Cultural Lag

2 February 2017

Myriad new technologies that have developed in the decade of the 1990’s have been the focus of debate regarding ethical guidelines for their application. From concerns over worker surveillance to the security of banking transactions, and pornography on the internet to artificial insemination, technological advances have stirred public controversy. This recent issue on gender selection by using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis has reflecting on the technological shifts from the past thirty years.From the very beginning, we take baby as the special gift from the God, whatever happened to the baby, we accept and appreciate; for now, with the new and high-technology, we greedy about the gift, we want to decide what kind of gift to take from the God. What does it means for our traditional ideas and values about motherhood and fatherhood? Is this result from gender selection baby, the ‘natural gift’ from the God? When these questions arise, there is cultural lag.According to William Ogburn (1957), cultural lag occurs when the tendency of material culture evolve and change speedily and voluminously while non-material culture tends to resist change and remain fixed for longer period of time.

Material culture is just what it sounds like: ‘food, furniture, building and other group of things. ’ Central to a group’s material culture is its technology (Weber, 2000). When this material culture changes, the non-material cultures, which includes norm, value, beliefs, practice, mores and folkway must change in response change in response.Adaptive culture comprises the portion of nonmaterial culture that adjusts to material conditions. It always takes a while for the adaptations to catch up with material changes, and this gap is the “cultural lag” (Ogburn, 1957). The extent of this lag will vary according to the nature of the cultural material, but may exist for a considerable number of years, during which time there may be said to be maladjustment (Ogburn, 1966). Another pending moral question for reproductive medicine is what to do with the many thousands of embryos created for couples, but no longer needed by them.

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