Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Designer babies? Brave New World?
Back on January 11, 1999 Time Magazine had run a story by Michael D. Lemonick, David Bjerklie, Alice Park and Thompson, “Designer Babies” with the quip “Parents can now pick a kid's sex and screen for genetic illness. Will they someday select for brains and beauty too?”, link here. (Yes, Time Magazine, your online content still seems to be “free”).
Today, there are major media reports that superficial traits like eye and hair color can be chosen for in vitro fertilization, or preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD. A typical story dated March 2, 2009 appears in World Magazine (Christian Views) by Lynn Vincent, here.
Most of us remember Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” (1932), and conservative author George Gilder warned in his 1973 book “Sexual Suicide” followed by “Men and Marriage” in 1986, that one day man would want to give up all the uncertainty inherent in having babies “the natural way” and make only perfect people.
Ethicists have said that picking babies for superficial traits will counter the social progress in non discriminating against people for superficial appearance, although these matters do affect attractiveness in the minds of many people.