[ExI] article about Rafal and his daughter

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Fri Jun 24 14:44:11 UTC 2022

On Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 11:32 PM Rafal Smigrodzki via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 8:58 PM Gadersd via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> I should clarify that I approve selecting one embryo over another if
>> there is a very significant genetic downside with one such as down
>> syndrome. Selecting one embryo over another for a very slight improvement
>> irks me for previously mentioned reasons.
> ### Let's say you are faced with two possible courses of action:
> A) Results in X% risk of disease, trivial or severe, or inconvenience or
> other unpleasantness afflicting your child
> B) Results in X+1% risk of risk of the above outcomes
> Assume the costs of either action are the same and there is no impact on
> you or third parties except through the different effects on your child.
> Are you telling me there is a plausible situation where taking option B is
> preferable to option A? Under what ethics?

To play devil's advocate:

1. These ethics implicitly assume we know better than nature. Some things
we may interpret as a disease may offer survival advantages for the group,
or in different environmental conditions different from those we are
presently in, and by eliminating those genes we may inadvertently weaken
the survivability of the species.

2. The economic pressures it will impose on those who refuse to genetically
select their children (e.g. as in gattaca), it indirectly removes the
choice, or at minimum imposes a very high cost for refusal, for all parents.

3. It will reduce the number of unique people and genes that will exist
across the multiverse. If the same deterministic algorithm is used to find
the best sperm and egg sample between any two parents, it drastically
shrinks the diversity of unique individuals who will be born somewhere in
reality. Is this a good thing? Not sure but it I can see downsides to it,
mostly relating to the difference in trade offs between "exploration and
exploitation" or "diversity of experiences vs. quality of experiences".

There are surely certain universally bad diseases, like fatal early
childhood ones. But how abd where do we draw the line?

How do we determine when there are no compensatory benefits for what some
consider a disease? E.g. if some genes cause someone to develop rashes
easily, a dermatologist might say it's a disease, but an immunologist might
later find their overactive immune system gives them immunity to a wide
range of certain novel diseases. Can we accurately weigh such unknowns?

Gene manipulation of our own species is an area where we must tread
cautiously as our power vastly outstrips our wisdom in this area, and some
bells can't be unrung.

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