Monday, November 12, 2012

Oxford professor states that we have a moral obligation to genetically engineer our babies

Young readers, I have news for you: There are genetically engineered humans in your future. There may even be cloned humans, and extensive stem-cell medicine. In fact, genetic engineering will change life as we know it in the 21st century to the same degree that computers changed the game forever in the 20th.

"The expert in practical ethics said that we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children as it meant they were then less likely to harm themselves and others."

Now, engineering deliberately for pacifism could arguably be a bad idea. What happens, for instance, if a problem occurs in humanity later, like invasion by a hostile life form, that calls for it to defend itself? Dr. Inmaculada De Melo-Martin responds:

"Savulescu has neglected several important issues such as access to selection technologies, disproportionate burdens on women, difficulties in determining what is best, problems with aggregate effects of individual choices, and questions about social justice. Taking these matters into account would call such a moral requirement into serious question."

Nevertheless, no such issues could be held against breeding humans to be healthier, smarter, stronger, or longer-lived. A word we'll all be bandying about pretty soon is "biopolitics", the ethical and political issues relating to engineered humans.