The Box With No Latch
New rule for human nature, folks: As soon as we figure out how to do something, somebody, somewhere, is going to do it.
This, to my knowledge, is inevitable. It’s as constant as the sunrise. Can anybody think of a discovery that, once made, wasn’t used? Some of them, granted, were only used for a short time or didn’t catch on or whatever, but some guy tried it out, guaranteed. If it turns out it was crap or nobody found it useful or something ‘better’ came along, we switched. Perhaps we forgot about the old thing. But somebody, somewhere was guaranteed to give it a whirl at least once.
So, here we are with this article from the Activist Post wringing its hands over genetically constructed/modified children. Two things I have to say about that:
(1) This was bound to happen. It will keep happening until such time as we find something better to do with our energy or, for whatever reason, genetically ‘constructed’ children become unpopular as the ‘results’ of this activity become somehow negative. No amount of saying ‘don’t do this’ before the fact is going to stop it. Delay it, maybe, but not stop. We only stop doing things afterwe’ve tried them out and melted our faces.
(2) The article contains a phrase I find massively worrying. Here it is (emphasis mine):
In other words, these genetically modified babies — if allowed to mate with non-GM humans— could potentially alter the very genetic coding of generations to come.
Whoah, whoah, whoah! “If allowed to mate?” What the fuck is that supposed to mean? These are people, right? Granted, born in an unconventional fashion, but still people. They can mate with whomever they want. I don’t care how much you hate the idea of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), these individuals are alive. They are (or will be, hopefully) living, breathing, thinking human beings. No Chicken-Little, Luddite, jackhole gets to say who they sleep with or whether they have children. Unless their children are going to be bursting out of people’s chests a-la Alien and running about eating space-bound shipping personnel, nobody gets to dehumanize them by dictating their reproductive rights.
Science fiction has been down this road before, folks. It frequently ends with the super-intelligent genetically modified humans kicking our asses all over the planet, or the intelligent apes wiping us out, or we wind up building GMO ghettos somewhere and start setting up sterilization clinics and all kinds of other monstrous shit. Ugh! No.
GMOs are coming, folks. They’ll be here soon. They are going to be the next generation of pets. They are going to allow us to keep eating stuff when the rest of the planet dies and the oceans are empty of everything but plankton and jellyfish. They are going to become our friends and our neighbors and our soldiers and our leaders. It’s gonna happen, or at least science is going to give it a try.
If you’re scared, that’s normal – big technological changes are always scary. It isn’t going to be all roses and buttercups, either – I don’t intend to say that it will. What is most important about it, however, is that we do our best to utilize this new technology in a positive way. We should embrace it and figure it out and try to wrestle it into something that won’t be monstrous or dangerous or terrible. The best way to make sure that can’t happen is to freak out, marginalize, and rail against it. Then, the only people who want to work on it are the fringe scientists, the rogue states, the irresponsible corporations, and the criminals. That, my friends, doesn’t work out well for anybody.