Re: REPRODUCTION: choosing embryos

Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 12:08:03 MST

Robert writes:
> I'll make a very harsh (and probably get crucified for it)
> assertion. Children are parasites on their parents for
> at least the first 9 months, if not the their first 18 years.
> Of course parents are free to choose creating those parasites
> but they are operating under the influence of a genetic
> program designed to bias their decisions. Given the investment
> that parents make in children, it is perfectly reasonable that
> they should select those most likely to generate the greatest
> ROI from the parents' perspective. In this respect one should
> be selecting children not for sex or intelligence or eye color
> but those most likely to remain loyal to the parent and repay the
> support that the parents have provided over the developmental
> period.

I'm not interested in crucifying anyone; we should at least consider
challenging ideas.

However I don't think this idea is all that practical, and more
importantly I don't think it is Extropian.

For practicality, there are several problems. It is questionable whether
in Western society kids can ever repay what the parents put into them.
With government-provided retirement benefits and health care it is no
longer necessary for kids to support their parents in their old age,
which was always one of the main paybacks. Also, with small families
of one to two children it is hard for kids to be much help around the
home or with odd jobs.

Also it is questionable whether there is a loyalty gene and if so whether
it would work reliably to the parents' advantage. Eliezer some time
back recommended the book "The Nurture Assumption," which argues that
in today's society, kids are influenced more by their peers than their
families. A child with a loyalty gene might turn into a follower who
ends up in a cult, taking the parents' investment with him.

As for the anti-Extropianism of giving birth to a conscious entity
with the intention of making him into a little slave who never frees
himself from his mother's apron strings, I hope that speaks for itself.
Extropianism is a philosophy which celebrates diversity and growth.
Intentionally limiting the capabilities for growth of a child is as
antithetical to Extropian philosophy as can be imagined.


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