Human Exceptionalism

The Flip Side of Transhumanism

The social forces set in motion by those who believe it is proper to manipulate the genetic traits of our children, are becoming increasingly apparent. Now, as reported in a column by Dr. Darshak M. Sanghavi in the New York Times, some people with disabilities are pre-selecting their offspring to exhibit disabilities. A recent survey of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis found that 3% of prospective parents pre-selected their embryos to have a specific genetically-caused disability.

Exhibiting the truly harmful terminal nonjudgmentalism of our age, the writer of this column, a doctor who treats fetuses with developmental difficulties, finds this just peachy keen: “[A]s a physician who helps women dealing with complex fetal diseases, I’ve learned to respect a family’s judgment. Many parents share a touching faith that having children similar to them will strengthen family and social bonds.

“Of course, part of me wonders whether speaking the same language or being the same height guarantees closer families. But it’s not for me to say. In the end, our energy is better spent advocating for a society where those factors won’t matter.”

What a cop out. The latter desire, which we all share I hope, is incompatible with the “it’s not for me to say” mentality. Regardless of legality, the presumption of the right to select progeny for specific traits–whether to enhance capacities or select for a disability–reflects a truly alarming trend, and we need to say so clearly. It reduces procreation to an act of mere shopping and doctors to mere order taking technicians. This obsession with control isn’t healthy for our children or our culture.


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