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Genetic Engineering of Humans is Moral

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 770 times Debate No: 87645
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Resolution: There is nothing morally wrong with genetically engineering humans to make a desired child.

Burden of Proof: The BoP rests with the Challenger, or the person attempting to lay moral claims.

, Genetics.
the development and application of scientific methods, procedures,and technologies that
permit direct manipulationof genetic materialin order to alter the hereditary traits of a cell,
organism, or population.
of, relating to, or concerned with the principles or rules of rightconduct or the distinction
between right and wrong; ethical.

1: Acceptance
2: Opening Statements
3: Refutations
4: Counter-Refutations and Defences
5: Closing Statement



I accept this challenge and look forward to debating with you. I hope both of us can enjoy and learn something from this debate, and I wish you good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


Good luck to you too.

No one knows how life began. The general consensus is this: Some sort energy, possibly lightning, struck a body of water in which amino acids were dissolved. This created the first, earliest form of life: A self-replicating molecule. This may have been something similar to modern DNA or RNA. Anyways, as this molecule self-replicated, malformities in the duplication process would occur. Most of these made the molecule inert and unable to reproduce. But some made it produce more than its competitors, and this was the very beginning of evolution. The most important stage in evolution was when one malformity was produced that allowed the duplicated molecules to work together. This led to the Cambrian explosion, and all complex life forms.

Why do I feel the need to explain the history of life to you? Because, as you can see, we are naught but the most recent stage of a 3.8 billion year old chemical reaction. It is completely ethical, 100% moral, therefore, to attempt to make ourselves better. Assuming the geneticists are working towards a positive and not a negative end, it is OK to allow them to design perfect humans.


Genetic engineering may have a good cause, but ends don't always justify the means, especially when having to do with human lives.

One of my main reasons is that it doesn't take the child into account. Genes create or help create every part of the human body, and any error could potentially result in deformity or worse. [1] Natural selection "edits" these genes out in nature, but when we have genetic engineers inserting them into a species that has needs and desires beyond the primal, base needs of survival and reproduction, things can go wrong. It is a risk the scientists know about, and to harm a perfectly healthy soon-to-be child because of a needless, risky procedure is immoral. Even if the procedure goes perfectly fine, the child might still be labeled a freak. This would cause the child's life to be less happy than if he or she were left natural.

A second reason is that it does not take other people into account. If the procedure goes as planned, the child will be superior mentally, physically, and genetically. However, a superior human is still human. The child will naturally think himself/herself better than others and won't have any physical limitations to stop them from enforcing that superiority. Negligent parents, a traumatic experience, or the aforementioned teasing and "freak" mentality could all cause this child to become depressed and angry. They are not inherently a gift to society or a monster, and human nature suggests the latter could very well happen.

A final reason is that playing God with people is unethical. Why did people have slaves? They were almost free work, and had to do anything you told them to. They were far superior workers from the employer's perspective, or else he wouldn't have bought slaves. That doesn't make slavery morally right. Making a superior human wouldn't guarantee they would be treated better, and it would make them more likely to be taken advantage of, or take advantage of others. As a worker they wouldn't be paid better, because why pay more than you have to? And when they reach the top, they could very well treat their inferiors poorly. Additionally, genetically engineering a person to do a certain task well, as would most definitely be the case in many cases, pressures the person to do that task, robbing them of free will.

In conclusion, even well-intentioned genetic engineering can have adverse effects that make it immoral to practice for the purpose of creating a perfect human.

Debate Round No. 2


Every single thing that ever happens, has happened, or will happen helps some and harms others. What is so special about humans, when most do not care about genetic engineering on other creatures? Natural selection is crueller than artificial selection. It is more likely for a random process to produce a negative than a conscious being to do so. We know what genes do what, and which ones to change to achieve an end. Is happiness measurable before the child is born? I doubt it is.

Being better comes with challenges. Anyone with a gift instill jealousy for having it. The bigger/better your gift, the more you get teased/bullied/made fun of for having it.

Who are you to say that anything is unethical. Biases are not always personal, they are often rooted in the time in which one lives. For millions of years people have had no qualms with slavery This does make slavery morally right, according to most humans. Who are you to say that they were wrong?

In conclusion, no matter what we do, some will be helped and others harmed. All we can do is to work towards the goal of the least possible being harmed and the most possible being helped.


Your argument is flawed. You say that it is "100% moral" and later claimed that all we can do to be ethical is try to help as many people as possible and hurt as little people as possible. In that case, it is completely wrong by your own definition. As I have said, genetic engineering can cause harm to many people unintentionally and in some cases intentionally. These negatives for many people outweigh the positives for one person, because the superiority wouldn't guarantee happiness for anyone, including the child.

"Who are you to say anything is unethical." This is a fallacy because it assumes that who I am has any bearing on whether I am correct. Whether I am Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian, or I really am a platypus, my opinion on ethicality is just as valid as yours unless you can prove otherwise.

Of course being better comes with challenges, and it is my argument that these challenges cause the genetically engineered child to have a worse life. You seem to be supporting my side by saying the child will be bullied. This is an expected result, and it is unfair to undermine an otherwise socially healthy child's social life by trying to make them "better." It is acceptable to cause harm if it couldn't be predicted and it was for a good cause, but to do this would essentially to condemn them to a childhood of being a freak.

I would like to say that you have argued well, and I am enjoying this debate so far.
Debate Round No. 3


100% moral was a hyperbole, for nothing can possibly be 100% moral. No matter what, some will still be harmed. As moral as possible would be to make sure something works, and then to use it to the advantage of all. Any figure you can think of who is highly skilled, or is kind, or has any worthwhile trait, has suffered, and that made them a better person. The perfect human would be just that- perfect- and would be a stepping stone to creating the perfect species. The benefits of this end justify any minor, personal struggles.

To say something is unethical and therefore shouldn't be done is to impose your personal set of ethics onto another. I personally think no one ever has the right to impose ethical beliefs, or any other beliefs, onto others, ergo, "Who are you to ...".

In agreeing that a genetically engineered child may be bullied, I am not supporting your side. I agree with the premise, but not the conclusion that this would leave them any worse than the millions of other children who have been, are being, and will be bullied.

Was Gandhi's peaceful protests justified because he intended to leave thousands of British officials unemployed? Was the Emancipation Proclamation justified because it condemned the loss of millions of today's dollars' worth of property? all good things come at a price.

Thank you for the complement. I would have to say, though, I personally think you have been doing a much better job voicing your points. I do hope that changes. ;)


First I'd like to address your claim that it would be a stepping stone to the perfect species. You state that struggling would make them a better person, but this isn't always the case. One example is a name I'm sure you've heard before, the notorious Adolf Hitler. He struggled throughout his life, even writing a book titled Mein Kampf. (My Struggle) Hitler caused the death of millions, and was a detriment to society. This "perfect human" would most likely be taunted as an outsider, and pressured by his parents and teachers to reach his potential. After all, they aren't perfect. They would be in an interesting situation, feeling alienated from and angry at his/her fellow humans, while also feeling sure they were superior. I'm not saying this will definitly happened, Here we have a person who has all the reason in the world to hate other people, and the intelligence to manipulate his way into power. Hitler, after all, was democratically elected.

You may be thinking about my above point "Wait, couldn't we just engineer him to be ethically perfect too?" You said it best yourself, my friend: "no one ever has the right to impose ethical beliefs, or any other beliefs, onto others." To do this would indeed be wrong. It would also be exactly what is needed to make sure the child doesn't become a Hitler. So making this child puts you between a Hitler and a morally wrong place, because you have been tempted by the promise of a Gandhi. But you see, Hitler and Gandhi were both born to natural parents. Steps to a better species can be taken without the needless risk of genetic engineering. Yes, all good things come at a cost, but that doesn't make everything that comes at a cost a good thing. A chance for another Einstein, another Gandhi, another Mr. Sugihara, is indeed a good end, but it is not a guarantee. It's easier to hate than forgive, to be Adolf Hitler than to be Oskar Schindler, and this applies to anyone. In fact, it is natural.

I must admit, you have made me think. This argument has shed some light on morality for me, and both of us, I'm sure, have learned something.
Debate Round No. 4


Why did Hitler rise to power? For the same reasons Donald Trump is now, for the most part. He polarized the population, and he instilled fear of minorities. He was a white supremacist who believed that all unlike him were against him and below him. I takes a certain degree of intelligence, a certain way of thinking, a certain level of sobriety to overcome the natural, instinctual levels of xenophobia. Hitler inspired a mob mentality around this idea of xenophobia, then manipulated the system.

A person with such a mental capacity can easily realize why xenophobia is not the answer. They will grow from struggles, benefit from hardships.

How are we to advance, as a species, without some struggles? As I already stated, hardships make one grow. If we apply this to our species, a couple trips and stumbles will no doubt occur in our march to perfection.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. For the sake of science, of knowledge, of growth, of humanity, we need to move forward, not stagnate. An essential stepping stone is this, to change who WE are, at the genetic level. The future of mankind rests in the hands of our generation.

This has been, by far, the most engaging, interesting, and all-around best debate I have yet had on this site. Thank you.


Well, let us take a moment to examine Donald Trump. His nationalistic message is indeed much like Hitler's. And like Hitler, Trump has also written a book. The Art of the Deal, I believe. From what I know of it, he details methods of advertising and playing to the people's emotions. The very same thing he is doing to gain support. Trump very well knows the problems with his arguments, and he's using them to his advantage. Put simply, he's smart enough to act like an idiot. His brutal honesty has an appeal, and I can understand the reasons for supporting him. The point is, Trump's an intelligent guy, just like our hypothetical genetically engineered child. Hitler was a smart guy too. It indeed takes intelligence to overcome xenophobia, but this human would be adept at the art of manipulation. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but the few, namely the rich and powerful, often disagree. This child will almost definitely be among those groups, simply because he/she is smart enough to gain the money and power. From the child's perspective, everyone else would seem idiotic. When I was younger I thought the same, but realized it wasn't so. But this child truly would be intellectually and physically superior. This superiority complex could very well turn the genetically engineered child into a Hitler or Trump. They may benefit from hardships and grow from struggles, but they could easily also go down the path that the monsters of history have gone down before.

I agree, we must move forward. However, there are ways we can change for the better without modifying our genetics riskily. We can strive to be better as we are. This generation does determine the future of mankind, and we can make it a good future by teaching our children, by solving the problems that face the world, and by joining together as a community. The whole world. It isn't individual strength that makes us great, it is what happens when we work together that makes us great.

Thank you for this wonderful debate as well. I can see that you think hard, and are an intelligent person. If what I have seen of you while anonymously debating is any indication of what you are like all the time, I can tell that you are a good person and I hope you benefit those around you as much as you have benefitted me through this debate.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by StronglyOnionatedPlatypus 2 years ago
You too, TheOregonian, nice job.
Posted by TheOregonian 2 years ago
Nice job bro. You argued really well.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TuracoPersa 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Ahhh I don't know. Nobody really came out on top. There was a bit of talking past each other on the important points.