The Case for Designer Babies

Soon, some of you will try to make “better babies.”

Already, people pay labs to examine embryos so they can pick ones with DNA they like. Some screen for gender or eye color. Some screen out certain diseases.

So far, they’ve been limited to selecting genes that exist in the parents. They haven’t designed genes. But that is about to change.

Chinese scientists recently altered DNA in human embryos.

The designed babies—twin sisters—were born with immunity to common strains of HIV, claims the scientist responsible. (The added gene might also shorten lifespans. Most scientists say it’s too soon to gene-edit humans safely.)

“He was put under house arrest…and the Chinese are right to punish that scientist,” says Sheldon Krimsky of Tufts’ medical school in my new video.

Most Americans agree.

In one STAT-Harvard poll, 83 percent said creating more intelligent or stronger babies via gene-editing should be illegal.

“Of course they say that,” says Georgetown philosophy professor Jason Brennan. “When you have any kind of intervention into the body that’s new, people think it’s icky. And they take that feeling of ‘ickiness’ and they moralize and think it’s a moral objection.”

Those intuitions threaten medical innovation, says Brennan.

Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of the 43rd president, voiced her moral concerns on Megan Kelly’s TV show. She asked, “I mean where does it stop? There should be things that we leave up to God.”

“I’m not sure I’m going to take her word for it,” scoffs Brennan. “If God appears before me and says, ‘Don’t do this,’ I’ll stop.”

But why would God say stop?

We already give our kids music lessons, braces, tutoring, karate lessons—any advantage we can. Why not also give them better genes?

Imagine, says Brennan, a world where people are much smarter—maybe smart enough to avoid wars, to take us easily to other planets, and to do other things we can’t even imagine.

“Maybe we’ll turn them into X-Men,” he says, referring to the mutant superheroes in films like the just-released Dark Phoenix.

It would be good to have real X-Men around, saving lives.

Another objection to “customizing” babies is that at first only rich people will be able to pay for it. “This

You can read the rest of this article at: https://reason.com/2019/06/12/the-case-for-designer-babies/