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Should genetically modifying babies be legal? Show more Show less

The term “genetic modification” most commonly refers to a technique known as mitochondrial replacement therapy. The treatment involves constructing an embryo from the DNA of three people, using one party’s mitochondrial DNA in place of another, which is at risk for passing on a mitochondrial illness. In recent years, the genetic modification of babies has become a widely debated issue. The first genetically altered babies were born in 2018, prompting the scientific community to debate the ethics of the project. Is this procedure the scientific community's latest achievement, or a step too far?

No, genetically modifying babies should not be legal Show more Show less

According to most experts, genetic modification of babies carries social and safety risks that make the responsible practice of this procedure impossible.
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Genetically modifying babies would create a new caste system

If some members of our society receive genetic enhancements, those who are not genetically enhanced will fall into a lower class.
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Context

The Argument

Throughout history, inequality has plagued our societies, limiting countless individuals' freedom and quality of life. Although efforts to address this problem are present, the last thing our societies need is a procedure that could worsen inequalities. If the genetic modification of babies becomes popular, this is a dangerous possibility. The procedure could divide the line between the wealthy and poor as it is expensive and has limited availability. The children of wealthy parents could benefit from genetic modifications that give them unfair academic, social, and physical advantages, while others remain inflicted with human flaws that genetic modification can prevent. The advancement of genetic modification could also worsen issues like sexism and racism. The prospect of having a designer baby could prompt couples to "build" a child that fits societal standards of beauty, leaving those with "undesirable" traits in small numbers, thereby worsening discrimination. Eventually, modified people could delegate others to the bottom of the social ladder, thereby creating a new caste system.[1] For this reason, we should avoid genetically modifying babies.

Counter arguments

This argument is based on speculation rather than fact. We have no proof that genetically modifying babies will prompt individuals to take advantage of the procedure, using it to increase their own social standing. By avoiding the procedure based on this possibility, we deprive couples who could benefit from it of children out of fear. At second we right now have mental disorders like ADHD, BPD, Schizophrenia, Autism etc that destroyed ability of the kids to get good education and job. What is essentially the lack of equal access to resources provided by society.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Since the genetic modification of babies could worsen current forms of inequality or bring new ones into existence, policymakers should not allow the practice.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The argument assumes that genetic modification would worsen injustice rather than help alleviate inequality.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.geneticsandsociety.org/press-statement/call-uk-reject-modifying-genes-future-generations

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This page was last edited on Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 17:02 UTC