Boston, Massachusetts, US
America has made many technologies that have changed how the world has become, such as CRISPR. Eugenics, the idea that the world can be benefited if one could just change the genetic makeup to make humans more fit. CRISPR is able to take away certain genes that cause diseases, such as dyslexia, MS, and so on. Parents do not want to pass their diseases to their children, which makes the CRISPR more intriguing to them. By eliminating people that are deemed inferior, it is difficult to categorize what is good and bad for society. One is subjecting themselves to the perfect idea, but it is rather difficult to identify what is perfect.
The word “perfect” could correlate to a dog, to the shape of a pear, to an eye color, to the body length and nose. For diseases, countries in Africa commonly have sickle cell because it prevents malaria due to its mosquito- surrounding environment. However, in America, where there are less mosquitos, sickle cell is seen as a terrible disease. It is difficult to determine what is perfect because it “depends on the environment, culture, and circumstances that a child will face.” For example, during the 1900s eugenics movement, society had grouped people who were not of the anglo saxon race and were not as skilled as them as defective. This is detrimental to society’s values because people with “defects'' do not have the ability to talk about how they view themselves in society. Plastic surgery has been a common procedure for many years … “plying their trades without all people with big noses or poor posture feeling they need to visit specialists to have these traits altered.” Without one realizing, plastic surgery is the CRISPR, but in adult form. A doctor isn’t changing your genetics, but they are changing how one looks, in order to be in the perfect standard.
There are dangers that the CRISPR face, because society has been reliant on America as an amazing country, more countries will want to join in on CRISPR’s activity. It is dangerous since one doesn’t know the extent to which the CRISPR will be used. There are no certain regulations or standards for the CRISPR. For example, when America had launched their first nuclear weapon, Russia was extremely shocked by it and decided to start making them too. By making them, it resulted in the increase of nuclear weapons and the potential of human destruction.
The CRISPR cannot fully guarantee that the child will not inhibit certain genes in the future, such as deafness, diabetes, cancer, asthma, etc. The CRISPR is only for the baby in the womb, not when it is born. The baby could be born with a higher IQ, but it is not guaranteed that the baby will be smarter than someone of lower IQ, once out in the womb and living.
Charlestown, Massachusetts, US
Learn to Question Post 4: The Ethical and Moral Questions of the New Eugenics
The ability in which one can alter the genetic makeup of their offspring, when used correctly, is moral and can take us to places we have never thought of in the world of medicine. There are two types of genetic-altering technology. They include somatic or germline gene-editing. In the somatic form, only the DNA within the body’s non-reproductive cells are being changed. This means that it is only affecting the individual. Rather in germline, it changes the DNA within sex cells which means that the changes done to the individual are passed onto their children and affects future generations. Ultimately the decision to use the technology is up to the parent, but as a society we are capable of doing what is best for us, especially when it comes to our children. According to the Harvard Gazette, “If you could precisely correct or delete genes that are causing problems — mutating or aberrant genes — that is the ultimate in precision. It would be so transformative for people with diseases caused by a single gene mutation, like sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. Developing safe, effective ways to use gene editing to treat people with serious diseases with no known cures has so much potential to relieve suffering that it is hard to see how anyone could be against it.” Gene-editing technology gives us access to delete DNA mutations that cause diseases we may not even have cures for, such as some forms of cancer. Although it is expensive, we have to take into account that terrible diseases will regardless force a person’s family to spend thousands of dollars on treatment and if passed on will lead to a cycle of payments. In germline gene-editing, we can just avoid it altogether and make the cost worth it. It is also noted that the cost of the technology is slowly decreasing and can be more accessible to those in the lower class in the future, “This is only the beginning. As the price of genetic testing of all kinds drops, more adults are learning about their genetic makeup as part of routine medical care and discovering specific genetic risks before pregnancy.” Many also see that autism, ADD, dwarfism, etc are actually gifts and that erasing those genes is unethical and decreases natural human variation. With somatic variation a parent is able to choose for their children but does not choose for them how their children will end up. Thus this form can be used for non-life threatening diseases and does not erase positive mutations in the body. Our history brings up the question of if we can avoid the abuse of this type of technology. We have been able to make laws and policies over time to avoid such types of problems in other places so there is no reason why we can not do the same here. The agreement on rules for things such as CRISPR and advocating for good morals and ethics will give us no problems. If not then we can set certain procedures to combat it from possibly negatively affecting others.
Boston, Massachusetts, US
The Ethical and Moral Questions of the New Eugenics
Voluntary eugenics is immoral, even with certain regulations established to make sure it doesn’t go out of hand. Although the use of CRISPR will ensure that certain illnesses that require extensive treatment or illnesses that are more fatal no longer exist in the gene-pool, which allowing for a better quality of life for those with the illnesses, it will also do a lot of harm and will create a lot of inequity within people’s lives. With every benefit that comes from CRISPR, there will always be a downside that is packaged along with it.
CRISPR is one of the most impressive medical advances that has occurred in our society so far. With the implementation of CRISPR, it would relieve many families from the troubles of medical expenses that come with treatment for some illnesses and save not only expensive trips to the hospital but also give people with illnesses freedom that they had never received before. In order to closely regulate CRISPR so that people don’t use it with ill intentions, it’s important to make sure that CRISPR is solely used for medical reasons and not for cosmetics. For example, people should not be using CRISPR to allow themselves to genetically have a better nose, blue eyes, a higher IQ, etc. Instead, people should use CRISPR to do things like edit the gene for sickle cell anemia out of their genes so that they no longer have to struggle with the life-changing symptoms of the illness. It would also provide possible cures for illnesses that have never been curable like cancer or cognitive insensitivity to pain.
However, even though it can cure illnesses and relieve society from these struggles, it also has many side effects that outweigh the benefits of CRISPR. Even though it can edit out a certain gene that causes a certain illness, it's possible that there could be side effects present when changing the gene. Changing one gene may invoke a change in another gene, causing another problem as compared to solving the problem completely. Not only are there biological risks to CRISPR but there are also ethical risks. Those who are in the lower-middle class will not be able to afford gene-editing, allowing a bigger gap between the wealthy and the poor to form as wealthier people will be able to afford gene-editing and will become more advantaged in that way. Hospital bills are already quite expensive and CRISPR will be even more expensive in comparison. In addition, there are some people that feel like their genetic condition helps form the way they are and affect how they see the world in a good way. This isn’t to say that people with genetic conditions don’t struggle or suffer but some may convey their genetic condition in a more positive way, and wouldn’t want to change the presence of it in society like those who are affected by deafness, autism, or dwarfism. As quoted from an article I read, “Evaluating the quality of life of another person is a complex, highly subjective, and context-dependent task that is morally questionable in a society based on the concept that all people are of equal value regardless of their individual differences.” Not everyone feels the same way about a certain genetic condition so it is important to consider their own perspectives in the conversation of eugenics. Having people in society with various different perspectives and points of views is so important and is expanded and valued from all kinds of places of diversity.
Furthermore, during our dinner debate, there was an important issue brought to light about mothers and genetic diseases as well. Some mothers, knowing that they have a genetic disease, will choose not to have babies despite their strong desire for children because they don’t want their children to have the same genetic disease that caused them so much hardship in life. However, with the implementation of CRISPR, mothers would be able to fulfill their dreams and not be barricaded by an obstacle in the issue of having children. Even though this is true, this may also cause even more inequity within women. Wealthier women, who are able to afford CRISPR will typically be able to receive treatment and have children while less wealthier women, who are typically people of color who are put at a disadvtange, will not be able to receive treatment and have children. This causes a divide between mothers and brings life to the inequity that CRISPR will cause.
The conversation of eugenics is one that is ongoing and may never completely end. It brings to mind the questions: Who decides who receives treatment first? Who decides what the guidelines for administering CRISPR are? Will CRISPR displace those that work in the medical field? What happens then?
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Gene editing in any way is immoral, there are too many risks or bad outcomes that could result from editing offspring than the benefits can cancel out. Changing the genetic makeup of someone shouldn’t be something that we can do and it interferes too far with nature and the course of evolution in any species. There are many ways that gene editing could get out of hand and be harmful, be used for non-beneficial reasons, be controlled by the wrong people, as well as other possibilities. Aside from being immoral, altering the genes in offspring and eventually changing the entire human population, there are harmful effects that would undoubtedly happen to some percent of the population that had their genes altered. It could cause more defects in someone's body when trying to erase them which we have never seen before in our species which would hurt many as it got passed on to others. There is also a chance that gene editing could be used for reasons such as altering one's features, making them stronger, making them smarter, etc. These would make some much better and able to do things much easier than others as would only be affordable to wealthier people, giving some advantages on editing because of how much money they had, this could also cause for less wealthy people to even have the restriction of affording the actual beneficial edits. Those same non-beneficial edits could also have results of erasing unique identities and cultural features from people as there would most likely be a race to achieve society's beauty standards. This means that allowing gene editing could over time allow for the possibility that everyone in the world would be a clone of one another and there would be no genetic discrepancy. As we have seen in history, there have been rises of groups that all enforce and believe certain things and carry out immoral acts. If gene editing got into the hands of a rising group or nation like this there could be any number of possibilities such as creating “super humans” in that group to make their population better than average humans in every way, they could do this by forcibly editing offspring, and having all these attributes would allow for them to do harm to other nations or groups in the world.
Even if we ignored all of these possibilities and set restrictions, that would inevitably be broken, there are still other factors that would be unfavorable towards gene editing. If it was only used to keep people from getting diseases or illnesses, there would still be people who were harmed by the technology. This would mostly allow for more people to live long and healthy lives, but put pressure on our Earth that is already overpopulated and cause it to have an even greater population. This would make people with very little resources to have less and largely take away from the amount of resources required to live to go down even more. The population would only grow without anything bringing it down which would lead to there eventually being no space left on Earth. All of these collective reasons not only out way the benefits, but also prove the benefits to also have many risks and bad outcomes.