Biofutures [was Re: Lanier essay of 2001.12.04]

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 16:06:10 MST

On Mon, 10 Dec 2001, Dossy wrote:

> However, in the end, the only thing that matters (or counts)
> is whose genes make it into the next generation.

As Damien has written we are "The Last Mortal Generation".
All bets are off in the future (so the debate may be worth less
than the time that could be devoted to it). When you are effectively
"immortal", your children will be competitors for resources (not at
present but when the population has multiplied by a factor of
100 trillion or more) so the decisions as to whether to propagate
should not be made lightly.

> People fear cloning/GE used to produce "designer humans" that
> are better than organic/natural humans. Has anyone discussed
> the fear of using cloning/GE as a weapon?
> Basically, imagine a wealthy hate organization that wants to
> rid the world of black people. They genetically engineer black
> males with latent genes that causes infertility and homosexuality


By the time GE is this sophisticated there are many more problems
to be worried about. E.g. GE to cause the death of individuals
with specific genetic fingerprints (why wait until the next generation?).
If we have the technology to develop such sophisticated weapons we
also have the technology to defend against them. The question is
whether we will learn our lessons and develop such defenses before
they are required.


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