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  1. #1
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    Genetically Modifying Children

    Genetics for Newborns

    While I was in my Biology class during my first year of college, there was this extra credit assignment I did where I had to watch the movie called GATTACA and explain how I felt about it.

    I would STRONGLY urge those who have not seen it to go and rent it. In case you never watched it, and want to know a little bit about where I am getting this argument from:

    The movie GATTACA (GATTACA being an acronym for the items in DNA: Thymine, Adenine, Guanine) is a fictional depiction of the future where humans are able to take the sperm and egg of the two parents and "enhance" or alter the embryo so that the child could get the best of all aspects of their life (perfect eyesight, body structure, eye color, etc.). The movie revolves around a man named Vincent Freeman who was made using the "God" method, or natural birth, meaning that he wasn't modified or enhanced. He wants to be the best in the field of study he was in, but in the future, if you weren't modified, you were seen as inferior. Without spoiling too much of the plot, the movie shows you Vincent's hardships with dealing in this world where genetically modified people are considered the future and the non-modified people are seen as being "disabled" in a way.


    But with that said, do you think that if we implemented this type of process in our lives now, would it end up becoming like the world of GATTACA? Would we go down the road of eugenics and those who have the genes, can, and those who don't, can not?

    Or are we being too paranoid and if we did go down the path of enhancing our children, would we live to be better people and a better society? After all, nature and life does evolve over time, we would simply be increasing the speed of it. And besides, wouldn't you want your child to be the best that he or she can be? What's wrong with that idea? It's not like you are changing the genes entirely. Such as giving your kid physical features that your parents don't have. (Example would be making your child over 6ft tall when their genetics won't allow it). It's only giving them the best features that they were going to get, like perfect eyesight, full head of hair, fairer skin tone, but they look unique still, nobody looks the same, everyone is still unique.

    So what are your thoughts on this idea? If it was possible and worked 100% guaranteed without any negative consequences on the child, would you do it or would you steer clear of it? Why or why not and explain!
    "We All Make Choices. But In The End, Our Choices Make Us."
    -Andrew Ryan

  2. #2
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    RE: Genetically Modifying Children

    It probably would be a little like the film. It's been a part of science fiction many times—genetically modified embryos, or youngsters who had undergone augmentation. In some cases to become the perfect soldier, or I imagine in some science fiction like the film it would have uses in academics. My main reason for being against it would be the imbalance it would create. Until technology greatly advances, I imagine this would be a very expensive process. Therefore, it's unreasonable to assume that—if it became a government-funded process—taxes alone would cover it. So, it would be a first come, first served service for the highest bidder. Rich versus poor. The wealthy get artificially enhanced children, and the poor stick with nature's way of handling things.

    This would indubitably result in an imbalance and soon enough, heavy prejudice. Who knows what that would eventually lead to? A barrier between enhanced human beings and "regular" ones? War? People seek for the quantum leap in just about everything in life. I say we stick to living through conventional means.
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  3. #3
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    RE: Genetically Modifying Children

    Same goes for any technology, really. The rich people get it first. They were the first to get cars, computers, portable phones, and the like. That doesn't mean these things shouldn't have been invented, and it wasn't the end of the world for people who had to wait to get them. In fact, humanity might need the advantages it offers to achieve things like space travel, etc.

    As far as GATTACA goes, Cracked said it better than I could...

    If you have a condition that can kill you at any moment, common courtesy dictates you do not sneak into a profession where you're responsible for keeping a whole bunch of people alive. Whether it be here or on a super long flight through the cold, unfeeling vacuum of space.

    We all wanted to be astronauts when we were kids, but the reason we are not battling space pirates this very instant is because being an astronaut is cock-smashingly hard. If Ethan slips away mid-flight to take a dump and his heart fails while he's sitting on the toilet, you've got a rocket ship full of future people that's going to smash into the nearest celestial body at about 15,000 miles per hour.

    Yes, we totally get the anti-discrimination message of the movie. Of course people shouldn't be shat upon based on their genes. But this isn't about the handicapped girl winning the beauty pageant, or a dwarf becoming president. This is more like the registered sex offender who wants to be a mall Santa. There are some jobs you just shouldn't have, you selfish fuck. Not everything is about you.
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  4. #4
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    RE: Genetically Modifying Children

    I thought the guy was just not "enhanced"—not that he has a heart condition. That changes the argument altogether. Unless Cracked was suggesting that not having the augmentations meant a greater likelihood of heart failure, which is typical in a Cracked argument and downright silly. I love Cracked and it's always good satire, but if these were true, serious matters, of course, what they say is nearly always impractical.

    p.s. There's a difference between an Android phone and a human being.
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  5. #5
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    RE: Genetically Modifying Children

    Yeah and the argument here is that the enhancments would ensure that all of your organs would be healthy and would not succumb to any disease that could have devastating consequences such as Heart Failure. I use the term "enhancements" more as a definition of altering, changing, and making the body not exactly "Super-Human" but being able to have all healthy body parts. In the movie, no one has like super powers or the ability to run fast like The Flash or fly like Super Man, the "Enhancements" are meant to be able to make sure you can run top speed that your body will allow you to, to have the ability to not have a terminal disease, and have the healthiest body you can possibly have.

    And even though the argument is that the rich will get it sooner than the poor, what if it does become a government paid option like Mantis stated. Would it be safe to say that there would be no discrimination if it becomes an option that the government gives out?
    "We All Make Choices. But In The End, Our Choices Make Us."
    -Andrew Ryan

  6. #6
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    RE: Genetically Modifying Children

    I'd be totally for it if that was the case and if it was possible. However, as I said, humanity's always looking for the quantum leap, be it the Space Race or the first country to have a society of perfect humans. Hmm, now that does sound like an event in history, does it not? My point is though, that it is completely impossible that this ideal situation will happen since communism will never be a complete reality, and the rich will always dominate over the poor—nations are always trying to get to the finish line first. And what happens when you rush projects? Without years of research as I said, this augmentation would be very expensive. By the time the government could modify genes more cheaply and allow it to happen via taxes, it would already be too late anyway.

    I'll admit that my opinion has changed slightly since I know it's not really an enhancement as such, but rather an immunity of sorts to human illnesses. The issue remains that humanity's often looking for cures rather than prevention. Will these genetic upgrades work so that humans can guiltlessly wolf down high-cholesterol meals? Perhaps humanity should work on changing itself collectively rather than looking for a breakthrough all the time.

    My two pennies' worth.
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

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  7. #7
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    RE: Genetically Modifying Children

    Frankly, if I got preggers I wouldn't care less as long as my baby was happy, healthy and a good person. Those three things met my baby would be perfect for me.

    So I'd only do so to stop my baby from being born with a dibilitating illness. And perhaps if I could insure it's personality lol!
    You're asking for historical accuracy in a series where men weilding three swords in each hand, pirates surfing across land on giant anchors, horses with motocycle parts attached and feudal-era Power Rangers are the norm?

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    RE: Genetically Modifying Children

    I'm all for playing god with genes, but only to remove/reduce the chance of birth defects and/or disabilities. You know, so that it's a 'normal' life.

    Height, build, hair/eye colour and all that? I really couldn't give a flying toss about any of this stuff, as long as the kid's mine.

    ...not that I actually want any kids right now. In fact, it's probably the last thing on my mind.
    "It turned out that the ghost was just Mr. Finley, who ran the amusement park. The spooky part is that, as soon as the ghost appeared, the teenagers' dog began to speak! And it spoke in a tortured parody of human speech: 'relp me, Raggy,' it would say. 'I am an abomination and rould re rilled. Rill re, Raggy.'"

  9. #9
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    RE: Genetically Modifying Children

    It's a fascinating possibility to be sure.
    Would be a great way to counteract congenital defects.

    Personally, I couldn't.
    Sometimes you just gotta roll the bones.
    "Believe in yourself and create your own destiny. Don't fear fate." - Narrator
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    This was a good idea Mantis.

  10. #10
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    RE: Genetically Modifying Children

    Well this is where you have to think about the future rather than the present question I stated. Sure, I may have stated that if possible, terminal illnesses could be a thing of the past, and that idea, makes it a nice thought.

    But what I really want you to realize in your comments is that, if we can prevent all types of diseases and make our children the best that they could be, then what is stopping us in moving forward and doing more? What's stopping us from the parents in choosing the way their child looks, or acts through genes. I bet you a LOT of parents would LOVE to have that ability; would you be one of those who decide what they look like and how they excel, and if not, don't you think that parents (to some degree) are doing it now? It may not be at the molecular level, but parents do want their kids to do certain activities, perform certain actions, be dressed a certain fashion. Is it really that much of a difference?
    "We All Make Choices. But In The End, Our Choices Make Us."
    -Andrew Ryan

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