1. Stock (Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future) argues for maximum
eugenics, and does not agree with the “slippery slope” concept in that he believes such a
phenomena is inevitable.Advocates absolute reproductive freedom
a. “No-one really has the guts to say it, but if we could make better human beings by
knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we?” – Watson
b. Kitcher’s seemingly across the board rejection of genetic enhancement, and the
freedom of perspective parents to make totally free choices, is both unrealistic
i. Maximalist eugenics (decisions in favor of whatever traits) will be the
inevitable, unstoppable, necessary results of advancements in genetic
technology, the manipulation of genetic eggs or sperm to redesign human
1. Having this be an ethical issue is beside the point, because he
argues it will happen regardless (although he does present a moral
2. Technological advancements in human history have often not been
ignored and further advancements inevitable, despite fears of
exploitation and liberal use. The exploitation of technology is
unstoppable, and once it’s in play, it has a life of its own
a. E.G. As germline technology increases, it will eventually
raise a separation between the “enhanced” and the
ii. However, there are many examples of technology that have limited its use.
1. E.G. the atomic bomb. Right after WW2, there became a powerful
effort to ban the bomb. This restriction has been built into
2. E.G. Abortions were an available technology, and was seen as
immoral. They have been restricted by law (another example of
law catering to the morality of the public.)
c. Sees science, technology, and engineering as providing unlimited possibilities for
the future of the human race, where all problems are understood scientifically.
d. Arguments against Kitcher:
i. Kitcher limits responsible eugenics decision making to therapeutic causes
only. However, genetic engineering can overcome things like aging, and is
both an enhancement and therapeutic. The distinction breaks down at a
point as genetic technology advances. 1. E.G. Aging and mortality can be envisaged so that genetic
engineering can extend human life by discovering the DNAand
genetic basis of mortality. Most of the diseases that kill people are
those of old age, such as stroke, heart attack, and cancer.
ii. If quality of life is the main standard of eugenic decisions and future
genetic modifications, any genetic modification which enhances the
person’s heath will probably also enhance the person’s quality of life. Why
limit genetic modifications to only the worst genetic and neurological
iii. We are not presupposing particular biases of eugenics if we support
reasonable eugenic decisions to cure illnesses and diseases.
e. This is not the most extreme form of eugenic decisions, because up to this point,
health and avoiding the whole range of illnesses and diseases is the criterion for
eugenic decision making. This completely ignores genetic modifications for
enhancement of human characteristics, such as health, intelligence, skin color,
height, etc. There are many arguments between Kitcher and Stock.
f. What about genetic enhancements to physical characteristics of humans,
especially those who want to essentially “downgrade”?
i. E.G. Acouple wants a baby who has Taysach’s disease. Many would claim
that this is unfair to the child. However, people like Harriet Johnson would
respond by example, and say they are living a fine life, and would claim
that these people are responding to their own bias’s and fears.Aserious
neurological disease, as Kitcher would argue, would seriously degrade
quality of life. Will a doctor honor the couple’s reproductive freedom and
allow this baby to be born?
g. Kicher would argue that choosing for a baby with no hearing is permissible
because it has no notable effect on quality of life, in that it does not affect mental
capacity such as self-awareness.
h. Stock embraces a total Laissez-Faire eugenics without any ethical frameworks
such as Kitcher’s. Parental autonomy and freedom is a powerful value, and
though they might make genetic modification choices, and might be controversial,
they should not be illegal and criticized by doctors or physicians.
i. E.G. Acouple may favor a baby that is hearing-impaired and reject those
that have normal hearing.
ii. You do not want to block reproductive choice by law or policy, as this
essentially represses certain groups of people.
i. We should not fear parental autonomy and freedom, as infamous events such as
Nazi Germany was caused by government influence and repression. The coming opportunities far outweigh the risks, if we have a free-market environment with
individual choice. However, eugenic decisions must involve knowledge and
information, as Kitcher would argue with enlightened eugenic decision making.
2. Stock worries that the advance of germinal technologies will isolate us from one another,
and we may see each other as “inherently different” due to genetic differences via
modification, and may not be able to hold an equal respect for each other.
a. Stock believes that this is a non-issue
3. Kitcher would say that total reproductive freedom and parental autonomy goes too far, if
people choose a baby with a serious neurogenetic disease just to make a statement about
their community, because it would be unfair to the life of the baby. It would be morally
4. Johnson is a disability activist who is interested in gaining recognition and respect for
people with disabilities, where disabilities, not merits, become an overwhelming factor.
i. “If I had to live like you, I would kill myself.”
b. Johnson claims to enjoy her life, but others can’t seem to believe it as people
seem to stereotype people with disabilities as “cripples.” What happens when they
see me as just a cripple?
i. People keep a distance, and others with disabilities become threatening to
one’s own sense of normalcy. They alienate themselves from those like
Johnson as a method of self-protection.
c. Often, people ignore the fact that people have