View Full Forums : A cure for stupidity?


Panamah
01-27-2004, 04:43 PM
Seriously, found this article: http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993451

I'd like to sign up a bunch of politicians... and the voters who put 'em in office!

Northerner
01-27-2004, 05:12 PM
Hmm, the only thing I fear more than a stupid electorate would be an intelligent one. Sometimes we have great need of the sheep after all!

Anka
01-27-2004, 05:48 PM
It's a shame to see an article like this which assumes that genetic engineering will be developed as a science and used ad-hoc on the population. It's more complex than that and needs thought given to the social considerations first. Given that our greatest social advances of the 21st century were in social equality, we have to be careful that genetic engineering doesn't factualize inequality in society. For example, would you be happy if a member of your family applied to a school or university and were rejected because they were termed genetically stupid? It's not a simple issue.

Anyways I'd better go find some philosophy, sociology, or genetics forum to post on.

alyn cross
01-27-2004, 07:27 PM
/cackle

Panamah
01-27-2004, 07:46 PM
If your wife, mom, dad, sister or boyfriend were suffering a terrible death from a genetic disease would you feel differently? If you had a brother or sister suffering from Down's syndrome wouldn't you have been grateful if that had been able to be reversed perhaps before they were born? (Not sure that'll ever be possible, but that's the dream I think)

If you found out that you're likely to get cancer and die at a very young age due to your genetic code would you feel differently?

I dunno. I think there's a lot of positive things to be said for genetic research and engineering. But I think it is pretty unlikely any of us will actually see faulty genes corrected, unless its done like at the egg level somehow.

We already discriminate against stupid people. They don't usually get the best schools and the best jobs. But we start discriminating against them long before they even think about going to college. It's perfectly acceptable right now to not accept someone in college because they're stupid. That sounds a little harsh, we usually call it, "not gifted" or perhaps "not college material". But the fact is, they don't get the same opportunities everyone else does. Just like extremely brilliant people get more oppotunities than only fairly intelligent people do.

Anka
01-27-2004, 08:29 PM
Its a very complex area. If an unborn child has a genetic disease do you kill it before it's born and implant a new embryo which meets the parents needs? It's a difficult question which different people answer differently.

If you find out that you're genetically likely to get cancer and die at a very young age it seems like good foreknowledge. How would you feel though if you couldn't get romantic involvements because nobody wanted someone 'on death row' to parent their children, even though you might live to a hundred. How would you feel if your parents could have paid a clinic to correct the gene but couldn't afford it or chose not to?

Even what we might today call a stupid person has opportunity. If they study hard they can pass exams even if it takes more effort. Imagine however if you are scientifically labelled stupid and it's treated as an unalterable genetic fact. What would you have to do in order for people to give you opportunity? Would anyone want you to be a parent to their children if you carry a stupidity gene?

There are a great many difficult issues and society needs to understand them before the science gets out of control.

Callahad
01-27-2004, 09:08 PM
Woah! Anyone seen the movie Gattaca? If not go see it, you will see where it could lead...

Callahad

Tenidina
01-27-2004, 09:14 PM
How about all the people who were labeled stupid because they could not read properly, only to find out years later that theya re suffering from dyslexia? Kids labeled as hyperactive and who are unable to sit still also being called stupid, just to find out years later that these kids all have ADD or ADHD and can take medication and have a normal life, or have occupational therapy to learn strategies to cope with what is going on in their bodies.

I have a child with a pretty severe case of ADHD, do I wish he could sit still without medication, hell yes, would I trade him for anything in the world, Hell no. He is loving, caring, sweet, and still at the age where huggs and kisses from mommy are not vile in public.

Panamah
01-27-2004, 10:23 PM
Even what we might today call a stupid person has opportunity. If they study hard they can pass exams even if it takes more effort. Imagine however if you are scientifically labelled stupid and it's treated as an unalterable genetic fact. What would you have to do in order for people to give you opportunity? Would anyone want you to be a parent to their children if you carry a stupidity gene?


Really? Could someone with an IQ of 100 (which is average BTW) possibly pass the bar exam or become a brain surgeon? I'd be extremely doubtful. I don't think that just "working harder" is going to level the playing field for someone that just doesn't have the intellectual abilities. A person born deaf isn't going to make much of a musician. And I wouldn't want a blind person operating on me or doing air-traffic control. We all have limitations that no amount of effort is going to over come.

It's definitely a grey area and there are no comfortable black & whites that people want to find in every issue. But sometimes people have limits that even the most extraordinary effort can't over come. I think when I was younger I used to believe that if you wanted to do something badly enough, you'd find a way to do it. But then, what do you tell a retarded person who is having problems learning to read? They aren't trying hard enough? That seems pretty cruel.

Imagine however if you are scientifically labelled stupid and it's treated as an unalterable genetic fact.

How is it any different than being scientically labeled blind or deaf? Would you let someone that was 50% blind be a pilot? Likewise, would you hire someone not very bright to represent you in a complex legal dispute?

If stupidity is a genetic trait that could be corrected, like a gene sequence that repeats too many times, and you could correct it, why wouldn't you?

There's a difference between tinkering genetics to produce extra bright people -- which people do anyway using artificial insemination and pre-qualifed sperm and egg donors -- and correcting genetic problems, like a sequence repeating too many times which might cause retardation.

King Burgundy
01-27-2004, 11:26 PM
'"If you are really stupid, I would call that a disease," says Watson'

I just think that quote is hilarious.

Aerokella
01-27-2004, 11:55 PM
I have to agree with you King.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-28-2004, 01:46 AM
"would I trade him for anything in the world"

Interesting.

Would you trade his genes? He would still be the same person.

How about his children's genes(I really mean the genes he passes to his children)?


"It's a shame to see an article like this which assumes that genetic engineering will be developed as a science and used ad-hoc on the population."

Watson has always wanted that. Crick just wanted the medals.

Tenidina
01-28-2004, 03:00 AM
No, I would not trade anything about him. Without even that Gene he would not be the same child. Well, he would be the same child but he would not be also. Some of his idiosincricies (sp?) are what make him so loveable.

Araxx Darkroot
01-28-2004, 05:02 AM
You cannot miss what you don't have.
Imagine if your son had been cured of his ADHD before being born. You would love him as much as you do today, because you never would have known his "other" side, which is really how he is today. (does this make sense?)
What I'm trying to say, is this: We all say "we wouldn't change a thing about so-and-so" even if they have a problem, make us angry, etc., but if that person was different from the start, we still would say "I wouldn't change a thing about him/her" because we don't know any other side to that person.
But if you could help someone with a simple twitch of a DNA string here or there, BEFORE you got to know them, would you?

This is a difficult subject, because every single part of a person's personality, idology, etc. is what defines that person, and changing even the slightest part can be catastrophic.

Hitler's mother thought about aborting.
Beethoven's mother had 8 children, 3 were blind, she had sifilis, and some others had other illnesses, and Beethoven was the ninth, so before knowing he would be born, would you have sugested to her to interrupt her pregancy? (this is approximate, I can't remember the exact figures, but you get my drift)
What if Stephen Hawkin's (sp) disease had been discovered before he had been born. Would you have changed it? Maybe he wouldn't have spent as much time studying physics and decided to play Quarterback...
Einstein was called slow and dumb at school by his teachers! Imagine if his "stupidity" had been cured.
Hard to make a decision indeed.

Jinjre
01-28-2004, 10:47 AM
Beethoven was the ninth

I thought Bethoven wrote the ninth?

/flee

Panamah
01-28-2004, 02:14 PM
No, I would not trade anything about him. Without even that Gene he would not be the same child. Well, he would be the same child but he would not be also. Some of his idiosincricies (sp?) are what make him so loveable.

Would you give him drugs or behavior modification to help him with it? Later on when he has serious problems in school and life beyond school he might be thankful that he was able to overcome what can be, to some, a serious handicap.

But on kind of the same subject people have similar conflicts over things like growth hormones for very short children. Short people have all kinds of difficulties just because the world is assuming that people are at least a particular height. Not to mention the unconscious biases we all have towards thinking more height is better. Taller people get paid more, all that crap. It's kind of unfortunate, IMHO, because we're becoming giants.

Still, if you had a boy that was never going to grow taller than 4' tall, would you consider giving him growth hormones to make him taller? Would you if it was a girl?

I probably would, but only if the kid wanted it.

Here's another one! This one really is hard. Children are born all the time with indeterminate genders. Every now and then you see this pop up on TV. I think even Jamie Lee Curtis was. They're born with both brands of genitals. You can't even look at their chromosones and tell because often they'll have a repeating X or Y or something weird. So they used to just decide at birth and the doctor would tell a parent what gender their child was and chop, chop, they'd have a little boy or girl.

Well, often times they guessed wrong and the little girl felt and acted more like a boy, and visa versa.

I guess if it were me, I'd wait until the child was old enough to tell me which gender he/she was. And I'd probably dress him/her in non-gender specific clothes... and name him/her Pat. :p

BTW: They think there is something else at work other than X's and Y's in deciding gender.

If you want to look it up on the Internet, the term is called "intersexual".

Aidon
01-29-2004, 02:05 AM
Despite popular myth, Einstein never failed math...ever ;)

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-29-2004, 02:30 AM
"...because we're becoming giants"

By and large that is true. But the height increases over, say, the last hundred years, can mostly be attributed to nutrition and diet. Maybe.

What bothers me is attractiveness. Why when you look at early photos, at people who contempories considered attractive, they are so blah.

Statistically speaking, there should be people in those old time photos who we today consider attractive, no?

Nothing deep or anything, it just struck me while watching Pretty Pirates of the Carribean last summer.

Tinsi
01-29-2004, 02:55 AM
Beethoven's mother had 8 children, 3 were blind, she had sifilis, and some others had other illnesses, and Beethoven was the ninth, so before knowing he would be born, would you have sugested to her to interrupt her pregancy? (this is approximate, I can't remember the exact figures, but you get my drift)

Urban legends r fun!

http://www.snopes.com/glurge/twoquest.htm

Araxx Darkroot
01-29-2004, 05:37 AM
Thank you Tinsi.
I knew there was some misleading information (hence why I said approximate, because the first part of that text is what a friend sent me some months ago) but my example was about making a choice.

It is like a finger pointing to the moon.
*SLAP*
Do not concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all that heavenly glory.

:)