Biotechnology

New Company Practices Virtual Eugenics

GenePeeks aids parents in their quest for healthier babies by reducing the odds of structural or genetic birth defects.

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GenePeeks
GenePeeks

Childbearing is a lottery. The good news is that most babies are winners who are born without major structural or genetic birth defects. But wouldn't it be good to stack the odds further in favor of having a healthy baby?

That's the aim of the new genetic testing company GenePeeks. Co-founded by the Princeton geneticist Lee Silver and the Harvard Business School professor Anne Morriss, GenePeeks and its Matchright service pair women wanting to use donated sperm with donors whose genes, when combined with theirs, are more likely to produce a healthy child.

Morriss has a particular personal interest in the technology. Morriss and her wife Frances Frei decided six years ago to have a child using the services of a reputable sperm bank. They pored over the profiles of potential donors and selected one; nine months later, Morriss gave birth to their son Alec. A routine infant screening test found that Alec had been born with a rare (1 in 17,000) genetic disorder, medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency, that blocks him from converting certain fats into energy. To prevent seizures and sudden death, he would need to be fed every few hours.

No one in Morriss' family had ever suffered from the disorder, but she was a carrier of the recessive gene that only manifests the disease when it is inherited from both parents. Unluckily, the sperm donor she chose was also a carrier. GenePeeks would have steered Morriss away from him.

Recessive
GenePeeks

No individual's genome is free of all potentially harmful genetic variants. Indeed, researchers estimate that every person carries about 400 damaging genetic variants. (For example, my genotype test at 23andMe reports that I have a recessive allele for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. People born with two Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency alleles are at greater risk of lung and liver disease.) So GenePeeks has partnered with two sperm banks, one in New York and another in Seattle. (They hope to work with more sources in the future.) Donors at both banks have been screened for specific recessive genes related to various disorders. GenePeeks also tests each client seeking donated sperm for the same recessive variants.

The company takes those results and, using algorithms devised by Silver, simulates the fertilization process by digitally combining the client's and donors' test results to generate the genomes of thousands of virtual children. The system then gauges the likelihood that the genetic combinations would produce disease. Donor matches that yield a higher risk of complications are screened out. The client is then offered a customized catalog of donors whose genetic variants—when combined with the client's—are less likely to produce the genetic disorders included in the company's test panel.

New York State strictly regulates the types of diagnostic information that test laboratories provide to clients. To avoid regulatory hassles, GenePeeks does not provide its clients with any information about the specific conditions associated with any particular pairing. Instead, if a pairing exceeds a predetermined threshold for genetic risk, the donor is simply removed from the client's consideration. Typically, the results from Matchright pairings will exclude about 20 percent of the current donors from an individual client's catalog.

Right now the company has 162 gene-screened donors available. The client tests are done by an outside laboratory, and the company promises a 4-week turnaround time. The Matchright service costs $1,995, on top of the other charges associated with artificial insemination.

Will Matchright genetic screening ever be applied to egg donors as well? "That day may be very soon," Silver says. "We are in negotiations with an egg bank right now."

The Matchright process reduces genetic risk, but it cannot guarantee that a client won't give birth to a sick baby. While the company tests for about 500 recessive disease variants, it does not test for the thousands of different rare genetic variants that researchers believe are associated with various disorders. In addition, the company is not currently testing for disorders linked to X chromosomes, which are more frequently expressed in men since they inherit only one X chromosome from their mothers. And its tests cannot detect chromosomal abnormalities that occur after fertilization, such as those that result in children being born, for example, with Down Syndrome.

That being said, the Matchright process can easily include and evaluate new information about genetic disease risks as it becomes available and eventually even scale up to analyze complex conditions in which multiple genes play a part.

Naturally the new technology has provoked objections. In a New Scientist article, Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Berkeley-based Center for Genetics and Society, warned that "we could find ourselves with new inequalities that are written into the genome." It's hard to see how increasing the chances that babies are born healthy will somehow result in the proliferation of invidious social inequalities.

"I think about it in simple terms," Morriss told The Boston Globe last year. "If we can reduce the number of kids that have to get these diseases, then we should." Or at least not stand in the way of prospective parents who want to use this technology to increase the odds that their kids will be born healthy.

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  1. What’s considered recessive today could very well be what saves the species tomorrow. We should embrace as much genetic diversification as possible. Playing god with nature will end in the same result as trying to play god with economies. That said it should be legal.

    1. OK. Your children can conserve the Tay Sachs gene.

      1. No, I reserve my right to be a raging hypocrite.

        1. What chromosone is that gene on? ;P

          1. I don’t know but unfortunately I don’t think it will ever “doctored” out of the gene pool.

            1. Natural selection no longer plays a large roll in the reproduction of genes for humans. People with diabetes go on to ‘live long lives of religious fulfillment’. They don’t exactly die in childhood anymore, which is a good thing but necessarily means deficient genes become more common over time. The next step of human evolution is when humans justifiably take control of their own evolution since we’ve already taken it out of the hands of nature for the most part.

              1. The next step of human evolution is when humans justifiably take control of their own evolution

                And this is different from eugenics, how? As long as the word “virtual” is included? Would removing a “gay-gene” be a good thing? What about removing genes relative to skin color?

                Manipulating, indeed identifying, the “bad genes” can be trusted to Top. Men? “Scientists”?

                1. It’s massively different. Old Eugenics was a tool for authoritarians to create the New Man. New Eugenics is going to make us better as individuals in accordance with our individual values.

                  1. @cytotoxic: If you don’t think this will lead to top men trying to wrestle this technology out of the hands of the individual consumer, your incredibly short sighted. That said the benefits right now far exceed the downside on the individual level, and we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

                2. And this is different from eugenics, how?

                  The evils of old timey eugenics was their use as a pseudo-scientific basis for tyranny, oppression and murder. So unless you want to level such charges against the modern version self-selecting gene reproduction, that would be the difference.

                  Would removing a “gay-gene” be a good thing?

                  Sure for some people, why not? Would removal of such a gene from my potential child be a problem for you? Please identify your standing to interfere in that decision.

                  What about removing genes relative to skin color?

                  What about it? What’s the problem other than it hurting your wittle fweelings?

                  Manipulating, indeed identifying, the “bad genes” can be trusted to Top. Men? “Scientists”?

                  Parents. Did someone propose there be some centralized power structure involved in the process? Or do you just not understand the meaning of the ‘Top Men’ reference?

                  1. The evils of old timey eugenics was their use as a pseudo-scientific basis for tyranny, oppression and murder. So unless you want to level such charges against the modern version self-selecting gene reproduction, that would be the difference.

                    Every technology is used for tyranny, oppression, and murder by the power-hungry whenever possible.

                    1. Every technology is used for tyranny, oppression, and murder by the power-hungry whenever possible.

                      Well the computers used by the NSA actually work because theoretical basis for their workings are accurate. The eugenics of yore didn’t actually ‘work’ because they were demonstrably false. The accuracy of the “scientific” findings were irrelevant to reality since they were false, but not irrelevant to the monstrous ideologies they were justifying.

                    2. The fact that more primitive eugenics didn’t work to fulfill Hitler’s goals is a good thing, not a bad thing.

                    3. Especially the two technologies developed just for that purpose: government and religion.

                  2. Parents. Did someone propose there be some centralized power structure involved in the process?

                    First time on Earth? As far as I know, there isn’t a place on the planet that does not have some “centralized power structure involved”. So no one has to propose what exists. IF you want to claim some alternate reality where there are not governments, please do. In such a place, created in your imagination, your statements would be undoubtedly correct.

                    1. First time on Earth? As far as I know, there isn’t a place on the planet that does not have some “centralized power structure involved”. So no one has to propose what exists. IF you want to claim some alternate reality where there are not governments, please do. In such a place, created in your imagination, your statements would be undoubtedly correct.

                      First time debating a topic? Your argument could be extrapolated to every invention in human history. So again, of what relevance is your non-factual that support for gene manipulation is support for a genocidal army of clone troopers?

                    2. support for gene manipulation is support for a genocidal army of clone troopers?

                      ??? Easy johnny, you will blow an o-ring.

                    3. ??? Easy johnny, you will blow an o-ring.

                      Just so we’re clear you’ve offered precisely nothing to validate your non-factual claim.

              2. How could it ever be out of the hands of nature, since we ourselves are a product of nature? I don’t know what the future is but it’s intellectually vain to think there won’t be unforeseen consequences of eliminating genes that have survived in humans for a centuries. Right now I see no downside for getting rid of these genes nor do I think this should be illegal in anyway. I just think we should be cautious in advancing any new technology.

                1. How will Top Men do that? Gene sequencing is trivial today even the cost is trivial and getting more so.

                  it’s intellectually vain to think there won’t be unforeseen consequences of eliminating genes that have survived in humans for a centuries.

                  Until I see evidence in favour of such consequences I am going to believe that the main consequence is healthier happier people.

                  1. Decreasing genetic diversity is always a bad thing. Look at the apple market, there used to be hundreds of varieties and now there’s a dozen. We get a new pest or fungus or virus, we’re fucked.

                    Same thing is going to happen with designer babies. Everyone’s going to want their kid to look like the latest movie star and not have any social difficulties and not get in trouble with the law. Yes, there is some selection based on evident physical and mental characteristics even in normal biological reproduction, but this is a much more micromanaged kind of thing.

                    1. Look at the apple market, there used to be hundreds of varieties and now there’s a dozen.

                      Thanks to the New Deal. True story.

                      Fortunately there are still lots of feral apple trees and abandoned orchards out there. Bananas are a much bigger problem.

                    2. Decreasing genetic diversity is always a bad thing.

                      You haven’t demonstrated how millions of people making millions of individual choices for their individual children’s individual genes will result in a loss of diversity.

                2. How could it ever be out of the hands of nature, since we ourselves are a product of nature?

                  If your use of the word “natural” were correct, then there’s not a thing in the entire universe that you could call ‘unnatural’. So really the Hubble Space telescope is as much a “natural satellite” of the Earth as the Moon is. Natural selection is not the same thing as unnatural selection, similar but they mean different things.

                  A child 200 years ago would have died of what today can be considered relatively mild afflictions. The genes for those afflictions are passed on more readily that would have been naturally possible, thus the effect of natural selection is essentially neutered in that regard.

                  1. We still depend on nature for food, water, air, thermoregulation, and energy. Yes, we’ve managed to harness nature’s processes to increase the amount of these things that we get, and control them to a very limited extent, but to say we’re independent of nature is ridiculous.

                    1. but to say we’re independent of nature is ridiculous.

                      Can you read? I didn’t say that. Let me repost for you, I wrote;

                      Natural selection no longer plays a large roll in the reproduction of genes for humans.

                      Do you not know what ‘natural selection’ is or did you just not read the post you’re responding to?

                  2. If your use of the word “natural” were correct

                    I’d say his use was correct. The problem is thinking that words can only have one meaning or sense.

                    1. I’d say his use was correct. The problem is thinking that words can only have one meaning or sense.

                      The word ‘natural’ in the term ‘natural selection’ has a very specific meaning. So whatever sense he is using the word, is not correct.

                    2. @Free Society- this threading sucks for having a conversation but I believe Zeb was referring to my comment at 2:22 and yours at 2:37.

                    3. Yes, stupid threading.

              3. Natural selection no longer plays a large roll in the reproduction of genes for humans.

                False.

                means deficient genes become more common over time.

                And there’s your “natural selection”.

                1. It’s not ‘natural selection’ if it’s ‘unnatural selection’. And there’s your derp.

                2. That’s actually a lack of selection.

                  1. Unnatural selection example; wolves being bred into dogs, selecting for characteristics the humans would prefer. Example of natural selection; feral dogs breeding themselves back into wolves based on characteristics that their environment selects for.

                    A situation where there is no selection at all is a situation where there is no reproduction at all.

                    1. Unnatural selection example; wolves being bred into dogs, selecting for characteristics the humans would prefer.

                      Which doesn’t happen in human reproduction, at least outside of Plato’s fantasies (and yours, in effect).

                    2. Individuals choosing individuals to reproduce with is human nature. A central agency selecting mating pairs based on their own preferences and interests is unnatural selection. You really are Tulpa aren’t you?

                    3. A situation where there is no selection at all is a situation where there is no reproduction at all.

                      No. If there is no selective pressure, there’s no selection. It might be more accurate to describe this as Neutral Selection.

                      http://www.answers.com/Q/What_is_neutral_selection

                    4. No. If there is no selective pressure, there’s no selection. It might be more accurate to describe this as Neutral Selection.

                      Genes are still being selected for or against, just on a random basis. Moreover what posted about ‘neutral selection’ describes it as a subset theory concerning natural selection. At best all it’s describing is random neutral mutations.

    2. People have been doing this for a million years, selecting mates based on height and muscle mass and intelligence in males, fat distribution and skin complexion and symmetry of appearance in women.

      1. valid point.

    3. Not every recessive deleterious mutation is the sickle-cell mutation that stops malaria. A lot of these recessive mutations are artefacts of population bottlenecks and reproductive isolation. I think cystic fibrosis and its high rate of incidence in Scandinavians is an example of this.

      In any event, there will be better ways to save the species, like in vivo gene therapy, which is actually a thing now.

      1. Agreed just making a counterpoint.

  2. I have to wonder; had they had this technology years ago, could they have discovered what was wrong with NutraSweet and stopped him from being born? Also Warty.

    1. I’m a friend of Mrs. NutraSweet. I was told she was here. Could I see her please?

      1. No, you can’t see her, she’s making a statement. It may take a while. Want to wait? There’s a bench over there.

        1. [measures the dimensions of the hallway]
          I’ll be back.

          1. Idle Hands is probably on PCP.

    2. Non-existence is just a state of mind.

    3. And Warty is a perfect human specimen.

      1. Human?!?

        1. More human than you, orchid cock.

          1. Its shape serves a purpose! One which my alien overlords have instructed me not to talk about!

          2. Doesn’t “orchid” mean nutsack or something?

            1. I was referring to his ambiguous genitalia, which some of his victims have described as looking like a purplish meat orchid.

              You are thinking of http://www.memidex.com/orchiectomy

  3. In a hundred years, the present controversy about ‘designer babies’ will seem as quaint and non-sensical as the opposition to smallpox vaccination.

  4. Yo ladies, you can’t win the lottery with getting a ticket. Play here and play often..OH!

  5. Are these GMO babies ?

    Do they come with a warning label ?

    1. They taste the same as non-GMO babies.

      But they are still better if milk-fed.

    2. Free-range is still the best, though. The marbling is better, IMO.

      1. grass fed or feed fed?

        1. Grass fed babies are too gamey.

          1. And good luck getting all those grass stains off the diapers.

            1. Free range babies don’t need diapers.

  6. While some object and trot out the tired “designer baby” trope,

    Why do I suspect a large degree of overlap with the people who are adamant about reproductive freedom? And a total lack of self-awareness or intellectual honesty/consistency?

    1. “a total lack of self-awareness or intellectual honesty/consistency?”

      Probably both.

  7. It’s hard to see how increasing the chances that babies are born healthy will somehow result in the proliferation of invidious social inequalities.

    We must mandate randomness, inheritable diseases and defects; Otherwise, only the rich will be able to afford super-babies.

    And that would be bad.

  8. Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Berkeley-based Center for Genetics and Society, warned that “we could find ourselves with new inequalities that are written into the genome.

    I remember a book a couple decades ago that worried about the same thing, and liberals hated it.

    1. Is the ‘it’ that liberals hated the book or the ‘inequalities’?

      1. You don’t know what book I’m referring to?

        1. No, that’s not my question. Did liberals hate the book or the ‘new inequalities’?

          1. They hated the book because it argued that genes caused inequality. The book’s primary argument was that increasing assortative mating would lead to permanent class divisions, but that was mostly ignored.

            1. “They hated the book because it argued that genes caused inequality. The book’s primary argument was that increasing assortative mating would lead to permanent class divisions, but that was mostly ignored.”

              And what would you propose to do about that argument?

              We have permanent class divisions – in a statistical sense – which are continued because most people breed within their social (and therefore often genetic) class…..

              The book was correct – of course! But We Libertarians favor creating more John Galts and to Hell with the Average People…..

            2. “They hated the book because it argued that genes caused inequality. The book’s primary argument was that increasing assortative mating would lead to permanent class divisions, but that was mostly ignored.”

              And what would you propose to do about that argument?

              We have permanent class divisions – in a statistical sense – which are continued because most people breed within their social (and therefore often genetic) class…..

              The book was correct – of course! But We Libertarians favor creating more John Galts and to Hell with the Average People…..

              1. Luckily one of the authors is alive and kicking, so let’s ask him.

                I gave my answer in a book called “In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State,” that I published in 2006. I want to dismantle all the bureaucracies that dole out income transfers, whether they be public housing benefits or Social Security or corporate welfare, and use the money they spend to provide everyone over the age of 21 with a guaranteed income, deposited electronically every month into a bank account. It takes a book to explain why such a plan could not only work, but could revitalize civil society, but it takes only a few sentences to explain why a libertarian would advocate such a plan.

                Certain mental skillsets are now the “open sesame” to wealth and social position in ways that are qualitatively different from the role they played in earlier times. Nobody deserves the possession of those skillsets. None of us has earned our IQ. Those of us who are lucky should be acutely aware that it is pure luck (too few are), and be committed to behaving accordingly. Ideally, we would do that without government stage-managing it. That’s not an option. Massive government redistribution is an inevitable feature of advanced postindustrial societies.

                1. Our only option is to do that redistribution in the least destructive way. Hence my solution. It is foreshadowed in the final chapter of “The Bell Curve” where Dick and I talk about “valued places.” The point is not just to pass out enough money so that everyone has the means to live a decent existence. Rather, we need to live in a civil society that naturally creates valued places for people with many different kinds and levels of ability. In my experience, communities that are left alone to solve their own problems tend to produce those valued places. Bureaucracies destroy them. So my public policy message is: Let government does what it does best, cut checks. Let individuals, families, and communities do what they do best, respond to human needs on a one-by-one basis.

                2. Well, there you go!

                  My vision of the future!

                  But, instead, we will make people suffer because our God, John Galt, would want it so!

              2. headinass. You were given an entire reading list to better your understanding of Libertarian philosophy. I see you did not even bother to read any of the books on that list. Your use of Ayn Rand ad hom’s is tiresome, outdated, and ignorant.

                “creating more John Galts and to Hell with the Average People…..”

                Considering that you have called average people “wage slaves” in the past, you don’t get to identify with average people.

  9. Naturally the new technology has provoked objections. In a New Scientist article, Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Berkeley-based Center for Genetics and Society, warned that “we could find ourselves with new inequalities that are written into the genome.”

    Inequalities are already written into the genome if you didn’t know, Ms Science writer lady. She would prefer that all children suffer equally instead of fewer children suffering. It adequately displays how these justice types promote great evils by disguising them as moral imperatives.

  10. *Rattles bars*

    GATTACA! GATTACA!

    1. G A T C -all 4 letters of DNA

  11. Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Berkeley-based Center for Genetics and Society, warned that “we could find ourselves with new inequalities that are written into the genome.

    Uh, Marcy, let me tell you about this theory called “Evolution by natural selection.”

  12. It is wonderfully seductive to be able to eliminate really horrible birth defects. The problem is that it won’t end there. It never does. As we get better and better at this, I imagine it will be possible to eliminate all sorts of things that are not horrible but just don’t meet our tastes; like short people and people who are prone to depression or people who have below average intelligence and so forth. Before you know it, you have a whole world that looks and acts pretty much the same. I don’t like that idea.

      1. If you’re linking to Randy Newman, you have no reason to live, either.

    1. According to John, the very first prehistoric man who decided to try heating his cave with fire made a terrible mistake, because he should have known it would inevitably give rise to war, totalitarianism, and Christian bakers getting hassled.

      1. Why didn’t he think of the children?

      2. Remember people, if you ever get your hands on a time machine, it’s this guy, not hitler, who you need to go back and kill.

        Ogg something something. John wrote it down somewhere.

      3. You forgot to work in how voting Libertarian = supporting Democrats but still very good. +1

        1. Acting as useful idiot is not quite the same as supporting but it does have the same effect.

          Your plan to stop the Democrats consists of

          Step 1 – Divide the opposition to the Democrats

          Step 2 – Allow the Democrats to use the fact that their opposition is divided to take complete control of the government.

          Step 3 – Profit!!

          1. What if you view R’s and D’s as being on the same side i.e. statism. And you view libertarianism as the most cohesive opposition to statism?

          2. And Republicans will translate this reasoning into reform of the voting system… when, exactly?

          3. DUR DUR I’M RETARDED -John for the last month or so

            Yeah John if only libertarians would smarten up and return to the Halcyon days of the Bush GOP majority.

            Please stop posting here. You’re an embarrassment.

      4. The invention of fire brought enormous benefits to humans and this was apparent to the first humans who used it.

        The payoff from designer babies is very hard to see, outside of a little less suffering in the population (because the humans who would have born and suffered were prevented from being born).

        1. The payoff from designer babies is very hard to see, outside of a little less suffering in the population (because the humans who would have born and suffered were prevented from being born).

          Oh, well, if it’s only going to reduce human suffering, it’s obviously not worth our time.

          You do realize that your argument boils down to wanting to empower the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx to suppress technology you think might disrupt the social order, right? You’re just making one big appeal to authoritarianism.

          1. Hell, this isn’t even just the theme of 2112, it’s the theme of fucking Rand’s Anthem. Technology creates too many inequalities and the benefits aren’t worth it; therefore, back to agrarian manors.

        2. I call ‘less suffering’ pretty good and ‘designer babies’ are hardly the only benefit. We can be stronger, smarter, faster.

          1. Humans have subjugated the planet while being weaker, slower, and having duller senses than most animals, basically no bodily defenses, and being hideously maladapted for most environments on the planet. Genetic engineering is not going to make our species better.

            1. Non-sequitor + bullshit = Tulpa

            2. Humans are actually relentless, savage pursuit predators, tougher and with more endurance than nearly any other animal on the planet.

              So, we’ve got that going for us.

              1. Yeah, we don’t have big sharp teeth and we can’t run at 40 mph, but we do run more efficiently than anything and, as you say, have loads of endurance.

              2. Humans are actually relentless, savage pursuit predators, tougher and with more endurance than nearly any other animal on the planet.

                In our raw genetic state there’s very little reason for animals to flee us in the first place. And persistence hunting is a myth anyway — primitive peoples don’t hunt that way.

                “Tougher and with more endurance” — my God, you’ve got to be kidding. Go fight a moose and report back.

                1. In our raw genetic state there’s very little reason for animals to flee us in the first place.

                  Human beings have superior intelligence to all other living things we’re aware of. Animals have a very great reason to flee us. Exhibit A; the long list of megafauna that humans have either literally or virtually wiped off the earth. Why is it that you need to be informed that humans are the most successful species in our planet’s history? Open your eyes and look around. Clearly it doesn’t matter that humans aren’t as strong as gorillas since the GENETIC advantages we did have supersede any advantage conferred by brute strength.

                  And persistence hunting is a myth anyway — primitive peoples don’t hunt that way.

                  Actually humans were built for persistence running and primitive peoples in East Africa absolutely do hunt that way.

                  1. Exhibit A; the long list of megafauna that humans have either literally or virtually wiped off the earth.

                    With tools and social organization, that have no dependence on genetics (beyond bare intelligence and opposable thumbs). Explain how genetic engineering can give us something technology can’t.

                    Actually humans were built for persistence running and primitive peoples in East Africa absolutely do hunt that way.

                    I suppose you just popped out of a time machine to confirm that? Primitive humans weren’t capable of tracking prey so persistence hunting would only have been possible in hot, open spaces where humans wouldn’t have much endurance either.

                    1. With tools and social organization

                      That no other species in earth’s history has had the gumption to develop beyond the most rudimentary.

                      Explain how genetic engineering can give us something technology can’t.

                      Well if you didn’t know… genetic engineering is technology. A technology that can end genetic defects, provide immunities to common and deadly diseases, and extend the human lifespan greatly, to name but a few conceivable uses.

                      I suppose you just popped out of a time machine to confirm that? Primitive humans weren’t capable of tracking prey so persistence hunting would only have been possible in hot, open spaces where humans wouldn’t have much endurance either.

                      There are literally tribes in Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia that practice this hunting method as a traditional practice, up to this very day.

                2. “And persistence hunting is a myth anyway”

                  /shakes head
                  /walks away

            3. Genetic engineering is not going to make our species better.

              I’m not sure how that follows from everything else you said. If we could do all of that with our inherent limitations, why wouldn’t we be able to do even better with some deliberate enhancements?

        3. It’s almost like there’s a point in there about hindsight versus precaution, but you’re too obtuse to get it!

        4. The payoff from designer babies is very hard to see,

          The elimination of birth defects and genetic disease – where’s the upside?

          1. Eliminating a little individual suffering (by eliminating the individuals who would have suffered). Yawn.

            Comparing that to fire and agriculture is ludicrous.

            1. …what?

            2. You can’t eliminate people who don’t yet exist.

              Claiming that such enhancements would be as transformative to human existence as fire was is probably ridiculous. Fire is pretty much the foundation (maybe along with stone tools) of all technology. But that doesn’t mean that genetic enhancement couldn’t also be very important and improve the state of human existence to similar degrees.

    2. Before you know it, you have a whole world that looks and acts pretty much the same. I don’t like that idea.

      If millions or billions if individuals are making individual choices about their transmission of genes to individual offspring, how do you end up with a Borg Collective? If anything people will be more varied.

      1. In some ways but not in others. The point is that who is to say people being short of being depressed is bad? Maybe these things serve purposes we don’t fully understand.

        It is funny as hell to listen to a group of people who will wax on and on about the evils of central planning and the information problem turn right around say there are no dangers to this technology because clearly the top men understand all of the second order effects of its use.

        1. Maybe smallpox serves a higher purpose we don’t understand, or children born with a cleft palate. This is the defining distinction between liberal/libertarian and conservative–the conservative is always insisting that we don’t tear down that fence on the off chance that it’s keeping something undesirable out of our property. This is fundamentally because conservatives trust the collective wisdom of institutions more than reason. Which is not to say that they’re always wrong, but they do wind up being overly friendly with the anti-GMO and natural-healing hippie types at odd intervals.

          Whatever undesirable thing depression may or may not serve to eliminate, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, much less my children. Any parent who is aware of the huge personal cost of tendencies toward depressive (or anxious, or schizophrenic, or …) behaviors would throw conservative caution to the wind and do everything in his power to engineer a child who is not prone to depression for precisely the same reason you’d select against Down’s or inoculate them against smallpox.

          There may be a hidden cost to that choice, but the tradeoff between a potential hidden cost and the apparent, obvious one is an easy choice to make.

          1. Very often the easy choice is NOT the right choice.

            Would you support parents who wanted to engineer their kids to be non-gay and obedient to authority? I guarantee you that 90% or more of biological parents would make those choices if they were offered them. A kid who’s in trouble with authority is probably going to be difficult to raise and is also going to be unhappy. And bio parents probably want bio grandkids.

            1. Would you support parents who wanted to engineer their kids to be non-gay and obedient to authority?

              What difference is your support? What is your standing to interfere? If you are going to raise ethical dilemma of selecting against ‘gay genes’, at least demonstrate an ethical problem related to doing so.

            2. You are assuming that can be engineered and I doubt it.

            3. Would you support parents who wanted to engineer their kids to be _____ and ______?

              No matter what you fill those blanks with, I would not assault, kidnap, cage, and/or kill those parents.

              Now, if you think “People should be free to do X” means support for every single thing people do with their freedom, then you need to do some soulsearching about whether you mean to be a totalitarian fascist, or have just accidentally fallen into it.

              1. If you support people being free to do X, while knowing that most people would like to do X, then you support X happening and accept the consequences thereof.

                Talking about “I support choice” BS is just a copout. It’s fine to say that it doesn’t matter if X happens because there’s some negative feedback loop that corrects for it, or that other people will choose Y which will limit the effect. But don’t give me this choice crap.

                1. So in other words, you want the government to restrict people’s choices (ooh, does it burn when I say the word?) so that the government can’t abuse the things that people’s choices create?

                  Does that about sum it up?

                  1. It’s the government enforced “Ludditism for liberty” argument.

                2. You’re getting the choice crap, and you’ll like it.

                  The choice of when, if, and how to have children rests solely with the parents. To the extent that technology provides, parents select the gametes, the genes, and the characteristics of their children.

                  Might this lead to suboptimal or downright fucked-up outcomes? Of course. Welcome to the real world, where all parents screw up their children to one extent or another. The alternative is living under a police state where bureaucrats with no incentive to select for beneficial traits get to make the decision.

                  One way or another, the decision must be made, and the child clearly can’t choose for himself. Who makes the choice: the parents, whose bodies literally create the child and who have every incentive to see the child live a fruitful and productive life, or the “disinterested” politician/bureaucrat who works in government due to his control-freak tendencies?

          2. THIS. Conservatives need to get out of our way. There is no ‘grand design’ that confers purpose upon every malady or affliction most of it is just the random chaos of the uncontrolled world.

        2. In some ways but not in others. The point is that who is to say people being short of being depressed is bad? Maybe these things serve purposes we don’t fully understand.

          You don’t fully understand it, but you’re more than willing to elevate your own hangups above the preferences of the millions of people who have to deal with these problems. I have a family history that suggests to me that there is some kind of “wanna kill myself” gene that runs in my family. You would deny me the right to try to lift that burden from the shoulders of my children?

          It is funny as hell to listen to a group of people who will wax on and on about the evils of central planning and the information problem turn right around say there are no dangers to this technology because clearly the top men understand all of the second order effects of its use.

          It’s also funny to hear you give a full-throated endorsement of the precautionary principle.

          1. It’s not the “precautionary principle” when we can lay out exactly what the likely problems will be.

            1. Where has anyone laid out exactly what the likely problems will be? All I see is vague stuff about how maybe things that we think are bad now might have some good purpose. Which is nearly as vague as anti-GMO fears.

            2. It’s not the “precautionary principle” when we can lay out exactly what the likely problems will be.

              “Look, if you let people have unfettered access to guns, we can lay out exactly what the likely problems will be.”

              The difference between liberals and conservatives is… what, exactly?

              1. Liberals are our enemies but conservatives are like our dumb disobedient children who eventually, having suffered the consequences of their own confused thinking, comport their thinking with those of libertarians.

                1. And Objectivists are our obnoxious and pedantic uncles.

                2. conservatives are like our dumb disobedient children

                  What a giveaway. OBEY THE LIBERTARIAN, HERETIC!

                3. “Liberals are our enemies but conservatives are like our dumb disobedient children who eventually, having suffered the consequences of their own confused thinking, comport their thinking with those of libertarians.”

                  This is truly a cultist statement……because, after all, Liberals like the ACLU and the Right to Die and the Right to Get High movements….are NATURAL enemies of individual rights, while Conservatives who want authoritarian control over everything from the vagina to your mind are….well, they are our “lost children”.

                  Wow. Really. Wow.

                  If you took away the politics and the labels and someone handed you a multiple choice test about various scenarios…..I’d bet any true libertarian would be far on the “liberal” side of the spectrum as opposed to Right Wing Authoritarian (conservative).

        3. The point is that who is to say people being short of being depressed is bad? Maybe these things serve purposes we don’t fully understand.

          Who is your wife to say that she shouldn’t be knocked up by the dude down the street? Is she an authority on that guy’s genetics enough to presume that your genes are better than his? Nonetheless it’s perfectly reasonable to select the genes that you want your child to have.

          It is funny as hell to listen to a group of people who will wax on and on about the evils of central planning and the information problem turn right around say there are no dangers to this technology because clearly the top men understand all of the second order effects of its use.

          You’re the only one presenting the non-factual that central planning will necessarily make such reproductive decisions for individuals. Are 23andMe Top Men too?

          1. You think government is going to take a look at this technology, and unlike every other technology in human history, say “Nah, we’re not going to mess around with that.”

            1. You think government is going to take a look at this technology, and unlike every other technology in human history, say “Nah, we’re not going to mess around with that.”

              Would you have uninvented the car because the Soviets would eventually build them? Perhaps we shouldn’t have invented metallurgy because governments would eventually use metal blades to harm people. Hell the guy who invented the wheel should have been stopped because eventually the technology ended up on army trucks. Peak derp isn’t an ideal to strive for.

              1. All those inventions produced benefits greater than the risks.

                Hate to be insensitive, but yes, 0.01% chance of Downs syndrome at birth is worth not making it easy for governments to control the genetic composition of their subjects (and you can bet that subjects they would be)

                1. Hate to be insensitive, but yes, 0.01% chance of Downs syndrome at birth is worth not making it easy for governments to control the genetic composition of their subjects (and you can bet that subjects they would be)

                  That’s never going to happen. Your paranoid fantasies are not my prerogative.

                2. Even if what you say is true, it’s not as if we are being presented with the choice to either be able to genetically modify ourselves and children, or never use the technology at all. The choice is more likely between allowing individuals to use the technology as it matures, or leave it completely in the hands of governments and tyrants who want to control.

                  1. Governments are not going to be able to do this kind of research on their own. They can, however, take the technology developed by the private sector.

                    1. I don’t think that keeping Pandora’s box closed, or the cat in the bad or whatever cliche you prefer is ever a really workable strategy. This technology is going to be developed and used one way or another.

                    2. Unless the economy crashes first.

                3. Hate to be insensitive, but yes, 0.01% chance of Downs syndrome at birth is worth not making it easy for governments to control the genetic composition of their subjects (and you can bet that subjects they would be)

                  You haven’t demonstrated the harm outweighing the benefits. If this technology is limited and thusly monopolized by governments, that’s precisely how you end up at the dystopian future you claim is a given consequence of free market innovation and demand.

                  It’s a non-sequitor to go from “people will be able to select for and against specific genes” to “the government will force everyone to breed a certain way and will of course enslave the human genome by inventing this”. Without using the “but gubmint uses technology too” argument that’s already been cast aside, you’ll need to explain away that non-factual should override innovation and free markets.

        4. I’m going to go ahead and say that people would be better off if depression weren’t a thing. Obviously eliminating all sadness isn’t desirable. But as a persistent disorder, I’d be as happy to see it gone as I am that smallpox is effectively gone.

          1. “Obviously eliminating all sadness isn’t desirable. But as a persistent disorder, I’d be as happy to see it gone as I am that smallpox is effectively gone.”

            Exactly!
            Depression as a motivator, measure of how fucked up your life or environment is, etc. is probably a long-term positive thing.

            But the real disease of just not being able to enjoy things like food, sex, a nice view, a soft bed, a puppy, etc…..wow, that’s fucked up and we’d be best off not sentencing anyone to it because of screwed up gene expression.

        5. The point is that who is to say people being short of being depressed is bad? Maybe these things serve purposes we don’t fully understand.

          A nice application of the precautionary principle, John.

          Which I thought you didn’t approve of as a tool for making government policy.

          1. To be fair to John, he has said on this thread that he is concerned but doesn’t think there should be a law against it.

        6. “The point is that who is to say people being short or being depressed is bad?”
          “A kid who’s in trouble with authority is probably going to be difficult to raise”

          Both types of people have and do contribute greatly to society – maybe more, these days, than an obedient soldier or factory worker.

          I suspect that plain ole depression and even, to some extent, anti-authoritarianism, are based on how fucked up things often are. But more serious cases where the brain is wired incorrectly….that can be a problem!

          Was the world better off with Charles Manson?

          I suspect it will be a very long time before we are able to pick out subtleties such as whether Charles would have been a top-flight CEO or a Cult leader, as some indicators would be the same (manipulation of people for selfish desires).

      2. Huh? Randomness produces more variation than choice does.

        Look at the number of varieties of apples available in 2014 compared to 1914.

        1. Look at the number of varieties of apples available in 2014 compared to 1914.

          There are still plenty of wild apples. ‘Randomness’ can include population bottlenecks and other events that create homogeneity. The Chinese used to be a mosaic and now…well…you know.

          1. Randomness during a population bottleneck is still going to produce as much variation as is possible. Tell me which other technique would produce larger variation.

            One tribe killing and replacing most of their competitors in a large region does not impugn randomness producing variation.

            1. WRONG.

              http://evolution.berkeley.edu/…..ecks.shtml

              I have a Master of Science in this background. I know what I’m talking about.

              1. The point is that population bottlenecks are forced by the environment. Not something that can be averted by genetic engineering or selective breeding.

                1. Well, maybe that’s true, but they can be averted when you have modern transportation and medecine.

        2. Even assuming that’s true, who gives a shit? If there were 200,000 apple varieties and only one of them were actually useful, what, we should have dedicated vast swaths of acreage to useless crops?

          1. And then you have a mold or a virion that attacks that supreme species of apple, and they all die.

            How bout them apples?

            1. It’s almost like there’s this thing called choice wherein people use their own resources for the ends they best see fit. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

              1. Sometimes people make stupid choices; and it’s even worse when everybody makes the same stupid choices.

                1. it’s even worse when everybody makes the same stupid choices

                  Whence do these men of finer cloth who shall govern us come?

                  1. I do not favor governing reproduction, I favor letting randomness do its work.

                    1. In other words, you have an incoherent position that amounts to inconsequential grumbling?

            2. “How bout them apples?”

              http://bit.ly/1FMp16A

              Enough about the apples already guy, it’s a stupid analogy and it’s not even true.

            3. You almost have a point with the apples, but not quite.
              Apples are all the same species. Particular cultivars are basically all clones grafted from one original tree that produced an apple worth cultivating.

              But apples do grow from seed and there are lots of apples with lots of genetic diversity in the wild and in old, abandoned orchards.

              I agree that it is a damn shame that so many apple cultivars have been destroyed, but that has little to do with this discussion. You should have picked bananas as your example.

      3. If millions or billions if individuals are making individual choices about their transmission of genes to individual offspring, how do you end up with a Borg Collective?

        The company takes those results and, using algorithms devised by Silver, simulates the fertilization process by digitally combining the client’s and donors’ test results to generate the genomes of thousands of virtual children.

    3. Before you know it, you have a whole world that looks and acts pretty much the same.

      No you don’t and won’t. We will all be more varied, and better. Everyone a God in their own right.

    4. I don’t mind it so much. People are into authenticity too. I think it would take an awful lot of messing around with genetics to make a population that is so homogenous, if it is even possible at all.
      I don’t think a world without dwarfism and depression and morons would be so bad.

    5. I’ve always found this argument odd because it assumes that everyone finds the exact same things aesthetically or morally pleasing, which just isn’t the case. If anything genetic selection based on individual choice would be more likely to result in a Transmetropolitan-esque freak show than the fucking anti-spirals.

      1. You’re sniffing the transhumanist farts in the echo chamber.

        Look at first name distributions and tell me how willing parents are to make their kids stick out like sore thumbs.

        1. As opposed to the man wearing the sandwich boards in Times Square screaming the End is Nigh?

          And really, that’s all you’ve got? That some parents name their kids similarly? While there’s also a mass of parents who give their children utterly random and sometimes completely moronic names?

          Shroter e-bowler: Humans must stagnate themselves for the sake of my paranoia!

    6. “like short people and people who are prone to depression”

      John, this is already happening in many ways!

      The Sperm Banks and artificial inseminations – I assume – often choose based on the genome of the sperm donor. That is, a dwarf or someone in the bottom 10% of height (male) is unlikely to be the choice of the average 40-something biz woman who wants to become preggy.

      Further to your point “Next thing you know, good looking women will start picking dudes based on them being tall, having a deep voice and being good bullshitters”……

      I formerly lived in a top flight suburb – we used to say “she was the cheerleader, he the jock” – the Jocks often got top corporate jobs back then because they were big and could say “no brainer” in a commanding fashion.

      Today, though, the Revenge of the Nerds is more prevalent so things may be changing.

      Either way, not allowing a choice in children wouldn’t be very far from not allowing choice in mating or marriage, would it?

    7. “Before you know it, you have a whole world that looks and acts pretty much the same. I don’t like that idea.”

      Yeah, that Gangnam Style thing has gone too far!

  13. New Company Practices Virtual Eugenics

    No, they’re practicing actual, real eugenics. The “discredited” kind.

    From Steve Hsu: Genetic engineering will one day create the smartest humans who have ever lived.

    1. KHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. No, they’re practicing actual, real eugenics. The “discredited” kind.

      You mean adding the word “new” or “virtual” doesn’t really change it? Unpossible!

  14. This is worse than the Eugenics Wars of the 1990’s.

  15. This is glorious. There is no reason for us to accept any deleterious mutation-however we need to learn more about epigenetics before we can really start genetically engineering ourselves. But we will, and I can’t wait.

  16. Yes, it’s a cheeky title that would make Rand proud, but eugenics this is not. Choosing traits for your kids is older than humanity, and this technology is just a refinement of that instinct. Eugenics would be me choosing the “appropriate” genes for your kids, like insisting that you can’t create a future 7’6″ superman who would have a difficult and expensive time adapting to a world whose markets are primarily engineered for the 99%. It’s for the child, natch.

    The only reason I make this humorless distinction is that Progressives and busybodies of every stripe will, sooner or later, begin insisting on the need for society to eliminate harmful genes by forcing parents to either avoid breeding with high-risk mates as per the article (the soft form of future eugenics) or actively dictating what constitutes the proper baseline genes of future generations in more or less the same way they dictate the terms of proper education for children today.

    1. Your second paragraph is a very good description of how this will actually work in practice. It won’t be the libertarian wonderland of everyone expressing themselves by designing their children people like Baily think it will be.

      Beyond that, we have no idea how these things work or what if any second order effects this technology has. But since it is technology, normal concerns about the information problem and second order effect don’t apply because technology is always great no matter what or something.

      1. Your second paragraph is a very good description of how this will actually work in practice.

        Your prognostications have as much value as your insights into voting preferences: none.

      2. “It won’t be the libertarian wonderland of everyone expressing themselves by designing their children people like Baily think it will be.”

        Why not?

        1. Look at the first name distributions and tell me how parents are willing to make their kids stick out like sore thumbs.

    2. Common Core for zygotes.

    3. Negative eugenics was an American invention. Eugenics isn’t inherently coercive.

      1. The way it’s typically used, eugenics refers to the darkest period of progressivism where rulers made reproductive choices for their “lessers.” That’s the sense I’m using it here, and that’s the sense you’ll hear it in 99% of the time.

        Obviously selecting a “better” mate or genes for your kids by this or that means is a good idea.

  17. The problem to me – the *main* problem at least – is that when they create an embryo and belatedly discover it’s “defective,” they’ll destroy it.

    1. If there is a person who has a problem, the solution is obvious: get rid of the person.

      1. You and Stalin would get along swimmingly.

    2. That criticism however doesn’t reflect anything unique to the idea of genetic engineering. You can get knocked up by some random schmuck on the street and then decide to get an abortion right now.

      1. There’s a difference between that and intentionally getting knocked up with quadruplets so you can pick which one you want and kill the other 3.

        1. Um. Quads would all be same genetically, no?

          1. They could be fraternal quads.

        2. So it would hunky-dory to murder all of your children?

          WTF?

          1. I’m against abortion, just showing that there’s a difference.

            1. You haven’t “shown” anything. You’re against abortion, unless it’s done to everyone?

    3. I think if you are concern about embryos you should not do designer babies or IVF, because terminating the embryos maybe necessary.

    4. “is that when they create an embryo and belatedly discover it’s “defective,” they’ll destroy it.”

      People do this now. The question I have for you is, does the possibility of not terminating but correcting the defect as a result of this technology not seem a laudable goal to you?

      1. They’re not talking about correcting the defect. We do not have that technology and it’s going to be much harder to do than just killing the defective one and trying again. That’s where your beloved individual choice is going to lead you.

        1. So abortion, which is legal and happens all the time for various reasons now, is going to be an inevitable consequence of a genetic-based matchmaking service.

          Did you not RTFA or are you just mendacious?

          1. Abortions currently happen because of accidental creation of embryos.

            What these people are talking about is intentionally creating embryos that they know will be destroyed. So it’s a formula for more embryo killing.

            1. You understand that sexual reproduction is by and large an intentional action among humans, right?

              1. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

                Sex and reproduction are two different things. Intending the former does not imply intending the latter.

                1. Intending the former does not imply intending the latter.

                  Forseeable consequences are not unintended

                  1. Forseeable consequences are not unintended

                    That’s BS. Intent and foresight are totally different things.

                    1. That’s BS. Intent and foresight are totally different things.

                      You know why we can always identify you, Tulpa? It’s because you’re so predictable.

                    2. There are worse things to be accused of than being intellectually consistent.

                    3. There are worse things to be accused of than being intellectually consistent.

                      Oh God, is this the part where you start sucking your own dick? Please, go do that on your own, nobody wants to see it.

                    4. And this is the part where you resort to vile euphemisms because you have no argument.

                    5. And this is the part where you resort to vile euphemisms because you have no argument.

                      Euphemism? What euphemism? I thought you at least knew what words meant.

                      Come on, how long till you run away crying? Can’t we just skip all the foreplay?

                    6. He doesn’t know what his argument is, let alone the words in it.

        2. I am. Did you not read that part? Or not understand it?

          1. But the course of action you support is going to prevent corrective therapy from happening. Nobody’s going to invest in embryo therapy when you can just trash the bad embryo and start over.

    5. “The problem to me – the *main* problem at least – is that when they create an embryo and belatedly discover it’s “defective,” they’ll destroy it.”

      What is the problem with that? Are they difficult to make?

      1. Just as difficult to make as you were, and they have a lot more potential. Do you think it would be OK to destroy you?

        1. “Do you think it would be OK to destroy you?”

          I would have been fine with “not existing” if they got me as a sperm, a zygote, blastocyst ,etc.

          What you don’t know really doesn’t hurt you unless you believe in fairy tales.

          I guess it would be where you draw the line? Do you weep for all the unused sperm in the bank? For all the test tube embryo’s not used? For all the extra (too many) eggs created by fertility drugs? For the crop yields we all enjoy today from genetic selection and mutation?

          1. So it’s OK if someone knocks you off in your sleep?

            1. “So it’s OK if someone knocks you off in your sleep?”

              This one is up to the society, gubment and my family. I think in many cultures, it could cause them to come after your family and create tensions.

              Not so with a couple hundred cells in petri dishes fertilized and kept alive by science and chemicals.

              1. This one is up to the society, gubment and my family.

                Some individual rights support you got there.

                1. “Some individual rights support you got there.”

                  You really haven’t yet caught on that the world is tribal? You certainly sound like you are a member of various ones…..

                  The Family unit is the basis of the tribe and must serve as the representative of the individuals within it…because often they are children, disabled, aged, etc.

                  What church do you belong to?

                  1. craiginmass|10.24.14 @ 5:53PM|#
                    “You really haven’t yet caught on that the world is tribal? You certainly sound like you are a member of various ones…..”

                    Hi, ASSHOLE!
                    Nice assertion absent evidence. Care to offer some, or just pread more lies?

                    1. “Nice assertion absent evidence. Care to offer some, or just pread more lies?”

                      Uh, how the middle east constantly runs out the largest military in the world???

                      How’s about that evidence???

                      How the Afghan’s have done so for centuries?

                      The LDS church?

                      “”tribalism” is in some sense an inescapable fact of human neurology, simply because many human brains are not adapted to working with large populations. Once a person’s limit for connection is reached, the human brain must resort to some combination of hierarchical schemes, stereotypes, and other simplified models in order to understand so many people.”

                      This explains perfectly everything from Fox News to Libertarianism. Your brain has simply exceeded it’s capability for connection and understanding of a complex world, so you cower behind your tribal members and lash out at those who don’t conform.

                      ENjoy!

  18. New Company Practices Virtual Eugenics

    Choosing your sperm donor is the same as choosing your mate. It is not Eugenics – do not equivocate.

    1. John Titor… Way to GO, DUDE!!! We are, and are meant to be, the masters of our own destinies… Why did God Himself / Herself, give us the POWER to steal fire from the “gods”? Because we, ourselves, are to STEP UP TO THE PLATE, fer Chrissakes, and to DO IT! There are no other choices… Stagnation and death, or progress, and life… BETTER life!

  19. consider sickle cell anemia and malaria. you might think a gene is bad until until it saves you from ebola.

    1. THat is something to think about. But it seems pretty likely that further genetic research will allow medicine to develop so that we can get rid of both malaria and sickle cell. Things like sickle cell or Tay-Sachs came about because there was no medical treatment for the things that the genes helped with.
      I think that if we are going to be an advanced, technological world of humans, you have to assume that we will find technical fixes to problems like that.

  20. In all serious, to the anti-genetic modification crowd, what is your solution? We start murdering geneticists and banning genetic research to prevent the dreaded genie from escaping the bottle? Refuse people the right to modify their own bodies as they see fit? Just whine and complain about how Gattaca will happen? Because the technology is very likely to emerge within this century, and there’s fundamentally two ways that it can be used: as an individual choice or a collective control mechanism. Luddite whining does nothing to prevent either of those outcomes or the likely emergence of the technology itself.

    1. Simple, stop funding it with tax dollars, boycott those in the private sector who fund it, and educate the population about the dangers.

      1. The ‘dangers’ being your unimpressive complaints.

        And so I and others continue to actively support genetic modification technology through the private sector and educate the population on how the vast amount of benefits it would achieve. Then the technology emerges. What now?

        1. Then you’ve handed a doomsday weapon to the statists. congrats.

          1. They’ve already got literal doomsday weapons genius.

          2. Then you’ve handed a doomsday weapon to the statists. congrats.

            So in other words, cower in a hovel somewhere and never do anything you want, because somebody somewhere might abuse it.

            Brilliant, really, truly a marvellous principle.

            1. The guy states agriculture as a positive technology when it’s the thing that allowed for central authority structures to emerge in the first place. There’s no consistency to it.

              1. Yeah, it’s probably Tulpa

              2. “he guy states agriculture as a positive technology when it’s the thing that allowed for central authority structures to emerge in the first place”

                So is True Libertarianism going back to hunter-gathering?

                1. Jesus Christ, how many fucking abject retards are going to come out of the woodwork on this one?

                  1. Abject? Fuck off.

                    1. Yes abject is a word. Do you need someone to google that for you?

                    2. I’d sooner give up on retard than abject. Pathetic is what you are.

    2. Because the technology is very likely to emerge within this century, and there’s fundamentally two ways that it can be used: as an individual choice or a collective control mechanism.

      The former leads inexorably to the latter.

      Luddite whining does nothing to prevent either of those outcomes or the likely emergence of the technology itself.

      If it weren’t for impotent whining every article on this blog would have 0 comments.

      1. The former leads inexorably to the latter.

        You sourced fire and agriculture as positive technology upthread, when they have been the one of the most common collective control mechanisms for all of human history. Glad you’re being consistent. We’d be a lot more free as hunter-gatherers.

        1. Fire and agriculture also made civilization and human dominance of the planet possible. Babies with curly tails doesn’t quite have the same umph.

        2. “We’d be a lot more free as hunter-gatherers.”

          Ah, so there you have it!

          YOU would be a lot more free, and maybe a couple million people if you killed the other 9 BILLION people on the planet, because our population certainly could not do that and support the present size…or anywhere near.

          So, let me get this right – Libertarians now want to go back to the stone age, do away with all technology and kill rabbits and gather dandelions so they can be more “free”.

          Please check this with the Kochs and get back to me. Check it with Rand Paul also.

          1. It’s sarcasm you fucking idiot.

            1. “It’s sarcasm you fucking idiot.”

              To you, maybe, but obviously not to many – based on the comments above.

              It is true. Statism is a result of ag. Wars, armies, gubments, etc.

              If you want to get rid of Big Gubment, getting rid of civilization goes along with it. Somolia, for example.

              1. Thank you for enlightening us, oh king of the fools and knaves.

              2. Wheat is manslaughter.

                1. “Wheat is manslaughter

                  Bleached white flour certainly is!
                  🙂

                  Is leaning zygotes to die manslaughter? Please cite the law(s) or case.

              3. So because some East Africans who shit in their water supply, and have no free-standing social institutions, are ruled by a myriad of warlords fighting the central government in a long standing civil war, a war fought for control of state power, this proves we just can’t do without “big gubmint”?

                1. “this proves we just can’t do without “big gubmint”?”

                  This, along with every other example on planet earth of civil societies…..

                  That certainly is a large sample. What is the sample you base your opinion on?

                  1. craiginmass|10.24.14 @ 5:55PM|#
                    “this proves we just can’t do without “big gubmint”?”

                    Hi, asshole! Here to spread lies again?

                    1. “Hi, asshole! Here to spread lies again?”

                      What’s the lie? Are you going to give us a couple examples of large populations which are civilized without Big Gubment?

                      That would be neat.
                      I’ll wait.

                    2. The witch-burners of middle-ages Europe asked the nay-sayers a similar question: “Ken ye name me a SINGLE nation upon the God-given Flat Face of the Earth, where the evil witches are NOT burned, and the babies LIVE, and the crops do NOT perish”? And the witch-defenders hung their heads in shame, because such societies had not yet been invented? So ah says unto ye, yea verily, the WITCHES MUST BE BURNED!!!

                    3. So we need to define both “big government” and “large populations” before we can even begin a debate. And with you that’ll require five sentences to untangle one sentence of your fallacies. Nice that you’re so eager to shift the burden of proof.

                    4. “So we need to define both “big government” and “large populations” before we can even begin a debate.”

                      Well, yeah……large populations = average size of nations today. You know, REALITY.

                      Big Gubment, according to the Far Right, seems to be anything in excess of 20% of GDP used by the Gubment of either the Fed or large States….

                      So go to it. List them out.

                    5. craiginmass|10.24.14 @ 9:22PM|#
                      “What’s the lie? Are you going to give us a couple examples of large populations which are civilized without Big Gubment?”

                      Hi, ASSHOLE!
                      “Civilized” with Big Gubmint, asshole?
                      “Mass killings occurred under some Communist regimes during the twentieth century with an estimated death toll numbering between 85 and 100 million”
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M…..st_regimes
                      Actually, ASSHOLE, that number is ‘way too small.
                      So, ASSHOLE, please tell us of how small gubmint is a problem.
                      I’ll wait, ASSHOLE.

                    6. craiginmass|10.24.14 @ 9:22PM|#
                      “What’s the lie? Are you going to give us a couple examples of large populations which are civilized without Big Gubment?”

                      And ASSHOLE, there was a very good, A-B test done on a population in the mid 20th century:
                      Mao enslaved the majority of the main-land Chinese population under HUGE gubmint agencies, directing nearly every segment of their lives. They were murdered and starved by the millions as the per-capita GDP fell to levels not seen in centuries.
                      Right across the border in Hong Kong, ASSHOLE, a Mr. Cowperthwait decided the population was recovering well from the Jap occupation and kept the government small enough that it didn’t even keep data on how well the population was doing.
                      Wanna guess how they were doing?
                      I’ll wait, ASSHOLE.

                    7. craiginmass|10.24.14 @ 9:22PM|#
                      “What’s the lie? Are you going to give us a couple examples of large populations which are civilized without Big Gubment?”

                      How ’bout one more, ASSHOLE?
                      Compare and contrast the E. German and W. German governments and prosperity between 1945 and 1989.
                      Are we seeing a trend here, lying ASSHOLE?
                      I’ll wait.

                    8. “Right across the border in Hong Kong,”

                      Ah, back to the love of Commie China as the shining city of the earth we should strive to duplicate!

                      At least you are honest about it – even if a tiny city-state-port which is really nothing to do with an actual country (in terms of having ag, resources, land mass, etc.)……

                      So, I got it. Hong Kong and Honk Kong and Hong Kong and Honk Kong and Hong Kong are your list of true and actual countries where small Gubment works.

                      Ignorant, but so be it.
                      Please try to use an actual country as opposed to a tiny port city-state…if you want to engage in a reasonable debate. Saying, for instance, that Silicon Valley is the most productive place on earth because they are liberals and highly taxes…would not be a valid point!

                      Oh, and I suppose copying and pasting all the stalin and mao links aren’t either! After all, China (Hong Kong) is an economic miracle by any measure….and the current Big Gubment (25% of GDP) is making it even better. And, yeah, they control Hong Kong.

          2. If you’d actually read any of the comments here you’d see the opposite of your claim.

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  22. How in blazes is reproducing fewer kids with genetic disorders an increase of inequality? I imagine that dumb broad supports using technology to increase the number of kids with genetic disorders to decrease inequality?

    1. Hi Eric,
      “Diversity” is KING, you see? If yer kid is born deaf, and, early in his or her life, before his or her brain passes by the phase in which corrective surgery can fix the problem, time-frame of opportunity passes by? If ye as an ignernt parent have said problem fixed, ye are practicing “genocide” on the deaf, ah kids ye not!!! According to some morons on our sorry planet? Ah ams just still a-waitin’ fer the following argument: Highway and auto safety improvements should NOT be funded, because such “improvements” in the God-ordained “scheme of stuff an’ stuff”, will REDUCE the DIVERSITY in society, by REDUCING the number of God-ordained “cripples” (politically incorrect term; use “blah-challenged” term instead), in society! All ye fer reducing highway safety programs, PWEASE feel free to chime right in!!! We NEEEED more cripples!!! Just don’t ask MEEEE to be the cripple, OK?!??!

  23. Hey Y’all?
    Ah haz taken it upon mahself, to SOLVE all of the world’s troubles tonight, ESPECIALLY with regards to “God’s Will” or “Gaia’s Will” or “Nature’s Swill” with regards to genetic defects, genes, DNA, and human meddling, in such matters? Read and heed?
    Ah haz taken an appropriate dose of LSD? Lest ye be a-scared of such hippie-befestered matters, let me assure ye, it was (VERY Conservative, straight-laced) LDS-Blessed LSD, LDS being Latter-Day-Saints? They, the Moron Church (lubricated by sufficient donations$$$) have Blessed my LSD; hence, LDS, LSD? Ah HAZ imbibed, and ah HAZ “channeled the Spirits”!!! So read on, ye faithful Reasonoids, about that them thar LDS-LSD fueled visions of mine?

    1. First off, ah talked to Ooioog Thaag, from circa 60,000 years ago. He told me, in HIS day, when men were men, and sheep (and baby whooly rhinos, and just about any other warm-blooded mammal on the planet) were afraid? In HIS day, if ye ate some meat, and some it got stuck in yer teeth, some of the hipsters in his day, they were using blades of grass to pick meat out of the gaps between their toofers. The squares of his day? They said that such things violated the Will of the Sacred Jungle Ooooga Booooga!!! Ooioog Thaag, ah sez to him, whaddaya think of the hipsters of MY day, who worship nature, and hate human smarts? ? He was astounded. Ah had to explain in great detail. He sez to me, “Tell yer hipsters, if they don’t like their climate-controlled houses and their soft beds, go sleep naked in yer back yards, in the grass, and let the bugs bite yer butts.” (Ah thinks he mightta been channeling P. J. O’Rourke in turn, butt who knows!!?!?).

      1. Also, Ooioog Thaag told me that SOME of the ape-men in his day, they looked far-far into the future, and they saw the likes of ME and my fellows, as being the totally un-natural, Satan-spawned offspring of such “non-blessed-by-the-Sacred-Jungle-Ooooga-Booooga” things as blades of grass for meat-between-the-teeth-cleaning? We shall NOT speak here, of the utter horrors of tooth brushes and tooth paste? And they react in utter horror! The troglodytes of Ooioog Thaag’s day, they look to us, in their far future, and they say. “PLEASE, fer the Sake of the Sacred-Jungle-Ooooga-Booooga, will y’ll PLEASE, and PRONTO, start a crash program to back-breed yerselves with the chimpanzees, and git yerselves all properly back-bred to the Sacred State of Nature??!! When y’all were Pure and Innocent, like the Sacred Chimps?!?!? Y’all get MOVIN’, now, on that back-breeding, OK??!?!!”

        1. Then ah turns mah tin-foil hat the other way? While taking mah LDS-blessed LSD? And ah channels Human-Cyborg Hybrid BR-549? Henceforth known fer short as HCH-BR-549? From the far future… An’ ah asks him. “What about that them thar stuff-an’-stuff? Ah means, about that them thar stuff-an’-stuff about that them thar genetic modifications? An’ HCH-BR-549, he says to me, “SQRSLY One, don’t sweat the small stuff. In our day, we are WISE, far more wise than your ways of knowing. The troglodytes and the primitives? Those who do NOT believe in genetic manipulation and cyborgs and so forth? We keep them in zoos, just like you kept the chimps. We still keep the chimps in zoos, as well. Just in case, ya know. Cover all the bases? We do not torture them, just as you tried not to torture the chimps, in your day, either. But we do not bullshit ourselves? There are NO virtues in defectiveness! Onwards and upwards, you know? You have a BLESSED future! Go and claim it, it is your birthright!”

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