[ExI] 23andme again

spike spike at rainier66.com
Wed Jun 26 00:33:56 UTC 2013

>I'd say reveal. You may wish to guide her through how to get the info.



Thanks Adrian.


Other voices please?


I can make Adrian's case stronger, without actually saying I fully embrace
it, as follows:


This young lady did nothing wrong.  She is an only child, as was her mother,
so she has no known bio-first-cousins.  Her step-father supplied genetically
unrelated first cousins, who had little to do with her.  My own first
cousins, a round dozen of them, have enriched my life more than I can say: I
love them all, never had a cross word with any of them, always had a good
time, cried together at our grandparents funerals, laughed together often.
This young lady is lonely for her own cousins, I get that.  Now I come to
find out there are plenty of them around: her bio-father was the youngest of
five children, who were all apparently prolific.  So this young lady had a
definite non-zero risk of marrying or at least copulating with one of her
own first cousins unbeknown, for they live in her general area.  She has the
right to know who they are.


On the other hand.


I really had no justification to go off Googling like some kind of
Neanderthal cyber stalker.  I put myself in this mess, so really it is my
damn fault.  If her mother wouldn't tell her own daughter, who the hell am I
to come along and countermand that decision?  I don't know these people,
have very little knowledge of our apparent common ancestor.  This bio-father
is actually a third cousin once removed from me, and his bio-offspring are
my fourth cousins.  I didn't get their blessing in wedging my nose in their
business.  The potential for harm is great, and my vague intuition is that
the potential harm may outweigh the benefits.  


But in any case, I am not the one who has the right to make that choice.  I
might go with Adrian's suggestion in gently guiding the young lady in how to
find what I found.


Before I do anything, I want to hear from Gina Nanogirl Miller, who has been
there and back.


I have long been the schizophrenic-on-that-topic openness advocate.  But
even I realize that between Facebook, Ancestry.com and 23andMe, it is easy
to imagine all manner of long dead secrets could be dug up and yanked out of
their graves, with or without their consent.


I still don't feel good about either of my choices, but I may be tipping
back the other way now.








From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 4:58 PM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] 23andme again


I'd say reveal.  As you say, she
arguably had a right to it.  Whether
or not she is capable of obtaining
the info on her own (and she may
well learn), she may have others
who can get it.  Further, who
exactly would you be protecting
(of those entitled to said

You may wish to guide her
through how to get the info,
telling her she needs to learn how
to do this as part of handling this
info responsibly.  But if you do, do
let her know up front that the info is
available, and that you're being
roundabout only out of pure ethical

On Jun 25, 2013 4:22 PM, "spike" <spike at rainier66.com> wrote:


Zowwie, 23andMe has put me into a hell of an ethical dilemma, or perhaps
more accurately, I have put myself in an ethical dilemma.  Advice or comment
from ethical hipsters most welcome.


Background:  inside of two weeks, I have discovered a second illegitimacy in
my own ancestry.  We knew from family tradition that one of our great great
grandfathers was an illegitimate born in about 1855, so that branch of the
tree came to an end, and has been a dead end for over a century: no one knew
who his bio father was.  I compared notes with a 23andMe cousin, and between
us we figured out the likely candidate.  Hey, it was 1855, in a town three
hours from anything, with a total population of 200 people.  In those kinds
of places, after dark there is nothing to do.  I was delighted to know this
of course, and to be the first in the family to discover it.


Yesterday, a young lady contacted me because I was on her list of 3rd or 4th
cousins from 23andMe.  She didn't know how to use any of the software tools
in that, but suggested we share genomes, which I did.  She revealed that she
was an illegitimate child raised by a stepfather She commented that she
wanted to find her bio-father but didn't know where or how to do those kinds
of searches and couldn't afford a professional, and that the only thing she
knew about her bio father was all her mother would tell: first name, middle
initial and last name, which isn't much.  But it is an unusual last name,
and it matched one of the oddball names in my 23andMe list.


This young lady is clearly unsophisticated, as is easy to tell from her
post.  Less than an hour of searching through Facebook pages, genealogy
sites and Spokeo, I figured out who is the likely father, and that he lives
not all that far from this third cousin.


Ethical dilemma: do I tell her?  


My ethics intuition suggests that I refrain from mentioning even that I have
that info.  Unless someone comes up with an argument to the contrary, good
chance I will stifle it.  Principle: don't reveal information against
someone else's will.  


But what if it contradicts the will of a third party who may be morally
entitled to that information?


Is it clear now that 23andMe will lead to tall piles of these kinds of moral
dilemmas, and people's reaction to them will be all over the map.  I don't
feel very comfortable with either of my choices in this case.


Gina Nanogirl Miller, comments please?  Max and the ethics hipsters,
comments please?  What would Anders do?



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