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What do you think about genetically engineered people?

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  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 8,757Member Member Posts: 8,757Member Member
    This is completely unrelated, but the headline makes me smile, and it's thematically related to the title of this thread.


    Nigerian president denies dying and being replaced by clone

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/03/its-real-me-nigerian-president-denies-dying-and-being-replaced-by-clone

    I mean, if he *was* replaced by a clone, we wouldn't expect him to admit it, would we?

    *puts on tinfoil hat*

    Can we really take him at his word that he isn't dead?
  • FitAndLean_5738FitAndLean_5738 Posts: 90Member Member Posts: 90Member Member
    If you know your child is going to be born with a congenital condition and you can take away that condition, I don't know very many parents who would turn that down (assuming they could afford it, of course). Now giving your child blue eyes or making sure you get a daughter is a bit much, but at the end of the day as long as the parents aren't giving their children some disease (I don't know who would ever do this but you never know) I don't think it's that big of a deal. If the parents can afford it, sure.
  • kimny72kimny72 Posts: 12,922Member Member Posts: 12,922Member Member
    I thought this was an interesting updated breakdown of the situation:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/12/15-worrying-things-about-crispr-babies-scandal/577234/

    There are really two separate issues here: What do you think of genetically engineering people as a theoretical thing we will no doubt someday be doing, and what do you think about what this individual researcher did.

    Perhaps someone who is more dialed into this field will correct me if I'm wrong, but my layperson's understanding is we don't really know enough yet about gene-editing to do it with any sort of confidence yet. In other words, we know that pushing this button might make your eyes blue, but it will also do other things, only some of which we know about for sure.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Posts: 20,811Member Member Posts: 20,811Member Member
    kimny72 wrote: »
    I thought this was an interesting updated breakdown of the situation:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/12/15-worrying-things-about-crispr-babies-scandal/577234/

    There are really two separate issues here: What do you think of genetically engineering people as a theoretical thing we will no doubt someday be doing, and what do you think about what this individual researcher did.

    Perhaps someone who is more dialed into this field will correct me if I'm wrong, but my layperson's understanding is we don't really know enough yet about gene-editing to do it with any sort of confidence yet. In other words, we know that pushing this button might make your eyes blue, but it will also do other things, only some of which we know about for sure.

    Yes, this is my main objection. I have no inherent objection to genetically engineering people (although I can certainly think of many potential problems). It's doing it right now, with all we don't yet know, that concerns me.
  • 4legsRbetterthan24legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 16,358Member Member Posts: 16,358Member Member
    kimny72 wrote: »
    I thought this was an interesting updated breakdown of the situation:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/12/15-worrying-things-about-crispr-babies-scandal/577234/

    There are really two separate issues here: What do you think of genetically engineering people as a theoretical thing we will no doubt someday be doing, and what do you think about what this individual researcher did.

    Perhaps someone who is more dialed into this field will correct me if I'm wrong, but my layperson's understanding is we don't really know enough yet about gene-editing to do it with any sort of confidence yet. In other words, we know that pushing this button might make your eyes blue, but it will also do other things, only some of which we know about for sure.

    Maybe somewhat of an expert. I agree with your analysis. Maybe some day we will be able to edit with certainty, but we have a long way to go. We dont even fully understand trancription and translation and all the different ways it's controlled.
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 2,279Member Member Posts: 2,279Member Member
    If you know your child is going to be born with a congenital condition and you can take away that condition, I don't know very many parents who would turn that down (assuming they could afford it, of course). Now giving your child blue eyes or making sure you get a daughter is a bit much, but at the end of the day as long as the parents aren't giving their children some disease (I don't know who would ever do this but you never know) I don't think it's that big of a deal. If the parents can afford it, sure.

    I mean we do see issues around this surrounding the debate surrounding cochlear implants. There are plenty of people who are vehemently against cochlear implants, some of whom are Deaf. This includes Deaf parents of Deaf children who are good candidates for the procedure.
  • siobhanaoifesiobhanaoife Posts: 121Member, Premium Member Posts: 121Member, Premium Member
    Cystic fibrosis runs in my family. It's a clear case where there is a single gene to fix, which encodes a single protein, which has been heavily, heavily researched. Fixing broken CFTR genes would be a win for individuals, families, and humanity.

    I still wouldn't mess with a baby using CRISPR/Cas9. We're not very good at any of this yet.

    But I do hope that they get good at targeted single gene edits. CF is horrible.
  • rileyesrileyes Posts: 1,293Member Member Posts: 1,293Member Member
    The earth is trying really hard to survive. Let it.
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,060Member Member Posts: 7,060Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    rileyes wrote: »
    The earth is trying really hard to survive. Let it.

    Not sure what you mean. Are you implying that genetic engineering will destroy the Earth? If so that is a bit hyperbolic dont you think?

    Nah. Just that the earth is trying hard to rid itself of this annoying, harmful virus and the damn virus keeps fighting back by changing, and now can even engineer the change.

    :)

    Eh....not sure how I feel about that. I like humans...I am a human....pretty much all of my friends and family are humans. I am an enviormentalist and think that our lack of action on climate change is a travesty but I care about the planet because we live on it and it is where I keep all of my stuff. It is in our best interest long-term to protect it.

    If I didn't care about humanity really not sure why I'd care about this particular planet.
    edited December 2018
  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 5,802Member Member Posts: 5,802Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    rileyes wrote: »
    The earth is trying really hard to survive. Let it.

    Not sure what you mean. Are you implying that genetic engineering will destroy the Earth? If so that is a bit hyperbolic dont you think?

    Nah. Just that the earth is trying hard to rid itself of this annoying, harmful virus and the damn virus keeps fighting back by changing, and now can even engineer the change.

    :)

    Joining the Green party are you?
  • TacklewasherTacklewasher Posts: 7,104Member Member Posts: 7,104Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    rileyes wrote: »
    The earth is trying really hard to survive. Let it.

    Not sure what you mean. Are you implying that genetic engineering will destroy the Earth? If so that is a bit hyperbolic dont you think?

    Nah. Just that the earth is trying hard to rid itself of this annoying, harmful virus and the damn virus keeps fighting back by changing, and now can even engineer the change.

    :)

    Joining the Green party are you?

    LOL

    Hard to do when I keep trying to show up in my full-sized V8 powered pickup.
  • tbright1965tbright1965 Posts: 798Member, Premium Member Posts: 798Member, Premium Member
    Most humans like "some" humans. But liking ALL humans seems to be a challenge, even for the best of humans.
  • FireOpalCOFireOpalCO Posts: 641Member, Premium Member Posts: 641Member, Premium Member
    While, in theory, it is technology that could rid the world of a whole host of genetic diseases....

    It's such a slippery slope...we don't know the long-term effects of these modifications. It has the potential to be used for the creation of "designer babies". In case you want a blond-haired, blue-eyed little girl.

    I wonder if the same people who buy non-GMO popcorn and such would be okay with a genetically modified baby?

    And what would be wrong with that? I hear people say "OMG designer babies" but never hear a rational argument about why that would be inherently bad.

    If it was perfectly safe*, why would it be wrong as parents for us to make decisions about the kid outside of not having life threatening diseases or debilitating conditions? If someone said to me "hey we noticed you have hammer toes, we can guarantee your kid doesn't get that" why would that be bad? It might be minor to other people, it's a pain in the *kitten* for me and possible future surgery. I really don't see the difference beyond scale of life impact between "prevent heart defect" and "make sure he has mom's eyes" if the process and safety measures are the same.

    *Perfectly safe = fetuses aren't being aborted until you get the right combination, the genome is well understood, maybe some limitations on "must use parents own material" as a base so you aren't stealing DNA from strangers or using frog DNA like a Michael Crichton novel.

  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,060Member Member Posts: 7,060Member Member
    FireOpalCO wrote: »
    While, in theory, it is technology that could rid the world of a whole host of genetic diseases....

    It's such a slippery slope...we don't know the long-term effects of these modifications. It has the potential to be used for the creation of "designer babies". In case you want a blond-haired, blue-eyed little girl.

    I wonder if the same people who buy non-GMO popcorn and such would be okay with a genetically modified baby?

    And what would be wrong with that? I hear people say "OMG designer babies" but never hear a rational argument about why that would be inherently bad.

    If it was perfectly safe*, why would it be wrong as parents for us to make decisions about the kid outside of not having life threatening diseases or debilitating conditions? If someone said to me "hey we noticed you have hammer toes, we can guarantee your kid doesn't get that" why would that be bad? It might be minor to other people, it's a pain in the *kitten* for me and possible future surgery. I really don't see the difference beyond scale of life impact between "prevent heart defect" and "make sure he has mom's eyes" if the process and safety measures are the same.

    *Perfectly safe = fetuses aren't being aborted until you get the right combination, the genome is well understood, maybe some limitations on "must use parents own material" as a base so you aren't stealing DNA from strangers or using frog DNA like a Michael Crichton novel.

    I am not strongly against it but the "designer baby" thing does make me a bit uncomfortable so I guess I'll try to explain why.

    For me it is about consent. If a 30 year old wants to get a tattoo that is fine by me....it is not for me but the risk is low and it's there choice. If that same 30 year old wanted to tattoo their baby though that makes me a bit uncomfortable. Would be the same for me if you could use genetic engineering to change a physical feature for cosmetic reasons.

    Now if the change is reversible then that makes it slightly better...although arguably you can have a tattoo removed too. If there is any sort of risk of harm then I think it just starts being clearly unethical. Even without chance of harm though I still find it a bit gross for an adult to force cosmetic choices onto an unborn child who cannot consent.

    I actually very much for developing genetic engineering based tech and therapies....but I'd rather not see it uses so casually for aesthetics alone.
  • 4legsRbetterthan24legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 16,358Member Member Posts: 16,358Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    FireOpalCO wrote: »
    While, in theory, it is technology that could rid the world of a whole host of genetic diseases....

    It's such a slippery slope...we don't know the long-term effects of these modifications. It has the potential to be used for the creation of "designer babies". In case you want a blond-haired, blue-eyed little girl.

    I wonder if the same people who buy non-GMO popcorn and such would be okay with a genetically modified baby?

    And what would be wrong with that? I hear people say "OMG designer babies" but never hear a rational argument about why that would be inherently bad.

    If it was perfectly safe*, why would it be wrong as parents for us to make decisions about the kid outside of not having life threatening diseases or debilitating conditions? If someone said to me "hey we noticed you have hammer toes, we can guarantee your kid doesn't get that" why would that be bad? It might be minor to other people, it's a pain in the *kitten* for me and possible future surgery. I really don't see the difference beyond scale of life impact between "prevent heart defect" and "make sure he has mom's eyes" if the process and safety measures are the same.

    *Perfectly safe = fetuses aren't being aborted until you get the right combination, the genome is well understood, maybe some limitations on "must use parents own material" as a base so you aren't stealing DNA from strangers or using frog DNA like a Michael Crichton novel.

    I am not strongly against it but the "designer baby" thing does make me a bit uncomfortable so I guess I'll try to explain why.

    For me it is about consent. If a 30 year old wants to get a tattoo that is fine by me....it is not for me but the risk is low and it's there choice. If that same 30 year old wanted to tattoo their baby though that makes me a bit uncomfortable. Would be the same for me if you could use genetic engineering to change a physical feature for cosmetic reasons.

    Now if the change is reversible then that makes it slightly better...although arguably you can have a tattoo removed too. If there is any sort of risk of harm then I think it just starts being clearly unethical. Even without chance of harm though I still find it a bit gross for an adult to force cosmetic choices onto an unborn child who cannot consent.

    I actually very much for developing genetic engineering based tech and therapies....but I'd rather not see it uses so casually for aesthetics alone.

    What really changes though? It's not like the fetus chooses how they look now and we are shifting from their choice to the parents. Why is parental input bad compared to "luck of the draw"?
    edited December 2018
  • FireOpalCOFireOpalCO Posts: 641Member, Premium Member Posts: 641Member, Premium Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »

    Bob accidentally leaves his new iPhone10 on the subway. The end result is that Bob no longer has his iPhone10 by "luck of the draw"....he didn't choose it. Joe steals Bob's new iPhone10 on the subway when Bob isn't looking. The end result is that Bob no longer has his iPhone10 by Joe's input. In both situations the end result for Bob is the same, so are these two events morally equivalent or is one more wrong than the other? In my opinion in one situation it was happenstance, no moral issue, while in the other situation Joe wronged Bob...doesn't matter that the end result was the same.

    If parents decide to make their kids eyes blue and then later in life, in a society that chooses eye colors, blue eyes are considered a sign of vanity and the now adult suffers societal consequences for their blue eyes as a result...that is not happenstance, that is a choice that person had no voice in made to them by someone else. That isn't right. Even if it is reversible it isn't right, same way that in the above example Joe could feel guilty later and buy Bob a new iPhone10....doesn't make his original choice any more right.

    To me there is a big difference being nature and random chance doing something to you you didn't want and another person doing something to you you didn't want.

    If a parent tattooing a baby makes you uncomfortable I'm not sure why them using genetic engineering tech to change that babies physical appearance wouldn't also make you uncomfortable.

    Here are the flaws with this analogy.

    First, stealing an iPhone was wrong BEFORE it happened in the story. In the eye-color story, the cultural decision about blue-eyes happened after the parents made their choice. That's blaming them for things outside their set of available knowledge at the time of the decision. And what about the people who got blue-eyes by chance? Aren't they also being discriminated against? So wouldn't that be genetics fault if it was the parents fault for the chosen kid?

    Second, the embryo doesn't have ANY rights. It isn't a person yet. The only reason it would exist is because Person A & B decided to combine genetic material. If if develops into a person (survives the dangers of pregnancy) it is born with limited rights. The parents have the right to make the majority of decisions for the child as long as basic needs (food, shelter, heat, education) are met, and the child isn't put into danger. As a parent, one gets to decide everything else.
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