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Philosophy Bioethics

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by genuinemommy, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    I have started to do some reading up on bioethics.
    I've decided to share what I learn in this thread.
    I will include relevant links.
    If people feel like commenting, and offering dissenting opinions, I would appreciate any and all debate. This is a relatively new area for me to look into. My understanding of philosophy and ethics at this point are limited to a religious context, thanks to a rather large gaping hole in my education. So I'm trying to branch out.
    --- Double Post Merged, Nov 7, 2018, Original Post Date: Nov 7, 2018 ---
    Here is a little light reading on the ethics of requiring sterilization of the crew for a Mars mission.
    Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kid: ethical implications of pregnancy on missions to colonize other planets
  2. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Where ever I roam
    If all of the astronauts are healthy and don't have any viruses, and the spaceship is sterile, do the issues of having lower immune systems even matter? Would they even need to vaccinate kids on Mars, since they won't be exposed to Earth pathogens?

    But for the first set of astronauts, I would expect that the women would all have an IUD to prevent pregnancy. And they would probably have some abortion pills just in case. They did raise some good points about not being equipped to handle babies and keeping them safe.


    The other area of bioethics that I am interested in would be the medical testing and last shot experimentation for new treatments in terminal patients. I still have some concerns about how the control groups who are sick, but don't get the new medicine are treated. I would think that medical researchers could use past data from previous patients who had the disease and their outcomes as a control. Now, the doctors might need to keep the patients in the dark as to if they are getting the real medicine or not to avoid the placebo effect and if there is a mental component to getting better.
  3. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    @genuinemommy what do you think about genetic manipulation like what's seen in Gattaca?

    It's sooner or later coming...likely with the same social impact too.

    I'm curious for a perspective from a trained person such as yourself.
  4. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    Gattica is already happening.

    So... We have a bunch of women who wait until they are established in their professional careers or finished with a very high level of schooling before they attempt to have children. They are often infertile and require fertility treatments. They often require IVF or other similarly intrusive methods to become pregnant. Their eggs are harvested and the best are fertilized with the best sperm. Of those, the most healthy zygotes are chosen for implantation. They know the gender of each zygote. They are also usually screened for genetic abnormalities. No one wants to waste $60K on a child with an obvious defect.

    These highly educated and economically advantaged women give birth to genetically ideal individuals whom they send to the best schools and give them every opportunity for a privelage-filled life. These become the 1%.

    Everyone else is born at an extreme disadvantage. They spend their money trying to keep up or compete with that 1%, but the effort is mostly hopeless.

    Gattica is here, now. It is our current reality.

    If you're wondering how I feel about it...
    Well, I have personally dealt with my share of fertility struggles. We opted to try to conceive and carry our children without intrusive intervention. I did use pharmaceuticals to regulate my cycle and to increase the number of eggs released each cycle for my successful pregnancies. But the fertilization of these eggs happened inside my body without intervention. We did not do any genetic screening of our offspring prior to birth, and have turned down offers of genetic testing since.

    I don't see much reason to strive for genetic perfection with each of my offspring.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. fflowley

    fflowley Don't just do something, stand there! Donor

    Healthy people are covered in bacteria, viruses, fungi, you name it. Plus our GI tracts are living organisms on their own.
    We can’t live without them, and they will be coming on board that space craft no matter what.

    People participating in early phase cancer clinical trials (those who have tried other known treatments already and haven’t had them work) all get active drug. There is no placebo in those trials.
    Placebos are mostly used in trials to decide which of 2 treatments works better. Often times you are administering a regimen known to work in a given disease and the patients on one arm get an extra drug added, those in the s3cond arm get a placebo added.
    Nobody gets a placebo without giving informed consent to participate in a controlled trial that uses placebos.
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member

    I'm rarely sick and wonder if my immune system was enhanced by growing up on a farm. Where we worked and plaayed in the dirt. Handled farm animals and poultry. Including killing chickens and butchering a hog every couple of years. Shoveled fouled straw bedding and manure. Had milk out of a cow, not a jug.
  7. Stan

    Stan Resident Dumbass

    Even if we could choose every attribute, we'd just get it wrong.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member

    And what is genetic perfection, anyway?

    Genetic perfection for a long-distance runner is certainly different than perfection for a sumo wrestler. I know that's an extreme contrast, but for "perfection," what do you seek to optimize?

    Or do you seek a generalist sort of perfection? If there is such a thing.

    What compromises are made where?

    How much of Stephen Hawking's brilliance would you trade for LeBron James' physique?
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  9. fflowley

    fflowley Don't just do something, stand there! Donor

    The question, I think, is whether you would have to make that trade off, or if you could have both Hawking's brilliance and LeBron's incredible athleticism.
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  10. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member

    But, aren't there always trade-offs in the physical world? Like, ya can't be in Tokyo and Topeka at the same time? Physical differences that effect abilities at certain task are easily noted. LeBron's huge hands, that help him in basketball, might also be beneficial to a concert pianist. But a drawback to a piccolo player or needlepoint artist?
    Do you @fflowley , have specific abilities that enhance your performance as a physician, but would be a drawback in some other field?
    • Like Like x 1
  11. fflowley

    fflowley Don't just do something, stand there! Donor

    That’s an interesting question.
    My specialty is almost 100% cognitive so physical skills and stature really don’t play a role.
    Although I am really short and one of my partners is 6’7” so we had to modify a few shared exam rooms so we could both use them.
    There are definitely mental skills that I rely on that are different from what many other people need optimized.
    But I don’t know if having one set will preclude having others in the future.
    And theres a big role of epigenetics.......we probably will be able to enhance expression of different traits, rather than it being hard coded into the persons DNA.
    The physical part is more clear......LeBron is never going to make it as a jockey. But who would want to make that decision for a baby even before birth?
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member

    There are a lot of egotistical people out there. Some might want heirs or successors.

    As well as those who would love to make those decisions for other people's children.

    I remember reading a Sci-Fi short, kind of tongue-in-cheek, about manipulating genes so that blonde women would have large breasts.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  13. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    Related reading for my previous post regarding women waiting to have children until older - the divide that has developed regarding the age of women as they give birth: A piece in the New York Times. The Age That Women Have Babies: How a Gap Divides America

    Here's a couple of quotes from that article: “These education patterns do help drive inequality, because well-educated women are really pulling ahead of the pack by waiting to have kids."
    "Because of fertility treatments and genetic testing, there is less fear about health complications and less stigma about having babies after 35"
    --- Double Post Merged, Dec 3, 2018, Original Post Date: Nov 23, 2018 ---
    Another recent article on the topic of Gattica: In China a doctor claims to be using crispr editing to make designer babies. And there is understandably global outrage.
    15 Worrying Things About the CRISPR Babies Scandal - The Atlantic
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member

    Education and intelligence has driven inequality for a long time. Education usually leads to higher pay as a result of meritocracy. Also the decline of the class system (nobility, etc.) has made education more important.
    • Like Like x 1