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Taking the Nature out of Reproduction

Medical Research UK 2007

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#21 Godeskian

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 06:24 AM

View PostRaina, on Apr 16 2007, 10:04 AM, said:

But the problem with that is the above traits you mentioned make people more fit to survive in our current environment. But what happens if the environment drastically changes?

If our enviroment changes so drastically, and more importantly so rapidly on a planetary scale, that 20/20 vision and not having a debilitating lung affliction are disadvantages, then we can probably write off the human species anyway. Genetic diversity is a good thing, I agree, but holding it up as the holy grail of genetics is I think short-sighted.

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#22 SparkyCola

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 12:57 PM

The real danger in meddling with forces we cannot possibly understand is that while it is true that we could wipe out some diseases and conditions, we have not discovered all diseases and conditions and mutations occur and we never will. Sometimes, people with a certain defect or illness are immune from other things - think of the classic example of cowpox where people who had had cowpox never got smallpox. It might have been tempting to make a child so that they never got cowpox. That's just an example, but I'm sure you get my gist - you can't foresee the consequences of tinkering like that.

If everyone is the same, we have effectively lowered our tolerance to diseases as a species - and if something came along that wiped out people with blood type O ...and that's the blood type everyone has? We're done for.

Also, as well as taking negative traits out, the thing would be abused by putting certain traits in. Would you really want to live in that Brave New World?

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Edited by SparkyCola, 16 April 2007 - 01:00 PM.

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#23 Godeskian

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 01:00 PM

View PostSparkyCola, on Apr 16 2007, 06:57 PM, said:

Also, as well as taking negative traits out, the thing would be abused by putting certain traits in. Would you really want to live in that Brave New World?

Assuming it was made available for everyone? Yes, I think I would.

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#24 SparkyCola

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 02:41 PM

*shudders*
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#25 The Tyrant

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 03:12 PM

View PostGodeskian, on Apr 15 2007, 02:52 PM, said:

Makes me wonder though. What if we didn't just give the rich and powerful designer babies, but managed to eliminate genetic defects in large quantities. Imagine if you will a time when every baby is born healthy, no asthma, eyes which will never develop cataracts or require corrective surgery, ears that can withstand much more than we can at the moment, eidetic memory for all, etc.

I have to admit to myself that I'd consider tinkering with the human genetic code, assuming we could do it right.

So we should start calling you Paul Museveni? ;)

Personally, I think this is just another step towards an androgynous human race...
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#26 SparkyCola

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 03:55 PM

Gode, you did rather skip my main point about the big disadvantage of it...

That aside you are being far too trusting in human "common" sense. Besides, we can already see it being used for questionable pursuits- and it's only in it's infant stages - for example, having a second child with bone marrow to save the first child is a highly questionable ethic- you're producing a cure in the form of a child - a child who's existence, rather than being due to his or her own worth, is for their sibling's worth instead.

Would it be nice if we were all musically talented? No. It certainly wouldn't make us happier. Do you want to implement a class structure and make everyong blindly happy with their lot in life? If you want everyone blindly happy, then I take it you agree with the Church in Blake's time which tried to manipulate even the worst off people to be happy with their lot. Unless you believe humans and laptops are of the same worth, I'm surprised you would think programming people is a good direction to go in, and one that humans can be trusted to go in. I personally think that's very naive.

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#27 sierraleone

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 04:17 PM

View PostGodeskian, on Apr 16 2007, 07:24 AM, said:

View PostRaina, on Apr 16 2007, 10:04 AM, said:

But the problem with that is the above traits you mentioned make people more fit to survive in our current environment. But what happens if the environment drastically changes?

If our enviroment changes so drastically, and more importantly so rapidly on a planetary scale, that 20/20 vision and not having a debilitating lung affliction are disadvantages, then we can probably write off the human species anyway. Genetic diversity is a good thing, I agree, but holding it up as the holy grail of genetics is I think short-sighted.

Some things *do* have an evolutionary advantage. Sickle cell because of Malaria. What if in that situation, or something similar, we seemingly got rid of them both, and then in the future the illness which caused the evolutionary adaption made a bigger badder come-back?
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#28 Godeskian

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 05:07 PM

View PostSparkyCola, on Apr 16 2007, 09:55 PM, said:

Gode, you did rather skip my main point about the big disadvantage of it...

I did? I'm sorry, it was unintentional. Having reread your post, I find myself agreeing with your main point at least. Variation does provide defense against sudden mutation in diseases.

Quote

That aside you are being far too trusting in human "common" sense.
I usually am. Despite being a cynic, I really do like to think we are a decent species at heart.

Quote

Besides, we can already see it being used for questionable pursuits- and it's only in it's infant stages - for example, having a second child with bone marrow to save the first child is a highly questionable ethic- you're producing a cure in the form of a child - a child who's existence, rather than being due to his or her own worth, is for their sibling's worth instead.

I'll admit I find that disturbing. Of course, if we could grow bone marrow, then people wouldn't need to have a second child to save the first.

Quote

Would it be nice if we were all musically talented? No. It certainly wouldn't make us happier. Do you want to implement a class structure and make everyong blindly happy with their lot in life?

No I don't. Actually, I'm against tinkering with the brain at all except in the most extreme cases, but I do see a difference between giving everyone musical talent, and giving everyone perfect eyesight. I'm not actually sure how to explain this, but I think it comes down to physical issues, and skills and talents. The first, I have less of a problem with corrective possibilites, than the second. I like the fact that different people are good at different things, but I hate the fact that I have to wear glasses because I didn't get the genes for perfect eyesight.

Does that make sense?

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If you want everyone blindly happy, then I take it you agree with the Church in Blake's time which tried to manipulate even the worst off people to be happy with their lot.

Nope, not even close.

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I'm surprised you would think programming people is a good direction to go in, and one that humans can be trusted to go in. I personally think that's very naive.

I'll say this again, I don't want to program skills, or interests or talents or anything like that. But can you honestly tell me that wanting to get rid of bad eyesight, or bad hearing is wrong?

Defy Gravity!


The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.


#29 Godeskian

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 05:08 PM

View PostRichieTyrant, on Apr 16 2007, 09:12 PM, said:

View PostGodeskian, on Apr 15 2007, 02:52 PM, said:

Makes me wonder though. What if we didn't just give the rich and powerful designer babies, but managed to eliminate genetic defects in large quantities. Imagine if you will a time when every baby is born healthy, no asthma, eyes which will never develop cataracts or require corrective surgery, ears that can withstand much more than we can at the moment, eidetic memory for all, etc.

I have to admit to myself that I'd consider tinkering with the human genetic code, assuming we could do it right.

So we should start calling you Paul Museveni? ;)

I think conceptually, that having physically perfect bodies, while allowing Niets to have vastly different skills, interests and talents is an intriguing one.

Defy Gravity!


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#30 SparkyCola

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 06:12 PM

Quote

But can you honestly tell me that wanting to get rid of bad eyesight, or bad hearing is wrong?

Of course it's not wrong- but I think this is the wrong way to go about it. And don't think I say that with ease. But comparable are my views on talking CCTV. The idea in itself is ok and it works. But I'm against it because of the precedents it sets and the path it starts to go down. Once you cross the line, no matter how minutely, you've opened a floodgate.

The reason I don't trust it is not because I think people are bad. Just that attempts to do right can be misguided. Is it wrong to want a bright healthy child? Is it wrong to want them to be excellent at Maths so that they can get by in the world? No, every good parent wants the best for their child. But this is not the right way of going about that, and the loss of individuality is a sacrifice I'm not prepared to make. And you say "available to everyone" as if that's possible. If it's possible to make *anything* available to everyone, we should focus on food and vaccines before worrying about genetic engineering. But it doesn't work that way, and just like Niets and Kludges, this has a potential to be incredibly divisive.

Sufficed to say, the idea does not sit well avec moi.

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#31 Godeskian

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 06:27 PM

View PostSparkyCola, on Apr 17 2007, 12:12 AM, said:

Once you cross the line, no matter how minutely, you've opened a floodgate.

Definitely a point.

Quote

And you say "available to everyone" as if that's possible. If it's possible to make *anything* available to everyone, we should focus on food and vaccines before worrying about genetic engineering.

And a second very good point.

Quote

Sufficed to say, the idea does not sit well avec moi.

I suppose not. I just think of all the good it could do, and I let that run away with me. :)

Defy Gravity!


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#32 Raina

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 04:06 AM

View PostGodeskian, on Apr 16 2007, 03:07 PM, said:

Quote

Would it be nice if we were all musically talented? No. It certainly wouldn't make us happier. Do you want to implement a class structure and make everyong blindly happy with their lot in life?

No I don't. Actually, I'm against tinkering with the brain at all except in the most extreme cases, but I do see a difference between giving everyone musical talent, and giving everyone perfect eyesight. I'm not actually sure how to explain this, but I think it comes down to physical issues, and skills and talents. The first, I have less of a problem with corrective possibilites, than the second. I like the fact that different people are good at different things, but I hate the fact that I have to wear glasses because I didn't get the genes for perfect eyesight.

Does that make sense?
.........
I'll say this again, I don't want to program skills, or interests or talents or anything like that. But can you honestly tell me that wanting to get rid of bad eyesight, or bad hearing is wrong?
The trick is that I really can't see humans stopping with correcting actual problems. Sure, for the first little while it'll only be used to fix horrible, life-devastating problems; then it'll progress to fixing more inconvenient problems like bad eyesight; then some parent will use it to make their kid athletic to spare them the emotional scars of being teased in gym class for being a clutz; then parents will start making their kids really smart so that they can get good jobs and have good lives; it'll just keep on progressing down a slippery slope from there.

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