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Future Athlete? .... (evolution revisited)

Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by Oh8ch, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. Oh8ch

    Oh8ch Cognoscente of Omphaloskepsis Staff Member

    We had a nice thread on evolution on here a while back and I thought I would revisit that topic, but take it in another direction.

    The linked story describes a five year old with extraordinary muscle development due to a genetic mutation.,1713,BDC_2420_2984793,00.html

    As scientists/doctors continue to develop the ability to 'tweak' genes to solve medical problems such as muscular dystrophy (something most sympathetic people would support) they will simultaneously develop the ability to tweak genes to create super-humans. Just as the same surgical procedures that allow us to repair damaged hearts and remove cancerous tumors allow us to create perfect breasts and noses, so to will our ability to turn off the 'retardation' gene allow us to turn on the 'extra-intelligent' gene. How long before any parent with a few extra thousand can not only have their child circumcised, but made strong, attractive, and brilliant before they leave the hospital (if not before they leave the womb)?

    For those who haven't done much reading on the mapping of genes I highly recommend it. Scientists have discovered genes that control strength, speed, disease resistance, intelligence (across many dimensions), mental health, fight-or-flight impulse, initiative, and other characteristics we commonly associate with our traditional definition of 'free will'.

    These changes would not meet the definition of true evolution (since these genetic tweakings would not be passed to off spring - although even that is readily conceivable) but it certainly marks a change in the future of humanity. What parent - were such techinques available - would not pay for such a procedure when failure to do so would leave his child unable to compete with the off spring of those who do? How quickly does it change from a bonus for children who receive such tweaking to cruelty towards those who do not?

    Will liberals demand that the government fund such procedures for all children? Will religious fundamentalists demand it be outlawed and force such procedures underground and overseas? Will the Chinese get there first and rule the world? Will we find ourselves left behind by a generation of super-humans created 20 years from now? Will JT get there ahead of Lloyd Carr? Is Oh8ch over-reaching on the potential of genetic manipulation? The implications are fascinating. And it could realistically change the face of humanity in a single generation.
  2. buckeyegrad

    buckeyegrad Don't Immanentize the Eschaton Staff Member

    All I can say is that nothing good can come from this. I base this claim on my reading of comic books, watching the SciFi Channel, and reading science fiction
  3. FKAGobucks877

    FKAGobucks877 The Most Power-Drunk

    There was a movie about 10 years ago or so (maybe longer, I'm getting old) that was about exactly what Oh8ch is describing. I just can't remember what it is called. It had Ethan Hawke in it. But the work of fiction outlined exactly what Oh says above. Quite scary.
  4. kinch

    kinch Wash me Staff Member

    That movie, Gattaca (sp?), points out exactly why we need to make genetic engineering free for all. Poor Ethan was just a normal guy trying to make his way.. .


    My hope, and also what I hope to be the highest probability:

    I don't think only fundamentalists will be against the altering of genes. I assume many will not find this practice to be either moral, natural, or healthy. In much of Europe, for instance, there is still a lot of opposition to genetically modified foods, which we eat all the time here in the USA. Most of these Europeans feel the way they do for reasons other than religion (I believe). I see religion as being one faction in a wide coalition against unnecessary modification of genetics.

    As to what may be considered necessary modification, the cure of certain diseases, this may progress one disease at a time on much the same path as drug cures. Assuming this will only be used to cure, or perhaps more accurately prevent, certain horrible diseases this may not be bad. There will be opposition to this as well; but I believe, at least somewhere, this type of modication will move forward. Whether this is a slippery slope could raise an interesting issue. What if, for instance, you could prevent allergies? From there what about preventing stupidity? What about beauty? I hope this won't happen. I would hate to see Michigan cheerleaders and not feel that I could distract them with a Twinkie - it would ruin the game.

    Finally, I do see it as possible that a country like China could abuse this technology. I think it would be only in an experimental capacity, and I believe this is possible as they don't have the same respect for human rights as we do. They could just round some people up. Okay, actually, maybe not China, which is getting better, but somewhere. . .

    Anyway, it should be interesting and I trust we will be here to see how this develops.
  5. exhawg

    exhawg Mirror Guy Staff Member

  6. LightningRod

    LightningRod Senior

    Is this Pete's #1 toddler?


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