addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1light-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Engineering of Life: Ethics and other philosophical issues

Science and engineering are at a point where humans are increasingly able to modify and even create new life forms. Some argue that such practices are essential to our survival and to extending a high quality of life to more people. Others see primarily unacceptable risks. Monopolistic, litigious global corporations and other aspects of globalization (as practiced) complicate a fair assessment of the potential value of genetic engineering.

Format: A brief (15-to-30 min) overview of genetic programming, bioengineering, and related concepts followed by a discussion of ethical and other philosophical implications. (More details and references coming.)

Decorum: This is not intended to be a political food fight (pun intended). Regardless where your view falls now, bring a mind open to additional perspectives. This will be a respectful discussion. 

Co-facilitator welcomed: If you are knowledgeable of or very interested in this topic and would like to co-facilitate, please contact Mark Harris by 7 Jan14.

If you were a no-show within the past three months (Meetup keeps track), wait until 6:00 PM on 20 Jan 14 to sign up.

Thank you

Mark Harris

Things to ponder

• Can we expect genetic engineering to improve the lots of more people than would prohibiting it? 

• Is genetic engineering fundamentally in violation of human dignity? If yes, how so?

• If you had the capacity to eradicate a serious disease, and the new risks involved were minimal, would you be morally or ethically compelled to do so? What about allowing medical scientists to ensure your children develop without the genetic diseases you would otherwise bequeath to them?

• How should genetic engineering and other bioengineering be governed?

• If we arise from natural processes and are part of Nature, and Nature's processes have evolved us to manipulate (engineer) Nature, how can our deliberately modifying Nature be unnatural? Are we the next modality (after evolution by natural selection) of Nature's tendency toward self-modification? (This does not sidestep our obligation to proceed with care, intelligence, and moral integrity.)

Links

Ethical issues in genetic engineering and transgenics
   There's an excellent list of links to additional resources at the end of the article.

• Proposed Treatment To Fix Genetic Diseases Raises Ethical Issues ... (audio with transcript)

• Gregory Stock: To upgrade is human (video 17:55, from 2003, but identifies key issues)

 Genetic engineering and its dangers
   A slightly dated collection of links to anti-GE sources

• Hadyn Parry: Re-engineering mosquitos to fight disease (video 13:57)

• Paul Root Wolpe: It's time to question bio-engineering (video 19:42)

• Genetically engineering 'ethical' babies is a moral obligation

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just read an article on color-vision that made this comment: "In the future...it may be possible to use gene therapy to replace missing photopigments in
    the eyes of color blind humans."

    As I said, technology will progress to be able to change the genetic blueprint we were born with.


    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CGoQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.neitzvision.com%2Fimages%2FCV-ReasonForEyes.pdf&ei=o-zhUrLiLZfpoATAq4H4CA&usg=AFQjCNEyXyyPyf0QzEfhrAwC6IdIdp_Y3w&bvm=bv.59930103,d.cGU&cad=rja

    January 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks again Mark for the topic, your introduction, & your leadership.

    January 22, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    The discussion regarding selection of ethical constraints for determining genetic-engineering applications was particularly enlightening. Also, Jay Lee Evans' contributions will be greatly missed.

    January 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Insightful points by everyone! It was a pleasure to share ideas with you.

    January 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Excellent discussion about a very serious subject: not just a philosophical concern. Everyone contributed with good information & ideas. I would like to have a little more order by having people raise their hands & not hold side conversations.

    January 21, 2014

  • Mark H.

    Thank you all for contributing tonight. I truly appreciate your insights, questions, and suggestions for meaningful ways to approach these issues. Your participation made this a great discussion.

    January 21, 2014

  • Chris M.

    Perhaps of interest. What genius looks like;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq-FOOQ1TpE

    January 21, 2014

  • Mark H.

    China collecting data to enable parents to select for gestation the embryo most likely to be more intelligent http://qz.com/166699/a-chinese-company-is-pioneering-the-technology-to-let-parents-pick-their-smartest-embryo/

    January 19, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Jay Lee Evans is listed as planning to attend. Unfortunately, he died last week.

    January 18, 2014

    • Mark H.

      I'm sad to hear that. I know he was ill. I will definitely miss him.

      January 18, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Here is an important essay by David Suzuki entitled: "Biotechnology: A Geneticist's Personal Perspective." It is very much a cautionary tale. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/david/downloads/David_Suzuki_Biotech_essay.pdf

    1 · January 17, 2014

  • james

    Exciting topic to explore. Unfortunate for me to have to miss it. Mythology is doing "death" the same night. Have a lively time.

    1 · January 4, 2014

  • Mark H.

    I added some questions and links to the event description.

    January 2, 2014

  • Rajpal S.

    Genetic engineering has always been a puzzling topic. There are positive and negitive aspects to the question: Why do human beings want to play the role of Gods in our civilization? This question is as old as cvilization itself.

    January 2, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hello Raj. Thanks for bringing up a sensitive issue. We members of the group are fearless in our quest for truth & knowledge. I am sure there are people who would like to be a god & control the universe. However, if we divide efforts at creating or modifying change into what is appropriate for a god to do & what is appropriate for human beings to do, I'm afraid that many ideas & actions would be blocked in the future. We know that dominant religions have blocked & punished inquiry if it seemed to call into question religious beliefs considered invioilate. We know that new views of our universe have been blocked.

      January 2, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      If human beings are capable of accomplishing significant changes that are of clear benefit to people, or at least do no harm, then why should there be objection? Who has the certain knowledge to be able to say that something humans do is against the wishes/commandments of a deity? For those who quote scripture as the source of such knowledge, I say that I want more & independent evidence. Besides, if there is a god who provided people with the curiosity, ability, & benevolent intent to modify DNA & such, why not use them? The problem is whether certain actions are ethical; that is, would we be doing unacceptable harm to people, not to a god. For that we need to be very cautious & rely on a combination of scientific knowledge & good judgement, with a lot of checks & balances.

      January 2, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Interesting reading starting at "iterated embryo selection" halfway down on page, http://intelligence.org/2013/08/31/stephen-hsu-on-cognitive-genomics/ ..

    January 1, 2014

    • Mark H.

      Thanks! Very interesting.

      January 2, 2014

11 went

  • Mark H.
    Organizer,
    Event Host
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy