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Science Sorts Sperm in Switzerland

By tarsand in MLP
Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 07:59:12 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

According to this article on CBC a team of scientists working in Switzerland have developed a technique which 'sorts' human sperm by the genetic payload it carries, that is, whether it will produce a male or female if it fertilises an egg.


This sort of thing has been done on livestock for years, now we've developed a way to do it with humans. According to the article, it could be used beneficially to let parents that carry X-chromosome genetic diseases have daughters, and hence, avoid having a child with an active disorder.

I don't know about anyone else, but this is just another step on the road to complete commericialisation of human life, and one step closer to designer children. Sure, using it to avoid children with genetic diseases carried on the X-chromosome is fair enough, although there is an arguement for people like this to restrain themselves, but, do you really think it will be kept for that purpose for long? I don't.

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Poll
If you could choose the sex of your (next) child, it would be:
o male. 12%
o female. 10%
o I wouldn't choose; leave it to nature 50%
o I don't wish to have (more) offspring 26%

Votes: 86
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o article on CBC
o Also by tarsand


Display: Sort:
Science Sorts Sperm in Switzerland | 57 comments (37 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
Designer children (3.75 / 12) (#3)
by Carnage4Life on Wed Jul 04, 2001 at 05:16:13 PM EST

don't know about anyone else, but this is just another step on the road to complete commericialisation of human life, and one step closer to designer children.

If I can choose to have a child, what is wrong with me choosing that the child is male and free of dispensation to diabetes or hypertension instead of letting random chance dictate my child's life?

Do you also argue that people shouldn't get laser eye surgery or use braces because it leads to "designer children" as well?

Some information (4.14 / 7) (#16)
by Anonymous 7324 on Wed Jul 04, 2001 at 07:56:28 PM EST

Eugenics: a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed. (Via Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary).

Eugenics programs in the United States were used a models to develop German counterparts during World War II. (Controlling Human Heredity p84-85). Although starting out in a benign form, this eventually led, in Germany's case, to conpulsive sterilization of those who are less desirable (i.e. those who would transmit genetic "defects" onwards). Doctor's reports in Germany, required by the government, were instrumental in rounding up "undesirables" for extermination and elimination (Controlling Human Heredity page 90-91).

I can provide more information if you'd like, but most of what I'd want to say is summarized in Controlling Human Heredity by Diane Paul. Published 1996 by Humanities International.

[ Parent ]
Slippery Slope (4.83 / 6) (#25)
by wnight on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 01:01:21 AM EST

Your argument by slippery slope implies that any attempt to breed a better human leads to Nazi-ism.

Every day we attempt to breed a better human. A symetrical face is a desirable trait in both sexes. This is believed to be because many causes of a non-symetrical face are disease related. And obviously, a potential partner who is diseased (or was) is less fit than one who isn't.

Simply picking a 'pretty' girl to talk to is practicing eugenics. You (unconciously) choose to spread your genes with someone who will make a useful contribution.

The killing or sterilizing of 'undesirables' isn't necesarily a part of eugenics. In fact, it shows a distint lack of understanding of the science behind it. The nazis declared jews to be unfit to live, and thus they killed them. It was fairly circular reasoning.

Assuming you want to breed healthy long-lived children, weed out the undesirables. Refuse to breed with anyone who died of a disease, or who died of 'old age' before the age of 60. Hell, just make a blanket judgement to not breed with dead people. That way you weed out anyone whose genes were unable to keep them alive.

To see if jews are unfit to breed with, apply that standard. Don't breed with the dead ones. If they're alive (and healthy and succesful), they're fine breeding material.

But the nazis didn't do this, they practiced ethnic cleansing and merely called it eugenics. But that doesn't change that is was really ethnic cleansing. Just because someone doesn't know the term for something doesn't change what that something really is.


Now, as a seperate subject, I think we should prevent the greatly retarded from breeding. They'd be unable to deal with their children and it would be cruel (yet necesary for the child's health) to take the child away. (But they should be able to have sex, imho. We shouldn't take something that great away from them when there are easier alternatives.)

But this isn't just an anti-retarded thing. I think we should apply the same standards to otherwise intelligent people who prove themselves incapable of raising children. (The discussion of the woman with ten children.)

I think the issue of the retarded passing on their genes is a relatively moot one - who do you know who would choose to procreate with a substandard mate? Because of this, I think eugenics programs are just unneeded, not that they are never warranted.


[ Parent ]
Will do! (5.00 / 3) (#37)
by delmoi on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 05:26:52 AM EST

Refuse to breed with anyone who died of a disease,

That is definetly something I will not be doing.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
uh, double negative check (4.50 / 2) (#39)
by delmoi on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 05:30:17 AM EST

I mean that I will not sleep with dead people. Not that I will not refuse to sleep with dead people.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
genetics is easy; bio-ethics is rocket science (4.66 / 3) (#40)
by eLuddite on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 06:08:19 AM EST

Simply picking a 'pretty' girl to talk to is practicing eugenics. You (unconciously) choose to spread your genes with someone who will make a useful contribution.

Except that she will reject you for that guy with a symmetrical face. If you subsequently cannot get over your disappointment and refuse to sire a litter with an unsymmetrical woman, that will be a pathetic example of (negative) eugenics.

The killing or sterilizing of 'undesirables' isn't necesarily a part of eugenics.

I suppose you can kill them without regard to eugenic arguments; but if you justify their deaths according to undesirable genes, it is "necessarily a part of eugenics."

The nazis declared jews to be unfit to live, and thus they killed them. It was fairly circular reasoning.

They declared the Jews "undesirable" and racially impure. Most Germans could see quite clearly that Jews were fit to live to ripe old ages. To see why this is eugenics, consider the following analogy: girls are fit to live even if you proactively sort them out from human sperm. Nothing circular about the application of science to improve the population by control of inherited qualities -- it's called eugenics.

Assuming you want to breed healthy long-lived children, weed out the undesirables.

That sounds like an endorsement for negative eugenics, a restriction of reproductive freedom. You seem to have quite good traction running up alleria's so called slippery slope. Any policy that would restrain or constrain reproductive freedom on the basis of genetic characteristics of either the parents or their potential offspring is unethical and roundly condemned by the American Society of Human Genetics.

But the nazis didn't do this, they practiced ethnic cleansing and merely called it eugenics. But that doesn't change that is was really ethnic cleansing.

The distinction is political. However, all eugenics must be political because it depends on a decision of what constitutes improvement in a population. Some "improvements" may actually be quite ambiguous and even turn out to be a deterioration because their impact on society is unknown or because they are being evaluated by different individuals with different ideas and values.

Just because someone doesn't know the term for something doesn't change what that something really is.

German interest in eugenics flourished after the turn of the century when Dr. Alfred Ploetz founded the German Society of Racial Hygiene in 1905. The German term Rassenhygiene (race hygiene) included all attempts at improving the population along hereditary lines. By the 1920s German textbooks had incorporated ideas of heredity and racial hygiene. In 1933 the Law for the Prevention of Congenitally Ill Progeny banned marriage or sexual contact between Jews and other Germans and called for involuntary sterilization for the prevention of a variety of defects including retardation, mental illness, epilepsy and even alcoholism. The Nazis were also fond of matching hale and hardy soldiers with buxom milk maids.

If Nazis are too slippery, the Albertan Sexual Sterilization Act of 1927 was repealed in 1972 after more than 2800 people deemed unfit to reproduce were sterilized. Fifty-five such sterilizations were carried out in its final year of operation.

Threats of genetic discrimination can come from many directions: economic pressure from private health insurance systems can create an incentive to keep genetic information from patients or even manipulate it without a patient's consent; earning potential for men over women, blondes over brunettes, etc. Every example of eugenics is a cautionary tale with consequences for potentially millions of individuals:

... the acceptance of disability, disease testing and termination (pre,postnatal), assisted suicide for the disabled voluntary euthanasia, non/in- voluntary euthanasia (murder) of the disabled is achieved by society perception that disabled people are suffering and that [their] life is not worth living. And [they] have to be relieved of their suffering through termination of their life or life to be as cures are mostly not available. Medicine moves from getting rid of the DISEASE to getting rid of the DISEASED.

In order to regain the control we have to oppose the use of negative pitiful characterisation of disabled people in this society and we have to make clear that disablity is a sociatal problem not a medical one.


---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

And your point is? (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by Carnage4Life on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 01:43:19 AM EST

It is interesting the lengths people go to justify their fear of new technology. Comparing choosing whether to have a boy or a girl instead of leaving it up to chance to Nazi Germany is so disproportionate and extreme that I'm not even sure you want to have a rational discussion.

Quite frankly I'd rather people practiced Eugenics more often instead of raising children that they disliked or raising children that are sickly all their lives and don't make it to middle age.

True Story
I have a friend whose brother and sister both died in their early twenties (sister while in college, brother shortly after his graduation) from Sickle Cell because their parents even though they knew were both carriers of the disease went ahead and had children. Their choice not to practice Eugenics meant that they have surviving children who are forever scarred by the death of their siblings and also raised two kids who were sick all their lives whom died just as their lives were beginning to unfold.

Please explain to me how them never having conceived this children would have been evil and Nazi-like.

[ Parent ]
Hm (4.00 / 2) (#44)
by Anonymous 7324 on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 08:28:05 AM EST

You realize that implying that I'm a luddite doesn't do anything for your argument either, by the way. Moving on:

Comparing choosing whether to have a boy or a girl instead of leaving it up to chance to Nazi Germany is so disproportionate and extreme that I'm not even sure you want to have a rational discussion.

A matter of degree. And Godwin's law does not apply here since my argument is perfectly relavent to the issues at hand. In the United States, Eugenics started out with nothing more than pamplets suggesting what an ideal family would look like. This progressed to "suggestions" of sterilization for the "feeble-minded", moved to compulsory segregation of the "undesirables" and their forced labor in camps (rationale: they should support themselves, society should not have to! Oh, and they shouldn't breed with normal people!), and to forced sterilization programs in California and a handful of other states.

Germany's eugenics programs, like I have said, are modeled on those of California. Now that I've told you that eugenics started out as nothing more than pamplets promoting the breeding of healthy, white, model families, can you still call me an extremist?

As for your true story: note that I never called you a Nazi, or said that you were evil, or that they were evil. The fact that you're foisting this upon me is a straw man. Nuff said.

[ Parent ]
Undue extrapolation (5.00 / 2) (#49)
by wnight on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 11:25:52 AM EST

The parent post to yours said that you had gone too far in extrapolating from gender selection to nazi eugenics programs. He didn't say anything about Godwin, or anything similar.

He had a perfectly valid point, that when you saw something small you immediately mentioned the most horrid outcome possible and suggested that just because something is possible that it was likely. (That's the slippery slope falacy)

Perhaps if you had shown why you think being able to choose the gender of your children (and maybe even being able to select sperm and eggs to create a healthier child) would inevitably lead to people killing 'undesirables'...

As I said in the other message, I think the ethnic cleansing the nazis performed was completely unrelated to eugenics, they'd have ethnically cleansed before their ideas of breeding a better German by controlled breeding.

You are in fact the one using the straw man. By taking a minor change (gender selection) and extrapolating to a major change (ethnic cleansing) and making it sound like the two are obviously connected, you throw up an unfounded argument (straw man) for the original poster to debate.


[ Parent ]
Hmm (4.50 / 2) (#51)
by Anonymous 7324 on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 02:43:26 PM EST

He had a perfectly valid point, that when you saw something small you immediately mentioned the most horrid outcome possible and suggested that just because something is possible that it was likely. (That's the slippery slope falacy)

I demonstrated a case in which we started small, and ended up with racial cleansing. That's a fact. I did not say that in this particular case, anything would happen, but I just happen to oppose it because I don't think we have adequate safeguards in place anyway.

Perhaps if you had shown why you think being able to choose the gender of your children (and maybe even being able to select sperm and eggs to create a healthier child) would inevitably lead to people killing 'undesirables'...

If we can sort based on Y or X chromosome, how hard is it to sort based on other factors? I leave the rest of this deduction to the reader.

As I said in the other message, I think the ethnic cleansing the nazis performed was completely unrelated to eugenics, they'd have ethnically cleansed before their ideas of breeding a better German by controlled breeding.

Straw man. I did not say only ethnic cleansing. Mental retards, gypsies, and other 'inferior' species, not necessarily segregated by race, were all exterminated by Nazis, most certainly by eugenic criteria. I have my source, and I cited it in the original (Controlling Human Heredity). If you'd like to refute this, please refute my source.

You are in fact the one using the straw man. By taking a minor change (gender selection) and extrapolating to a major change (ethnic cleansing) and making it sound like the two are obviously connected, you throw up an unfounded argument (straw man) for the original poster to debate.

Wrongo. From Carnage4Life's post: " If I can choose to have a child, what is wrong with me choosing that the child is male and free of dispensation to diabetes or hypertension instead of letting random chance dictate my child's life? " I've already said that I am not restricting this to only ethnic cleansing, only to eugenic 'cleansing', if you will. Moreover, this entire thread shows why I don't agree with eugenic cleansing, and how Carnage's little idea can grow big.

So how am I using a straw man again? I posted regarding "undesirables" in Germany, which you twisted into only "ethnic cleansing." So who's using the straw man again?

[ Parent ]
Also, a question: (3.66 / 6) (#19)
by Anonymous 7324 on Wed Jul 04, 2001 at 08:45:47 PM EST

Do you also argue that people shouldn't get laser eye surgery or use braces because it leads to "designer children" as well?

Hmm, I did not realize that Lamarkian inheritance was still in fashion? I was under the impression that it had fallen out of favor a century or so ago?

[ Parent ]
post-partem surgical alteration (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by delmoi on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 05:24:00 AM EST

You're still 'designing' you're kids if you put braces on them. What diffrence does it matter when it happens?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Genetic diseases (3.60 / 10) (#9)
by QuantumG on Wed Jul 04, 2001 at 06:40:20 PM EST

I dont know if my hommie Steven Hawking would be too down with you filtering him out of the gene pool. This is the worst kind of descrimination, you're basically saying "I hate your kind so much I'm going to make sure you're not even born," even if that wasn't your intention. Remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
sorry? (3.66 / 3) (#10)
by ODiV on Wed Jul 04, 2001 at 06:53:54 PM EST

Is Steven Hawking somehow more qualified to live than anyone else?


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Hmm (4.80 / 5) (#17)
by Anonymous 7324 on Wed Jul 04, 2001 at 08:00:04 PM EST

Is he less qualified? Should you be allowed to decide this?

[ Parent ]
Well. (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by ODiV on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 12:58:33 AM EST

I would say that he's not less qualified. But that has nothing to do with my point.

If we can agree that he's not more qualified or less qualified, then there is no reason for him to be mentionned at all. End of story.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
asefd;k (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by delmoi on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 05:22:34 AM EST

Should you be allowed to decide this?

It isn't a question of who should die, but who should be born. Sperm ain't human yet.

Why shouldn't the parents have some say in what they grow inside their own bodies (well, the woman anyway)
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Eugenics (4.50 / 4) (#22)
by wnight on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 12:46:52 AM EST

That argument is just the tiniest step away from "Every sperm is sacred".

The reality is that for every sperm that makes it to an egg, uncountable billions die. All of those are potential children (or, are when combined with an egg).

For every person born, there are (at a rough guess) 5000 nobel-caliber genises, 10000 talented musicians, etc. And there are also 10000 sub-normals, 5000 serial killers, 50000 crippled people, etc.

Those crippled people are no-less likely to be geniuses than anyone else, but nor are they any more likely. By weeding out children with some crippling disease, you aren't weeding out all of the potential geniuses, just a small percentage of them, and a small percentage of the serial killers and everything else.

To say that it's not our right to choose which sperm is used is ridiculous. What should decide it? The motility of the sperm? A factor which may have nothing to do with the potential fitness of the baby that would be born?

Every time we don't genetically screen, we're risking condemming some genius to some horribly disfiguring disease.


[ Parent ]
Two problems (4.50 / 2) (#34)
by delmoi on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 05:19:54 AM EST

1) Steven Hawking is not your hommie

2) You would only be filtering half of him.

3) I don't think his problem is on the X chromisome.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
sure he is (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by QuantumG on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 09:26:32 PM EST

I listen to him all the time, I'm down with his cool ly'cs.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Discrimination? (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 09:08:45 AM EST

I think you are running ahead of yourself and SH for that matter.

The only person that could possibly have an opinion about how good life has been with such disability is SH himself and who knows if he would change a more normal life for his life of scientific achievements.

Science is to make life easier and better, screening to make sure nobody has to endure what SH had to endure I think is just an act of love, not discrimination. Which responsible parent will let things to luck knowing there are techniques to make sure children are born without disabilities?

There are many people that are not as talented as SH, and for whom their disability is a long road from disapointment to disapointment, from real discrimination to yet more discrimination.

Had the technique been used and SH had not been born, then other people as brilliant as him would have emerged without having to endure such crippling disability.

One should not underestimate the enviornment as well. A potential genius, no matter how clever, if is not nurtured and encouraged and in the right place at the right time, will never achieve its potential. Not all is in the genes.




Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
time for a field study (3.33 / 3) (#46)
by tarsand on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 09:51:06 AM EST

Science is to make life easier and better...

What we have here folks, is the typical view of the yankee, that science's only purpose is to serve them and make their life better. These people have never participated in any research, or contributed anything. These are the people that believe such a thing as 'junk science' can possibly exist, just because their corporate masters have told them it does.

Sorry to disappoint, science is not about making your life better (read: so you don't have to move off your arse ever again), it's about human curiosity. I hope you understand that; if not, you're not human any longer.
<BT>


"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
[ Parent ]
Yankee moi! (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 11:55:34 AM EST

Never ever!

Although I undesrtand and mostly agree with what you say, it is a bit of a stretch to consider that the understanding of what science is is what makes a human been.

I am sure there have been many outstanding individuals through human history that did not give a toss about science and not for that were less human that people interested or supportive of pure science.



Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
Poll (3.00 / 6) (#13)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jul 04, 2001 at 07:13:04 PM EST

Hermaphrodite
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

What's your point? (2.33 / 3) (#15)
by WickedET on Wed Jul 04, 2001 at 07:37:28 PM EST

I think you missed his point.

in related news... (2.60 / 5) (#20)
by %systemroot% on Wed Jul 04, 2001 at 10:50:16 PM EST

Noted magician and Hogwart's school headmaster Albus Dumbledore expressed concern over research into techniques that allegedly can 'sort' non-Muggle sperm.

"The Sorting Hat is the proper and time-honored means of assigning students to their houses. I urge these magicians to consider the ethical implications of their work."

Requests via owlpost for comment from Lucius Malfoy were not granted.

Problem... (4.80 / 5) (#23)
by univgeek on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 12:56:03 AM EST

In India, in an arranged marriage, normally the brides family has to give the groom money, land or gold. This is usually quite a large and non-trivial amount. And this causes people to generally favor boys as they see them as a source of revenue. (This practice is of course breaking down pretty fast, what with the western cultural 'invasion')

This has also lead to a practice called 'female infanticide' where the baby girls are killed immediately after birth. This is so prevalent that there is a ban on sonograms for sex-determination before birth, because of the fear of selective abortions.

I see a vast potential for misuse of the technique in India. Luckily I guess the technique will be pretty expensive and hence the people who do this the most (uneducated, rural people) will not have access to it. But there is a section among those who can afford it who will misuse it.

I guess every technology will have its evil uses. And maybe some will argue that having no girls born is better than killing them after birth. But these kind of advances may be really bad in a society which is not prejudice-free.


Arguing with an Electrical Engineer is liking wrestling with a pig in mud, after a while you realise the pig is enjoying it!

Self-correcting (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by wnight on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 01:10:28 AM EST

Well, if people are going to sex-sort, I'd prefer they do it with sperm (or eggs, I guess) rather than sonograms and abortion.

But, if they do, and if India is 90% male in the next generation, it'll fix itself fairly quickly. Women will become fairly valuable and thus gain much status (men might actually be punished for killing them...)

Not to mention that these women won't support selecting for girls, and they'll have enough clout to make it stick. (That is, if anyone was still dumb enough to want a child with only a 1/9 chance of ever finding a wife.)

The whole problem would quickly correct itself and the culture would adjust or die. A very darwinian solution.

I think our answer should be to make gender selection via sperm sorting very cheap and available to even the peasants. It'd keep girls from being aborted or killed (either overtly, or by neglect) by parents who refuse to have girls, and it'd quickly remove stupid cultures with these insane prejudices.

I'm all for it!

[ Parent ]
sounds kinda unjust... (4.40 / 5) (#27)
by univgeek on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 01:22:00 AM EST

But wouldnt this be vastly unjust to the guys (9/10) of the population in the 2nd generation who didnt have a say in their birth anyway?

I guess as long as a cultural prejudice exists anything from science will be misused.

IMHO preventing science from causing damage is pretty important.

Who knows next they may come up with something to prevent the birth of 'inferior' humans. And whose definition would that be?

And how can one decide before birth?

Note: I do NOT want to argue about abortions.
Arguing with an Electrical Engineer is liking wrestling with a pig in mud, after a while you realise the pig is enjoying it!
[ Parent ]

Vastly unfair? (5.00 / 1) (#28)
by wnight on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 01:31:39 AM EST

I don't think it's unfair. Eight of those guys can choose to move to where they can find a wife. No one country will generate enough of an imbalance to affect the rest of the world in a significant way.

This is part of the death of that culture.

I don't worry about any attempted eugenics. As long as borders are open, sane people will refuse to participate in insane activities, leaving if necessary. And if some facist government forces them to do these things, the problem lays with the government, not the eugenics technology.

btw, I agree, Abortion isn't the issue here.

[ Parent ]
Imbalance? (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by scorchio on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 07:17:58 AM EST

I don't think it's unfair. Eight of those guys can choose to move to where they can find a wife. No one country will generate enough of an imbalance to affect the rest of the world in a significant way.

Hmm... there are hundreds of millions of them. What better way to staff an army than with a few million testosterone-laden, sexually desperate men, intent on rape and pillage.

As far as I know, China's 'one-child' policy has led to a similar imbalance, so perhaps they can duke it out with the Indians.

[ Parent ]

And where will they go? (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 07:42:23 AM EST

Your solution is completely unrealistic. Most people are trapped in their country of birth and can do very little to move somewhere else.



Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
um.. (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by univgeek on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 04:17:09 PM EST

India's population is 1B. If 80% of those are guys in the next gen. that would be 800million people. Where exactly are all these people going to go to find wives? me thinks you are just arguing for the sake of argument :-)

Of course you should have already seen my .sig :-)


Arguing with an Electrical Engineer is liking wrestling with a pig in mud, after a while you realise the pig is enjoying it!
[ Parent ]

How is this misuse? (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by Carnage4Life on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 04:57:37 AM EST

I see a vast potential for misuse of the technique in India. Luckily I guess the technique will be pretty expensive and hence the people who do this the most (uneducated, rural people) will not have access to it. But there is a section among those who can afford it who will misuse it.

Deciding to have a boy instead of having a baby girl and killing her or treating her like shit for the rest of her life doesn't sound like misuse of the technology to me.

[ Parent ]
India? (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by Kasreyn on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 02:55:22 PM EST

India is a mild example, my friend. Take a look at the Yanomamo of the jungles of South America, one of the most primitive and male chauvinist societies on earth.

Basically, the more male-dominant and the less advanced a civilization there is, the greater the chance of infanticide, which is always practised on female babies.

The dowry issue is not the true cause, only an effect. The true, original root cause of female infanticide is male physical superiority. While a woman can do just as much WORK as a man, men are superior in armed combat with melee weapons. Please don't respond with some stupid feminist crap. It would be nice, but it's not true. Humans are sexually dimorphic, and the added muscle density of the male makes him superior with ancient hand weapons like spears and clubs.

This means any primitive society that selects in favor of males will defeat a society that favors females. It will not outreproduce or outsmart them; it will just plain outfight them. To avoid being thus conquered, every surviving civilization on earth has favored males over females. There is a reason why the so called Amazons are extinct. A female-centric society will be defeated in combat and either put to the sword or swallowed into their male chauvinist conquerors as slaves.

Once you have a society that favors boys over girls, one must also train those boys to be aggressive fighters, or they won't be useful in preventing enemy conquest. Time has proven that the best ways to turn men into killers are sexual deprivation, religious indoctrination, and material rewards for being aggressive. Sexual deprivation is caused by a scarcity of available females (due to high ranking males taking many young wives, and due to female infanticide), while the men are rewarded with sexual favors and physical goods for being superior warriors. The end result is exactly what we got: a male chauvinist society in which male children are considered superior to female children.

Nowadays, since modern weapons make men and women not only equal in labor but equal in combat, these distinctions are no longer evolutionarily (or societally) neccessary. A female-oriented society would not, as it would in older times, be inevitably conquered from without by a male-centric society (a female centric society is actually harder to defeat from within by revolt, as the females usually control the raising of children). However, it's very hard to undo the ingrained lessons of thousands of years of mankind's rise to civilization. Hopefully, it can be undone. Our current gender ratio, with more females than males, indicates that perhaps this change has already begun, which is all to the good.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Is 90% Enough? (5.00 / 3) (#30)
by pwhysall on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 03:06:32 AM EST

Listening to Lord Winston (a leading fertility expert) on the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning, he expressed concern that a 90% chance is probably insufficient to use this technique for the purpose of filtering out things like inherited diseases.

Additionally he was also worried about the effects the process itself would have on the DNA - basically, does the fluorescent dye used alter the DNA at all? If it does, I guess this adds an additional risk.

Personally I'm of the "leave it to nature" school, but if people want to cough up 1500 a shot for this, then take their money.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown

yay! (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by delmoi on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 05:15:48 AM EST

I don't know about anyone else, but this is just another step on the road to complete commercialization of human life, and one step closer to designer children.

Don't you mean but I think this is just..

Anyway, while the reproductive process is not fully monitized, the rest of it (human life) sure as hell is. Bring on the designer children baby!
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Science Sorts Sperm in Switzerland | 57 comments (37 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
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