[ExI] any dispute?

Tara Maya tara at taramayastales.com
Tue May 12 22:00:09 UTC 2015

Tara Maya
Blog <http://taramayastales.blogspot.com/>  |  Twitter <https://twitter.com/taramayastales>  |  Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Unfinished-Song-Epic-Fantasy/310271375658211?ref=hl>  |  Amazon <http://www.amazon.com/Tara-Maya/e/B004HAI038/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1349796143&sr=8-2-ent>  |  Goodreads <http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2951879.Tara_Maya>

> On May 12, 2015, at 11:39 AM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
> Dave Sill <sparge at gmail.com <mailto:sparge at gmail.com>> , 12/5/2015 4:58 PM:
> Clearly meant to remind one of the Nazis. Wikipedia summarizes the dangers nicely:
> "The main critique towards eugenics policies is that regardless of whether "negative" or "positive" policies are used, they are vulnerable to political abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in power. Furthermore, negative eugenics in particular is considered by many to be a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduction."
> Which is of course a problematic argument against liberal eugenics, which leaves the choice up to the parents.

Indeed, the classical liberal argument for decentralizing power, and retaining as many rights to the individual, applies equally to preimplantation genetic planning.

While a wave of popular opinion might sway a large number of parents to make stupid genetic choices for their children at the same time (i.e. similar to the spread of the idiot idea that vaccines cause autism which led schools in rich, educated neighborhoods to suddenly see outbreaks of vanquished diseases resurgent), the chances that EVERY parent, or even MOST parents making the exact same choices for their children across a society are precisely nil.

In fact, the only way a society could impose the exact same genetic values on all the children of a generation at once is if it is enforced by the government, and non-compliant parents are either a) deprived of reproductive rights or b) deprived of their lives/liberty.

Now, if one takes away the straw argument of the original argument—that ALL parents would choose the same racial palette for their children, which is false and silly—one still may find that a huge number of parents DO want, consistently to improve three things for their children: health, capacity, and beauty. Not all parents will define those exactly alike, but it is true that almost all parents value those. Most parents probably do see intelligence as a large contributor to capacity, but if one wants a musical child, other things might be important too, like perfect pitch. (There’s also some evidence that perfect pitch is genetic.)

The problem then becomes one of a Free Market vs a Black Market. Tons of nations in the past and many others in the present tried to stop or change the Demographic Revolution by taking away women’s right to an abortion. And of course, some make the same arguments about abortion as about genetic planning of future offspring, that it somehow violates the right of an unborn person. However, the result of outlawing abortion is only to make it a black market operation. It is practiced in every nation on earth. 

Once the technology for preimplantation genetic planning becomes widespread and affordable, no amount of outlawing it will prevent it. The urgent and innate parental need to give their children every possible advantage will simply drive parents to the black market. Outlawing it will also make it more of a class issue, as rich parents will be able to get around the laws more easily (through clever legal loopholes or going overseas to nations where it’s legal, as happens now with preimplantation gender selection), while poor parents have to take more risks or go without.

In fact, the current argument about preimplantation gender selection is very relevant to where the fault lines for more comprehensive preimplantation genetic selection is likely to go. Right now gender selection is illegal in Western Europe, Britain, and Australia but legal in East Europe, Turkey, Mexico and the US. The result is a growing medical migration of parents who want it from the states where its not legal to those where it is to have the operation done. It’s still extremely pricy, so those numbers are small, but if the price drops and success rates of the operation go up, the number of parents willing to do it will rise as well. There is a huge unmet demand by parents to “gender balance” their families. (In the past, when parents had 10 kids, the chances of having at least one of each sex was high, but when parents only have two, it’s much more difficult to make sure those two are a boy and a girl. The argument that gender selection will always be sexist doesn’t reflect the choices of Western parents.)

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20150512/47d8663a/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list