This entry on MSN caught my eye – people now have the ability, with near 100% accuracy, of choosing the sex of their children. Personally this doesn’t bother me at all – I believe it was inevitable.
What surprised me was that this is banned in the UK (and potentially other places) on the grounds that it is morally troublesome. I don’t see it, but OK. The article then suggests this is a slippery slope towards choosing the eye color, hair color, and intelligence of your children. Now, I’m no geneticist (but I play one on TV), but I have a contact in the ultra high-end genetic companies who tells me that figuring out the genetic blueprint for something as complicated as intelligence may be 100 years away – or more. Let’s not jump off the deep end here.
Of course, why is it bad exactly to make sure our kids end up smart? How is this bad for mankind? And without getting too Darwinian here (in deference to our creationist readers) this might be looked at as an extension of natural selection even.
OK, all this though isn’t what prompted me to post. Here is a paraphrased quote from the article (emphasis is mine.)
‘Just last week the President’s Council on Bioethics discussed proposals for possible legislation that would ban the buying and selling of human embryos and far-out reproductive experimentation, like creating human-animal hybrids.’
Seriously – this not only made me laugh out loud, but also made me think. Is there something wrong with experimenting in creating hybrids? I guess I’ll also point out that human-animal hybrid is an oxymoron given that all humans are animals. But what would be so wrong with, say, a human/bird that has wings?
I could really use eagle sight, condor wings, a dog nose, and let’s throw in gorilla strength, just for fun. Damn, I’d be a fine looking specimen to with my elongated nose, full body hair, and huge wings. The ladies would flock to me! So to speak…
I seem to recall that genetic manipulation to mankinds benefit is an important part of the Culture novels from Iain M. Banks (who totally rocks, btw.) All I can see are benefits – besides the inevitable few ‘The Fly‘ mistakes. But such is the price of progress…