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Genetic Engineering- morality vs. benefits

 
 
Telamon
 
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 01:05 am
Just opening this post up for generic discussion, interested in what peoples take on the subject will be.

Relating to the movie “Splice” at least on a basic theoretical level, should we knowingly genetically engineer human and animals together into a new species for potential DNA breakthroughs? By “we’ I mean… say the USA… on a whole, finally permits scientist to go through with the experiment. Possibly solving some or perhaps all genetic defects found in humans throughout the world, such as Sickle cell anemia, Cystic fibrosis, Familial hypercholesterolemia, Hemophilia, and even some forms of cancers (just to name a few) . Now I’m not talking about the crazy and dramatic course the movie took, but take it from the starting laboratory point. Should we permit ourselves to take this course? For those who have seen the movie(or read up on the movie), try not to think too much on its abstract and vindictive timeline, but rather take this post as a stand-alone question.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 4,121 • Replies: 21
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 07:25 am
@Telamon,
I think our understanding of the functions of genes is very weak and the chances of inadvertently doing great harm outweighs the potential good right now. Consider trying to improve a large computer program but making a small tweak without understanding how the code works. I think you are much more likely to break the system than improve it.
0 Replies
 
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 08:19 am
@Telamon,
Looks like a cool movie. Island of Dr. Moreau? Kindred images are Frankenstein, Living Dead..(favorite: Shaun of the Dead)

Also vaguely related is the thoroughly explored theme of human mutation... the constellation of images there kind of summed up in X-Men.

The reason I say the mutation theme is related is that science fiction stories about it were divided according to positive and negative takes on it. For some it could be an awesome advancement... for others it represented disaster because of the possibility of a superior species that one assumes would destroy us.

Philosophically, the crux of the matter is change. Change means the birth of something, but the death of what we are. Change is a highly charged issue for us because of the rapid pace of change over the last 100 years.

Because most mutations result in nonviable organisms, a little intuition says that intentionally manipulating genes would produce organisms that would suffer prior to their deaths.

So imagine that you know Cystic Fibrosis no longer exists because of a little lab holocaust. That can't be right.
0 Replies
 
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 07:03 pm
@Telamon,
Short term, I belive genetics will cause horrific results, skitzo and totally pscyos beings will be developed, but long term it will greatly benefit humans, our intelligence en masse will increase 1k fold.

Hopefully it all will result in more rational beings, that are less receptory for manipulation/less naive, at the same time it may backfire and result in more abicious beings that will wage war and annihalate ourselves.

It is an uncertain path, filled with greed from big cooperations, abicious leaders who wants super soldiers ..it's a Pandora's Box!
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 08:50 pm
@HexHammer,
Quote:
... but long term it will greatly benefit humans, our intelligence en masse will increase 1k fold.


Why would you believe that? The oft mentioned analogy is if apes could design a better ape, would they design humans? Probably not. They might design stronger, faster apes instead. Why would you believe that humans know how to design a better human? Perhaps the very thing you breed out of humans was the thing essential to making the next evolutionary leap and your genetic program freezes us into our current form forever. Certainly genetic engineering would highly discourage random variation. Over breeding results in less genetic variation and resistance to disease and more susceptibility to mass extinction. What happens what a virus mutates to a form capable of hammering all those genetically similar humans into dust?
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 10:43 pm
It depends on who's ethics you go by.
laughoutlood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 11:07 pm
@Telamon,
life unfolds, machined
0 Replies
 
Telamon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 11:53 pm
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

It depends on who's ethics you go by.


Lets say you had the decideing vote and it would be carried out or ceased, based solely on your choice. What would you decide and why?
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 05:25 am
@engineer,
Lol? ..are you drunk?
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 05:29 am

From every Mountainside, let Freedom Ring !!!!!



David
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 10:25 am
@Telamon,
Telamon, That's unrealistic; I'll never have the "deciding vote" for anything except what remains of my own life.

I'll leave that to the ethicists, philosophers, and doctors who wish to do genetic research.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 10:51 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer wrote:

Lol? ..are you drunk?

No, why would you ask?
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 11:13 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

HexHammer wrote:

Lol? ..are you drunk?

No, why would you ask?
Because what you said made no sense.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 11:29 am
@HexHammer,
I'll try to clarify although I'm surprised ad hominem attacks constitute debate on philosophy threads. I guess that is par for the course on Internet forums of all types.

1. Humans have no concept of how to make a superior being. We value intelligence, so your idea is to make smarter humans. If apes were in the same boat, they would possibly choose to make stronger and faster apes since that may be what they value. I doubt anyone would try to make the humans that Greg Bear envisioned in Darwin's Radio but he made a good point: humans may be dramatically improved by focusing on something other than intelligence.

2. (or maybe 1a) By emphasizing certain aspects of the genome, you will certainly deemphasize others. How can you chose what is unimportant? By making the best possible human, you tend to block out traits that could be important to humans making the next evolutionary step. You could be engineering the very best horse buggy ever made when you should be working on how to make cars.

3. Genetic uniformity results in dramatically increased susecptibility to disease. We see this in farm crops and domesticed breeds of animals. There is an ant breed that farms fungus and even there, the cultivated fungus has become much more susceptible to disease. By breeding out the genetic diversity from humans, you make humans more at risk of being wiped out by a new super disease.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 11:56 am
@engineer,
My good engineer, you speak with such certainty about thins you have no actual knowledge of, but only assumptions. And your ape anology is extremely farfetched, which is why I assumed you were drunk, as your views were without rationallity.

0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 12:05 pm
@engineer,
Quote:
1. Humans have no concept of how to make a superior being
considering that it is a proven fact that humans are horrible at predicting what will make us happy it is a good bet that we would also be horrible at predicting what makes a good genetic basis for a human.
Telamon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 05:26 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
1. Humans have no concept of how to make a superior being
considering that it is a proven fact that humans are horrible at predicting what will make us happy it is a good bet that we would also be horrible at predicting what makes a good genetic basis for a human.


Trying to get this back on topic a little;

Would eliminating Sickle cell anemia, Cystic fibrosis, Familial hypercholesterolemia, Hemophilia, and even some forms of cancers make us happier?
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 05:36 pm
@Telamon,
Often we start with a high ground purpose but end up with low ground application.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 05:40 pm
@Telamon,
Quote:
Would eliminating Sickle cell anemia, Cystic fibrosis, Familial hypercholesterolemia, Hemophilia, and even some forms of cancers make us happier?


Are the rich more happy than the poor? Has removing 80+% of the toil required to live a life with the aid of the technical age made us happier? No and No. Happiness is not a function of toil and adversity. Removing medical maladies will not make us more happy.
Telamon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 07:39 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
Would eliminating Sickle cell anemia, Cystic fibrosis, Familial hypercholesterolemia, Hemophilia, and even some forms of cancers make us happier?


Are the rich more happy than the poor? Has removing 80+% of the toil required to live a life with the aid of the technical age made us happier? No and No. Happiness is not a function of toil and adversity. Removing medical maladies will not make us more happy.


I’m sure the victims of said contagions will say otherwise...
 

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