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

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Wed Oct 9 00:05:31 BST 2019

Type One Diabetes is thought to generally be an autoimmune disorder.  Genes
are thought to affect the chance of developing it, but exposure to
pathogens is probably required, and it's quite likely that no genetic
alteration would be able to eradicate the condition.

We don't even know which genes are involved, much less specific alleles,
but it's entirely possible that the predisposition persists because the
variations which make Type 1 more likely have beneficial effects, even on a
completely different system of the body.  It's also possible that they
persist because the combination of events that induces the onset of
diabetes is sufficiently rare that they're not scrubbed out of the genome.
We don't know.

I'm sorry for your collective medical problems, and obviously anything you
all consider a 'problem' is something you'd rather not have.  But we are
not discussing a magical wand that can be waved and make your problems go
away, changing nothing else.

I bet very few of you go through life frequently lamenting 30 IQ points you
don't have.  And indeed intelligence is one of the traits that doesn't
arise directly from genetics - biology is a lot more complicated than
that.  But we can imagine interventions which could boost things like IQ.

Surely none of you would accept an intervention that *reduced* IQ by two
standard deviations without an absolute necessity and no alternatives.
Does that mean that, if someone told you they could increase your future
child's IQ by two SDs, you'd consider that intervention necessary?  A

See?  Reversing the situation doesn't always reverse the appropriate

Matt G.

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