Up@dawn 2.0

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Peripatetic Discussion 2/12

We took an adventure through the library for our peripatetic discussion this afternoon. While roaming through each floor our main topic was focused on bioengineering and the ethics of genetic enhancement. Our first hit of the topic was the situation of two deaf mothers choosing a deaf sperm donor for their child in order for the child to connect better with the parents. The major question of this decision is whether it is ethically right to this. The first, and most prominent, argument was that it can in no way be right to choose a child’s trait to be one that may hinder them for the rest of their life, especially in a situation where the child has no choice. A counter argument was that it is the parent’s choice for the child and deaf parents would have a different perspective on deafness as a deficiency and in many cases may even desire such a trait for the child to better understand and connect to the parents in the world they see and will teach to them.

The discussion then continued to the idea of how it may be unethical in the majority’s eyes to choose such a trait, is it ethical to choose enhancements for specific traits the child also would not have a choice in? Even though we may be able to choose numerous different traits for our children, that does not mean we necessarily should. How do we know our child will want to be musically talented, faster, or have larger muscles than they would have had originally?

As we continued up the stairs of the library to stretch our muscles, the discussion transitioned to future regulation of genetic engineering. We discussed whether government would ever be able to control genetic enhancements once the technology has evolved enough to be a choice for future parents. As long as individuals are able to participate in medical tourism, any country’s regulation of genetic engineering would be ineffective.


  1. Sounds like you guys had a great discussion. My thoughts on the "designer" children subject is that I think parents should let their children be formed from the independent assortment of genes. Genetic and prenatal testing are there to help the parents see through any problems that might be occuring with their baby. From then on, they have a choice to make on whether or not they would like to keep it. Genetic and prenatal testing were originally created to help families find out what could possibly be wrong with their child or what genetic diseases are within their family lines, but now people are using these tests to get a child with specific traits.

  2. As the idea of enhancement becomes more prevalent in the world of athletics, scientists are attempting to create better ways to screen for enhancement, particularly for Olympians. They hope to create biological profiles of all potential contenders and monitor them so that they are able to determine if any drastic changes in something like hormone levels occurs. They anticipate many problems however, such as detecting a long time user, untraceable genetic enchantments, and those who are willing to siphon their own blood and inject it later for a red blood cell boost. All of these are potential problems for any major sports game in the future, and some are already being scrutinized for the possibility of enhancement already.
    FQ: How to runners alter their living habits in order to achieve better distance running?
    A: Live High, Train Low, or living in an altitude house.

    DQ: Will the entertainment quality of sports depreciate if many begin to use enhancements? Could two arenas coexist, one with enhancers and one with regular athletes? Would sports lose their luster if cheating became undetectable and no one could ever be certain they were awarding the prize to the best non-enhanced athlete?