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Debate: Designer babies

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Should parents screen for desirable genetic traits in their offspring?

Background and Context of Debate:

A designer baby is a baby which has been genetically and biologically modified to possess the most optimal characteristics of its parents.

The technology required to do so is not available, though it may be created within a few decades. Popular culture has depicted designer babies through movies and books, with some of them being positive and the others being negative.

In order to give their child the best life they could possibly have and to be the best person, some parents feel that having designer babies is part of procreative beneficence and is necessary.

However, many international laws and policies prohibit experimentation on humans. Also, philosophers fear that if designer babies were created, then there would be further segregation in the world.

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Designer Babies Will be Considered to be Superior than Children Born "Normally"

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Pro

Yes, designer babies would grow up as genetically superior to children born normally, and normal children would be discriminated against because of their lack of having genetically modified talents. A genetically modified super-human couldn't help but look down on their naturally born counterparts. As Princeton University biologist Lee Silver contemplates in a 1999 TIME Magazine article, society may be split into the "gen-rich" and the "gen-poor", depending on their genome.




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Con

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They would be newtypes.

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Normal babies would be at an unfair disadvantage to their genetically modified counterparts

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Pro

Normal children would have the unfair disadvantage of not having their genes altered. These "genetic superhumans" will dominate over the natural born children. How can any normal child hope to become a better basketball player than a children specifically designed in a lab to play basketball? How can the average child compete with a designer baby for academic awards, such as valedictorian? Designer babies would have an unfair advantage in life, that no matter how hard they work, they will never be able to overcome.





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Con

Just because their parents chose not to gift them with genetic modification at birth, doesn't mean they won't be able to compete. Children nowadays still are born genetically different. Is genetic modification any different than having parents with superior genes? Children have the same chances of being born genetically modified as they do being born in some third world country. How is that any fairer? With a little bit of effort, children will be able to overcome any genetic advantages or disadvantages that they may have. As Thomas Alva Edison said, "There is no substitute for hard work"



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