The Morality of Genetic Engineering

In the novel Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, the main character, Charlie, is mentally handicapped and is given the chance to have is intelligence increased through genetic engineering. Charlie goes through with the operation and his intelligence quotient (IQ) is increased from 68 to 185, but by the end of the novel he is back to his old IQ of 68. I believe that genetic engineering should not be used to increase intelligence.

Life is in God’s hands. He has the only right to change a person and if a person is born a certain way it is meant to be that way and not to be tampered with. Just because someone can do something doesn’t mean that they should. God made us the way we are born for a reason. He has reasons for all his creations and they are not meant to be changed. Everything happens for a reason and if you are born handicapped, God has a reason for this. People may not realize God’s reasoning, and that some misfortunes are blessings in disguise such as being mentally handicapped like Charlie before his operation. People like that can teach us many lessons about life and ourselves. They can show us that life is precious, and that you can be in a happy state no matter what your intelligence is. Mentally handicapped people are usually seen with a smile on their face and show us that you cannot take life too seriously or you will miss the most joyful moments in life.

If Charlie were meant to be smarter he would have been born that way. God works in mysterious ways through good situations and bad. God may have been tempting Charlie with the operation and was never meant to have it. Just like Adam and Eve were tempted with the tree of knowledge. God warned them not to eat the fruit from that tree, but when they did it ended in the fall of man. This is why we do not life forever and women are faced with the pain of child bearing. After Charlie had the operation he gained intelligence, but at the end this was taken away from him and he became mentally handicapped once again. Having his intelligence taken away from him is symbolic to the ‘fall of man’. The new Charlie was kicked out of his body in a sense symbolizing how Adam and Eve got kicked out of Eden. If Adam and Eve had not disobeyed God, we probably would not have all the problems we have today. We’d probably be living in the Garden of Eden in complete paradise being immortal.

It is unnatural to change a person from the way they were meant to be. Charlie was better off as a mentally handicapped person. He was happy, he had friends, and he was quite content that way. He may have been scared a few times, but everyone has fears. Just because he was not smart does not mean he had to be changed, he had other qualities that made him special. God created him that way and that’s the way it should stay. All of God’s creations are special no matter their intelligence.

God created every man differently, and the way they are born is the way they should stay. Genetic engineering is morally wrong and should not be practiced. It goes against the bible. When Charlie got the operation to make himself smarter he was doing the same thing that Adam and Eve did when they ate the apple from the tree of knowledge and how did that end up? It ended in the ‘fall of man’. This teaches people that there are consequences for going against man and that genetic engineering should be considered a sin.