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Thread: Design your baby !

  1. #1 Design your baby ! 
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    Most of us have seen the term 'designer baby' used by the media. The term conjures up images of couples sitting down with a catalogue and carefully selecting each feature, characteristic and trait one by one.

    The whole idea is both exciting and frightening and most certainly rife with ethical issues.

    What are your thoghts about this ?

    http://www.humansfuture.org/genetic_...babies.php.htm


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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    There's also a movie with this theme called Gattaca, which is worth a watch.


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  4. #3  
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    ... can my baby have a tail like a monkey's, the wings of an Eagle, bones of titanium and skin like kevlar? Can I have a Super Baby!?!?

    just kidding... I find the idea of genetically engineering our offspring to be a little creepy and unsettling, I don't really want to mess with the genetic code of ours and see what problems might arise... This process, though we have fantastic understanding now, still scares the ever-lovin crap outa me.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Julian Savulescu, a prof of philosophy at Oxford, makes a very convincing case for how human enhancement should be used.

    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundb...cu_chapter.pdf

    The main arguments against it are often religious. It is a normal reaction to initially react with disgust against the idea of designer babies. I tend to agree with people who say that a designed human is something less than a regular human. It's the Pygmalion dilemma, is the creation always inferior to the creator?
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    There's also a movie with this theme called Gattaca, which is worth a watch.
    that was quite a good movie. In the end ethan hawke who is a natural born was able to overcome his weakness, beat his more superior brother in an ocean swimming race amidst a thunderstorm and also saved his brother's life, and fool the system to put himself on a flight to Gattaca?

    While designer babies maybe an inevitable reality in the near future, what good does it do to humanity and the world when we create humans that are only superior in competing with other humans? Will he/she know how to govern the world so that it will be a peacefull and happy place to live in? We don't even know how to do that, then how sure are we that we can design a human that are able to?
    ~ One’s ultimate perfection depends on the development of all the members of society ~ Kabbalah
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  7. #6  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newnothing
    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    There's also a movie with this theme called Gattaca, which is worth a watch.
    that was quite a good movie. In the end ethan hawke who is a natural born was able to overcome his weakness, beat his more superior brother in an ocean swimming race amidst a thunderstorm and also saved his brother's life, and fool the system to put himself on a flight to Gattaca?
    Yep, but remember what he said? His brother asks him how he did it and he said basically he wasn't saving anything for the return trip. His brother was superior in every way but he wanted it more, and was willing to sacrifice more to get it.

    So there's a lot of lessons to take away from that movie. A good movie should be like that I think.

    While designer babies maybe an inevitable reality in the near future, what good does it do to humanity and the world when we create humans that are only superior in competing with other humans? Will he/she know how to govern the world so that it will be a peacefull and happy place to live in? We don't even know how to do that, then how sure are we that we can design a human that are able to?
    Remember it isn't "designer" in the sense that you sit down and decide all the traits you want. It's genetic screening. Take 1000s of embryos, extrapolate the genetics from each one, and make a decision one which to implant and raise. At first it just means eliminating genetic "diseases" like down syndrome or cardiac disease (like it was in the movie) or diabetes, etc. Maybe later on it starts involving things like faster, stronger, smarter children. But it's always genes from the parents. The human genome is just way too complex to start writing from scratch.

    And at the end of the day genetics is only a tiny portion of the equation anyway. Each individual couple makes decisions based on their culture, beliefs, and pocket book which will get reflected into their children's genes. And then they'll teach their children basically the same values from their culture, beliefs, and pocket book.

    But it does allow for the beginnings of a biologically based technological singularity.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Junior newnothing's Avatar
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    I couldn't remember what was said in the movie, I only remember that it was a good movie. Probably time to watch it again... :P
    ~ One’s ultimate perfection depends on the development of all the members of society ~ Kabbalah
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    There's also a movie with this theme called Gattaca, which is worth a watch.
    I think that should have been called Ctaatgt.

    Ethical issues surround a lot of this area of science. I personally think that genetic screening is a good thing. But it defiantly needs to be controlled and regulated. Not every tom dick and harry can carryout these tests so in theory it should be pretty easy we know this isn’t the case I guess, but it is a way forward that I am willing to embrace.

    If it came down to it in the future – would I (and my partner) decide to terminate a pregnancy because the baby was going to develop cystic fibrosis? I’m not sure.

    Would I allow screening of my partners embryos to avoid this disease – probably wouldn’t have a problem with that.
    But given the chance I would do everything that would ensure my baby was healthy.

    They already do screen parents for the mutation causing cystic fibrosis and advise them of the chances.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    Yep, but remember what he said? His brother asks him how he did it and he said basically he wasn't saving anything for the return trip. His brother was superior in every way but he wanted it more, and was willing to sacrifice more to get it.

    So there's a lot of lessons to take away from that movie. A good movie should be like that I think.
    Yeah, I think the point was that the brother just didn't want it as badly.

    One of the interesting things with the movie that I think people often overlook is whether or not the Gattaca corporation had a legitimate right to keep him off the flight. I mean, he really did have a heart condition that probably should have prevented him from going. We don't get to see whether or not he dies during the launch, with the ship having to turn back because their navigator suddenly died of heart failure.
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  11. #10  
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    Oh, I think that movie is totally unbelievable,
    I mean first of all naturally born children are a complete underclass, and when the girl finds out he's just an ordinary guy she loves him even more.
    I mean she's obviously engineered, and she loves him even more once she realizes that he isn't "special."

    You would think that with the society depicted that it would be likely that all of the security and blood tests and skin samples wouldn't even be necessary, I mean the guy is cleared to go on his space mission and still he's given daily tests just to make sure he's perfect enough.

    I started watching it and couldn't even finish it.

    Boring!
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  12. #11  
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    Attitudes vary over time. A few decades back, the idea of human artificial insemination was anathema. Today it is common. The same will happen for more futuristic reproduction, such as cloning and genetic manipulation. Today, lots of people look at it with horror. In another 100 years ?????

    I am totally happy with the idea of genetic manipulation up to a point. The idea of making sure a child is healthy, good looking, intelligent, athletic etc due to gene tinkering - to me that it eminently desirable.

    Where I draw the line is with altering genetics for the sake of creating a baby that is weird. eg. adding a jellyfish gene to make its skin fluorescent in ultra violet light. This has recently been done to a dog.

    However, I will admit there are some areas of 'weird' genetic manipulation that might become very desirable in the future. For example : if we become space travellers, exposed to destructive cosmic radiation, genetically manipulating humans to add resistance to radiation damage might be a very good thing.

    And I wish someone had adjusted my genes to make me immune to ageing!
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