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 Genetically modified .... humans
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Coveny
New Member

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2017 :  15:58:57  Show Profile  Visit Coveny's Homepage Send Coveny a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Humans have already shown that it’s going to be a slippery slope when designer babies pick up full steam. PGD is widely used around the world currently to allow parents to select some of the traits of their children, such as gender and eye color.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a19313/genetic-engineering-allow-parents-select-gender-eye-color-children/

First genetically modified human embryo happened this year.

http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/world-s-first-genetically-modified-human-embryo-raises-ethical-concerns/

Is genetic modification of humans to remove genetic illnesses like some cancers, color blindness, Sickle-Cell, Hemophilia, etc. a matter of if or a matter of when? A U.S. Panel has already endorsed it for these serious diseases.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603633/us-panel-endorses-designer-babies-to-avoid-serious-disease/

Ethically and morally I see it as a positive thing. The ability to remove genetic diseases from the world is huge in and of itself, and I think it more than overcomes the possible abuse by parents to make perfect little designer babies. But we live in a capitalist world so is it just going to become yet another way that the 1% is “better” than the rest of us? Or on the other end what about genetic mistakes happening in third world countries doing bargain basement genetic modifications?

So do you think the benefits of genetically modified humans outweigh the negatives?

Developing ForDebating.com that I hope to populate with intelligent critical thinkers. You can follow updates at https://www.facebook.com/fordebating or subscribe to us at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWAd2N-FTqbq14lsJZjr6GQ for tutorial videos.

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25909 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2017 :  14:25:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Why would you assume that making "perfect little designer babies" will be considered "abuse"? You seem to think it will always have something to do with money, but the cost of sequencing a human's genes has dropped to one percent of what it was 16 years ago, so what if the same is true of building a new child's genome?

What if we get to the point where creating a new child which has exactly the genetic traits the parent(s) select is cheaper than providing care for an unwanted child? At that point, ethically, the government would have to mandate that any prospective parent be offered the service, regardless of means.

(Just like, right now, the government should be paying for most contraception. Especially for those on public assistance, reliable contraception is cheaper than the costs of having children and abortions, so the only logical reason that alleged "social" conservatives can have for the denial of free contraception is to punish women for enjoying sex, an ethically backwards position.)

Does anyone really think it's going to be a problem if, in a handful of generations, all children grow to be strong, smart, and artistic, with good teeth, eyesight, lower backs, and knees? The dystopian visions of this future presented in popular fiction seem to all suggest that "natural" kids would all be bullied (or worse) by the designer babies, but that never made sense to me without the unspoken premise that embryonic genetic design either necessarily includes sociopathy and/or excludes empathy. But more to the point: those are works of fiction, and thus not arguments against for-realsies designer babies.

The real downside given the technology and knowledge available now is that we don't know how to genetically encode, say, intelligence. There is no single gene for "big brain," and evidence shows that adult intelligence isn't solely determined by genetics, anyway. Diet and other environmental factors play huge roles in development, both in the womb and afterwards. Doesn't matter how smart you design your kid to be if she accidentally ingests a lot of lead at age three. Won't matter how strong you design your kid to be if he winds up with rheumatic heart disease. Of course, not even the most extensive genetic remodeling will matter one whit when presented with the combination of loud music, earbuds and a runaway bus (unless we find the gene for "Nerf bones").

Also, since many genes act interdependently with other genes, it may not be possible to increase intelligence without (for example) reducing resistance to some disease or other. Prospective parents thus may not have free reign over their child's genes, but may have to make trade-offs: maybe you can make a kid who'll be able to lift a car at 18, but he'll have a thousand-fold increased risk of heart attack after age 30. Or maybe you can make a kid who'll have stupendous fine-motor skills, but will be forced to cope with proportionately huge substance addiction problems.

These ideas present moral questions all on their own, not only for the parents, but for the professionals who will perform the genetic splicing. Perhaps those professionals will refuse to go beyond certain boundaries, and tell prospective parents, "I will not craft a child for you that will be able to bench more than 200 pounds, nor will I create a child for you with an IQ above 120. The long-term risks are too great, and I took an oath." Perhaps parents will further refine what's "acceptable" to the point where we won't have generations of children whose skills and/or health will be described with superlatives, but instead we will raise billions of absolutely average children.

On a totally different note, what if a woman specifies so much genetic designing for a child that the only genes she has in common with the baby are whatever the minimum set is for viability? In other words, what if none of the genes that make the woman "unique" are present in the child she wants to bear? Would it still be "her" child biologically (and legally), or would (should) she be forced to adopt it, even after nine months of pregnancy?

On yet another topic, there has already been at least one case in which a doctor at a fertility clinic was replacing the customers' choice of sperm with his own. What happens when the providers of designer-baby services are caught secretly replacing their customers' choices? Bad scenario: a mother goes for a 12-week ultrasound, and the technician says, "I thought you said you picked female..." Worse scenario: in the delivery room, the doctor says, "I thought you said you picked green eyes..." Genetically testing a fetus in the womb is invasive and risky, but (right now) is the only possible way for parents to ensure that the choices they made prior to implantation are what will be in the final product without waiting the entire nine months. It won't be like they've ordered a kitchen remodel, and can complain about the wrong color of paint before it ever gets applied to the walls. Instead, a huge amount of trust will be required between the parents and the genetic technicians. The entire profession will need to be massively regulated to help ensure that trust, but there will still be bad actors within it - like a guy who goes through all the training, licensing and years of building a good reputation, before implementing his cartoonishly Nazi secret plan of giving all his customers babies with white skin, blond hair and blue eyes. Society will need to be ready for these kinds of scenarios before they occur - and they will occur.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Coveny
New Member

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2017 :  20:31:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Coveny's Homepage Send Coveny a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Making us more resilient could pose other problems to the symbiosis we call the human digestive system. If they wanted us to be able to get the nutrients we need without bacteria and other lifeforms living in us, they would really have to rework the human body to overcome the deficiencies. Also there are issues with creating a totally different type of class warfare where you have the designer people of means versus then randoms who can't afford it. As well as limiting the diversity in the gene pool which could wipe out the whole race because a gene we "like" is also a weakness to some disease/virus/whatever.

Developing ForDebating.com that I hope to populate with intelligent critical thinkers. You can follow updates at https://www.facebook.com/fordebating or subscribe to us at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWAd2N-FTqbq14lsJZjr6GQ for tutorial videos.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25909 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2017 :  22:05:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Coveny

Making us more resilient could pose other problems to the symbiosis we call the human digestive system. If they wanted us to be able to get the nutrients we need without bacteria and other lifeforms living in us, they would really have to rework the human body to overcome the deficiencies.
You know what would be nice? Fixing the gulonolactone oxidase pseudogene so that humans could make our own vitamin C again. Plenty of other mammals make gulonolactone oxidase without obvious deleterious consequences. That humans don't (and thus can get scurvy) appears to be merely a result of happenstance. In short, lots of "deficiencies" could be easily fixed.

But we will never live without our intestinal fauna. Not without enclosing all of our society in the highest biosafety enclosures, which is ridiculous on both theoretical and practical grounds. There's no reason to think that "perfecting" our genome should make us eliminate bacteria we already co-exist with. To think it's necessary to do so is to think geneticists are short-sighted idiots.

Also there are issues with creating a totally different type of class warfare where you have the designer people of means versus then randoms who can't afford it.
I addressed that concern. I think it's fictional, and based on the unspoken assumption that "designer people" must lack empathy, and/or have sociopathy designed in by necessity. There are plenty of rich people today who are philanthropists - the mere possession of lots of money doesn't make people instant classholes. That's a plot point from fiction writers in order to cause conflict - a story about a gene-modifying society that lives without class struggles is a boring story.

Again: we already have classist bullies (but not everyone in a privileged class is a bully). Is there any reason to think that the advent of complete genetic "sculpting" would necessarily make this problem worse? No.

As well as limiting the diversity in the gene pool which could wipe out the whole race because a gene we "like" is also a weakness to some disease/virus/whatever.
The idea that we could limit the gene pool to such an extent suggests that we'll have the ability to edit any single person's genome on a base-by-base level, in which case any new viral or bacterial threat could be eliminated for all new genomes as soon as the proper genetic response is discovered.

There's every reason to think that, because of the threat you identify, we'd have scientists basically living in biosafety level 4 containments, just waiting for new virii to appear, to figure out first a practical and then an optimal addition to human innate immunity for them. So, a biological threat would need to be able to wipe out humanity in a pretty short period of time in order to present an existential threat to our species.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Coveny
New Member

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2017 :  15:09:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Coveny's Homepage Send Coveny a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just saw this video about fetuses in a pod.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgmdF9l7K9o

Sorta on topic methinks.

Developing ForDebating.com that I hope to populate with intelligent critical thinkers. You can follow updates at https://www.facebook.com/fordebating or subscribe to us at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWAd2N-FTqbq14lsJZjr6GQ for tutorial videos.
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

United Kingdom
1256 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2017 :  01:39:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Humans don't have a debugging mode. "fixing" one thing could lead to messing up something else. The subject of the experiment would pay the price.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25909 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2017 :  20:34:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Humans don't have a debugging mode. "fixing" one thing could lead to messing up something else. The subject of the experiment would pay the price.
By the time gene manipulation gets to the point where we need to worry about this, Electronic Arts will have The Sims 20 simulating life at the DNA level. It'll be fine.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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