Re: Darwin run amok--Robert's comments

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Tue Jan 04 2000 - 14:45:11 MST

On Tue, 4 Jan 2000, Damien Broderick wrote:

> At 09:22 PM 3/01/00, KAe wrote:
> >right now, we are taking intersex
> >children and forcibly rendering them into one of two established
> >gender schemas. That trend belies any possibility of greater
> >expression and freedom for voluntary enhancements.
> This worries me. My impression is that intersex phenotypes are basically
> developmental *errors*. They are not emergent wonderous mutant
> alternatives. Not even the starting point for a viable parallel community
> like deaf or dwarfed people. Do we decline to intervene with hydrocephalic
> babies, on the grounds that it's mere prejudice against Greys that makes us
> normalize the vast-headed?

I think you are taking Kathryn's "intersex" term in a more literal
sense than she intended it. Making some generalizations, I think
Kathryn and I are looking at opposite sides of the same coin while
agreeing that we can see the other side. I move that we have to
know where we are before we know where we can go (from a genetic
standpoint), while I think Kathryn moves that we are at a point where
children are born with a lot of freedom with regard to the gender
roles they choose but they are stuck with sterotypes of parents and
societies. These are both valid foundations to move forward from
and we will probably need both to construct a building.

Putting a cap on the genetic side of things, nature is rather
ruthless with discards in the process of coming up with superior
forms. Presumably when we are doing this consciously and/or with
social engineering we can be a little bit less gruesome about it.
The trick will be to balance the need for progress with "acceptable
risk". A lot of the time you aren't going to know if something
works until you actually try it.


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