[LMB] We've been discussing gene engineering on people...

Damien Sullivan phoenix at mindstalk.net
Sun Oct 6 11:28:47 BST 2019


On Sun, Oct 06, 2019 at 03:03:11AM +0000, Harvey Fishman wrote:

> > candidates for elimination. Would you let your child be born with Cystic Fibrosis?
> > Genes for breast cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinsons....? All the heartbreaking
> > variations of motor neurone diseases? If you've seen children suffering from
> > terrible chromosomal disorders and genetic problems, it'd be easy to put
> > them on the elimination list. Brittle bones? Cardiomyopathy? Dangerous
> > allergies? Asthma? Anything with the potential to kill, or to limit life. Yes,
> > there'd be some line calls; high-end ASD can be beneficial. Low-end, not
> > at all. Parents would need to consider how any condition would impact their
> > child's life, what level of care they'd need, any benefits they'd have from
> > that condition.
> > 
> > None of this is enhancing, it's just removing problems. The child would still
> > have whatever abilities and strengths were within them. That'd be a whole
> > different conversation.
> > 
> But you cannot change just one thing. Natural selection had done pretty
> damned well over the last N thousand years.

For the major problems Gwynne describes, you probably can.  Natural
seleciton sure hasn't been perfect, and it selects for having lots of
grandchildren, not for being long-lived or happy, and it hasn't had much
time to select adaptedness to post-industrial urban environments.

-xx- Damien X-)


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