to grow a line of human embryonic stem cells in the laboratory” and no advancements have come out of embryonic stem cell research (“Stem Cells”). Several patients have received treatments for blindness provided by stem cells, but little progress has come from these treatments, and scientist were unable to call them successes. Why have limitations not been placed on this unsuccessful science? Why have morals and ethics not played a role in stem cell research? Limitations must be placed on the science of toying with human life, especially when that life cannot yet defend itself.

Those in support of stem cell research use several arguments to defend the science. Many would claim that the destruction of the embryo is ethical because embryos are not humans, stem cell research will save “real” humans and that the promise of stem cells cannot be matched by any other type of research. Many claim that “the embryos destroyed in stem cell extraction have no nervous systems and thus have no consciousness or awareness” (“Stem Cells”). This, to them, justifies the use of humans to further medical science. There is also the argument that claims that the sacrifice of embryos will save the lives of “real” humans. They claim that if this research were to turn into real cures, it would save hundreds of people, keep families together and practically eliminate all suffering caused by diseases. To them, the ends justify the means and they can overlook the lives of the embryos they are destroying. They argue that their research “protects life” by taking lives. The argument might here be raised that the embryos that are used by stem cell researchers were never going to grow to be human beings anyway, so why not use them for scientific advantages? Lastly, supporters of stem cell research hold that stem cells are the only way to make advancements in the medical field. For research and for cures, supporters believe that nothing, not even morals, should stand in the way. As a whole, this group of stem cell research supporters believes that science does not need to be limited because the advancements and results are much more important than the means of getting those results.

In a world full of terrible illnesses and debilitating diseases, the research for a cure-all medical breakthrough makes sense. As a race, we would not destroy human embryos if we did not feel the crushing hopelessness of loss and sickness. In this light, stem cell research is understandable. That does not, however, make it acceptable. Stem cell research is not a medical advancement, but a desperate effort to save mankind from suffering, and every justification given by stem cell supporters is evidence. For example, stem cell supporters claim that they are not killing humans because embryos have no nervous system or consciousness. However, embryos are beginning to develop a brain, a heart and a spinal cord. The nervous system happens to be one of the first things to develop in the embryonic stages during a normal pregnancy. So what makes the embryos in stem cell research different from a regular embryo? The fact that the baby is in a petri dish? No. The fact that stem cell research only uses the “leftovers” from fertilization clinics does not justify stem cell research or differentiate an embryo in a lab from the embryo inside its mother’s womb. Secondly, attention must be called to the vast amount of attention that has been given to stem cell research when, in reality, it is not the only concept that could radically advance science. A recent experiment showed that scientists were able to change an adult skin cell into a cell that was very similar to an embryonic stem cell. Charles Vacanti, an expert in the study of stem cells at Brigham and Women’s Hospital holds that “it may not be necessary to create an embryo to acquire embryonic stem cells” any longer (“Researchers create embryonic stem cells without embryo”). Why has no effort been poured into this field of research that could save the lives of so many and protect against the creation and destruction of human embryos for the sake of science? Finally, what makes humans believe that we are entitled to scientific advancement at any cost? Where is it written that we can put certain lives aside to save others?

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was meant to cultivate respect and put limits on what science should be able to do. Mad passion for science drove Victor Frankenstein to his deathbed. He faced the ultimate consequences for drinking of the “intoxicating draught” that is the knowledge and power that science can bring (Shelley 25). Victor Frankenstein took into his own hands power that did not belong to him and he regret it deeply. Humans ought to learn from the fiction of Frankenstein and turn from the enticing power of stem cells by placing not only a limitation on the science, but a ban. Science must be limited for the sake of life and morals, but most of all, to keep the humans from becoming the monsters.




Works Cited

"Embryonic Stem Cell Research." AAMC. The Association for American Medical College, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.

Nobes, Patrick, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Frankenstein. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.

Schroth, Lori J. "Researchers Create Embryonic Stem Cells without Embryo." Harvard Gazette. Brigham and Women’s Hospital Communications, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.

"Stem Cells." Opposing Views. Opposing Viewpoints, n.d. Web.


Dallas Dusel: Biological Warfare


Dallas Dusel

Period 7

03/03/2016

Harrison



Biological Warfare and the threat it poses to Global Populations and National Security


Biological Warfare is a significant factor when it comes to the health of human life and how it can be used to commit near genocidal actions. Quick, unforgivable and worryingly efficient, biological warfare can cause massive destruction. The effects are instantaneous and it can be used without nearly any warning, unleashing havoc on anything it comes in contact with. As the human species advances in science, it must take proper precautions to limit the use of biological warfare in the international community.

Limiting not the advancement of science, but of the moral codes that govern the modern scientist is the responsible way to prevent our self-created destruction. As we learn how diseases and chemicals affect the human body, it is easy to manipulate them to have a purposeful intent of harm. Guidelines that limit the production of weaponized discovery should help prevent this. Experimenting with dangerous and virulent diseases allows us to produce remedies and treatments to cure them. Medical intent is where this experimentation should be stopped at, the information on how deadly the disease is, how fast it spreads, how quickly it kills cannot intermingle with militarization. From Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, “ In other studies you go as far as others have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder. (4.2)”, science is a never ending endeavor, we will never be done using and discovering it. However learning so much can lead to a misuse of knowledge, one that can wipe millions within seconds.


Biological warfare uses some of the most prolific and deadliest killers known to man. Uses in ancient times include the romans poisoning the wells of enemies of the state and Tatars using the victims of the bubonic plague by flinging them at their enemies. In 1972, the Biological Weapons Convention (WBC) outlawed all biological warfare and biological agent development. Currently 170 nations have signed the treaty. However, “rogue nations” including terrorist groups find biological warfare to be cheap, inexpensive and massively efficient. States spend millions of dollars are spent every year to counter bioterrorism. This includes cheap and easy ways to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases that are products of biological. Since the Anthrax and Terrorist attacks in 2001, the United States has spent millions of dollars in licensing and distributing vaccines for Anthrax poisoning and Smallpox infections.







Works Cited Page


"Introduction to Biological Warfare: Opposing Viewpoints." Biological Warfare. Ed. William

Dudley. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.


Block, Steven M. "The Growing Threat of Biological Weapons." American Scientist 89.1 (2001):

28.Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.


Nobes, Patrick, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Frankenstein. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.







Big image
Big image