Cleansing the Human Gene Pool

What would you do if?

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Choakem
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Cleansing the Human Gene Pool

Post #1

Post by Choakem »

This is an argument that I've had with a theist friend of mine...
Background. Throughout evolution all life that has had defective genes have failed to reproduce or have died out. We(humans) are the only species that helps those with disabilities to pass on their defective genes to their off spring costing the tax payers Billions in education extras and support etc...


Assumption - We have full knowledge of the human DNA code....

Lets assume I'm overlord of the world:

I wish to pass new legislation that would put the following into LAW.

All pregnant women when having their 1st scan will have a small piece of DNA taken from the unborn child. The DNA is analyzed and if there are genetic markers that indicate defective genes then that child MUST be aborted. Within just a generation or two we could eradicate many genetic disorders.

Here is a small sample of what we could remove from the human gene pool
Down Syndrome, Cystic fibrosis, Haemophilia etc

It could be possibly argued that Cancer, Alcohol , Drug dependency could be factored by our Genes...

Who knows - Lets kill all Gay people (Is Gay genetic?) -

Taking the argument to extreme I suppose but you all get the general idea. I'm talking from an advancement of the Human Race here from a Genetic point of view...

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Post #11

Post by Choakem »

Interesting debate and points.

Similar to what SailingCyclops has pointed out I do believe that we are already playing God in many ways but in a much more harmful way.

We are weakening our species out of tolerance for the weak and a perceived moral obligation to our fellow man.

I do believe that we are allowing harmful genetics to continue to pollute our Gene pool and the film Gattaca that was mentioned earlier I have watched and found the concept not just beleivable but almost inevitable.

To look down on the human race from a superior/neutral perspective then I can only imagine the answer would be yes.

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Post #12

Post by Ooberman »

Per the OP, I think if we consider the extreme, we are looking at cloning replacement parts, nanobots living in and fixing everything in our body, uploading our personalities and backing them up in case of death.
Bionics, intelligence enhancements, etc.
Perhaps we live hooked up to a Sim Game? Our bodies would still be fine because of technology to keep the body healthy while it does nothing.

As far as genetics, I don't see how we stop it. It already happens a little. Every time you hear of a Magna Cum Laude from Harvard marry another similar person, there is a chance their children are going to be better.

And let's face it. Most people are pretty lousy. Ugly, fat, stupid, unmotivated, fraught with disease, mental deficiencies, psychologically unbalanced, etc.

You know... religious types... (hahah couldn't resist).

But seriously, and perhaps a little offensive, it's one of the reasons religion persists: to give those people hope. Christianity is tailored for those people. It's great that there are good people trying to care for them (I just wish they'd drop the lie about Resurrections, but it's the only thing the less intelligent understand. They need a simple religion, soundbites, etc.)

But seriously, most of us know where we stand in relation the the rest of the world, and we are all pretty much average or below in most regards. We are the mediocre.

Otherwise we wouldn't be spending time on internet forums. We'd be too busy with doing something real and important enough to make this seem like a waste of time.
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Post #13

Post by dianaiad »

Ooberman wrote: Per the OP, I think if we consider the extreme, we are looking at cloning replacement parts, nanobots living in and fixing everything in our body, uploading our personalities and backing them up in case of death.
Bionics, intelligence enhancements, etc.
Perhaps we live hooked up to a Sim Game? Our bodies would still be fine because of technology to keep the body healthy while it does nothing.

As far as genetics, I don't see how we stop it. It already happens a little. Every time you hear of a Magna Cum Laude from Harvard marry another similar person, there is a chance their children are going to be better.

And let's face it. Most people are pretty lousy. Ugly, fat, stupid, unmotivated, fraught with disease, mental deficiencies, psychologically unbalanced, etc.

You know... religious types... (hahah couldn't resist).
You really should have tried harder. Snipes and snarky comments like that are not going to get you nominated into the 'logical and reasonable hall of fame.'

Given that the vast majority of humans....including most of the ones who produced YOU, have been 'religious types,' and some of the most brilliant thinkers and scientists have also been 'religious types,' you wanna back off that a bit?

Especially since I have not noticed that your arguments reach the level of erudition that would allow you to make such statements, even in jest.
Ooberman wrote:But seriously, and perhaps a little offensive,
NOW you are worried about getting offensive?????
Ooberman wrote: it's one of the reasons religion persists: to give those people hope. Christianity is tailored for those people. It's great that there are good people trying to care for them (I just wish they'd drop the lie about Resurrections, but it's the only thing the less intelligent understand. They need a simple religion, soundbites, etc.)

But seriously, most of us know where we stand in relation the the rest of the world, and we are all pretty much average or below in most regards. We are the mediocre.

Otherwise we wouldn't be spending time on internet forums. We'd be too busy with doing something real and important enough to make this seem like a waste of time.
Yep, here you are, throwing a sop to the idea that you consider yourself mediocre...when you obviously don't think you are.

...........and yet...here you are, on the internet, arguing with all those inferior, intellectually impaired genetic sports in need of religion to take care of them. It makes me wonder why you do?

I mean, if your hypothesis, above, is correct, that 'religious types' are genetically inferior and in need of religion to provide them hope, then your arguing with us can only be a sign of sadism; why would you take that hope away, if you think that we are not salvageable because of our genetics?

On the other hand, if you think that arguing with us has a purpose, that you might actually 'get through,' then you are fibbing about your opinion of the genetic impossibility of our being able to see reason.

Some times I think that SOME atheists on this forum are sadists out to amuse themselves at our expense, rather like the school bullies making fun of the kid with Down's syndrome. It could also be they can't remember one theory long enough to remember that their next words contradict their previous ones. Most of the time I get the distinct feeling that they do not engage with the theists here at all, and simply skim along until it is their turn to type.

To be sure, there are theists posting here who have some of those qualities as well, but now I need to ask: which of the above are you?

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Post #14

Post by Ooberman »

dianaiad wrote:
Ooberman wrote: Per the OP, I think if we consider the extreme, we are looking at cloning replacement parts, nanobots living in and fixing everything in our body, uploading our personalities and backing them up in case of death.
Bionics, intelligence enhancements, etc.
Perhaps we live hooked up to a Sim Game? Our bodies would still be fine because of technology to keep the body healthy while it does nothing.

As far as genetics, I don't see how we stop it. It already happens a little. Every time you hear of a Magna Cum Laude from Harvard marry another similar person, there is a chance their children are going to be better.

And let's face it. Most people are pretty lousy. Ugly, fat, stupid, unmotivated, fraught with disease, mental deficiencies, psychologically unbalanced, etc.

You know... religious types... (hahah couldn't resist).
You really should have tried harder. Snipes and snarky comments like that are not going to get you nominated into the 'logical and reasonable hall of fame.'

Given that the vast majority of humans....including most of the ones who produced YOU, have been 'religious types,' and some of the most brilliant thinkers and scientists have also been 'religious types,' you wanna back off that a bit?

Especially since I have not noticed that your arguments reach the level of erudition that would allow you to make such statements, even in jest.
Ooberman wrote:But seriously, and perhaps a little offensive,
NOW you are worried about getting offensive?????
Ooberman wrote: it's one of the reasons religion persists: to give those people hope. Christianity is tailored for those people. It's great that there are good people trying to care for them (I just wish they'd drop the lie about Resurrections, but it's the only thing the less intelligent understand. They need a simple religion, soundbites, etc.)

But seriously, most of us know where we stand in relation the the rest of the world, and we are all pretty much average or below in most regards. We are the mediocre.

Otherwise we wouldn't be spending time on internet forums. We'd be too busy with doing something real and important enough to make this seem like a waste of time.
Yep, here you are, throwing a sop to the idea that you consider yourself mediocre...when you obviously don't think you are.

...........and yet...here you are, on the internet, arguing with all those inferior, intellectually impaired genetic sports in need of religion to take care of them. It makes me wonder why you do?

I mean, if your hypothesis, above, is correct, that 'religious types' are genetically inferior and in need of religion to provide them hope, then your arguing with us can only be a sign of sadism; why would you take that hope away, if you think that we are not salvageable because of our genetics?

On the other hand, if you think that arguing with us has a purpose, that you might actually 'get through,' then you are fibbing about your opinion of the genetic impossibility of our being able to see reason.

Some times I think that SOME atheists on this forum are sadists out to amuse themselves at our expense, rather like the school bullies making fun of the kid with Down's syndrome. It could also be they can't remember one theory long enough to remember that their next words contradict their previous ones. Most of the time I get the distinct feeling that they do not engage with the theists here at all, and simply skim along until it is their turn to type.

To be sure, there are theists posting here who have some of those qualities as well, but now I need to ask: which of the above are you?

It's all so exciting, isn't it? What are we doing here (on this forum), for what purpose? Is it succeeding? Are we driven to do it? Could we stop? Are we Determined to do it or cursed? Or blessed and doing it freely - spending time away from family and friends to interact as you and I do, arguing over really nothing in the end...

It's not as if you and I are going to come to an answer. WE most likely do it to express our beliefs, but couch it in a way that makes it seem like we are reasonable... (well, I used to do that more but there is really nothing new in the Atheist-Theist debate except the newbies - who simply want to rehash very old and tiresome arguments.)

Why do I think so little of religionists? First, let me say that I think little of fundamentalists and literalists and conservatives. I don't know why. I was born that way, I suppose.

The other reason is because I KNOW Christianity is a myth. And it's a good one. It has some really great ideas in it, and it's really fascinating to see how humans have wrestled with the same things we wrestle with today.

But I KNOW - read: have sincere and abiding Faith - that the supernatural elements of the religions are false. And, I truly believe that most fundis, literalists and conservatives know this, but they prefer to use the bully pulpit of the fear of God instead of revel in the white-knuckle fear of mortality.

I think most religionists analyze and dissect the mythology in religion so much so that it kills it dead. It rips out the joy and wonder of life and turns it into a cartoon.

Most of the Gods I have seen people defend, like Yahweh, are laughable. They are the stuff of gritty, grotesque graphic novels, not poetry, love and beauty.
The fact that so many Christians need to create apologies for the massacre of children is just about the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.

A Christian wouldn't stand for it from a Muslim, and I don't have to stand for it from a Christian no matter how Good they think it is to massacre babies in the womb.

I am here, I think, because I am so offended by the likes of William Lane Craig and others who create lies or very complex truths to guide a larger lie simply because they want others to believe what they believe. I am offended when Apologists use slick debate tactics to win a point, rather than take the sober and sensible route of admitting we don't know.

And we don't. I don't and you don't dianiaid. We don't know the truth. Only a liar says he or she does. I'm offended by liars, as you should be.


So, I don't know if we are all locked into a Deterministic world and I can't help but do what I do. I seem to enjoy it a little, much to my chagrin.
Maybe it is all genetic. I doubt it. It's probably a little of both.
But I am pretty sure genetics, physiology, psychology, chemistry and a bunch of other unmentioned things in these debates play a role in our beliefs.

It's not nothing that people adopt the religion they were born into. It's not nothing that there are correlations between brains structures and certain beliefs.
We can play the "but you can't prove it" game all you want, but it still exists as a real possibility that ALL religion and religious sensation has nothing to do with a god.

That question alone should stop the claims of preachers everywhere. That question - that there may be a natural explanation - should be enough to stifle con artists and snake oil salesmen selling Salvation as if it's a cold, hard fact.

But it doesn't.

So, I put in my two cents to fight back against the claims those people make.

I don't know if I expect it to do anything, but then..




Going back to my post, you seem to attack me for something that is underlying my post. That you know, good and well, that there are many people in this world with diminished mental capacity. Either because of low IQ or psychological problems, or whatever.

I don't trust for a minute that they, all, have the ability to parse through the arguments of Plantinga and Craig... yet, the con artists (Strobbel, et al) pick up on their work and present it as fact.

Read McDowell if you haven't. Notice all the false claims and over reaching. All to gain converts to a religion. It's sickening.

If you have to lie to get people to buy your product, your product may be faulty.

And the sad thing is, Christianity as a myth is quite beautiful. It's a rich tapestry of Man (and Woman) coming to grips with the Human Condition.

But fanatics want to set it in amber and stop the thought at "Jesus" and eternal life and all that. It's a simplistic way of thinking, IMO.

And, no, I'm not a genius. I have an above average IQ (132) but it means diddly.

The only thing I should be judged on is my actions and my words.


As I have said, I feel sane, and so if this is all the ramblings of a madman, then the Christian world can't be true if I can be so oblivious to the facts of our world.


Feel free to comment on any part of this or none. It's not really going to matter anyhow, is it?

We will continue on, as we have...

And then, we will die. And I just wasted 20 minutes of my life typing this.

How can anyone feel good about that?
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Post #15

Post by bluethread »

SailingCyclops wrote:
Artie wrote:
bluethread wrote:Who gets to decide what is an improvement, skin color, IQ, physical fitness for a particular task, . . . ?
See the movie Blade Runner for some chilling possible consequences of trying to enhance physical fitness for particular tasks...
I don't think that's what the topic is about. Making genetic diseases extinct is what I read into it. Something which natural selection has been doing for a long while, and we have interfered with somewhat. I don't think breeding for what we consider beneficial mutations would be a good course to take. That would be interfering in a much bigger way. Letting nature take it's course seems far removed from eugenics.
Well if one takes that viewpoint, the way "we have interfered" is natural selection. Didn't the random number generator and survival of the fittest give us the ability to "interfer". If that "intererence" is wrong, won't the random number generator and survival of the fittest thwart our efforts. For the scientific humanist, what is it that makes made different from any other life form?

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Post #16

Post by Ooberman »

bluethread wrote:
SailingCyclops wrote:
Artie wrote:
bluethread wrote:Who gets to decide what is an improvement, skin color, IQ, physical fitness for a particular task, . . . ?
See the movie Blade Runner for some chilling possible consequences of trying to enhance physical fitness for particular tasks...
I don't think that's what the topic is about. Making genetic diseases extinct is what I read into it. Something which natural selection has been doing for a long while, and we have interfered with somewhat. I don't think breeding for what we consider beneficial mutations would be a good course to take. That would be interfering in a much bigger way. Letting nature take it's course seems far removed from eugenics.
Well if one takes that viewpoint, the way "we have interfered" is natural selection. Didn't the random number generator and survival of the fittest give us the ability to "interfer". If that "intererence" is wrong, won't the random number generator and survival of the fittest thwart our efforts. For the scientific humanist, what is it that makes made different from any other life form?
I think he is taking a less extreme view of the OP, whereas, it is easy to push the OP to the extreme (as I did).

If there are benefits without negatives, then it seems immoral not to act on the beneficial changes we might be able to make to our dna.

For example, what if we could remove, permanently, the gene or genes that create alcoholism? If we knew that removing or altering those genes did nothing else to a persons personality or health, it seems cruel to allow a child to be born with a predisposition for something that could ruin their life.

Not only do we interfere already, but it seems moral to interfere if we can. Evolution dictates it.

After all, people WILL try to improve their genetic stock, and if a group of people are able to figure out how to do it with significant and reliable results, they will be better - more fit: more able to compete for resources.

(Let's assume they also increase their ability to resist disease and adapt to new environmental changes, etc. Because, after all, making people smarter OR stronger doesn't make them, necessarily, better according to Evolution. Rabbits and insects are neither, but they thrive).
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Post #17

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Ooberman wrote: For example, what if we could remove, permanently, the gene or genes that create alcoholism? If we knew that removing or altering those genes did nothing else to a persons personality or health, it seems cruel to allow a child to be born with a predisposition for something that could ruin their life.
Ah, there's the rub. There is no such thing as a procedure with no side effects. We do not live in a labratory. Our bodies are a complicated amalgum of biotic and symbiotic relationships. If one changes one thing, it has a cascading effect that produces unforeseen consequences. We then are forced to make other changes to mitigate these side effects, that in turn create more side effects.

This is the falacy of life extension. As we seek to mitigate the natural effects of our choices and environment by concentrating those natural processes, ie drugs and intense theropies, we alienate ourselves from that environment and become increasingly dependent upon an environment of our own making. As the nursing home and elder care industry has shown us, this is extremely difficult to maintain, since the natural system is constantly working without undue effort to bring these things back into balance, while we must be constantly vigilent to plug nevery leak. In short, water seeks its own level.

Moving from physical and chemical manipulation to genetic manipulation does not overcome this pressure but increases it exponentially. Physical manipulation does not stop natural processes, but merely redirects them. Chemical mainpulation also does not stop natural processes, but simply increases one process and decreases another. This, however, doesn't just effect ones physical makeup, but can also change entire metabolic systems. Genetic manipulation doesn't just effect ones physical makeup and metabolic systems, but creates a system whereby the results are irreversable and that which is produced is totally alien to it's environment. My understanding is that the odds of a genetic mutation being assimilated into the environment without the distruction of rither the lifeform or the environment is infinitesimal. That is why the theory of evolution is dependent on the falacy of large numbers. That is, if it is true, that which caused it can not be just the expansion of time and opportunity to facilitaite a mutiplicity of randomly selected numbers. There had to have been changes that caused catistrophic cascading effects. This latter is the fissional material that we are playing with when we do gene splicing.

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Post #18

Post by Ooberman »

bluethread wrote:
Ooberman wrote: For example, what if we could remove, permanently, the gene or genes that create alcoholism? If we knew that removing or altering those genes did nothing else to a persons personality or health, it seems cruel to allow a child to be born with a predisposition for something that could ruin their life.
Ah, there's the rub. There is no such thing as a procedure with no side effects. We do not live in a labratory. Our bodies are a complicated amalgum of biotic and symbiotic relationships. If one changes one thing, it has a cascading effect that produces unforeseen consequences. We then are forced to make other changes to mitigate these side effects, that in turn create more side effects.

This is the falacy of life extension. As we seek to mitigate the natural effects of our choices and environment by concentrating those natural processes, ie drugs and intense theropies, we alienate ourselves from that environment and become increasingly dependent upon an environment of our own making. As the nursing home and elder care industry has shown us, this is extremely difficult to maintain, since the natural system is constantly working without undue effort to bring these things back into balance, while we must be constantly vigilent to plug nevery leak. In short, water seeks its own level.

Moving from physical and chemical manipulation to genetic manipulation does not overcome this pressure but increases it exponentially. Physical manipulation does not stop natural processes, but merely redirects them. Chemical mainpulation also does not stop natural processes, but simply increases one process and decreases another. This, however, doesn't just effect ones physical makeup, but can also change entire metabolic systems. Genetic manipulation doesn't just effect ones physical makeup and metabolic systems, but creates a system whereby the results are irreversable and that which is produced is totally alien to it's environment. My understanding is that the odds of a genetic mutation being assimilated into the environment without the distruction of rither the lifeform or the environment is infinitesimal. That is why the theory of evolution is dependent on the falacy of large numbers. That is, if it is true, that which caused it can not be just the expansion of time and opportunity to facilitaite a mutiplicity of randomly selected numbers. There had to have been changes that caused catistrophic cascading effects. This latter is the fissional material that we are playing with when we do gene splicing.

So you'd let these kids die because the cure might ruin their personality?

http://www.neurometabolic-lab.org/index ... &Itemid=50

Wouldn't Death ruin their personality more?


Or, the other cases of successful examples where we have saved lives through gene therapy?

http://phys.org/news/2010-11-gene-thera ... drome.html


Not very Pro-Life, are you?
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Post #19

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Ooberman wrote:
So you'd let these kids die because the cure might ruin their personality?

http://www.neurometabolic-lab.org/index ... &Itemid=50

Wouldn't Death ruin their personality more?


Or, the other cases of successful examples where we have saved lives through gene therapy?

http://phys.org/news/2010-11-gene-thera ... drome.html


Not very Pro-Life, are you?
There are a few philosophical gotcha's here. So, let me address them one at a time, because the first gotcha is making an argument that includes several presumptions at the same time, thus confusing the reader.

Second, the whole "you'd let these kids die" arguement is turning social charity into personal obligation. I personally can not do these things and even if I could, there are many more factors to consider than my leasure time and their death. Also. society does not have an obligation to provide every life saving procedure. That is one of the primary reasons why health care costs are so high. It is not reasonable to require many to live impoverished lives so a few can defy mortality. If people volunteer to be impoverished that is one thing, but people objecting to being threatened with fine and imprisonment for not providing tax dollars for such extrordinary measures are hardly just saying, "let these kids die".

Third, comparing gene splicing to nuclear science does not necessarily mean that it should not be done if one had perfect knowledge and could be sure all considerations have been taken into account. I just have concerns about whether we have perfect knowledge and we have taken all considerations into account with regard to the effects if gene splicing becomes a common procedure. I personally am in favor of nuclear power. However, like nuclear power, it is just extremely dangerous and could have devestaing effects for society, if it filters down to more routine applications.

Fourth, Pro-Life refers more to "do no harm" than extrordinary procedures to extend life. A good example of this is that many Pro-Life people oppose invito fertilization, because it can result in the intentional distruction of "unwanted" embryos.

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Post #20

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bluethread wrote:
Ooberman wrote:
So you'd let these kids die because the cure might ruin their personality?

http://www.neurometabolic-lab.org/index ... &Itemid=50

Wouldn't Death ruin their personality more?


Or, the other cases of successful examples where we have saved lives through gene therapy?

http://phys.org/news/2010-11-gene-thera ... drome.html


Not very Pro-Life, are you?
There are a few philosophical gotcha's here. So, let me address them one at a time, because the first gotcha is making an argument that includes several presumptions at the same time, thus confusing the reader.

Second, the whole "you'd let these kids die" arguement is turning social charity into personal obligation. I personally can not do these things and even if I could, there are many more factors to consider than my leasure time and their death. Also. society does not have an obligation to provide every life saving procedure. That is one of the primary reasons why health care costs are so high. It is not reasonable to require many to live impoverished lives so a few can defy mortality. If people volunteer to be impoverished that is one thing, but people objecting to being threatened with fine and imprisonment for not providing tax dollars for such extrordinary measures are hardly just saying, "let these kids die".

Third, comparing gene splicing to nuclear science does not necessarily mean that it should not be done if one had perfect knowledge and could be sure all considerations have been taken into account. I just have concerns about whether we have perfect knowledge and we have taken all considerations into account with regard to the effects if gene splicing becomes a common procedure. I personally am in favor of nuclear power. However, like nuclear power, it is just extremely dangerous and could have devestaing effects for society, if it filters down to more routine applications.

Fourth, Pro-Life refers more to "do no harm" than extrordinary procedures to extend life. A good example of this is that many Pro-Life people oppose invito fertilization, because it can result in the intentional distruction of "unwanted" embryos.

I was using rhetorical flourish to highlight what I see as the issue.

1. The can be, at times, moral reasons to increase our knowledge of biology and to help save people. We are able to learn and help, why wouldn't we?
2. Some times this same research and technology can be detrimental, but it is through an abuse of the technology, not a result of the technology. None of that seems to remove the moral duty (that if one can help, one should try to help, even with some acceptable risk for abuse). I think we all agree this is a fine moral principle, perhaps the very definition of morals and moral duty.
3. If the moral reason fails, and there is no moral reason to mess with our genes, it's immaterial: someone is going to do it. The results of an immoral persons exploration of knowledge, alone, represents a far greater risk to all our survival that it is Objectively Good, IF we want to persist as a species or individual, to encourage the best and brightest of our species to explore advantages to our survival.

All of this seems axiomatic. Only by introducing religion does the issue get cloudy. Suddenly harm and good are dependent on God, not our collective survival. In fact, God cares so little for our individual and our species survival that He placed us in an incredibly hostile environment that it seems he was willing to have collateral damage, whether we sinned or not.
Also, suddenly, we have to guess as to what the Purpose of Life is in order to answer the question of whether we should pursue genetic engineering the human species, even if it meant the eradication of "kinds" of people.

I am not claiming I'd like to make those choices, but I don't see it being a moral dilemma 1000 years from now when they have perfected the ability to remove all disadvantageous traits and still preserve Free Will, Creativity, Diversity and all the other things we value as being "Human". (If this is possible)

There is no reason we need to create a homogeneous society, since it doesn't make sense (it's a threat to our survival).


The path is very clear under a non-theistic frame of morality. It also matches with the use of Reason.

Using a theistic frame of reference, as evidenced, and logically proved, guessing at God's preference only creates confusion in ethics.
Thinking about God's opinions and thinking about your own opinions uses an identical thought process. - Tomas Rees

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