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Passions in Poetry

What are your feelings on being able to have power of your child's genetics?

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patchoulipumpkin
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since 01-01-2000
Posts 203
Bermuda


0 posted 01-06-2000 03:21 AM       View Profile for patchoulipumpkin   Email patchoulipumpkin   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for patchoulipumpkin

Now this is a big topic that's just really surfacing now in society, where potential parents will have the ability to determine what genetic traits they can have for their children i.e. blue eyes, no cancer, small percentage for mental illness.  Kind of like the idea of the movie Gattaca where there is a genetically determined society.  

Does anybody have any feelings regarding this?  Is it too meddlesome with creation, or is it merely presenting your child with the best chance at a good life?
Isis
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since 09-06-99
Posts 6390
Sunny Queensland


1 posted 01-06-2000 05:03 PM       View Profile for Isis   Email Isis   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Isis's Home Page   View IP for Isis

I don't mind perhaps meddling with gender, you know choosing a boy or girl, for those poor people out there who have 8 boys and still no girl.
But meddling with eye colour, hair colour etc is playing God, and we shouldn't do that.
We have no right to do that.
Also we don't yet know long term effects on the child that has been altered???  We are only just scratching the surface in the gene pool, there could be some adverse effects later on.  Perhaps during sexual maturity even.
Mankind in a way is it's own worst enemy.  We are never satisfied, we want more, more, more.  
When it comes to this subject I voice a loud and firm, "No!"    


 At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet. (Plato)
~Isis~
(Daughter of Mystery)

Midnight
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since 11-25-1999
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2 posted 01-07-2000 11:03 PM       View Profile for Midnight   Email Midnight   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnight

In any sense, genetic manipulation is playing God, whether it be for gender, disease modification, or appearance.

I can, in a statistical, detached way, say that I am completely against it, that it is wrong for we humans to play God- we do it enough already. But one look into the eyes of a child with lukemia that could have been prevented....

I am only in favor for manipulation of physical illnesses in genes. Not for anything else. Not for metal illnesses (except in the case of something like schizophrenia, which is obviously an illness, as opposed to borderline things, like depression) not for gender, and not for appearance. To take a child, and say, well, I want a blond, green eyed girl- that's like going to the pet store and sayign I want a brown girl puppy. You don't choose your children. When you decide to have them, you get what you get, and love them unconditionally. It, IMHO, is just plain wrong to screw fate over that way, because when you screw fate, I believe it screws you back.
patchoulipumpkin
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since 01-01-2000
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3 posted 01-08-2000 12:28 AM       View Profile for patchoulipumpkin   Email patchoulipumpkin   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for patchoulipumpkin

I see your point midnight, but i'm going to play devil's advocate, is eliminating any known forms of illness whether they be mental or physical, not hand picking your child?  Keeping in mind that we have never done this kind of thing before in society, so even if it is done to remedy certain things, is that not hand-picking, or playing God?  I'm only challenging, this isn't an attack on you by any means, i just want to see where the conversation can go.
Isis
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since 09-06-99
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4 posted 01-08-2000 01:09 AM       View Profile for Isis   Email Isis   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Isis's Home Page   View IP for Isis

Well don't answer me then  

 At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet. (Plato)
~Isis~
(Daughter of Mystery)

Trevor
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since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


5 posted 01-08-2000 10:26 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

I'm going to agree with pumpkin's statement that using genetic manipulation for anything, whether it be to determine sex or prevent a handicap, is playing God. The only objections I have to genetic altering is that we do not know the long term effects (perhaps a disastor for adaptation) nor do I believe science is patient enough to fully understand what effects it might have before implamenting its use (just look at the genetic tampering with our food supply already...very few tests have been done to see the long term effects). Also if something like genetic superbabies were to be available, they should be available freely to all. Hardly fair that the wealthy should be allowed to have superbabies and the rest of the world be forced to compete at the trough (anyone see the movie Gattacca?). Other than those two cocerns, (there may be more that I don't know of yet), I personally don't have a problem with genetic manipulation (if used responsibly). To me there is no dfference between preventing a disease through genetic manipulation before birth or inventing a pill that cures it after birth. I also like the idea presented by some scientists of growing a headless spare "you" in case of medical emergencies. Imagine, your kidney fails and you get to be the donor for yourself....pretty trippy stuff  
Perhaps genetic tampering is the next evolution of mankind. Perhaps it will help "unlock" the potential of the human race, perhaps this is a natural step in our adaption and evolution?
We work so hard as adults to form ourselves into "who" we want to be through exercise, surgery, self help books and spirituality, why not get a jump start on it? Who wouldn't want to have been born a physically fit Einstien? Perhaps if everyone would be born a little more intelligent we wouldn't have so many problems in society. The only thing is I couldn't see science (or those that control its direction) using the knowledge responsibly.
Anyways, this is something I could babble on for ever about, however I think ya get the jist of my aurgument. Thanks for the thoughts, take care,
Trevor

[This message has been edited by Trevor (edited 01-08-2000).]
Midnight
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6 posted 01-08-2000 11:44 AM       View Profile for Midnight   Email Midnight   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnight

I agree with preventing illnesses, and the "headless person" idea....ehh, cant we just grow the organs? A headless person...that thought is very disconcerting.

As for superbabies, or being a physically fit einstein.......we humans have already taken nearly all the challenge out of life already. So now we're going to have ourselves born brilliant and beautiful, too? I think that is just plain wrong! If we were all supergeniuses, and had what society considered "beauty", then a lot of variation in us would have simply vanished. I think one of the only things that gives humanity a sense of worth and beauty is the fact that we are all different. We can be short and fat, or tall and thin, and that is a wonderful thing, diversity. To take away this diversity, would just be terrible! I can't think of any other words to describe it. Wrong, disgusting, why would we destroy what little good we have left in our wretched race? It is a known fact that the beautiful and the incredibly smart are also often self-absorbed, selfish, and conceited. If there was nobody who was more intelligent than anyone else, instead of admiring masterpieces of literature, music, and art, we'd all just think, "Oh, can do better." We'd all end up fighting with each other, and why? Because some scientists thought they could make a "super race".
Trevor
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since 08-12-99
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Canada


7 posted 01-08-2000 07:22 PM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello,

MIDNIGHT:

"I agree with preventing illnesses, and the "headless person" idea....ehh, cant we just grow the organs? A headless person...that thought is very disconcerting."

Ya it's kinda creepy but I don't know how long organs could live outside a human body, besides a human body without a head isn't really "alive", so isn't really a person then.

"we humans have already taken nearly all the challenge out of life already."

I'm sorry life still doesn't challenge you. With the injection of a new level of intelligence would come a new level of challenges. We hardly know anything about the world let alone creation and the rest of the universe.

"So now we're going to have ourselves born brilliant and beautiful, too? I think that is just plain wrong! "

If beauty is indeed in "the eye of the beholder" and one should not judge another upon looks, then what does it matter if someone wants their child to look a certain way? I'm not saying that genetics is a healthy way to achieve it, so little is still known in that field, but I am saying that it is as much wrong for a "beautiful" person to judge "ugly" people for the way they look as it is for "ugly" to judge "beauty".

"If we were all supergeniuses, and had what society considered "beauty", then a lot of variation in us would have simply vanished."

This is what scares me too, the lack of variation. Without natural intermingling of genes would there be a new form of "inbreeding" created? The coalition of different genes from different gene pools is a neccessity for healthy reproduction and if we were to start splicing genes here and there perhaps it would cause some deformities??? I don't know but it's definetly a concern of mine.

"I think one of the only things that gives humanity a sense of worth and beauty is the fact that we are all different. We can be short and fat, or tall and thin, and that is a wonderful thing, diversity."

I also think diversity is a beautiful thing and worth protecting however I don't think that "true" human diversity is found within appearence. It matters not what someone looks like, I don't believe it alters one's perception too much (other than the way they might be treated by others), cold is still cold and hot still hot regardless if you are considered beautiful or not. The sun still sets with red rose and orange tinges weather your hair is blond or black and curly. The real diversity in humans, in my opinion, is the personality and personality I believe is made up of many genetic and environmental factors. With this said I will state that I don't think a higher level of human intelligence will mean the end of diversity....might even propel it by adding new choices that one may have.

"Wrong, disgusting, why would we destroy what little good we have left in our wretched race?"

Do you really think that the little good left in humanity comes from us being short or tall, fat or skinny, white or black?

"It is a known fact that the beautiful and the incredibly smart are also often self-absorbed, selfish, and conceited."

I hardly think those traits are limited to ones with high intelligence or certain physical attributes. There may always be those who shun others and overplay their worth regardless of how everyone looks or their levels of intelligence....they can't be all that smart if they think themselves better. Perhaps these unfavourable qualities come not from the fact that these people are smart and/or beautiful but rather because they didn't have a good unbringing or proper tutoring in life's lessons.

"If there was nobody who was more intelligent than anyone else, instead of admiring masterpieces of literature, music, and art, we'd all just think, "Oh, can do better." "

There still would be more and less intelligent, however the standard and medium would increase. Einstien'ian levels of intelligence would now be the normal where as an intelligence that has yet been seen would be the exception. New art on a higher or different level would emerge...perhaps???

What is the difference between having a superbaby that is resisitant to disease or a superbaby smart enough to cure the diseases? One you condone but the other you don't? Why is that?

"We'd all end up fighting with each other, and why?"

Like we don't fight over trivial things right now??? It is a documented fact that those with a higher education and "presumably" more intelligent are less prone to acts of violence and aggression. It's not the scientists that are starting wars.... I don't believe Einstien ever advocated the use of force and violence. There is probably a better sense of community within the fields of science then there really is within "normal" communities. I don't think an increase in the average human intelligence would incur more fighting both verbally and/or physically.

Anyways that's that and all that's all there is right now, thanks for the thoughts and take care,
Trevor

Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


8 posted 01-08-2000 11:51 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I'm with Trevor on this one (no surprise).  What intrigues me here is that many people seem to see gene manipulation as a type of wonder cure for everything.  Indeed, the fundamental mistake of the Gattaca society was not genetic manipulation in and of itself but the reliance on genetic manipulation to determine a person's worth.  I think the movie tried to show that genes don't solely determine a person's worth, choices, or decisions. If you're religious, the essence of a person is the soul and genes aren't the soul. If you're not religious, genes still only partially determine the 'self' in conjunction with the environment.

Why not see it as simply another way to change a person's environment and not a change in the person's 'essence'?  Will there be mistakes? I'll go out on a limb and say yes.  Intelligence and beauty or any other one factor does not determine a person's life nor can genetic manipulation ever completely control all those factors (back to Gattaca).  Will things change that much?  Well, I would say yes but only because I think change happens anyway.  

This issue seems similar to the cloning debate in that it deals with basic questions of what this thing is that we call humanity. The term itself is an interesting mish mash of different definitions. So, what is humanity?

Brad
Midnight
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since 11-25-1999
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9 posted 01-09-2000 12:05 AM       View Profile for Midnight   Email Midnight   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnight

Trevor- you bring up some very good points.

What I meant about the lack of challenge in life was that people who don't want to work, don't want to do anything, they don't have to. That's what welfare is for. People don't need to try, all they have to do is get in line for gov. assistance.

"what does it matter if someone wants their child to look a certain way?"

I'll just reiterrate my original point. If you can't accept that your child might be less than ideal, in your eyes, in physical looks, then you don't deserve to have a child.

"It matters not what someone looks like, I don't believe it alters one's perception too much "

I must disagree with you. Most people I know who are "beautiful" think that they can do what they want to who they want, and nothing bad will come of it, because they are the center of the universe.

"Do you really think that the little good left in humanity comes from us being short or tall, fat or skinny, white or black?"

The little good I was talking about was diversity, the physical aspect of which would be lost, but I think that the fact that we have varying degrees of intelligence is a big part of diversity too. Not to be insensitive, but without the less intelligent class, who is going to run our factories? as of right now, we still need laborers for them.

"Perhaps these unfavourable qualities come not from the fact that these people are smart and/or beautiful but rather because they didn't have a good unbringing or proper tutoring in life's lessons."

possibly, but maybe also because they look around them, and see that others that are either as smart or beautiful as them are treated as better than the rest of the human race, and think that they deserve that. Also, it is just human nature to look down upon those who you see as inferior to you in some way, and the beautiful/incredibly smart, will naturally be superior to a great many people in those aspects.

"It's not the scientists that are starting wars"

I really must disagree with this. It's obivously starting a verbal war here, just the prospect of it. Think if it were to be put into practice. It is a terribly controversial subject, rivalling abortion, and assisted suicide. It has been compared to what Hitler tried to do, in creating a "super race". You know what happened there? A war- a damn big one.

Sorry if I sound sarcastic, or offensive. Also, if I didn't bring up anything in particular that you said, it probably means that I agree with it.


Midnight
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since 11-25-1999
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10 posted 01-09-2000 12:14 AM       View Profile for Midnight   Email Midnight   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnight

Brad, you snuck in on me there.

What is humanity? LOL, I don't know, and nobody really does. Personally here is what I think.

Humans are just another animal. We have our own assets, mainly a very weak physical makeup (when compared to other animals) that is made up for by the technology that we have developed with our superior intelligence. We were either put here by something, some sort of extraterrestrial, or higher power, and ever since we came up with buildings, and other ways to destroy the earth for our benefit, Mother Nature has been trying to get rid of us with natural disasters and diseases. Thus far, we've managed to hold on, and suck away more and more fo her vitality. So basically, we are a parasite, with no apparent niche in the natural world. The only place we belong is in our little automated society, destroying more and more, every second, of what was originally a very beautiful planet.
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


11 posted 01-09-2000 12:59 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Humans as parasites? Well, okay, there may be something to the Gaia hypothesis but really that makes any species, any form of life, a type of parasite.  We all live on the killing of other forms of life.  But if we get back to the main theme of this thread, how does your definition of humanity influence your views of genetic manipulation? You seem to be arguing that we shouldn't change our environment at all and yet all forms of life change their enviroment however minute.  It's called existing.

Regarding your previous comment, 'beautiful people' aren't always beautiful and won't be beautiful forever.  I think it safe to say that the majority of us has seen themselves as the center of the universe at some time in our lives. Your assumptions about the lower intelligence 'class' begs the idea of a static social order and is another whole thread (and I'm still not sure how this influences your views on genetic manipulation).  People are not superior to other people in some essential way (although they may think that way) but are 'better' in terms of specific actions -- faster guitar players; more coordinated basketball players; able to deal with complex ideas; able to persuade others to a specific plan. I honestly think you're making the same mistake that you criticize in 'beautiful people'. In any society certain factors are valued over others and people will encapsulate those factors to varying degrees.  That one does encapsulate those factors does not mean that that person is 'better' than any other in all of them.

In my opinion,
Brad

PS more later  
Midnight
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since 11-25-1999
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12 posted 01-10-2000 09:17 PM       View Profile for Midnight   Email Midnight   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnight

Brad,

I never said we should keep our environments the same. But an environment is completely different than a child. I don't think that we should pre-arrang our children's genes for superficial resons. I can understand making our children intelligent before I can understand making them beautiful, but if I ever had the choice, I don't think I would. I think intelligence, beauty, skills, and whatnot are a gift that fate gives us, And I might start a debate about fate with thaty comment, but I do believe fate exists. I think we are all given an equal amount of skill. And in that way, you are right, no one is "better" than another person. What those are varies for the individual. I'll readily admit that I am self-righteous to a certain degree, as well as self-absorbed. That is only human nature. But in the truth of it all, I am not better than any other human being, as they are no better than me.

Ok, I am going to shut up now, because I'm rambling on about nothing here.
jbouder
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since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


13 posted 01-10-2000 09:39 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Hey everyone:

What Gattaca demonstrated is that, while we are quite resourceful creatures (we humans, that is) we are a little short on a thing called "foresight". (That and that Uma Thurman is a hotty ... sorry if I offended anyone with that ... actually I'm not sorry ... it's true).  

Does anyone honestly believe that the genetically "pure" person is going to be considered more valuable than the genetically "impure"?  We judge people by more trivial things now (weight, height, breast size, the car we drive, etc.).  The "Gattaca" scenerio only dealt with the social implications of such a standard of "purity". Trevor (I think) rightly pointed out that there are any number of unknown biological hazards just waiting to lift their ugly heads.

Midnight:

I am afraid I can't buy the "humans are just animals" number.  Mainly because I don't believe you really believe this to be true.  What would cause you more harm?  If I shot your dog or one of your parents?  Humans are just parasites?  Yeah, I guess we are sometimes.  But is that necessarily bad?  And I disagree that humans are not part of the natural system.  If we are animals, by the way, doesn't that make us part of the natural system by default?  

Just my two cents.  Ready ... aim ...

 Jim

"If I rest, I rust." - Martin Luther

Trevor
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since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


14 posted 01-11-2000 12:35 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello everyone,

MIDNIGHT:
"What I meant about the lack of challenge in life was that people who don't want to work, don't want to do anything, they don't have to. That's what welfare is for. People don't need to try, all they have to do is get in line for gov. assistance."

I don't see the corelation between this and genetic manipulation? Please elaborate if you have the time.

"I'll just reiterrate my original point. If you can't accept that your child might be less than ideal, in your eyes, in physical looks, then you don't deserve to have a child."

Maybe so but with or without genetic tampering this still occurs and banning genetic manipulation would not prevent this problem. Parents continually push their children and try to mold them how they see fit both mentally and physically. Plus we all try to change ourselves....how many here can honestly say that they are completely happy with themselves....most of us would like to change something whether it be intelligence or appearence. Why should we be happy with ourselves? Does not change occur through discontentment?

"I must disagree with you. Most people I know who are "beautiful" think that they can do what they want to who they want, and nothing bad will come of it, because they are the center of the universe."

I do admit that there are some "beautiful" people that are consceded enough to think that their sh** doesn't stink, however that is a mental problem and not actually due to their appearence. The perception I was refering to was a more simplistic one....their green is green and their hot is hot, just like everyone else but we all have a different perception of the world as a whole...not only the MENSA brainstormers and Barbie dolls.

"Not to be insensitive, but without the less intelligent class, who is going to run our factories? as of right now, we still need laborers for them."

The less intelligent class would still exist just at a different level. Also just because someone is intelligent doesn't mean they think themselves above manual labor (just above the little money they pay ).

"possibly, but maybe also because they look around them, and see that others that are either as smart or beautiful as them are treated as better than the rest of the human race, and think that they deserve that. Also, it is just human nature to look down upon those who you see as inferior to you in some way, and the beautiful/incredibly smart, will naturally be superior to a great many people in those aspects."

But who is to blame, the "beautiful" person or those that treat them like they're gold? Plus I don't see how the banning of genetic manipulation would stop this.

"I really must disagree with this. It's obivously starting a verbal war here, just the prospect of it. Think if it were to be put into practice. It is a terribly controversial subject, rivalling abortion, and assisted suicide. It has been compared to what Hitler tried to do, in creating a "super race". You know what happened there? A war- a damn big one."

Verbal war??? I thought this was a debate. Perhaps we all should stop thinking so no one feels bad or inferior, also maybe those who are beautiful should scare their faces and put on weight   (just teasing ya). Just because something is controversial doesn't make it bad. Hitler tried to kill everyone he didn't like in order to achieve the super-race....how is that the same as prechoosing your child's genetic makeup? What is so wrong with creating more intelligent humans? Isn't creating more intelligent people the reason we teach our young anyways? As a society shouldn't we be trying to further the standard level of intelligence within our world? What is so wrong with creating more physically fit humans? Why wait to buy glasses when you can give your child superb eyesight? Why buy braces if you could ensure straight and healthy teeth? Why pay for casts and cures when you could make them strong and healthy? Why not be preventative?

It seems like you'd rather the gifted lower their levels to make those lagging behind feel more comfortable. It sounds like you'd rather take the Einstiens and turn them into dolts then take the dolts and turn them into Einstiens.

"Humans are just another animal."

I agree with you completely.

"made up for by the technology that we have developed with our superior intelligence."

But even if a dolphin knew how to build a flying city it could not for a lack of hands. What other animals know, we will never understand and vice versa. We don't understand their world and they don't understand ours. Kinda funny that a one year old dog can understand an adult human better than a one year old baby trying to understand an adult dog. If we can not think like other animals then how can we accurately gauge their levels of intelligence? Sorry I know it's kinda off topic but the arrogance of humanity when dealing with other species really bothers me....they (the little woodland creatures) can't be all that stupid....they're not the ones raping the earth.

"So basically, we are a parasite, with no apparent niche in the natural world. "

I'm going to have to side with Brad on this one.....everything is a parasite feeding off of other things....otherwise we'd be canibals.


"The only place we belong is in our little automated society, destroying more and more, every second, of what was originally a very beautiful planet."

Yep, we've definetly done a number on this planet. However perhaps with a new level of intelligence, a new level of social conscience would arise...a new level of higher thinking and solutions. Sure the "smart" ones have gotten the world into a mess but haven't these same people been known to fix things as well. It is the intelligent ones who have made notably good advancements in society/technology/medicine. There have been some good inventions throughout the existence of mankind, it hasn't been all bad.

"I think intelligence, beauty, skills, and whatnot are a gift that fate gives us, And I might start a debate about fate with thaty comment, but I do believe fate exists."

Then perhaps genetic alterations is the "fate" of the human race. The super human is a natural occurance anyways. With natural selection and mate selection it's always only a matter of time before genetics "ups" the standards in relation to the environment. But the scarey part I think could be the long term effects of eliminating the natural process of adaptation. Personally I think that genetics could re-open Pandora's Box, not because of what can be done (I believe that genetic altering could effectively help humans reach a "height" they will never know) but because I don't think the governing powers of the world would be responsible enough with the knowledge. First thing they'd build would probably be some sort of "SUPERSOLDIER".

JIM:

"What would cause you more harm?  If I shot your dog or one of your parents?"

What would cause a dog more harm? If a person shot the dog's parents or themselves? I would say all creatures have a natural empathy towards their own kind, it's because every animal understands their own species more than they understand another animal. I personally believe that we are just animals and just like everything being parasitic in nature, it's not really a bad thing.

ANyways, that's my little babble for tonight, thanks everyone and take care,
Trevor




[This message has been edited by Trevor (edited 01-11-2000).]
Midnight
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since 11-25-1999
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15 posted 01-13-2000 08:14 PM       View Profile for Midnight   Email Midnight   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnight

Jim, perhaps you won't believe it when I say this...but...I'd feel worse shooting a dog.

Trevor-
I think what it all comes down to is that I don't think we should mess with what nature wants us to be born with. You make valid points about preventative care, and I agree with each of them in a way, but I just don't think it is right to change whatour children will become. Just imagine, being incredibly intelligent...and having your comparatively idiotic mother telling you that you were genetically manipulated....this isn't who you were originally going to be. That would upset me.

ANother thing...who will be the teachers, in school, for this supergenius race? We can't ahve dunces teaching them!

One last thing, I don't want to turn Einstiens into idiots....I just think it is wrong to take somethign that is supposed to be a rare gift, and let anyone have it.
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


16 posted 01-14-2000 04:37 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Midnight,
Yeah, I think your starting another debate on  the fate thing.  

There are two words you used that struck me as odd: 'nature' and 'be'.  I'm curious why you substituted nature for God when, as far as I can tell, that's what you mean.  Nature doesn't care about us unless you personify it -- therefore, God. Second, there's no way to speculate on what you were supposed to 'be' if you were genetically manipulated because you would 'be' someone else.  Well, okay, you can speculate but I wonder what the result would be.  To me, it's the same as wondering if I'd been born in India as a member of a specific caste.  What kind of person would I be like?  I don't know because I would 'be' different.

How would you react to finding out your genetically manipulated?  Seems to me the reactions would differ according to the person and the way they've been brought up.  I'm adopted (Hi, Isis), knew at an early age, and have never really thought that much about it.  I've never really wondered what would have happened if I hadn't been adopted (until now -- thanks to this thread).  But, again, the possibilities so multiply themselves as to be unthinkable.  I would be a different person.

Where we differ, I think, is on the idea of the essential self.  I don't think there is one and you, it seems, do. DNA creates tendencies in my personality but it doesn't create my personality. I'm not a tendency, you see.  

I certainly don't think I, or anyone else for that matter, is going to convince you that genetic manipulation is okay but I do think it will happen. What are we going to do about it?  Will only the rich be able to use it?  Do we subsidize it?  If we outlaw it, will there be a black market?  Indeed, many people find it as horrid as organ markets (selling healthy organs to the highest bidder) but one wonders if there isn't a black market in that. I don't know but it's certainly possible -- I've heard a few urban legends along those lines.  I think genetic manipulation (and cloning) is far less repulsive than that possibility.

Brad  
jbouder
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Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


17 posted 01-14-2000 08:15 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Midnight:

By "parents" I didn't mean "in-laws".  

Jim
Trevor
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18 posted 01-15-2000 02:08 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello again everyone,

MIDNIGHT:
"I think what it all comes down to is that I don't think we should mess with what nature wants us to be born with."

What's the difference between a child being forced to use insulin and/or medicine discovering a cure to diabetes and genetically altering someone so they might not have diabetes to begin with. If we shouldn't mess with what "God" or "nature" gave us then why do we fight for cures against all sickness? Our current natural immunity could be said to fit into your definition of what should not be tampered with. Tonight on the news they had a feature on a new treatment for heart disease available in Canada. Instead of trying to give a risky by-pass sugery they injected the heart with genetically altered DNA that will hopefully "naturally" heal the damaged tissue. They said his heart was in such bad shape that the chances of normal surgery prolonging his life were none to slim....now the man is up and about on his feet, whether or not the new technique is a complete success is still unknown, too early to tell, but if successful it could pave the way for kidney treatments, cancer treatments and so on and so forth. Now what's the difference between giving someone organs that will work properly for the duration of their life or injecting DNA into an organ to cure them? Should we bother to cure the ill? Who will tell the dying we give up on them or a child that we could have prevented him/her from being born with no arms and no legs? Is this the beauty of nature? Lets face it, we are mortal "gods" (though most of are actions resemble a "devil's"), we can create, manipulate and shape our life and the majority of our environment (and probably the whole of our environment if given time). This is our gift, our tool, we can plan our destiny to a greater extent then any other creature we know. Why wait for fate anyways, do we wait for a can of soup to roll by if we are hungry? We can become who we want to become (don't we already try and plan our growth through adulthood anyway) and leave very little to fate. It may not sound romantic but it just might be the truth....I guess the romance of it all lies in what will we create....our fate is that we have none....why wish for stars when we can build them?...okay I'll stop with the melodramatics.
Also about making sure your child is beautiful....there is always a chance that a child could turn out disfigured.....now I'm not saying that someone who is disfigured isn't loved or loveable, especially when dealing with a parents love, but lets face it.....how many of us here actually date a really disfigured person (no offence meant to anyone who has any physical malformations)....probably not too many, now how many of us know or have known disfigured/handicapped people (plse forgive if I'm a little wrong in my PCs, no insult meant) ....probably the close to or around the majority, most of us have known at least one person who could fall into this category. Why don't we date and settle down into a romantic relationship with someone disfigured even if we can love them, because the simple fact of physical attraction....an undeniable fact. Intimacy is usually a large part of a healthy relationship between non-related people (though in some back country hills there are rumors). So why wouldn't you want your child, want to the point of taking preventive(sp?) action if necessary, to look as good as possible? I know I would. F*** fate, hoping and wishing doesn't get things done.... neither has praying. Now I don't know about you but I wouldn't have the guts to tell a little girl with abnormal bone growth in her face that we probably could have prevented it but decided not to because we thought it was a gift for her to be born with a deformity. The primordal instinct of mating with attractive people is embedded because law of natural selection states that the healthy shall surpass the unhealthy and often a tertiary way to measure health is by physical appearance, hence a natural incline to want to "spawn" with beautiful people....or at least that's my uneducated guess. What's the difference between going to the gym everyday for a two hour workout so you can look good and be healthy and being given a good metabolism to be born lean and healthy for life? Perhaps the experience of work ehtics? I dunno.
I personally would like to be a different person, I'm not content with who I am, otherwise I'd stop the learning process and eat what I want, not worry about my weight nor my complexion. I'm not vain enough to care about my hair falling out but I'm not solemn enough to not miss it.
We have to continually measure ourselves, not only as an individual but also as a race in whole for the measuring stick and re-examination of who we are helps propell our evolution both on physical and mental levels. Why not improve the human if it's actually for the better (and that's where my main concern lies, my other concern is what Brad touched on... about the availability of genetic servicing and it becoming an instrument of only the rich)....gosh, I sure can talk the ear of corn can't I?

As for who would teach these super-people? Well you can be as smart as ya like but it wouldn't stand out without a good base of knowledge. All genuises start out seeming to be idiots and then through some proper teaching and life experience that genius awakens. How many prodigies have been overlooked because they weren't exposed to the right environment? How many Bethoven's(sp?) were there that never got the chance to sit at a piano? I don't think genetic altering or lack thereof will change the end result of humans, natural selection is already and has been continually doing what genetic tampering does only on a much slower scale.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not totally sold on genetics but as far as the aurgument that we should let nature run its course and radomnly determine our fate when in fact we may very well have the ability to map out our manifest destiny....well, I'm not buying it If you really want nature to run its natural course then perhaps the closing of hospitals is a good idea. I'm game if everyone else is. Help by curing the sick and not just by keeping them alive or I say lets let them die, empathy gets pretty tiring and strains the emotions. Lets stop genetically altering food (chances are you eat something tampered with daily) in order to feed the masses and tell the hungry it's only nature determining their fate. The only problem I have with all that is we humans are very natural. It is in our nature to do the things we do or else we wouldn't do them. Us building and changing everything is the natural "us" acting upon our "natural" inclinations. Us wanting to better ourselves through the information we obtained about genetics is a natural thing. We are as naturally pure as a firefly in the summer or winter snow in Siberia.

"One last thing, I don't want to turn Einstiens into idiots....I just think it is wrong to take somethign that is supposed to be a rare gift, and let anyone have it."

Well this is where we must disagree again. My feelings are that I think it would be a sin to be able to share such a beatiful thing and to not do it. Why shouldn't the beauty of exceptional intelligence be shared, why must it only be coveted by a few? Think of the possibilities of a thousand intellectual Platos or Hawkings working together to solve world problems or to venture out and beyond into the unknown. Nothing would please me more to know that a child of mine and all else born in his/her generation were blessed with incredible intelligence and physical prowess that far exceeded my own. Then I'd know it would be impossible for me to be a complete failure as a parent for I at least gave my child that gift.

"Just imagine, being incredibly intelligent...and having your comparatively idiotic mother telling you that you were genetically manipulated....this isn't who you were originally going to be. That would upset me."

I'd like to be genetically altered today. I'd like to be given a needle (with no harmful side effects) that would enhance my intelligence ten folds. Just because one is samrt doesn't mean they don't have to spend time learning, just means learning becomes easier. Intelligence doesn't mean you're born with knowledge, we're all born empty in the mellon bowl,intelligence is just a way we measure one's ability at comprehending, researching/discovering and applying knowledge.

Also I think Brad has a very valid point about the whole "who we are supposed to be" thing.

Now I'm not claiming to be right on this genetic issue, there are still many concerns that I believe would need to be addressed if this was ever to become common practise but I do strongly believe that the potential for great things could possibly be found within genetic altering....and that's my disclaimer against any misinformation .

I'm not going to read what I wrote, and I don't blame anyone else for doing the same....I probably wouldn't understand half of it anyways, sorry if any of it steps on your toes but these are my current thoughts on this complex issue, thanks again for the inspiration and making me think, take care,
Trevor

Saxoness
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19 posted 01-18-2000 03:56 AM       View Profile for Saxoness   Email Saxoness   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Saxoness

Ok ok...I scrolled down really fast so I would forget what I wanted to say...so sorry to those previous posters...I will go back. You see, i don't have a real long memory.
Actually, thats kind of my point. The little flaws in each of us help to make us who we are. We should treasure them...not seek to change them. The argument is to give kids a better chance at life...but to what cost? I rather like the idea that I have my grandfathers nose...how ever big it may be...or my mothers silly habit of clicking her fingernails. What an incredible sense of self it is, if you think about it. Why on earth would you want to erase your childs legacy...their history? People make their own chances...we shouldn't tamper with the beauty of it. What do you think?
Now...to read the rest of this post!


 "Glory remains unaware of my neglected dwelling where alone
I sing my tearful song which has charms only for me."
                                      
                                 -Charles Brugnot



[This message has been edited by Saxoness (edited 01-18-2000).]
Trevor
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since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


20 posted 01-18-2000 12:17 PM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello,

SAXONESS:

"The little flaws in each of us help to make us who we are. We should treasure them...not seek to change them."

So if you have a child whose little flaw is that he/she doesn't read very well (yet reads enough to get by in life) you wouldn't try and change it and help them read better? You'd just except it as a beauty of flawedness?

"I rather like the idea that I have my grandfathers nose...how ever big it may be...or my mothers silly habit of clicking her fingernails."

With genetics manipulation you could pass on the physical traits that you admire like your grandfather's nose while eliminating something like a family history of heart disease. I don't know why people are thinking that everyone would look the same and that there would be no distinguishable physical traits. They wouldn't use the same gene pool for genetic imporvements....that would cause inbreeding. Chances are they'd take the mother and father's genes and remove flaws while introducing stronger elements of other people's genes. As far as your clicking fingernails habit....do you think that is a inherit genetic trait or do you do that because you've seen your mother do that so many times before. Was it the environment that shaped that habit or was it genetics? It's not just genes that make us who we are.

"What an incredible sense of self it is, if you think about it. Why on earth would you want to erase your childs legacy...their history?"

Because often history includes both physical and mental illness. Why do we give a child with asthma a ventilator? Because we want that child to be able to breathe normally. Some people are saying that the flaws are what make us beautiful but ask the blind kids if they'd rather have sight. Why build a better wheelchair when you can give someone the chance to walk. Maybe if you were born blind, crippled or deaf you'd have a different outlook then we should all make due with what we have. Why should we bother to treat disease if we aren't going to try and find a permanent cure? It would be interesting to see how many Pharmacuetical companies are lobbying against genetic experiments. You talk of self yet you seem to forget that who you are and who your children are or will be, is not solely based on genetics, I'm pretty sure a lot has to do with environment as well. Is a killer a killer just because of genetics? If so should we really punish someone who had no choice in whether they will kill or not? What makes a killer a killer is still unknown but I'm placing my money on a combination of a genetic disposition and the influence of environment. And I say why not eleviate the burden of that genetic disposition so that a person could deal with their environment more soundly.

"People make their own chances...we shouldn't tamper with the beauty of it. What do you think?"

If we'd all like to live like heroes and kings and we all make our own chances then why has the majority fallen so short of the mark? Besides doesn't improving genetics fall into making our own chances? Why should people put on plastic legs when they can have real legs? Why should someone have the large bone growth in their face removed when they could have been born without one? It amazes me that people are so against genetics yet will stand behind the medival treatments that medicine and science use. People will gladly support the wheelchair but no one wants to support genetically giving the cripple legs. Everyone is for special classrooms to help teach those with learning disabilities and improve their intellectual capabilities but no one is for giving them a normal intelligence through genetic manipulation. People feel pity and empathise with those who are retarded, autistic or mongoloid but no one wants to prevent this from happening. People have no quams about drugging up a person with mental illness (say Manic Compuslsive) thereby chemically altering their mind so they can function in society but as soon as someone says they'd like to genetically fix the damaged part of their mind, people raise their arms, burn torches and storm the evil doctor's castle. I don't get it....everyone wants to treat a problem but no one wants to cure them. I'm sorry but fiddling with genetics is the only viable solution being offered to most ailments right now. Give me something better and I'll fully endorse that instead.

Is everyone so afraid of having a superior successor? Personally I hope that if I ever decide to have children they will be ten times the person I am. If flaws are so beautiful then why does it seem so many people are afraid to be judged on these flaws? Why on earth would it bother you that someone doesn't have your grandfather's nose if you think your grandfather's nose is beautiful (which I don't doubt)? Why do you see a large nose as a flaw and not just a large nose? Why wouldn't we want more intelligent people on earth to help govern and mold it? Anyways I'm about to spill over into another long-winded rant so I'll end my words here.
Take care,
Trevor
Saxoness
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Senior Member
since 07-18-99
Posts 1176
Texas


21 posted 01-19-2000 02:07 AM       View Profile for Saxoness   Email Saxoness   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Saxoness

Trevor!

Nice to meet you, and thank you for replying so speedily! Here is my take on what you have said.

As far as excepting the beauty of flawedness...you betcha i'd leave it that way! It is indeed a beautiful thing.

Now as far as genetic tampering to cure diseases...I think anyone would admit that it would be a wonderful thing if it is used responsibly and in moderation. In saying that, I not only present a solution, but a problem. When has science ever been used responsibly?  Lets say that we do in fact find a way to eliminate diseases and birth defects. Great! But we both know that it won't stop there. And it should. Next it will push to tampering physicality. And there is no good reason to do so. None! What we will end up with is batches of children who look similiar depending on the current body type and style that is trendy at the time of their conception. Thats not right, no matter what way you look at it.  Man will take things into their own hands...pushing science past what we should. This is called playing God...it's that simple. And that Trevor, is wrong, no matter how you view it.



 "Glory remains unaware of my neglected dwelling where alone
I sing my tearful song which has charms only for me."

-Charles Brugnot

Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


22 posted 01-19-2000 05:23 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello Saxoness, the pleasure of this meeting is all mine  ,

"When has science ever been used responsibly?"

The cure for polio, the cure for leprosy, invention of eyeglasses and hearing aids, prosthetic limbs, pace makers, the removal of brain tumors, space flight, the invention of wireless communication, insulin, chemotherapy.....so on and so forth. I do agree that there has been a lot of irresponsibility (the A-bomb for example) in the science community but it has also done a lot of good as well. The average human in a first world country lives almost three times longer then their predecessors. If that isn't advancement I don't know what is.....however very few deserve to live that long  

"Lets say that we do in fact find a way to eliminate diseases and birth defects. Great! But we both know that it won't stop there."

So do you suggest we stop searching for permanent cures to terrible afflictions because you fear that the technology will eventually be used to make people look more fashionable?

"And it should. Next it will push to tampering physicality. And there is no good reason to do so. None! What we will end up with is batches of children who look similiar depending on the current body type and style that is trendy at the time of their conception."

No there really isn't a good reason to do so other than feeling esthetically pleasing, but then again many psychiatrists will tell you that part of feeling good is looking good or at least feeling good about the way you look. If appearence doesn't matter and you should not be judged on how you look then why should it matter if some people want to look the same or why should we judge them upon their appearence and/or lack of independant physical features. Personally I'm with you on the fact that it would be a ridiculous thing to waste genetic information on having a more square jaw line or insuring blue eyes and sandy blonde hair but live and let live. However appearence isn't always an indication of personality. One more thing, what is considered a beautiful physical appearence is usually considered to be an indicator of good physical health. If ya look good chances are you are also very healthy, a quality that most of us look for, consciously or subconsciouly, when searching for a mate. This could be why many search for the "perfect" look. Just raising the levels of health through genetic manipulation would probably cause an increased level of "beautiful" people anyways. I just think we have better things to worry about then how other people look, like for instance, how we and other people feel. And I realize that statement also helps your aurguement as well, which I am not totally against.

"Man will take things into their own hands...pushing science past what we should. This is called playing God...it's that simple. And that Trevor, is wrong, no matter how you view it."

Man does and has always taken things into our own hands. Since the dawning of time we have played God to our environment using all tools and all manners realized possible....sometimes we did good and sometimes we've done bad. Medicine is and has always been based upon playing God, we are taking steps to prevent the natural death or suffering of someone by doing what comes natural to us and that is manipulating our environment or being god. I'm not saying we're always responsible gods but we are gods nonetheless. The sooner we realize this the quicker we can come to terms with being responsible for our own blunders and not relying on some higher power to be our janitor. Also to say that we are "playing God" is to say that you can prove that there is a God and that you know how it thinks, what its motives are and how it operates. If you don't know how or why God does things then you can't safely say that genetic experiments are not in His grand design and that humans aren't acting according to His will. Besides, why have a god when you can be a god? Why wait for god to act when we can do exactly what we ask for? Why ask for food when we can grow it? Why ask for cures when we can find them? Why ask for answers when we can discover them?
Basically what I'm trying to get at is that we have to be a god in order to find cures for serious ailments and world problems. We have to reinvent ourselves with healthy minds and bodies and act responsibly with our power (that I think we both agree upon). Maybe this is our next great step in evolution.
One more thing....if we don't push science past where it should be how are we expected to know where we should stop? One has to exceed the limits to know the boundaries.

Anyways, thanks for the interesting thoughts, take care,
Trevor  
Saxoness
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
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since 07-18-99
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23 posted 01-23-2000 10:36 PM       View Profile for Saxoness   Email Saxoness   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Saxoness

Trevor, I'm back! Sorry it took so long to respond, but here I am. Better late than never, right?

Ok. Here we go.

As far as responsible science, the reason those circumstances you listed have been used "responsibly" is because they were taken as far as they could go. It wasn't because scientists stepped back and said...
"You know, I believe we should stop here, or we might go too far"
Let me give you an example. Plastic surgury. Yeah, it's great for people who have serious facial deformities. But it turned into a marketable product just like everything else.
And so will genetic tampering. I say keep searching for other alternative cures.

People who look fit and are fit have earned it (for the most part) through their own effort. You say if we start making poeple born that way it will help their self images...but I disagree. I think that if it becomes the normal, that it will not make anyone feel good. Because it wasn't earned. They will just look for other flaws within themselves. What good is that?

Ok, no we are getting into spiritual territory here. It's like this. The evidence of an existing God is all around us everyday of our lives. He is supreme in all things. And honestly, (sorry, this is going to be harsh) but if you doubt the existence of God, then your arguemnt is groundless. We can do nothing without God. Nothing.

I disagree with you that one has to exceed the boundries to discover them. One can know he will fall over a cliff if he jumps off of it before he actually does it. You see? Well, thats all I have for now, hope to hear more?



 "Glory remains unaware of my neglected dwelling where alone
I sing my tearful song which has charms only for me."

-Charles Brugnot

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


24 posted 01-24-2000 01:09 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

As I read over this thread, I'm struck by two responses by those against genetic manipulation: a fear of what 'they' will do and a belief that we shouldn't 'play God'.  In some cases 'they' seems to mean politicians and/or capitalists and in other cases 'they' means scientists -- let's be more specific, men and women specifically working in genetic research and in manipulating DNA. Politicians are controlled by the democratic process, of what the majority of people want or say they want, so they're going to try to do what you want to do (or try to persuade you that what they want you to do is what you want them to do).
Capitalists are controlled by the market (yeah guys, I believe this too) and again will try to give you what you want or at least what you say you want as long as it makes a profit (or again try to persuade you that what they do is what you want).  It still comes down to you (the collective you, us, we, 'normal', 'average' citizens).
If enough people are against genetic manipulation or are persuaded to believe that  they believe it is wrong, then it will not happen on a wide scale (black markets may exist however -- but that's a different issue from what most people are imagining here so far -- indeed I'm the only one who seems to be worried about that possibility   ).

The other 'they' are genetic researchers who, believe it or not, are just as 'normal' as you or I (okay maybe Trevor and I should be left off the normal list. Maybe most of the people who post here should be left off the normal list   ).  What they do is research, not production on a wide scale (that would have to be funded by a government or by business).  I know that most researchers are more interested in being published in Nature or whatever then they are in changing the world (actually, that's how they think they'll change the world) so the 'they' is still in the end 'us'.  We have to buy it, elect people who advocate it, and persuade others to use it in order for anything to happen on the scale most people are talking about here.

In other words, I don't think 'they' are a problem (unless the X Files are true   ).

Okay, now we come to 'playing God' which I've already adressed but I'll do it again because I don't see many people getting through the first part of this post anyway   ) If you have the power, you have a choice and that choice is playing God, not the exercise of that power.  If God chooses not to do something, He's still God, isn't She? (I hope the pronouns weren't too confusing there).  In the same sense, what we choose to do with the knowledge we have gained is 'playing God' any which way you look at it. If you don't want to play God (as I understand the context here), you have to be ignorant and, as this thread well attests, that just isn't an option anymore.

Now, what do you wanna do?

Brad

PS Saxoness, I'll try to examine your spiritual arguments next time.  You've sort of backed yourself into a corner with some of your more 'absolutist' statements as well your vague pronouncements of 'should'. If you followed my argument here, I think you can see that the 'Nothing without God' statement doesn't change the dilemma. As for 'should', the question is who decides that 'should'.

See ya in a little bit,
Brad    
 
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