Ethical and Religious Perspectives on Biotechnology

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・4 Sources

Biotechnology has seen significant discoveries in history and the contemporary world has experienced even more advancements. The realization of biotechnological possibilities has created a need for people to enhance their features and capabilities (Kahane & Savulescu, 2013). The reasons behind these improvements are to achieve self-preservation, appearance and physical as well as mental capacities. Generally speaking, the biological technology has proven to have significant roles in the improvement of human life and health. However, several ethical and health risk issues introduce negativity to biotechnological practices (Kaebnick, 2015). Misuse, justice, fairness and the ethical principles on non-maleficence (do no harm) are the aspects that make biotechnological processes detrimental. On the other hand, there is an important role of biotechnology, especially in treatment and improving the quality of life. It goes on to support biotechnology by applying the ethical principles of autonomy and highlighting how the issues of justice and non-maleficence are outweighed by the reality of the procedures, the outcomes and benefits as well.

Initial Opinion

My original opinion heavily leaned towards the unethical and detrimental nature of biotechnology in the enhancement of appearance and abilities. Most people, including myself, have blamed the biological remedies available as the cause for certain wrongs. For example, the fairness in athletics has been tainted by doping cases where participants use drugs to enhance their performance capacities. Also, the use of plastic surgery to enhance physical features has always seemed “sinful” in my religious perspective. As a Christian, I possess the moral belief that humans are created in God’s image and therefore changing one’s appearance is going against the Creator’s purpose. Furthermore, there has always been a speculation concerning the adverse effects of biotechnological operations in the human body bringing about the ethics of non-maleficence since humans are harmed by some of these procedures. Likewise, the morals of justice and fairness are not upheld since not everyone can afford the techniques. Therefore, the wealthy individuals can use this technology even when they do not necessarily need it.

Summary of the Two Positions

The issues surrounding the development and use of biotechnology can be subdivided into two. On the one hand, the application of biotechnology is a useful and promising approach that can help humans deal with certain debilitating conditions. For instance, it has been successfully used in the reconstruction of facial defects brought about by birth disorders, accidents, and burns among others. For this reason, its uses do not compromise the ethics of non-maleficence since treatments through biotechnology help people. Furthermore, respect for autonomy must be considered since people have the right to do what they want including undergoing biotechnology procedures. On the other hand, biotechnology is blamed for certain health risks during and after the procedures as well as the wrong application of such knowledge (Thompson, 2014). Simply put, biotechnology is an area that has more adverse implications than benefits hence an unethical strategy that causes harm.

Final Opinion

After going through these counter-arguments, it is now evident that my initial impressions were based strictly on religious ethics and non-maleficence. The article highlighting the importance of biotechnology offered more insight that swayed my opinion. While it is true that there are particular risks and ethical issues surrounding the application of biotechnological advancement, it has been used successfully to improve the welfare and health of populations. Likewise, reconstructive plastic surgery has helped people with physical defects to attain better appearance. For these reasons, the original opinion that the ethics of “do no harm” cannot ensue. Moreover, keeping in mind the principle of autonomy, those who want to enhance parts of their bodies cannot be denied the same (Enock, 2014).


At the moment, it is not clear whether or not the risks of implementing biotechnology processes overwhelm the benefits and therefore, a complete balance between opposing ethical and religious standpoints cannot be the same for all people. However, what is evident is that the technology has its advantages and shortcomings that ultimately bring up the ethical issues concerning autonomy, non-maleficence, justice and fairness. A clear understanding of these elements will help one to discern the situations when biotechnology can be applied without raising contentious debates.


Kaebnick, G.E. (2015). Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Bioethical Issues. (16th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

Kahane, G., & Savulescu, J. (2013). Normal Human Variation: Refocusing the Enhancement Debate. Bioethics, 29(2), 133–143. doi:10.1111/bioe.12045

Thompson, S. J. (2014). Global issues and ethical considerations in human enhancement technologies. Hershey, PA: Medical Information Science Reference, and imprint of IGI global.

Enck, G. (2014). Pharmaceutical enhancement and medical professionals. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 17(1), 23-28. doi: 10.1007/s11019-013-9507-z

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