Resource Recommendation: “Should America Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies?”

Hi! A lot of things have been changing in my life lately, which caused this blog to take ‘back-burner’ status, unfortunately. However, I am giving myself a more strict posting schedule so that I can post stuff more consistently.
We’ll see whether or not my goals for this blog pan out!

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 9.49.55 PMAs some of you may know, I did an independent research project on genetic engineering and human children while attending Buff State. Before I started my research, I was under the impression that I would be arguing for a limited freedom perspective; where we should use genetic engineering for treatment and not for enhancement. However, as my research continued, I changed my mind to my ultimate conclusion: That we should have the moral (and likely legal) freedom to safely genetically engineer our children for both treatment and for enhancement. Not many people are comfortable with that conclusion due, at least in part, because genetic engineering (as a science) is relatively new. I can sympathize with that concern.
You can find that paper here: Genetic Engineering and Human Children

That being said, I strongly suggest anyone interested in the discussion of genetic engineering to check out this debate, hosted by Intelligence Squared Debates.

Should America Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies?

The debaters are:
For the motion (we should prohibit genetically engineered babies):
Sheldon Krimsky & Robert Winston
Against the motion (we should not prohibit genetically engineered babies):
Nita A. Farahany & Lee M. Silver

For more information on the debaters and the event, NPR has a really good overview of everything, here: Should We Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies? (debate audio included)

This discussion is really good, on both sides of the issue. If this is your first introduction to the topic, you may feel like you’re drinking from a firehose… but don’t worry. Its interesting enough for you to want to Google things afterwards (or likely during).

If this is the first time you’ve heard/seen Intelligence Squared Debates, you should definitely check out the other stuff they put out. It’s always incredibly interesting. You can find that here: Intelligence Squared Debates; Top Thinkers Debate Today’s Most Important Issues

Thanks for reading!
Feel free to leave a comment or question below 🙂

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2 comments

  1. I did not read your resources at least not yet :). I think it can be hard to distinguish between treatment and enhancement at time. Would you impose some sort of restrictions on what type of enhancements a person can have?

    If one country imposes some restrictions but another does not I would imagine it could negatively effect the country with the restrictions.

    I am just thinking out loud. I am not making any sort of claims one way or the other. Just curious to see what others say.

    1. Hey John! I agree – there doesn’t seem to be an overly obvious line that can be drawn between treatment and enhancement, but there are cases that are obviously treatment (alleviating diseases, for example) and obviously enhancement (increasing muscle mass, for example).

      I flesh this out more in my paper on it (https://thinklearnlive.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/genetic-engineering-and-human-children/), but at this point I haven’t been given any convincing reason to place either moral or legal restriction on the kind of enhancement that could be made available.
      Other than if it is unsafe, of course. But I assume (for the sake of argument) that the engineering is safe for the child.

      And that is an interesting idea; allowing engineering in one country and not allowing it in another. However… if my arguments stand in my paper, then no one should disallow it 😉

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