Ethics Questions Arise as Genetic Testing of Embryos Increases
It baffles me every time I hear people protesting the issue addressed in this article. Isn't it a good thing to prevent future generations from suffering terrible inherited diseases?
I get the impression when people protest this issue they are actually protesting two ethical issues. The first is the obvious one addressed in the article and referred to in my first paragraph. The second is the implied issue, the genetic enhancement of our children.
I can only imagine religious people formulating a reason to protest against the issue in the article. If we are divinely and perfectly created in the image of some higher being than it would be wrong to tamper with the genetic lottery. But if you are choosing to address the actual nature of our universe how is allowing future generations to continue on with terrible suffering not wrong? By how many degrees is this removed from being a criminal act?
Regarding the implied issue, I think people should stop equating them on equal grounds, that one leads to the other. One is essentially a medical issue that should be in the same territory as finding a cure for cancer or Alzheimer's. (Many forms of cancer are genetic, and some cases of Alzheimer's is as well.) The second issue is a different territory that opens up other questions, such as giving one child an unfair start over another child, or a remedial issue, whether a child may perform poorly in life should be given a boost to keep them competitive.
I have to admit I am iffy on the second ethical issue. I don't mind giving a child a boost to keep them competitive. It is clear some people in this world perform with great difficulty with abstract concepts others find terribly easy. If it is discovered there is a genetic roadblock to this intellectual avenue, I say remove it.
But when it comes to enhancing our future generations, I just don't know what to expect form that world. A world of Einsteins could bring many benefits, but I know from observation that there are many Einsteins in the world today without moral principles. I would hope such a future should possess morals. It baffles me when a brilliant politician harbors racist beliefs I think any rational person would abandon as intellectual dishonesty. It is worse when that brilliant person possesses the natural ability to turn those beliefs into an effective policy. You may think I am going on a stretch by equating a brilliant politician on the level of Einstein. Maybe you are right. But you cannot say there is not a spectrum of intelligence that makes for an effective politician, a political Einstein.
Sometimes I feel like I am someone who was born ahead of my time. Not because it is frustrating to convince people to behave rationally, rather because I think these issues should have been solved a long time ago.
Rather than wrap up this blog properly, maybe you can do that for me instead? What are you thoughts and feelings about this subject? Read the article in addition to this blog and let us know what is going through your mind.