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Should heritable modifications be banned?


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Morals and ethics are flexible and ever-changing. 2,000 years ago, slavery and gladiatorial arenas were accepted and commonplace. Perhaps in the not too distant future they will return (I'd buy shares). At the moment and if you consider the media, everyone wants to be slim, athletic, smart, young and if you're not having sex every half an hour - you might as well be dead. This may also change.


Genetic manipulation of seed cell DNA is going to happen in my opinion (going to happen, not inevitable). Looking at all the indicators like technology, cosmetic surgery, social pressures, the media perception etc. I think if parents can enhance their progeny e.g. disease prevention, greater probability for academic success etc. they will pay if they have the cash.


The problem here is not that the parents decisions affect the child but that they will influence all subsequent generations. The decision they make may seem reasonable at the time but would most likely seem less prudent as generations tick by.


So, should changes that affect subsequent generations be banned? Should we not protect the right for humans to choose to have a unmodified child (even if they're not)?


There are technical solutions for this problem. For instance, rather than mucking about with the DNA sequence in sperm or eggs, adding an extra chromosome full of changes to the somatic cells only. This is analogous to a CSS file in a website to specify style. This extra chromosome wouldn't be passed on.

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Civilization knows what it is doing - it is evolving. If Jesus H. Christ does not like that, tough nuggies. The Church of Rome is still choking on Jupiter's Galilean moons 400+ years later. Do what you want. Mistakes will be self-cauterizing. Trumphs will propagate. God, as always, will be an absentee landlord. Shoot the rent collectors.


Initial conditions: Crap in the woods.

Rational improvement: Latrines

Engineering: 5-gallon flush toilets.

Enviro-whinerism: 1.6-gallon flush toilets.


Tell Uncle Al when the curve suddenly plummetted downward. Now, would you trust those idiots with your genome?

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Governments can regulate it. Lots of things are banned effectively. Of course, there may well be an underground trade, but it would be too risky. People smart enough to be rich enough to afford genetic enhancement would rather opt for the legal route - same effect, no risk and not heritable therefore they cannot impose an artificial genetic legacy.

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I quite agree Fish. Occasionally I have chatted with GMO whiners, when they talk about "natural" I point out that you could hardly call most of the stuff we eat natural. A cow is far from natural.


The Church of Rome is still choking on Jupiter's Galilean moons 400+ years later.
The Church of Rome is not still choking on Jupiter's Galilean moons. There has been a great misconception about the whole thing. It was mostly Cardinal Bellarmino's fault, as well as the dumb peripatetics that resorted to the clergy because they couldn't get the better philosophically.


Now, would you trust those idiots with your genome?
Which ones?
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