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1 freetoken  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 5:14:50pm

I object to the slandering of the idea of genetic engineering by equating it to the early 20th century concept of "eugenics".

2 researchok  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 5:16:41pm

re: #1 freetoken

Fair criticism.

That said, the idea of building a better human remains.

3 freetoken  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 5:24:25pm

re: #2 researchok

I think the author has very selectively presented the issue at hand, and looking at the comments it has received leads me to believe he is successfully getting his way.

For example:

Adam Turner 7 hours ago
This is very valuable piece, thank you. These are just some of the questions raised by the history and present of genetic medicine; questions that often don't receive the careful attention they deserve. Another that I would add is: How do we understand the area between "difference," "disability," and "disease"? This is a distinction that, though mediated by culture, individual experience, and historical context, has often been glossed over by genetic medicine. These are issues we too often want to pass off as the mistaken beliefs of an ignorant fringe, but that would miss how central they still are to our ways of approaching health and wellness.

No, just no.

From type 1 diabetes to thousands of other biological failures present at birth or expressed through development, failure at the organismal level by malfunctioning cells is not something postmodern moralism can dismiss. Many human health problems can be mitigated or even eliminated through genetic engineering, and no amount of concerned hand wringing by the moralists can change molecular biology.

4 researchok  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 5:56:09pm

re: #3 freetoken

Isn't the slippery slope relevant here?

I know in my line of work, there is a raging debate when it comes to the use of medications to control symptoms or to elicit certain (desired) behaviors.

In some Asian nations technology is now used to select sex and other physical attributes.

I understand your POV- and in a perfect world, I'd agree wholeheartedly.

The problem is access to the technology (rich vs poor) politics and the moral and ethical concerns of various groups and religious constituencies.

5 freetoken  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 6:08:22pm

re: #4 researchok

Well, the "slippery slope" is a well known logical fallacy.

There are many moral issues one can raise, about how our modern society is not translating universally, with privileged minorities receiving most of the benefits.

However, engineering the human genome to exclude variations known to cause limited life-spans or decreased capabilities, as well as inserting capabilities we have lost (such as the ability to produce vitamin C), are, I contend, so beneficial that to deny them on hypothetical grounds is letting fear rule over reason.

6 researchok  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 6:21:15pm

re: #5 freetoken

Question: Once the genie is out of the bottle, how do we keep it focused and under control?

To be clear, I'm all for eliminating genetic diseases and that to which you referred. I just worry about the darker side.

While it is true privileged minorities do benefit from technological advances. It seems to me however, this is a game changer in that the degree of separation between the haves and have nots will increase markedly.

For example, will colleges admit the less intellectually enhanced? Should they? What about athletics? What happens when some racial deatures are deemed more desirable than others? Is that the end of diversity? Won't genetic modifications (outside health areas) limit meritocracy?

You see where I'm going with this.

I just don't know.


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