The film Gattaca is about a society that we are closer to becoming than we were, say, in 1997. If we are to manipulate/give preference to certain genes in order to cultivate what are perceived to be good or desirable traits and to eliminate undesirable traits, surely that has a net positive result for society, right? Would people be healthier, stronger, less criminal, more capable of dealing with the challenges of modern life?
If you were alive in such a world, would you prefer to be a “faith baby” or a baby whose genes have been modified? After all, look at the challenges faced by Vincent. Would you roll the dice and hope you’d be a “valid” as opposed to an “in-valid”? Or would you be willing to go the lengths Vincent did by “using” another person’s identity? And what are the risks of that?
In this post and after watching this very thought-provoking film, link its plot to what you know about (a) eugenics and (b) discrimination. How do the questions raised by the film echo questions about the justification for eugenics and its relationship to wholesale discrimination?
Please reference specific aspects of the film and respond with a thoughtful post about these questions and the ethics of the entire enterprise of genetic research and reproductive technologies.
Just two points of clarification: I am not related to Vincent Freeman; this is a fiction film and he’s an invented character. Also, this film dates from 1997 so it is somewhat dated, especially with respect to the outcomes of the Human Genome Project (HGP). Now that the HGP has largely been completed, the questions the film raises are even more urgent than they were in 1997.