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'Nature' is commonly understood as, among other things, standing in contrast to the 'man-made'. However, can these two ideas be kept separate? Surely everything 'man-made' cannot occur contrary to the fundamental structure of the universe and does not oppose it, but rather occurs within it and perhaps even as a factor of the natural constitution of humankind? Or to put it more simply: surely there is nothing 'unnatural' about (for example) a parent deciding upon the genetic make-up of their as yet unborn child, despite this being to many peoples' distaste.

'Nature' is a difficult concept, with a long and varied history. Thus, whenever someone comes up with an argument that something is ‘natural’ or ‘un-natural’, the first question that should be asked is ‘what do they mean by ‘nature’, and how can this concept of nature be justified?’ Broadly speaking (very broadly) there are two conceptions. First, nature as ‘of this world’, and thus as opposed to ‘supernatural’ (for example, pertaining to God). Under this conception, human activity would generally count as natural, along with rat-behaviour, tulip-behaviour, and granite-behaviour. However, if we take away the possibility of the supernatural (if we argue that, at least for these purposes, we can discount the realm of the divine), then natural is everything, and thus doesn’t really have much meaning at all. Second, nature is the world insofar as human beings do not interfere; as opposed to, say, ‘culture’. It is this second meaning that would be in use in the kind of argument about genetic...