The Development Concepts and Doctrine Center, an independent think tank within the UK Department of Defense, has issued a paper predicting the challenges of the future. It is wide ranging, dealing with climate change, anti-Americanism in the context of a rising multi-polar world, and the impact of technology and bioethics on the future and the culture.
I found this paragraph on page 82 very interesting and prophetic:
A more permissive R&D environment could accelerate the decline of ethical constraints and restraints. The speed of technological and cultural change could overwhelm society’s ability to absorb the ethical implications and to develop and apply national and international regulatory and legal controls. Such a regulatory vacuum would be reinforcing as states and commercial organisations race to develop and exploit economic, political and military advantage. The nearest approximation to an ethical framework could become a form of secular utilitarianism, in an otherwise amoral scientific culture.
The study doesn’t get deeply into the potential consequences of such an ethical paradigm. But consider: If an unholy marriage of amorality/utilitarianism/commercialism becomes the reigning paradigm, the prospects for exploiting and oppressing the weakest and most vulnerable among us becomes a paramount concern. Already, a few rich buy organs from the poor; the parameters of what is considered “human” is being narrowed for political rather than scientific reasons, and the scientific/industrial complex has our major universities in the hip pocket of Big Biotech.
I remain optimistic, however. Human exceptionalism and the concomitant sanctity/equality of human life ethic is the antidote to amoral scientism and its attendant human reductionism that provides the rationalization for human commoditization. Let us attend.