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hlehman's picture

 In Paul’s class last Thursday one topic we focused on was random change and variety and the idea of who is doing the “picking”? I was very intrigued by this discussion about what nature intends for us and if there is “someone” making decisions vs. the contingent web produced by differential reproductive success. One of the first things that came to mind when we brought this up, however, was “designer dogs.” A few years ago a family friend told me a long story about the new “designer dog” craze- labradoodles, yorkipoos, springerdoodles! It sounds like something out of a children’s story, but these hybrid dog breeds have become a sweeping trend across the nation. After our class discussion on domestication and picking out from random change, I started to wonder what would Darwin think about designer dogs? What category would they fall in? And to build from that, if we can now have custom made dogs, what is this going to lead to in the future? How can we discuss survival of the fittest and natural selection when we have surpassed some of nature’s most basic laws and can fight random change? It seems as though we can genetically engineer almost anything today, including food, our pets, and the appearance of our offspring. Is this progress? We discussed how things need to “keep up” and adjust, but to what point does it stop? 

Personally, I would rather things be as they were in Darwin’s eyes and let nature take its course. I think to a certain extent, it is important to let things go and understand the fact that there are some things we cannot and should not control. Do we really need genetically modified “chicken” that is made from corn in a lab? Is it really necessary to make sure one’s child has blue eyes and not green? 

I’m not sure how we can resolve this- if we have already built a society so dependent on technology that there is no turning back, or if we really still are following what Darwin saw in nature and it is just on a different scale than I can see. 


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