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Singularity & Religion

Vector: prester_scott

Link: http://angry-man.livejournal.com/307032.html

angry_man writes:
I think anyone who knows me already knows my thoughts on modifying my children, but for those of you not sure, I would be against modifying children. However, I have been forced to think deeply about my position due to the tantalizing promises of stopping terrible diseases in their tracks. How wonderful it would be to remove the negative aspects of our genes, and to give our children the leg up that we want them to have. In fact, as this technology is developed and as it begins to be used, it will be bioconservatives like myself who will be accused of cruelty and immorality; at least, that is what I predict (I'm dangerously close to creating a straw man argument here, but I think I might be safe since I'm just forming what I believe is to be a prediction of the future). The argument will run like this: We have this technology to stop these genetic diseases, to prevent children from suffering, but you will not use it, even if it means making your own child a martyr to your beliefs. You would rather let you child be ill, and possibly die, then admit that you are wrong.

The most confrontational of the New Athiests, in this case Richard Dawkins, already demand:
"How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents?" Dawkins asks. "It's one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods?"

angry_man, as does just about anyone with a mind for these matters, delves into Ted Kaczinski's manifesto and comes up with this quote:
...if the elite consist of soft-hearted liberals, they may decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human race. They will see to it that everyone's physical needs are satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes "treatment" to cure his "problem."


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 7th, 2006 02:21 am (UTC)
Very interesting discussion- thanks for posting about it.

I chose the Socratic method. Interested in your thoughts as well... http://angry-man.livejournal.com/307032.html?thread=1508696#t1508696

Nov. 8th, 2006 08:21 pm (UTC)
Other People's Opinions
I like memetic diversity. I think I probably qualify as a bioconservative of a sort. Sort, though, makes all the difference.

Some social conservatives, take preseter_scott for example, think that "drug use" is immoral but do not think that the he should have the right to invoke the governmental monopoly on violence to force other people to behave as if they shared his moral opinions.

Other social conservatives, take for example most registered Republicans, think that "drug use" is immoral, AND they think the government should use its monopoly on force and physical coercion to compell people who would like to "use drugs" to behave as if they shared the registered Republican's moral opinions.

I like social conservatives of the prester_scott sort. I don't like social conservatives of the "most registered Republicans" sort.

I don't know if angry_man thinks that the government should impose his opinions about the morality of genetic modification on people who don't agree with him. I hope not.
Nov. 7th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
angry_man is right, that is a strawman argument. We (bioprogressives? biolibertarians?) don't care if the bioconservatives martyr their own children. It would be tragic, but that is their right. We *do* care if they prevent us from helping our own children.
Nov. 7th, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC)
There is a huge difference between "biolibertarian" and "bioliberal".

A "bioliberal" would enact the proposed strawman argument, once the technology was available.
Nov. 8th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
Useful Distinctions
Yes. Bio-liberals of the socialist paradise variety who considered religious memes maladaptive might well promote a mandatory genomic cleansing to illiminate the persistent "god delusion" that has for so long plagued societal memetic hygene.
Nov. 8th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Useful Distinctions
I just started The God Delusion but I'm looking forward to the part where Dawkins advocates "mandatory genomic cleansing".
Nov. 8th, 2006 09:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Useful Distinctions
I doubt that Dawkins will demand mandatory genetic engineering. As someone with a clue as to the complexity of genetic information and the potential for unintended consequences, Dawkins would probably opt for a policy based on an understanding of the practical limitations of the technology. The socialist paradise straw man I was lambasting in my previous comment does not let notions of practicality stand in the way of legislative progress.
Nov. 8th, 2006 08:24 pm (UTC)
Men of Straw
I would merely point out to you that the wackiest and most extreme of the anti-religion social policy arguments I listed in my short post came not from angry_man nor from the Unibomber but from Richard Dawkins.
Nov. 7th, 2006 11:47 pm (UTC)
I've already concluded that "fast sequencing" will come before "targeted engineering".

And the theoretical problem with the "bioliberal" approach, is that you generally can't have it all: most alleles that clearly favor intellect are negative for physical health, and vice versa.

That said...even in conservative mode, I see no ethical problem with targeted engineering to remove lethal and sublethal alleles. It's the ones that permit reproduction, but are agonizing, that most clearly delineate the bioconservative option. (E.g., is genetic immunity to malaria worth the price? Would anyone willing trade vision for natural talent at higher mathematics?)
Nov. 8th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
practical considerations
And the theoretical problem with the "bioliberal" approach, is that you generally can't have it all: most alleles that clearly favor intellect are negative for physical health, and vice versa.

You think anything as insignificant as the practical limitations of genetic engineering will have any impact on public policy governing genetic engineering? How quaintly early twentieth century of you.
Nov. 8th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
Re: practical considerations
Rather, how quaintly late nineteenth century of me to assume social darwinism works.

Nothing prevents public policies that do not respect the practical limitations of genetic engineering, from being created. But their host societies will have a relatively short future lifespan.

It's merely a question of how much is left to reincarnate into successor societies...if indeed they have any sentient citizens afterwards (biological, electronic, or otherwise).
Nov. 8th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
When are you going to put out another podcast? My boyfriend keeps HOUNDING me about it. I think he wants to marry you.
Nov. 8th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
That Dog Don't Hunt... in Arkansas
I post a new show every Wednesday, so you're boyfriend will have access to a new one just as soon as I get it uploaded to PodOmatic.

Tell him that I'm already married, and we've got a constitutional amendment in the works here in Arkansas that would prevent me from making my marriage any more complicated or new-fangled than it already is.
Nov. 8th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
Re: That Dog Don't Hunt... in Arkansas
haha he will be sorely dissapointed! Can't you at least autograph an 8X10 glossy so he can hang it over his side of the bed?

Really though, we're fans. He likes to listen to you at work.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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