Essay about A Caveat to the Pursuit of Knowledge

Essay about A Caveat to the Pursuit of Knowledge

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Have you ever wondered why a friend appears to be mad at you? Wouldn’t it be incredible if you had a foolproof way of finding out without having to ask? On the other hand, what if your method of magically unearthing the reason behind his or her anger also led you to the discovery that this “friend” does not, in fact, even like you at all? This kind of situation, where determining a solution may have the unintended side-effect of revealing undesirable knowledge, may occur in scientific pursuits. By its very nature, scientific exploration generates questions, but that does not mean that all of them can or should be answered. There exists a fine line between moral scientific pursuit and immoral scientific pursuit. Given that immoral scientific pursuit does, in fact, exist, and given a situation in which one can only acquire a certain knowledge through immoral scientific pursuit, then one would have to classify this knowledge as “forbidden knowledge”. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley explores that when man seeks to answer unanswerable questions, he usurps God and risks acquiring forbidden knowledge, thus creating a situation he cannot fix.
People should not pursue knowledge recklessly, oblivious to potential dangers and indications that they should be cautious. Sometimes, even, one must listen to the signs that one should stop exploring all together. Even when “the words of fate--enounced to destroy [Frankenstein],” he continues “[pioneering to] unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation” (38). Despite the explicit warning and obvious disapproval of “fate”, Frankenstein continues to pursue scientific discovery. In admitting that fate had doomed him from the beginning, Frankenstein suggests that although he knew tha...

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Just because something can be known does not mean it always should be. When one attempts to act as a Creator, one may unearth questions with no clear answers, and in effect pursues “forbidden knowledge”. If successful in answering, one may create a doomed situation which may not be repairable. People often come across questions, social or academic, that they cannot answer. Sometimes answering those questions could lead to suffering. This occurs today in the debate on human cloning. Society should be wary of the goal to clone humans. The potential for negative side effects and unintended consequences remains high. Just because technology could advance to the point where an entire person could be replicated, does not mean that society should do so. The potential for negative side effects biologically, and unintended consequences socially, remains high.

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