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Instant Event Idea


Gattaca is a movie that takes place in the future, when genetically engineered human beings are the norm. Those people who are not genetically engineered have become an underclass of sorts, given fewer opportunities due to their supposed lack of ability. However, one member of this underclass, Vincent, refuses to give up his dream of working for Gattaca, an aerospace firm, and being able to travel in space. To achieve this goal, he must assume the identity of another human being whose genes are acceptable for space travel.

Suggested Ethical Questions for Discussion:

1. May cloning one day lead to genetically engineered people? Could those people who are "normal" (not genetically engineered) become obsolete and outcasts if this happened? Is there any connection that may be drawn between cloning and genetic engineering?

2. Can the argument be made that characteristics already in place (via race, class, etc.) decide a person's life? Would genetic engineering actually be able to level the playing field in this sense, at least for most people?

3. As science and technology become more advanced and more prevalent in everyday life, are changes in humanity, such as genetic engineering, inevitable? Is reproductive cloning inevitable, or does therapeutic cloning inevitably lead to genetic engineering of human beings?

4. Assuming that cloning may one day be able to cure the diseases it hopes to, if genetic engineering of humans were to come along, would it be possible for people to live forever (if perfect organs could be guaranteed in fertilization)? Is cloning the "fountain of youth"? What types of effects could this have on humanity and on Earth?

5. How do you think that cloned or genetically engineered humans would be able to coexist with typical birth humans? Would there necessarily always be a struggle between the two, or could equal cohabitation exist?