Sci-fi and genetics go hand in hand. Speculative fiction gets to explore many “what if” scenarios. Cloning and genetic modification are staples in the genre which is an indirect way to ask the audience, “are people commodities or do they have infinite value?” Today I ask my readers to explore this question themselves and come up with their own response to that question.
There is no doubt gene altering and enhancements can cause some good. Those suffering from genetic diseases can at last have relief. Once-uncurable ailments can become a thing of the past. These are objectively good things.
In some science fiction situations humans are grown, such as in the Matrix. Other times clones exist as spare body parts or soldiers. As technology advances there are talks about the morality of cloning or splicing human DNA with another species. Could good come out of it? Yes! Aside from the typical “playing God” arguments there is a deeper issue to examine. How valuable is the individual?
If humans have no exceptional value then supporting cloning or genetic altering of some kind is easy to accept. However, if you believe that humans have incalculable value, then treating our species like a commodity, no matter what good may come of it, is abhorrent. The question is what do you believe and why? This is the beauty of fiction, it plays with these ideas in a safe environment and it makes us confront our own beliefs.