Thursday, June 23, 2011

Discussion: Designer Babies

Should it be legal for people to choose characteristics for their child through genetic therapy, such as race, gender, eye color, hair color, etc.?


  1. Sounds like the first act of a Syfy channel movie: Everything is going well until the blond, blue eyed babies invade Poland.

  2. As someone with blonde hair and blue eyes... I have to wonder why that specific set of traits always comes up when discussing this. Do we really appear that threatening?

  3. I do not see why it is any issue, if your responsible enough to plan having a child and the 25 years of expense it entails. Then why not choose the traits you would like your child to have.

  4. I don't see anything wrong with that. People have been doing it for millions of years.

    People get to pick their mates based on physical attributes all the time, and no one complains about that. It's really simple; if you're not attracted to it, don't make babies with it.

    Embryonic gene therapy is just another way to fine-tune the process and remove disease-causing genes from the embryo, as well as correct hereditary flaws. There is no reason to pass on genes for bad knees and heart disease if there is a way to avoid it.

    What should be mandatory would be for people to disclose any plastic surgeries/procedures they have had prior to mating, or else get sued for fraud and misrepresentation.

    "You should have told me that you were born with a unibrow. Now our kid has to live with that for the rest of her life."

  5. I think it may, ultimately, weaken the species.
    Was it Neitzsche that said "That which does not kill us makes us stronger"?

    Due to millions of years of evolution, we have become fairly strong and resistant to a host of diseases and problems. If, somehow, in our engineering process, these traits were to be eliminated (some of these diseases no longer exist to our knowledge), we could become vulnerable to a recidivism that may wipe us out as a species.
    Things as simple as the common cold caused the extinction of entire populations of natives when they came into contact with Europeans. Not having millions of years of antibodies built into their genetic code kiled those unfortunate people.

    Besides, it seems like an elitists wet dream. They could engineer perfect little obediant societies. No thanks.

  6. I don't think Nietzsche was talking about genetic disease or physical attributes.

    I feel like the rest of your comment, mac, assumes a homogenous view of beauty. Cars, houses, clothing... none of it is the same. Plus, if we manage to remove something we're missing, we can always add it again through the same technology that caused us to code it out.

    I wonder if obedience is a genetically dictated characteristic... at any rate, if it is, those who choose it for their children would find out pretty quick that obedience isn't as useful as it seems.


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