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  (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

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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.


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