Sorry for the delay in my response EV. I wanted to wait to write it out until I had adequate time.
I think that as a species, we are evolving so fast mentally, yet so slowly physically. The problem is that now as technology is so advanced, we can cure things that are actually hereditary... I would go as far as to say that our bodies may end up actually being completely redundant one day. It is always a possibility.
Wouldn't that be something? IDK I rather enjoy my senses. I guess we could automate pleasure and pain but something tells me it wouldn't feel real. But I suppose if one lived in a time where they had always experienced automated senses they wouldn't know the difference.
I think there would be a minority of people who resist such a technology, but a lot of our jobs are already lost to automation so I do see how one day our bodies would be irrelevant.
This technology could be good for drug addicts, alcoholics or people with mental disabilities. I guess we already try to do this on a smaller level through medication that increases the "normalness" of their brains.
Religion counters many scientific advancements. Luckily, we can play Darwin, (quite a nifty pun I thought...) and actually use techniques such as amniocentesis to discover whether a foetus will have a debilitating disability such as Down's Syndrome. If we applied our natural selection to this, then we could potentially eliminate the faulty genes. Of course it is ethically questionable, which is the crux of the matter:
Do we follow our morals, or follow our rationality?
Glad you brought that up. I struggled with this during both of my pregnancies. I was too far along when I found out I was pregnant with my first so have the amniocentesis done, so I didn't really have to evaluate this very thoroughly the first time around.
But the 2nd time around I found out soon enough to have the test done. I really struggled with the decisions. My morals, rationality, and emotions all clashed entirely. I had conflicting morals and emotions and I could not rationalize one argument more than the other.
I don't like the risk of the test, I don't like the procedure itself (I'm squeamish) and I can't foresee myself ending my own pregnancy due to a test result. I understood the risks, my own selfishness, and I rolled the dice. I refused the test. It turned out okay, but it was not a decision I took lightly.
At the end of the day I just could not do it. I don't think my decision was right or wrong, but my point is that I could not play Darwin. I struggle with the idea of anyone doing it, but I respect the rights of others to do it if they please.
I would go as far as to say that we should follow our rationality to a large respect. As somebody who is partially disabled myself, through my shitty eyes(!), I would rather have existed than not existed. Obviously, what I have done with my life is music, and some of the greatest composers had debilitating illnesses- particularly Beethoven who was actually deaf near the end of his life. I write music, which some people think is good.
But if someone in a laboratory had analysed my DNA, and realised that I was going to develop Keratoconus, would my entire being have been destroyed?
That was part of my problem. I was unable to remove person hood from my fetus. I was already too attached to her, before I ever even knew her. I knew it was not rational and that I should have valued the potential quality of life over life itself but I could not.
It is a very difficult question to ask ourselves. Of course, logically, those born with such serious mental disabilities that the quality of life for both them and their parents, should, in my view, be spared the suffering. But for minuscule things like eye problems (which are solvable by technology- specifically stem cell research), they should be considered carefully. Because it is not worth destroying a potential life purely for the perfect of creating the perfect human being.
It is indeed difficult. It reminds of me what HAL used to always ask in our abortion debates. "Where do you draw the arbitrary line?"
I tried numerous times to define that while debating him and I never could. I still can't. And the question applies here too since we are talking about medical abortion after all.
At what point do we determine the quality of life of the fetus would be worthy of abortion? How do we know what the child would be able to overcome, or what medical advances will increase the quality of life? Likewise how do we find the income to pay for the medical needs? How do we explain to them why they aren't different? How do we pretend that other people won't snicker behind the child's back? Etc Etc Etc....
Sure we can answer some questions, and come to a general consensus in most scenarios based on current technology and by looking at others living in similar situations. But we can never really know, as good as technology is it can't predict the future... yet.
Because of course, that timeless question comes into play.
If everyone is perfect, then what makes somebody an individual? Is it right for us to design children? I believe in abortion personally, as it can be a very good thing. But culling Human lives for the sake of genetic perfection... That is more of a grey area.
I think individuality is more chemical and experience related than physical. If we alter the DNA to make a perfect human does that mean that they won't have unique thoughts, ideas, and emotions? I guess technically we could alter DNA enough to remove the need for emotions and unique thoughts. I guess we could essentially create the human Borg. I can't really wrap my head around how that would work though....
Unless we were able to control every persons environment and interactions I don't think you can remove individuality... IDK I could be wrong...