Skip to comments.Genetically engineering 'ethical' babies is a moral obligation, says Oxford professor
Posted on 08/16/2012 12:22:09 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Genetically screening our offspring to make them better people is just 'responsible parenting', claims an eminent Oxford academic.
Professor Julian Savulescu said that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a "moral obligation" as it makes them grow up into "ethically better children".
The expert in practical ethics said that we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children as it meant they were then less likely to "harm themselves and others".
The academic, who is also editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, made his comments in an article in the latest edition of Reader's Digest.
He explained that we are now in the middle of a genetic revolution and that although screening, for all but a few conditions, remained illegal it should be welcomed.
He said that science is increasingly discovering that genes have a significant influence on personality with certain genetic markers in embryo suggesting future characteristics.
By screening in and screening out certain genes in the embryos, it should be possible to influence how a child turns out.
In the end, he said that "rational design" would help lead to a better, more intelligent and less violent society in the future.
"Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?" wrote Prof Savulescu, the Uehiro Professor in practical ethics.
"So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Eventual outcome would be at the bottom of the slippery slope of, - Who decides what your off-spring will be and if and how many you can have? -
Why don’t we just breed robots, programmed for “correct” behavior?
Wait a minute I know this name... oh right he is the editor of the ethics journal that published the article by two ethicists who proposed that infanticide was just a form of late abortion.
“So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice.”
AND your Secretary of Health and Human Services will be happy to make that ‘choice’ for you.
“Oh, I’m sorry sweetheart, you are unable to conceive.”
“Dr. Mengele, Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine ... Dr. Mengele, Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine ... to the operating room”
I could imgine that traits of independence, personal responsibility, and work eithics will be the first traits to be screened out.
Genetically screening offspring to create an army for the elite.
So we will have a society of intelligent wusses. B.S. We will always need warriors but I’m sure that warriors can be created too. Have you ever read Brave New World?
This is just another take on the 'salvation by works' angle.
This is absurd. A moral code is a set of Chosen values. It is a product of cognition. Babies do not have the kinds of cognitive skills to do this. There is no instinctive moral code. Now if you really want to improve the Human race then you need to prevent stupid people from breeding. Also liberals but I repeat myself.
That was one conclusion I agreed with. Infanticide is morally the same as abortion - both center on the murder of the innocent. I wonder how this "ethicist" would feel about including homosexuality on the list of characteristics that can be screened out.
I kinda laugh at people like this.
I’ll have utter futility with a side order of exposing my fascism, please!
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.
Now, a thought. There's currently a theory on the table that the mutation(s) that causes CF (cystic fibrosis) is the reason any human beings survive the recurring visits of what we know as The Black Plague.
It's like sickle cell disease. You need one factor only to have immunity to the infection being protected against. If you have two factors you suffer from the pain of sickle cell. If you have no factors, you just die from malaria.
In this case, if you have one copy of the factor you are immune from black plague. Alas, if you have two you may die quite early due to CF. If you have no factors, if black plague comes around you just die.
So, it may be possible through careful genetic counseling to create a race of humans who do not have the CF factor. No one would have CF anymore.
Then when the Black Plague visits again, and the antibiotics fail, everyone will simply die.
Like to note that what happens with CF, since those without the factor can survive to breed ~ you end up with a population without CF factor. Over time they come to dominate and might grow to be as much as 90% of your population. Other places maybe they're only 50%, and in other places 10%.
This would explain why the death rates reported in the Medieval period were all over the place. In some places everybody died. In other places hardly anyone died.
So, what's the ethical value in stripping the CF gene from humanity? It kills and it saves both!
Maybe we should be putting chastity belts on everyone and screening them before they are allowed to contribute genetic material to a conception?
Exactly - except for the few whom the "ruling elite" wish to cultivate for future rule.
I agree with you. I should have made clear they proposed that infanticide could be justified based using the most common argument in favor of abortion.
Don't you know that it is rather rude to confuse a progressive with the facts?
“ethics” are Humanist morals based on nothing but a consensus of people without a foundation for those morals.
Somebody post the picture of Recardo Montalban playing Khan in one of the Star Trek movies.
“We’re marching to a faster pace.....look out, here comes the master race!”
That’s funny right there, don’t care who ya are. If you don’t think that’s funny, you get on outa here.
I hope they find a “gay gene” because then when somebody asks me if they should genetically engineer children, I will say, sure! we can engineer them now to be raging Heterosexuals!
I wonder how many people on the side of Homosexuality would be all in an uproar over the “eventual extinction” of gay people via genetic engineering?
“The Boys from Brazil” (1978), starring Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier and James Mason.
Reminds me of “A Brave New World.” I guess the ethicist thinks he’s an Alpha and he should get to decide who becomes Betas, Gammas, etc.
There, I fixed it.
I'll search the net from round photobucket to tinypic around google image search to find that pic!
[ I could imgine that traits of independence, personal responsibility, and work eithics will be the first traits to be screened out.
Exactly - except for the few whom the “ruling elite” wish to cultivate for future rule. ]
Once the genie is released from the bottle we cannot be the ones who sit there demanding that it be crammed back in or we will appear as foolish as those that have thrown wooden shoes into machinery during the dawn of the industrial revolution.
We must make sure that the private individual is empowered to be able to use this technology more than any government and not get int he way of private enterprise using it to enhance all our lives.
He’s advocating harm to unborn babies. He’s unethical. He needs to be screened out. It’s a moral obligation to screen him out.
But such a policy will result in unexpected problems that are impossible to predict or anticipate. You will then have all the old problems of natural non-designed babies plus the new problems caused by the designer babies.
hm... I am typically against this sort of thing...
if they could prescreen babies for a tendency to become liberals when they grow up... I might have to rethink my position ;)
The focus group meets in Starbucks every second Thursday. So far, the new humans will be very small to have a low carbon footprint. They have two sets of sex organs so they can make a choice. Their genome is editable to remove undesired traits should any be discovered. There is an auto-abort gene should the feng shu specialist in attendance determine any negative vibes. Best, when they die they decompose into tofu.
the future’s so bright, i gotta wear shades.
For all have sinned.. if you have the DNA of Adam then you cannot be “ethical” as a human being. There is only one that was, and was made so only through being God as well as human.
These people aren’t like most of us.
There is, I once read, an identifiable section of the brain in which the conscience operates. The story was told of a workman who had an accident in which a piece of steel penetrated his brain. He survived, but was basically a psychopath afterward.OTOH there is the concept of brain plasticity:
According to that (weighty but very interesting) tome, there is an identifiable area of the brain which stores spacial memory. And if a brain scan is made of a man before and after studying for the examination one must pass to become a London cabbie, it will be seen that that portion of the brain actually physically grows with the application of the mental force of concentrated study.
- The Mind and the Brain:
- Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force
by Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley
The book even asserts that, in a young child at least, a whole hemisphere of the brain can adapt to the absence, through necessary surgery, of the other half - taking over functions that conventional understanding would imply would be permanently lost to that child. Indeed, adults who have lost functionality due to stroke can, with effort, regain that functionality. The lesson, clearly, is that discipline is everything. So that the case for genetically engineering ethics is not nearly as compelling as it could, to some, appear.
This professor is impressively ignorant of genetics.
I can imagine a young child saying that we should make babies that have wings so they can fly like birds all the way to Heaven or the Moon if they want to.
On a more serious note, though the dictionary does not make such an easy distinction, Americans imagine that “morality” is the unchanging dictates of Heaven, whereas “ethics” is abiding the relative laws “of and by” man.
That is, a person who is moral would have been moral 100 years ago, despite all the other changes in the world. But a person who is ethical only obeys the laws as written since they were last changed.
This being said, if you were theoretically able to make an “ethical” baby, the child would be an automaton to the whims of government. They would have no sense of judgment, nor could they deal with ideas like “jury nullification” of unjust laws.
On a more practical note, at least from the point of view of government, is breeding children to be like domestic animals, never reaching emotional maturity. Only wild animals achieve emotional maturity and cease being docile.
The same with humans. An adult human is capable and does not need much government. And if oppressed can turn savage.
In truth, we could tell as much by feeling the bumps of the kids skull as we can by genetic testing.
This sort of thing has been tried before. It was before any particularly direct genetic screening, but if you could prove you and your prospective mate were from good Aryan families, it would be approved...
Personality traits may well be entirely genetic.
Let’s see. Before this professor there was Charles Darwin, then there was Margaret Sanger, then Adolf Hitler. I would say this professor had a several mentors he learned from.
When humanity finally goes under in thousands of years we will all be Conservative Republicans!