Future Crime Scenario Essay

Future Crime Scenario

1. Introduction:

     This is seeks to analyze to discuss and to answer given questions the following case facts: “A doctor has applied for a patent on new technology involving use of advanced computers to create a new type of organism.  One of the goals of his research is to genetically improve these organisms for use in human organ growth and transplant.  The doctor says that if he is not granted a patent, he intends to continue his work either in the United States or overseas.”  The questions that need to be answered included the following:  (1) should this activity be a violation of the law, a deviant act, or none of the above?  (2)  Is this research an abuse of technology?  (3)  If this kind of activity is a violation of the law or should be, how can it be stopped, especially if the doctor goes overseas?  (4)  Are there victims of this type of crime?  (5) Should developers of new technology be required to have their innovations screened before they are developed?

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(6) Are there other strategies that might be used to allow society time to evaluate new technology before it is implemented?

2. Questions and Answers

2.1. Should this activity be a violation of the law, a deviant act, or none of the above?

       Before we have to answer we need to classify where new technology applies, whether human cloning (Wikipedia, 2007) or therapeutic cloning.  SAASTA (n.d.) classified cloning as follows:

reproductive cloning (which is the cloning of a whole organism); and
Therapeutic cloning (which is the cloning of cells or even organs or other tissue for transplant purposes).
Macintosh (2005) defined reproductive cloning as “a form of asexual reproduction that will allow, when it becomes technologically available in humans, infertile men and women to conceive children to whom they will be genetically related.”

    It is the first one (reproductive type) that is not allowed by many countries.  SAASTA (n.d.) said, “Due to the fact that genetic differences are likely to exist between a clone and its donor.  This uncertainty has led to many countries banning the reproductive cloning of humans.”

      Based on the case fact that one of the goals of his research is to genetically improve these organisms for use in human organ growth and transplant, it is submitted that what we have as subject of analysis is therapeutic cloning which seems to not a violation of the law.  Since the violation of law is jurisdictional, meaning it depends upon the country and the case facts speak of US doctor, there is also basis to say that there is no violation of the law.  This conclusion is share by SAASTA (n.d.) when it said, “In the United States there is no public funding for research on embryonic stem cells.  Therefore, although there is no law against therapeutic cloning in the US, there is almost no public research happening due to the lack of money and access to the embryonic material.  Simultaneously, an announcement was recently made stating that US public funds (about US$1.4 million, about R11.2 million) will be provided for studies using adult stem cells instead of embryonic stem cells.”

         As to whether it is a deviant act, which we define as something abnormal, we would say that it is not since as early as 1996, there are already experiments about cloning.  (SAASTA, n.d.)

2.2. Is this research an abuse of technology?

        It is submitted that since we classified that it is therapeutic cloning which has a humanitarian mission of improving human life in its fight against human diseases, then it could not be considered as abuses of technology.  Case facts confirm that one of the goals of the doctor’s research is to genetically improve these organisms for use in human organ growth and transplant.  What could be better than to see diabetes (Answers.com, 2007)) and other human sickness finding their cure because of the technology?  Is not technology being considered as god’s gift to mankind to continuously explore to help preserve life?

2.3. If this kind of activity is a violation of the law or should be how it can be stopped, especially if the doctor goes overseas?

        As stated it is not a violation of the US law.  The doctor need not go to other country to do what he can do with the new technology.  Should he decide to outside the US, SAASTA (n.d.) stated what countries allow and ban cloning as follows: “Around the world, different countries have different rules relating to cloning – some don’t allow reproductive cloning, but do allow therapeutic cloning, while other countries allow both types.”  It said that in South Africa currently, the Human Tissue Act prohibits both therapeutic and reproductive cloning of humans and that this situation will change when chapters 6 and 8 of the National Health Act of the said country are promulgated.  With the change in law, therapeutic cloning will then be allowed under strict conditions, requiring Ministerial permission, but reproductive cloning on humans will remain strictly prohibited (Paraphrasing made).

      In other countries like China, SAASTA (n.d.) said that there are no laws against cloning either.  It is to be noted however, with the huge population problem and the policy of only one child per family, it would seem there is no interest in reproductive cloning.  There is, however, huge interest in therapeutic cloning and, as a result, there is a lot of it on the go in China.  It is even reported that some Chinese cultures believe that humans only become people when they participate in society, since according to these cultures, embryos and fetuses are not considered to be human beings.  These beliefs in effect eliminate any ethical problems surrounding the creation and destruction of embryos to get the required stem cells.  It was therefore not surprising that the Chinese government is funding extensive research and drawing back many Chinese scientists from overseas; to undertake work they would not be allowed to do elsewhere.  It is expected that Chinese scientists will run ahead of the rest of the world in therapeutic cloning technologies with the relaxed access and no limits on obtaining the embryonic material scientist require (SAASTA, n.d.)  (Paraphrasing made).

       As to whether cloning is allowed in UK, SAASTA (n.d.) said that there are clear rules banning reproductive cloning, but scientists in both the UK and Israel are allowed to generate new embryonic cell lines for therapeutic research.  As far as thee law in Germany is concerned, there is ban on the extraction of stem cells from human embryos for research within the country, but in 2002 a new law was passed allowing some human embryonic stem cells to be imported, indicating that German scientists are now allowed to undertake work on embryonic stem cells if they originate from outside Germany (SAASTA, n.d.)  (Paraphrasing made).

2.4. Are there victims of this type of crime?

       Since we have posited that there is no law in the US prohibiting or criminalizing cloning, the answer to this question should be in the negative.  However, if what is meant is whether there are victims as a result of errors in cloning around the world.  HealhAtoZ (n.d) cited a case in France where there was a case of “two young children in France being treated in a gene therapy trial developed a leukemia-like condition.”

2. 5. Should developers of new technology be required to have their innovations screened before they are developed?

      Before we answer the question, let it be clear that the definition of being developed if for commercial production or mass production, which prompts us to answer in the affirmative.  Like any product that would affect lives of people should be subjected to standards of legality and other social standards.  Society needs to have a rule of law to have order and to demand accountability who will abuse their freedom.  To cite good reasons for screening, SAASTA (n.d.) enumerated, among others, what could be wrong with cloning as follows:  Low success rate, Tumors and Genetic defect

2.6. Are there other strategies that might be used to allow society time to evaluate new technology before it is implemented?

         There are other strategies that might be used to allow society time to evaluate the new technology before it is implemented.  This can be used at least first to animals excluding of course humans which if classified form part as the highest form of animals.  Many experiments not only in cloning where animals have been used as specimens for experimentation not only in the field of medical technology also in psychology.  At a certain point however, not perfect medicine or invention has ever come to mankind.  There will always be imperfection because of out imperfect world.  But this world is trying to be perfect, hence, after implementing a cure, or a technology a follow study will come out detailing how previous inventions have actually caused human ills.  The best example is the use of cell phones which was found to be causing cancer of the brain.

3. Conclusion

        Man is born to discover his own world.  He actually started wondering how come there are lightings and other natural calamities, that at the early time be even believed was something not worth explaining because there was not much that he could do.  But science came into existence to help him understand his world many of which through experiments and researches.  Philosophy might have called the search for the truth, medical science might have called the search for the cure to human ills, it is submitted that research technology like is a way towards the same purpose.  While it is the mind that declared it good, it also the human mind that will say it is not good.

      Governments of the world have declared a boundary between reproductive and therapeutic cloning and this must be respected because this is the state of knowledge of which they could foresee the consequences of their actions.  Hence the doctor in the case facts must know where he can practice his trade.  But apparently the law is not the problem in the US but the funding, the doctor must better find for the funding of this new invention.

References:

Answers.com (2007) Diabetes, definition, {www document} URL, http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?s=diabetes&gwp=13, Accessed January 26, 2007

HealhAtoZ (n.d.), Gene therapy, {www document} URL,http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/common/standard/transform.jsp?requestURI=/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/gene_therapy.jsp, Accessed January 26, 2007

 Macintosh (2005), Kerry Lynn ILLEGAL BEINGS: HUMAN CLONES AND THE LAW.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.  288pp. as reviewed by Zvi H. Triger, The College of Management, School of Law, Rishon LeZion, Israel. Email: zvit [at] colman.ac.il.

SAASTA (n.d.) Cloning and genetic engineering ring?, {www document} URL, http://www.pub.ac.za/factfile/cloning.html, Accessed January 26,2007

Wikipedia (2007), Cloning www document} URL,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloning, Accessed January 26,2007

 

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