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Text 1 discusses the societal risks involved with the possibility of being able to discern and select the level of intelligence your child has before they are born. The author Julian Savulescu discusses these major concerns in 5 points. Firstly, the author warns that the technology could be used for “eugenic purposes” and result in breeding an improved society. Secondly, Savulescu worries that “Such gifted children could be “hot-housed” to maximise their potential and achievement” which could result in “instrumentalising children and constraining their freedom”.
Furthermore, a concern is that the technology could be used as “another instrument of discrimination” meaning it could further class divide. Rich people can afford to select more intelligent children leading to those children acquiring higher paying jobs and earning more money. This also means that “less gifted children could be consigned to “slow streams” or even denied entry into certain jobs or careers” as employers could now access the potential of employees and prematurely decide whether to employ someone based on genetics.
Lastly, to improve upon ones ‘inferior’ (nomenclature) intelligence “biological interventions, such as drugs, could be used to raise potential” which could lead to “an epidemic of medicalisation of lower levels of ability being pumped full of drugs”.
Text 2 Presents the idea of “pursuit of perfection” of more of a “curse” than a gift. This is shown through the author, Karen Ford’s, analysis of the dystopian science fiction film Gattaca. Throughout the text, Ford demonstrates how “the overt perception of perfection, acceptance and what is desirable is the danger and destructive nature of that desire” and how “denial of natural talents and flaws, the rejection of nature and disregard of human feelings can only lead to chaos”.
Furthermore, Ford goes on to iterate how through the turmoil faced by characters Jerome and Vincent that “we are all made up of parts and the very imperfections that determine our humanness are those we should embrace and celebrate”. That our flaws are what makes us who we are and that “the values of human life is in what we do” not what we’re made up of, that “technology and its capacity to construct perfection cannot guarantee happiness or inner peace. The text presents Gattaca as a learning opportunity and warns of the dangers of pursuing perfection as true humanness comes from embracing “flaws”.
In text 1 and 2, the authors use a variety of techniques to persuade their audience to share their points of view. Such techniques are found prominently in the titles of the two pieces. Savulescu uses positive nomenclature of “gifted” in quotation marks which subtly influences the reader to hold reservations on its assurance, similarly, Ford also employs these techniques with her title “perfections curse” which utilises negative nomenclature to juxtapose the term perfection to reiterate that although it sounds preferable it has its risks just as gene engineering does. Furthermore, the question mark used by Savulescu in his title “The ethics of ‘gifted’ genes: the road to Gattaca?” is used to directly question his audience through a rhetorical question which aims to let the reader dwell in their own opinion and question ideas stated by the author, which in this case causes the reader to imagine a world where the questionable ideals of ‘Gattacan’ society become a reality.
The use of emotional and language techniques, such as attacks and colloquial language, in the texts demonstrates the author’s persuasion. The use of colloquial language is seen in Savulescu’s use of the word “toying” which has connotations of children playing, juxtaposing the use of scientific language to denoting how fiddling with genetics is unwise and childish, he further employs colloquial language and emotional attacks where he claims “hot housing” is a result of “hyper-parenting” which, by including the term “parent” alongside evidently negative connotations, provokes guilt within the reader as they feel as though there is a responsibility of care and appeals to a sense of justice.
In conclusion, Savulescu and Ford use a variety of techniques in order to persuade the audience. These techniques are present not only in the main body of the text but also in the titles and headings, such techniques include rhetorical questions, utilisation of punctuation (particularly seen in the titles), colloquial language and appeals to a sense of justice, which all work together to influence the readers way of thinking to subtly convince them to agree with the authors perspective.
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