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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Tihamer Toth-Fejel: on 5/24/14 at 14:31pm UTC, wrote Dear William, You and I certainly agree that in the relatively near...

Peter Jackson: on 5/13/14 at 16:22pm UTC, wrote William, An important and sensitive topic to cover. Well done. Shame it...

Jayakar Joseph: on 5/13/14 at 4:50am UTC, wrote Dear William, As Causality of evolution is the Cosmic-connectivity of...

Anonymous: on 5/12/14 at 10:39am UTC, wrote Hi William, just letting you know I have read your essay. I'm not sure if...

Ajay Bhatla: on 5/5/14 at 17:45pm UTC, wrote William, Developments in medicine and biology do predict a time when...

Joe Fisher: on 5/2/14 at 16:22pm UTC, wrote Dear Mr. Wallace, Your “Brave New World” lite inspired fantasy essay...

Tommaso Bolognesi: on 4/30/14 at 7:38am UTC, wrote I am `anonymous`, in the sense that I am not anonymous :-}

James Dunn: on 4/30/14 at 1:31am UTC, wrote There are how many combinations of genes, and the supporting/binding...


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FQXi FORUM
October 19, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: In the Long Run by WILLIAM FLYNN WALLACE [refresh]
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Author WILLIAM FLYNN WALLACE wrote on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 18:21 GMT
Essay Abstract

The future will hold many changes made to mankind by gengineering, including both physical traits, such as an improved immune system, and psychological ones, such as intelligence and personality traits such as openness to experience. Ethical problems will certainly occur but the populace will demand better babies and science will provide them.

Author Bio

Born Hattiesburg MS 1942. Educated at Louisiana State University, Mississippi College, and University of Alabama (Ph. D. experimental psychology 1970). Retired from teaching at the University of Montevallo, Mississippi University for Women, and the Mississippi School for Math and Science.

Download Essay PDF File

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Hasmukh K. Tank wrote on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 08:24 GMT
To fix the financial responsibility of the offsprings humans have developed the system of marriage. This system limits the choise of other qualities; and so impades the progress of natural evolution, particularly in the less developed countries. If the governments take more and more financial respocsibilities of the children, then youngsters may be able to choose the bride and groom as per his/her psycho-biological-choise; which animals are currently able to avail. Such choices are mostly based on intuition, so logical choises offered by genatic-engineers may not prove to be the best. We also need to compare risk-factors with benifits.

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Ross Cevenst wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 12:09 GMT
Hi William,

Your essay covers an interesting topic. Genetic technologies will certainly open up many new ways to treat and cure disease! The suffering caused by chronic illness is systematically underestimated by many people because often it is partially out of sight!

However, while one would hope parents would be a little more responsible with their own children, I can't help but look, in my less optimistic moments, at some of the breeding of pet animals (also originally concerned with health improvement), some of which results in chronic painful illness in the animal, and wonder if the fashionable choices of thoughtless parents might result in poor outcomes of their own. After all, high rates of unplanned pregnancies seem to suggest not all parents are very good at planning for the future.

I also wonder if parents uniformly choose their characteristics from the big 5 psychology traits, will there be some broader social outcomes? For example, parents might prefer extroverts, but to lose introverts from our society would be an immense loss with consequences I'd be hesitant to try to predict, even having studied quite a bit of social science myself!

Interesting topic in any case! Thanks!

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 15:28 GMT
Hi William,

reading your essay was fast and smooth. I`ve read a few, and yours is certainly in the group of the most optimistic ones. You seem to be fully convinced that the future you describe will arrive, sooner or later. I do not have your expertise in gengineering, and my prudence about these views is based only on vague intuitions. However, I wonder whether, by following your optimism, one can get to the point of imagining human life to be prolonged to last for centuries, or even to reach immortality. (I remember a novel by Michel Houellebecq suggesting that this might happen in the next few decades.) Is this something that you could have mentioned in your text too?

Best regards

Tommaso

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Member Tommaso Bolognesi replied on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 07:38 GMT
I am `anonymous`, in the sense that I am not anonymous :-}

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James Dunn wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 01:31 GMT
There are how many combinations of genes, and the supporting/binding molecule types?

Is genetic engineering preferred over survival of the fittest? The consequences are that eco-system factors that we have not characterized will come back and bite us in terms of severe allergies, reproductive issues, immune system responses, types of incompatible systems like size of heart, sensitivities related to cholesterol and other evolving things we eat and breath...

There is a good chance that some form of gene manipulation will provide some people with the ability to better interface with cyber circuitry. What of the others that are incompatible?

What of the depleted immunity systems of genetically engineered foods?

I am not against genetic engineering, but I don't think it will be a short term fix.

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Joe Fisher wrote on May. 2, 2014 @ 16:22 GMT
Dear Mr. Wallace,

Your “Brave New World” lite inspired fantasy essay was very entertaining to read. As you will find out if you read my essay REALITY, ONCE, reality is unique, once. Human beings are not made out of abstract genes. Any alteration to any real unique human being will only produce an altered real unique human being.

Regards,

Joe Fisher

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Ajay Bhatla wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 17:45 GMT
William,

Developments in medicine and biology do predict a time when "genengineering" is popular and an important issue for much of humanity.

A few questions, to clarify my understanding of your perspective:

1. How far into the future is this likely? Will it come too late in some way is my concern.

2. Who do you think will decide what choices to offer? Is the future you see consist of a master-class defining what choices are available and to whom? Who is the "we" in your statement "Surely, we will put our best people at work on these technologies"?

Please go here to question my view of how to steer the future.

Thanks

- Ajay

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Anonymous wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 10:39 GMT
Hi William,

just letting you know I have read your essay. I'm not sure if you are saying this is just inevitable or this is the way we should steer. I think it is a slippery slope, where does it end? Conditions may be controlled by a number of genes rather than just one and those genes may have other functions than just causing susceptibility to disease. For example the many genes linked to susceptibility to schizophrenia may also be linked to creativity.

BBC,Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'

Adaptive evolution of genes underlying schizophrenia

You may like Judy Nabb's essay "Is a better future possible from Eugenics? on a similar theme".

Kind regards, Georgina

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 04:50 GMT
Dear William,

As Causality of evolution is the Cosmic-connectivity of Biosphere with the Universe, science has limitations for the Humanity to evade from the events and cycles of Nature. That is, the metamorphosis of Earth cannot be prevented, in that virus seems to be the 'survival for the fittest' than others, in an era before Earth become inorganic.

However currently, Genomic molecular repairing is plausible with 'Environmentally guided molecular self-assembly', for that re-structuring of atomic analogy is inevitable.

With best wishes,

Jayakar

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 16:22 GMT
William,

An important and sensitive topic to cover. Well done. Shame it was a little short. In particular it seems the most difficult aspect to engineer is intelligence. Unfortunately it's also the most needed! We must use our on board quantum computers to better effect.

Judy Nabb also discussed eugenics and we discussed these matters on her blog and also mine I think. I hope you may also read and score my essay, subtly suggesting escaping the Earth bound reference frame to find an important advancement in understanding.

I don't think your essay should be at the bottom.

Best wishes.

Peter

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Tihamer T. Toth-Fejel wrote on May. 24, 2014 @ 14:31 GMT
Dear William,

You and I certainly agree that in the relatively near future, medical devices will detect and heal diseases that have a molecular basis (most of them do).

In my essay (Three Crucial Technologies - critical comments and scoring are welcome!), I discussed the rapid pace of technology, best described by Kurzweil's Law of Accelerated Returns. Some technologies have a doubling time of 18 months (most famously Moore's Law) and some are faster, while others are significantly slower. But few are as slow as human reproduction. So given the relatively quick improvements in nanotechnology and space launch technologies, how will human genetic engineering have any significant impact?

Also, have you considered the impact of Freitas' Cell Repair Nanorobots for Chromosome Replacement Therapy ? Won't it make genetic engineering as we know it obsolete?

Finally, one of the greatest problems with "designer babies" (other than the fact that you're doing fairly serious experimentation on humans without their consent) is that the process tends to objectify the subject. Treating humans like objects usually ends badly for everyone involved.

Sincerely,

-Tee

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