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Thread: Perfect Babies?

  1. #1 Perfect Babies? 
    Forum Freshman Jasper's Avatar
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    There are a lot of new technologies that people a few years ago would never even have dreamed about. With technology advancing so fast, changing the genes or DNA of babies when they are born to give them specific features might be possible.
    However, is giving these traits the right thing to do?

    For example, if one pays $5000 after just giving birth to a child, the parent would get the option of giving 1 specific trait to the baby. Like the ability to entertain people. Then later in life, the baby could be a successful comedian. Paying an addition of $5000 will get the parent 1 more specific trait to the baby. With this kind of technology, wealthy people would be able to have babies that have much more advantages over babies who were born into a poor family. This way, wealthy families will most always stay wealthy, while the poor families will stay poor.

    If this kind of changing genes or DNA to give specific traits to babies becomes possible, should the government legalize this? Is it really moral to do this?


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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
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    Well, there's no absolute "better" much less "perfect". And I don't mean morally - I just mean in hard terms of survival and advantage. If you get the trait to entertain people it's going to detract from other things, at the very least detract from time you might spend pursuing something else... therefore options are narrowed.

    What if all the wealthy families simultaneously push little entertainers into the world, all competing? Reminds me of how half the girls of my generation got named Jennifer. Every friggin parent of '71 thought, "Jennifer. What a unique name that will be."

    Also traits are interconnected, so in pushing one you also push several others, that may not be so desirable.

    Anyway my main point is that there are always trade-offs in morphology. If your boy receives the body of a rugby player, he'll be a poor swimmer and a complete loser on the tennis court.


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  4. #3 Re: Perfect Babies? 
    Lyn
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    It's an interesting question, though I think you chose relatively uncontroversial examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper
    Like the ability to entertain people. Then later in life, the baby could be a successful comedian.
    Assuming there is a gene for entertaining people, paying $5000 to enhance that gene doesn't seem all that different to me than, say, paying $5000 for one's child to attend a therapist who can improve the child's social skills and make him or her more sociable and able to entertain people. Besides, I highly doubt that an enhanced ability to entertain people is enough to determine with certainty that an embryo is going to pursue a career in comedy. A lot of other factors (to put it mildly) play into that scenario, so much so that the $5000 put down by the parents seems pretty trivial by comparison, and I doubt I would have a moral objection to it in this particular case.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper
    With this kind of technology, wealthy people would be able to have babies that have much more advantages over babies who were born into a poor family.
    This is already true without fancy genetic technology, and in any case the kinds of advantages a wealthy family has over a poor family seem way too specific to be controllable through genes, so the morality of messing with an embryo's genetic make-up doesn't strike me as relevant to this particular example. The only remote exception I can think of is when parents attempt to borrow the genes of smart people--i.e. when couples seek an egg donor from someone with a history of intellectual success, such as this case). This particular case is indeed an interesting moral question...
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  5. #4  
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    Perfect babies are great but there's no such thing as perfect. Even though science and technology can have a dynamic change dealing with humanity, genetics, i doubt that it can make perfect babies. But This is a helpful information to stop your babies from crying. A Crying baby with colic can be hard to deal with, especially if you are a first time parent. Learn how to soothe baby and reduce the effects of colic, visit http://www.twitter.com/cryingbabyhelp. Stop Baby Crying Now.
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  6. #5  
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    It doesn't start with the rich. It starts with war. The first application of these technologies will probably be in intelligence/military circles/families. Then the rich. It will likely be as you say, creating a greater gap between rich and poor. Or even 1st and 3rd world countries.

    As I'm sure others have said, there is no perfect baby. Maybe perfect in the eyes of an individual but not the species.

    We are also unaware of the consequences. What if that baby grows up to not enjoy the trait they've been given? It's fun to think we're clockwork that can be manipulated with the push of a button but it's not that simple.

    Rather the options should be made available to adults.

    Maybe the competition of the "advanced" humans will create a new generation of unusually motivated non-advanced humans that ultimately supersede the advanced one's (whether spiritually or technologically). Maybe this could even lead to a whole new species.

    What I think is funny is that some of us spend our entire lives trying to reach the limits of intelligence, physical ability, and consciousness itself, with simply what we have. Yet we still have not reached the limit. Would these augmentations help us in these fields?

    If the point in trying to run faster is simply to outdo yourself than augmenting yourself to be capable of faster running will only extend the goal you are trying to reach; it won't get you closer.

    Can you believe this will be/is a serious topic? This is the stuff I dream of. Literally.

    "Who we are is but a stepping stone to what we can become" -unknown
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    I'm quite torn about genetic modification of humans. Some trans-humanist philosophers make very convincing arguments in support of it. However, I remain concerned about it's implications for the application of genetic prejudice. Depending on how we use it, we might begin creating humans to act as relics of things of the past, or we might obliterate entire groups. Are autistic humans less deserving of existing than "normal" humans, what about homosexuals? Let alone a divide between rich and poor, the possible misuses of this technology are substantial.

    Then again, this technology has the capacity one day to cure every detrimental genetic condition. Children will no longer be born with predispositions to cancer, diabetes, cystic-fibrosis, etc. I wonder if the good outweighs the bad.

    I also don't think that anything will stop the military from making use of this kind of technology one day, it just depends on cost. If making genetically superior soldiers becomes cheaper than high tech equipment, then the military will do it.

    Edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism
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  8. #7  
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    I'm quite torn about genetic modification of humans. Some trans-humanist philosophers make very convincing arguments in support of it. However, I remain concerned about it's implications for the application of genetic prejudice. Depending on how we use it, we might begin creating humans to act as relics of things of the past, or we might obliterate entire groups. Are autistic humans less deserving of existing than "normal" humans, what about homosexuals? Let alone a divide between rich and poor, the possible misuses of this technology are substantial.
    What about automobiles, guns, nuclear power, knives, fire?

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Then again, this technology has the capacity one day to cure every detrimental genetic condition. Children will no longer be born with predispositions to cancer, diabetes, cystic-fibrosis, etc. I wonder if the good outweighs the bad.
    I have a dream of a place where humans are beyond themselves. They no longer worry about the individual as much as the entire species, or life itself. Where ailments are understood as part of the process of life. In this place suffering would exist just as it does now but, it also would be understood as part of the process. Comfort and pain would be redefined. I fear this technology may take us further away from that; where instead of our mind overcoming itself, it is overcome by technology. Then again, if we are the creators maybe it is simply part of the process as well.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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