Re: the "not to be born" right

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sun Nov 19 2000 - 02:07:10 MST writes:

> It seems to me there are two ways to look at it. One is to be
> conservative (for an Extropian) and to say that germ line engineering
> is new, it is unpredictable in its consequences, and so we should only
> allow or support changes which are clearly safe, along the lines Anders
> proposes.
> How much worse is germ line engineering than moving to a land where you
> don't even know if your children will be able to survive? And where,
> in many historical cases, children did not survive? Should we condemn
> those who took chances in the past? Or don't we applaud their courage
> and daring?

Hmm, so if neobioconservatives hardwire their children for a "natural"
lifespan and add in some genetic diseases to give them a taste of the
human condition, we should applaud it? After all, things like that
will increase the range of human variation, and it may turn out that
it is actually a good idea as suggested by one of the futures
sf-stories in Nature, where a massive epidemic wiped out everybody
without Tay Sachs-genes).

Taking risks is necessary, but taking unnecessary risks is
irrational. The same goes for genetic modifications; I really doubt
many parents would select highly risky treatments for their
children-to-be. That is not really the issue here, but how to handle
the fact that if parents select genes they might create initial
conditions that are adverse to the person that later develops. Should
there exist some form of feedback or compensation system so that
children can express their rights once they have become persons? It is
not an issue of banning certain forms of radical changes, but rather
making parents aware of the different potential costs of different

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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