[ExI] article about Rafal and his daughter

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Fri Jun 24 16:16:51 UTC 2022

On Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 11:45 AM Gadersd via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Thank you Jason. You precisely explained my misgivings regarding gene
> manipulation and saved me the effort of writing it all out. I am especially
> concerned with issue #3. Diversity and uniqueness of experience is
> something I value perhaps more than anything else. Maximizing some features
> always comes at the cost of something else which may be quite valuable to
> some. If everyone were an Einstein who would want to be a farmer or artist?
> Some people may see a world full of genius physicists as inherently better,
> but others may lament the potential loss of creativity among others.

Thanks for your kind comments.

You make a very good point and state it very well. The world does need all

I worry that our present understanding of the underlying biological
balances and processes behind various diseases may be inadequate to make
these decisions.

Cancer cells for example, are constantly appearing in everyone all the
time, but other processes keep it in check. There's a balance between
growth factors and autoimmunity that keeps cancer from getting out of
control. When we select for people less likely to get cancer, might we be
selecting for people with less growth factors, who may not have the same
potential to be star athletes? Might we be inadvertently selecting for
people with increased risks of autoimmune conditions?

Diabetes and heart diseases are almost non-existent in traditional
societies. Might they be driven more by environmental factors than
genetics? We live in a very different environment from the one we evolved
in, and this environment is changing quickly and in ways that are not easy
to predict. How certain are we that the genes we choose to eliminate won't
be important later on or in new environments? E.g., we may be approaching a
future where we can create gene-optimized custom diets for everyone.

And speaking of Einstein, might his talents have been correlated with other
markers for diseases? E.g., might we reject an embryo that showed signs of
high vascularity in the brain that predisposed that embryo for a brain
bleed, and thereby deprive the world of our next Einstein?

Books could be written on these matters.


> On Jun 24, 2022, at 10:44 AM, Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> 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.
> Jason
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