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Should we start genetically engineering "perfect" babies?

Discussion in 'Congregation of the Masses' started by Avatar Korra, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Avatar Korra

    Avatar Korra

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    This guy seems to think so.

    Summary for those too lazy to read: the writer argues that as long as choices are made ethically, there's no reason not to employ what he calls "liberal eugenics", citing amniotic fluid tests for conditions such as Downs Syndrome as examples of this already occurring.

    Thoughts? I have nothing against genetic testing for diseases, but I feel like if we could map out the genes for every "desirable" human trait, the balance of power would very quickly be skewed in favor of people who could afford the testing, or even afford to custom-design embryos with the traits they wanted.
  2. Gengan

    Gengan

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    People would use it to make their children less ugly than themselves. I know I would.
  3. Faint

    Faint Valar morghulis
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    Is this thread going to turn to the subject of rape?
  4. verbatim

    verbatim This will be the day
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    I'd base my argument depending on wether or not we can make this government controlled "i.e., you can get this for free from a doctor, regardless of income". If not, then the difference between the poor and the rich would literally take on a biological dimension.
  5. Pernicious

    Pernicious

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    i'd post something in the affirmative but i feel like anything i say could be taken as the premise of a dystopian science fiction novel
  6. Pwnemon

    Pwnemon is a more intuitive player
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    only part of that article i liked was when he said "moral relativism is false"
  7. vonFiedler

    vonFiedler GAMG GRGAK
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    It's always fucking eugenics with these mad scientist types, why not just invent time travel and make the world more awesome?
  8. Samuel L. Jesus

    Samuel L. Jesus

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    Screening for predisposition to genetic disorders is ok, as long as you don't try to conclude something that the information doesn't tell you.

    The whole 'designer babies' is so far off from being possible, and so little is actually known about the genetic mechanisms behind even simple traits that debating the issue seriously is pointless, although it may be fun to talk about.

    Here's a good article to read: http://singularityhub.com/2010/08/19/the-craig-venter-interview-you-have-to-read-gives-a-new-perspective-on-genetics/
  9. elcheeso

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    Exactly. And maybe the most important thing to remember is that discrimination and privileges based on your genetics are things that already occur, both in subtle and unsubtle ways, to everyone. That being said, I'm sort of torn on the concept of eugenics, mostly because I feel as though the people who legislate this sort of thing are both idiots and have completely different values to me, which may end up opening some nasty uses for it.
  10. mattj

    mattj blatant Nintendo fanboy

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  11. iDunno

    iDunno

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    Artificially shrinking the gene pool of any species is always a horrible idea. If we work to make every child conform to an optimal genetic structure, our society would basically collapse at the first hint of major social/environmental change due to our lack of genetic diversity inhibiting our ability to adapt and evolve.
  12. Aura Guardian

    Aura Guardian

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    I have no problems with removing genetic diseases and predispositions to the same. That is humanitarian. However, the desirable traits thing leaves something to be desired. Humanity, specifically. Modifying humans like that is basically playing God, which is just asking for trouble. Healing is about the only exception I can think of.
    Your point is very valid except for the reason, which is very wrong. There are multiple optimizations probably possible, unless the optimal level is optimum for everything. In which case, we'd have an edge, evolutionarily, regardless. Except we already have two of the best traits possible already: sufficient brainpower and opposable thumbs. So, we already have resistance to harmful changes like that. But you were right on principle.
  13. Killah

    Killah

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    Humans aren't exactly the same as finches. Unless we genetically selected for lower intelligence, we have the ability to adapt and evolve merely from a technological standpoint. If we ever reach a period where the gene pool is almost completely normalized, humanity will probably be advanced enough to fight off any large danger to the population.



    What if we were able to select for genes that prevent cancer? Prolong life? It would be foolish not to start selecting for these genes, would it not? This isn't as black and white as some will make it seem. The objective of this is not to abort all babies with down's syndrome, or to eliminate gingers from the gene pool. In my opinion, the only large ethical problem is societal, as verbatim mentioned. If only the rich would be able to afford the ability to prolong life genetically, it might lead to some additional tension amongst the classes.

    This technology is far off, but not as far away as some people might believe. We've made a lot of progress, and the human genome has only been decoded for a decade. There's a long way to go, but we're on the right track.
  14. moonbound

    moonbound

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    None of this really matters anyways because 1=humans are too complex to just evolve as a response to problems the way simple organisms can and 2=our knowledge of what genes influence specific traits or cause certain diseases is too small for us to make a huge difference even if we could somehow map a genome just the way we wanted. At least the Nazis and social darwinists used somewhat realistic methods to create their fantasy perfected humanities. Even if this all worked perfectly, it would still be a bad idea for the reasons already mentioned. The fact that people sincerely want stuff like this is a slap in the face to the disabled community and those who support them: people who know from experience that a "perfect human" is just a dream and that it's still possible to live a worthwhile life despite whatever "flaws" you were born with.

    There's nothing wrong with testing for diseases in my mind because that's as far as it goes. Actually trying to create a human just the way you want devalues human life for me, because part of being human is learning to deal with whatever problems you have, no matter what caused them.

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    Eww look at his gross imperfections. I hope none of my children have to be imperfect like him.
  15. Drifblim

    Drifblim

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    I agree with OP here, screwing genetic diseases would be cool because everything is to be gained from less of them. Yet as this would certainly be expensive, the rich would have the highest quality children. The world of sports, engrossing things like the Olympics, would shift incredibly far out of balance and into the hands of this "perfect" generation. Even considering pretty normal jobs, precedence would be given to those who are genetically engineered. Watch Gattaca(cnt spel rite) to see what I am basing my views on, I feel the movie has the correct idea behind what the impact of genetic engineering would be.
  16. iDunno

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    The testing and repairing of malicious genetic mutations is obviously a good thing. What I am more concerned with is altering the gene pool for the sake of prolonging life and making the body functional for a modern society. For instance, using genetic manipulation to map metabolism and body chemistry to optimal levels for physical and mental health would create a perfect human for the specific timeframe in question, but not necessarily for the future when our environment and technology is evolved. If all people had similar DNA, the race would never be able to survive if the marketed makeup was prone to fatal genetic mutations or diseases. The human body is so complex that it is statistically impossible to ever fully understand how every facet interacts. It is best not to hack into a system greater than yourself lest you inadvertently create a bug you can't figure out how to fix. There is a reason why your body is how it is, even if you don't like it.
  17. M. Rock

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    If anyone reading this has trouble deciding where you should stand, ask yourself this: is RNG abuse immoral?
  18. Alan

    Alan

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    Worked for Hitler, right?
  19. Princess Bubblegum

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    I think genetic engineering is inevitable, looking at purely a disease and disorder standpoint, it would be great if we could engineer children to live longer, not have genetic disorders, have a less chance of getting cancer, ect... That would all be great.

    As far as people looking good or smarter, that is purely a subjective thing, plus a ton of intelligence comes from the environment you grow up in, Albert Eisenstein born in the ghetto would not be Albert Eisenstein. Who the fuck cares if people look better than other people, fuck those assholes.
  20. Jorgen

    Jorgen World's Strongest Fairy
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    HELL naw. Reducing susceptibility to disease on a large scale is a noble goal, but if done via genetic engineering in infants, the fact remains that some individuals will inevitably not receive this treatment, and these people will inevitably be oppressed. After all, humanity has had far more arbitrary reasons to be dicks to each other based on other-ness. See: Gattaca. Also, as much as I hate proving Godwin's Law, let's sit back and remember the last time the world was totally on board with the whole "genetic engineering of humans" thing.

    Plus, biology is complicated, yo, and we could royally fuck shit up if we aren't really goddamn careful. We're already messing up the long-term stability of our food supplies by reducing the genetic diversity of our genetically modified crops (thanks a million, Monsanto!) and now you want to risk having the same harmful genetic homogeneity in our species? No thanks.
  21. Hawkstar

    Hawkstar Ascend to holy air and breathe, transcend earthly boundaries
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    Let's not even start down this path. There is a huge difference between humans and Pokemon, starting with the fact that one group exists and the other doesn't. I remember someone comparing communism to Exp Shares in response to someone who disagrees with communism. There is simply no way you could accurately compare real life to Pokemon.
  22. JimBob

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    Bits of data aren't the same thing as fetuses.
  23. Glen

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    i think he was kidding hotshots
  24. verbatim

    verbatim This will be the day
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    Big difference between changing a life before its born and killing a human life after the fact to influence genetics.
  25. BlakBlastoise

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    At the end of the day it all comes down to a fuckload of A, C, T, G combinations... Just like a fuckload of 0's and 1's (which I know absolutely nothing about btw). He's kind of right. People RNG to get the right combination of 0's and 1's that will produce a superior Pokemon. Biology is much the same, except it's not as controlled at this point. Right now we're pretty much at the "Hey, lets get the egg and hatch it, then check IVs. If the IVs are good, I'll use it as a parent till I get the result I want" If we genetically modify shit we could skip the entire guessing part and go straight to the seed (or whatever) that produces the flawless pokemon. Obviously genetics are not nearly as simple as 31 ivs and natures, that's not what I'm saying. And that's not what M. Rock was saying either.

    Humans have been genetically modifying crops for thousands of years. Except we did it in a more "natural" way. Some random deity didn't give humans an ear of corn with 90%+ oil content... We very very slowly Selected for what we wanted. The same thing like the egg the old man gives us... Lets say we started with a parent with 9 speed IVs, and eventually after replacing the parents with offspring that has higher and higher speed IVs, the chances of us getting to 31 are higher. Same shit with the corn. This one has slightly more oil content (or whatever other trait you want, such as size, flavor et. cetera) so let's use this one as a parent.

    With RNG you can skip all that random bullshit and save tons of time. Just figure out what combination of 0's and 1's will result in 31 speed IVs. Just figure out what combination of A, C, T, G will result in what you want. It's honestly not such a horrible comparison imo...

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