Re: Cloning given the kook treatment.

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Fri Mar 30 2001 - 08:04:48 MST

Ross: your answer is probably very close to the USA societal norm. I thank you for stating it concisely.

My question was meant to be open-ended as well, however. Is a genotype that gives a child a 200-plus IQ at greatly
increased risk of obesity and morbidity at age 30 a birth defect?

What if it was consciously chosen by the child's parent? What if they were in such a hurry to procreate that they used
technology with such a side effect, but unforeseen by them? WHat if they just blithely tossed off the risks: "it's my
baby, back off!"


Much of this might seem to have already been covered here, with people having in some cases retired to previously
prepared positions, but I wanted to point out that the issue is still a big deal. See also the thread on Nanodot (can't
lay my hands on the URL at the moment) regarding an outspoken critic of the ethics of "enhancing" unborns.

URL to follow.

"Ross A. Finlayson" wrote:
> Michael M. Butler wrote:
> > We're up against the children-as-chattel thing, too. Spang on. This is *very* tricky territory. Also speaks to the
> > "should parents hack their kids" thinking I've contributed to recently.
> >
> > What is a birth defect? Who decides? When? How? Who says?
> >
> A birth defect is when the child would die when living regularly and unaided in the environment with the other
> children, where they would not, on average.
> That's a major birth defect.
> Minor birth defects include cleft palates, and generally various other "serious" "physical" "deformities" where the
> mutation or actual result of incompatible reproduction is not beneficial specifically to the individual.
> >
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > In a message dated 3/29/01 10:58:59 AM, writes:
> > >
> > > >Oh of course, I'm thinking more along the lines of Dr. Moreau.... ;) The
> > > >problems can't be fixed unless research is allowed. All the US
> > > >legislation (and in other developed countries) is doing is ensuring that
> > > >the test subjects will be third worlders, under no legal protections...
> > >
> > > Research needs to be done, but it needs to be done on primates. The catch
> > > of restricting research, of course, is people who currently want cloning,
> > > such as infertile couples, but may be too old to raise a child by the time
> > > it's low-risk for people.
> > >
> > > One important ethical point, in relation to the infertile, is that our society
> > > *absolutely* allows reproduction that puts the fetus at great risk, as
> > > long as it's the only option for the parents. Tay-Sachs or cystic fibrosis
> > > carrier couples can have children, even though they have a 1/4 risk of
> > > producing a child with defects far worse than what have come from
> > > cloning. Huntingdon's carriers can reproduce with a 50% risk of a very
> > > nasty disease. Couples with serious fertility problems are downright
> > > encouraged to keep trying, even after multiple miscarriages show another
> > > is a virtual certainty. Even when risk is avoidable - such as fetal alcohol
> > > syndrome - punishment is rare and severe punishment absent.
> > >
> > > If fetal risk requires barring cloning even for infertile couples, integrity
> > > requires we shut down most infertility treatment and unleash the hounds of
> > > eugenics on carriers. I don't want to do that, and I hope most other people
> > > don't either. Unfortunately, Congress isn't know for ethical integrity.
> > > It is unnerving, though, that this ban would provide future precedent for
> > > eugenics legislation. The basic principle: that Congress may legislate
> > > reproduction for the purpose of protecting good genetics, is the founding
> > > principle of coercive eugenics.
> Basically, we can actually look forward to a relatively decent government. I think this is because we do have
> historians, and many old people.
> Ross
> --
> Ross Andrew Finlayson
> Finlayson Consulting
> Ross at Tiki-Lounge:
> "It's always one more." - Internet multi-player computer game player

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