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Oxford ethicist: use IVF to create only smart babies
The Way ^ | Mar 27, 2011 | Amanda Hopkins

Posted on 04/11/2011 8:28:42 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby

Australian ethicist working at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics claims that humanity has a “moral obligation” to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to select the most intelligent embryos for the good of society, with the obvious implication that the less intelligent “surplus” embryos should simply be destroyed.

Professor Julian Savulescu of Melbourne made the statement while commenting on an economic modeling research paper by Oxford University ethicists Andres Sandberg and Nick Bostrom, who claim that a rise in humanity’s IQ would result in a reduction in poverty, welfare dependency, crowding of jails, school dropout rates, out-of-wedlock births, and single parent families.

“The overall societal impact of even a small increase in general cognitive function would likely to be sizeable and desirable,” Sandberg and Bostrom wrote in their report. Professor Savulescu said, “There are other ethical principles which should govern reproduction, such as the public interest. “Even if an individual might have a stunningly good life as a psychopath, there might be reasons based on the public interest not to bring that individual into existence.

“My own view is that the economic and social benefits of higher cognition are reasons in favour of selection, but secondary to the benefits to the individual. “Cheaper, efficient whole genome analysis makes it a real possibility in the near future,” said Savulescu, according to the Herald Sun. Conservative bioethicist Wesley Smith, however, denounced the suggestion as “bigoted.”

“Alas, these bigoted ideas – because that’s what eugenics boils down to, bigotry – are embraced in contemporary academia and their intellectual purveyors are all the rage, garnering named chairs at the most elite universities,” he said. “And notice,” he continued, “these eugenicists rarely mention trying to bring out the best traits of humanity, such as love, humility, selflessness, or gentleness – traits that promote peace and harmony, and which people with Down syndrome possess in abundance.” “Intelligence is good,” says Smith.

“But if we’re going to pick and choose the traits of our progeny – which we shouldn’t – let’s aim instead for people with genes that might give them a propensity to express the virtues.”

Professor Neil Levy, Deputy Research Director of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, also pointed out the practical shortcomings of Savulescu’s plan, saying that investing in “designer embryos” would be “an enormous waste of money,” according to the Herald Sun. “Why spend all that money when we could be doing so much with that money to increase the IQs and life spans of babies in sub-Saharan Africa? The pay-off in terms of raising quality of life for many people would be much greater than you’d get from concentrating on just a few.” “My view is this is essentially a distraction,” Dr. Levy said.

“If you have an enriched environment as a kid, you’re just going to have a higher IQ. Birth weights strongly predict IQ, and the mother’s nutritional status strongly predicts IQ. But these are things we’re not worried about, because we’re used to them,” Dr. Levy remarked.

Dr. David Amor, Director of the Victorian Clinical Genetic Services in Australia, warned that the genetics associated with intelligence were still poorly understood, and that geneticists are skeptical that a specific gene for IQ is likely to be discovered. “It is likely that some genes involved in intelligence have both advantages and disadvantages, depending on the complex genetic environment they are placed in,”

Dr. Amor said. “It’s possible an embryo that appeared to have a perfect genetic make-up for intelligence might turn out to have less desirable attributes in other areas, such as health or personality. It might be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’.”

Dr. Amor added that another consideration that limits the accuracy of genetic testing for intelligence is the small number of viable embryos produced by IVF. “Most couples having IVF only produce a handful or embryos suitable to test and therefore the ability to select is limited,” he said. “Even if there were larger numbers of embryos, intelligence of children tends to cluster closely around that of parents. Therefore, if a hypothetical genetic test for intelligence was applied to embryos, results would most likely be similar for all embryos.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: australia; babies; baby; breeding; embryos; eugenics; genes; genetics; intelligence; iq; ivf; moralabsolutes; prolife; psychopath; research

1 posted on 04/11/2011 8:28:47 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

The problem is...no one is smart enough to really know WHAT intelligence is. They can’t accurately measure it much less predict who’s going to get it.

There’s a lot of really really smart people that are really really dumb, if ya know what I mean. If suddenly all the babies born are smart in only the one way, society will suffer.


2 posted on 04/11/2011 8:32:00 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

Nice to see the genetic Nazis slithering out from under their rocks again. I just worked a weekend engagement at a charity event for special needs kids and families and never had more appreciative customers. This jagoff makes me sick.


3 posted on 04/11/2011 8:34:59 PM PDT by coydog (Time to feed the pigs!)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

4 posted on 04/11/2011 8:36:22 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
claims that humanity has a “moral obligation”

...women incur a "debt to society" through their thoughtless reproducing...

nothing new under the sun. Can you hear the lunatic fringe calling?

5 posted on 04/11/2011 8:46:56 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (You is what you am.)
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To: mamelukesabre

“The problem is...no one is smart enough to really know WHAT intelligence is. They can’t accurately measure it much less predict who’s going to get it.”

That’s close to the leftist take on it, and it’s not quite true. IQ is a generally good predictor of academic and economic success. There are always exceptions, but... do you remember the bell curve?

“There’s a lot of really really smart people that are really really dumb, if ya know what I mean. If suddenly all the babies born are smart in only the one way, society will suffer.”

I know what you mean. I agree here.


6 posted on 04/11/2011 9:14:09 PM PDT by OldNewYork (social justice isn't justice; it's just socialism)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

Boy, I tell you...we’re not far from ...gee, I don’t know the word!!!

Humans are getting pretty damn scary.


7 posted on 04/11/2011 9:15:19 PM PDT by TribalPrincess2U (They don't need to do another 911. They have BHO and the Fleebaggers.)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
love, humility, selflessness, or gentleness – traits that promote peace and harmony, and which people with Down syndrome possess in abundance.

I agree that people who live with Down's syndrome can be loving, gentle, etc. But they can also be mean, aggressive, and stubborn. They are human beings and have all the same the vices and virtues as non-disabled individuals.
8 posted on 04/11/2011 9:15:50 PM PDT by redheadtoo
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To: the invisib1e hand

It is true that thoughtless reproduction - births to unwed, irresponsible parents - is wreaking havoc on society. That doesn’t mean we should accept Sanger and PP’s solution, though.


9 posted on 04/11/2011 9:16:51 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: wagglebee

ping


10 posted on 04/11/2011 9:20:56 PM PDT by kalee (The offences we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we engrave in marble. J Huett 1658)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
Professor Julian Savulescu of Melbourne made the statement while commenting on an economic modeling research paper by Oxford University ethicists Andres Sandberg and Nick Bostrom, who claim that a rise in humanity’s IQ would result in a reduction in poverty, welfare dependency, crowding of jails, school dropout rates, out-of-wedlock births, and single parent families.

If someone waved a magic wand and the population of earth was suddenly twice as smart the IQ of the population would remain the same. By definition the median score would remain 100 with half of the population above 100 and the other half below. The 'bell curve' would remain the same.

Remember, half of everyone you know is below average!

Regards,
GtG

PS IQ is a relative ranking not an absolute quantitative measure. These people are so damn smart they can't even get their argument phrased correctly.

11 posted on 04/11/2011 9:23:44 PM PDT by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
You seem to enjoy the thrill of semantic juggling.

Thoughtless sexual habits? A problem.

"Thoughtless reproduction"? A meaningless term, like "thoughtless Christmas shopping."

12 posted on 04/11/2011 9:26:33 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (You is what you am.)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

This man obviously hasn’t had to deal with the truly intelligent; one thing about the truly genius intelligent is that they are highly skilled at being exceptionally deceptive, which means that they are skilled in fooling people who think they know them well. A huge part of this is control; this man must see himself as breeding brainy babies and then running their lives, wihtout realizing that when the brainy babies get tired of being told how to live thier lives, they will turn on them. All living beings have minds of their own and will use them at some point.

If he has a samll village filled with those who have high, genius intelligence, at some point the brainy babies will be able to successfully fend for themselves, which means that this guy would be looked at by them as disposable. If abused and desensitized enough, they can end up being very clinical about who is and isn’t important to them. Kids with high intelligence are also very self controlled in many respects, something that so many keep forgetting. Kids with high intelligence at genius level can be very stoical and look at a situation with very clinical viewpoints.

You really cannot dictate how a gifted mind will develop and I don’t see how you can raise a super race, without the super race eventually viewing you as disposable.


13 posted on 04/11/2011 9:35:02 PM PDT by Niuhuru (The Internet is the digital AIDS; adapting and successfully destroying the MSM host.)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
" ... humanity has a “moral obligation” to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to select the most intelligent embryos for the good of society ... "

This is such a wet dream for collectivists, statists, communists, socialists, Obamunists, because to accomplish this, it will mean the state has attained total power, literally over life and death ...

14 posted on 04/11/2011 9:42:25 PM PDT by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: dfwgator

a very underrated movie.


15 posted on 04/11/2011 9:48:50 PM PDT by BBell
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

Sounds like a Brave New World to me.


16 posted on 04/11/2011 9:51:28 PM PDT by BBell
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

What they call intelligence, we call shear stupidity.

Have you ever talked to a Mathematical? Smarter than a brain surgeon, yet dumber than a box of rocks.

Maybe they should leave nature alone, they are going to create a ton of gay, intelligent, helpless, crazy, weaklings, that will starve.


17 posted on 04/11/2011 9:55:01 PM PDT by dila813
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To: spodefly

Even if such a plan could be accomplished, it would probably backfire. You need a dumb population to keep socialists in power.


18 posted on 04/11/2011 9:57:17 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

“As it was in the days of Noe [Noah], so shall it be also in the days of the [coming of the] Son of man.” (Luke 17:26)


19 posted on 04/11/2011 10:01:16 PM PDT by Dogbert41 (Sorry for typos: typed with IPhone)
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To: BBell
Sounds like a Brave New World to me.

Brave New World chapter 16

"I was wondering," said the Savage, "why you had them at all–seeing that you can get whatever you want out of those bottles. Why don't you make everybody an Alpha Double Plus while you're about it?"

Mustapha Mond laughed. "Because we have no wish to have our throats cut," he answered. "We believe in happiness and stability. A society of Alphas couldn't fail to be unstable and miserable. Imagine a factory staffed by Alphas–that is to say by separate and unrelated individuals of good heredity and conditioned so as to be capable (within limits) of making a free choice and assuming responsibilities. Imagine it!" he repeated.

The Savage tried to imagine it, not very successfully.

"It's an absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would go mad if he had to do Epsilon Semi-Moron work–go mad, or start smashing things up. Alphas can be completely socialized–but only on condition that you make them do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren't sacrifices; they're the line of least resistance. His conditioning has laid down rails along which he's got to run. He can't help himself; he's foredoomed. Even after decanting, he's still inside a bottle–an invisible bottle of infantile and embryonic fixations. Each one of us, of course," the Controller meditatively continued, "goes through life inside a bottle. But if we happen to be Alphas, our bottles are, relatively speaking, enormous. We should suffer acutely if we were confined in a narrower space. You cannot pour upper-caste champagne-surrogate into lower-caste bottles. It's obvious theoretically. But it has also been proved in actual practice. The result of the Cyprus experiment was convincing."

"What was that?" asked the Savage.

Mustapha Mond smiled. "Well, you can call it an experiment in rebottling if you like. It began in A.F. 473. The Controllers had the island of Cyprus cleared of all its existing inhabitants and re-colonized with a specially prepared batch of twenty-two thousand Alphas. All agricultural and industrial equipment was handed over to them and they were left to manage their own affairs. The result exactly fulfilled all the theoretical predictions. The land wasn't properly worked; there were strikes in all the factories; the laws were set at naught, orders disobeyed; all the people detailed for a spell of low-grade work were perpetually intriguing for high-grade jobs, and all the people with high-grade jobs were counter-intriguing at all costs to stay where they were. Within six years they were having a first-class civil war. When nineteen out of the twenty-two thousand had been killed, the survivors unanimously petitioned the World Controllers to resume the government of the island. Which they did. And that was the end of the only society of Alphas that the world has ever seen."

20 posted on 04/11/2011 10:02:52 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! Tea Party extremism is a badge of honor.)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

All I can say is that Professor Julian Savulescu really doesn’t have a lot of common sense.

It doesn’t take much thought to realize that factors other than intelligence keep people in poverty or make people choose to be criminals. Even factors such as psychopathy are not predictors of how that person will fare in life (in any case, psychopathy is probably a result of environment and genes, making it not possible to eliminate just from a genetic test).

Sure, there is a need for high IQ people. We’re the ones figuring out the basic science that will lead to medical treatments years down the road. We’re developing new technology, writing music, making art, and doing all sorts of great things for the betterment of humanity. But there is no way we do our high IQ stuff without the support of the average or low IQ people—the administrative staff, janitors, cooks, etc. There’s no need for someone with a 160 IQ to be running the industrial dish washer or collecting the trash.

I’ll bet that Professor Julian Savulescu has all kinds of staff supporting him and the other thinkers in his department. I wouldn’t be surprised if, while dismissing them from his idea of a perfect utopia, he’s probably taking their services for granted...


21 posted on 04/11/2011 10:15:07 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

C. S. Lewis pointed out the fundamental problem with doing this long ago in his essay book The Abolition Of Man.


22 posted on 04/11/2011 11:06:54 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Hawk)
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To: exDemMom

Who knows, if it were possible to “wave a magic wand” and make men “smarter” without committing immoral acts, people would invent robots to do the mind numbing tasks.


23 posted on 04/11/2011 11:08:50 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Hawk)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

Aside from the moralit of the situation, IVF is freakin’ expensive. Who’s paying for all this?

(Oh, right, the government . . . I forget. Silly me.)


24 posted on 04/11/2011 11:30:17 PM PDT by Hetty_Fauxvert (March 2010: Congress shoved Obamacare down our throats. November 2010: We will shove it back!)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

even the Spartans didn’t do that
http://ancientstandard.com/2007/12/03/this-is-sparta-%E2%80%93-no-baby-throwing-allowed-ca-5th-c-bc/

Note the link to freerepublic in the article :)


25 posted on 04/12/2011 1:03:11 AM PDT by ari-freedom
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To: mamelukesabre

“The problem is...no one is smart enough to really know WHAT intelligence is. They can’t accurately measure it much less predict who’s going to get it.”

If there is an intelligence gene(s), it could very be something that results in slightly higher blood flow to the brain.


26 posted on 04/12/2011 1:08:06 AM PDT by ari-freedom
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby; kalee; 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


27 posted on 04/12/2011 5:40:19 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

This person is not an ethicist but an agnostic eugenisist.


28 posted on 04/12/2011 5:46:02 AM PDT by RoadTest (Organized religion is no substitute for the relationship the living God wants with you.)
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To: exDemMom

You got that right. In short, some of those most evil people to ever walk the planet had a high IQ. IQ is important, but is not the determining factor.


29 posted on 04/12/2011 6:04:57 AM PDT by ohioman
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

Depends on the definition. My best friend was labeled “slow” at school because his dad was the county drunk.

He now runs an engineering department.


30 posted on 04/12/2011 6:19:40 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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