Is Genetic Modification Natural?
by David Berry
Through selective breeding animals we know about directing the evolutionary process to some degree. Now that we know a little about DNA, we are genetically enhancing living things as part of food production. It is possible to put fish DNA into fruit or plant DNA into insects. In evolution a DNA in a species will change, but it is through recombining genes with each new generation. The genes stay within a species. Today, we can mix genes across between species, which has rarely, if ever, been done before.
I believe that it is Godís intent that we understand the nature of the universe. The process involves mistakes, some of which are monumental, but in the long run it changes the way we think about the world and ourselves. To say that what mankind does is not natural is to ignore the fact that we are part of nature. A bird is not unnatural because it has more specialization than a worm. The bird can eat a worm. It can eat so many worms that the worm becomes extinct. The bird might become extinct because all the worms are gone. Above all, that is natural. If it is Godís will that we destroy ourselves, then it shall be so.
We play God all the time when we heal the sick. If we look to all of the rest of life to determine what is natural we must conclude that it is unnatural to read. It is unnatural to wear clothes, use money, drive cars and just about every daily activity we can imagine short of eating and sleeping. Is unnatural to pray since no other animal does it? I like to think that some aspects of humanity are divine and allow us to do natural things that no other species can do. We evolve and make mistakes as we do things that have never been done before. We explore frontiers and try to define the unknown.
At every step of the way there should be people that are shouting to take caution and throwing roadblocks in the way of those who are doing things that could change the world. That is the way evolution works in nature. The pushing and shoving of the environment makes change slow so that no sudden characteristic departure has the opportunty for one species to devistate themselves or an eco-system is limited. At the same time, the world must be changed -- slowly. Genetic modification is likely to have consequences as well as benefits. The world will never be the same again. Yet, it is never the same as it was. In the history of our planet over 99% of all species that have ever lived are now dead. That is part of the evolutionary process. It is not fair, it is not planned and it is not predictable. Even so, human beings have emerged. We are aware of God. Through our cleverness we have redefined the realm of nature, man and God. In that way I believe that humankind is an expression of God. It seems to me that humankind is in the universe for a special reason. To fulfill our destiny we need to know the nature of the universe. To know that nature we must experiment and create. Genetic manipulation is part of our future.
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