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Print 69 comment(s) - last by Master Kenobi.. on Aug 22 at 12:57 PM


  (Source: Columbia Pictures )

Professor Julian Savulescu  (Source: smh.com.au)
The process would be similar to checking embryos for conditions like Down's syndrome

Imagine being able to design a human the way we use computer software to design every day items like clothing or furniture. University of Oxford Professor Julian Savulescu recently said that parents should have the choice to do such a thing, allowing them to create the kind of child they desire rather than leaving it to chance. 

According to Savulescu, the manipulation of genetics has evolved over the years and has already proven to be beneficial to those who are expecting. For instance, parents can use tests, which focus on particular genes in embryos, to see if their child will have certain conditions like Down's syndrome. 

While this type of testing is not seen as an issue, Savulescu said the testing of an embryo's genes to see what kind of personality flaws it could have has raised concern amongst the public -- and he believes it shouldn't.

"Indeed, when it comes to screening out personality flaws, such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence, you could argue that people have a moral obligation to to select ethically better children," said Savulescu. "They are, after all, less likely to harm themselves and others. If we have the power to intervene in the nature of our offspring -- rather than consigning them to the natural lottery -- then we should." 

Savulescu's ideas have been compared to those of the Nazis, who adopted the eugenics movements during World War II. However, Savulescu argues that this is different because parents can choose to participate or not. They don't have to genetically alter their children, but they should be able to choose to, he said. 

"Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now," said Savulescu. "Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance." 

Savulescu posed this argument in a recent article in Reader's Digest

What do you think? Could eliminating potential character flaws in embryos create a perfect human race, or could there be serious, unseen implications with having so much power over this thing called life?

Source: The Telegraph



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but...
By GulWestfale on 8/20/2012 10:32:05 PM , Rating: 5
if alcoholism, violence, stubbornness, and perhaps a small dose of psychpathy had all been removed from Winston Churchill, you'd all be speaking my mother tongue now, oder etwa nicht?

and what if one had removed narcissism and daydreaming and recklessness from napoleon, bismarck, george washington, lincoln, whichever neanderthal first decided to make fire, or steve jobs or bill gates or larry ellison or.... well we wouldn't be writing this on the internet, we'd probably still live in caves.

screening for disease or genetic illnesses is OK; messing with character "flaws" is not.




RE: but...
By Shig on 8/20/2012 11:26:07 PM , Rating: 2
Nature vs. Nurture


RE: but...
By headbox on 8/21/2012 3:31:18 AM , Rating: 2
nature is more powerful than nurture.


RE: but...
By geddarkstorm on 8/21/2012 11:10:37 AM , Rating: 2
Epigenetics firmly disagrees.


RE: but...
By Jeffk464 on 8/20/2012 11:54:00 PM , Rating: 4
Not to mention I don't think we know enough yet to do this type of thing safely. I see genetic screening to be valuable to screen embryos from a couples that know they carry congenital diseases. But probably some day technology will reach the point where we could do this.


RE: but...
By Samus on 8/21/2012 12:51:00 AM , Rating: 2
We've been doing this for decades prescribing Ritalin to children. Anyone who knows a "Ritalin Baby" knows what I'm talking about. People given medication to alter their brain chemistry, especially at a critical time of developement, changes their personality and inevitably who they would have been otherwise. We dope people up with Lithium, completely drowning them out of reality. The obvious next step is to do this on a genetic level.

I agree that genetic alteration to prevent medical defects has tangible benifits, but as the previous post said, we need flaws in society, because sometimes the flaws have their own form of perfection.


RE: but...
By MrBlastman on 8/21/2012 1:02:12 AM , Rating: 2
Some people with ADHD _need_ medication. Without it, they can't concentrate. It has saved a number of kids in school from becoming flunkies.

ADHD is a curse. Be happy you don't have it. Even when you get older, if you stop medicating, the disorder never leaves you. Some people manage to cope with it and live successful lives but nonetheless, people without the condition never, ever understand people who have it.

Now, I will admit that many doctors are quick to prescribe it and there are most probably a ton of kids out there that don't need it or similar medications. For those that really do have the disorder, it is life changing.


RE: but...
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2012 8:04:54 AM , Rating: 4
I agree. But as you yourself said, it is far to over-diagnosed.


RE: but...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/21/2012 8:50:44 AM , Rating: 4
I second this. The number of people who are actually ADHD is fairly small. The vast majority are just brats with parents who don't do their job and slap the kid down early on. Medication is rapidly becoming a replacement to discipline. It's difficult to be a pain in the ass when you are doped up out of your mind.


RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: but...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/21/2012 9:36:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
ADHD isn't like cancer, it's difficult to diagnose.

Nearly every "disorder" is difficult to diagnose because they are based on a loose set of ever changing criteria that are all listed as "may have". Psychology has not progressed to the point of being a hard science, results can't be verified unless there are biological markers, at which point you are moving out of psychology and into biology, which is a hard science.

quote:
Yeah great parenting advice there, my father thought he could just "slap" the ADHD off me, it didn't work out so good. Punishing a child for something he has no control over is just abusive. Mentally more than physically.

Not that I encourage abuse of children, but this worked quite well for pretty much the entirety of human history. Sure it didn't work on everyone, but the number of people displaying this behavior was a heck of a lot lower.

quote:
". They've never cried themselves to sleep at night from the shame and frustration of failing over and over, knowing they gave their best effort and it wasn't good enough.

Save the sob story. The reality of life is that in many cases your best effort won't be good enough. This is how teams lose in sports, how soldiers fail to accomplish a mission. How people don't always get A's on a test in school. Failure by those who don't make the cut for any reason is how we find ablebodied individuals to flip hamburgers or collect garbage. Life isn't fair and most people will fail more often than succeed. It's the cold hard truth of the human race and one of the only areas where natural selection still applies.

quote:
So I don't know, maybe if you don't know what you're talking about, just shut the fuck up?

Getting emotional about this won't help your case. ADHD and many other "disorders" have multiplied because of a highly vocal minority of emotional individuals that champion them like the crusades. The best way to make the hard decisions is to make the decision in black and white without letting emotion cloud ones judgement. It's cold, it's hard and its downright uncaring/unsympathetic, just like natural selection.


RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: but...
By Breathless on 8/21/2012 10:45:40 AM , Rating: 3
I generally agree with you Reclaimer, but here you sound like a liberal queer. Buck up sir, ADHD is not retardation, or even close to it. It is simply a lack of concentration due to lack of interest. You had this struggle growing up because you'd generally rather be doing something else. I myself was "diagnosed" with this "disorder" by my brothers psychologist girlfriend when I was like 16. I laughed my butt off. The fact of the matter is that I'd rather have been playing video games then focusing on her test... I'd rather have been outside then focusing in school, and thus, I barely ever payed attention in class and made it through school mostly by cramming for tests (and doing a fine job of it I might add).

Its amazing how you have the ability to write coherently... to verbalize what you want to say when you have an idea. To interact with stupid people daily here on dailytech and make sense most of the time. Its not because you take medication, its because you like debate. Quit feeling sorry for yourself.


RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2012 11:16:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You had this struggle growing up because you'd generally rather be doing something else.


Every kid would rather be doing something else. However when push comes to shove, they are able to study and concentrate and pass tests etc etc without medication. For someone with ADHD, this is an epic challenge.

The difference between being on Ritalin and not is like...night and day. During High School I decided to see if I was past it and went it without the drugs. In my Sophmore year I had a borderline fail in a science class, and wasn't doing so great in some others. After going back on the meds I brought my grade up to an A in months. I even memorized the Periodic Table of Elements, and I cannot tell you how impossible that was before. Even my teacher remarked to my mother in meetings how I had completely changed on the Ritalin as a student. (She had to be informed because even then students couldn't take drugs like Ritalin without the school's permission).

I don't care if I sound like a "liberal queer". I'm being honest, something more people online should be. I don't think this is retardation, that was just an analogy, come on.

quote:
Its not because you take medication, its because you like debate. Quit feeling sorry for yourself.


First off, I'm not on the meds. I probably SHOULD be on the Adult ADD medication however, but that's a choice I've made. Obviously the hyperactivity has passed in my adult years, but the difficulty focusing on tasks and concentrating never went away.

However I'm not feeling "sorry for myself" at all. I just take an issue with someone declaring something isn't "real" when I've lived with it for 35 years. Kenobi is being very condescending and dismissive, almost like he's bitter that he has to "work with" people with issues and his life would be better if they all went away.

The debate about attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) is over. O-V-E-R. And the truth about ADHD and LD is clear.

Just about every mainstream medical, psychological, and educational organization in the U.S. long ago concluded that ADD is real, and that children and adults with attention deficit disorder benefit from appropriate ADHD treatment.

Yet, somehow, the world still seems to be filled with self-appointed ADD "experts" - some well-meaning, some sanctimonious - who insist on burdening us with their ill-informed opinions.


RE: but...
By Breathless on 8/21/2012 12:51:32 PM , Rating: 2
If we went with what "just about every mainstream medical, psychological, and educational organization in the U.S" thought about things, we could just as easily conclude many ridiculous things... For instance, "disliking Obama is racist."

Just about every "mainstream" anything is horribly liberal and provides endless excuses as a substitute for hard work and dealing with life's struggles without drugs.... For instance, my wife died last year a horrible, horrible, slow and painful death. I watched the person I cared about most experience more horrific pain than most people can imagine or ever will see. "Just about every mainstream medical, psychological, and educational organization in the U.S" would have suggested I take antidepressants, sleep meds, and all kinds of drugs to "make me feel better and get me over this hurtle". The reality is that certain things just suck. By choice, meds were not an option for me, and I have not taken ANY medications "to help" me through this difficult time. I live a very difficult life now, but somehow, with faith and a little common sense, and some suffering, I am able to proceed through life without venturing down the avenue of "Doctor Feel Good", as you are experiencing now yourself as an adult by "choosing" not to do so yourself. Amazing how we are able to do it isn't it?

I'm not saying you don't have difficulty concentrating, I'm saying you can clearly deal with it, and others can to. It would be terribly more difficult for me to succeed in the field of quantum physics than someone else more gifted in this area. It doesn't mean I need to take brain enhancing drugs to give me this ability, it means I need to choose a different career path!


RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2012 4:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
No offense Breathless, but this is spoken like someone without ADD who just doesn't understand.

Living with ADD/ADHD, especially as a child, isn't "taking the easy way out" or "making excuses". If someone could exert the control necessary to conform, he would, believe me. No child would choose to be isolated and punished constantly, which is what living with ADD/ADHD means for someone.

I'm sorry for the loss of your wife, however comparing a condition to intense grief is just.. it's not right. Your comparing "feel good" drugs to a brain chemistry problem. The science has already been done! This is not an argument anymore. Google "Brain scans and ADHD", for example.

I know you think you're trying to help, but it's coming off condescending. Because you simply do not understand what it means to live with this. It's like telling someone with Tourettes to just "stop cursing". But this is typical when trying to discuss this with someone who can't grasp how someone could have difficulty with things they take for granted.


RE: but...
By Donovan on 8/21/2012 2:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
First off, I'm not on the meds. I probably SHOULD be on the Adult ADD medication however, but that's a choice I've made. Obviously the hyperactivity has passed in my adult years, but the difficulty focusing on tasks and concentrating never went away.
I wasn't going to post on this subject, but I saw this and wanted to tell you to seriously consider going back on your ADHD medicine. Stopping my medicine was one of the worst mistakes I've ever made, and I went 20 years without realizing how needlessly difficult I was making my life.

When you are young it's the hyperactivity...or, more accurately, the discipline problem...that is most obvious. I made the grand tour of the school district, finally ending up at the "special" school where one side was for the mentally handicapped and the other side was for the kids that burned down their previous school. Ritalin allowed me to return to my local school and the difference was night and day according to my mom, but I was too young to understand the difference when I took it.

When you get older you manage to control yourself well enough to "function" in society, so you think that the problem is gone. I also stopped taking Ritalin in high school and assumed I was fine because I didn't start getting into trouble, but it was a mistake. My grades dropped, but even worse is that it made it a lot harder to socialize with other kids. I didn't realize it at the time, but a few years ago I saw a home movie I made on a high school trip and it was horrifying. There I was, running around like an idiot telling people to smile for the camera like we were best friends, only the expressions on their faces said that they hated me. Sure I knew I wasn't popular, but even the nice girls in class would turn and snap at me like I was their annoying little brother, and I was completely oblivious to it.

I still went to college and got a PhD in Physics, but I struggled in ways that no normal person would. The symptoms of ADHD are all things that normal people experience (which is why so many people dismiss it), but with ADHD they are magnified to a painful degree. The problem wasn't that I didn't go to class or do my homework, it's that I couldn't understand WHY I didn't. I *like* schoolwork, but somewhere between wanting to do something and actually doing it was a break in the chain that I assumed was just my own laziness. I constantly berated myself for not doing things, and that's not a pleasant way to live.

Just so people without ADHD can understand, this isn't ordinary procrastination. I could very much want to play a video game and still have a hard time getting myself to do so. More recently when I started taking my medicine again I became more aware of the difference and it's really bizarre. I can sit there telling myself to get up and do something, and for some reason I just keep sitting there. It's like the difference between thinking "I'm going to move my arm" and actually moving it. It may not sound like much, but imagine that every decision you make during the day requires that kind of struggle with yourself.

We're so used to external problems that it's very difficult to understand a problem that affects your brain and thus also affects your thinking. You can go nuts trying to figure out which thoughts are your own and which are "because of the ADHD", so don't even look at it that way. I eventually decided that what matters are the results: if I'm better when I take the medicine, then why the hell am I not taking it? Once I did I started to understand the difference and can clearly see what life it supposed to be like. It doesn't solve all problems or eliminate laziness, but it does mean you won't have to summon all your willpower every night just to walk to the kitchen and fix dinner.

So if you have ADHD and are struggling without the proper medication, I recommend you at least consider going back on it to see if it would help. Unfortunately all ADHD medications are in short supply at the moment, but it's worth the hassle...believe me. The dose we take is small and for a normal person would maybe provide a minimal boost in performance, but it allows our brains to clear some sort of minimum threshold that brings us to normality. The gains are definitely not linear, and that difference between us and everyone else is one proof that ADHD is quite real.


RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2012 6:22:43 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you Donovan. It's really refreshing to see that someone else gets it and understands, and a bit eerie in how much your experiences mirror some of my own. Especially on socialization and awkwardness and "fitting in" with others.

Thanks


RE: but...
By MrBlastman on 8/21/2012 11:43:38 AM , Rating: 2
Most people diagnosed with it don't have it. Doctors love to take the easy way out these days. Why? Lawyers. Lawyers sue everyone... for everything. So, what is easier for the doctor to do? Give the parents what they want, that is what--so they medicate--medicate everyone.

And, as you point out, the majority are brats that need more discipline from their parents. The parents, though, don't want to do it because it might compromise their friendship with their children. The news to them, though, is they aren't friends, they are parents!

We have the hippies to thank for this problem.

But, I can't help but feel troubled by your tone in your other posts--it is as if you almost feel ADHD doesn't exist at all--that it is a product produced by mankind to explain lack of discipline. You couldn't be more wrong, though. There are those that truly have the disorder. They are smart people who want to be a useful, good part of society. Try as they may, though, they can't concentrate or sit still--even when doing something they want to do.

You'll find examples of this in all facets of their lives. If you examine things they enjoy, you'll find they have a million things they enjoy--and they can never stick with one thing, ever. They have to constantly try another thing they like and then after a short while, switch to something else. They never finish anything because they get stuck at the hump... it becomes work at that point and their mind switches to something else.

From just browsing through the concept, it's easy to point the finger and say: "Lack of ambition! "Lack of discipline!" "Laziness!" The problem is, you'd be wrong, every single time.

Provide these same people the medication they need and the results are staggering. The drugs do not get them high. They instead, allow their minds to focus and all of a sudden, the intelligence within them begins to shine. They work hard, they accomplish things and startlingly enough, they finish things they begin!

So please, avoid blanket statements on things you don't understand.


RE: but...
By Samus on 8/21/2012 1:49:40 PM , Rating: 2
I was one of those "brats" as a kid that had a doctor recommend to my parents I be medicated. My parents opted not too, and I thank them for it, because I grew out of it. I was simply, like most children, hyperactive and understimulated. This was often misdiagnosed as ADD/ADHD and many of my childhood friends were medicated (and some still are) and they likely simply didn't need it, and they have the glassy "ritalin" eyes, twitches, personality 'mutations' and other things associated with adolescent ritalin prescriptions. Since they all have virtually the same side-effects, its obvious these things didn't naturally occur.

They are healthy, and sure, some of them may have needed medication, but it criminal what was done to them against their will.


RE: but...
By TSS on 8/21/2012 3:53:32 AM , Rating: 1
I have aspergers, and really, i don't want to miss my personality flaw.

Because really, it's not a flaw. It's a minor inconvenience, sure, but not a flaw. And for all it's down sides it has it's upsides too.

The flaw is in the fact that *nobody* accepts there's something wrong with me. One thing that botheres me alot is when i tell people i cannot do something they say "no i KNOW you can". Even when i've explained it to them 50 times i can't, with logical arguements, evidence from moments in my life, hypothetical situations etc. As long as they can't see it, it isn't there.

Mind you the few that do recognise it hardly have any clue how to deal with it, even when i explicitly tell them how. Pisses me off too since i have to deal with a world of information, extrapolating results and calculating behaviour, JUST to "function in society" (meaning lieing, cheating and not giving a fuck like the rest of em).

If you'd ask me, if there's any "personality flaw" they want to fix, they should start with increasing the intelligence of regular people by about 50 IQ points. They are the real problem.


RE: but...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/21/12, Rating: -1
RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2012 9:28:30 AM , Rating: 3
Okay Kenobi so now you're an expert on ADHD AND Aspergers too?

quote:
Nothing against you personally


How could someone possibly NOT take what you're saying personally?


RE: but...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/21/2012 9:40:01 AM , Rating: 2
I have a fair amount of first hand experience dealing with individuals that claim to have ADHD, Aspergers, Depression, and other "disorders" that have starting making news over the past 20 years. I went through school seeing these people, I still see them in the work force. I have seen it used as a crutch more times than I can count. Frankly I'm tired of it being used as get out of jail free card anytime one of them does something wrong or can't handle life like everyone else.


RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2012 11:24:24 AM , Rating: 4
The National Institute of Mental Health has concluded that ADD is a real medical condition. So no offense, I don't know what experience you've had "working with" some individuals. But the fact is there is a mountain of research indicating that it is a neurobiological disorder that affects 5 to 10 percent of children and 3 to 6 percent of all adults.

quote:
Frankly I'm tired of it being used as get out of jail free card anytime one of them does something wrong or can't handle life like everyone else.


And frankly I'm tired of sanctimonious asses with no medical or psychological credentials who believe their opinion defeats 30 years of research and expert opinion. It must be nice to be smarter than thousands of doctors, scientists, and psychologists.


RE: but...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/21/2012 9:12:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
National Institute of Mental Health

Not a bad institution but they place a large emphasis on getting down to the cause of conditions and how to deal with it. The majority of their focus is in research to the practical side of the argument. If you want to get into chemical imbalances and conditions that cause certain traits I'm all ears. Down Syndrome, we know what causes it, we know the biological markers to verify it. Many types of autism, also can be verified chemically therefore it has a strong basis to start with. That stuff can be verified, tested for, and in some cases medicated through. If the best you have for "proof" such as aspergers, is the opinion of a psychologist then yes I won't be taking the argument seriously, and you will find that a common stance from anyone in the hard sciences. Psychology is very much the new kid on the block and hasn't nailed down a scientific method to allow for verification of claims. It's simply opinion and conjecture. Now with that said the related fields of Physiology and Neuroscience are hard sciences, they can not only make a claim they can back it up with hard science. Perhaps the day will arrive when ADHD and/or Aspergers has some hard evidence behind it. Ritalin is little more than a stimulant. It doesn't treat the problem, it just masks the symptoms. The proverbial "band-aid" if you will. Ritalin will have a similar effect on "normal" people, and is a problem during the midterm or final test periods in many schools as people use them to "help them study harder".

I fully support both Physiology and Neuroscience and look to them to verify any claims made by those in the Psychology community. The problem is that thus far these "disorders" can't be verified by a hard science.

quote:
And frankly I'm tired of sanctimonious asses with no medical or psychological credentials who believe their opinion defeats 30 years of research and expert opinion. It must be nice to be smarter than thousands of doctors, scientists, and psychologists.

I'm tired of everyone and their mother using it as a catch-all excuse. ADHD is diagnosed in ever increasing numbers without evidence to support the claim that they are accurate. I would also like to point out that 30 years is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the analysis of human behavior. Usage of the term "expert" is applied liberally these days, it doesn't hold the water it once did unless you can back it up.


RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2012 9:34:03 PM , Rating: 1
Look you're full of shit, give it up. This thing exists, and it's going to take more than your opinion to convince me.

quote:
Many types of autism, also can be verified chemically therefore it has a strong basis to start with.


Uhh people said the same thing about autism not so long ago. How ironic you use this as an example, because the same arguments you're using now were used to say autism was "made up" too.

quote:
Physiology and Neuroscience are hard sciences, they can not only make a claim they can back it up with hard science. Perhaps the day will arrive when ADHD and/or Aspergers has some hard evidence behind it.


Sigh...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic...

Volkow's team collected detailed images of participants' brains with positron emission tomography, or PET, scans after injecting them with a radioactive chemical that binds to dopamine receptors and transporters, which take up and recycle dopamine as it moves between neurons. The imaging showed that, in people with ADHD, the receptors and transporters are significantly less abundant in mid-brain structures composing the so-called reward pathway, which is involved in associating stimuli with pleasurable expectations.

Troll on, asshole.


RE: but...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/22/2012 12:57:04 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Look you're full of shit, give it up. This thing exists, and it's going to take more than your opinion to convince me.

I'm not here to convince you, that would be like trying to convince Al Gore that global warming is complete bullshit. I'm here to provide the hard criticism that so many others in the world are afraid of because they don't want to be labeled as an unsympathetic monster for "insert your favorite ailment here". I'm also going to point out that you have offered ZERO supporting evidence to Aspergers. You keep posting ADHD related material down her, which is a completely different thread, put it there and stop trying to cross the issues and muddy the waters.

The link you provided is one I'm familiar with. One study isn't going to give you the sympathy for your "condition" that you so eagerly want. But since you did provide the link perhaps you should scroll down just a bit.
quote:
The mainstream scientific consensus is that, as with other mental illnesses, there's no blood test or brain scan that proves an individual has ADHD. The disorder instead is diagnosed via a checklist of troublesome behaviors, including impulsivity, daydreaming and forgetfulness. What makes the diagnosis particularly difficult, Hinshaw said, is that those behaviors all fall within the normal range of human behavior. People with ADHD are simply farther out on the spectrum, and, often, enough so as to wind up in constant trouble. In addition, symptoms typical of ADHD can also stem from other illnesses or injuries. Swanson said scientists are probably years away from a biological test for the disorder, though the new study is a step in that direction.

This goes back to my original ADHD claim (scroll up) that you bitched and cried about, which is that it is overdiagnosed and most people don't have it. I even added that there is no way to test for it other than a subjective checklist of normal shit. By your own supporting link you justified my entire point. You simply forgot the crux of the issue being debated because you are so hell bent on earing sympathy for your "condition". The only troll here is you, go back to your cave and knock off this silly crusade you are on.


RE: but...
By MrBlastman on 8/21/2012 12:21:03 PM , Rating: 2
Ya know...

I myself has assburger syndrome. My two year old daughter does too! You should see it--these nice little hotcakes sitting in her diapers, steaming under the blue moonlight as I free them from their cheeked prison.

My wife hates it. She doesn't even like me mentioning it. It has gotten to the point where if she even catches a whiff on one, she throws me out of the room and slams the door. I can't help it though. This... character flaw that I was born with, well, who am I to question my own productivity? My proclivity with this chunky cuisine is innate.

Yes, I stand up--I admit it. I... I have a problem... I am an assburger maker. And, well, I'm proud of it!

Okay, okay. Sorry, I'm just yanking ya'lls chain! Or am I? Or is that John's chain? Perhaps this post should be flushed? ;)

More seriously, though, I'm sorry TSS that people give you crap (no pun intended) for aspergers. It IS real, whether they want to admit it or not. My family swears my brother has it and heck, maybe I have a little of it to. Most nerds who are antisocial (a large amount) have a bit of it also. This social-awkwardness, well, I've just learned to wear it with a badge of honor. If people don't understand me, well, I've just stopped caring--I did that a long time ago.

You should be thankful yours is mild (or so it seems). I know some people who have it quite severe and it makes their lives a living hell. Still, there's nothing they can do about it.

The truth of all this is simple: People can only understand what they can grasp through their own experiences. It's easy for others to be dismissive of something so they don't have to deal with it. Instead, they make up excuses themselves for others as to why they act the way they do and , per human nature, view them as inferior. As technologically advanced our society is these days--instinctually humans are still primates.


RE: but...
By MrBlastman on 8/21/2012 12:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
has=have... or was that intentional? I can has assburger? We'll never know. ;)


RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2012 9:02:43 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone should watch Gattaca, it's probably the most realistic portrayal of the end result if this sort of thing were to become common place.

You would have a permanent underclass of people who's parents couldn't afford to, or didn't chose to have their fetus perfected through gene manipulation. Discrimination and segregation will be soon to follow. It's not because one group of people thinks they are superior, it's because they KNOW they are.

Our imperfections are important to the evolutionary process. By trying to fix the present, we could be dooming our future. Traits that are undesirable today could evolve into essential ones much later from now. If we just wipe them out...who knows what could happen?


RE: but...
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2012 10:05:37 AM , Rating: 2
Yup that movie is the first thing that comes to mind.


RE: but...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/21/2012 10:18:43 AM , Rating: 2
The question is should we allow people to be born at a disadvantage when we have the ability to prevent it?

There is no doubt that you will end up in a situation where some are better than others, right now the genetic lottery does this for us, some people are better than others. It really isn't much of a leap to let parents "stack the deck" to ensure their offspring have the best chance they can give. This is normal for pretty much every parent. Good parents want their offspring to have a better life/status/future than they had.

quote:
Our imperfections are important to the evolutionary process.

Thanks to modern medicine this has largely been derailed. People with problematic genetic traits live long enough to reproduce thus ensuring the traits remain in the gene pool. The only way your logic works is if people with abnormalities that cause a deficiency are not allowed to pass on their genetics to any offspring. Somehow I don't think that will be very popular with the masses.


RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2012 10:50:18 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
The only way your logic works is if people with abnormalities that cause a deficiency are not allowed to pass on their genetics to any offspring. Somehow I don't think that will be very popular with the masses.


Aren't you talking about the same thing? What will happen to the human race when things like very dark skin or very light skinned albinos, red hair and freckles (gingers), short people, fat people, etc etc are all weeded out before birth and made more "normal".

See its' one thing to discuss this in terms of real disadvantages like birth defects etc etc. That's all well and good. But this goes far beyond that doesn't it? We're talking the ability to make your child "perfect", or whatever the current societies idea of "perfect" is.

Do we want a diverse society that learns to embrace imperfections, or at least tolerate them? Or the opposite.

I suspect these questions and more will fuel this debate for decades to come. I'm not even sure what side of the fence to be on. But there seems to be something decidedly...inhuman about the concept.


RE: but...
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2012 10:55:10 AM , Rating: 2
The difference is that genetics are fair to everyone. What you're proposing is that only the rich have the ability to make sure that they have superior and flaw free children.

Good parents also don't change what God gave them. Do I like seeing children born with disabilities? No. But things happen for a reason.


RE: but...
By tng on 8/21/2012 12:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...to let parents "stack the deck" to ensure their offspring have the best chance they can give.
Well... the problem with letting parents stack the deck is at what point do you stop it? Ultimately this does give us the world of GATACA, simply because of keeping up with the Jones, and we need our little darling to get into a good school.


RE: but...
By tng on 8/21/2012 12:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
I might add here that as in the movie, you would probably see a whole new lower class of people that would probably amount to how we view the illeagal alien mowing the lawn today, except that it would be us being viewed by a monster that we created.


RE: but...
By karndog on 8/21/2012 11:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
It's been a long time since i watched that movie, but if i recall correctly that was an extreme scenario because the Government and employers had eveyones DNA on record, so the enhanced citizens were almost reserved good careers while the "norms" were treated as second class citizens as you said and severely disadvantaged.

In reality if background checks like that were made illegal then there wouldnt be the segregation you see in the movie. Of course there would be the people who cant afford the "GM" babies, but they arent going to suddenly become obselete unless something drastic happens like trippling of IQ.
Depending on what the enhanced child does with his extra potential, the advantage could be no bigger than sending your kid to an expensive private school. And even with an IQ of 250, if all he wants to do is sit at home and smoke pot and play Xbox and party instead of going to medical/law school, then you might as well halve that IQ there and then.

I think knowing that they are born "disadvantaged," will just motivate the ones who truley want to achieve greatness even more so.


RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2012 12:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In reality if background checks like that were made illegal then there wouldnt be the segregation you see in the movie.


How would it be made illegal? You have no right to DNA privacy. You leave it everywhere you go. Your hair falls out, your saliva is left on a drink cup, an eyelash falls out. Just like in the movie, anyone could scan these and know everything about you.

Employers already have the right to drug test you, which can even include blood tests not just the urine tests. So is it THAT far fetched to imagine a Gattaca type future where everyone's finger is pricked to DNA scan employees blood?

Look I don't usually go around saying "Movie X will happen" and apply it to current debates. But Gattaca I thought portrayed a very realistic and relevant viewpoint on how society would change if this were to happen.


RE: but...
By karndog on 8/21/2012 12:26:41 PM , Rating: 2
It would be difficult, but it would have to be very strictly enforced with massive fines and deterrents. Obviously you cant stop someone collecting your DNA once it leaves your body, but companys caught using or amassing a bank of DNA to test applicants for job interviews instead of your actual credentials would have to be severely punished.
Even conduct job interviews via teleconference, so they don't have a chance to collect your DNA legally or illegally. If you get the job and you come in on your first day and are fired because they've done an illegal test, then that's grounds for unfair dismissal and discrimination, which even today is something employers take very seriously.


RE: but...
By MrBlastman on 8/21/2012 12:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
Gattaca was a great film but made one small mistake: That the people on the left of the bell curve will out-breed the right. I have dim hopes for the future of mankind. :)

Lawyers, of course, are their champion.


RE: but...
By wordsworm on 8/21/2012 1:17:17 AM , Rating: 2
On the other hand, if there could have been a way of preventing Hitler's birth, there would have been no need for Churchill, and India would still be enslaved to England.


RE: but...
By GulWestfale on 8/21/2012 8:01:50 AM , Rating: 2
preventing birth is called abortion, and that has nothing to do with genetic engineering.


RE: but...
By karndog on 8/21/2012 11:11:17 AM , Rating: 2
I'm ASSUMING he meant removing the sociopathological or whatever "evil" traits Hitler had before he was born, not preventing him from actually BEING born. So he would've actually been born with a sense of empathy and a conscience. Who knows? If his positive traits were still intact, his ambition, his charisma etc, he possibly still could've led Germany out of the depression into greatness, without resorting to war and genocide.


RE: but...
By geddarkstorm on 8/21/2012 11:24:38 AM , Rating: 2
Without major defects that could pre-dispose him to interpreting things in a certain bent (such as towards sociopathy, which could have still been countered if he had been guided to channel away from it) the man he became was from the life he lived and was raised in.

Want a simple experiment to see how this works? Lordy, just look up psychology in the first place. The prison experiments (highly unethical) where the student volunteer's personalities completely changed in response to the "prison" situation they were simulating. Or how about if a child is given little to no interaction and simply locked away, resulting in them becoming animalistic. None of that is encoded in DNA.

This whole discussion shows a complete blindness (forgetting they even exist!) to two whole major fields of science: the ancient field of psychology and the newer field of epigenetics.


RE: but...
By wordsworm on 8/22/2012 8:25:32 AM , Rating: 2
Psychology is barely more than a century old. I'd hardly call that ancient.

As to locking kids away and watching them behaving like animals: you don't need to do that to see kids behaving like animals. Just give them several candy bars. Adults only need to consume quantities of alcohol or for a lot of money/gold to fight over.

That said, some people go through events in their childhood and become bad people. Others go through the same events and become good people. The question then is why one becomes bad and the other good. Perhaps that's what we are wondering about in terms of whether or not certain character traits can be taken out or put into a string of DNA.


RE: but...
By geddarkstorm on 8/21/2012 11:33:55 AM , Rating: 2
Genes can make you more or less vulnerable to certain things within a narrow range, but they can never -make- you those things; unless it's a gene defect that completely disrupts the morphology of the brain by breaking one or more critical functions (such as dopamine production).

Anyone can become an alcoholic, some simply do so easier than others to a certain extent. Violence is easy to learn if that is what you're taught as the way to deal with issues; and the converse is true. Psychopathy can be re-enforced, or even beaten away by the experiences you encounter and how you are guided by others.

Genetic engineering isn't going to do away with addiction. Genetic engineering isn't going to do away with bad values. Genetic engineering isn't going to do away with perceptions and opinions. These are the things that help build our personalities, and genes aren't going to do squat about that.

Any of the old, now unethical psychology experiments should show just how -incredibly- flexible personality really is. And just how fragile.


RE: but...
By stardude692001 on 8/21/2012 4:14:21 PM , Rating: 2
Art is born of pain.
Without pain being inherent to the human condition we will all suffer.
Yes we may remove the villains but we will also remove the heroes leading to a very dull story for future history books.


"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen














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