Sporting With Life, Frankenstein and Science Today

Essay by Anonymous UserA+, October 1996

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There is a broad based ethical debate taking place within today's medical and scientific fields. This debate primarily centers around the use of science and technology in dealing with human life. In his article 'Sporting With Life' Dr. Lester D. Freidman cites the ethical problem in this way.

The potential destructiveness of nuclear power, the morality of organ transplants, the possible uses and misuses of DNA, and the wonder and fear created by the space exploration program - just to cite some clear examples - gives us all pause to contemplate the ramifications of scientific endeavors made in the name of humanity, yet having the potential to destroy it. (185) Mary Shelly's Frankenstein provides a dramatic case study of what goes wrong when people sport with life and attempt to 'play God'. Victor's motivation, process and reaction to his creation can be clearly contrasted to God's creative and redemptive process.

This contrast will demonstrate society's need for self-imposed medical and scientific limitations through identifying our human incompetence in attempting to 'play God'. Victor's motivation for creating life stands in stark contrast to God's motivation. It is obvious from reading that Victor's motivation was purely selfish in nature. His own words convict him at this point. 'The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine. Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden laws of nature. . .' (Frankenstein 36), 'I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation' (Frankenstein 47). Victor's motivation to 'play God' was to achieve his own level of deity. To posses the power of life would be an accomplishment never before attained by the finite human race. Victor did not care about the repercussions and responsibilities of creating life,