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

  (Source: Columbia Pictures )

Professor Julian Savulescu  (Source:
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

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

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 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 on 8/21/2012 9:36:32 AM , Rating: 2
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.

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.

". 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.

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
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.

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
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.


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.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Laptop or Tablet - Which Do You Prefer?
September 20, 2016, 6:32 AM
Update: Samsung Exchange Program Now in Progress
September 20, 2016, 5:30 AM
Smartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki