In the history of human evolution our species have developed through natural selection; we evolve from varies factors that eliminated and selected creatures to develop based on environmental circumstances that arose to natural selection. (Burdett) Next is the wave of civilization evolution; humans changed to produce an environment suitable for the creation a society and culture. Now we could possibly come to a new change in evolution, an evolution by design or neo-evolution. (Wolpe)
Humans are intentionally producing new ways to transform or change biological forms within our species and others in our planet.
Therefore, creating a civilization by our standards and desires. “Cultural evolution had been avoided by many anthropologists until Neo-evolutionism emerged in the 1930s.” (“Neoevolutionism”) But it wasn’t accepted until the late 1960’s as there was debate whether this new view on evolution was logical or evidence-based. (“Neoevolutionism”) Neo-evolutionist, Julian Steward (1902- 1972) argued, this theory on our evolutionary environment is determined “the forms of labor in a society, which affects the entire culture of the group.
Leslie White (1900- 1975) claimed that culture was divided into three areas: technological (the core of cultural evolution), sociological and ideological. (“Neoevolutionism”) Technology plays a vital role in evolution by several standards. First being, “technology is an attempt to solve the problems of survival. Second, this ultimately means capturing enough energy and diverting it for human needs. Third, societies that capture more energy and use it more efficiently have an advantage over other societies. Therefore, these different societies are more advanced in an evolutionary sense.
One of the technologies used for this advancement is bioengineering. Several elements include selective breeding combining traits from specifies to our choosing, genetic manipulation, tissue engineering, and engineering of other biomaterials such as blood cells, and organs. These technological advances have allowed our species to live better and longer, a species to adapt better in their environment. The ability to restore health from disease seems more likely in our current age. One example of this is The Human Genome Project, an organization focused on understanding human genes, collective genes known as a genome.
In their research they were successfully able to complete and construct a human genome by DNA sequencing and using species mice and fruit flies as model organisms to create artificial chromosomes. (“An Overview of the Human Genome Project”) Scientist, Shinya Yamanaka, received a noble prize for his work of being able to produce an Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from a skin cell, the creation of a cell that can convert or mutate into any cell in the human body. (Scudellari) Bio engineering goes beyond for human interest.
This process has been used for commercialization of genetically engineered animals for food production. Or even for simple pleasure of a pet; by inserting genes bioluminescent sea animals, zebrafish have been genetically engineered to show fluorescent traits known “GloFish” sold in pet stores. (Ormandy) Canadian biotech company, Medicago, is producing a flu vaccine derived from the tobacco plant. (Weintraub) Despite the number of examples of bio-engineering provided, this technology elevates and progress the human race. Bioengineering supports an imperative framework of neo-evolution.
Or morality plays a role in this evolution, what is right and what is wrong. It explores the nature how people should live their lives in relation to others, our past, and possibly how we can live in the future. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, producer of the Natural Law Theory, we are naturally made as humans by God to have what we need to want good things in our life. (Murphy) We are naturally goal-driven and desire the basic goods in our society to develop. The goods that Aquinas mentions in his account include “life, procreation, social life, knowledge, and rational conduct.” (Murphy) We drive to sustain and preserve our live according to this law, therefore bio-engineering is one way our society is used to do so.
We should avoid ignorance, in which this helps our survival as social beings to live in a community of advancement. (Murphy) Humans instinctly value their life, bio-engineering is one aspect within progressive evolution that cause us to want to live longer. (Murphy) This concept of technology and science, based on Natural Law can avoid harm and promote benefit in the various ways medicine has proven to provide. We seek the wellbeing and fulfillment of humans and communities. It is easy to recognize that emotion, a basic good, can force us to let our emotions effect how we distinguish what is the good (moral) rather than the bad (immoral). How far can bio-engineering go and will the future of it benefit us or take advantage of our biology and intelligence?
As of recent technology Neo-evolutionism seems to satisfy the possibly of creating happiness for the greater number. Utilitarianism is a theory that places what is right and wrong based on the “consequences” of choosing one action over another. This moves beyond of one’s own interests and takes into account the interests of others in the community. (Nathanson) The drive for neo-evolution is beneficial to humans so the means of possibly harming a small population through the process would be over looked. In the basis of act-utilitarianism the principle of utility is applied to an act in a situation; the right act is defined as the one which brings the best results, as well as the least amount of bad results. (Nathanson)
As long as there is trial-and-error, learn from the mistakes or possible mishaps that could happen through advanced technology, as a result creating a smoother path to achieve full the benefits of bio-engineering to the greater number. Utilitarian refers to the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. (Rowe) If a genetically modified salmon can serve a family of 10 people at dinner rather salmon that can serve only 5 people. This theory suggests bio-engineering benefits the masses in the greater good. If cloning a specific breed of piglets satisfies of desire of companionship, entertainment, and business to a market, that eventually creates a trend of micro-pig pets.
Utilitarian suggests it will create happiness to more people than dissatisfaction. Self-consciousness and advancing technologies go hand-and-hand in the progression of humans. We determine what will benefit us for our future and our way of life on this planet. Some actions may not be suitable for our well-being or other species, including plants and animals, but our natural thought produces the ways we challenge these actions. No matter the circumstances or occasions in which neo-evolution includes the use of bio-engineering to build up our society and race in practical and impractical ways. The philosophical ethical systems of Natural Law and Utilitarian advocates it is our right and natural intuition to advance in ways our society can provide.