On Wired today, Steven Edwards broadens the discussion of genetically altering preborn gays, if that theory holds true, to genetically altering anyone for any reason.
He linked to an article describing a March 20 meeting at Harvard of some of the world’s leading liberal and conservative bioethicists. This group formed “unaccustomed alliances” to agree biotechnology should be used only to treat disease and not enhance people, such as to raise IQs:
Michael Sandel… head of the Program in Ethics and Public Policy at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute… not[ed] that “we choose our friends, and we choose our spouses, at least partially on the basis of traits we find attractive. But it’s an important part of parenting that we don’t choose our children”….
Unconditional love of children, and their unpredictability, are important facts of life, Sandel said. The author of an about-to-be-released book titled “The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering,” said that the “qualities of children are unpredictable, and here’s a domain of chance where the fact that the domain is governed by chance is morally important.”
But even if limiting preborn biotechnology to treatment of diseases or handicaps, which diseases or handicaps would qualify?
And this question does not just apply to preborns. Some scientists support using technology not only to repair deficits like hearing, sight, or motor loss but also to enhance hearing, sight, and motor function – to hear what others can’t hear (whispers 100 ft. away), see what others can’t see (through clothes), throw a ball farther than can now be thrown, etc.