Wednesday, November 29, 2006


SAY IT AIN'T SO, DICK!


"But if you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability? Objections such as 'these are not one-dimensional abilities' apply equally to cows, horses and dogs and never stopped anybody in practice.

"I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler's death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them. I can think of some answers, and they are good ones, which would probably end up persuading me. But hasn't the time come when we should stop being frightened even to put the question?"

It's not impossible; Hitler tried it, no doubt others are trying it even now; and to some extent it has always been done through arranged marriages, sectarian marriages and the like; but even then, as historically and incestuously among animals, precision was left to fate and defectives were rife.

But now that precision is coming more and more into our own hands, that is where the problem lies: who will decide? Who can be trusted with forever? Who has not only the technical knowledge and the moral integrity, but also the transcendental perspective?

And how crass would it be to purposely 'breed' a child who was a prodigious talent? What personal pride and integrity would that individual enjoy, when everyone knew their talent was 'artificial'? Here you are toying with things beyond science, where dangers reach far beyond grotesquerie...

Nature will always know more than we can know, and will always do more than we can comprehend; no matter the narcissistic pride we take in our new technologies, our tamperings will always be crude and darkling, relative to all the light. In this regard I'm reminded of the opinion of the native American when asked about the quality of the new salmon his people had been catching, that had been scientifically restored at last to the northwest rivers through artificial insemination and release as fingerlings. The new salmon were small, stupid and less tasty. This was because, as a species, they had been deprived of natural selection, comprehensive ecochallenge and unbroken species experience. Science can never replace these elements, for they are not replicate in the DNA. Imagine the equivalent picture for humans, a picture we have only begun to see...

But when has imagination ever stopped science?

8 comments:

Dalene said...

Until we can cure diseases, care for the planet, care for each other so not one human has an empty belly or broken heart ... when there are no more wars or Darfurs ... when we learn as a collective whole how to be good at being human should we even begin to consider creating designer humans. And by then, perhaps we will be wise enough and responsible enough to realize the implications of such an attempt... Until then, just because we might have the ability to do something does not mean we should be doing it.

Ronni Bennett said...

You're right, we won't be able to stop this. I've tried and tried, but I cannot understand how people believe this kind of human breeding could have anything but a negative affect on humans - individually and collectively.

Tabor said...

It is all about power and control. Just like winning a war, there is all the little leftover stuff that affects the future---not the "victory."

Maya's Granny said...

I don't know how one could have pride in the abilities that were artificially bred into a person -- and I don't understand how a person can find pride in the appearance created by the plastic surgon. I think that I would always be reminded that my nose wasn't good enough when I looked in the mirror.

Mary Lou said...

Making laws to prevent this will only put in exclusively in the hands of the UNethical and Lord only knows where that will lead! I would hope that we could use this knowledge to further human kind and not for it's destruction.

Winston said...

I had previously posted this on nobodyasked.com this morning:

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. — Samuel Johnson

dm-st said...

All people should cares about each other.

dm-st said...

Let's help each other.