RE: Gene Therapy & Ethics [was Re: AI Backlash] (fwd)

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sat, 14 Aug 1999 07:38:49 -0700 (PDT)

> wrote:

> >Why should you *care* if your children are smart/beautiful/successful,
> >etc.? If you do care, are you *absolutely sure* that you are making
> >such opinions of your own free will or whether you have programmed
> >into thinking such by million year old genetic machinery?
> More to the point, even if you're sure they'll be smart and beautiful,
> can you be sure they'll be successful or happy? If they're only as
> smart and beautiful as the other million kids whose parents have
> had access to the same technology, they're only normal, which doesn't
> mean successful *or* happy.

> Once again, the perils of top-down design.


So to get a leg up in the post/trans/neo-modern society, that means parents will have to give their children enhancements which have not been field tested and let natural selection go to work. Great idea. I'm going to make my kids much smarter than me so they can figure out that I'm unproductively using resources they could otherwise use. I think the net result of this is that I suffer a "natural" heart-attack in my bed some night, or a climbing accident or something else equally fatal.

We may presume that nature has "fine-tuned" human traits to balance "competitive drives" with "social conformance". A little to much of the first and less of the second and you have children that make great survivors with little regard for their parents (who for practical purposes are a different species anyway).

So, I have to have to balance my children competing with their peers and with me. Difficult. With top-down design, I can try to put in some self-restraint. With bottom-up design the retro-fit would seem to be much more difficult.

I think we are back to my question of a month+ ago that may have gotten lost in the M-brain discussions:

Do "ultrahumanists" have to confront and eliminate one of the two "prime directives" -- self-preservation & reproduction?