Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choice

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Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choice

Postby jseah » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:40 pm UTC

An oxford professor made a case that genetic screening in IVF procedures should be allowed, and perhaps even considered an obligation of the parents-to-be.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/scie ... essor.html

Obviously, the newspaper plays it for maximum spin about genetically engineering babies and the comments section goes crazy. (They have a poll, for what its worth, that is currently 20% for and 80% against)
I modified the title of this thread to be more neutral.

The key points of his argument:
1) We have the ability to select embryos based on genetics and overall health. We already do this for certain conditions, like Down's syndrome.
2) Genetic linkages to various traits have been uncovered, from health to behavioural. (aside: have we actually done this?)
Therefore, parents should have the ability to choose the genetic traits of their children, or choose not to select. (notes that this is currently illegal in the UK)


http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomch ... -children/

This one, makes the case that we are not ready for such a technology, indicating that it will be abused.
The example given here is the skewed sex ratio in China and India leading to a rise in crime.


I know the Telegraph's comments section ran afoul of Godwin's law practically immediately. Please avoid.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby The Reaper » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:07 pm UTC

For any given social system and a sufficiently large enough input population, there will be some abuse. That's a horrible reason to shy away from it. Censoring/banning the issue will just result in failure somewhere. Embrace it, lightly regulate it, and you greatly diminish the abuses.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby jseah » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:46 pm UTC

In this case, it is a bit easier to ban. The IVF procedure is not easy enough that everyone everywhere has it, it is limited to qualified professionals (if you want it to be safe and successful that is).
Genetic testing also requires specialist equipment, whether it is hybridization chips or a full sequencer, in a process that is carried out by a different qualified professional. Most of the people who are qualified to take on this role are also rather more interested in research and are very likely to obey the law.

The IVF procedure and genetic screening are also expensive procedures.

It's not at all like marijuana or over-the-counter drugs. A simple ban will reduce the incidence of this to negligible or non-existent levels.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby EMTP » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:35 pm UTC

jseah wrote:In this case, it is a bit easier to ban. The IVF procedure is not easy enough that everyone everywhere has it, it is limited to qualified professionals (if you want it to be safe and successful that is).
Genetic testing also requires specialist equipment, whether it is hybridization chips or a full sequencer, in a process that is carried out by a different qualified professional. Most of the people who are qualified to take on this role are also rather more interested in research and are very likely to obey the law.

The IVF procedure and genetic screening are also expensive procedures.

It's not at all like marijuana or over-the-counter drugs. A simple ban will reduce the incidence of this to negligible or non-existent levels.


+1. Regulation of a tiny number of OBs specializing in fertility treatments (couple thousand nationwide, tops) is not like trying to find every pot plant in someone's basement. These are highly trained and regulated professionals who keep detailed records on every patient and have a lot to lose.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Mad Mike » Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:25 am UTC

Anyone remember Gattaca? Just throwing it out there. (I know it's far more dramaticized than this will likely ever be, but it's still a valid POV on the issue.)

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby fifiste » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:35 am UTC

Therefore, parents should have the ability to choose the genetic traits of their children, or choose not to select. (notes that this is currently illegal in the UK)

So if the genetic screening reveals that the offspring will be a misshapen blob that will spend 3 months screaming in unbearable agony before dying then parents are not allowed to abort the foetus?
And they were allowed to abort before genetic screening for whatever reasons they wanted? Isn't that kind of ridiculously stupid? Can't they abort the foetus after genetic screening citing that it happened for reasons completely unrelated to screening? Or does the law prevent all kind of screening whatsoever?

I personally think that yes - yes they should. If I'm allowed to have an abortion just because I want to (insert something that you personally find trivial) (and I definitely think that I should) then I should be allowed to have one for the reason that I do not like the results of a genetic screening. (Especially if the screening would reveal significant dysfunction of offspring like I mentioned up there)

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby yurell » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:19 am UTC

I think it should be allowed; sure, there is potential for abuse, but that is true with every new technology. If you have light restrictions (e.g. can only screen for genetic disease), and regulate based on these, I think the advantages greatly outweigh the costs.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby bigglesworth » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:32 am UTC

fifiste wrote:So if the genetic screening reveals that the offspring will be a misshapen blob that will spend 3 months screaming in unbearable agony before dying then parents are not allowed to abort the foetus?
No, that's not true. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Abortion/Pages/Introduction.aspx
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby jseah » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:38 am UTC

yurell wrote:I think it should be allowed; sure, there is potential for abuse, but that is true with every new technology. If you have light restrictions (e.g. can only screen for genetic disease), and regulate based on these, I think the advantages greatly outweigh the costs.

Firstly, serious genetic disease, like Down's Syndrome, is already screened for and selected against.

The argument the article was making is that this should extend to general health alleles, behaviourally linked ones... pretty much whatever is feasible and safe under current technology and that the parents are willing to do.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby fifiste » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:01 pm UTC

If I'm allowed to have an abortion because I don't want to give a birth. Then I should be allowed to have an abortion because I don't want to give a birth to a redhead. (or whatnot)

Mad Mike wrote:Anyone remember Gattaca? Just throwing it out there. (I know it's far more dramaticized than this will likely ever be, but it's still a valid POV on the issue.)

I do remember that film. It was about a self-centred guys quest to get what he wanted at the expense of risk to other peoples lives and property.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:38 pm UTC

I'll go ahead and be the guy who says that every time humans have tried eugenics it has seemingly instantaneously turned into, "So we're all agreed, no Jews and no blacks." Though in this case it'll more likely be, "No gays and no introverts," at least in the US. In Japan, for example, I'd guess it'd be more of a no wide noses and no tan skin.

Not to mention we don't actually understand the relation between the genome and most traits, not well at least, or that socially biased selection could lead to decades long social problems, or that for a while this will be the domain of the relatively rich, or that as the field expands it will eventually cheapen and expand and become harder to regulate.

Eugenics is just one of those ideas that's too beautiful to work successfully, because humans are made of bullshit. If only we could breed our shit smearing nature out by some means.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby ahammel » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:49 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:Eugenics is just one of those ideas that's too beautiful to work successfully, because humans are made of bullshit. If only we could breed our shit smearing nature out by some means.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:44 pm UTC

jseah wrote:Firstly, serious genetic disease, like Down's Syndrome, is already screened for and selected against.

These screens are not routine, and to my knowledge, genetic screening of a pre-implanted embryo is not a simple matter. I don't think you can screen a preimplanted embryo for Downs actually; the way you genetically screen for Downs is by doing a karyotype. Can't do that with just 4-cells.

But sure, lets assume that you can screen for various issues (blindness, color blindness, deafness, dwarfism, various bifida's, etc), I see no reason why we shouldn't. Designer babies are such a bullshit first world problem, we're no where near having IVF be available to everyone, or even something vaguely approaching 'most people'.
Mind you, some of those can be screened for, but not genetically.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby jseah » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:54 pm UTC

^Doesn't have to be pre-implanted. Abortion at early stages is normally allowed, hmm?

One thinks that a sample of the...
hrm, apparently, it does exist .

Apparently, we can do it for monogenic disorders, as well as screening for aneuploidy (which will detect Down's syndrome) and a bunch of other stuff.
There are some problems and uncertainty so the technique isn't 100% success (has false results) but it is definitely better than chance.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby hawkinsssable » Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:00 pm UTC

What a terrible 'science' 'news' article. It's presented in a way that implies Julian Savulescu has had some amazing, unique, recent insight into genetic engineering of children, when everything in the article is exactly what he's been saying - incessently - in journal article after book chapter after book since 2001 at least (I think 'Procreative Beneficence' was his first article published in a major bioethics journal on the subject.) And virtually every claim he's made in the article has been contested in the giant mass of literature on genetic determinism, human enhancement, 'liberal' eugenics and procreative beneficence you can find in bioethics and applied philosophy journals. The debate has moved on from the set of claims he's apparently still repeating, and just publishing the same sorts of things in different places - say, Readers Digest - is just disingenuous.

I mean, it's pretty much on a par with publishing an article saying "Eating meat is 'not a nice thing to do', according to Princeton professor" or "Abortion not okay, says Pope."

yurrel wrote:I think it should be allowed; sure, there is potential for abuse, but that is true with every new technology. If you have light restrictions (e.g. can only screen for genetic disease), and regulate based on these, I think the advantages greatly outweigh the costs.

Point of clarification - Savulescu believes there's a genetic basis for pretty much everything, and that we should therefore screen for things like intelligence and sunny disposition and other things likely to make the babies and their parents live happy, productive lives. Since things like being white and being male are associated with privilege, social status and good health, presumably we should (voluntarily, individually) breed out blacks and females alongside the disabled and those of average intelligence.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Qaanol » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:10 pm UTC

fifiste wrote:If I'm allowed to have an abortion kick someone out of my restaurant because I don't want to give a birth serve food right now. Then I should be allowed to have an abortion kick someone out of my restaurant because I don't want to give a birth serve food to a redhead. (or whatnot)

You were saying?
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby ahammel » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:16 pm UTC

Qaanol wrote:
fifiste wrote:If I'm allowed to have an abortion kick someone out of my restaurant because I don't want to give a birth serve food right now. Then I should be allowed to have an abortion kick someone out of my restaurant because I don't want to give a birth serve food to a redhead. (or whatnot)

You were saying?
What?

What are you trying to argue? It sounds a lot like you're trying to argue that only people with the correct motives should be allowed to have an abortion, but I really hope I'm just misinterpreting you.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Qaanol » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:30 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:What?

What are you trying to argue? It sounds a lot like you're trying to argue that only people with the correct motives should be allowed to have an abortion, but I really hope I'm just misinterpreting you.

I’m not “trying to argue” anything. I’m flat-out stating that fifiste’s argument is specious. The premises do not support the conclusion.

fifiste said, essentially, “If I’m allowed to do X just because I want to, then I should be allowed to do X because I want to discriminate against redheads.”

This type of reasoning has been expressly rejected by law in most of the western world. I called attention to that fact.

Spoiler:
As it happens, abortion is different from refusal of service, in that the zygote/blastocyte/embryo/fetus is physically located within the mother’s body, and therefore the mother’s right to bodily autonomy comes into play as the most important consideration. Each person should have the right to control what goes on within his or her own body, without government interference.

But the reasoning which begins “I’m allowed to do X” and concludes “I’m allowed to do X in an explicitly and effectively discriminatory manner” is, in general, fallacious.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby fifiste » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:21 am UTC

I accidental the internet.
(Double post, look the lower one)
Last edited by fifiste on Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:30 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby fifiste » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:28 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:
Spoiler:
As it happens, abortion is different from refusal of service, in that the zygote/blastocyte/embryo/fetus is physically located within the mother’s body, and therefore the mother’s right to bodily autonomy comes into play as the most important consideration. Each person should have the right to control what goes on within his or her own body, without government interference.

But the reasoning which begins “I’m allowed to do X” and concludes “I’m allowed to do X in an explicitly and effectively discriminatory manner” is, in general, fallacious.

Qaanol wrote:YouSoylent-green wereis saying?people!

So looks like replacing elements critical to its meaning from a statement alters it? Who would have guessed.
Spoiler:
But I thought we were talking about abortions? The reasoning is not that I abort on discriminatory reasons the argument is that I should allowed to have an abortion for whatever the f*** reasons I want to - even if it is the hatred of redheads or the desire to sacrifice my foetus to dark lord Cthulu. They are as equally applicable as just the desire not to give birth right now. (And I could always state the last reason for it, and it wouldn't even be a lie. I really really don't want to give birth now and no f****r should be allowed to force me to.)

fifiste said, essentially, “If I’m allowed to do X just because I want to, then I should be allowed to do X because I want to discriminate against redheads.”
This type of reasoning has been expressly rejected by law in most of the western world. I called attention to that fact.
No I said “If I’m allowed have an abortion just because I want to, then I should be allowed have an abortion because I want to discriminate against redheads.” You don't replace abortion with X because we are not talking about X right now, we are talking about my right to not to be forced to give birth. And as a corollary if I'm not to be forced to give birth, then of course I'm not to be forced to give birth for whatever reason. (Like the reason that people find my motives lacking or discriminatory or what the f*** ever). If my right of not wanting to give a birth is to be protected then it is absolutely necessary that I should not be forced to give a birth. (Kind of obvious isn't it)

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Qaanol » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:37 pm UTC

fifiste wrote:
Qaanol wrote:
Spoiler:
As it happens, abortion is different from refusal of service, in that the zygote/blastocyte/embryo/fetus is physically located within the mother’s body, and therefore the mother’s right to bodily autonomy comes into play as the most important consideration. Each person should have the right to control what goes on within his or her own body, without government interference.

But the reasoning which begins “I’m allowed to do X” and concludes “I’m allowed to do X in an explicitly and effectively discriminatory manner” is, in general, fallacious.

Qaanol wrote:YouSoylent-green wereis saying?people!

So looks like replacing elements critical to its meaning from a statement alters it? Who would have guessed.
Spoiler:
But I thought we were talking about abortions? The reasoning is not that I abort on discriminatory reasons the argument is that I should allowed to have an abortion for whatever the f*** reasons I want to - even if it is the hatred of redheads or the desire to sacrifice my foetus to dark lord Cthulu. They are as equally applicable as just the desire not to give birth right now. (And I could always state the last reason for it, and it wouldn't even be a lie. I really really don't want to give birth now and no f****r should be allowed to force me to.)

fifiste said, essentially, “If I’m allowed to do X just because I want to, then I should be allowed to do X because I want to discriminate against redheads.”
This type of reasoning has been expressly rejected by law in most of the western world. I called attention to that fact.
No I said “If I’m allowed have an abortion just because I want to, then I should be allowed have an abortion because I want to discriminate against redheads.” You don't replace abortion with X because we are not talking about X right now, we are talking about my right to not to be forced to give birth. And as a corollary if I'm not to be forced to give birth, then of course I'm not to be forced to give birth for whatever reason. (Like the reason that people find my motives lacking or discriminatory or what the f*** ever). If my right of not wanting to give a birth is to be protected then it is absolutely necessary that I should not be forced to give a birth. (Kind of obvious isn't it)


Slow down just a minute there. As much as I do legitimately enjoy getting yelled at when I'm right, we're on the same side here.

You made a claim that you should be allowed to discriminate against redheads in choosing to have an abortion, and your reasoning was that you are allowed to have an abortion in general. That is the wrong reason and the conclusion does not follow from it.

The conclusion happens to be something I agree with: no one but you, and certainly not the government, should be allowed to tell you whether or not you can have an abortion.

However, to lead others to that conclusion, you need an argument that actually supports it. The argument you provided—viewed as a logical progression from premises to conclusion—could just as well support discrimination in restaurants, in employment, in bank loans, in college admissions, and nearly anything else. Clearly the line of reasoning itself is flawed.

You need an argument that proves abortion is an exception to the general rule of non-discrimination. And in fact I agree, abortion is different, because it takes place within a person’s body.

Does this make sense? The line of reasoning you used was one that promotes almost all forms of discrimination, therefore that line of reasoning is not a good reason to reach any conclusion at all. You need a better argument, tailored specifically to the issue of pregnancy.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Torchship » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:22 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:However, to lead others to that conclusion, you need an argument that actually supports it. The argument you provided—viewed as a logical progression from premises to conclusion—could just as well support discrimination in restaurants, in employment, in bank loans, in college admissions, and nearly anything else. Clearly the line of reasoning itself is flawed.


Your assertion here is blatantly false. The validity of one's logical conclusions is completely independent of one's (or anyone else's) moral system. You may believe that the logical conclusion is morally repugnant, but that does not make it any more or any less true.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Qaanol » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:00 am UTC

Right, perhaps a poor choice of words on my part, but you do understand what I was getting at?

Now, as it turns out, we as a society allow—indeed to a certain extent we accept and expect—people to discriminate in their personal lives. For example, it is overwhelmingly common for a person to discriminate in choice of significant other based on sex. It is also common though less accepted (there was a thread here a while back on it) for people to have racial preferences in their mates.

So, it is already permitted to make discriminatory choices in one's personal life. That may be a good starting place. Perhaps discrimination is a priori fine, and only in the realm of publicly-offered goods and services do we make an exception by outlawing discrimination?
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Soralin » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:40 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:Right, perhaps a poor choice of words on my part, but you do understand what I was getting at?

Now, as it turns out, we as a society allow—indeed to a certain extent we accept and expect—people to discriminate in their personal lives. For example, it is overwhelmingly common for a person to discriminate in choice of significant other based on sex. It is also common though less accepted (there was a thread here a while back on it) for people to have racial preferences in their mates.

So, it is already permitted to make discriminatory choices in one's personal life. That may be a good starting place. Perhaps discrimination is a priori fine, and only in the realm of publicly-offered goods and services do we make an exception by outlawing discrimination?

Except there's no one being discriminated against here, there's only one person involved in the choice, there is no other party, not yet at least. If someone makes a decision to abort, then there never was and never will be another person or party who was involved in that decision.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby fifiste » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:33 am UTC

spoilered for rant:
edit: specious = not truthful, like a mistake or a lie? I'm not a native speaker. Anyway I assigned that quaanol did think that I was mistaken as in fallacious not actively lying.
Spoiler:
First of all if I say - " if someone is allowed to do X then they should be allowed to do X in a blatantly discriminatory way! It is not a logical statement at all. It is a value statement like - I think we should be just nicer to all people or we should lynch gingers or I think the best in life is to serve Cthulu.

Just because there is an IF in it does not make it a logical statement. So to take a lynching example - I say we lynch black people! is a value statement just like it would still be a value statement if the KKK member would shout -If someone is with a blacker skin than us we should lynch him!". It does not contain any logic to attack it just shows someones values - (in this case that they really hate black people). So saying that the above mentioned statement with X-s is fallacious, has as much point as saying "I like pie" is fallacious. Also saying that a statement is fallacious is so because a lot of people have declared something like this repugnant and passed laws against it is in itself fallacious.
The statement with X-s would need something akin to "IF someone is allowed to do X then they should do X in a blatantly discriminatory way so that we could accomplish Y" and then we should have supporting assumptions and we could see for ourselves if actually can reach Y by above mentioned means.
A logical statement, which this statement with X-s is not, is not fallacious just because it would be repugnant.

Lets say we assume KKK does not want black people in its village.
Lets assume lynching black people scares them away (and obviously kills the ones we lynch in our village)
Then a statement - We should lynch black people if we want to have a village clean of black people is logically valid however repugnant it might be.

So lets reiterate stuff. I made an argument concerning abortion. Then you replaced some of it's key elements - turning it into a generalised value statementand then argued that this value statement is fallacious because a lot of people find these kind of values repugnant.
Also generalising value statements is disingenuous at best - by generalising value statement you change the subjects/objects the value was previously applied to. And it should be pretty darn blatantly obvious that people have different values to different objects/subjects and it is not even a bad thing.
Examples of replacement and generalisation in value statements :
A. I think we should give toys and ice-cream to children in poverty vs. I think we should give toys and ice-cream to mass murderers.
B.I think we should jail murderers. vs. I think we should jail everyone.
C. I think if someone is allowed to have an abortion then she should be allowed to do it even if she does it on an discriminatory bases. vs. I think if someone is allowed to do something X she should be allowed to do it for on an discriminatory bases.

So I'm little disappointed on myself ranting so much. But people generalising other peoples value statements and proclaiming that universality applied this value would be appalling (well DAA! Look values statement B. fore example) annoy me, though people who proclaim that this generalised value statement is fallacious annoy me even more - and those ones that proclaim that the value statement is fallacious because a lot of people some jurisdiction etc. says so will engage my rant mode.
On my peeves - It peeves me when people jump on value statements and replace its elements or generalise them and then act gloating. Look I discovered what a nazi who wants to jail orphans you are. Or even worse you are fallacious! Comically my other pet peeves are people who say that soemthing is badwrong because it is eww!, people who say something is badwrong because nazis also did this/something like this, or that something is badwrong because somone/something sayd so ot even passed a law! So thats a little list that can engage my rant mode.
To: quaanol
I hope I explained my own mental instability/irritability here and am sorry of wasting so much space. I think we all have our rant buttons and stuff. I don't want to be too mean to you as we seem to be on the same side on the actual issue on my first post.

I would say that abortion in this statement there is a rather critical element. As if we do prevent abortion on some grounds, then It means we are forcing someone to give birth. (or Ceaserian but you get what I mean). So taking this into account let's do some replacements.
If I'm allowed not to give birth = If I'm not to be forced to give birth ( because I don't want to).
then I should be allowed to not to give birth to a readhead = then I should not be forced to give birth whatever the reason is that I don't want to.
If I'd put it all into a new (this time a logical statment): If you do care that no one should be forced to give birth on any circumstances then you should not force them to give birth on any circumstances. Then it can be seen that it can't get much coherent - it's friggin tautological.
Last edited by fifiste on Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:57 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby AvatarIII » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:22 am UTC

I want to look at the options for the poll.
Yes, everybody benefits, including the child.
No, it is wrong to play God in this way.

a simple Yes or No would have done, but no, in trying to make both answers sound like the one to choose they have bought God into it, capital Gee oh dee.
the thing that bothers me is that it is not playing "God" any more than using a weighted dice is when playing a board game, in which the board game has no other competitive players, and the outcome of the game has ramifications for the rest of your life.
It's not playing God, it's just being given the opportunity to play the best hand you've been given, instead of leaving it up to chance.

the only thing I don't agree with is that it gives people the opportunity to abuse the system, screen for superficial things.
if screening were used it should only be to select against physical and severe mental diseases and illnesses. Screening for things like personality traits, personality, looks, intelligence, would be detrimental to the diversity of the human race.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby fifiste » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:40 am UTC

AvatarIII wrote:the thing that bothers me is that it is not playing "God" any more than using a weighted dice is when playing a board game, in which the board game has no other competitive players, and the outcome of the game has ramifications for the rest of your life.
It's not playing God, it's just being given the opportunity to play the best hand you've been given, instead of leaving it up to chance.
.

+1
Also as to say as I watched Gattaca I actually thought that if somehow they would invent a procedure similar to the movie. So you can have a foolproof method to getting 100% healthy child vs. the "natural" way where you cannot be sure whether your child will be healthy or not, then It would be actually be extremely foolish and irresponsible to have a child in the natural way. It would even be foolish if the procedure would just be with a lesser % of birth defects/genetic illnesses than the natural %.
As a matter of fact it has been a looong time thing with taboos and magics and treatments and prayers that a prospective mother should do to get a healthy,strong,intelligent etc. child - in like practically every culture ever.
It is somewhat mind boggling that being the case, that should we hypothetically invent a method like this that actually worked, there are so many people storming against it. Its like praying and sacrificing chickens is A OK just keep those evil beakers and tubes and all this god-awful EVIL science away.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:20 pm UTC

yurell wrote:I think it should be allowed; sure, there is potential for abuse, but that is true with every new technology. If you have light restrictions (e.g. can only screen for genetic disease), and regulate based on these, I think the advantages greatly outweigh the costs.


Sure. I think we can all agree that say, screening to avoid a rare genetic disease is a pretty beneficial use of it, and can happily be allowed. On the flip side, say, screening for obviously negative traits(like selecting a child specifically to have a rare genetic disease), would be something to disallow. And probably to question the sanity of the would-be parents for.

But what about more benign traits? Say, selecting for hair or eye color? I don't actually have a problem with this, as long as it poses no appreciable risk to the child.

The state has a reasonable interest in protecting the future child's interest(as he or she is unable to do so), but so long as that is not compromised, it should be strictly a parental choice.


Edit: Additionally, watching Gattica, was I the only one who thought "great, by lying and cheating, you've managed to bypass safeguards, so now, there's a chance that an astronaut will have a heart attack, putting god-knows-what or who at risk. You're a terrible human being."?

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:57 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I think we can all agree that say, screening to avoid a rare genetic disease is a pretty beneficial use of it, and can happily be allowed.

Agreement!?! We can't have that.

I'm all for curing disease, but this isn't identifying children with a disease and curing them. This is identifying children with a disease and deciding that they don't deserve to live.

If you offered to cure my uncle's MS, I'd be all for that. If you offered to replace my uncle with a different uncle (a BETTER uncle), I would say no.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:18 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I think we can all agree that say, screening to avoid a rare genetic disease is a pretty beneficial use of it, and can happily be allowed.

Agreement!?! We can't have that.

I'm all for curing disease, but this isn't identifying children with a disease and curing them. This is identifying children with a disease and deciding that they don't deserve to live.

If you offered to cure my uncle's MS, I'd be all for that. If you offered to replace my uncle with a different uncle (a BETTER uncle), I would say no.


It's identifying possible future children from a large pool of such possibilities, and selecting one to live.

This is what happens anyway, and the only real difference is that it's not occurring randomly. Either outcome results in a child. One just won't have the disease, while the other might.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It's identifying possible future children from a large pool of such possibilities, and selecting one to live.
IVF fertilizes several eggs, resulting in multiple embryonic humans. Generally most of them are killed and one is allowed to live. If you're comparing to current IVF, they don't select at random anyway, they select for size and general health. If you're comparing to intercourse, only one egg is fertilized at a time (usually).

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Soralin » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:52 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It's identifying possible future children from a large pool of such possibilities, and selecting one to live.
IVF fertilizes several eggs, resulting in multiple embryonic humans. Generally most of them are killed and one is allowed to live. If you're comparing to current IVF, they don't select at random anyway, they select for size and general health. If you're comparing to intercourse, only one egg is fertilized at a time (usually).

The unmodified statement is more correct. No brain = no mind = no person.

Scratching an itch can kill hundreds of living human cells, each of which has all the information necessary to create an entire human being. Something being living, or human, or both, obviously isn't of much importance, or scratching an itch would be something horrific. What's important is a mind, thoughts, feelings, personality, senses, consciousness, etc. All things which are created by a functioning brain, and do not exist prior to such a brain existing.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Torchship » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:45 am UTC

Soralin wrote:The unmodified statement is more correct. No brain = no mind = no person.

Scratching an itch can kill hundreds of living human cells, each of which has all the information necessary to create an entire human being. Something being living, or human, or both, obviously isn't of much importance, or scratching an itch would be something horrific. What's important is a mind, thoughts, feelings, personality, senses, consciousness, etc. All things which are created by a functioning brain, and do not exist prior to such a brain existing.


'Person' is purely a philosophical term; it has never been formally defined to my knowledge. Thus, any assertions on your part about what constitutes a person are entirely opinion, and not inherently more (or less) correct or relevant than Heisenberg's differing opinion. Don't get me wrong, I agree with your definition of 'person', but please don't pretend that your opinion constitutes fact in this situation.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Soralin » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:25 am UTC

Torchship wrote:
Soralin wrote:The unmodified statement is more correct. No brain = no mind = no person.

Scratching an itch can kill hundreds of living human cells, each of which has all the information necessary to create an entire human being. Something being living, or human, or both, obviously isn't of much importance, or scratching an itch would be something horrific. What's important is a mind, thoughts, feelings, personality, senses, consciousness, etc. All things which are created by a functioning brain, and do not exist prior to such a brain existing.


'Person' is purely a philosophical term; it has never been formally defined to my knowledge. Thus, any assertions on your part about what constitutes a person are entirely opinion, and not inherently more (or less) correct or relevant than Heisenberg's differing opinion. Don't get me wrong, I agree with your definition of 'person', but please don't pretend that your opinion constitutes fact in this situation.

At the very least, I can always point out contradictions. If someone says that something being alive, or something being human, or both, is what makes it a person, then I can point out things that are included in their definition of a person, that they don't actually consider to be people.

It often seems to come up that people start talking about when life begins, or if something is human, and in order to show that those things are true, they use the strict definitions of those words, and then pull some quick equivocation to switch and treat them like they have the connotations of "person". And I don't think most people are doing this intentionally, I think they've conflated the ideas together in their mind without thinking on it much, because it's so commonplace to use "life" or "human" to refer to a person.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby fifiste » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:29 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Edit: Additionally, watching Gattica, was I the only one who thought "great, by lying and cheating, you've managed to bypass safeguards, so now, there's a chance that an astronaut will have a heart attack, putting god-knows-what or who at risk. You're a terrible human being."?


If you browse one of my first posts
Tyndmyr wrote:I do remember that film. It was about a self-centred guys quest to get what he wanted at the expense of risk to other peoples lives and property.

This it is how I see it." Mwaaaaah I got to be able to ride a spaceship! It doesn't matter that there are guys more qualified than me I'll just cheat on my physical examination!"

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby cephalopod9 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:17 am UTC

Well it'd be really irresponsible of the scientists and the rest of the team not to do physical testing beyond looking for genetic markers. I don't remember the movie that well, I'm pretty sure he didn't develop the disease he was at risk for, and it's not as though genetics are the only source of long term, space mission endangering illnesses. Although the more I think about it, the more the premise of the movie is kinda flimsy.

Back on topic, I really don't see benefits to keeping future parents from doing whatever they think of to get the baby they want. Even if you really disagree with the reasons, and there are a lot of potential reasons for genetic screening that are objectionable, whose life is better for demanding parents who had their hearts set on having a brown eyed baby have to raise a child with blue eyes? Even with major stuff, you can't force a family to value girls as much as boys, much less by removing they're options.

On a larger scale, I do have a problem with selling the idea that parents should want to start micro managing their offsprings life at the zygote stage, and I can see a lot potential harm in marketing things they can't deliver, like behavior and personality.
In general, I don't trust humanity to know what's best for itself, and especially this early in the game, I don't think we need to be encouraging people to pick and chose genetics more than they already want to.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Vanzetti » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:42 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:
fifiste wrote:
Qaanol wrote:You need an argument that proves abortion is an exception to the general rule of non-discrimination.


The argument goes that fetus is not a person, so the idea of non-discrimination does not apply. Obviously, what is and isn't a person is a matter of consensus.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby jseah » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:44 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:On a larger scale, I do have a problem with selling the idea that parents should want to start micro managing their offsprings life at the zygote stage, and I can see a lot potential harm in marketing things they can't deliver, like behavior and personality.

Well, selling things you don't have or services you can't perform is generally called lying or fraud. One thinks that the regulation of any genetic screening selection procedure ought to have *very* strict controls. Stricter than normal at any rate, since suing the clinic after the child is born isn't going to fix the problem.

Perhaps even a compulsory publishing of protocols and DNA sequences involved, no selling a genetic service that does not have peer review. You want to sell a novel genetic screen? Patent it or publish it before you are allowed to use it. Trade secrets are not allowed when they could have lifetime impact.
Advertising controls should probably be pretty strict too. You really really want to avoid parents having the wrong idea about what genetic screening can/can't do.
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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:10 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It's identifying possible future children from a large pool of such possibilities, and selecting one to live.
IVF fertilizes several eggs, resulting in multiple embryonic humans. Generally most of them are killed and one is allowed to live. If you're comparing to current IVF, they don't select at random anyway, they select for size and general health. If you're comparing to intercourse, only one egg is fertilized at a time (usually).


I would consider "does not have genetic disease" to be a reasonable part of selecting for general health. It's simply adding additional information with which to access health.

And? Which egg gets fertilized is pretty random. Sperm, same, same. The possible resulting children is a fairly large pool, so, you can select for that at random, or you can use non-random criteria. I see nothing inherently wrong with the latter case unless harmful criteria are chosen.

I can't see any argument against genetic selection that wouldn't apply to IVF wholesale.

fifiste wrote:This it is how I see it." Mwaaaaah I got to be able to ride a spaceship! It doesn't matter that there are guys more qualified than me I'll just cheat on my physical examination!"


I'll grant that it sucks to be the person born with a possible defect. But yeah...being an astronaut is a fairly serious role, even in the setting. Lots riding on it. Putting that at risk is pretty irresponsible.

Now, they absolutely COULD have shown misuse of genetic testing...but the premise would need to be notably different, and the real flaws would not be the genetic testing, but the human uses of and responses to this technology.

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Re: Selecting desired genetic traits should be parent's choi

Postby Choboman » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:34 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:Well it'd be really irresponsible of the scientists and the rest of the team not to do physical testing beyond looking for genetic markers. I don't remember the movie that well, I'm pretty sure he didn't develop the disease he was at risk for, and it's not as though genetics are the only source of long term, space mission endangering illnesses. Although the more I think about it, the more the premise of the movie is kinda flimsy.

As I remember it, he went through physical tests daily which monitored his vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, etc) while he exercised, which he cheated through by spoofing his monitor to pick up bogus vitals he recorded from his co-conspirator, the genetically-healthy crippled guy. The one time his spoofing failed and his real heart-rate showed through momentarily it was wildly racing and erratic.


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