UCLA

BioTech 177


Biotechnology in the Political Science Department — Maria

Posted on April 05, 2009 by maria

In the Department of Political Science there are professors and students currently examining the affects that biotechnology can have on political inequality and communal life. In a paper that political scientist Richard Moushegian published in 2005, titled “Biotechnology: New Foundations for Equality?,” he argues that the challenge with biotechnology is that it poses a conflict to political equality which arises from “unequal private access to expensive genomic therapies” (Moushegian, pg.3). He further argues that procedures that result from the field of biotechnology will have significant implications in how society works, where some members of the community may benefit while others suffer politically, socially, and industrially. He suggests that the results of biotechnological practices will be “a society of genetic “haves” and “have-nots,” of radically older citizens in positions of wealth and power, of corporate persons pressing ownership claims to biological matter, [and] of non-human animals perhaps gaining in moral and political status” (Moushegian, pg.2). These are just some of the worries that political scientists, like Moushegian, face, and that the Department of Political Science continues to actively explore.
Professor Douglas Kellner, also a member of the Political Science Department at UCLA, has been conducting extensive research on Biotechnology and its ethicality. He recently published a paper, along with Steven Best of the University of Texas, on the political and ethical implications of cloning. In the paper titled “Biotechnology, Ethics, and the Politics of Cloning,” he and Best argue that through cloning there have been monstrosities of animal abnormalities that have resulted and that bring up the question of whether it is ethical and correct to alter the processes of nature. They quote Jaenisch, who previously worked on animal cloning and proclaimed, “You can dispose of these animals, but tell me - What do you do with abnormal humans?” (Kellner and Best, pg. 10). This statement reinforces the question of the ethicality of cloning and what is to be done when the cloning process does not produce the results expected.
Furthermore, Professor Kellner and Professor Best argue that cloning of a desired genetic type will lead to the exploitation of life and increased commercialization that can devastate the natural reproductive processes (Kellner and Best, pg. 10). Kellner and Best claim that the association of animals as “nothing but resources for human use and profit,” make genetic engineering and cloning an appealing source of profit and power (Kellner and Best, pg. 10). The exploitation of these scientific procedures for economic profit, disregard the ethical and moral stance of the methods performed. Kellner and Best illuminate the necessity of reawakening within the human mind caring and compassionate feelings which invoke a strong belief in the “intrinsic value of life” (Kellner and Best, pg. 10).
The Political Science Department remains actively engaged in investigating the affects that Biotechnology has and may have in the future. It is currently conducting research on the implications that Biotechnological procedures may have on political equality, issues of discrimination, social structures, ethical and moral attitudes, and changes in the political system. Some of the most prominent professors that remain active in that field are Professor Moushegian, Professor Kellner, Professor Stock, and Professor Munzer, among others. Groundbreaking research is currently underway and is very likely to impact our views and perceptions of Biotechnology and its affects.

Best, Steven and Kellner, Douglas. “Biotechnology, Ethics, and the Politics of Cloning.” Society Website: 2004.

Moushegian, Richard. “Biotechnology: New Foundations for Equality?” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association, Marriott Hotel, Oakland, California, Mar 17, 2005 . 2009-02-05

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