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Re: [Bioethics] low IQ

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  • Christian Munthe
    Some interesting things here, illustrating that perhaps newspapers are not the best source of information in this field, and that things might be a triffle
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 1, 2000
      Some interesting things here, illustrating that perhaps newspapers are not
      the best source of information in this field, and that things might be a
      triffle more complicated than just dubbing things one feels an instant
      dislike for "eugenics"....

      "Using test-tube baby techniques, the doctors have selected only
      >perfect
      >embryos to be returned to the womb"

      plain stupidity, typical sensationalistic journalism. From the tone of the
      text it is also easy to smell the simplistic propagandism of pro-life
      activism ("tiny human lives", wouldn't that go for embryos with "life
      threatening" conditions as well???).

      Notice that the source of the text is "Zenit.org". This is a plain
      propaganda site of the Vatican, describing itself thus: "ZENIT is an
      International News Agency based in Rome. The owner of ZENIT is INNOVATIVE
      MEDIA Inc. a Not-For-Profit Corporation of the State of
      New York (USA). Although the Administration is located in United
      States, the ZENIT Chief Editorial Staff is based in Rome.
      Our mission is to provide objective and professional coverage of
      events, documents and issues emanating from or concerning the Catholic
      Church for a
      worldwide audience, especially the media.". have a look at
      http://www.zenit.org

      No one can even define in theory what a perfect embryo IS. Moreover,
      there's no prenatal or preimplantation test of any kind that do not leave
      possibilities of undetected damages/diseases/genetic anomalies etc.
      Excluding such possibilities would require a total genome scan against a
      background of complete knowledge of the function of every gene in all
      possible combinations and all possible environmental interaction. That's
      pure utopia. And even if that were possible, to exclude all mishappenings,
      the only guarrantee would be to implant no embryo, or to terminate every
      pregnancy....

      "Low IQ is not life-threatening. This is
      >a=20
      >significant step towards eugenics."

      One wonders what he means by eugenics...., as in so many cases in debates
      on these kinds of technologies the word does not seem to mean much more
      than simply "bad", or serve as a guilt by association signal. Where is the
      line to be drawn between life threatening and non-life threatening? And
      wouldn't it be eugenic indeed to say that some kind of people (those with
      life-threatening, whatever that means, conditions) might as well be
      prevented from existing, while other kinds of people are too valuable for
      this. E.g. people with C.F. can be preselected against as embryos, but
      people with genes predisposing for dyslexia may not (unless dyslexia is to
      be seen as life-threatening in our society where a high-level of education
      on average leads to a longer life-span) Nicholson's statement does not seem
      to be very thought through...

      Christian

      >I think this is the article which the dutch one again responded to
      >
      >GENE TEST TARGETS EMBRYOS WITH LOW IQ
      >"A Significant Step Towards Eugenics," Ethicist Says
      >
      >LONDON, NOV. 26, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- Scientists have developed a test
      >that=20
      >enables doctors to screen embryos for low intelligence, The Sunday
      >Times=20
      >reported today.
      >
      >The testing kit can identify a range of genetic defects known to lead
      >to=20
      >learning difficulties, the newspaper said.
      >
      >Developed by a British company, it is the first gene test for low IQ
      >and=20
      >has already been adapted for use by doctors in America and Spain on=20
      >families they suspect have an inherited risk of a defect.
      >
      >Using test-tube baby techniques, the doctors have selected only
      >perfect=20
      >embryos to be returned to the womb, the paper said. The remaining
      >embryos=20
      >-- tiny human lives -- presumably were destroyed.
      >
      >Some experts fear such testing echoes Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World,"
      >in=20
      >which epsilon babies were bred in hatcheries for menial tasks while
      >alphas=20
      >lived a life of luxury, The Sunday Times noted.
      >
      >"There is an urgent need for regulation of what constitutes legitimate
      >use=20
      >of this type of genetic diagnosis," said Richard Nicholson, the editor
      >of=20
      >the Bulletin of Medical Ethics. "Low IQ is not life-threatening. This is
      >a=20
      >significant step towards eugenics."
      >
      >The =A3125 ($175) kit being marketed by Cytocell, of Banbury, was
      >developed=20
      >from research at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, the
      >newspaper=20
      >said.
      >
      >Scientists have identified the specific arrangements of genetic material
      >on=20
      >the telomeres, the ends of DNA strands in each chromosome, which cause=20
      >children to suffer anything from moderate learning problems to mental=20
      >handicap, the paper said.
      >
      >Cytocell has already produced customized probes for couples at high risk
      >of=20
      >having mentally retarded children at the St. Barnabas Medical Center in
      >New=20
      >Jersey and at a genetics center in Barcelona, The Sunday Times reported.
      >ZE00112620
      >
      >
      >
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      __________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________
      Christian Munthe, Docent / Associate Professor
      Department of Philosophy, Gothenburg University
      Box 200, 405 30, Goteborg, SWEDEN
      Tel (+46)Ø31-7734843 (Home: (+46)Ø31-7742447)
      Fax (+46)Ø31-7734945
      Email: Christian.Munthe@...
      WWW: http://www.phil.gu.se/munthe/munthe.html
    • Ryan120146@aol.com
      Christian, Is it your position that embryos for IVF are randomly chosen for implantation without any preselection process? Bonnie
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 3, 2000
        Christian,
        Is it your position that embryos for IVF are randomly chosen for implantation
        without any preselection process?
        Bonnie
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