August 19, 2012
Genetically Engineered Babies Are Our Moral Obligation, Argues Professor Julian Savulescu
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
In a recent Reader's Digest article, an Oxford University professor, philosopher, and bioethicist reports that he believes parents have a "moral obligation" to genetically engineer their babies to make sure that they become better people.
In the article, Julian Savulescu, who is also the director of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, said that "screening out personality flaws, such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence" in fetuses would improve the quality of society, the Huffington Post reported on Thursday.
Furthermore, Savulescu argued that parents should be given the option to screen out potential personality flaws in their children in order to make them less likely to "harm themselves and others," and that screening embryos and manipulating specific genes could result in a smarter, wiser, less aggressive and less violent society, Richard Alleyne of the Telegraph added.
Alleyne said Savulescu believes that advances in science make it easier and more likely to influence an unborn child's personality, altering DNA and genetic markers in order to enhance positive traits and eliminate negative ones.
"Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting? So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice," he wrote, according to the Telegraph.
"To do otherwise is to consign those who come after us to the ball and chain of our squeamishness and irrationality," Savulescu added. "If we have the power to intervene in the nature of our offspring -- rather than consigning them to the natural lottery -- then we should."
According to the Huffington Post, the Oxford professor is "no stranger to controversial comments," recently arguing in a New York Times editorial that the Olympics should permit performance enhancing drug use.
Likewise, on his personal blog, he discusses issues such as deciding whether or not to abort a fetus based on an American Idol-style voting system and whether or not low sex drive is linked to brain disorders.