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Poll: Gene editing and embryos

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  • View Poll Results: Should researchers be allowed to edit the genes of a human embryo?

    • Thread Starter


    I think that it is unethical to slter genes in an embryo

    Depends what for. Purposefully altering an embryo to make it more susceptible to breast cancer in the name of research for example, is pretty harsh.

    But if you're looking for a rare allele that codes for golden coloured iris', go for it.

    Science should continue to push the boundaries of what is considered ethical.

    I also wonder why so-called 'designer babies' would be so ethically problematic. The whole concept of a 'designer baby' is almost always assumed to be the final word in these kinds of debates, and scientists have to tip-toe around the issue and ensure that people don't think that they're evil eugenicists, when their time could be spent doing more important things. So, it's worth reflecting on whether 'designer babies' are really so problematic.

    The only compelling argument against safely genetically engineering the human germline, in my view, is that it would lead to social divisions in society, even if it were offered in a public healthcare system, because people would invariably not want their children to be genetically engineered for religious or ethical reasons. We could potentially see some children being extremely smarter, happier and healthier than others, and this could lead to discrimination.

    On the other hand, we could mitigate this risk by also genetically engineering children to be more ethical: all traits, including one's ethical outlook, are partially heritable, and having an impartial, universalist moral perspective, resulting from reasoning our way to ethics as opposed to relying on emotion, has led to all of the moral progress that we've made when it comes to expanding our circle of moral concern.

    Furthermore, perhaps once people are aware of the benefits of genetic enhancement, more people will adopt it in the future, so the risk of social divisions will only be a temporary one.

    And, any societal risks also have to be weighed against the enormous benefits of having more intelligent, more productive, happier, healthier and possibly more ethical humans. If we were to encounter an alien civilisation who had genetically engineered themselves, would we really state that they should go back to being less intelligent, less happy and less healthy?

    Ultimately, the question of genetic engineering is a difficult one, but I see no serious objection right now to embryo selection for positive characteristics using IVF and PGD, which would have none of the problems that genetic engineering could have for society because the abilities of any embryo are within the range of normal human beings: we would just be selecting for embryos with abilities at the high end of that range.

    My tentative answer is a 'yes'.

    Is it bettering the human race? Is it putting unnecessary or negative strain upon the baby? Is it for medical research? Could it significantly impact our daily life's? If the answer to all these question go as follows: yes no yes yes, then yes. If it goes: yes yes yes yes, then that's the real issue. Is it fair to alienate the baby for selfish reasons? Is it from the approval of the mother and father? So many questions that go along with it!

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    Practically, yes: if it can alter the probability of a child being born with Downs or whatever, I'm all for it.

    Aesthetically, no: if you're all for it purely because you want to choose the colour of your kids' hair, you're a dick.


    As i have said previously, we are on the cusp of an age where genetic engineering can bring untold advantages and where liberal eugenics can begin to create a superior species.

    I'm not really sure. Yeah, doctors could cut out the gene for lethal diseases and disabitlies but what if parents start requesting high IQ's, specific physical traits, or talents? Then we would have a generation of genetically altered children who are extremely smart, beautiful, and/or talented. You would have to work harder to compete for jobs with children who are smart without any effort.

    Maybe my thinking is native, and unrealistic but some parents might start getting crazy with the possibilities while designing their ideal kid thinking they're giving their children a better future. In fact, doctors might even encourage it.

    Eliminating diseases, and disabilities: great
    Altering appearances, and intelligence, personality(can that even be altered?): I'm not sure about that

    If scientists listened every time someone whined about it being unethical science would several millenia behind us.
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