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Futurism – Wikiversity

Posted: December 24, 2018 at 4:47 am

Futurism in a general sense is concern with events and trends of the future or which anticipate the future. It was also an art movement begun in Italy in 1909 to celebrate and incorporate the energy and dynamism of modern technology. The art movement apparently ended in 1918. Perhaps it was interrupted by World War I.

Def. a "study and prediction of possible futures"[1] is called futurism.

"By combining the best of three different approaches to futurism--crisis futurism, evolutionary futurism, and spiritual futurism--we can realize vast human potentials and, perhaps, even attain the next stage of human evolution."[2]

Before hominins had large brains they first started walking upright. To evolve larger brains we need to be taller with appropriate support structure or we break our necks ever more often. To evolve the ability to fly we need to become smaller, have a lot of holes in our bones and fit our brains into a much smaller space. Or, we could invent aircraft and spacecraft and enjoy more recreational activity. There are always bills to pay.

"The effort to think systematically about the future began little more than a half-century ago, and the results so far have not been impressive. Today's futurists hope that more sophisticated methods will allow them to provide a better picture of what tomorrow may bring."[3]

Part of the problem with accurately predicting or trying to predict the future is that hedging and investment specialists are more likely to try to own the future and its inventors and inventions to maximize their gain, especially the more accurate the predictions become.

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Futurism - Wikiversity

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Futurism Revolt Against the Past and the Nation of Tomorrow …

Posted: December 24, 2018 at 4:47 am

In the manifestos of the Italian futurism, we face an assault on every ideal that is at the foundation of an exoteric conservative or nationalistic worldview. For the futurists, the past is a weakness: the art, morality and traditions of generations past are but chains which bind the artist and his heroic will in the foul catacombs of the dead. Instead the futurists proclaim a man of tomorrow, who at the threshold of modernity embraces every new, titanic power to its fullest extent, who does not hesitate to sacrifice all memories of olden times in order to rise towards the endless, empty skies. Art is no longer to be the painting hanging in a museum, but rather the smoke of industries, the roaring of fighter planes and the body of the brave Arditi, torn apart by artillery the new god of thunder.

On the surface, the futuristic art and its ideas might force some of the Right to renounce the movement; the futurists saw a higher beauty in the chaotic experimentalism of modernity than in the classical concepts of harmony and perfection, a higher virility in the passionate and short experience of the lover than in the stable bonds of family and marriage, and a higher dignity in the act of the absolute individual than in the care for the people and its traditions. They dreamed of a seemingly paradoxical nationalism without a past, which did not have its origin in the dull masses of the people, but rather in the heroic hearts of the chosen few, of the overmen of tomorrow.

Beauty is for the futurists not an abstract idea that can be captured by academicians or immortalized through a work of art, but rather a living thing, inseparable from the struggle and experiences of the artist himself.

In some senses, the futurists pushed modernity to its absolute limit, but it it is not difficult to sense the heroic qualities of their quest. Their writings are a summons toward sublime heroism and a beautiful death at the end of youth, and their paintings embody bravery, showing the pure act rendered through the explosive shrapnel of geometric forms in a dynamic sweep. The aim of this essay is to analyse the futurists from an Evolian point of view, and show how they almost managed to manifest a transcendent heroism through the forms of modernity, rather than against them and why they ultimately failed.

The futuristic revolt against the past stems from their identification of art with the artist. Like Nietzsche, they do not see any inherent value in external forms or ideas, but rather see value as something originating internally, something manifested through action by a superhuman will. Beauty is for the futurists not an abstract idea that can be captured by academicians or immortalized through a work of art, but rather a living thing, inseparable from the struggle and experiences of the artist himself. Art is in essence an act, and when it is completed, it is but a faint memory. Thus the elevation and study of old masters gives rise to a false beauty, in which the artist does not take part of his true art, but rather its residues; to emulate the old masters is to live through corpses instead of ones own, breathing body. So to take past forms as the sole origin for ones art becomes a complete castration of that arts true essence. Thus the futurists proclaim that There is no longer any beauty except the struggle. Any work of art that lacks a sense of aggression can never be a masterpiece. Art, politics and life itself are to be viewed as different faces, different struggles of the same, absolute will. But what is this will?

Evola himself characterized futurism as a chaotic dynamism, which would turn this will into a brute force stuck in a titanic rather than heroic worship of the future. It would thus be easy to dismiss futurism as an overreaction against the feminine and superficial in a word, bourgeois culture of Europe before the First World War. The futurists often declared sentimentalism to be their greatest enemy the weakness characterized by a romanticizing of beauty, of a perfect past and its heroes, together with a frail body and the incapability of recreating the life of those heroes in ones own flesh. The result of this sentimentalism is an art which is empty, mere petty aesthetics and abstract, passive ideals, easy to digest by the bourgeois in his salon. It is an art of a dead Europe.

To be sure, there is no worth in such a bourgeois mentality, but the fact that weak men cannot inherit and live the traditions of the past does not necessarily mean that the past in itself is worthless. Why should the past not be able to teach us about heroism, to show us how we should act in our time? Why should we not be able, for instance, to perceive the conquering spirit of the Caesars in their triumphal arcs why should these be dead forms, if we would possess the will to light again the flame of Empire?

There is no logical reason for this, but I believe there is a heroic reason an instinct to embrace a virile impulse in modernity, and to push it to its absolute extreme, playfully, as if it was just game. The Faustian curiosity to see what lies at the future side of the horizon of time, no matter the cost and sacrifices. I aim to show that this is an act which destroys ones ties with the forms of tradition, but which in its pure, heroic nihilism is also unbound and self-sufficient. Viewed in this manner, the futuristic will becomes more than a antithesis towards sentimentality; it becomes a genuine yearning towards something absolute, and which thus strives towards the transcendent origin of all traditions. It was a will, with more potential than any exoteric preservation of forms, to break through the descending cycle of modernity.

At the core of Tradition lies the duality of matter and spirit, of Becoming and Being. Firstly, Being is the foundation of everything, and the goal of every true Becoming an act which does not act towards Being is an act reduced to an empty form and worthless illusion, and it results in materialism, degeneration and modernity. Secondly, Being cannot be a part of Becoming, as a single being, with beginning and end, cant be the origin of the world which contains it an act which confuses Being with something Becoming results in idolatry and pseudo-tradition, and it might as well not know Being at all. Being is transcendent and devoid of all determinations, and without Becoming, it is indeed pure nothingness but through Becoming it lives, it manifests itself. Tradition is the act, whose origin is in Being and which transcends and elevates Becoming into a true manifestation. Tradition is to truly become who we are.

If the violent nihilism of the futurists uncovered purity, is their revolt against the past and their nation of tomorrow not greater than the sentimental love any ordinary nationalism or conservatism shows toward the past?

Now what does this make of the past and the ancestors? Every people, religion and civilization is something Becoming, and can only interpret Being, express it through the conditions of their existence and the unique qualities of their race. When Being is at the centre of existence, these expressions are true, absolute, and show the way towards transcendence they are Tradition. But if they have forgotten Being, they are but empty forms of the lowest plane of existence. Evola realizes that Tradition cannot be an abstract teaching or a specific form to be accepted passively, but that Tradition demands of its user a constant experience of Being and an active search for transcendence. The spirituality of Evola is not faith or dogmaticism, but rather heroism. Either through action or knowledge, it is only the heroic struggle of the chosen few, the true Aryans who possess a spiritual race above and beyond their material race, which can reach true Tradition. They are those who experience and live Being, those who show the way to their kin of a lower spiritual race, and they are the true and only origin of every Traditional people, religion or civilization.

So the past and the ancestors in themselves are neither the source nor essence of Tradition, and if Europe has forgotten Being, if it only knows the material forms of the past, if the old gods are truly dead, then what fault is there in revolting against the past? Is it not greater to search for that pure act, that transcendent heroism which knows no bounds and which is the source of everything valuable and beautiful in life? Evola himself had no patience for that backwards mentality which tries to recreate dead cultures or religions in order to attain a tradition it does not know how to live; he instead sought a way to manifest the spiritual essence of these past, dead things in his own time. If the violent nihilism of the futurists uncovered purity, is their revolt against the past and their nation of tomorrow not greater than the sentimental love any ordinary nationalism or conservatism shows toward the past?

To demonstrate that this is the true essence of futurism, the work Mafarka The Futurist is essential.

Written in 1909 by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the creator and leading figure of futurism, it is one of the movements earliest and most virile works. It is a violent and erotic story, which incorporates both mythical themes and brave avant-gardism in the depiction of an African warlord, the Arab Mafarka, who conquers the continent for the sake of his own will to power. But in his quest, Mafarka is constantly tormented by Woman on one hand he seeks her through the sexual union and pleasure of love, on the other hand he is disgusted by her. His solution is an ascetic renunciation of Woman: he seeks to build a son of metal, a son to whom he himself will give birth, without the need of Woman. Through his hermaphroditic death he gives life to the bird Gazourmah, who rises to rule over both heaven and earth.

The mythical themes of the novel resembles the Aryan concepts of sexuality, asceticism and transcendence as depicted by Evola. It is unclear whether Marinetti consciously used traditional themes in his prophetic depiction of the futurist spirit, or if he neared them unconsciously through the heroic essence of futurism, but if we accept the resemblances and apply Evolas teachings, the story of Mafarka unfolds as a story about the will to reach beyond, and futurism reveals itself as a movement of transcendent virility. Mafarka wants to reach beyond his enemies, beyond himself and beyond the whole world of Becoming, in order to carry Becoming upwards, back to pure Being, where Being and Becoming are united in their hermaphroditic origin. This interpretation of futurism goes further than Evola himself would, and maybe I am misguided, but I believe that it is able both to adequately explain the artistic and political theses of futurism, and to give an origin to the art of the futurists which matches its aesthetic impact.

If we view Being and Becoming through the suggestive duality of Man and Woman, as depicted by Evola in his metaphysics of sex, the original unity of Being and Becoming in Tradition is represented by the hermaphroditic unity of Man and Woman; but when Woman divides herself from Man, the fall of existence commences. Unity is shattered into multitude, time and space determine existence and man at bottom appears as someone dependent on matter and its forms, who believes it to be the his whole being. Woman has devoured and dominated Man, and he has become an individual, a hunger forever yearning for the illusions of matter. This is the essence of our dark age, the Kali Yuga, but there is a possibility of awakening, in which Man once more lays Woman under himself, devours her and carries her upwards. This is the turning point of the cycle, the end of times and the twilight of the gods; the domination of Woman is inseparable from the destruction of the world she has created, from the death of the individual and every single being, but at the end of the process, transcendent unity is reached. The force of Woman should not be condemned from any moralistic standpoint she is beyond all morals but rather it is the unity between Man and Woman which is required, in order for all illusions to vanquish, and a new golden age to dawn.

Male and female are not merely two genders, two biological facts, but rather the manifestation of the two powers, Being and Becoming, as Man and Woman. Thus the sexual encounter is not primarily the false immortality promised by the prolongation of a material species, but rather a potential experience of transcendence and the true, Aryan immortality of unity beyond the two. Evola shows how this transcendence is present in even the most profane love, but also how every transcendence has an inherently sexual character. In transcendence, the male Being once more conquers the female Becoming, and the heroic power needed for this feat is virility, understood as a transcendent and spiritual force.

Now Mafarkas simultaneous yearning towards and disgust for Woman is representative of the relationship between Man and his separated Woman in the Kali Yuga; on one hand Woman is the other part of existence, and he needs to be reunited with her and carry her upwards towards unity, but on the other hand she is the world of matter and darkness, and every contact with her is a loss of virility and an attachment to an illusionary existence. To wholly devour Woman, and not be devoured by her, is an extraordinary spiritual feat at the bottom of the cycle, and thus the greatness Mafarka seeks forces him into the celibacy of creating his own son.

To fully understand Aryan celibacy, we must first follow Evolas distinction of Woman into two different manifestations. The first is the mother and the wife, which Evola places as the lower of the two, as she seeks to bind man to herself, and force his unbound virility to serve the world of Becoming and the sub-personal species. The other is the lover, who can bring forth and serve the super-personal virility in Mans desire. It is also clear that the lover demands a higher type of man, lest she should be dangerous and dissolve him in his base desires: the higher the form is in Tradition, the higher is its demand of spiritual race in its user. It is known in Tradition that men are of different essences, of different spiritual races, which they must realize in their given way to become who they are, and thus manifest Being. Just as there are different castes in the traditional society, there are different tiers of love. That Evola sets the lover higher than the mother does not mean that there should be no families, but rather that the higher man must seek the lover as sure as the lower must seek the wife and family.

At the highest form of love, the one practised by heroes, the lover transcends from being an individual woman of the flesh, to a spiritual woman, woman as the pure power of Becoming. This is the myth of the Valkyrie, the divine woman who the hero attains or rescues. In the reunion with his Valkyrie, man no longer meets woman through pleasure, but through action and power, which are the essence of our temporal world, of the female Becoming. In his heroic death, he loves Becoming through the sacrifice of everything in his individual and the destruction of every bond to Becoming, and thus Woman does not bind him, but instead carries him upwards, to Valhalla, the home of the gods and heroes. This spiritual woman is also the kundalini of Hinduism, the goddess who rests within the man himself, and who can be awakened and forced upward by mans ascetic struggle until they are reunited under the sign of Being. The love of the spiritual woman is a love which does not bind man to a lower existence, but instead lets him reach a hermaphroditic state within himself, within his Being, where he through the heroic death or enlightenment gives birth to the unity beyond man and woman.

The futurists sought to devour modernity and the individual through the endless purity of the virile will.

Evola makes a distinction between a life-denying, moralistic asceticism, and an Aryan asceticism which is larger than life. The first is that of the slave, which has its origin in the neurotic fear of ones sinful body and a lack of virility, while the second is that of the hero, which has its origin in a high virility and the feeling that this body and world are not enough. An ascetic of the second type conquers Becoming by defeating every power it has over the part of him that is true Being; he realigns the original relationship between Being and Becoming, and thus returns to the divine and heroic realm which he has always felt to be his true home. From this higher point of existence, he can if he wishes return to the lower world of Becoming, and his act becomes the true manifestation of Being, the heroic synthesis between matter and spirit. Celibacy in the Aryan tradition, understood as the heroic love of the spiritual woman, is an asceticism of the second type, which denies the material woman the seed, the male power, in order for it to awaken the spiritual woman and force her upwards towards reunification. This celibacy has been common amongst the warriors and priests of traditional societies, in their struggle towards eternity.

Now Mafarka, who has left his temporary kingdom in order to build his son, gives a speech to his men, who have come to beg of him his return. His kingdom does not interest him, as it in victory and peace is no longer a manifestation of his will and struggle completed, it is but a dead form and instead of serving his own creation, he gives his men a divination of the pure, futuristic will. Firstly, he declares that it demands a heroic asceticism: You have to believe in the absolute, definitive power of the will, which must be cultivated and intensified by following a cruel regime, until the moment when it gushes from our nerve centres and leaps beyond the limits of our muscles with inconceivable force and speed. Secondly he shows how this gives power over the feminine Becoming by awakening the spiritual woman within man himself: Our will must come out of us so as to take hold of matter and change it to our fancy. So we can shape everything around us and endlessly renew the face of the earth. Soon, if you appeal to your will, you will give birth without resorting to the womans vulva. Thats how I killed Love, by replacing it with the sublime voluptuousness of Heroism! Finally, this gives birth to the god within himself, the transcendent, hermaphroditic unity which demands the extinction of his individual: At last, here I am as I wanted to be: destined for suicide, and ready for the birth of the god that each man carries in his heart! His life requires my death! So much better! The rapture of cracking like an eggshell, from which the perfect chick will soar! Only by following this and meeting their own death at the storming seas can his men become free and worthy beings.

By giving birth to the futuristic child Gazourmah through celibacy, Mafarka completely annihilates his material being in favour of recreating the unity which dominates both heaven and earth, both male and female. He even sacrifices his own pride, honour and glory as a warrior, for he shall not die on the battlefield as a hero, but rather shall be forgotten, miserably like a woman, in giving birth to my child! This shows that the futuristic will is not a titanic affirmation of ones material self through the power of modernity. The futurists rather sought to devour modernity and the individual through the endless purity of the virile will, in the same way that a true man devours the woman in his endless love, and carries them both upwards toward the transcendent.

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Futurism Revolt Against the Past and the Nation of Tomorrow ...

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Is Stem Cell Therapy Covered by Medicare?

Posted: December 24, 2018 at 4:45 am

Stem cell therapy has been a hot topic in the press lately. With more and more medical providers offering stem cell treatments, patients around the country have been wondering, Is Stem Cell Therapy covered by Medicare.

Stem Cell research has shown that its an effective treatment for chronic joint pain and arthritis sufferers and more recent studies are starting to show the benefit for treatment of neurological disorders as well. (M.S., Parkinsons, and Stroke)

So the team at Stem Cell: The Magazine, have put together some information to answer this question of insurance coverage for potential medical enrollees seeking stem cell and regenerative treatments.

So what is the answer to Does Medicare cover Stem Cell therapy?

From the research that we have pulled up regarding Medicare Insurance Coverage for stem cell therapy; medicare does cover stem cell treatments, but not for some of the chronic degenerative conditions that regenerative treatments (stem cell therapy) can help them with.

You can see in this publication from BCBS that stem cell therapy is covered for the following conditions:


Section 2.aAllogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) eligible for coverage in the following:a) The treatment of leukemiab) The treatment of severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID) and for the treatment of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.ORc) The treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) pursuant to Coverage with Evidence Development (CED) in the context of a Medicare-approved, prospective clinical study.3. Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation(AuSCT) is eligible for coverage in the following:a) Acute leukemia in remission who have a high probability of relapse and whohave no human leucocyte antigens (HLA)-matched;ORb) Resistant non-Hodgkins lymphomas or those presenting with poor prognosticfeatures following an initial response;ORc) Recurrent or refractory neuroblastoma;ORd) Advanced Hodgkins disease who have failed conventional therapy and have no HLA-matched donor.

You can see that outside of the listed conditions above, Medicare does not cover stem cell therapy for treatments joint conditions or neurological conditions that patients are more commonly seeking treatment for.

In this article, it clearly states that stem cell therapy for the coverage of orthopedic conditions is not covered:

The orthopedic application of stem-cell therapy is not addressed within the stem cell transplantation NCD. (NCD = National Care Determinations)

What this means for any patient that is looking to receive regenerative and stem cell treatments for orthopedic conditions such as:



Download our free Stem Cell 101 educational report now!

Medicare will not cover treatment for these conditions. In fact, most major medical carriers will not provide coverage for these treatments either.

Many chronic joint pain sufferers wonder why Medicare and most major carriers dont provide coverage for these treatments if they are so effective, but there is a simple answer for why this is.

Medicare and most major health insurance are for emergency conditions. Regenerative medicine is still considered an elective treatment, close to wellness care. Insurance carriers are not in the business of providing wellness for coverage for their participants.

We found a great video that explains more about this by John R Hoffman at Arcadia University. In it he describes the challenges of Medicare coverage for Stem Cell Therapy.

Our hope at Stem Cell: The Magazine is that as more and more patients continue to seek out treatment of their orthopedic and neurological conditions using stem cell and regenerative treatments, that Mediare and major health insurances will accept stem cell as the first treatment for these chronic conditions.

Learn More About Stem Cell Therapy

Is Stem Cell Therapy Covered by Medicare? was last modified: October 3rd, 2018 by Stem Cell The Magazine

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Is Stem Cell Therapy Covered by Medicare?

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Cline Dion – Immortality (Video) ft. Bee Gees

Posted: December 24, 2018 at 4:43 am

Celine Dion - Immortality (Official Video)Listen on Spotify: Listen on Apple Music: Amazon: Listen on Deezer: on YouTube Music:

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So this is who I amAnd this is all I knowAnd I must choose to liveFor all that I can giveThe spark that makes the power growAnd I will stand for my dream if I canSymbol of my faith in who I amBut you are my onlyAnd I must follow on the road that lies aheadAnd I won't let my heart control my headBut you are my only

We don't say goodbyeWe don't say goodbyeAnd I know what I've got to beImmortalityI make my journey through eternityI keep the memory of you and me inside

Fulfill your destinyIs there within' the childMy storm will never endMy fate is on the windThe king of heartsThe joker's wild

We don't say goodbyeWe don't say goodbyeI'll make them all remember me'Cause I have found a dream that must come trueEvery ounce of me must see it throughBut you are my onlyI'm sorry I don't have a role for love to playHand over my heart I'll find my wayI will make them give to meImmortality, oh, babyThere is a vision and a fire in meI keep the memory of you and me inside

We don't say goodbyeWe don't say goodbyeWith all my love for youAnd what else we may doWe don't say goodbye

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Cline Dion - Immortality (Video) ft. Bee Gees

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Med students learn residency placements on Match Day …

Posted: December 24, 2018 at 4:43 am

Becky Lacayo and Chris Kyper received the award for cutest couple on Match Day at Temples Lewis Katz School of Medicine.

Kyper and Lacayo are among more than 200 seniors headed to residencies this year at Temples Lewis Katz School of Medicine, and were among more than 43,000 applicantsa record numberacross the country, according to the National Resident Matching Program. For Match Day, which fell on St. Patricks Day this year, Temples doctors in training, their families, and medical school faculty members packed the atrium in the Medical Education and Research Building for the countdown to noon, when the students could open their envelopes.

Lewis Katz School of Medicine Dean Larry Kaiser and Temple University Provost JoAnne A. Epps celebrated with medical school seniors on Match Day.

Kyper, a native of Lebanon, Pennsylvania who plans to specialize in neurology, and Lacayo, of Miami, who will go into emergency medicine, split the difference between their hometowns, listing institutions in both Philadelphia and Florida among their top choices.

Well be happy wherever we go, as long a we stay together, Kyper said.

Cheers erupted as the students tore open their envelopes.

Students Cody Nathan and John St. Angelo show their Match letters.

The top specialties Temple students matched into were internal medicine (46 students), emergency medicine (23 students), pediatrics (15 students), medicine-preliminary (19 students) and radiology-diagnostic (11 students). The top institutions they matched with were Temple University Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA Medical Center, and St. Lukes University Health Network. Five students are headed to Columbia and Cornell medical centers in New York, and four to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Pamela Boodram, from Brooklyn, New York, plans to specialize in internal medicine.

Kyper and Lacayo got their wish to stay together. Both matched in Jacksonville, Florida: Kyper to the Mayo Clinic and Lacayo to University of Florida Health Jacksonville.

Kyper plans to specialize in neurology; Lacayo in emergency medicine.

Im very proud of him. Thats what they wantedits great, Kypers mother, Patricia Kyper, said as the couples families celebrated the news together.

Lacayos mom, Carolina Lacayo, was thrilled to hear her daughter would be moving back to Florida after four years of medical school in Philadelphia.

Im so happy for her, and for me also, Carolina Lacayo said. Im so proud of them.

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Gene Therapy and Genetic Engineering – University of …

Posted: December 22, 2018 at 5:44 am


The cells of a human being or other organism have parts called genes that control the chemical reactions in the cell that make it grow and function and ultimately determine the growth and function of the organism. An organism inherits some genes from each parent and thus the parents pass on certain traits to their offspring.

Gene therapy and genetic engineering are two closely related technologies that involve altering the genetic material of organisms.The distinction between the two is based on purpose.Gene therapy seeks to alter genes to correct genetic defects and thus prevent or cure genetic diseases.Genetic engineering aims to modify the genes to enhance the capabilities of the organism beyond what is normal.

Ethical controversy surrounds possible use of the both of these technologies in plants, nonhuman animals, and humans. Particularly with genetic engineering, for instance, one wonders whether it would be proper to tinker with human genes to make people able to outperform the greatest Olympic athletes or much smarter than Einstein.

If genetic engineering is meant in a very broad sense to include any intentional genetic alteration, then it includes gene therapy. Thus one hears of therapeutic genetic engineering (gene therapy) and negative genetic engineering (gene therapy), in contrast with enhancement genetic engineering and positive genetic engineering (what we call simply genetic engineering).

We use the phrase genetic engineering more narrowly for the kind of alteration that aims at enhancement rather than therapy. We use the term gene therapy for efforts to bring people up to normalcy and genetic engineering or enhancement genetic engineering for efforts to enhancement peoples capabilities beyond normalcy.

Two fundamental kinds of cell are somatic cells and reproductive cells. Most of the cells in our bodies are somatic cells that make up organs like skin, liver, heart, lungs, etc., and these cells vary from one another. Changing the genetic material in these cells is not passed along to a persons offspring. Reproductive cells are sperm cells, egg cells, and cells from very early embryos. Changes in the genetic make-up of reproductive cells would be passed along to the persons offspring. Those reproductive cell changes could result in different genetics in the offsprings somatic cells than otherwise would have occurred because the genetic makeup of somatic cells is directly linked to that of the germ cells from which they are derived.

Two problems must be confronted when changing genes. The first is what kind of change to make to the gene. The second is how to incorporate that change in all the other cells that are must be changed to achieve a desired effect.

There are several options for what kind of change to make to the gene. DNA in the gene could be replaced by other DNA from outside (called homologous replacement). Or the gene could be forced to mutate (change structure selective reverse mutation.) Or a gene could just be added. Or one could use a chemical to simply turn off a gene and prevent it from acting.

There are also several options for how to spread the genetic change to all the cells that need to be changed. If the altered cell is a reproductive cell, then a few such cells could be changed and the change would reach the other somatic cells as those somatic cells were created as the organism develops. But if the change were made to a somatic cell, changing all the other relevant somatic cells individually like the first would be impractical due to the sheer number of such cells. The cells of a major organ such as the heart or liver are too numerous to change one-by-one. Instead, to reach such somatic cells a common approach is to use a carrier, or vector, which is a molecule or organism. A virus, for example, could be used as a vector. The virus would be an innocuous one or changed so as not to cause disease. It would be injected with the genetic material and then as it reproduces and infects the target cells it would introduce the new genetic material. It would need to be a very specific virus that would infect heart cells, for instance, without infecting and changing all the other cells of the body. Fat particles and chemicals have also been used as vectors because they can penetrate the cell membrane and move into the cell nucleus with the new genetic material.

Gene therapy is often viewed as morally unobjectionable, though caution is urged. The main arguments in its favor are that it offers the potential to cure some diseases or disorders in those who have the problem and to prevent diseases in those whose genes predisposed them to those problems. If done on reproductive cells, gene therapy could keep children from carrying such genes (for unfavorable genetic diseases and disorders) that the children got from their patients.

Genetic engineering to enhance organisms has already been used extensively in agriculture, primarily in genetically modified (GM) crops (also known as GMO --genetically modified organisms). For example, crops and stock animals have been engineered so they are resistant to herbicides and pesticides, which means farmers can then use those chemicals to control weeds and insects on those crops without risking harming those plants. In the future genetic enhancement could be used to create crops with greater yields of nutritional value and selective breeding of farm stock, race horses, and show animals.

Genetically engineered bacteria and other microorganisms are currently used to produce human insulin, human growth hormone, a protein used in blood clotting, and other pharmaceuticals, and the number of such compounds could increase in the future.

Enhancing humans is still in the future, but the basic argument in favor of doing so is that it could make life better in significant ways by enhancing certain characteristics of people. We value intelligence, beauty, strength, endurance, and certain personality characteristics and behavioral tendencies, and if these traits were found to be due to a genetic component we could enhance people by giving them such features. Advocates of genetic engineering point out that many people try to improve themselves in these ways already by diet, exercise, education, cosmetics, and even plastic surgery. People try to do these things for themselves, and parents try to provide these things for their children. If exercising to improve strength, agility, and overall fitness is a worthwhile goal, and if someone is praised for pursuing education to increase their mental capabilities, then why would it not be worthwhile to accomplish this through genetics?

Advocates of genetic engineering also see enhancement as a matter of basic reproductive freedom. We already feel free to pick a mate partly on the basis of the possibility of providing desirable children. We think nothing is wrong with choosing a mate whom we hope might provide smart, attractive kids over some other mate who would provide less desirable children. Choosing a mate for the type of kids one might get is a matter of basic reproductive freedom and we have the freedom to pick the best genes we can for our children. Why, the argument goes, should we have less freedom to give our children the best genes we can through genetic enhancement?

Those who advocate making significant modification of humans through technology such as genetic engineering are sometimes called transhumanists.

Three arguments sometimes raised against gene therapy are that it is technically too dangerous, that it discriminates or invites discrimination against persons with disabilities, and that it may be becoming increasingly irrelevant in some cases.

The danger objection points out that a few recent attempts at gene therapy in clinical trials have made headlines because of the tragic deaths of some of the people participating in the trials. It is not fully known to what extent this was due to the gene therapy itself, as opposed to pre-existing conditions or improper research techniques, but in the light of such events some critics have called for a stop to gene therapy until more is known. We just do not know enough about how gene therapy works and what could go wrong. Specific worries are that

The discrimination objection is as follows. Some people who are physically, mentally, or emotionally impaired are so as the result of genetic factors they have inherited. Such impairment can result in disablement in our society. People with disabilities are often discriminated against by having fewer opportunities than other people. Be removing genetic disorders, and resulting impairment, it is true that gene therapy could contribute to removing one of the sources of discrimination and inequality in society. But the implicit assumption being made, the objection claims, is that people impaired through genetic factors need to be treated and made normal. The objection sees gene therapy as a form of discrimination against impaired people and persons with disabilities.

The irrelevance objection is that gene therapy on reproductive cells may in some cases already be superseded by in-vitro fertilization and selection of embryos. If a genetic disorder is such that can be detected in an early embryo, and not all embryos from the parent couple would have it, then have parents produce multiple embryos through in-vitro fertilization and implant only those free from the disorder. In such a case gene therapy would be unnecessary and irrelevant.

Ethicists have generally been even more concerned about possible problems with and implications of enhancement genetic engineering than they have been about gene therapy. First, there are worries similar to those about gene therapy that not enough is known and there may be unforeseen dangerous consequences. These worries may be even more serious given that the attempts are made not just toward normalcy but into strange new territory where humans have never gone before. We just do not know what freakish creatures might result from experiments gone awry.

Following are some other important objections:

Gene therapy is becoming a reality as you read this. Genetic engineering for enhancement is still a ways off. Plenty of debate is sure to occur over both issues.

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Gene Therapy and Genetic Engineering - University of ...

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

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