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    #173943 - 11/06/13 05:08 PM PRC Genetic Eugenics
    thx1138 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/30/12
    Posts: 93
    http://www.vice.com/read/chinas-taking-over-the-world-with-a-massive-genetic-engineering-program

    Just sayin'. If true, for better or worse, its under the THINKING BIG category. Does raise more than a few moral, ethical, and philosophical questions.

    And well, later they'll have to educate them. I don't think of the stereotypical Asian education system, dependent on exams that test memorization of facts, and suppressing autonomy and questions, as particularly suited to GT kids, or the internet age. I wonder if this program will then lead to any educational reform there.

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    #173959 - 11/06/13 08:16 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    I don'tknow the news provider but given the tone of the article I think I will wait until someone else picks it up.

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    #173969 - 11/07/13 06:44 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: puffin]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4230
    Originally Posted By: puffin
    I don'tknow the news provider but given the tone of the article I think I will wait until someone else picks it up.
    Three words: Brave New World.

    That's the title of Aldous Huxley's 1932 book. Some links that may be of interest -
    Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World
    Spark notes- http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/bravenew/
    The book is actually a short, quick read.

    Some have said that "science fiction becomes science fact". That may be happening in the OP's article. There are sympathizers who purport this may be creation of a utopia (rather than a dystopia) and their range of views may be easily found through online searches, including a series of BLTC weblinks which came up when looking for Huxley's Brave New World.

    The Utopia/Dystopia philosophical question is an important one and careful consideration and reflection on this may help individuals clarify their personal morals, ethics, and values. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dystopia

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    #174072 - 11/07/13 05:15 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    mithawk Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 11/25/11
    Posts: 242
    Originally Posted By: thx1138
    http://www.vice.com/read/chinas-taking-over-the-world-with-a-massive-genetic-engineering-program

    Just sayin'. If true, for better or worse, its under the THINKING BIG category. Does raise more than a few moral, ethical, and philosophical questions.

    And well, later they'll have to educate them. I don't think of the stereotypical Asian education system, dependent on exams that test memorization of facts, and suppressing autonomy and questions, as particularly suited to GT kids, or the internet age. I wonder if this program will then lead to any educational reform there.


    This reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Gattaca, which envisions a future where the naturally born kids are considered "invalid" and face discrimination from the genetically selected kids.

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    #174132 - 11/08/13 07:37 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: mithawk]
    Space_Cadet Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 10/30/13
    Posts: 42
    Originally Posted By: mithawk
    This reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Gattaca, which envisions a future where the naturally born kids are considered "invalid" and face discrimination from the genetically selected kids.


    Gattaca is one of my favorite movies, too! But I've been thinking lately about the fact that highly intelligent children have more and more opportunities to socialize together these days, through talent searches, admission to competitive colleges, and because gifted families are more and more likely to live in the same zipcode. Would it stand to reason that assortative mating will become more and more precise (er... accurate?) in future generations... Basically, given that people have more opportunities to marry their intellectual equals, will intelligence and LOG stabilize within blood lines in the future, without the "need" for artificial selection?

    I don't know... I'm not a hard science person and I'm still on my first cup of coffee, so I don't even know if that was coherent. :-) I will add that I am not sure if it's a good or bad thing to have "purebred gifties", but it is an interesting thought. My parents have widely differing abilities and the same is true for my siblings. But my DH and I have very similar abilities due to the way we met in college, so I wonder if our children will be more similar to us and each other. Could be fun to get a wild card... :-)

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    #174269 - 11/10/13 12:11 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1448
    Loc: NJ
    I find the paradox to be deliciously ironic myself.
    _________________________
    Become what you are

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    #174463 - 11/12/13 09:32 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: Space_Cadet]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: Space_Cadet
    Originally Posted By: mithawk
    This reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Gattaca, which envisions a future where the naturally born kids are considered "invalid" and face discrimination from the genetically selected kids.


    Gattaca is one of my favorite movies, too! But I've been thinking lately about the fact that highly intelligent children have more and more opportunities to socialize together these days, through talent searches, admission to competitive colleges, and because gifted families are more and more likely to live in the same zipcode. Would it stand to reason that assortative mating will become more and more precise (er... accurate?) in future generations... Basically, given that people have more opportunities to marry their intellectual equals, will intelligence and LOG stabilize within blood lines in the future, without the "need" for artificial selection?

    Charles Murray discusses the trend toward assortative mating in his recent book "Coming Apart".

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    #175048 - 11/17/13 03:29 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: Bostonian]
    Space_Cadet Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 10/30/13
    Posts: 42
    That's very interesting. Thanks for the tip. I'm exploring some of the earlier threads discussing that Murray book. Seems like a can of worms grin

    In the later books of the Ender's Game series, there is a planet with a disproportionately large number of HG+ people... No spoilers, I'll just say that severe 2E issues keep that population "in check". (I find this interesting, as a person that happens to deal with 2e issues irl.)


    Edited by Space_Cadet (11/18/13 08:49 AM)
    Edit Reason: clarity

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    #182615 - 02/19/14 11:53 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Edward Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/19/14
    Posts: 52
    Interesting read, thanks! smile


    Even if we could somehow raise intelligence through DNA engineering or all babies were born with the genius potential it is only part of the concept.

    Environment and education play a profound role, IMO even bigger than genetics. Experience, especially those from the care givers shape the wiring of the brain and thus the nature of reality processing.

    IMO, we should focus more on unconditional love and unlimited educational resources rather than classifying incredibly complex genetic systems which are entirely contingent on the environment, ie the environment changes gene expression.

    My point is I don't believe eugenics alone will be of any help rather more counter productive.

    Just my thoughts

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    #182997 - 02/25/14 05:02 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    It's not just an issue for the Chinese:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/24/opinion/genetically-modified-babies.html
    Genetically Modified Babies
    By MARCY DARNOVSKY
    New York Times
    February 23, 2014

    ...

    Developers of these modification techniques say they are a way for women with mitochondrial disease to give birth to healthy children to whom they are related genetically. Some are also promoting their use for age-related infertility. These are worthy goals. But these procedures are deeply problematic in terms of their medical risks and societal implications. Will the child be born healthy, or will the cellular disruptions created by this eggs-as-Lego-pieces approach lead to problems later on? What about subsequent generations? And how far will we go in our efforts to engineer humans?

    These sorts of concerns were first voiced decades ago, well before the human genome had even been “mapped.” Those were the days when our accelerating knowledge about genetics led to over-optimistic hopes for quick fixes to an array of afflictions and grandiose visions of designing genetically enhanced babies to be more intelligent, athletic, musically talented and the like.

    More recently, many scholars, scientists and policy makers have urged a different approach: We should carefully and thoughtfully apply the tools of human genetic engineering to treat medical conditions in people, but we should not use them to manipulate the genetic traits of future children. Genetic modifications of sperm, eggs and early embryos should be strictly off limits. Otherwise, we risk venturing into human experimentation and high-tech eugenics.

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    #191057 - 05/13/14 03:17 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    thx1138 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/30/12
    Posts: 93
    More grist for the mill...

    http://rt.com/usa/157776-gene-iq-cognitive-increase/

    "A variant of a common gene already associated with heightened learning and memory could be used to offset effects of cognitive decline associated with the likes of Alzheimer’s, new research suggests.

    Roughly one in five people have the genetic trait KL-VS, a variant of the “klotho” gene, according to a research team at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and the Gladstone Institutes."

    (I realize rt and vice are not the most reliable of information sources, but google shows these stories carried/interpreted by other sites)

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    #193701 - 06/06/14 02:07 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Aufilia Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/25/14
    Posts: 336
    Loc: Washington
    Aside from this being an old theme in SF (I've seen it a lot in works not yet mentioned), it's also the flip side of actual policies & programs in the early 1900s that sterilized people who were considered defective (NOT just in Germany, but also in the good ol' USA) so they wouldn't produce defective children. It's not unbelievable or unpredictable that countries or individuals would try to use technology to "improve" children, if they can. The Chinese program seems to presuppose that a given couple's viable embryos might contain detectable variances in "intelligence" genes. My uneducated guess would be that the variance would likely be small enough that environment & nurture would still play a greater role in the outcome than genetics.

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    #194066 - 06/10/14 02:42 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Irena Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/12
    Posts: 1722
    Originally Posted By: Aufilia
    Aside from this being an old theme in SF (I've seen it a lot in works not yet mentioned), it's also the flip side of actual policies & programs in the early 1900s that sterilized people who were considered defective (NOT just in Germany, but also in the good ol' USA) so they wouldn't produce defective children. It's not unbelievable or unpredictable that countries or individuals would try to use technology to "improve" children, if they can. The Chinese program seems to presuppose that a given couple's viable embryos might contain detectable variances in "intelligence" genes. My uneducated guess would be that the variance would likely be small enough that environment & nurture would still play a greater role in the outcome than genetics.


    Yup, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes declared that, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough" in Buck v. Bell, a 1927 Supreme Court case upholding a Virginia law that authorized the state to surgically sterilize certain “mental defectives” without their consent. Really disturbing stuff and the basis, I believe, for Nazism.

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    #212555 - 03/13/15 07:51 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Eugenics is not just an issue for the Chinese, of course. People value intelligence in mates in part because they want smart children. I'm not sure why directly selecting for valued traits is worse than indirectly doing so though the choice of a mate.

    Engineering the Perfect Baby
    MIT Technology Review
    By Antonio Regalado
    March 5, 2015
    Quote:
    The objective of these groups is to demonstrate that it’s possible to produce children free of specific genes that cause inherited disease. If it’s possible to correct the DNA in a woman’s egg, or a man’s sperm, those cells could be used in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic to produce an embryo and then a child. It might also be possible to directly edit the DNA of an early-stage IVF embryo using CRISPR. Several people interviewed by MIT Technology Review said that such experiments had already been carried out in China and that results describing edited embryos were pending publication. These people didn’t wish to comment publicly because the papers are under review.

    All this means that germ-line engineering is much farther along than anyone imagined. “What you are talking about is a major issue for all humanity,” says Merle Berger, one of the founders of Boston IVF, a network of fertility clinics that is among the largest in the world and helps more than a thousand women get pregnant each year. “It would be the biggest thing that ever happened in our field,” he says. Berger predicts that repairing genes for serious inherited disease will win wide public acceptance, but beyond that, the technology would cause a public uproar because “everyone would want the perfect child” and it could lead to picking and choosing eye color and eventually intelligence. “These are things we talk about all the time,” he says. “But we have never had the opportunity to do it.”

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    #212562 - 03/13/15 08:52 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2277
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    I'm not sure why directly selecting for valued traits is worse than indirectly doing so though the choice of a mate.


    To mods: I don't know if Bostonian's comment or my reply are appropriate for the forum, as they delve into issues of conscience. Please feel free to delete if you see fit.

    Because it is dehumanizing and commoditizes human life. It involves children being treated as consumable products valued only for the benefit they confer to a third party, rather than respecting their innate value as humans. There is also the issue of the techniques requiring the deliberate destruction of multiple embryos for the creation of one "designer" embryo, which itself is a life-ending act.

    Mate selection is a method of choosing someone who is compatible with you on multiple dimensions: cognitive, moral, cultural, genetic, etc. It has nothing to do with the genotype of individual children, but with determining the much larger contributing parental genomes. There is no deliberate loss of embryo life in this route.
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #212576 - 03/13/15 10:15 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    ljoy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/28/11
    Posts: 269
    This is a matter of culture. Aquinas is not wrong, but there are other ways of viewing the question.

    The assumptions that would support embryo selection include 1) morally speaking, life begins later than the first few cell divisions, and 2) parents know the traits that will make a better, happier life for their child.

    I'm not touching assumption #1 on this board except to say that opinions differ, but #2 ties in directly to hothousing vs afterschooling and all the parenting issues we deal with as adults who love unusual children.

    I do know parents who want their children to succeed to get them boasting points, but I also know parents who push their kids now out of love and hope they will be happier for it later. I am not going to raise 100 kids - just one or two - so out of love, I'd want them to have the best set of traits I can give them. Given the choice, would I have chosen for my daughter to have a chronic disease? This is a matter of her happiness. Would I choose for her to have less than average intelligence? Probably not. On this board, we see a lot of downsides to high intelligence, and have to argue every single day that high IQ does not make you a better or happier person. Some of that is pushback against resentment from others, though. What I understand of Chinese attitude says that intelligence is a tool that a person uses to get to success, which is what ultimately matters; overall they don't respect or disparage someone for their ability, but for their achievements. Why would I want my kids to be born with inferior tools? That would make their lives harder, and as a loving parent I only want the best for them.

    Personally I think that a strong population has a wide variety of traits, and I'm a poor predictor of what makes my kids happy, so this isn't something I would choose. I do understand why others might, though.

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    #212583 - 03/13/15 10:52 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Mahagogo5 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/11/12
    Posts: 517
    This is a tricky one and I'm going to leave mostly what I think out of it.

    I would say though that when I chose my DH, the qualities he would contribute to our children was very high on the list, perhaps even number 1. I am not a romantic though... I won't go on about it but I am very happy with my decision.

    Secondly and I know this will def throw the cat amongst the pigeons, It seems to me that in this day and age we have effectively neutralised positive evolution. Survival of the fittest is not something we can describe as a marker of humans anymore.

    We are able to cure/save so many people with conditions that would have prevented people being able to start families. We also provide support as a society to people who generally would not have been able to care for children independently in previous eras. I think this is a good and wonderful thing. I support that people with disabilities and chronic disease should be able to have children, also couples dealing with infertility.

    But what happens in the next eon when these differences have been assumed into the population without any positive counteraction? I guess I'm thinking about thousands / millions of years into the future - I just wonder if we, in the space of 100 years, or so are irrevocably changing the course of human history for the worse in the name of being more "humane" in the present. Is that acceptable or not? If it is acceptable do we have a moral imperative to act in the positive in an equal amount, or is our business in there here and now?

    These are questions I wrestle with and don't have a firm opinion on. I wonder if geneticists and social engineers think about it too...

    I hope I don't come of as a latent Nazi, I have very strong negative views on that too.

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    #212588 - 03/13/15 11:40 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: Mahagogo5]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: Mahagogo5
    Secondly and I know this will def throw the cat amongst the pigeons, It seems to me that in this day and age we have effectively neutralised positive evolution. Survival of the fittest is not something we can describe as a marker of humans anymore.

    We are able to cure/save so many people with conditions that would have prevented people being able to start families. We also provide support as a society to people who generally would not have been able to care for children independently in previous eras.


    Thanks to the magic of the Carousel of Progress, we have finally achieved Victory over Nature and established a permanent Technological Utopia.

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    #212591 - 03/13/15 12:58 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: JonLaw]
    Mahagogo5 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/11/12
    Posts: 517
    Originally Posted By: JonLaw
    Originally Posted By: Mahagogo5
    Secondly and I know this will def throw the cat amongst the pigeons, It seems to me that in this day and age we have effectively neutralised positive evolution. Survival of the fittest is not something we can describe as a marker of humans anymore.

    We are able to cure/save so many people with conditions that would have prevented people being able to start families. We also provide support as a society to people who generally would not have been able to care for children independently in previous eras.


    Thanks to the magic of the Carousel of Progress, we have finally achieved Victory over Nature and established a permanent Technological Utopia.


    huzzah, I think

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    #212594 - 03/13/15 01:20 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Reading this thread, all I can think is "KHAAAAAAN!"

    More properly - click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRnSnfiUI54.

    Or here, if you have no idea why I'm talking about this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Star_Trek#Eugenics_Wars_and_World_War_III

    Or here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khan_Noonien_Singh.


    Edited by suevv (03/13/15 01:24 PM)
    Edit Reason: adding better link

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    #212601 - 03/13/15 02:10 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1448
    Loc: NJ
    _________________________
    Become what you are

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    #212618 - 03/13/15 03:53 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: aquinas]
    mithawk Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 11/25/11
    Posts: 242
    Originally Posted By: aquinas
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    I'm not sure why directly selecting for valued traits is worse than indirectly doing so though the choice of a mate.


    Because it is dehumanizing and commoditizes human life. It involves children being treated as consumable products valued only for the benefit they confer to a third party, rather than respecting their innate value as humans.

    If I had the chance to de-select the life threatening allergies my son has, I wouldn't have hesitated for a second. Looking back, there is nothing else I want to change now. They each have their strengths and their faults, and that is what makes them who they are.

    But if I had the power to make other changes before birth, could I have resisted crafting 'perfect' children? I don't know.


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    #212622 - 03/13/15 05:01 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: Mahagogo5]
    FruityDragons Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/09/14
    Posts: 105
    Loc: Midwest USA
    Originally Posted By: Mahagogo5
    This is a tricky one and I'm going to leave mostly what I think out of it.

    I would say though that when I chose my DH, the qualities he would contribute to our children was very high on the list, perhaps even number 1. I am not a romantic though... I won't go on about it but I am very happy with my decision.

    Secondly and I know this will def throw the cat amongst the pigeons, It seems to me that in this day and age we have effectively neutralised positive evolution. Survival of the fittest is not something we can describe as a marker of humans anymore.

    We are able to cure/save so many people with conditions that would have prevented people being able to start families. We also provide support as a society to people who generally would not have been able to care for children independently in previous eras. I think this is a good and wonderful thing. I support that people with disabilities and chronic disease should be able to have children, also couples dealing with infertility.

    But what happens in the next eon when these differences have been assumed into the population without any positive counteraction? I guess I'm thinking about thousands / millions of years into the future - I just wonder if we, in the space of 100 years, or so are irrevocably changing the course of human history for the worse in the name of being more "humane" in the present. Is that acceptable or not? If it is acceptable do we have a moral imperative to act in the positive in an equal amount, or is our business in there here and now?

    These are questions I wrestle with and don't have a firm opinion on. I wonder if geneticists and social engineers think about it too...

    I hope I don't come of as a latent Nazi, I have very strong negative views on that too.

    That's just it. We DON'T know what's going to happen. What if they are unknowingly selecting for other traits? What if those kids won't be happy because of it, for whatever reason? What will happen in a "smarter" world? We can't say we do know what will happen, now or later - and if we don't know the consequences, should we do it? What if things go too far? Everyone has a different opinion on what constitutes "too far", but I think we can almost all agree there is a line somewhere. Honestly, I haven't decided either, but I don't think any decision that would impact future generations should be rushed into without serious thought by all sides.


    Edited by FruityDragons (03/13/15 05:04 PM)
    Edit Reason: Add thought/clarify

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    #212630 - 03/13/15 05:50 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    I think the only thing that we are irrevocably doing at the moment is burning through millions of years of stored sunlight so that we can make lots of i-phones and cars.

    Vrooom! Beep, beep! Vrooom!

    And airplanes. Airplanes are fun! They go Vroom, vroom in the sky!

    Also, we are reducing biodiversity because that's fun, too.


    Edited by JonLaw (03/13/15 05:54 PM)
    Edit Reason: Adding an additional side-effect to having lots of fun.

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    #212635 - 03/13/15 07:09 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: madeinuk]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Originally Posted By: madeinuk



    DD thought that this was almost amusing as she related this one to me (though she did comment that this was pretty, um-- cold)-- but the companion story about another bride (also Indian) who married someone else when the groom experienced a seizure at their planned wedding? That one made her angry at the woman. Very angry.

    My other response is like mithawk's here. There's not a lot that I'd change about my own DD, imperfections and all.

    I would change nothing at all on MY behalf-- but I find it painful that some of her genetic legacy makes her life so hard. It's emotional-- I freely admit that.



    Beyond that, I think that I have a fondness for English sportscars, myself. That's how I prefer to spend precious hydrocarbons.

    Well, since organic synthetic chemistry didn't work out for me personally and all I ever made was black goo. Other people I know found it far more rewarding. I think that they must like black goo more than I do.

    I'd rather have a purring Jaguar, instead. Maybe even instead of a first class airline seat, come to that.

    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #212638 - 03/13/15 07:19 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Mahagogo5 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/11/12
    Posts: 517
    I like planes, not into cars though...


    The thing I hate about eugenics is that it's almost impossible to have a meaningful conversation about the pros and cons without offending just about everybody. Also many people see it as a black and white issue. I don't deal in black and white so I find it hard to speak freely, about this and most other things really.

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    #212666 - 03/14/15 12:08 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics

    Perhaps if we focused on getting rid of clear genetic problems first.

    Meaning that if we actually focused on obvious things that are beneficial instead of wandering off into GATTACA-land.

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    #212669 - 03/14/15 12:39 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    75west Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/11/11
    Posts: 471
    I thought of Andrew Solomon's book, Far From the Tree, and the arguments he makes here. Many parents continue to bear children who are deaf, dwarfs, autistic, schizophrenic, transgender, or have other genetic deformities and love them unconditionally regardless. I'm not saying that the parents wouldn't want to eliminate the special needs (at least some days), but that many manage to cope with the situation despite the circumstances.

    But what constitutes perfection or intelligence here? Many parents of Down Syndrome do cope with their children and are grateful to have them. Do many people today elect not to have a child with Down's based on genetic testing? Yes. However, there's still a percentage of children with Down's being born.

    And where do we put the numerous amount of contributions made to human society by twice exceptional people. Where do we put Stephen Hawking (motor neuron disease), Helen Keller (blind/deaf), mathematician John Nash (schizophrenia), or Brian Wilson (formerly of the Beach Boys - schizophrenia) in this argument for a 'perfect' individual and the elimination of their special needs?

    Who's to say that schizophrenia and autism or other special needs aren't beneficial in some way to human society at large rather than at the individual or family level?

    What about individuals like Tiger Woods who many parents have idolized, despite some rather unsavory aspects of his social life? Where do we factor Galileo? He may well have been a genius in many respects but had a very spotted record with his social life and his children.

    Parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (Columbine) probably thought they had 'perfect' kids or 'normal' ones but not killers. How would eugenics have helped in those cases? There's no gene to determine such people.

    Who's also to say that we marry solely in terms of intelligence whatever that may be? For millions, they marry their high school sweetheart, a beauty king or queen, or someone who gives them financial security instead.

    What do you say to Hasidics (orthodox Jews) or other ethnic/religious groups who have many children despite the risk for genetic diseases like Tay Sachs? What then?

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    #212697 - 03/15/15 08:27 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: 75west]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: cdfox
    Parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (Columbine) probably thought they had 'perfect' kids or 'normal' ones but not killers. How would eugenics have helped in those cases? There's no gene to determine such people.


    I think researchers are working on psychopathy.

    So, yes, it could help.

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    #212707 - 03/15/15 11:21 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: 75west]
    Mahagogo5 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/11/12
    Posts: 517
    Originally Posted By: cdfox
    I thought of Andrew Solomon's book, Far From the Tree, and the arguments he makes here. Many parents continue to bear children who are deaf, dwarfs, autistic, schizophrenic, transgender,

    What do you say to Hasidics (orthodox Jews) or other ethnic/religious groups who have many children despite the risk for genetic diseases like Tay Sachs? What then?


    All good points, I think though that in my mind, it isn't a case of not bearing children with "faults" so much as we are supporting people with serious disabilities such as down syndrome to go on to have children (which is fine by me) so why shouldn't we cure the gene for Tays sachs or so on...

    Maybe my understanding on Eugenics is fuzzy, why does it have to be all or nothing?

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    #212716 - 03/15/15 01:21 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3640
    Well, when you start talking about multi-locus traits, often on a continuum, it becomes less clear if we can or should select/eliminate on that basis. Some researchers believe that some level of psychopathy can be adaptive for both the individual line and the species. It's more a question of degree.

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    #212722 - 03/15/15 04:27 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    ljoy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/28/11
    Posts: 269
    Is there a moral distinction between externally applied selection - say, forced sterilization or required selection for certain traits - and individual choices that are enabled by new tech?

    From the article, it sounds like this would allow parents to make genetic choices for their own offspring. Of course, any tool can also be used in other ways; it would be an easy step to saying that government health care doesn't cover diseases that could be selected against, for instance.

    Even without external incentives, though, the ability to select the genetics of the next generation would result in the loss of some diversity. There are plenty of traits where this could be a bad thing.

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    #212749 - 03/16/15 09:50 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: aeh]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Well, when you start talking about multi-locus traits, often on a continuum, it becomes less clear if we can or should select/eliminate on that basis. Some researchers believe that some level of psychopathy can be adaptive for both the individual line and the species. It's more a question of degree.

    Some harmful genes have been identified (see below), and I think that in the future, prospective parents who want to use technology to reduce the chance of their offspring having such genes should not be prevented from doing so.

    Violence genes may be responsible for one in 10 serious crimes
    By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
    The Telegraph
    12:58PM GMT 28 Oct 2014
    Quote:
    The genes for extremely violent behaviour have been discovered by scientists who fear they may be responsible for one in 10 serious crimes.

    Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden analysed the genetic make-up of 895 criminals from Finland to see if violence was in their DNA.

    The majority of violent crime is committed by a small group of antisocial, repeat offenders, who seem incapable of rehabilitation.

    Now scientists believe they have found which genes are responsible for high levels of rage and violence. They believe that they could be responsible for up to 10 per cent of serious crime in Finland.

    The criminals who had committed the most serious crimes, such as murder, were found to have variants of two genes; monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and cadherin 13 (CDH13).

    MAOA is linked to dopamine levels in the brain, a chemical which makes people feel happy and fulfilled. CDH13 is linked to impulse control.

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    #212752 - 03/16/15 10:40 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: Bostonian]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3640
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Well, when you start talking about multi-locus traits, often on a continuum, it becomes less clear if we can or should select/eliminate on that basis. Some researchers believe that some level of psychopathy can be adaptive for both the individual line and the species. It's more a question of degree.

    Some harmful genes have been identified (see below), and I think that in the future, prospective parents who want to use technology to reduce the chance of their offspring having such genes should not be prevented from doing so.

    Violence genes may be responsible for one in 10 serious crimes
    By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
    The Telegraph
    12:58PM GMT 28 Oct 2014
    Quote:
    The genes for extremely violent behaviour have been discovered by scientists who fear they may be responsible for one in 10 serious crimes.

    Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden analysed the genetic make-up of 895 criminals from Finland to see if violence was in their DNA.

    The majority of violent crime is committed by a small group of antisocial, repeat offenders, who seem incapable of rehabilitation.

    Now scientists believe they have found which genes are responsible for high levels of rage and violence. They believe that they could be responsible for up to 10 per cent of serious crime in Finland.

    The criminals who had committed the most serious crimes, such as murder, were found to have variants of two genes; monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and cadherin 13 (CDH13).

    MAOA is linked to dopamine levels in the brain, a chemical which makes people feel happy and fulfilled. CDH13 is linked to impulse control.

    Haven't read the journal article, so I can't comment on this specific research, but I will just mention that a finding that the population of violent criminals is enriched for a particular allele is not the same as saying that all--or even most--persons with that allele are criminals. Leaving aside the question of the criminal persons, do the non-criminal persons with the variant have a right to exist?

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    #212755 - 03/16/15 11:04 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: Bostonian]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381


    Bostonian wrote: "Some harmful genes have been identified (see below), and I think that in the future, prospective parents who want to use technology to reduce the chance of their offspring having such genes should not be prevented from doing so."

    Correlation is not causation.


    Edited by suevv (03/16/15 11:05 AM)
    Edit Reason: I cannot figure out quoting.

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    #212756 - 03/16/15 11:05 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2277
    Following on aeh's excellent point, even if there were a perfect one-to-one mapping of "undesired" traits to specific alleles, genetics aren't deterministic. There is currently a very limited understanding of the role of epigenetics in gene expression.

    I'm reminded of the old joke about econometricians. Three professors are tasked with studying a black cat that has been placed in a windowless box without moving the box: a mathematician, a macroeconomist, and an econometrician. The mathematician tries first and is quickly driven mad by the ludicrousness of the task. Next, the macroeconomist tries and claims he has devised a series of graphical models that map the movements of the cat. Finally, not to be outdone, the econometrician studies the box for a short while, then declares that he has caught the cat by the scruff of the neck.

    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #212757 - 03/16/15 11:05 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: Bostonian]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Well, when you start talking about multi-locus traits, often on a continuum, it becomes less clear if we can or should select/eliminate on that basis. Some researchers believe that some level of psychopathy can be adaptive for both the individual line and the species. It's more a question of degree.

    Some harmful genes have been identified (see below), and I think that in the future, prospective parents who want to use technology to reduce the chance of their offspring having such genes should not be prevented from doing so.

    Violence genes may be responsible for one in 10 serious crimes
    By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
    The Telegraph
    12:58PM GMT 28 Oct 2014
    Quote:
    The genes for extremely violent behaviour have been discovered by scientists who fear they may be responsible for one in 10 serious crimes.

    Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden analysed the genetic make-up of 895 criminals from Finland to see if violence was in their DNA.

    The majority of violent crime is committed by a small group of antisocial, repeat offenders, who seem incapable of rehabilitation.

    Now scientists believe they have found which genes are responsible for high levels of rage and violence. They believe that they could be responsible for up to 10 per cent of serious crime in Finland.

    The criminals who had committed the most serious crimes, such as murder, were found to have variants of two genes; monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and cadherin 13 (CDH13).

    MAOA is linked to dopamine levels in the brain, a chemical which makes people feel happy and fulfilled. CDH13 is linked to impulse control.


    Sure, because tampering with small details in complex systems doesn't result in unintended consequences, ever. Plus, dopamine levels and impulse control only apply to violent crimes. I'm sure we won't find these same gene variants in people who are happy or spontaneous.

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    #212758 - 03/16/15 11:13 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    A quote from the second half of the article (that was not included in Bostonian's snip)":

    "Prof Jan Schnupp, Professor of Neuroscience, University of Oxford, added: "Half the people in your office will carry these genes. Odds are 50/50 that you do. How violent has your day been? To call these alleles "genes for violence" would therefore be a massive exaggeration.

    "In combination with many other factors these genes may make it a little harder for you to control violent urges, but they most emphatically do not predetermine you for a life of crime.”"

    Or, as I said above - correlation is not causation.

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    #212762 - 03/16/15 12:17 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    75west Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/11/11
    Posts: 471
    I'm in the middle of reading Bryan Sykes's book, Adam's Curse, and am reminded what the benefits for a species that reproduces via sex (as opposed to sex-free species such as the dandelion or whiptail lizard): to stay one step ahead of parasites. There is a limited capacity to adapt to changing environments with a species that reproduces without sex. Genetic variation and shuffling is organized through sex.

    This doesn't meant that there isn't a benefit on the individual level for IVF, genetic testing, or identifying genes in some way. There is. Down's syndrome is a good example. The risk for Down's syndrome increases with maternal age and dramatically so after age 40.

    It's one thing for women to screen for Down's willingly. I'm not sure women will screen willingly for a pedophile or a Jeffrey Dahmer. The risk for Down's is associated with age of the mother, the age of the eggs, the conditions/environment of the uterus. It seems less personal, invasive, and subjective.

    To screen for violent offenders before or while you're pregnant, takes it to another level, it seems. Not saying that some wouldn't decide to take such a test; but it seems something could be countered or controlled with one's environment rather than something like Dwarfism which individuals cannot change with their environment.

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    #213486 - 03/30/15 03:59 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Edward Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/19/14
    Posts: 52
    I dont buy the violence gene theory. We are all born with violent genes, otherwise none of use would be here. Environment determines what traits are strengthened or weakened.


    To me using genetics to explain behavior is partly a witch hunt, much like has been trying to find a genetic marker for mental illness.

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    #213736 - 04/04/15 02:15 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: Edward]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: Edward
    I dont buy the violence gene theory. We are all born with violent genes, otherwise none of use would be here. Environment determines what traits are strengthened or weakened.


    To me using genetics to explain behavior is partly a witch hunt, much like has been trying to find a genetic marker for mental illness.


    Um. Not sure what to say here.

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    #213737 - 04/04/15 04:53 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: JonLaw]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3640
    Originally Posted By: JonLaw
    Originally Posted By: Edward
    I dont buy the violence gene theory. We are all born with violent genes, otherwise none of use would be here. Environment determines what traits are strengthened or weakened.


    To me using genetics to explain behavior is partly a witch hunt, much like has been trying to find a genetic marker for mental illness.


    Um. Not sure what to say here.

    Finding a genetic marker for mental illness is one aspect of our attempt to understand the biology of mental illness, in the pursuit of more effective and targeted treatments for the millions of people suffering through anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, etc.

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    #219829 - 07/20/15 05:52 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    If it becomes possible to safely genetically increase babies’ IQ, it will become inevitable
    Eugene Volokh
    Washington Post
    July 14, 2015
    Quote:
    Intelligence is, generally speaking, good, and more is, generally speaking, better. It’s better for the person in question. It’s better for society to have more intelligent people. It’s not the most important thing. But ask yourself: All else being equal, would you rather have your child have an IQ (for all the limitations of that measure) of 85, 100, 115 or 130?

    So here’s how it will happen. Say the 83 percent poll results hold, even once safe genetic modification is available (it’s not clear they will, given that at this point they reflect a purely hypothetical question, but say they do), and Congress bans such modification. Or say there is worry — understandable when it comes to a new technology — that the modification won’t be safe and will cause the birth of children with various birth defects or other problems, so Congress bans it because of that.

    Now it’s gone! No more of this awful technology. Except, wait: Say the Chinese don’t see things the way we do. Out come some number of babies with horrible birth defects (truly a tragedy, and as a purely ethical matter, possibly a reason against such experimentation; I’m just saying the ethics won’t matter much). And then things get worked out, and now the new generation of Chinese, or Japanese, or Russians becomes on average much smarter than the new generation of Americans. How long will American public opinion remain opposed to a technology that seems vital to national success, and perhaps even national independence?

    I agree with the author.

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    #241567 - 03/10/18 12:00 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Forecasts of genetic fate just got a lot more accurate
    by Antonio Regalado
    MIT Technology Review
    February 21, 2018

    Quote:
    ...
    A DNA IQ test
    In addition to predicting disease, geneticists can build models to predict any human trait that can be measured, including behaviors. Is this person destined for a life of crime and recidivism? Will that one be neurotic, depressed, or smarter than average?

    The scoring technology, scientists say, will soon shed uncomfortable light on such questions. In January, two leading psychologists argued that direct-to-consumer DNA IQ tests will soon become “routinely available” and will predict children’s ability “to learn, reason, and solve problems.” They believe parents will test toddlers and use the results to make school plans.

    To some, using foggy genetic horoscopes to decide who goes to college and who ends up in trade school sounds like an extraordinarily bad idea. On his blog Gloomy Prospect, Eric Turkheimer, a prominent psychologist at the University of Virginia, says the danger is that the scores will be overinterpreted to “recommend some truly dreadful social policies.” That, he thinks, would be “the worst possible kind of biologically determinist discrimination.” To Turkheimer, polygenic scores are “less than meets the eye” and about as fair as “predicting your IQ from a cousin you haven’t met.”

    Such views aren’t stopping the rapid pace of genetic exploration. Until last year, no gene variant had ever been tied directly to IQ test results. Since then, studies involving more than 300,000 people’s DNA have linked 206 variants to intelligence. It means genetic scores can now account for 10 percent of a person’s performance on an IQ test. That could reach 25 percent within a few years, as more data accumulates. One US company, Genomic Prediction, even says it wants to test IVF embryos for intelligence, so parents can discard those expected to be mentally unfit.

    Dystopia, dubious medicine, or a breakthrough in prevention? Genomic prediction may well be all three. What is clear is that, with the data needed to create predictors becoming freely available online, 2018 will be a breakout year for DNA fortune-telling.

    The quoted blog post of Turkheimer is here.
    _________________________
    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell

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