Re: Gene Therapy & Ethics [was Re: AI Backlash]
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 11:35:36 -0700

Robert J. Bradbury, <>, writes:

> The *sticky* point in my mind is we are entering the time when treatments
> that are entirely "enhancements", rather than "necessities" are available.
> If the Extropian principles are those which should encourage diversity,
> minimize tyranny, manipulation/control by power bodies/majorities
> (including parents or medical authorities), etc., then it would seem to
> me that --
>   Extropians should be fundamentally opposed to all germline or
>   childhood gene therapies that are not essential for the survival
>   of the individual (to a time where they an give "informed consent").

I argued the opposite last October:

: Under what circumstances is it legitimate to alter the genome and create
: a genetically altered person who is better adapted to some environments
: but worse for others? In space, the legless person, or someone with
: hands instead of feet, may have an advantage. But you can't ask in
: advance.
: The question is related to the issue of whether it is right to bring
: children into the world in other circumstances where their choices may
: be limited.
: Historically, people have had the right to raise their offspring into
: virtually any circumstances. They travel to dangerous new continents and
: raise children in hard conditions. Nobody asks the kids if they mind;
: it's impossible to do so until after their born, and then it's too late.
: [...]
: If we accept the
: historical precedent for parents to have children in environments which
: limit their choices, shouldn't we accept that modifying them is equally
: permissible?