Re: the "not to be born" right

Date: Tue Nov 21 2000 - 22:28:23 MST

Anders Sandberg, <>, writes:

> 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).

I suppose that if that future came to pass, then in fact people would
applaud that devotion to genetic diversity in the past. However from
our present perspective we don't know that this will happen.

> 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
> changes.

What about a parent who takes his child into space on some kind of
irreversible journey (say, a traditional SF generation ship to the stars)?
Should children conceived on such a trip be able to sue their parents?
Should the children on the Mayflower have sued their parents for exposing
them to the hardships of the New World? I don't think we can categorize
such journeys into necessary vs unnecessary risks.


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