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Ethics of making superhumans through gene therapy

Discussion in 'Debate Forum' started by U.N. Owen, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. U.N. Owen

    U.N. Owen In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night ...

    This surprises me. I'm sure kids would have a major reaction when their parents tell them, "I knew you'd win that award for sports/academics/theater because I made you that way." or "I can't believe you lost. I made you better than that." I personally find it highly insulting that parents might actually have this sentiment. Then again, I grew up speaking Chinese. I know what it's like to have your awards called fake to your face and criticized for not getting any.

    Eventually, there comes a time when technology advances to the point where even poor people have access to this technology. After all, back in the middle ages, paper was a sign of wealth. Now, we take it for granted.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  2. PrimoPier

    PrimoPier Member

    Ok, but not necessarly parents will have that attitude. Maybe you shouldn't see this point so extremely! A parent could, for instance, improve a single aspect thinking of improving life quality of the kid, without even letting him know.
    I ask you to think of adopted children: for some of them could be a shock knowing it, but so many kids are able to be resilient.
    I don't see how speaking chinese could be a "fake" quality. It is a quality.
  3. Bolt the Cat

    Bolt the Cat Bringing the Thunder

    "Eventually" being the key word here. It'll probably take 100+ years for that kind of technology to be widespread, and in that time it could do serious systemic damage to society.
  4. Steven of Venus

    Steven of Venus From Another Planet

    The veil to reality remains rather obscure, so by pulling strings from higher dimensions, putting ideas in people's minds, following the source code to the furthest infinity, and adding extra star sparklers to the dimensions races to the finish a ladder of transpiring and victory, achieving more grounds in the realms of fiction and sci-fi.

    Rumination on the galactic base foundation casts spells and music over the spheres. Whether the robotic or genetically engineered can hear God's voice though from the center of the universe and whatever lies beyond is another story.
  5. U.N. Owen

    U.N. Owen In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night ...

    It's a reference to contemporary Chinese culture where children are expected to get awards and get punished for losing. Believe me, if people who were not born "perfect" are treated like this now, wait until their children's genes get altered to be "perfect".

    Hence why the example of paper was used. Look how long it took for it to be easy to access.
  6. Bolt the Cat

    Bolt the Cat Bringing the Thunder

    That's the entire issue though. Yes, it's entirely feasible for the technology to be accessible to everyone. It's what's going to happen between now and then that's worrying. Look at the long term damage slavery's done to this country. It's been abolished for 150 years and race relations are still tense to say the least. Genetic based castes could have a similar negative effect on society for centuries to come, and by the time the technology is available across the board the damage will have been done.
  7. LDSman

    LDSman Banned

    I'd support a very slow process to eliminate the various genetic anomalies. It would be slow to build acceptance and to watch for problems that might arise. Not to build "superhuman" like the movie Gattaca. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/

    Start with the worst genetic anomalies and work your way down the list. The ones that kill you slowly and painfully. Little hard to argue against those. Some of the mental quirks might be tied to greater intelligence or artistic ability. There would need to be a lot of long term research on that and it might be better to accept that some people are odd.

    I don't get why some parents would intentionally let their child be born deaf or blind (not sure if that's a thing) or whatever in the name of "culture". That's putting your child at a huge disadvantage in society.
  8. I am very hopeful about gene editing and perhaps have less reservations than I should. The possibility of eradicating painful and debilitating diseases is exhilarating. I think we owe it to our species to pursue it. The fruits of science have always been a double edged sword. WW2 gave us fission, which was a technology responsible for devastating two cities and had kept the world in a state of anxiety, but has also given us nuclear plants that supply power to millions of people. The internet allows millions of people to connect with eachother and gives you unlimited access to nearly all collected human knowledge, but has also made it magnitudes easier for people to scam, kill, rape, or perform nearly any other nefarious activity with easier discretion. It's always up to us to decide which direction we take with any given technology, and that's what makes it scary.

    If you're afraid that the rich will deny access to this technology to the poor, the only answer available to you is: don't let them. Get involved. Support proactive legislation, etc. etc.

    Either way, the technology is coming. China has already edited sickle cell anemia out of human embryos and they have expressed no desire to stop there. When it comes to advances in technology like genetics and especially A.I., we can't afford to slouch because we're squeamish - or other nations with bigger balls are going to leave us in the dust. Your hangups are likely to disappear when you hear about people in other places having their lives extended well over 100 years, augmented intelligence to do what they've always dreamed of, and you're a cashier with a hip problem.

    Even if these technologies take a long time to trickle down to the lower classes, I am still for them. I think it's utterly selfish to condemn future generations of people to illnesses and limitations that aren't their fault, and stop the advancement of an entire species just because I, a member of the underclass, may not get to see any of it.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  9. Deadeye

    Deadeye H(a)unting...

    Somehow I'm foreseeing the gene modification is inevitable (just as much as us turning ourselves into cyborgs) and people may start arguing more that the same technology that is used to cure diseases and anomalies that make lives of some people hard, but knowing the human history it might not be good idea in long run due to all biological and technological dominance becoming even more possible, as mentioned earlier in the thread. It's already fairly easy to break a person or control masses with right resources and skills though.
    I admit in my opinion it would be cool to get superhuman everything, but I wouldn't consider it very ethical to meddle with what nature has given to us. After few generations we'd lose our ability to value difference/variety and sense of compassion/love for those who are less privileged and eventually also for ourselves. Sometimes those who were different or less privileged were able to turn it into a strength in long-run and they helped whole humanity go forward. Would we have that anymore?
    As for those who choose to reproduce, the child is more likely to become an object than a person if their genes were chosen or hand picked rather than letting the nature to do its work regardless of outcome. What develops of an object (of course both nature and nurture affect this)? What about animals? Would they become mere servants and food, would we value wildlife at all? Could we see beauty and strength in what's natural anymore? Would an individual have a choice and where would the line of individual having a choice over themselves be drawn, so that it'd be fair?

    On idealistic level though everyone would have equal opportunity for success even if it didn't ensure outcomes, because physical limitations wouldn't restrict an individual achievement anymore. Everyone could do what they love. There might be virtual immortality, too.

    Regardless of selfish or selfless, we can't probably control it, but gonna agree with you that we shouldn't (harshly?) condemn a generation for things which may not be their fault. The only solution would be destroying all that there is so far, which is ultimately similar to how certain religious people did to most ancient cultures and that was, turn or die. I don't approve of it although it's history and I couldn't affect it, therefore I'm not gonna be mad about it but the legacy of it. We may still collectively be able to affect if we give the legacy of responsibile use of technology instead of legacy of disregard and recklessness.

    Still, humanity will destroy itself sooner or later. If it's not war with nuclear weapons or just all human life poisoning and consuming the planet slowly to death (most likely humans will escape the poisoning through advancement instead of taking responsibility of the well-being of our planet), it will probably be technology and gene modification. It's already possible to develop a lethal disease (which resists antibiotics), why not a killer gene? Or a template which determines whether you're a ruler, a soldier or a slave, (imagine ant hive) and in case of rulers, corruption isn't probably gonna be "bred out" of them.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017

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