posts 16 - 27 of 27
Pinyon Jay
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 20

The promise of "perfect" people

  1. Firstly, in the dystopian world presented in Gattaca, I would prefer to be a baby whose genes have been modified, as all opportunities and aspects of life would be extremely limited if I was a “faith baby”. My reasoning is more socially than scientifically based, as later on in the film Vincent proves his worth as a “faith baby” when he beats his genetically modified brother by swimming farther out to sea. I would not be able to go to the length that Vincent went, of identity theft, to be successful, because it is a very meticulous job and one small mistake could reveal my true DNA and destroy all progress. There are certainly social disadvantages to being genetically modified, as seen in the character Jerome, who is burdened by the expectation of perfection, since he has very favorable genetics but does not perform perfectly in the Olympics. However, the advantages of being perceived as a valid in the world of Gattaca would greatly outweigh these disadvantages.
  2. My general idea of eugenics is that it is an inaccurate theory that encourages improvement of human genetic quality through ideas of “survival of the fittest”. Eugenics was used to justify forced sterilization and segregation of people deemed unfit, which is directly reflected in the distinction between valids and invalids in Gattaca, and the imperfections in this system of distinction. Evidently, in this society, genetic classificaitons are used in the same way as race, as the preconceived notions of invalids who were birthed conventionally, like being incapable of higher up jobs, are social constructs and highly inaccurate. The inconsistencies of this dystopian society’s view of valids vs. non-valids is seen in several characters such as Irene, a valid with a risk of heart failure, which contradicts the idea of "Valids" pushed by genotype profiling. The ideas of identity throughout this film show how easily the system of genetic discrimination can be manipulated and toppled altogether, since Vincent is able to pose as a Valid and surpass the potential that seemed to be predestined for him.
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

The promise of “perfect” people: Reproductive technologies, genetic engineering and questions of right and wrong

I first want to start off by reiterating the very beginning of this post where (what I assume is) the rhetorical question “Would people be healthier, stronger, less criminal, more capable of dealing with the challenges of modern life?” if certain genes were modified. While many people would argue that the idea of genetically modifying is a good one to create a perfect society free of harm and violence, I disagree. As we saw in the film the society in Gattaca is lowkey discriminating and people base everything off wheather you're valid or not. I think it also depends on if the process is safe or ethical. While many would risk everything for a perfect life with benefits, it’s hard to say how much you're willing to risk for that since the movie did not provide a clear vision of how these modifications were done. Eugenics all come down to a person's preference because not everyone agrees with the same ideology of “perfect”. Perfection is unachievable despite how much you modify it. A perfect person to you, may as well be the worst person to someone else. What you deem as perfect, another person may not. A world where people are healthier, stronger, and free of crime sounds extremely ideal but it’s difficult to say if it would have a positive result for society or not because if anything a seemingly “perfect world” could result in a new problem waiting to be discovered.

However, if I were to choose whether or not I wanted to be a “faith baby” or a baby whose genes have been modified, I would want to have them modified and I would not roll the dice to see if I would be valid or invalid. Selfishly, this IS because of all the benefits and because I don't want to be discriminated against but like many other people said, it would also be a free pass through life. As a parent too though, it would make me relieved to know my child is doing well because they were practically bound and destined to succeed. All the advantages and opportunities that Vincent received such as when he went to a job interview after inheriting Jerome’s genes and the interview just based it off if he was valid or invalid. If you're considered as invalid in this society, it is evident that those people have a harder time than those considered as valid. People will not even think about hiring you if you are an invalid, regardless of how intelligent you are or how much you work, so it’d be easier to just have that GIVEN to you with modified genes. To live my life as well as others, nevertheless, is a challenge, but I would never use another person's identity. I doubt I would go to the extent that Vincent did in the movie. He has a lot of ambition and puts a lot of pressure on himself to achieve, but I'm fine with achieving the absolute bare minimum as long as I am happy.

The film raises discussion over whether Gattaca is a nightmare or a paradise is necessary, and the responses to that central topic reveal people's attitudes toward eugenics-based discrimination; it's all opinion based.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

People would be healthier, stronger, less criminal, and possibly more capable of dealing with the challenges of modern life if a child's genes were cultivated to only the desirable traits a parent would want. This would have a positive result in society only for those born with modified genes, those born naturally would risk the chance of being discriminated by their health status. This isn't good for the society as a whole because those with perfect genes would be the small group of elites that run everything in the society, making large equality gaps. In all honesty I would prefer to be a baby whose genes had been modified. After seeing what type of life a child with "problems" would live and how they would be treated based on their health, I wouldn't choose to live my life that way. I wouldn't choose to be discriminated because of my disorders, disabilities, or undesirable traits. I wouldn't be willing to go to the lengths Vincent did to have another identity and to get a chance either. He had a rigorous routine and was constantly lying, and trusted no one, I wouldn't be able to keep up. The risks were too great, Vincent risked being a suspect of a murder, going to jail for faking his identity, and get the person's identity he was taking in trouble as well. Gattaca is all about eugenics. VIncent mentiones that discrimination moved from class, to race, to the genetics of a person. A person would be discriminated because of physical, or medical conditions. They deemed a person fit or unfit based on their health status. Vincent was hired in an interview purely because he was scanned as perfectly healthy. If he had been discovered as “in-valid” the interview would’ve been conducted no further. This is an example of how difficult discrimination can make a person’s life, a simple factor or trait about a person can determine what opportunities they are given.

Boston , Massachusetts , US
Posts: 13

If you were alive in such a world, would you prefer to be a “faith baby” or a baby whose genes have been modified?

If I were to live in this world I don't know if I would want to be a "faith baby", from first-hand experience I know how much harder it is for disabled people or people with certain conditions or characteristics deemed "undesirable". These things are hard to cope with but overall makes people emotionally stronger and resilient to everything life has to offer. I think if you were purely thinking about the ease of someone's life and their ability to be "accepted" into society I would say a "faith baby" would fit in and be likely to get through life with little challenges based on things out of their control. These things, however, are not "morally wrong" and having children with certain conditions and traits creates more diversity and perspectives, they add a lot to our society and I think that trying to erase them with these things would be wrong. Overall I think that being a "faith baby" would not be something I would prefer to be but would not necessarily be opposed to.

Would people be healthier, stronger, less criminal, more capable of dealing with the challenges of modern life?

I think objectively people would be healthier and stronger (as we would get rid of diseases and disabilities), but people would not be less criminal and I think that this would take a large mental toll on a lot of people.

Would you roll the dice and hope you’d be a “valid” as opposed to an “in-valid”?

The lengths that Vincent went to were relatively extreme and I don't think I would act to the same extremities, I would rather be "valid" because it would be a lot harder to be invalid, especially without the help of people in high places which Vincent had.

How do the questions raised by the film echo questions about the justification for eugenics and its relationship to wholesale discrimination?

This film definitely echoed eugenics and the unstable, incorrectness of the "science". There were multiple points in the movie where Vincent proves to be superior in certain areas such as academics and swimming compared to his brother but cannot compete with his status because he isn't "valid".

boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

The promise of "perfect" people

Manipulating genes doesn’t make a better society. One can be born without all the good and desirable traits and still be a great person. Yes people would be healthier and stronger overall if we lived in the society of Gattaca. Crime doesn’t change when everyone’s genes are better. I feel like the further we progress, it should be the case that more less-capable people are able to succeed. The challenges of modern life, should be less than the challenges of life in the past. I don't get why one would be discouraged if their child was born with poor genetics or some impairment. There have been tons of great people who did great things while also having been born impaired.

Of course I’d rather be given social mobility in the society of Gattaca. But, if I were born a faith baby, I wouldn’t do what Vincent did. Vincent had an obsession with space, and was set on his dream. I probably wouldn’t have any dreams like that. It wouldn’t be fun, being forced to a specific occupation, but there’s more to life than your job. I wouldn’t want to take any crazy risks.

Eugenics controls the society of Gattaca. The film kind of makes it seem like genetics is the only factor that makes a person strong or intelligent. The film makes Vincent an outlier who miraculously goes past his “potential”. How is the “potential” mapped out? Does the potential take into account a person’s lifestyle? Someone who works out and has bad genetics could be more physically capable than someone who does nothing and has good genetics. I like how in the beginning of the film, they mention how it’s against the law to discriminate based off of genetics, but everyone does anyway. I think this movie is very uplifting, but it makes it seem like nature is more important than nurture, and that you have to work incredibly hard to surpass your “potential”. I feel like one’s upbringing and lifestyle is way more important than genetics. Overall, I think this film sends a good anti-eugenics message.

Boston, Massachussetts, US
Posts: 12

Gattaca is about human tampering of genes in attempts to create an utopia free of violence and illness. When considering the change at face value, genetically modifying people for health reasons would be very beneficial and would eliminate genetic disorders entirely. Despite the medical advantages, Gattaca's reality would divide people to a greater extent than anything prior. This dystopian society reminds me of me the books we've read before, 1984 and Brave New World, in which it leads me to wonder what other parts of life may be "perfected" by science. When considering crime rates, I don't think any changes would be made, but I do believe that "faith babies" and their parents would be more inclined towards rebelling against the system put in place.

I would definitely want to be a modified baby since there's many benefits with little downside. Although you could argue that you're "playing by the system", its still very beneficial not having to worry about illness as well as being placed highly int he social ladder. If I was a in-valid person I wouldn't go through all the trouble Vincent went through since the punishment he could've received, harsh work, and constant paranoia is not for me.

Although this movie exaggerates and plays with the topic of eugenics, it holds some truth in the idea of genetic superiority. When considering Vincent's traits against Jerome's, its clear that perfectionism is ingrained within Gattica's society. Additionally, its told throughout the movie that although Vincent can't match Jerome's swimming speed, his heart isn't as strong, and his vision wasn't as good, he is still capable of producing results and is able to get very far under his false identity. The idea of perfection is a facade which is especially prevalent when Jerome lost both his legs. Despite his intelligence and perfection (apart from his missing legs), he was thrown aside as if he could no longer be useful. Adding on, Stephen Hawking was affected by a disease in his twenties which paralyzed him indefinitely, and despite his imperfections he has made a name for himself as one of human kind's most influencial people.

freddie gibbs fan
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 20

If I was born into Vincent’s world I would want to be a genetically modified baby but only because others in the society are. To clarify, I would not wish that in today’s society we introduced genetically modified people because it would be linked directly to wealth inequality and would probably lead to the breaking down of society as we know it. I would want to be genetically modified in the movie because it would be the only chance one has of being on a level playing field with others, to not be treated horribly. I think implementing this system into today's society would be detrimental because it would not be used fairly.

If I were to link the movie’s plot to a real world event of discrimination I would probably compare it to the Yellow Star of david which jewish people in ghettos wore during world war 2. It was an instant marker which otherized someone, just like the “valid” and “in-valid” worked. Another question the movie raised about Eugenics is how they are really fraudulent. While we are told Vincent’s brother is better in every way, he cannot walk and he has less of a drive for success. Vincent’s passion and skill lead him to lead a life even more sophisticated than a “Valid” person, which begs the question; is there even a tangible difference between those who are valid and those who are not?

In class I learned that the difference between races is not a significant genetic one, but more of a societal one. There is not an inherent difference in intelligence, competency, or hard-workingness between the two groups so perhaps the divide between “valid” and “invalid” is fabricated, just like between races today. I found Vincent’s passion and intelligence particularly convincing as to why the Valid system was only created to allow for those of a higher socioeconomic status to remain there. He was an imperfect child, one who was not modified, however he outlived his predicted death time and evaded his heart condition, showing that being a “faith baby” wasn’t the end-all be-all of his identity. His relationship with Irene also shows how little validity matters anymore as she doesn’t care about it by the end of the movie. it was clearly a requirement for a lover for her until she realized that it didn’t actually reflect the person at all. She thought that Vincent was Valid but fell so in love with him, she disregarded his actual status.

sue denym
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

The promise of “perfect” people: Reproductive technologies, genetic engineering and questions of right and wrong

In theory, manipulating genes to “cultivate” them is good. However I think that the overall impact of it is not ethical in the grand scheme of things. I think that it can be good to an extent, like to minimize health complications but to be able to influence a person’s appearance and personality seems overkill. (They had mentioned reducing how violent someone would be which could lead to trying to modify other aspects of personality.) Those types of qualities in humans are almost completely subjective and should be left to fate. While in the movie, they noted that discrimination was no longer based on appearance but rather “scientifical validity”, they still had shown Anton being conceived and choosing specific traits. This suggests that it still holds some sort of weight and I think that is really unethical, it’s as if customization which seems inhumane. They had also wanted to choose the baby’s gender which can imply that they want to control other forms of identity like gender identity and sexual orientation which further proves the unethical point of trying to use gene modification and eugenics to create “desirable” people. So in theory it could try and produce “better functioning” members of society but it leads to a lot of loose ends which makes the ethics questionable.

Despite all of this, I have to say that I would prefer to be modified and be born as a “valid” baby because in this type of society, I know for a fact that I would be deemed invalid. I would only want to be modified due to the extreme discrimination that “invalids” faced everyday. I would not be able to handle the challenges that they faced everyday, especially on the artificial claims under the guise of “science”. This would be incredibly frustrating, especially when Vincent had said for verbatim “focusing on the flaws only restricts what can you do” and showing that if you worked hard that you could self-improve. I think it’s also really vile that in addition to discrimination based on genes, like BigGulp said, uncontrollable events that occurred while living can also affect your validity. Although I want to make a correction, in the film, Jerome’s accident was not uncontrollable, in a scene it is heavily implied that he had intended to walk in front of the car. However this raises up the question of ethics again in the query that redeemable mistakes can make you invalid. I think it’s also worth considering all of the things that could’ve been if it weren’t for the idea of genetically modifying people, and better represented, all of the things that could’ve been if it weren’t for discrimination. Gattaca is a great example of the illogicality of eugenics and discrimination.

Posts: 13

I can see something like Gattaca happening sometime in the near future. Genetic modification will produce healthier babies and can decrease the baby's chances of developing a disease. Manipulating genes, although it may seem like a fairly reasonable outlook for society, will only cause more divide in our already divided up country. One of the largest issues in America is the disparity of people of color and the unequal distribution of resources give to citizens. If we were to establish eugenics into America now, it would further widen the wealth and achievement gap as those who can afford to partake in genetic testing will be the ones to bear the genetically modified children. In addition, having good genes does not mean you are smart. Being passionate and good at something is learned, not inherited. Yes, it is good to have a foundation of solid health, but those shouldn’t be things that determine someone’s success or outlooks. If people with “good“ genes perform better.

In a world like Gattaca, I would definitely prefer to be a genetically modified baby rather than a “faith baby.” It seems that genes are nearly everything in Gattaca--Vincent’s only test for gaining the job was a gene test and even then, there are machines everywhere that detect who you are based on your blood and ranking. I wouldn’t take the chances of being a “faith baby” because the genes you get truly do define the life you would live.

This film took eugenics and adopted an interesting take on it. We follow Vincent, who has a deep passion for space but doesn't have the genes to prove that he is fit for a job in space. He's already established as an outlier. In this world, you can only move up by having good genes. Passionate about space, he was forced to pretend to be someone else. By succeeding in an environment meant for "good genes," he challenges social norms and also challenges what others think of him because of his presumably bad genes. Additionally, Vincent is discriminated multiple times because of his genes: Vincent's parents did not believe he could go to outer space because he had a heart condition, Irene becomes interested in Vincent because of his false genetic makeup, and even the fact that those who have "bad" genes are called "invalids" is just crazy to me---almost like they're comparing these people to animals. A justification for eugenics would be that it encourages the advancement in society to those who will live longer and who will carry on the information, except that it doesn't mean that they are particularly smarter than the rest of the population.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

If I were born in a society that has perfected eugenics like in this movie, I would 100% want to be a baby whose genes have been modified. I would hope that my parents would have thought about what could happen if they rolled the dice and conceived me through whatever scientific method society adopted. I am not saying that this is a good practice, I am just saying that considering all in-valids have to go through, I would not want to be at risk. Valids’ lives are a thousand times easier than in-valids. It determines what jobs you can obtain and how you live.

As the movie said, there are laws in place against discrimination, but there will always be a loophole. When Vincent refused to give job interviewers his DNA, they had a legal drug test waiting for him. The laws will never matter as long as there are ways to get around them. On a similar note, the beginning of the movie reminded me a lot about race. There are laws today to protect marginalized groups against discrimination when hiring, but of course, many people get around it. Additionally, when trying to conceive a genetically modified child, the parents are able to choose the sex and all features. If a society preferred a certain phenotype or race, they could breed entire groups of people out of existence. In our society, this would be an explicitly racism, ableist, and potentially sexist practice.

The film raises the question of whether genetically modified people are superior to the unmodified. Gattaca is a movie that is against this practice. The film follows the story of a man deemed genetically inferior who defies all of society's expectations. Just like in the movie, many people in real life argue that eugenics can be used to remove diseases and disabilities from the gene pool. Though removing diseases and disabilities that can threaten a child’s life is a good thing, I think that can be a dangerous statement. Trying to breed disabilities out of the gene pool is ableist. By doing this, you are fundamentally saying that there is something wrong with people who have disabilities. So I am not entirely sure how to handle that topic.

The ability to genetically modify embryos would be catastrophically damaging to our society. In more fascist societies, and possibly ours, governments would work towards the sterilization of women of certain races. The forced sterilization of Native and African American women would repeat, but on a grander scale, and white supremacy would skyrocket. Another thing that may worsen is sexism. In societies that value men over women, parents would start to only conceive boys. This would cause population numbers to decline. To combat this, I have no doubt that people would start birthing girls simply for breeding purposes. For all of these reasons, it is a terrible idea to police reproduction, especially through eugenics. Ultimately, changing the way that children are conceived will only damage generations to come.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

The promise of perfect person

Modifying genes of a human being in order to create perfection is not something new. I will say the downside to this would be the discrimination faced to people who do not have perfect genetics. The only way to prevent discrimination is to either cause all people to have perfect genetics, which if everyone would have perfect genetics then no one would have perfect genetics because it would become the average. The only other way to prevent discrimination is to not modify humans at all, which is probably impossible to do. Even if a place where perfect genetics are definitely ideal and would help with many issues today, perfection is viewed in many different ways. Perfection may be having exactly the right amount of each gene, such as issues that could relate to vision or respiratory. Another view of perfection could be having extraordinary eyesight, but having average lung capacity or muscle fibers.

I would definitely have my genetics modified and modify my children's genetics to prevent them from facing discrimination and physical/ mental issues down the line. It would be too risky to gamble, then have to take measures such as taking someone else's identity. Identity is a large part of my life and I would definitely do everything in my capabilities to maintain it. It is definitely worth genetically modifying, because it is very hard to hide your identity being a faith baby and just not worth all the cons that come with it, even if you are 100% pure.

The idea of superiority of genetics is disproved through real life and Gattaca because Vincent was able to complete the same jobs despite his genetics not being perfect. This definitely takes a toll on morality, as there cannot be the removal of disability without bringing disabled people down mentally, making them think there's something wrong with them.

The ability of having the choice to avoid risk of having disabilities and imperfection would definitely be chosen by many people across the world. While this is still highly debated due to the moral factors, it will help people who are not ready to take care of children who may require higher needs/care.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

I would prefer to be a baby who's genes have been modified, as they definitely have a leg-up in the world. It would eliminate the possibility of that child having difficulty in environments like school or any other social circumstances.

Mind you, this is all in the context of the movie's society. In a perfect society (not the one in Gattaca), I think it would be interesting to see the ramifications of using genetic research for things like medicine or preventative care for bad diseases. I wonder if it is possible to do so without the implication of genetically modifying children from the womb.

I find similarities in this film to eugenics. Obviously, the entire premise is genetic alterations of human children, and eugenics raised the question of that possibility. In the real world's eugenics movement, it was used to oppress people who were different than the scientists conducting whatever experiments they were doing at the time, and therefore draws a similarity to the film. I think the moment you try to use your research to oppress groups of human beings by race, your argument/research is proven invalid.

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