Ronald Bailey

Ronald Bailey Lecturing In Russia on Science and Ethics of Designer Babies

If you happen to be Moscow drop by tonight at the DI Telegraph Building on Tverskaya - can also watch live


Ronald Bailey

As a respite from the craziness of the 2016 presidential election, the Russian think tank is sponsoring my lecture tonight (Tuesday, 8 pm) at the DI Telegraph Building in central Moscow. From their Facebook page for the event (using Google Translate):

Children to order: how far can we go in genetic experiments?

The next lecture in the series "Return of Ethics" is devoted to the ethics of biomedical progress. This will tell the reporter Reason magazine on scientific issues, the author of "Liberation Biology: scientific and moral arguments in favor of the biotech revolution" Ronald Bailey.

Already no one doubts that in the very near future we will have the option of using genetic engineering to radically change human nature. Modern scientists are conducting experiments designed to significantly extend human life, to reverse the process of aging, provide the ability to edit the genetic code of our children and for them to choose not only the color of eyes or hair type, and IQ. Is it ethical to such intervention in human nature? What will become of our moral standards, when changes affect such important categories as birth and death? Is it necessary to prohibit or restrict the genetic experiments? Do you have a moral obligation of scientists to conduct risky experiments that could save millions of lives?

"Children to Order" seems to be the Russian phraseology for "Designer Babies"—at least according to Google Translate. I am told that a live feed of my talk will appear at Afisha Magazine. It will also be posted for later viewing. The folks at tell me that 500 people have signed up (we'll see if that many show up).

I know I should have posted this earlier, but if you happen to be in Moscow come on by and/or alert your Moscovite friends to the event.

Also, I will be giving a talk this Saturday in St. Petersburg on "How Will Technology Will Change Our Values?" Details to follow.

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  1. What is the Russki ideal, anyway? They already seem to have been bred to be long-lived and indestructible.

    1. But they have vodka to balance it out.

      1. Maybe they want to genetically engineer babies who won’t be susceptible to the negative health effects of alcohol. That might help reduce the rate of depopulation a bit.

      2. Same argument the Irish like to make, only they lose wars far more predictably. Virtually all of them, in fact.

    2. Not to going from hot Slavic goddess to grandmotherly babushka when they hit 40-45.

  2. Say “Hi” to Snowden.

  3. Nothing like a talk about eugenics in a fascistic state.

    1. MR: One of the chief points of my talk is that parents should have the right to use these technologies to help their children flourish; the state has no right whatsoever to tell anybody how, when, and with whom, they can reproduce. What better place to bring that message than an authoritarian state?

      1. Just try not to…. Disappear. I like your articles.

      2. If you have never been to Moscow, go to VDNH, it is a veritable spewing forth of capitalism. And if you haven’t been to St. Petersberg then go to the Summer Palace, it is quite the opposite but super awesome.

      3. Are they really the parents children at that point when they’ve been manufactured? I imagine that’s one of the counter points you’ll address. A terribly interesting subject. It would be worth a lot to eradicate genetic diseases in our lifetimes, even if we didn’t get the direct benefits from it. It’s essentially the only way to cure a lot of cancers, for one.

        Of course, one could also design children with some insanely long telomere thereby making them live much, much longer than your normal individual. I’m not saying immortal, although it’s possible I suppose with ongoing therapy, but I don’t feel like 200-300 years old is a stretch.

  4. ‘If you happen to be Moscow drop by tonight…’
    That’s a fairly selective invite.

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