I went to the start of this thread and looked at your responding arguments to the statement you posted when you started this thread.
I am still scratching my head looking for downsides in my approach
Well here are 8 problems that have been presented to you.
retired1af asked you...
So who determines which traits are desirable and those that are not?
Well I think it should be the parents' choice initially
Parents are now able to ask for testing to see if there child will be born with down-syndrome. Many refuse the test, it just doesn't matter to them because of the value they put on a life. Others get the test and still decide to have the child even when the test concludes their child will have down syndrome for the same reason. What reasonable person would conclude that expecting parents would terminate a pregnancy because there is a 50%-75% chance their child would be greedy, aggressive, or inconsiderate. Close to none.
Downside #1...How could you convince a parent to dispel their own beliefs and feelings and terminate the life they created, 100% of the time.
a desirable society could mean anything. what is desirable to you may not be to me.
To which you agreed. Then somehow simply ignored with a list of the ills of the world that are all arguably solvable with improvements to laws, education, and properly placed economic incentives.
In short you never over came the argument so.....
Downside #2. Who decides on the criteria and even if decided on who chooses to carry out the termination. (See downside #1.)
Bigpaws, rbistolfi, and myself
In a variety of ways we argued that nurture and environment has a greater or equal effect on individual behavior than genetics.
Well cultural and biological engineering aren't mutually exclusive
To put it in cybernetic terms, we could provide higher quality input and make sure it's transduced into productive behavior more effectively
You misunderstand the objection, however. This is not a matter of exclusivity, but of priority. Changing economic, political, educational, and health conditions will have a far greater impact, in a much lesser time period, with far less resistance.
Downside #3. Not enough juice for the squeeze.
I thought tomh38 made an excellent point when he said...
It's really not a question of whether there will be genetically engineered humans; it's more a question of when, by whom, and to what purpose.
Given what we know from recorded history (granted, not much information about a pretty short period of time, but it's all we've got), I don't think we're going to get people who are genetically engineered to be more intelligent and more conscientious. From what I can tell, we're more likely to get:
1) Reversal of male pattern baldness, 2) Breast augmentation, 3) Increased athletic abilities, 4) Fewer wrinkles and blemishes of the skin, 5) Long, luxurious hair which shines and flows, 6) Whiter, more durable teeth ... I think you must get my point.
So downside number #4. Human GE, is more likely to follow the money and be sucked in by consumerism than it is to be used to cure the world of evil.
We still don't know enough about genetics to create a "super race". As soon as you start playing with single gene mutations, recessive traits become more pronounced. So now, instead of creating something that's better, you may actually wind up with something that's worse.
I really couldn't find where you countered this argument. Some where you said try harder, but that means nothing. Until you can overcome this one you are stuck at the research stage, not implementation.
Problem #5. We are just not there yet.
Well at least in your world we could have wiped out Newton before he was even born because he is carrying the 'asswipe' gene.
I was responding to your comment...
A lot of people who handled large responsibilities very well were incredibly petty in some ways
Look at what Newton did to Robert Hooke. He was an utter asswipe as a person, but he managed to invent the calculus and a lot of modern physics and serve as an official competently
The point of the comment (we don't fully understand what potentials we are wiping out) I don't think was lost on you. Since you responded...
Well how awful would it be to forgo Newton for ten ethically superior Newtonesque people
Which is just a bad argument, since while you can control whether or not you terminate a life in the womb, you have no control or guaranty of what may or may not come to replace it. Well, the argument was just bad.
So problem #6. Your human Genome plan makes no attempt to identify what could be positive Genes. One asswipe Gene and your dead, even if you have a physics genius gene in the mix.
2. You see this as a way to bring world order. But, you have to also be able to see that it is a way to make the gap between the have's and the have-nots even wider.
Could genetic manipulation confer superior ability on people or not? You seem to be admitting that it could here, at least tacitly, just after downplaying the importance of the same. Make up your mind
This is another non-answer. It does not overcome the objection. It is simply a tactic, to side step and ignore this potential downside.
Problem #7. Further division of the classes, the genetically chosen, versus the mutts.
3. You say we are an imperfect people right now, but don't recognize this as the catch-22 you should fear. It is the imperfect people of the current of near future that will be administering this program and sure enough they will screw it up.
There's the biggest obstacle, I think. For this reason genetic engineering of humans would have be regulated and incremental
That was actually the first and only time I've read you offering a solution to a proposed problem. Well done. Do you see the difference? You will say no, but just saying you don't agree does not make it so.
Problem #8...Even if the science is ready, we are not ready as a race to implement it.
Here is how I think you should have made the argument.
By 2050 world population is estimated at 9 billion. Even with reduced fertility rates the estimates for 2100 are 11 billion. Without any great mastery of mathematics it is easy to see that at some point that this growth will no longer be sustainable. It will become necessary for governments to use the rule of law to limit couples to only one child. I think in this environment human GE, will almost become inevitable. Government control within hospitals will be necessary to enforce the one child law. The termination of zygotes just because they are the second child will be so common place as to negate the negative impact of the practice in the minds of the population. Corporations will capitalize on couples only being able to have one child by promising them a better one through human GE. The practice will start with screening for hereditary decease. It will then branch of into cosmetic consumer features, hair color, eye color, how tall, etc. Once that genie is out of the bottle, however, the door to manipulating markers for human behavior will be the next frontier. The government will use human GE as an incentive to bring people to the hospitals as opposed to giving birth at home under the radar, they will even cover costs. After perhaps a decade of covering the costs for the procedure they will start making stipulations for the coverage. They will also have some criteria for the zygotes to meet to be allowed to be considered viable. Criminal and social behavior markers, perhaps.
Really, maybe the question shouldn't be "Should we ?" but "What can we do now to prevent it."