Possible, at least, in the sense that, before our future kids' births, while they're still in the womb, we'll be able to intervene with their DNA. "Fix" what's "broken." Select attributes that'll hold them in good stead when life comes along.
Depending on how you look at it, this is dream-come-true stuff, or a nightmare. .
The dream side of it? If a child is otherwise destined, through genetic illness, to early death, or a life of pain or severe disability, then the chance to rescue him or her from that, by altering his or her genes, is a gift from science.
The nightmare side? That would be when we start going for kid "upgrades," controlling a future child's DNA to meet certain standards of intelligence, strength, longevity, sexual orientation, or gender. Given the power, how likely is it that we'd produce a human race such as the one we've come to know and love (or not).
Mostly theoretical now (but that's changing too), it's a rich and tangled territory for debate. Join us as we try to figure it out, in our usual Intelligence Squared way, by pitting the best arguments against each other.
Next Wednesday, the motion is: Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies. Our debaters: people who have thought about this well and deeply. Join us.
In the meantime, meet our debaters:
with Lee Silver
“[Parents] are going to say to those who want to prevent them from getting this technology, ‘Why can't I give this to my child when other children get it naturally?’” Read More
Warnings Against Genetic Engineering
with Lord Robert Winston
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
“The question really is, even if there's a modest amount you can do with the technology, will there come a time that, with our ambition, we will try to go too far with it?” Read More
Presidential Commission For The Study of Bioethical Issues
with Nita Farahany
Stanford Law School
“Don’t overregulate before a technology has really developed, but have checkpoints along the way.” Read More
with Sheldon Krimsky
The Tech Museum
“To add things into the human genome so that the child that someone produces will have an advantage-- that’s very dubious and also very dangerous.” Read More
John Donvan, Moderator
Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates