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Reprogenetic technology like polygenic embryo screening actually gives more control to the parent and facilitates better-informed reproductive decisions that produce children that live better lives.

Completely unsubstantiated claim.

What exactly do you disagree with? That tech allows to analyze embryo genome before implantion? That tech allows to choose from multiple embryos to implant for pregnancy? That polygenic indices have relevant relationship to live outcomes?

That we can just pick out Better Babies as though we're comparison shopping between brands of cornflakes.

Which of aardvark2's four premises do you specifically disagree with?

I think the comment you're replying to is pretty much just FNE expressing an aesthetical-moral distaste for the concept, not exactly a disagreement on the technical aspects.

Oh, the technology may work lovely. It's when it comes to "and the baby is gestated and delivered and growing up, and oopsy-daisy turns out we made a boo-boo and now this kid is stuck for life with a problem" that I am not sold on.

I can see the benefits of "this embryo has been selected to not have the genes for breast cancer that are in the maternal family". That reduces the risk greatly, but doesn't of course mean that the child produced isn't at risk for something else. But when it comes to the blue-sky visions of Better Babies, I am very damn dubious because it's all too redolent of past sunny forecasts of "well now we have psychiatry, we understand the impulses in the human subconscious, crime and mental illness will be a thing of the past!" That didn't happen, and I don't think polygenic selection as we currently have it is going to do any better when it comes to "and your kid will be healthier, smarter, more attractive, and be a Fortune 500 company owner, we guarantee it!"

We do not know enough and we're looking to run the equivalent of human testing doing this with current generation of pregnancies. Get enough of these done, over time, we'll see the pitfalls and "oh yeah, turns out that location wasn't the one we wanted after all". But the problem is that we are doing this to humans, and creating (if it goes through) a cohort of babies that are, to be blunt, lab rats. Babies and their families who will have to live with the consequences of "yeah, seems like picking X without Y to accompany it was a fuck-up, ah well we'll know better for the next batch of embryos!"

By this logic, all medicine is bad because sometimes we accidentally get thalidomide. Thanks to modern antipsychotics, number of permanently instituionalized patients was reduced by 10-100 times.

crime that was offset by governments and population not wanting to solve crime, it's not that science on it was useless.

Honestly? Kids with horrible problems get born every day, in numbers I expect to absolutely dwarf any IVF polygenic experiments.

The only thing that's worse about the latter option is that now you have someone to blame.

I thought you were going to advocate for UBI instead of school spending so that poor people get a better life instead of highly funded education etc that does nothing for them.

I find your talk about genetic engineering for intelligence to be basically a form of genocide. Genetic engineering like this wouldn’t be much different than sterilizing them and giving them a smarter baby. Their child I assume would still look like them but their child’s mind would be completely different than themselves. Granted survival of the fittest is basically natures way of genociding the less fit.

In a lot of ways I feel like being mentally different from ones children would far less be like them than if they were physically different. If you changed my child’s dna so they were physically Lebron James but everything that goes into the mind was me then I think I would connect with them more than if they looked like me but were mentally different. They would have some different experiences. Like I had 2 years where I was bullied heavily and I am going to guess that wouldn’t happen to them. Or getting cut from the basketball team.

I find your talk about genetic engineering for intelligence to be basically a form of genocide.

By that definition evolution by natural selection is genocide. Anything that caused differential reproduction of genotypes could be considered genocide even.

It probably is. The difference here is it would be people deciding to do it to themselves. It’s the Gattaca endgame

A world without natural selection would lead to an accumulation of deleterious variants that would quickly lead to the extinction of any species. If I was given a choice between health or sickness, intelligence or ignorance, and life or death, I'd choose life every time.

You're not being very clear. Would you prefer to be sick, ignorant yet alive rather than die for the sake of the "health of the species"?

The question is over what kinds of people we are going to make in the future, not over who to cull now. I don't think all beings have an equal right to life.

This used to be the position of progressives back when racism was the norm, if you remember.

Colonization, eugenics. These were specifically progressive projects justified by the "white man's burden". There are many a memory holed passionate tirades about how us moral Europeans have a duty to civilize barbaric peoples for their own good.

If you want a taste of it you can go look at the career and writings of one John Stuart Mill, colonial administrator at the East India Company and fervent proponent of "benevolent despotism...provided the end is improvement". All as he was the ur-social-liberal that we all know.

So on one hand it is not at all difficult to imagine progressives pivoting to a paternalist form of compassion, even though it's so antithetical to their current beliefs (they already have this stance vis à vis Islam), but on the other hand this has been tried and has had problems of its own, not least the shame of it being the cause and justification of their current denial of anything approaching biological essentialism.

It therefore seems like a dead end to me. If anything a compassionate acceptance of biological realities would have to pair itself with a humility about our understanding and ability to shape nature that I see few people truly exhibiting.

This is definitely interesting, but I expect zero traction. It's not the easiest for me to articulate why.

No submission statement, but I decided to be tolerant and read it anyways. Two paragraphs in I still don't know what you're driving at, so I stopped reading.

The short version is that a progressive politics, prizing compassion and equality, is compatible with belief in the scientific validity of genes and heredity. It's more-or-less the same position as Scott's Parable of the Talents, or Freddie deBoer's take on education, or anything that you might file under the heading of 'hereditarian left'. Both social interventions and targeted genetic enhancement are good.

I'm a bit skeptical of the conclusion for overall Chestertonian and/or James-C.-Scott-ian reasons, but I doubt many Motte posters will find much to disagree with. It feels rather Singerian to me, in a sense?

It feels rather Singerian to me, in a sense?

I would say it's in approximately the sense that he wrote a book called The Darwinian Left.

The notion is recurrent--sufficiently recurrent that the most basic response was penned no later than 1788:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

Biorealism is usually invoked to explain why certain people would be better off with more government rather than less. Rarely do the people invoking it apply that biorealism to the people doing the governing. This was a key insight of the founders of the United States, and we (well, the governing elite) have substantially discarded it. When you give some people power over other people, however so benevolent, people in power will in short order set about fucking (literally or figuratively) the people who lack power, because that, too, is biorealism.

This can apparently be mitigated, somewhat, through checks and balances and rights-protecting arrangements of various kinds, but of course that is why people so often chafe at checks and balances and rights-protecting arrangements. "But think of all the good we could do!"

Yes, indeed. And all the deliciously enjoyable rewards we could reap along the way--after all, surely those who make the world a better place deserve some credit for that? What could be more natural?

That's how I tend to feel whenever people make a political argument from... well, biorealism, race realism, HBD, whatever you want to call it. Even if we grant that Group X are on average 10% or 20% dumber than Group Y, it does not follow that Group X will be better off being governed by Group Y. If nothing else, Group Xers probably care about Group X's welfare, whereas Group Yers do not necessarily.

It's an argument I've had before with people from all sides of politics. Communists, woke progressives, postliberals and integralists, cultural conservatives, alt-righters, HBDers, you name it. There comes a moment where it always seems to come down to, "We just need to get a sufficiently enlightened elite to govern the whole, for their own good."

I think of C. S. Lewis' argument for democracy:

I don't deserve a share in governing a hen-roost, much less a nation. Nor do most people — all the people who believe advertisements, and think in catchwords and spread rumors. The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.

That's how I tend to feel whenever people make a political argument from... well, biorealism, race realism, HBD, whatever you want to call it. Even if we grant that Group X are on average 10% or 20% dumber than Group Y, it does not follow that Group X will be better off being governed by Group Y.

Those are two very different arguments, though. One is about how people are. The other is about what we should do about it. (A similar problem is often seen with climate change debates--agreement on facts about climate is not the same as agreement about political responses, and rejecting proposals regarding the latter should not be assumed to constitute substantive disagreement on the former.)

My own take on HBD has long been very straightforward: we need to stop trying to "uplift" people. It is my view that the correct conclusion from HBD is not "X should rule Y," it's "government actors should stop giving special treatment to any X or Y by virtue of their X- or Y-ness: it doesn't do what you seem to think it will do."