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Choosing the traits of your child - how far away are we?

 
 
aperson
 
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2006 02:55 pm
Many books and movies, such as Gattaca, depict a future in which choosing the personality, appeatraits and abilities of your child are commonplace. At first this may seem like a distant reality, if a reality at all, but how far away are we really?

Quote:
More than 40 per cent of fertility clinics in the US are allowing couples to choose the sex of their child...

(New Scientist 30 September 2006, pg 15)

Surely this is just the first rung on a ladder to the future previously spoken of.

Another question - will this future be heaven or hell? Imagine having your DNA read and a person telling you exactly your limits. This would allow people to judge you and compare you with others. Some people would be simply better than others - this would create a reigning upper class of people. Along with the obvious potnetial IQ, potential muscle strength and athletic ability, personality traits such as kindness and generosity are also genes. (I do acknowledge the fact that these all also depend of the environment that grew up in and are living in.)

Yet another question - if nobody was violent, aggresive, or a potential bully, then the world would be, well, boring. There would be no challenges to face or enemies to stand up to, and your potential in your career would be a fixed variable.
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aperson
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 02:01 pm
What? Nobody cares?? Nobody???

Well if that's how it is I'll just go and, [sob] cry in a corner for a while [goes and cries in a corner for a while].

Crying or Very sad
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 03:57 pm
You are proposing a debate which most likely will entrench itself in the realms of ethics, where we'd be pusing eachother around in circles.


Quote:
Surely this is just the first rung on a ladder to the future previously spoken of.


I suspect we already have the knowledge among us to do a lot more than determine the sex of the baby. There are definitely those who would consider it an advantage without drawbacks to design your children. Personally I am wary of the idea.

It would be the fall of humanity. If we could design our own babies, I seriously doubt that anyone would desire a 'boy suitable to work in the coalmine'. We'd all be lining up for the next Einstein. Where would that lead us? Our diversity is key to our survival.

Imagine a place where everyone was genetically constructed to fit the job he had to do, like an anthill. Does it sound closer to heaven or hell?
0 Replies
 
stuh505
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 08:55 pm
Re: Choosing the traits of your child - how far away are we?
aperson wrote:
Imagine having your DNA read and a person telling you exactly your limits. This would allow people to judge you and compare you with others. Some people would be simply better than others - this would create a reigning upper class of people. Along with the obvious potnetial IQ, potential muscle strength and athletic ability, personality traits such as kindness and generosity are also genes. (I do acknowledge the fact that these all also depend of the environment that grew up in and are living in.)


They could tell less about your DNA as an infant than you can tell about a grown person in one glance. You can already make guesses about who is stronger, smarter, better at certain things just by looking at them...and people already use this information to judge you. So I'm not worried.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Oct, 2006 04:47 pm
Re: Choosing the traits of your child - how far away are we?
stuh505 wrote:
aperson wrote:
Imagine having your DNA read and a person telling you exactly your limits. This would allow people to judge you and compare you with others. Some people would be simply better than others - this would create a reigning upper class of people. Along with the obvious potnetial IQ, potential muscle strength and athletic ability, personality traits such as kindness and generosity are also genes. (I do acknowledge the fact that these all also depend of the environment that grew up in and are living in.)


They could tell less about your DNA as an infant than you can tell about a grown person in one glance. You can already make guesses about who is stronger, smarter, better at certain things just by looking at them...and people already use this information to judge you. So I'm not worried.


That's a good point.

What I'd be really curiuos about is breaking our genetic limits. Can you forsee genetic engineering beyond 'made-to-order-babies' and rather to uber:smart, uber:strong, uber:whatever individuals? Could this be evolution in hyperdrive?
0 Replies
 
aperson
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Oct, 2006 01:48 pm
Cyracuz wrote:
You are proposing a debate which most likely will entrench itself in the realms of ethics, where we'd be pusing eachother around in circles.


So be it.

Cyracuz wrote:
I suspect we already have the knowledge among us to do a lot more than determine the sex of the baby.


I'm sure of it, but other types of GM are probably not as fine-tuned.

Cyracuz wrote:
It would be the fall of humanity. If we could design our own babies, I seriously doubt that anyone would desire a 'boy suitable to work in the coalmine'. We'd all be lining up for the next Einstein. Where would that lead us? Our diversity is key to our survival.


This probably sounds slightly far-fetched, but by the time that we're able to genetically modify humans well, and the public has accepted it, we will most likely have machines to do our labour for us.
0 Replies
 
aperson
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Oct, 2006 01:52 pm
Re: Choosing the traits of your child - how far away are we?
stuh505 wrote:
They could tell less about your DNA as an infant than you can tell about a grown person in one glance. You can already make guesses about who is stronger, smarter, better at certain things just by looking at them...and people already use this information to judge you. So I'm not worried.


The difference is that all of one's traits etc would be defined precisely on a piece of paper as opposed to a rough guess by looking at someone.
0 Replies
 
stuh505
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Oct, 2006 07:23 pm
Re: Choosing the traits of your child - how far away are we?
aperson wrote:
The difference is that all of one's traits etc would be defined precisely on a piece of paper as opposed to a rough guess by looking at someone.


That's not true. You could make more accurate guesses about a person's traits by looking at a grown person than by analyzing their unborn DNA.
0 Replies
 
aperson
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Oct, 2006 02:00 am
Ok I'm not going to be stubborn. You have got a very valid point.
0 Replies
 
Treya
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 07:40 pm
Re: Choosing the traits of your child - how far away are we?
aperson wrote:
Many books and movies, such as Gattaca, depict a future in which choosing the personality, appeatraits and abilities of your child are commonplace. At first this may seem like a distant reality, if a reality at all, but how far away are we really?

Quote:
More than 40 per cent of fertility clinics in the US are allowing couples to choose the sex of their child...

(New Scientist 30 September 2006, pg 15)

Surely this is just the first rung on a ladder to the future previously spoken of.

Another question - will this future be heaven or hell? Imagine having your DNA read and a person telling you exactly your limits. This would allow people to judge you and compare you with others. Some people would be simply better than others - this would create a reigning upper class of people. Along with the obvious potnetial IQ, potential muscle strength and athletic ability, personality traits such as kindness and generosity are also genes. (I do acknowledge the fact that these all also depend of the environment that grew up in and are living in.)

Yet another question - if nobody was violent, aggresive, or a potential bully, then the world would be, well, boring. There would be no challenges to face or enemies to stand up to, and your potential in your career would be a fixed variable.


Errrr... perhaps this is a dumb ill placed question but if we could or did wouldn't that screw up the whole evolutionary process?

For people who don't like to believe in a "God" we sure do like to play the part don't we? Cool
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 07:44 pm
Re: Choosing the traits of your child - how far away are we?
hephzibah wrote:

Errrr... perhaps this is a dumb ill placed question but if we could or did wouldn't that screw up the whole evolutionary process?

For people who don't like to believe in a "God" we sure do like to play the part don't we? Cool


For someone who admits to not knowing much about evolution you sure have a lot to say about it. Very Happy

But to answer your question, no it would not screw up the evolutionary process. It would screw up the natural selection process, but evolution would remain intact.
0 Replies
 
Treya
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 08:16 pm
LOL I sure do, don't I maporshe...:wink: So explain to me then how it wouldn't screw it up if we could suddenly start choosing how are kids are going to be? It seems to me, unless I'm just being really stubborn here... that it would screw it up because evolution is no longer able to errr... do whatever evolution does since we now get to choose how others end up.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 08:25 pm
As far as personality traits, I don't know you could change them that much.

I watch a documentary just last night, maybe some of you are familiar with this story, it's a true case.

Basically this man who lived in NYC, was raised in England, suddenly developed amnesia as to all his memories...family, friends, even his own name.

After a while, he said that he really didn't care if he ever got his old memories back, he was who he was now.

For instance, when he met up with his friends from younger days in England, he didn't feel any obligation to remain friends with them, just took them as they were that moment and let a relationship develope, or not.

Everyone who knew him "before" said that he was a different person. What I took from it was that he no longer was influenced by his upbringing. Now, he would be influenced by what his history was developing into now.

One thing I picked up on was interesting as far as his emotions. Both before and after he seemed like a very likeable fellow. Had friends and activities he was involved with, but it seemed to me he was more of a "guys guy" you know, rather be playing rugby that thinking about the meaning of life. As a matter of fact, it was noted by his sister that he was very oriented toward making money.

After, he seemed much more at home in the company of woman, was much more expressive with his feelings, and thoughtful about the world in general....what could that be but he was no longer the environment he was brought up in?

The name of the video was Unknown White Male.
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