1. Zugzwang
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    26 Nov '18 20:291 edit
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/nov/26/worlds-first-gene-edited-babies-created-in-china-claims-scientist

    "World’s first gene-edited babies created in China, claims scientist
    Unconfirmed scientific breakthrough sparks ethical and moral concerns."

    "The researcher, He Jiankui of Southern University of Science and
    Technology in Shenzhen, said he altered embryos for seven couples
    during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting so far.
    He said his goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease,
    but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have: an ability
    to resist possible future infection with HIV."

    "He Jiankui studied at Rice and Stanford universities in the US before
    returning to his homeland to open a lab at Southern University of
    Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, where he also has
    two genetics companies."

    Please note that there's no evidence that all or most Chinese scientists
    approve of what He supposedly did, so don't refer to his work in
    terms of 'the Chinese did it' as though it were officially endorsed
    by the Chinese government or scientific community.
  2. Joined
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    27 Nov '18 07:274 edits
    The "...sparks ethical and moral concerns" part is a sign of how stupidly paranoiac some people are about genetic engineering.
    So now we can make some babies genetically resistant to disease; -GOOD!
    Not getting disease is a GOOD thing, right?
    We have no 'ethical' problem with giving babies vaccines to protect them from disease because not getting disease is good, right? This can be thought as a kind of super-permanent vaccine; not only protecting the baby but future generation so can be thought as merely an extension of the concept of a vaccine, and nobody says the concept of a vaccine is bad, right?
    So what's supposed to be the 'ethical problem' here? Anyone?

    I hope one day ALL babies will be genetically engineered to be resistant to all types of diseases. Isn't making that happen the morally right thing to do?
  3. Joined
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    27 Nov '18 08:301 edit
    @humy

    I agree. Some day it will be considered unethical to not genetically evaluate and correct genes that affect human health.
    The down side is that some people will make alterations that do not affect health in a predictable way and people can disagree about which traits are desirable and which ones are not. For example, someone might want their son to have more testosterone for muscle strength. There are downsides to having too much testosterone. Is that ethical?

    So where do we draw the line? That seems to be the question.
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    27 Nov '18 13:30
    I believe there is also concern that there was not enough animal testing to determine if there will be unintended consequences. CRISPER has the potential to eliminate genetically determined disease which would be fantastic. It also has the potential for parents to order up "designer babies" who have perfect pitch, desired height and facial features, high IQ, physical strength and longevity. Perhaps in the future the wealthy will be able to ensure their children are intellectually and physically superior creating a frightening ruling class of designer individuals.
  5. Joined
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    27 Nov '18 14:46
    I keep thinking about a fictional character from Star Trek "Deep Space 9".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Bashir

    I think regulations will prevent unethical modifications in the future legally. I worry about illegal modifications. What if someone decides empathy is an undesirable trait?

    http://andromeda.wikia.com/wiki/Nietzschean
  6. Standard memberDeepThought
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    28 Nov '18 02:20
    @duchess64 said
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/nov/26/worlds-first-gene-edited-babies-created-in-china-claims-scientist

    "World’s first gene-edited babies created in China, claims scientist
    Unconfirmed scientific breakthrough sparks ethical and moral concerns."

    "The researcher, He Jiankui of Southern University of Science and
    Technology in Shenzhen, said he altered embryo ...[text shortened]... se did it' as though it were officially endorsed
    by the Chinese government or scientific community.
    There's some dispute about whether this has been done.

    There are two problems with this. The first is that the procedure is experimental and he could well have given the twins a genetic disorder rather than providing HIV resistance. The more general objection I have is why do it at all? I can see the point as a treatment for something like cystic fibrosis, but not for a preventable infectious disease, that is treatable.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46342195
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    28 Nov '18 07:37
    Experimenting on babies. Morally and ethically wrong? Yes, you bet!
  8. SubscriberWOLFE63
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    28 Nov '18 08:27
    @phranny said
    I believe there is also concern that there was not enough animal testing to determine if there will be unintended consequences. CRISPER has the potential to eliminate genetically determined disease which would be fantastic. It also has the potential for parents to order up "designer babies" who have perfect pitch, desired height and facial features, high IQ, physical strengt ...[text shortened]... intellectually and physically superior creating a frightening ruling class of designer individuals.
    I guess we're destined for Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" afterall.
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    28 Nov '18 21:33
    @wolfe63 said
    I guess we're destined for Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" afterall.
    For film, Gattaca comes to mind.
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    28 Nov '18 21:462 edits
    @wolfe63 said
    I guess we're destined for Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" afterall.
    You reminded me of a moment I had while watching Downton Abbey some years ago.

    At one point, the Dowager Countess says something like "And what about you, Mr Molesley? Are you looking forward to this brave new world of Mrs Crawley's imaginings?" (If I recall correctly). I initially thought this rather odd, since I believed that the phrase had only been coined by Mr Huxley in the 1930s when the novel Brave New World was published, which was after the time when Downton Abbey was set, of course. I learned that it was not Huxley who coined the phrase, but rather Shakespeare, whose work Huxley took the inspiration for the name from.
  11. Subscribersonhouse
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    28 Nov '18 23:131 edit
    But like the Claude Van Damme movies about enhanced warriors, if it CAN be done, it WILL be done by someone somewhere. Every scientific advance are two sided swords.
    What if we figure out (probably never happen but for the sake of argument) how to make a human with an IQ of 1000? Or a warrior class with ten times the stamina and such? Or maybe eyes with many different kinds of rods and cones and resolution like an eagle? Great for spy stuff. If that kind of thing happened I think it would never be allowed to be part of general humanity. I think it would be tightly controlled by governments for the specific purpose of keeping power. Think Trump as the head of a government with warriors of those abilities or TRUMP with a REAL IQ of 1000 but still the narcissistic sociopath he is already.
    The bottom line is when such genetic manipulation becomes reality, we will have opened Pandora's box and no going back, only to more and more bizarre genetic experiments happening in unethical labs. We are going to have to get used to real oddities like dolphins with human heads or some such, just a silly example but the combinations will prove to be endless. Good ones might include the ability to grow new teeth when old ones wear out or eyes immune to cataracts and such or the ability to regrow broken spines or amputations, all good things but if we get that far the cat will be out of the bag for the bad stuff to happen also. Just saying.
  12. Standard memberDeepThought
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    29 Nov '18 01:08
    @ashiitaka said
    You reminded me of a moment I had while watching Downton Abbey some years ago.

    At one point, the Dowager Countess says something like "And what about you, Mr Molesley? Are you looking forward to this brave new world of Mrs Crawley's imaginings?" (If I recall correctly). I initially thought this rather odd, since I believed that the phrase had only been coined by ...[text shortened]... coined the phrase, but rather Shakespeare, whose work Huxley took the inspiration for the name from.
    It's from the Tempest, the lead female character, whose name I can't off hand remember, says words to the effect of: "Oh brave new world that hath such wonderous creatures in it.". This post is entirely from memory and I've almost certainly got the quote wrong.
  13. SubscriberWOLFE63
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    29 Nov '18 06:29
    @deepthought said
    It's from the Tempest, the lead female character, whose name I can't off hand remember, says words to the effect of: "Oh brave new world that hath such wonderous creatures in it.". This post is entirely from memory and I've almost certainly got the quote wrong.
    Shakespeare's literary influences are undeniably ubiquitous: Fine testaments to his genius, indeed.
    However, Huxley's story was his own. A prescient dystopian nightmare described as if his "doors of perception" had been opened to the future.
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    29 Nov '18 11:364 edits
    Just a thought:
    One thing I think that would really put a stop to all this stupid paranoiac some people are about genetic engineering is that, as soon as science finds a safe and technologically feasible way of generically engineering babies with genetic treats that predispose them to grow up to be naturally vary compassionate and kind people and thus very unlikely to commit atrocities, and I believe that is just a matter of when and not merely if that happens, we should all very explicitly and vehemently demand to make it law that ALL future babies should be so genetically engineered! That would finally put an end to the "Genetic engineering is a slippery slope to the Nazi gas chambers" kind of rhetoric crap I have on some rare occasions come across.

    I am not implying here that all crime is a result of genes. Obviously environment and poverty is a big causal factor. Nevertheless, some genetic treats do have an effect on likelihood of committing crime.
  15. Subscribersonhouse
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    29 Nov '18 20:20
    @humy said
    Just a thought:
    One thing I think that would really put a stop to all this stupid paranoiac some people are about genetic engineering is that, as soon as science finds a safe and technologically feasible way of generically engineering babies with genetic treats that predispose them to grow up to be naturally vary compassionate and kind people and thus very unlikely to commit at ...[text shortened]... ausal factor. Nevertheless, some genetic treats do have an effect on likelihood of committing crime.
    Nobody would object to that scenario, the elephants in the room are the disreputable geneticists who would work for people like Pol Pot or Idi Amin to make them an invincible army. If there is an up side there WILL be a down side, which is not to say throw out the baby with the bathwater. It will just have to be accepted like we accept the idea computers are great but there are viruses that can cause real damage, double edged sword, if it happens all the philosophizing in the world, all the cluck clucking will amount to zero so get used to the down side as well as the up side. Welcome to the 21st century.
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