World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Arthur_Tuxedo » 2016-09-28 08:35pm

I understand the discomfort with creating genetic supermen, but I see a major problem with the arguments against it: By the time such technology is available, the majority of human labor will already be obsolete and valued below subsistence wages. No one will be competing with other humans because no one will be competitive against machine labor, not even genetically enhanced people (at least not for very long). This will force society to move away from capitalism or at least implement a fairly generous basic income. Rich people can become even richer through genetic modification, but if a roof over your head and food on the table become guarantees, this won't lead to a dystopian outcome unless the society in question clings to our current style of capitalism despite a majority of its people finding themselves unable to put food on the table. That is hard to imagine given that a government that starves its citizens will be overthrown.

Also, given that we have legalized bribery of politicians in the US, whatever the rich want, they will get, so we're going to find out what are the consequences of rich, genetic superhumans no matter the objections.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Joun_Lord » 2016-09-28 08:54pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:manipulating arbitrary cosmetic factors like penis size or whatever.


Thats the main problem I have with it, not the penis size in particular but the cosmetic alterations.

Assuming genetic modification gets to the point of being able to improve humanity I would hope and pray its done in a time when we have moved past this stupid era of profit driven medicine and there is something close to a worldwide universal health care system so some asshole in mansion in America and some asshole in a slum in Antarctica can get the same level of health care regardless of wealth.

There ain't really anything wrong with giving everyone a genetic "tune-up", eliminating genetic diseases, minimizing or removing factors that lead to obesity or heart disease or blindness or whatever. Make humanity as a whole better even without any upgrades. Rich or poor everyone would be leading a healthier life.

Maybe if people get their heads out of their asses it would be a possibility.

No, the problem is when people are able to start going into a Build A Kid workshop and print out a blond haired blue eyed aryan, submissive unintelligent future housewife, or big dicked mega misogynist. To choose what children look like, traits they might have, all that bologna.

Parents can be assholes. Parents will want to fuck up their kids in new and exciting ways if they can play with the genetics. Giving their kids big dicks, big tits, different skin colors, and who knows what else. We probably aren't going to see yellow skinned Simpson people with bone spikes on their head to mimic the shape of Bart's head or feather winged babies of bird lovers but even relatively minor shit can be pretty bad.

Give your kid a big dick or big tits could lead to health problems, intimacy issues, and a whole heap of issues depending on what spectrum of gender they are on. Other cosmetic alterations like skin color, height, weight, and everything else could have bad consequences on the kid.

Some of the changes parents could effect could be downright terrible or harmful. This is mostly hyperbole but based on the fact some deaf parents have refused to give their children cochlear implants because of "cultural reasons". blind parents could want to force their kid to be blind, deaf parents force their kids to be deaf, gay parents force their kid to be gay, straight parents force their kids to be straight, and so on. A parent should not have that level of control over their kids, should not disable them or decide their sexuality.

I worry about that far more then white or latino indian dudes named KHAANNNNNN!!!!!! running around ruling the world.

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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Napoleon the Clown » 2016-09-28 09:33pm

The thought of mitochondrial DNA being able to accomplish this is even more absurd. There's a limit to how much energy you can get out of food. NO has to be in a pretty specific and narrow range, or problems arise. The genes in mitochondrial DNA (all 37 of them) each have a pretty specific task, and probably do it at the ideal rate for what a given cell needs.

Anything that will make you naturally have more muscle will also make you need to increase caloric intake. Intelligence isn't even close to being all about the genes.

"Clearing out" defective genes, for a very clearly defined definition of defective, could be hugely beneficial. Realistically, such will not be an option for the less than wealthy for long after the tech is developed.


The biggest nail, perhaps, in the coffin that is a genetic superman is that gene expression is incredibly complicated. Changing one small piece of one gene, even a single exon, could change what proteins you get out of multiple other proteins. Our genome is wonderfully complicated, yet there are more proteins created by our bodies than there are genes.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Zeropoint » 2016-09-29 01:48am

Quote-unquote 'simply' raise the low bar for outcomes to a decent quality of life, and who cares how high the high one goes?


This does not appear to be an accurate description of how humans work. Wealth inequality is a strong driver of discontent and resentment, even as the minimum standard of living improves.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-09-29 02:34am

If only the rich can "clean out the genes" long after the technology is developed, my answer remains the same.

Screw the rich.

And yes, there are valid questions as to whether superior intelligence could be "engineered". I hope it is impossible, and if possible, hope this does not happen in my lifetime.

I found it funny that supposed progressives find sophisticated excuses for horrendous inequality, due to the application of vulgar utilitarianism.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-09-29 06:35am

Esquire wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:The big issue is that so far, people with middle and lower class upbringings can compete with the children of the elite, in meaningful terms. And while there are tremendous advantages to inheriting wealth, automatically being one of the most skilled people in the world isn't one of them- for every successful third or fourth generation member of a very powerful family, there are a swarm of trust fund babies and Paris Hiltons.
Okay, if we're going to have a proper evidence-driven discussion, we need to define what '[sucessfully] compete with the children of the elite' means. Do you mean 'ascend to a higher socioeconomic status?'
Primarily so, yes.

The illuminated Bibles maybe don't help you- except insofar as they help keep your culture's art alive through what is otherwise a dark age. But the preservation of other books does help you- architecture that designs fortifications which shelter you from invaders, philosophy that eventually results in a renaissance for your great-grandchildren and a chance to get off the farm, stored knowledge in general.

Likewise, telephones were used in a lot of ways that benefited the public even when they were very expensive, such as enabling government to be better coordinated. Computers, likewise.

The benefits of being an amazingly talented person tend to be a lot more concentrated in the hands of the talented person, compared to the benefits of a powerful tool that just anyone can use, or that a group of people can share.
A prior draft of the argument the above quotation responded to included something along the lines of 'you're taking an historical perspective for prior technologies, but not giving the same benefit-of-the-doubt to this one.' Who's to say genetic enhancement of intelligence - assuming that's even possible, etc., etc., - wouldn't lead to a set of world leaders who could actually solve global warming, for example? All those powerful tools were created by intellectually-powerful people, and we're just now reaching the stage where further advancement will be difficult at best for the average man. I say this as a profoundly average man.
It's not the existence of highly above-average people that concerns me. It's the marriage of increased physical health (especially longevity) and mental/social capacity (which could take many forms) on the one hand, with money and control of existing economic resources on the other hand.

Because that sounds like it amounts to artificially speciating humanity into homo sapiens and homo superior, and permanently putting homo superior behind the wheel.

Remember that the key to splitting two species isn't just making them unable to interbreed, it's creating some kind of barrier between them, one which is difficult to cross and promotes reproductive isolation. Here, that barrier isn't physical, it's financial. If I can't afford the costs of boosting my children over the genetic line, they won't be able to afford it for their children either. Because unless they are extremely lucky they will lack the intellect and physical health to compete economically with other children who were not only born on the other side of the genetic line, but already stand to inherit all the financial resources that were used to boost them over.

This would be a lot less of a problem if the genetic enhancements were, for example, being distributed randomly among the population by lottery, with a mechanism in place to ensure that the richest kids didn't always get the best ones.

But these are not also people who inherited vast wealth. They won a genetic lottery, but not the lottery of having the 'best' socioeconomic position. Others win the lottery of socioeconomic status but not the genetic lottery. Winning both is very rare.

If winning the socioeconomic lottery enables you to buy a winning genetic lottery tickets, the existing tendency of socioeconomic success to become inherited is reinforced.
Well, what if it is? Or rather, will it be significantly increase - the trust fund and its close cousin the entail make inheriting wealth and power effectively foolproof as it is; I'm not convinced that even if genetic supermen took over the world - which I'm far from convinced is plausible, again even if such beings ever become possible - things would be any more lopsided than they are.
Most billionaires aren't actually the descendants of other billionaires. There's a strong tie between birth status and life status, but by and large people can at least get halfway up the ladder, or further, in one generation. Outright rags-to-riches stories are rare, but rags-to-suit and suit-to-riches are both fairly common stories.

I don't want that to change.

Again: the problem is not the lopsided distribution of socioeconomic success, it's the existence of socioeconomic failure. Quote-unquote 'simply' raise the low bar for outcomes to a decent quality of life, and who cares how high the high one goes? That will, I think, be a lot easier than preventing people who by your and K.A. Pital's thesis already control most of the wealth and power from literally buying more life for themselves and their children.
I'm trying to establish a problem that I think needs to be addressed. Namely, the problem of humans speciating into homo sapiens and homo superior, with few or no members of sapiens being unable to afford superior status for their children.

Can we agree that we are no longer denying the existence of the problem?

Because if so, then I'd like to discuss how the problem might be addressed.

The problem isn't "but Gattaca!" In Gattaca, the issue is [n.b. 'isn't?'] that most humans are genetically enhanced. The problem is a world where 5% of the population, having 5% of the children, can afford to boost their children into the top 99.999th percentile of human ability... and nobody else can.
Granting that such would be the result - which I maintain is a large concession - why would it a) stay that way forever, and b) matter all that much? The children of the wealthy already outperform the children of the poor, on average, in every metric* by significant margins.

*Except depression rates, I think, but that's subject to so many confounding factors I don't think it has any practical use.
Because the children of the poor still contain enough exceptional outlier individuals capable of bucking the trend. As a result, membership in the "rich and powerful" category isn't a permanent intergenerational condition. Most people who are very rich today aren't descended from people who were very rich in the 1800s, and many aren't even descended from people who were very rich in the 1950s. As noted, there are a lot of suits-to-riches stories in modern developed societies, and a significant number of rags-to-suits stories.

If you add genetic stratification to the existing forms of stratification, then you greatly reduce the likelihood of anyone being able to climb that ladder.

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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Esquire » 2016-09-29 08:18am

Simon_Jester wrote:Most billionaires aren't actually the descendants of other billionaires. There's a strong tie between birth status and life status, but by and large people can at least get halfway up the ladder, or further, in one generation. Outright rags-to-riches stories are rare, but rags-to-suit and suit-to-riches are both fairly common stories.

I don't want that to change.


Less common than you might think, I'm afraid - see here and here. Indeed, most of the policies intended to support social mobility appear to have backfired; Affirmative Action students admitted to top universities, for example, have worse economic outcomes than equivalent students at lesser schools. My inference is that anybody who can actually pull off a significant successful rise in social class is exceptional enough that they'd be able to do it anyway.

I'm trying to establish a problem that I think needs to be addressed. Namely, the problem of humans speciating into homo sapiens and homo superior, with few or no members of sapiens being unable to afford superior status for their children.

Can we agree that we are no longer denying the existence of the problem?

Because if so, then I'd like to discuss how the problem might be addressed.


The problem proposed, as I understand it, is decreased social mobility leading to effective speciation of humanity. I don't think the first would be significantly impacted, because social mobility is already effectively nonexistent for all but the most exceptional, and it's a significant leap to assume that genetic improvements would keep the very rich and the rest of us any more apart than we already are.

Because the children of the poor still contain enough exceptional outlier individuals capable of bucking the trend. As a result, membership in the "rich and powerful" category isn't a permanent intergenerational condition. Most people who are very rich today aren't descended from people who were very rich in the 1800s, and many aren't even descended from people who were very rich in the 1950s. As noted, there are a lot of suits-to-riches stories in modern developed societies, and a significant number of rags-to-suits stories.

If you add genetic stratification to the existing forms of stratification, then you greatly reduce the likelihood of anyone being able to climb that ladder.


As above, this is less true than you might think; findings in Sweden and the UK suggest that overwhelmingly the rich of those countries explicitly are the descendants of those who were rich in the 1800s, and we're not doing much better. Basically, I think instead of chasing the dream of a meritocratic society, which has never existed and cannot exist as long as parents are responsible for raising their children, we might as well focus on keeping the bottom rungs of the social ladder from being too terrible a place to live. Society isn't a zero-sum game, I'm not (assuming decent social policies) worse off just because somebody else is better off.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-09-29 11:08am

What was exceptional about Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space? Except health and piloting skills? Nothing. His ancestors were not the ultra-rich.

The world that way is better. Looking a rich people all the time makes me want to puke.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-09-29 04:25pm

Esquire wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:Most billionaires aren't actually the descendants of other billionaires. There's a strong tie between birth status and life status, but by and large people can at least get halfway up the ladder, or further, in one generation. Outright rags-to-riches stories are rare, but rags-to-suit and suit-to-riches are both fairly common stories.

I don't want that to change.
Less common than you might think, I'm afraid - see here and here. Indeed, most of the policies intended to support social mobility appear to have backfired; Affirmative Action students admitted to top universities, for example, have worse economic outcomes than equivalent students at lesser schools. My inference is that anybody who can actually pull off a significant successful rise in social class is exceptional enough that they'd be able to do it anyway.
Except that you've just gone and made all the children born to the class they're trying to enter exceptional too, so that they've lost the one advantage they already had.

I mean, I don't see how you can argue "intergenerational income equality is already at a high level, so there's no harm in making it higher."

I'm trying to establish a problem that I think needs to be addressed. Namely, the problem of humans speciating into homo sapiens and homo superior, with few or no members of sapiens being unable to afford superior status for their children.

Can we agree that we are no longer denying the existence of the problem?

Because if so, then I'd like to discuss how the problem might be addressed.
The problem proposed, as I understand it, is decreased social mobility leading to effective speciation of humanity. I don't think the first would be significantly impacted, because social mobility is already effectively nonexistent for all but the most exceptional, and it's a significant leap to assume that genetic improvements would keep the very rich and the rest of us any more apart than we already are.
The thing is, the levels of mobility they're citing are NOT "close to nonexistent." There's a huge difference between saying "rich children inherit on average 80% of their parents' extra income" and saying "there is no social mobility." Because that can mean that out of every five rich children, you have students making 120%, 100%, 80%, 50%, and 50% of their parents' salaries, respectively. That still averages out to eighty... but it definitely means that two new slots have opened up at the top for low-income children to enter.

Meanwhile, even if 90% of the bottom 4/5 of the income distribution stays on the bottom, that still represents 8% being injected into the top quintile with each generation. Which means 40% of that quintile getting replaced in each generation.

It's not great turnover but it's not no turnover either.

Create a deterministic relation between people's intelligence and aptitude, and their parents' wealth, and there will be no turnover, or nearly none.

Because the children of the poor still contain enough exceptional outlier individuals capable of bucking the trend. As a result, membership in the "rich and powerful" category isn't a permanent intergenerational condition. Most people who are very rich today aren't descended from people who were very rich in the 1800s, and many aren't even descended from people who were very rich in the 1950s. As noted, there are a lot of suits-to-riches stories in modern developed societies, and a significant number of rags-to-suits stories.

If you add genetic stratification to the existing forms of stratification, then you greatly reduce the likelihood of anyone being able to climb that ladder.
As above, this is less true than you might think; findings in Sweden and the UK suggest that overwhelmingly the rich of those countries explicitly are the descendants of those who were rich in the 1800s, and we're not doing much better.
Your link doesn't disprove my point, though I may have communicated it poorly.

The distant descendents of 19th and 18th century aristocrats may well still be doing much better than the general population- but they don't make up a majority of all highly influential people in their society. The aristocrats of that time may have been the top 5%, and today many though not all of the top 5% are at least in large part descended from the bottom 95% of that era.

If 19th century aristocrats had been able to genetically tinker their children, and had even more incentives to marry only among those who had been thus gene-tinkered (such as passing on more enhancements to the children), this might well not be the case today.

Basically, I think instead of chasing the dream of a meritocratic society, which has never existed and cannot exist as long as parents are responsible for raising their children, we might as well focus on keeping the bottom rungs of the social ladder from being too terrible a place to live. Society isn't a zero-sum game, I'm not (assuming decent social policies) worse off just because somebody else is better off.
One of the fundamental reasons that decent social policies can continue to exist is the enlightened self-interest of much of the upper class (here defining 'upper class' as 'the top 1/3 to 1/5th of society').

Because if we do not provide mass education to an acceptable standard of quality, we simply don't have a realistic chance of providing enough technical specialists to run the economy that is needed to support the elites' lifestyle. The elite depends on the middle class as a reservoir of educated talent, and the middle class depends on the working portion of the lower class as a reservoir of labor to permit them to live comfortably while playing the role of 'educated talent.'

Automation is threatening the second half of that relationship; genetic engineering might well threaten the first half (if automation didn't do it first; Arthur Tuxedo was not wrong to point that out).

If the smartest people in the world are all descended from people who made $80,000 a year or more, because said people were all modified with genes that make them the equal of anyone in the lower classes... suddenly there is a lot less incentive to ensure that members of the middle class have a realistic hope of going to law school or medical school or founding their own corporations. Because they'll just get outcompeted by the genetically enhanced kids anyway.

This further increases the ability of the elite to say "and now we have no further need of you" to the rest of the population, which is a profoundly undesirable potential end state to capitalism as we know it.

[Note that I've linked to Chapter 4 of a story; you may want to read 1-3 if you feel a need to understand what's happening. It purports to describe a potential future in which automation has largely replaced human labor, but the owners of that automation are still in place unchanged, with the result that everyone else becomes effectively surplus population, to be 'warehoused' as cheaply as possible because there's really no point in providing anything expensive for them.

The overall story is somewhat didactic, sort of like one of those old 'utopia/dystopia' stories, but there's a lot of points in there which are well worth considering.]

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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Esquire » 2016-09-29 06:03pm

I do apologize for misinterpreting the links - I flipped their conclusion from 'the children of the rich don't sink in status' to 'the children of the poor don't rise;' all I can say in my defense is that it'd been a very long day. Today is another, so I'm going to hold off on a full response until my brain is more fully functional, if that's all right.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-09-29 08:15pm

Well, it's not wrong to note that there's lots of rich kids who in turn remain among the rich.

The point is, even if a majority of rich kids stay relatively rich, that doesn't mean all or nearly all do. And even if only a tiny minority of poor-to-average kids become rich, the poor-to-average people are so numerous that a small minority of them is a much larger fraction of the total rich population.

Basically, the reason there's a concern is that while social mobility isn't really high, it is at least a thing that exists, and the main reason it exists is that people of average wealth but great merit can successfully compete with people of great wealth but lesser merit. If great wealth begins to automatically confer various forms of merit, then this breaks down. Assuming this isn't all rendered irrelevant by robotics or something, that's a problem.

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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Arthur_Tuxedo » 2016-09-29 11:12pm

I'd also like to question the underlying assumption that the rich would not become more egalitarian if they were made more intelligent. Is it not true that the correlation between increased wealth and happiness is asymptotic to zero? Therefore, voting to screw over the poor and middle class to amass more wealth shows a lack of intelligence.

Why would people with superior intelligence continue the magpie behavior of amassing shiny objects like their parents? Wouldn't they become more like Warren Buffett and other visionaries, who almost universally support policies that would drain their own wealth but decrease overall suffering and make society as a whole more prosperous?
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-09-30 01:34am

Arthur_Tuxedo wrote:Wouldn't they become more like Warren Buffett and other visionaries, who almost universally support policies that would drain their own wealth but decrease overall suffering and make society as a whole more prosperous?

...presiding over a period when wages stagnate, incomes of skilled workers are drained and "jobless growth" tends to become the new norm?

Happiness can also be gained from the suffering of others relative to yourself (seeing them crawl in the dirt below), which is a mild form of sadism, or from seeing your cleverly executed, but extremely callous schemes, come to fruition (mild forms of sociopathy and psychopathy).

Intellect and empathy are not connected. There have been and are now people who have zero empathy, but extremely potent minds.

What are the gains to an intellectual person from greater egalitarianism? None. The share of society's resources he alone commands decreases, meaning he has to compete with other (stupider) people to enact his plans and complete his grand visions. To him, this is living under ochlocracy, tyranny of the stupid masses.

On the other hand, extremely lopsided distribution with him at the top puts him in command of a massive share of society's resources, and allows to command other people to do what he wants.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-09-30 02:06am

Arthur_Tuxedo wrote:I'd also like to question the underlying assumption that the rich would not become more egalitarian if they were made more intelligent. Is it not true that the correlation between increased wealth and happiness is asymptotic to zero? Therefore, voting to screw over the poor and middle class to amass more wealth shows a lack of intelligence.

Why would people with superior intelligence continue the magpie behavior of amassing shiny objects like their parents? Wouldn't they become more like Warren Buffett and other visionaries, who almost universally support policies that would drain their own wealth but decrease overall suffering and make society as a whole more prosperous?
For every Buffett there's a Koch. It averages out.

That said, the process I'm describing isn't even about the elite deliberately conspiring to oppress and exclude the majority. This is a common area where Stas and I differ even when our positions are otherwise similar.* See, maybe the elite will deliberately conspire to oppress genetically inferior baselines, and maybe they won't. But either way, if they and their descendants have both the great majority of the wealth and a position of physical and mental superiority over all but the most freakishly capable 'normals,' then they win forever. In each generation, they will be the ones making the decisions, organizing everything however they see fit, and the rest of humanity is simply locked out of the process entirely. Over time, this trend would tend to lead to de facto division of humanity into a homo superior master race and a homo sapiens slave race.**

And that is simply not desirable regardless of the individual motives of specific members of homo superior. The 'fact' that the slaves are being well cared for and are loved by their masters, even if that is true, does not make slavery an acceptable state of affairs.
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*[I speculate that it's because his theory of sociology is characteristically Marxist and is based on the idea of classes struggling. While mine is more... for lack of a better term, Darwinian/Dawkinsian. To Stas, the rich running things and doing XYZ is the outcome of their class doing XYZ for their own self-interest. For me, there's no "they" to consciously make these decisions, so I'm looking at the actual outcomes as side effects of a blind process.]

**[Again, this is all with the caveat that rapidly evolving machine intelligence could make the whole issue irrelevant. It is entirely possible, even likely, that a highly capable AI of the year 2100 will be able to say "...the world's smartest man poses no more of a threat to me than does its smartest termite."]

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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Bedlam » 2016-09-30 01:43pm

From my understanding this particular technology would lead to a change in the germ line i.e. the new mitochondria would be passed on to the child's offspring (assuming they're a girl anyway, men generally don't pass on mitochondria). Now as people have pointed out the mitochondria has a very limited genome so this particular technique doesn't have that much benefit for creating a future overclass although we seem to be talking in general terms rather than this particular technique. Now if there was a fairly simple way to alter your childs genome its probably going to require modification of eggs or sperm for the first generation but will be normally inheritable from then on... given human nature how long do you think the improved genes will remain in just the upper class? How many rich men are bonking their cleaners or subordinates not because they're fantastically attractive or have the best genes but just because they can? Any children of such unions will inherit the super genes. How much genetic flow would that actually represent?

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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-09-30 02:02pm

That's a fair point. On the other hand, this may also result in a lot of genetic abnormalities, because the odds are that genetic enhancement won't be done blindly- it will require competent geneticists to review the DNA of the prospective child and ensure there are no conflicts between the existing genes and the modified genes, that no unexpected problems arise.

Also, this particular technique regarding mitochondria is not an issue in terms of this concern, I hope that's clear. The problem is a more general one associated specifically with augmentation of humans that requires private citizens to pay large sums of money in order to have augmented children.

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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Honorius » 2016-09-30 10:51pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
Those are not small concerns.

The latter, in particular, has absolutely horrifying social implications. These techniques will not be cheap unless covered by public health care. It gets even worse when you get into the concept of genetically engineered "designer babies". You are talking, effectively, about creating a genetically superior, largely hereditary, upper class. That is, frankly, a horrifying prospect, and one that could very well be a bullet through the heart of democracy in the long term.


Basically the Clans from the Battletech Universe.

Genetically bred children born in vats and genetically designed to do a particular job and only that job.

What could possibly go wrong???

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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Starglider » 2016-10-02 12:37pm

Marginal improvements from genetic manipulation will diffuse out into the general population after a few generations anyway. Cybernetic enhancement has much more potential to produce a significant sustained stratification.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2016-10-02 10:41pm

Starglider wrote:Marginal improvements from genetic manipulation will diffuse out into the general population after a few generations anyway. Cybernetic enhancement has much more potential to produce a significant sustained stratification.


Trickle down genetics?

Point taken about the potentially greater issues with cybernetics, though.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Broomstick » 2016-10-02 10:57pm

Bedlam wrote:From my understanding this particular technology would lead to a change in the germ line i.e. the new mitochondria would be passed on to the child's offspring (assuming they're a girl anyway, men generally don't pass on mitochondria).

Men never pass on mitochondria.

Now as people have pointed out the mitochondria has a very limited genome so this particular technique doesn't have that much benefit for creating a future overclass although we seem to be talking in general terms rather than this particular technique.

Optimized mDNA can affect longevity, energy levels, and so forth. As it happens, humans have much more consistent mDNA than most species, probably because our visual systems and large brains both require a lot of energy. About the only species more optimized are birds which, again, have enormous energy requirements.

How many rich men are bonking their cleaners or subordinates not because they're fantastically attractive or have the best genes but just because they can? Any children of such unions will inherit the super genes. How much genetic flow would that actually represent?

Based on gene-flow between castes in India... enough to prevent speciation, or even a separate ethnic category after a few generations.

Unless, of course, the elites do what was done in the Draka universe and engineer children who aren't interfertile with the lower classes, essentially engineering a separate species. I don't think we're there, yet, though, with present tech that's most likely to result in just a sterile upper class.

The Romulan Republic wrote:Trickle down genetics?

Basically... yes.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Arthur_Tuxedo » 2016-10-05 12:15am

K. A. Pital wrote:
Arthur_Tuxedo wrote:Wouldn't they become more like Warren Buffett and other visionaries, who almost universally support policies

that would drain their own wealth but decrease overall suffering and make society as a whole more prosperous?

...presiding over a period when wages stagnate, incomes of skilled workers are drained and "jobless growth" tends to become the new norm?

Because the people who decide policy in our world are unworthy, and mostly either inherited their wealth or lied, cheated, and stole for it. If their kids had cranked-up intelligence, they would be much better than their parents. The true luminaries who transformed their industries and became rich for it are almost universally in favor of egalitarian policies that help the middle and lower classes, unlike their comparatively ordinary wealthy peers.

Happiness can also be gained from the suffering of others relative to yourself (seeing them crawl in the dirt below), which is a mild form of sadism, or from seeing your cleverly executed, but extremely callous schemes, come to fruition (mild forms of sociopathy and psychopathy).

Intellect and empathy are not connected. There have been and are now people who have zero empathy, but extremely potent minds.

The existence of sociopaths doesn't mean there's no connection. There are also "idiot savants" who have genius-level intelligence in very specific realms but can barely tie their shoes or communicate. As a general rule, highly intelligent people are also more empathetic and more likely to consider factors beyond their own immediate benefit. They are also more likely to notice the complete lack of correlation between increased wealth beyond the level of comfortable living and increased happiness and not mindlessly accumulate.

What are the gains to an intellectual person from greater egalitarianism? None. The share of society's resources he alone commands decreases, meaning he has to compete with other (stupider) people to enact his plans and complete his grand visions. To him, this is living under ochlocracy, tyranny of the stupid masses.

On the other hand, extremely lopsided distribution with him at the top puts him in command of a massive share of society's resources, and allows to command other people to do what he wants.

The smartest people generally don't desire to manipulate and control others. That is the realm of sociopaths, who can be smart but generally are not nearly as clever as they think they are. Humans have an instinct to trust each other, and it doesn't take much to manipulate that. Controlling people think they are geniuses because they can get others to do their bidding a few times or con money out of them, not realizing that they wind up more and more isolated over time and would have been far more successful if others liked and trusted them enough to present them with shared opportunities.

Even disregarding that, the rate of sociopathy is only 4% even amongst CEOs. The other 96% of rich people who choose genetic modification would presumably make their kids super-intelligent in all aspects, including empathy.

Simon_Jester wrote:
Arthur_Tuxedo wrote:I'd also like to question the underlying assumption that the rich would not become more egalitarian if they were made more intelligent. Is it not true that the correlation between increased wealth and happiness is asymptotic to zero? Therefore, voting to screw over the poor and middle class to amass more wealth shows a lack of intelligence.

Why would people with superior intelligence continue the magpie behavior of amassing shiny objects like their parents? Wouldn't they become more like Warren Buffett and other visionaries, who almost universally support policies that would drain their own wealth but decrease overall suffering and make society as a whole more prosperous?
For every Buffett there's a Koch. It averages out.

Yes but the Kochs have not shown that they are geniuses in their field. They are just ordinary rich guys who inherited a lot of wealth and managed not to piss it away. The point I was making is that rich people we know to be extraordinarily intelligent are much more supportive of the lower classes than their more ordinary peers.

That said, the process I'm describing isn't even about the elite deliberately conspiring to oppress and exclude the majority. This is a common area where Stas and I differ even when our positions are otherwise similar.* See, maybe the elite will deliberately conspire to oppress genetically inferior baselines, and maybe they won't. But either way, if they and their descendants have both the great majority of the wealth and a position of physical and mental superiority over all but the most freakishly capable 'normals,' then they win forever. In each generation, they will be the ones making the decisions, organizing everything however they see fit, and the rest of humanity is simply locked out of the process entirely. Over time, this trend would tend to lead to de facto division of humanity into a homo superior master race and a homo sapiens slave race.**

And that is simply not desirable regardless of the individual motives of specific members of homo superior. The 'fact' that the slaves are being well cared for and are loved by their masters, even if that is true, does not make slavery an acceptable state of affairs.
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*[I speculate that it's because his theory of sociology is characteristically Marxist and is based on the idea of classes struggling. While mine is more... for lack of a better term, Darwinian/Dawkinsian. To Stas, the rich running things and doing XYZ is the outcome of their class doing XYZ for their own self-interest. For me, there's no "they" to consciously make these decisions, so I'm looking at the actual outcomes as side effects of a blind process.]

**[Again, this is all with the caveat that rapidly evolving machine intelligence could make the whole issue irrelevant. It is entirely possible, even likely, that a highly capable AI of the year 2100 will be able to say "...the world's smartest man poses no more of a threat to me than does its smartest termite."]

I don't disagree with you on principle, but I do believe that radical augmentation of our wetware is farther away than machine labour replacing a large majority of human labor. It also seems that once the breakthroughs are achieved, they will only be prohibitively expensive for a few years. After all, the cost is mostly in the surgical labor and not the implants themselves, and by that time robotics should have brought down the cost of surgery to a small fraction of what it is today.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-10-05 03:00am

Arthur_Tuxedo wrote:Because the people who decide policy in our world are unworthy, and mostly either inherited their wealth or lied, cheated, and stole for it.

Are you sure? There are studies that demonstrate the rich to be already more intelligent on the average (which does not make them less callous and cruel).
If their kids had cranked-up intelligence, they would be much better than their parents. The true luminaries who transformed their industries and became rich for it are almost universally in favor of egalitarian policies that help the middle and lower classes, unlike their comparatively ordinary wealthy peers

Like Steve Jobs or fashion moguls who profit by exploiting the cheapest labour available to create overpriced branded products? :lol: Luminaries.
The existence of sociopaths doesn't mean there's no connection.

Claiming that there is a connection between empathy and intelligence requires proof. It is a positive claim. So please, do prove it.
As a general rule, highly intelligent people are also more empathetic and more likely to consider factors beyond their own immediate benefit.

Who discovered this general rule? Prove it.
They are also more likely to notice the complete lack of correlation between increased wealth beyond the level of comfortable living and increased happiness and not mindlessly accumulate.

Once again a strong positive claim to universality - with no proof.
The smartest people generally don't desire to manipulate and control others.

Generally? Have there ever been studies? Again, where is the proof?
Even disregarding that, the rate of sociopathy is only 4% even amongst CEOs. The other 96% of rich people who choose genetic modification would presumably make their kids super-intelligent in all aspects, including empathy.

Empathy is not a part of intelligence. Here you are already including something that is outside of intelligence into it. This is preposterous.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2016-10-06 10:01pm

If Empathy is not part of intelligence then do please explain how the brain makes decisions which do not involve intelligence.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-10-07 06:19am

What do you mean?

I merely challenged the claim that a superintelligent person would also be super-empathetic.

It seems like many things are related to intelligence, but the ones that are related to empathic response happen to be unrelated:
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/bea ... rsonality/
Consistent with prior research, IQ was most strongly related to openness to experience. Out of 9 dimensions of openness to experience, 8 out of 9 were positively related to IQ: intellectual engagement, intellectual creativity, mental quickness, intellectual competence, introspection, ingenuity, intellectual depth, and imagination. Interestingly, IQ was much more strongly related to intellectual engagement and mental quickness than imagination, ingenuity, or intellectual depth, and IQ was not related to sensitivity to beauty.

Out of 45 dimensions of personality, 23 dimensions were not related to IQ. This included gregariousness, friendliness, assertiveness, poise, talkativeness, social understanding, warmth, pleasantness, empathy, cooperation, sympathy, conscientiousness, efficiency, dutifulness, purposefulness, cautiousness, rationality, perfectionism, calmness, impulse control, imperturbability, cool-headedness, and tranquility. These qualities were not directly relevant to IQ.
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Re: World's first baby using controversial three-parent technique born, report says

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-07 04:57pm

I'm a little surprised to hear that rationality and efficiency are not related to IQ, but less surprised than other people might be. :D


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