Designer Babies and Evolution

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/24/opinion/genetically-modified-babies.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A16%22%7D&_r=0

I wrote a paper during my Junior year of high school about the morality of the up and coming trend of Designer Babies. Google defines this as “a baby whose genetic makeup has been selected in order to eradicate a particular defect, or to ensure that a particular gene is present.”

It is quite easy to see how this process would botch evolution. Through this advanced medical ideality, doctors can prevent a multitude of hereditary diseases, disabilities, and abnormalities before a child is even born. This is the positive, and happy end of the possibilities. The other, not so happy or abusive end includes the manipulation of a child’s hair color, eye color, traits, or personality quirks. If a couple decides that they want a blonde haired, blue eyed, dauntless baby girl, they can potentially produce such a thing. 

As with all things, there is of course pros and cons. So if we take a step back from the marring of evolution, there are some positive things that can come of it. As mentioned before, doctors can prevent a multitude or hereditary issues that could cause someone to have a lot of troubles throughout the course of their life. This process also allows doctors to potentially extend the life expectancy of some individuals by up to thirty years. In general, the pros for Designing Babies comes when the aim of the procedure(s) is to improve the quality of life for an individual. So is there something morally unsound with genetically changing someone with the aim to improve their life? Even if it is morally sound, what could be some potential ramifications as far as evolution is concerned?

http://futurehumanevolution.com/designer-babies

This article gives an insight as to some of the possible results of a society that practices the process of design. The most poignant point I recognized in this article was the future between the “Have’s” and the “Have Not’s”. Will this new medical procedure effect our evolution as humans in more ways than one? Could it create a whole new society, good or bad? What will the effects be to this process of natural selection? Could this alter the game of evolution as a whole? I think there is more than one argument and perspective for many of these questions. 

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/02/26/_designer_babies_aren_t_on_their_way_hopefully_3_person_embryo_fertilization.html

I have addressed the possible positive outlooks on the design theory, so now I’m going to flip the tables, addressing a select few of the cons. As mentioned earlier, there is the situation where parents use this process in a greedy way, to create a child with “perfect” looks for example. There is also the possibility that, because doctors can use this technology to detect disabilities, diseases and abnormalities that there will be more abortions from parents who cannot afford to have all of the correct procedures done, but do not feel they can (or simply do not want to) care for a child who will have such challenges. There is also a theory of “playing God” from a religious stand. In light of this theory, many argue that God designs each of us just the way we were meant to be for a divine purpose. So if we change those traits or the child at all, we are playing God. 

Do the pros outweigh the cons? Where can we draw a line? 

There are many way to analyze all of this information, but I encourage you to truly consider the possible consequences in the realm of evolution.

You can read more on the possible pros and cons of Designer Babies here:

http://designerbabiesethics.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/the-cons-of-designer-babies/

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44 Responses to Designer Babies and Evolution

  1. regan1984 says:

    This is a very interesting subject. When I was on a community service trip to South Dakota, I discussed the topic of eugenics with one of the teachers who’s was reading a book on it. One of the main consequences that was outlined in the book was this idea of our innate competitiveness. As was mentioned in this blog post, there most definitely will be those who want to create the best physical offspring. But what defines the “best” physical offspring? Can there ever a perfect person? The answer is most likely no. This, what would stop the overly competitive families with access to sufficient funds from constantly improving each new child of theirs to be the best. In essence, they would loose all sense of parenthood in their wild “baby” race to produce the best child. So in answer to what would happen to evolution as a whole, evolution would essentially become obsolete. The human race would no longer be a species but rather a commodity. A commodity that could only be afforded by those who have the money to pay for it.

    • sm4321 says:

      regan1984: I am fascinated by your own personal experiences with this topic and I’m glad you have thought about the consequences in more ways than one. However, I am somewhat skeptical of the logic you use when you make the claim “evolution would essentially become obsolete.” I say this because, while I understand where you are coming from in that perspective, I think there is more than just this one layer. Would humans as a whole stop evolving period if we introduce this medical procedure? Would it change our course over the next thousands or millions of years? Or would it merely drastically change in relation to the way evolution has occurred in our past?

      • regan1984 says:

        That’s a very good point. I guess I was just going off the idea that if there was this sudden competitive race to create the perfect child, natural evolution would become obsolete. Evolution would technically become the act of genetically engineering your child, as you said. If reality actually was a less exaggerated form of the genetic engineering I mentioned in my first comment I agree with you, it probably would change our course over the next thousands or millions of years. But in terms of the reality of the concept, I think the idea of preventing potentially crippling and terminal illnesses is a wonderful idea.

    • collegeblogger19 says:

      regan1984, I think it is very cool that you have had a personal experience with this topic. In response to your statement that evolution would essentially become obsolete, I think you may be correct. Evolution is a natural process, and if humans messed with that process it would no longer be natural. A natural evolving species would not describe humans anymore, rather we would be a self-improving/genetically-manipulating species.

    • jwmigook says:

      I really like that you refer to the human race as potentially becoming a “commodity” if we were to move forward with genetic modification. Would you agree that this is exactly the kind of thing that is portrayed in books about dystopia and what can happen if we tamper with natural processes? Though there is constant competitiveness all around us in the world we already live in today, it seems that some people really want to take it to the next level…which can harm us more than help us.

  2. pigfish1116 says:

    I like the fact that you acknowledged that genetic engineering of humans could lead to a new “type” of human: maybe one that is “perfect” and this could lead to more discrimination although the world is trying to eliminate that. Like what if the new trend is to have genetically engineered babies that have brown eyes and long brown hair? Everyone will want the “perfect” baby (because our society is becoming more materialistic by the minute) that is genetically modified and eventually a new type of racism/discrimnation will develop.

    I also understand that genetic engineering’s main purpose would be used to correct/fix/eradicate inherited diseases and sicknesses but this creates another problem. Genetic Engineering could “increase the lifespan of a person up to 30 years” according to the article on Genetically Modified Babies but we already have an aging population and higher than normal amount of old people. The concerns we can see with this is that there is not enough young working adults who pay taxes that go towards programs like Medicare and Social Security, programs that support the growing older population.

    Also, I find it interesting that one of the arguments you raised against genetically modified babies is religiously based, when you stated: “if we change those traits or the child at all, we are playing God”. Some critics would say that arguments backed by faith are invalid or unsubstantial but I respect that you addressed it just to show another widely accepted public opinion. This comment made me think about another argument that is not religious-based but more existential: humans from the beginning were created with flaws and probably for a purpose, whether it be for evolution to occur or just so that we don’t eventually overpopulate the earth, but we are all destined to die whether it be “too early” and at a young age or living a “full” life. I use quotations because they are terms that can be seen in many different ways by different people. But if we disrupt this “destiny” of ours then the consequences are endless.

    • sm4321 says:

      I think that you have made some very unique ideas, pigfish1116. I appreciate that you have questioned some of the points that I made, as with my argument on playing God. Just so you know, I personally have no opinion on that perspective but was merely including it to broaden the scope of this issue. That being said, I appreciate your feedback to the perspective and find it very interesting. I also like the point about how, because of this process of evolution, we are obviously not perfect beings. This is a very good point and only another reason that the manipulation of this new medical procedure should be taken seriously.

    • greyelephant1 says:

      I like the elaboration on religion too. Also, isn’t evolution and the process of natural selection supposed to choose the fittest to survive. That essentially means that in the end, the humans with defects will eventually, not meaning to sound harsh, but die out. I like pigfish1116’s note on how evolution could be a way for us to not overpopulate the Earth. I have never thought of evolution serving that purpose but I can see why that would be understandable.

      • pigfish1116 says:

        Addressing greyelephant1, what do you consider a defect? Yes disease like Heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases but some people consider defects to include things like having four fingers or having autism. These people don’t have disease that will kill them but do you believe that evolution will eventually take its course and these people will eventually cease to exist?
        In this article I found, a deaf, lesbian couple used a sperm donor to create a deaf child. Many people see being deaf as a defect but the deaf community has begun to acknowledge they’re deafness as a part of their culture rather than a shortcoming. The article addresses that this situation is being debated in the Journal of Medical Ethics and the questions are: Are conditions like blindness or deafness still considered to be a defect and, if so, is it ethical to genetically create babies with these defects?

      • sm4321 says:

        I appreciate the questions that you are raising pigfish1116. I think the points you are addressing are more focused towards the morality side of this issue. I would also like to throw in the comment that many scientists, journalists, and academics who write on this topic often include Autism in the “diseases” they would like to “cure”. I am saying nothing about my personal opinions when I mention this, merely adding this perspective.

      • pigfish1116 says:

        I’m sorry, I forgot to include the article i was referencing about defects:
        http://www.bmj.com/content/325/7367/771?goto=reply

    • In regards to “playing God,” wouldn’t any modification made, such as getting braces to straighten teeth (or genetically changing eye color for cosmetic reasons) be playing God? After all any modification would be a change to the way “God naturally intended.” This line of logic discredits the playing God defense to me.

      • pigfish1116 says:

        I definitely think the “modifications” you are speaking of vary by degree level that it effects evolution. Getting braces to straighten your teeth doesn’t ensure that your kids will have straight teeth and the same with changing our eye color. So yes in a way you’re “playing God” by changing what He already created but I’m not validating the argument, sm4321 and I are acknowledging that this argument exists and is used commonly by people of faith.

      • greyelephant1 says:

        pigfish1116, A defect was a bad term because it is so broad, yet there is no way to produce a list of conditions one may be born with that can qualify for genetic modifying. It is especially difficult when it comes down to being deaf and blind. No one wants a baby to be born deaf or blind, however one who is can still live a great life. Ethics, I believe comes down to the individual.

      • graduallychanging says:

        anonymousgwustudent, I would like to address the argument of “not the way that God intended”. I agree with your stance that “playing God” does not apply to the topic of genetic engineering, but I wanted to emphasize that the foundation of the idea of “playing God” is also flawed. Assuming that God exists, for the sake of argument, people are forced to speculate what God’s plans are. I often hear people say that God created the rules that govern the advancement of species (guided evolution) as a way to reconcile the religious beliefs with scientific facts. This type of reasoning could be used to eliminate the need for any additional explanations for new occurrences in regards to God’s creations. Thus, one could reason that God intended for us to discover the methods of genetic engineering that are discussed in the New York Times’ article “Genetically Modified Babies.”

        Is it possible to argue that genetic engineering is part of God’s plan to improve humankind and not interfering with what He intended?

  3. collegeblogger19 says:

    Designer babies is a highly controversial subject, as sm4321 alluded to. I grew up in a fairly religious Christian household, and though I do not consider myself to hold extremely religious beliefs, the idea of designer babies seems unethical to me–like playing the part of God, or simply overpowering the role of nature. Evolution is a natural process, so why should humans try to mess with it? Marcy Darnovsky talks in the article “Genetically Modified Babies” about how scientists are rethinking the concept of designer babies. Messing with DNA to prevent medical conditions is okay, but “to manipulate the genetic traits of future children” is not okay. Though those are the views of some scientists, I’m not sure many ordinary citizens would agree with that. If people (especially Americans) have a hard time accepting the concept of evolution and natural selection, how could it be any easier to accept the idea that we, as humans, can genetically manipulate traits of our very own children?

    • sm4321 says:

      I appreciate that you bring a new perspective to this conversation, collegeblogger19. I am interested in the new question that you are posing, and I also have a personal opinion on it. A major idea that we have addressed in class is that many cannot (or simply do not want to) accept evolution because it irks them, terrifies them, and/or disgusts them to even consider that we could be related to primates. People sometimes believe they are “better” than other species and because of this pride are blinded from the reality that is evolution. So, in this light, I think that it would make the process of evolution much easier to understand and accept for many humans if they saw/knew/understood that it was a process deliberately put in place by other humans.

      • collegeblogger19 says:

        sm4321: I really appreciate the point you have made, and it makes a lot of sense. Pride is something that definitely controls human beliefs, and if we knew that we could, in a sense, “control evolution” it might make it a lot easier for people on the fence to embrace the concept of evolution.

    • jwmigook says:

      I relate to you in the sense that I also grew up in a religious household. I do not hold extremely religious beliefs either, but both my parents and I have discussed those that try to “play God” and mess with what has already been put in place. I feel that people would be even less accepting of this proposal to modify the genetic traits of those in our future generation.

  4. greyelephant1 says:

    While I believe with Regan1984 that focus on designing a perfect baby would cause evolution to “essentially become obsolete”, as the article from futurehumanevolution.com (above) questions, there is a line. If genetically modifying babies becomes, as regan1984 stated, “a commodity”, then yes, I do believe that we are losing sight of what is supposed to naturally happen to our race as we evolve. However, as the article states, it does not seem right to “deprive an unborn child of any physical or mental capacity”. Most would believe that. However, would people believe it is right to make it so you are definitely going to have a girl? That is where the line is shady. In the end, like most controversial topics, it comes down to personal views.

  5. regan1984 says:

    I agree with greyelephant and everyone else, what I said was probably the extreme side of the issue. The reason I believe people are worried about this concept of eugenics is that we can’t guarantee the outcome despite what we may convince ourselves it is.

  6. gwuw2014 says:

    I find it interesting that the “Future Human Evolution” article discussings the Haves and Have-Nots without even bringing up the movie “Gattaca”, and the Slate article only mentions the movie in passing. Gattaca, produced in 1997, albeit a science fiction movie, illustrates exactly this dynamic that may plague the world if eugenics becomes the norm. This Scientific American article uses the example put forth in Gattaca to further explain the concept:

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/brainwaves/2013/10/28/are-we-too-close-to-making-gattaca-a-reality/

    As proposed by Darwin, populations require a natural variance in order to evolve. I personally believe that there are two extreme ends of the eugenics argument. If we select against traits which nature already deems maladaptive (i.e., heritable diseases) then are we not just speeding up evolution to the point at which these traits are eradicated from the species? However, influencing traits which offer little for survival fitness may be a case of over-interference by science. The Scientific American article cited above refers to a proposed genomics company called 23andMe which would supposedly run the gamut from selecting against the development of cancer to ensuring specific eye colors.

    And then, of course, there is the necessity to keep populations in check to ward against excessive population growth and the depletion of resources. If we eliminate heritable diseases and birth defects from the species, who’s to say we can still be supported by our resource supply?

    • sm4321 says:

      I hadn’t thought of the problem of resource supply, gwuw2014. I agree that this only adds another layer of complexity to this controversial issues. I find it interesting that you commented above “If we select against traits which nature already deems maladaptive (i.e., heritable diseases) then are we not just speeding up evolution to the point at which these traits are eradicated from the species? However, influencing traits which offer little for survival fitness may be a case of over-interference by science.” While you are not advocation for nor against the treatment of these diseases, this ties back in to your final question about natural resources. If those with such diseases are cured how will this also effect our problem of natural resources? If they will only add to the shortage, should we simply let them die even though we have the medical ability to cure them?

      • gwuw2014 says:

        I won’t pretend to be completely sure of my opinion. Obviously I think we should work toward cures for diseases – who doesn’t – but population growth is always a concern. I actually had never thought of it from this perspective before; thanks for bringing it up!

      • I would like to posit that if genetic engineering does become the norm among future generations, there will very likely be newer legislation governing the entire process. Perhaps there would be a limit to the number of children a couple can have, and also a form of resource allocation to each family. Think of it this way, if humans are in control of the genetic makeup of their offspring, future generations will:
        -be more intelligent (hence, in turn, creating better legislation governing themselves and more importantly laws governing birth)
        -require less food and water (less likely to be hungry or thirsty, improves metabolic pathways therefore requiring lesser quantities)
        -age slower (working age span increases leading to a reduced dependancy ratio)
        These are just some of multiple ways in which or genetically modified successors may be able to figure out how to keep themselves in check.

      • graduallychanging says:

        sm4321, the idea that technological advances, such as genetic engineering, would contribute to overpopulation and the depletion of natural resources is not a new concept. Every time there is a significant advance in medicine (e.g. the discovery of penicillin and x-rays) mortality rates for common ailments has dropped significantly. Although there are less deaths due to infections and similar health issues, these types of technological advancements allow for a healthier population that can become more productive. In the case of the United States, for instance, productivity is high which allows for surplus resources to be used towards improving education. Statistics have shown an inverse correlation between level of education and family size. The poorest countries in the world (the ones that tend to have poor medical access) are the ones with the lowest life expectancy, but at the same time have the highest population growths. This relationship demonstrates that these advances do not lead overpopulation.

  7. It appears to me that this is just another step in the evolutionary process. It seems that this is simply trying to create the best version of our offspring. At the same time it is as if we have reached a point where we are now fighting the evolutionary urge in order to fulfill a moral obligation by rejecting this sort of “super baby.”

    • I disagree with the fact that this is “the next step in the evolutionary process”. Genetic modification is very unnatural and this advancement is all due to human intellect and not a natural process.

  8. regan1984 says:

    Gwuw2014 has a very interesting point. While I agree sm4321 that people afraid of evolution might be less afraid of it if they new it was causes by other humans, I think the effect gwuw2014 stated would still affect the population as a whole. So what would stop those who are afraid from reproducing even more if evolution was caused by other humans? Wouldn’t our population just implode on itself?

  9. Firstly, I’d like to remark on the excellent choice of topic for today’s discussion-kudos to sm4321!
    Coming back to the point, I personally believe that genetic engineering is a step forward for the human race; we’re essentially accelerating through several generations of slow-paced natural selection in favour of quicker adapting artificial selection that would be much better suited to the challenges that may inadvertently be presented to the human race in the future. Say, for example, the worrisome problem of an imminent shortage of potable water in the world; this may very well be resolved with human beings that require lesser or no water at all. I think it’s possible with cross genetic modification from another species. It’s all very theoretical and hypothetical at this point, but nothing’s impossible. So yes, I do believe that it is okay to artifically create genetically superior progeny as it will serve to better protect the interests of the human race as a whole; this will probably make more objective sense if looked at from a macroscopic point of view.
    Bringing attention to the grammatical aspect of the article, I think the webpage “http://designerbabiesethics.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/the-cons-of-designer-babies/“ has an excellent pros and cons argument listed out in bullet form . This creates a befitting clinical structure to the debate but it also concludes with a point stating “although not all the kinks in this newly developing technology are fixed, with more clinical trials and experimentation, it has the potential to be a very promising.” This serves as a comprehensive summary of the discussion as a whole.
    Who knows, after the technological revolution, maybe the genetic revolution will be the next step forward for the human race.

    • thinkbrush says:

      Heir2Hemingway, I’m really interested in what you said about genetic engineering artificially accelerating natural selection in the modern human race. I don’t think that I agree with you entirely but I’m open to hearing more perspectives. I would say that due to changes in modern culture, natural selection’s influence on the human race’s gene pool has slowed significantly. It is possible that after millennia, we will be able to recognize evolutionary advantages developed in “modern time” but because our species has developed methods of controlling our environment, it is not as necessary for us to adapt as it was millions of years ago. Perhaps if something beyond the control of humans, such as an uncontrollable increase in pollutants in the environment, were to occur and a segment of the human population experienced a genetic mutation that allowed them to cope with the pollutant, they would live longer, prosper more often and produce more offspring. Otherwise, I’m not sure how the human race would move forward in this environment on Earth.

  10. I too have written a piece about designer babies back in high school and the debate can get very complex. On one hand you have what would be considered ‘ethical’ design in order to create healthy babies and on the other there is the cosmetic approach with aesthetic intentions. I enjoyed your selection of articles, as they all serve to look at different sides of the argument. The futurehumanevolution.com article brought up a controversial point about the parents making choices for their children that can be unwanted by the child in the future. It’s extremely difficult to work out the specific instances that the modifications could ever be used for and the slate.com article touches on the reality that this will probably never occur in our lifetime, which I would agree with. The futurehumanevolution.com article also brings up the possibility of a seemingly utopian society that is written about in so many science fiction books actually coming to life. I’ve always been very interested in dystopian society books because of their realistic nature, yet I’ve been so afraid of their actual ideals so it is very hard to imagine any genetic design becoming reality. You brought up the idea about abortion increasing if birth defects could be found out early. I would disagree with that because currently there are first trimester screening tests that actually find out the majority of defects early on. It’s actually more common than you know for a woman to have an abortion because of birth defects. In this sense I feel that the level of testing we have now is enough and genetic design would be an unnecessary step in the wrong direction.

    • sm4321 says:

      I appreciate that you bring a new opinion to the conversation, slowdownyourmind! It is interesting that you also are torn, but you seem to be ethically sorting it out for yourself. Thanks for contributing to the conversation and bringing something new!

  11. jwmigook says:

    This article reminded me instantly of a book I read in my AP English Language & Composition class in high school: Brave New World. Though that book was more about conformity and the grip the government had on society as a whole, it is based on genetically modified people.
    I also found it interesting that the article referenced the media. The media is well-known for its bias and its manipulation of language and visual evidence. The fact that some media accounts have referred to these “mitochondrial manipulation technologies” as “saving lives,” is already a misrepresentation. There is almost nothing known about the long-term effects of these new techniques; in fact, there is more to worry about than be excited about in terms of what can happen once these techniques start being applied to human beings. Though there is definitely reason to look forward to this advancement in the scientific field, I think it’s important for both scientists and the general public to understand that there are huge risks that need to be looked into before a radical procedure such as this is put into motion.

    • jwmigook says:

      I also feel that this article can be connected, in a way, to evolution and what we have been discussing in our classes so far. We often refer to evolution as a constant “advancing” of who we are and what we can do as human beings, and how animals have also adapted accordingly to the changing environments on our planet. Genetic modification seeks to do exactly that. Even Hollywood attempts to portray what can happen if we ever do succeed in genetically modifying humans. We may become stronger, more knowledgable, develop uncanny abilities…but for now, we really don’t know. It’s viewed both as a fantasy but also as a serious step forward.

  12. serrobert says:

    I would like to point out something that has not been said yet. While genes can be used to help control diseases and new traits in appearance, it can not change more fundamental things. For example, for the most part I believe that how smart/ successful someone is in life is not determined by their genes. It is mostly determined by determination, grit, willingness to get things done. I believe that the future of human evolution will not really depend on how we change physically, but how we change mentally, how our determination changes and adapts. I do not think that therefore it is a question of genetics affecting our future evolution, but instead I believe it will be a matter of up bringing, what drives us, and our morals.

    • sunny2018 says:

      I disagree; while there are parts of intelligence that are very much influenced by environment, there are others that are genetically linked (this article describes studies of nature vs. nurture in intelligence: http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v14/n6/full/5201588a.html). At this point, manipulating genes involving intelligence is something very far away in the future considering that we don’t know which genomes are associated with IQ, but it has very dangerous implications, too. I would also argue that there are parts of appearance that are as fundamental as intelligence. Take race for example. If skin color is something that begins to be manipulated, it could very well raise concerns about eugenics. Race is important to culture, which is something fundamental to human nature.

  13. While I definitely think that these articles on the whole take an extremist view of the “designer babies” concept, I do think its interesting to look at the possible sociological impacts of this phenomena. As sm4321 suggested, this would potentially create an even larger gap than there already is between the “haves” and “have nots”. Moving along that trend, eventually a whole different society of genetically engineered people could develop. This group without any genetic mutations and diseases would obviously have a stark contrast between the children of those parents that could not afford to genetically produce their children to be perfect, but still wanted to have a family. Though i think that this could go in a very negative direction, I also think that our world today is not emotionally ready for the idea of their children not being completely theirs genetically and having science intervene. As much respect as I have for the sciences and for care of children, personally when the time comes I would rather have my kids be completely mine, no matter what genetic flaws or defects they may have.

  14. sunny2018 says:

    I don’t necessarily think that mitochondrial manipulation described in Darnovsky’s New York Times article should be considered genetic engineering. This article ( http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/content/10/26/3093.longhttp://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/content/10/26/3093.long ) describes the process in detail, and it seems far more comparable to genetic therapy; reducing the risks of certain mitochondria diseases, not promoting a new wave of eugenics. Mitochondrial manipulation, at least, is less concerned with hair color, eye color, and gender than it is the health of children.
    Genetic selection, as described in The Future of Human Evolution has far more grey area. On the one hand, continued genetic selection is wonderful for disease screening, and could eventually eliminate certain diseases linked to genetics and heredity. On the other hand, selection of physical traits seems far more like eugenics. Because these physical traits have no impact on the health of the child, I feel like genetic screening should be less concerned with them.

  15. serrobert says:

    I have been seeing a lot of people say that in the end a super developed race of humans would be developed that would be completely without diseases. This is not true. I may be genetically more susceptible to get heart disease and have high cholesterol, but in the end if I was even a mildly healthy person I would not have heart disease or high cholesterol. I got those because I love food, and my willpower for exercise is not very strong. And as I stated earlier, you cant control willpower with genetics.

  16. thinkbrush says:

    After reading the NYTimes article and the article on Slate.com, I agree with Jessica Grose of Slate that the NYTimes piece could be interpreted as an incendiary piece of writing. The article in the NYTimes is of course interesting to a segment of the population interested in evolution and natural selection in the modern world but it is written to market itself as clickbait. Besides the fact that it takes a respectable amount of prior knowledge of human biology and natural selection to understand the exact context of the piece and its implications, the author of the NYTimes article also suggests this is a considerable step in the direction of creating babies à-la Build A Bear Workshop as Jessica Grose notes. Dr. Alan Coperman, interviewed in Jessica Grose’s article on Slate.com, makes it clear that if anything, this development of mitochondrial manipulation shows how far and not how close we are to developing a Pick a Baby system.

  17. lumastan says:

    The idea of designer babies is an interesting one, as it may very well be the next great step in human evolution: where man can take matters of evolution into his own hands. From both a religious and secular point of view, it has generally been assumed that man’s goal is to create, either from the perspective that man tries to emulate god in admiration or from the idea that it is simply the rational goal of man. It seems now that to what extant may man create is what is questioned. Though some, like sm4321 and aluckypremed, point out the chasm it could create in society, with only some being able to modify their children and others not, should some men be held back from the inabilities of others, be they fair or unfair? Though the idea of playing god may seem blasphemous to some, perhaps it is merely the next step in human achievement! Even though the NYTimes article and the FHE article both refer to the concept skeptically and hesitantly, calling it a “dangerous step” and questioning whether a line has been crossed once the first designer baby pops out, perhaps mankind should embrace the idea of grabbing the future of our species by the wheel and guiding how we seem fit. Perhaps a new era for mankind has come.

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