GULP! ON THE DOORSTEP OF A-BRAVE-NEW-WORLD: WILL ELITES BAMBOZZLE SOCIETY INTO ABANDONING ITS RESOLVE AGAINST ‘DESIGNER BABIES’?
Beware! ‘Mom & Apple Pie arguments’ have been concocted aimed at fooling the rest of us about the validity of deck-stacking human babies with genetically-engineered enhancements.
Will we retain our collective wisdom to resist their Brave New World? Find a valuable discussion in this article in ‘The Guardian.’ Jim
“’Hope for families with genetic conditions’, and ‘scientific breakthrough’: that is how headlines are proclaiming a project that modified human embryos to remove mutations that cause heart failure. But anyone who has concerns about such research is often subjected to moral blackmail. We are regularly lumped in with religious reactionaries or anti-abortion campaigners.
“I am neither. If you peel away the hype, the truth is that we already have robust ways of avoiding the birth of children with such conditions, where that is appropriate, through genetic testing of embryos. In fact, the medical justification for spending millions of dollars on such research is extremely thin: it would be much better spent on developing cures for people living with those conditions. It’s time we provided some critical scrutiny and stopped parroting the gospel of medical progress at all costs.
“Where genetic engineering really can do something that embryo selection cannot is in genetic enhancement – better known as designer babies. Unfortunately, that’s where its real market will be. We have already seen that dynamic at work with the ‘three-parent IVF’ technique, developed for very rare mitochondrial genetic conditions. Already, a scientist has created babies that way in Mexico (specifically to avoid US regulations) and a company has been set up with the aim of developing the science of designer babies.
“Scientists who started their careers hoping to treat sick people and prevent suffering are now earning millions of dollars creating drugs to ‘enhance cognitive performance’ or performing cosmetic surgery. We already have consumer eugenics in the US egg donor market, where ordinary working-class women get paid $5,000 for their eggs while tall, beautiful Ivy League students get $50,000. The free market effectively results in eugenics. So it’s not a matter of ‘the law of unintended consequences’ or of ‘scaremongering’ – the consequences are completely predictable. The burden of proof should be on those who say it won’t happen’…
“It’s for these reasons that most industrialised countries have had legal bans against human genetic engineering for the last 30 years. Think about that for a moment: it’s pretty unusual for societies that normally put technological innovation at the centre of their policies to ban technologies before they’re even feasible. There have to be very good reasons for such an unprecedented step, and it’s not to do with “protecting embryos”. It’s to do with the social consequences.”