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

All these arguments
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2012 8:03:57 AM , Rating: 1
Only one is needed. It's wrong.

If we start doing this what next? Tinkering with our children's DNA to make them whatever we want them to be. Children are a gift, not an erector set to build whatever we want out of as they grow.

RE: All these arguments
By flyingpants1 on 8/21/2012 8:35:28 AM , Rating: 2
"It's wrong" is not an argument, dude.

RE: All these arguments
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2012 10:09:50 AM , Rating: 2
The simplest answers are often the correct ones.

You can go on a long diatribe of this topic, but my answer is the ultimate message. For Christians its wrong because you're messing with what God created. For everyone else it's wrong because it starts to go down a slippery slope of how much you can do is ok. It ends with war between those who are modified seeing themselves as superior against those who are not. Granted liberals(who advocate this kind of thing) already think they're superior to everyone else.

RE: All these arguments
By bah12 on 8/21/2012 10:51:47 AM , Rating: 2
Granted liberals(who advocate this kind of thing) already think they're superior to everyone else.
Nah they just don't see the danger of a class split, because all of this would be funded by No Child Left Behind 2.0. Taxpayers money to make sure every child gets the same mods.

I can see her on the news now in line at the genetics office "When am I's gonna get my goberment check fo my babies", as she's prego with her 12th kid that she has to have a DNA test on Springer to even tell which of the 10 dead beats she slept with that month knocked her up.

I weep for society.

RE: All these arguments
By karndog on 8/21/2012 11:00:19 AM , Rating: 1
Right and wrong is subjective..

Contrary to what proud new Mothers and Fathers believe, their brand new little bundle of joy isn't special or a gift to anyone else but themselves. There is nothing remarkable about childbirth. It happens about 4 times every second. Hardly a miracle.
It's in our genes to find a mate, procreate and leave a legacy and pass on our name/genes. I don't share this primal urge to add another resource consuming mouth to feed to a world which is fast becoming overpopulated as it is but i digress...

They aren't talking about creating a pre-programmed clone of yourself with no independent thought, created to do our bidding here. Besides, even if you could design a baby from the ground up and chose to make your son 8 feet tall, there's no guarantee that he's going to even like basketball or any sports for that matter.

They are just removing hereditary and preventable diseases and psychological issues and other deficiencies. In a way they are just improving on the natural process, as we, as Humans, (selfishly) look for healthy, attractive mates as it is an indicator of good genes which in turn improves the chances of healthy offspring.

I would think the thought of no more children's wards filled with kids with leukemia or children born with conditions like autism, or being suspetible to things later in life from everything from Alzheimer's to MS through to heart disease, would excite someone who actually does see children as a precious gift? Those kids will have a better head start in life and even things like being more resistant to addiction, benefits everyone.. less drug addicts, less drug related crime, less junkies and alcoholics clogging the hospital system and driving on our roads.

I think it is very exciting, that one day once we've perfected removing undesirable traits, we can actually start improving the human race by effectively speeding up evolution by increasing potential IQ, memory, muscle development, who knows maybe even things like motivation and thirst for knowledge so kids actually want to study, stay in school and go on to university.

As for the concern that parents will try to manipulate their children for their own selfish reasons/greed/ failed childhood dreams etc, we unfortunately already see that is quite common today.. When you see pushy/obsessive mothers dressing their 3 year old daughters up in skanky outfits caked up in make up dancing like strippers in Toddlers in Tiaras beauty pageants, and the Father looking for an easy meal ticket or trying to relive his glory days through his son, aggressively forcing him to train and play a sport the child doesn't even enjoy.

I've always said i was born 100 years too early. With the breakthroughs we've made in science and medicine in the last few decades, the next century will be incredible. No more invasive blood test or prostate exams (i can't get a needle without fainting.) I can imagine walking through a metal detector like object and being scanned for every possible disease at once and having results right there and then. People who today, are confined to wheelchairs for life with paraplegia/quadriplegia, would be back on their feet in no time after a little surgery and rehab. Blind people given the gift of sight with artificial or transplanted eyes. Things today that are physical, emotional death sentences, could be cured as easy as taking a couple of pills. Exciting times ahead.

RE: All these arguments
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2012 12:59:09 PM , Rating: 1
Bullshit. There is right and there is wrong. It's precisely this kind of thinking that has enabled terrible people to do terrible things.

Do different societies have different laws that tolerate certain things differently? Yes. Some Arab countries punish a woman when she is raped because she was out alone. Does that make it right? Hell no.

RE: All these arguments
By geddarkstorm on 8/21/2012 11:20:23 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, the only argument that's needed is this: Character "flaws" are not simply encoded in DNA.

There is a very wide "character landscape", overall bounds to the parameters that your DNA sets (and certain genetic based illnesses will confine you to one section of that "character landscape" more than others), but what character you actually develop is determined by your upbringing, life experiences, personal choices, and what thoughts you choose to dwell on.

The brain is very plastic, it is never set in stone by genetics beyond its construction or debilitating genetic illnesses. The very thoughts you mull on day in and day out will cause your brain to change shape and connections to re-model themselves to re-enforce those thoughts and the directions they lead -- you can build your own personality.

Heck, we haven't even touched on epigenetics yet. That little inheritable, non DNA encoding of information that is determined by your environment. Just because you have a gene for something, doesn't mean it'll be active if your epigenetics decides to lower it, shut it off completely, or conversely enhance its expression.

Genes in DNA are simply our tool set we have stashed in the shed. Which tools you use, how often, at what times, and in an attempt to solve what problems is decided in a large part by your epigenetics. And since those change based on what we experience throughout our lives, they cannot be "engineered".

In short, this whole discussion is moot: 1) the brain's executive control ability nullifies trying to ingrain personality as it can override and build a new one, 2) epigenetics override genetics in response to environment and experience, allowing inheritable "nurture" that trumps "nature".

RE: All these arguments
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2012 5:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
What does environment have to do with genetic flaws that prevent you from having normal thought patterns, general reasoning skills, or more.

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

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