The Instigator
Darkerknight
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
V5RED
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points

Should People Be Allowed To Edit The Chromosomes Of Their Fetus?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
V5RED
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 442 times Debate No: 87688
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

Darkerknight

Con

I believe that it is wrong for someone to determine their unborn child's future based on their wants. This is a gross crime against humanity and I believe scientists should terminate their research on the matter.
V5RED

Pro

Since Con did not define the extent to which modifications may be made, I will define the position I am defending here. I am defending the proposition that some alterations should be allowed, but not all alterations. I am assuming that con is defending the position that no modifications are permissible.

The limit is partly due to logistic problems that could arise if there was a bias toward one gender. It is also partly due to the recognition that some people have very radical ideas, and I would not want to allow parents to decide that a child should be born with such a genome as to make life difficult on the child.

The ethical stance I use is a type of consequentialism based on the premise that promoting wellbeing is good and diminishing wellbeing is bad.

Since Con did not define the term "crime against humanity", I will go with the first definition that appeared on Google. "Crimes against humanity are certain acts which are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population or an identifiable part of a population."

I am using this round as an acceptance round and a round in which to clarify my stance, not as a round in which to post my argument.
Debate Round No. 1
Darkerknight

Con

First of all I'd like to point out that I believe that no parent has the right to take away what has been scientifically planned for a child. This would completely ruin what is know as heredity and all teachings of it would be useless. I'd also like to say that altering the child is based on the parents likings. If it is going to be born with a disease or something that would shorten a child's life, I think that is absolutely necessary. However, if a mother or father wants a baby to have good athletic abilities or have blonde hair "just `cuz" is wrong and selfish on the parent's behalf.
V5RED

Pro

"First of all I'd like to point out that I believe that no parent has the right to take away what has been scientifically planned for a child. This would completely ruin what is know as heredity and all teachings of it would be useless."
This is false.

First, you are claiming that there would be no value in teaching a subsection of genetics if a subset of parents were to want to customize their children. The value would be in learning something that is extremely important to the most fundamental building block of biology, evolution. Even if we got to a point where all human children were made in laboratories with artificial DNA, there would still be interest and value in learning about how that aspect of biology works for all other species.

Second, that would not "ruin" heredity. Even if all human children were created artificially, heredity would still function for every other species.

That said, the idea of us all being fully made in laboratories is absurd. For the most part, heredity would be preserved. There would be minor alterations from what would naturally occur, but changes of the ilk you seem to oppose would be of very little consequence to the child's genome.

"I'd also like to say that altering the child is based on the parents likings."
Why is that a problem?

"If it is going to be born with a disease or something that would shorten a child's life, I think that is absolutely necessary."
You should have been clear about what you were opposing in your opening. Right now you are now partly taking my side. This also defeats your assertion in your opening that "scientists should terminate their research on the matter". If the research is terminated, then something you just said is "absolutely necessary" would not be possible.

What about alterations that improve people, in general, to have longer lifespans. Stronger hearts, better HDL production, brains less susceptible to degeneration, etc. If we were able to determine the optimal alleles for longevity, it would seem that it would be incumbent on us to alter genomes to have those alleles.

"However, if a mother or father wants a baby to have good athletic abilities or have blonde hair "just `cuz" is wrong and selfish on the parent's behalf."
Why is that wrong? What is the negative consequence of this alteration? How is the child harmed by being more athletic or attractive? What if we could make people smarter and thus accelerate research into human prosperity? We could see a revolution where the old limits on lifespans were far surpassed, where the quality of life for everyone rose to heights never before thought possible. How is any of this immoral or a crime against humanity?

My argument is simple. These alterations and the research into them can be of great benefit to humanity. It can increase our longevity and it can lead to a generally higher quality of life by increasing our capacity for research(both by allowing researchers to live longer and thus accomplish more and by actually improving our capacity to learn and improve).

Purely aesthetic alterations can be beneficial to the child in terms of its self image. Alterations to improve physical abilities can also be beneficial for reasons such as health and allowing all children to participate in sports.

I could see how we might want to have some limits so it does not become the case where wealthy children are supermen on a level where there is no opportunity for poor children to compete either academically or athletically. We would also need to worry about racism on the basis of having had these improvements or not. That does not, however, imply that there is something wrong with these improvements. What it implies is that we could need to devise strategies to get the improvements to be widespread and our anti-discrimination laws would need an update.
Debate Round No. 2
Darkerknight

Con

Darkerknight forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Darkerknight

Con

Darkerknight forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Darkerknight

Con

Darkerknight forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by dr_sepheroth 9 months ago
dr_sepheroth
To cure disability, birth defects and genetic disorders I think this is a good thing.

However if people are thinking about doing this to change the gender of a fetus, or manipulate physical, mental emotional, cognitive strength then this should be forbidden.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Hoppi 11 months ago
Hoppi
DarkerknightV5REDTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for forfeiting. Con conceded that altering chromosomes to treat disease is necessary, and thereby conceded on arguments, as Pro pointed out.