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What Happens in Vegas, or, Waiting for Khan

Folks, here's your chance to get in on the ground floor of a great investment. Forget the designer furniture or designer clothes, now you can have designer babies!

Yes, now the means are available to encourage the cultural prejudices that were, up until now, beginning to disappear. Some countries who value male children will have them, and other societies, such as Canada, will choose females. I think I'll start saving my pennies now to start the international matchmaking service in about 18-20 years.

Make no mistake, the avoidance of genetic diseases is an important technology, but it still raises some troubling moral questions about the relative value we place on human life. But not nearly as big a moral and ethical question as being able to genetically manipulate your progeny to your specifications for cash.

The attitude of the 'Doctor' who offers this service insists that he is "serving the marketplace and helping Nature, not playing God".

Uh, no. You are not helping nature, you are actively thwarting it. Yes, you are serving the marketplace, in that you are helping nacissistic clods who, when they have a child, will drive that child to the point of collapse, from the in-utero flash cards to the 18 weekly sport and music lessons these children will have to suffer through at 3 years of age. They are not after children, they are after possessions. Perfect little things, or at least, ideas of things that they can display with no sense of moral upset. But, once you've paid for them, can you return them?

Think about it - an unknown combination of genetic manipulations creates a generation of infants and children with debilitating, chronic illnesses. According to the rationale at work here, you have paid $20K for a defective product. Do you sue? Fine, I'd be surprised if they didn't. But, you still have this child that you will never love quite the same way as the one in the catalogue. Your own, imperfect reflection of you and your need to outdo your neighbors. Make no mistake, that's what this is about - you're not thinking about the good of the child, the child doesn't exist yet. You're doing what's best for you and you alone.

This is the type of ridiculously indulgent, unthinking, narcissistic behaviour that perpetuates the stigma that people with disabilities have to endure.

As any fellow geek may recognize, the title of this screed refers to everybody's favorite genetically-engineered superman, Khan Noonian Singh ("KHAN!"). Who, if you think about it, wasn't all that scary, since he was defeated by William Shatner.

Let's hope the legendary Montreal-born thespian stays around at least until these kids grow up. We may need him.

"serving the marketplace... not playing God"
Interesting quote that. It got me thinking that if there is a god anymore it really is the marketplace itself. It's a god but even better at collecting tithes. And, just like "God", we can use it to justify doing the most odious shit conceivable.

It's a short trip between "Laissez-Faire" and "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law"(Aliester Crowley).

One of my favourite movies deals with the subject of creating a genetically perfect society, mostly by focusing on the life of one of the 'imperfects'. It's called Gattica, produced in 1997 and written by Andrew Niccol. It's very much worth renting, for the story, the acting, and the rather important role played by none other than Gore Vidal.

Agreed briguy. As soon as I read the post I thought of Gattica. The movie starts with a phrase "In the not too distant future". It's here.

Gattica, huh? I'll have to check it out.

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