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Old 01-29-2007, 12:25 PM   #1
Dagobahn Eagle
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Question Genetically modified cats re-visited

While browsing through the old threads of the forum, which I do quite often, I stumbled across this thread, which first discusses genetic manipulation of cats making them unable to cause allergies. The debate then moves on to challenge genetic manipulation in general.

Now, the discussion sports an exceptional amount of fallacies from the opponents of genetic manipulation, which made it, frankly, a pretty fatiguing read. The ones I could find were:
  • Appeal to tradition.
  • The Hitler card ("[d]idn't Hitler try to create the perfect race before?").
  • Pseudo-science (pretty literally "genetic manipulation is unpredictable and leads to monstrosities, 'cause that's the way it was in that Hollywood movie").
  • Religion used as argument ("we should not 'mess with' God's creation).
  • Slippery slope.
  • The argument that genetic manipulation is "pointless", despite from the fact that it's brought about cats people can't be allergic to.
Evidently, genetic manipulation had not had time to be critically considered by these people, as their arguments are typical "fear of new things mode".

Well, the reason I'm starting this thread is that the one I linked to is from back in 2004, and I'm curious to know if you guys have differing opinions.

Personally, I fully support genetic manipulation of animals that leads to advances such as allergic people being able to be around them. It'll better the lives of so many people, and really, as demonstrated by the fallacy list above, the arguments against simply do not hold water. If regular breeding is OK, so is genetic manipulation. It's really that simple.


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Old 01-29-2007, 02:27 PM   #2
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If someone can genetically modify a cat to make them do adorable things more often, I'm all for it.




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Old 01-29-2007, 02:40 PM   #3
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This may come as a shock to some, but I'm not opposed to eugenics.

Mankind (and animals to a lesser extent) has practiced its own form of "natural (instinctive) eugenics" for as long as it's been around. It's called selective breeding. Think of the physical and personality traits that you look for in a potential mate and you'll discover that that's exactly what you're doing.

It should be practiced responsibly and within reason, of course, with no breeding of "supermen" to rule over the genetically inferior. I've read too many SciFi novels and seen too many movies that deal with this scenario (KHAAAAAAN!!! ).


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Old 01-30-2007, 10:08 PM   #4
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I say go for it (for people), as long as there are sufficient restrictions in place that prohibit crap like changing eye color or whatever. If it's legitimately medical, then good. If it's not, the parents would be exceeding their authority. There was a funny article on /. about people thinking of modifying the "gay" genes in their kids so they'd be godfearing straight people. LOL!

As for the cats, I really don't see any reason not to, as long as the manipulation doesn't cause harm to the kitty.


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Old 01-31-2007, 07:46 AM   #5
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It can go a long way, methinks, as long as it's medical only. Fetuses can already undergo surgery while in the womb if they get ill or develop other kinds of problems, genetic treatment of issues is no different in my eyes.

Quote:
There was a funny article on /. about people thinking of modifying the "gay" genes in their kids so they'd be God-fearing straight people.
Obviously there are going to be such suggestions, from "make my kid tall" and "give him black hair" to "alter his genes towards an atheistic leaning" or "for G_d's sake, erase that fag gene". We'll see where it leads.

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Old 01-31-2007, 04:09 PM   #6
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Much will obviously depend on who's in control when such technologies become more practical on a scale of mass econmy. I'm sure the "fags" aren't the only group with something to worry about. No doubt the fat gene, pick-a-disability gene, racial gene, temperment gene, etc.....will all be fair game. Hell, the "athiest gene" will be as at risk as the "religious gene". Perhaps I'm too cynical, but eugenics programs are inevitable in the future should these techniques become reasonably perfectable. Just as the atom can be used for peaceful energy as well as war, genetic manipulation will hit the crossroads of cure and control.
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:00 PM   #7
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I think the argument against changing things non-medical is that to do so you have to make a decision that is clearly not yours to make. For instance, in an abortion there is no eventuality that leads to an adult, thus it's supposedly OK. The difference being that in this genetic manipulation the child is ALWAYS meant to live, so doing anything cosmetic to it (even while it's young enough to abort) is unethical, seeing as how it would have to live with the changes you so kindly chose.

It's the same kind of thing as slicing an arm off while the baby is < 6wks because you like the look better and then bringing it to term. IDK about you guys but that seems rather unethical to me, regardless of whether you think the baby was a "person" at the time of the slicing. I don't think such subtle distinctions would matter much to the dude with one arm.

Something interesting I noticed about about altering the gay gene is that its supporters must actually acknowledge that there IS a gay gene... Heh.


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Old 01-31-2007, 05:47 PM   #8
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Something interesting I noticed about about altering the gay gene is that its supporters must actually acknowledge that there IS a gay gene... Heh.
The first thing that struck me was indeed "is there a homosexuality gene?"

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Old 01-31-2007, 05:49 PM   #9
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I'm all for any kind of scientific advancement. Genetic research can do a lot of good, in my opinion and it can also help advance some other ventures, like cloning. The reasons for opposing this kind of science that I hate the most are ''tradition'' and ''religion''.
Religion, tradition and law once dictated that anyone whose skin isn't white is only fit for a slave. That changed and I think the world is a better place now, without slavery (or at least with slavery being illegal). Scientists would be fools to allow things like tradition, which has changed considerably throughout history, to hinder the progress of science. That's why I wholeheartedly support every single scientific research that can lead to the improvement of mankind and of our lives.

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Old 01-31-2007, 06:40 PM   #10
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The reasons for opposing this kind of science that I hate the most are ''tradition'' and ''religion''.
Thank you.

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Old 01-31-2007, 10:34 PM   #11
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Keep in mind, Igyman, that almost all scientific advances are strictly amoral. It's how they are applied that demonstrates any morality on the part of the user. Human beings will always find a way to use technology for their own agendas. Genetic manipulation is no different. Scientific progress should proceed with a healthy cost benefit analysis approach.

BTW, slavery is still alive and well in places like Africa and the muslim world. Seems nonwhites are still enslaving nonwhites. Also, as far as the whole gay gene thing goes, the irony would be that if there is in fact a gay gene, that is exactly what many people will want to expunge from future children. So a gay gene could theoretically lead to fewer or no homosexuals. Once again, much depends on who would control such advances in science and technology in the future.
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Old 01-31-2007, 11:23 PM   #12
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Slavery is still alive and well in nearly every country in the world. It may not be legal, but it exists nevertheless.



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Old 02-01-2007, 11:42 AM   #13
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But what if they make super-intelligent cats?



Oh, yeah serious discussion...

Well I am for it, but I do think it could be easily be misused. And anyone who wants to misuse it doesn't even have to come up with their own idea as to how. They have all been done in fiction. So I am for GM (but not of food) but with strict regulations.






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Old 02-01-2007, 08:00 PM   #14
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Firstly, anyone who is opposed to the genetic modification of pets on moral grounds, must also be opposed to selective breeding of pedigree pets... otherwise they're simply being hypocritical.

I'm opposed to both. Not in principle, of course, but because the use such techniques are routinely put to (and will be put to in the future) are clearly harmful and immoral.

Through selective breeding for arbitrary, idiotic purposes, we have produced dogs that are selected for their facial disfigurement, to such an extent that they cannot be born without human intervention. To such an extent that they cannot adequately breathe.

We have produced cats prone to blindness, simply to gratify our desire for a certain eye-colour.

We have produced tiny toy dogs, lapdogs, who have short life-spans, erratic temperaments and fragile bone structures.

And now, we are attempting to produce a cat which people may not be as allergic to. Whoop-te-do. Exactly what does this do for cat-kind? Many cats are thrown out and live ferally throughout the western world. What chance would normal stray cats have to be adopted by families, when GM anti-allergy cats are brought into the mix?

In addition, how many failed experiments were there, along the way, how many cats born with genetic flaws resulting in congenital defects? It would be interesting to find out how many creatures they had to euthanise during their wondrous search for the better... better housecat.

Nope, I have nothing against the exercise in principle. But this usage it's been put to (and probably ALL uses we humans will put the science to in the future) is futile, self-aggrandising and immoral.

Now, beep me when they've created a genetically modified human baby that is incapable of being allergic to cats. Then I'll join the parade, thank you very much.


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Old 02-02-2007, 09:09 AM   #15
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Nope, I have nothing against the exercise in principle. But this usage it's been put to (and probably ALL uses we humans will put the science to in the future) is futile, self-aggrandising and immoral.
True. The breeding industry is one cold business.

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Old 02-02-2007, 01:45 PM   #16
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The 'gay' gene--I've not researched that one in any kind of detail, but I know there's evidence both for/against. I think the jury's still out, however.

Selective breeding is a form of genetic manipulation--genetic manipulation just allows us to narrow it down to a specific gene.

We need to do years' worth more research on humans before we start messing with our genetic structure, however. For instance, it would seem to be desirable to get rid of sickle cell anemia by getting rid of the gene that causes it. However, being a carrier of the sickle cell gene on just one of the pair of chromosomes doesn't cause the disease (sickle cell disease is autosomal recessive, meaning you have to have the bad gene on both of that pair of chromosomes to get the disease), but being a carrier does give some protection against malaria. We'd have to be very careful that we're not getting rid of some incidental benefits that might come with being a carrier of a bad gene. I don't think you'll get too much argument for getting rid of the bad genes that cause Tay-Sachs or breast cancer, however.
We'd have to be very careful to set up some ethics standards, but there'll still be those who will find and pay someone unscrupulous enough to mess with genes for non-medical purposes.


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Old 02-03-2007, 05:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142
Slavery is still alive and well in nearly every country in the world. It may not be legal, but it exists nevertheless.
Know it, said it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Keep in mind, Igyman, that almost all scientific advances are strictly amoral. It's how they are applied that demonstrates any morality on the part of the user. Human beings will always find a way to use technology for their own agendas. Genetic manipulation is no different. Scientific progress should proceed with a healthy cost benefit analysis approach.
Couldn't agree more. I'm just saying that science should not back down to people who shout ''Religion'', ''Tradition'', or ''Don't play God'', because those are the reasons of people who are afraid of new things, afraid of change. Even if it's for the better.

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Old 02-03-2007, 09:29 PM   #18
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@jmac-I'd agree that slavery is illegally alive and well probably everywhere.
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Old 02-04-2007, 10:43 AM   #19
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Actually Tot, it rather depends on your definition of slavery.

While the word itself is taboo, effective slavery in the classical sense (unwilling service for little or no pay) is deemed to be legal by many governments worldwide. Not merely in war-torn African nations, either. For instance, in Israel, hundreds of Palestinian children are arbitrarily imprisoned in Israeli adult prisons and are used for forced labour (between beatings and interrogations) each year.

So while such atrocities are indeed against true, applicable law (international law) local governments often deem them to be perfectly acceptable. Yet another example of why international legal standards are necessary for moral governance.

Every nation in the world may declare itself to be opposed to "slavery", but it's astonishing how many practice it institutionally under different names.


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Old 02-04-2007, 06:02 PM   #20
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Ah...yes. So, by an expanded definition, children can be considered slaves or indentured servants b/c they have to perform chores for their parents (at no cost or below "market value", ie paltry allowances). And then there's the prison populations. I suppose the government should have to pay them a union wage to stamp license plates or do other prisoners' laundry, etc... And God forbid anyone on the dole should have to do anyting in return for their "stipend" (just the thought sends some people into fits of apoplexy). well, no one guaranteed that life would be fair....
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:33 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Ah...yes. So, by an expanded definition, children can be considered slaves or indentured servants b/c they have to perform chores for their parents (at no cost or below "market value", ie paltry allowances).
Hahahah... you'd have to "expand" that definition to quite a ludicrous level to include your folks making you do the washing up, Tot.

But certainly, some parents force their children to do horrible things that do constitute slavery, all over the world. This is not up for debate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
And then there's the prison populations. I suppose the government should have to pay them a union wage to stamp license plates or do other prisoners' laundry, etc...
Prisoners routinely get paid a certain wage for the laundry and other menial work they do, Tot. The fact that they don't receive a higher wage doesn't constitute slavery, because it can be regarded as forfeiture of pay due to their conviction in a state-sanctioned court of law. However, if a prison work-gang was ever used for genuinely damaging labour, as in the old days, this might well constitute slavery of a sort. You know the kind of thing, breaking rocks, digging in mines, etcetera.

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And God forbid anyone on the dole should have to do anyting in return for their "stipend" (just the thought sends some people into fits of apoplexy). well, no one guaranteed that life would be fair....
In the UK, Tot, people do have to do something to receive unemployment pay. They have to produce evidence that they've been actively seeking work to a reasonable degree, and that they have pursued employers and have accepted any and all job-offers that have come their way. As far as I've been able to find out, this is similar to the US system.

But frankly, all your points (though rebutted by me) were all irrelevant, and did nothing to counter my original point, which is frankly uncontestable. That slavery is alive and well all over the world, is governmentally sanctioned in many places, and is therefore legal in those places, regardless of the more... palatable name assigned to it by those governments.


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Old 02-04-2007, 10:30 PM   #22
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Well, you seem to have understood that the first part was a joke. Still you slip back into your didactic arrogance in assuming that others don't know as much as you think you do. The fact is, depending on how one defines anything, you'll find it whereever you want. Perfect example, chain gangs are somehow considered a form of slavery by you, but "light" forced labor is merely acceptable. Trying to have your cake and eat it too? The type of work isn't what constitutes "slavery", but rather the situation one finds oneself in (forced labor, with no real ability to opt out). One more onerous to be sure, but both forms of forced servitude.

Unemployment is one type of assistance. Welfare, at least over here, is different. Either way, it's government assistance with no real return to society. Many have stated that expecting people to have to perform any kind of service in exchange for this support to be tantamount to slavery.

Once again, though, as I didn't actually challenge your contention about "legitimate" slavery, you actually refuted nothing and reduced nothing to irrelevancy. However, as the only form of actively state sanctioned "slavery" you contend is prison related, it does relate to my intial point about how you define slavery explains where you will see it.
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Old 02-05-2007, 01:02 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
The fact is, depending on how one defines anything, you'll find it whereever you want. Perfect example, chain gangs are somehow considered a form of slavery by you, but "light" forced labor is merely acceptable. Trying to have your cake and eat it too?
Are you seriously trying to suggest that your parents telling you to go and do the washing up is "forced labour"? If they threatened you with a beating if you didn't comply, it might well be forced labour, but that is hardly standard nor excusable parental practice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
The type of work isn't what constitutes "slavery", but rather the situation one finds oneself in (forced labor, with no real ability to opt out). One more onerous to be sure, but both forms of forced servitude.
You missed the point, the point was that mild menial work in prisons can be regarded as part-payment of the prisoner's debt to society, and the low wages can likewise be regarded as forfeiture of monies as part-payment of the prisoner's debt to society.

But physically debilitating or dangerous work is in clear violation of penal policy (and moral scruples) regarding welfare of prisoners, so it can not be so charitably regarded. It cannot be regarded as payment of a debt to society, any more than regular beatings of prisoners could be so regarded. Thus it falls under the definition of slavery, because it is unfree labour that cannot be excused as being part of a legitimate prison sentence. End of story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Unemployment is one type of assistance. Welfare, at least over here, is different. Either way, it's government assistance with no real return to society. Many have stated that expecting people to have to perform any kind of service in exchange for this support to be tantamount to slavery.
First of all you initially referred to "the dole" which is contemporary slang for "unemployment benefit" and always has been since WWI, when it was first coined in the UK. So my response was apt, and you seem confused.

As for your assertion that it's assistance with "no real return to society", what nonsense. The "return to society" is the effort to get back into gainful employment, thus powering the society with one's labour and taxes. As you assist society through your work, so society assists you when you are unable to work, until you are once again working. Common sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Once again, though, as I didn't actually challenge your contention about "legitimate" slavery, you actually refuted nothing and reduced nothing to irrelevancy. However, as the only form of actively state sanctioned "slavery" you contend is prison related, it does relate to my intial point about how you define slavery explains where you will see it.
Yeah, I refuted your points, and have done so again. If you want to wallow in denial, it's your problem.

As for your implication that calling state-sanctioned child-slavery in Israeli prisons by its true name (slavery) is in some way manipulating the definition of slavery... rubbish. It's not my definition or your definition, it's the basic definition.


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Old 02-15-2007, 09:15 AM   #24
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In the UK, Tot, people do have to do something to receive unemployment pay. They have to produce evidence that they've been actively seeking work to a reasonable degree, and that they have pursued employers and have accepted any and all job-offers that have come their way. As far as I've been able to find out, this is similar to the US system.
They do have to do something along that line and have to report in periodically to let the unemployment office know what's going on.

What do people on welfare in the UK, other countries, and the rest of the US have to do? IN Wisconsin, they developed a program nicknamed 'Workfare', where those who are receiving state assistance have to be in a job or looking for a job after a certain period of time in order to continue to receive benefits, and I believe there's a time limit to benefits. In Illinois, I believe there is no time limit, and I'm not sure if there's a work requirement as part of the program or not. Food stamps and medical care are separate programs from this.

I could find some contrived way to bring this back to the original topic, but I'm too tired this morning to be that creative.


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Old 02-17-2007, 01:04 PM   #25
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Unforunately, al, I didn't misunderstand anything. If I'm wallowing in some form of denial, then I know I'm not alone b/c you're right there with me. You are very obviously trying to have it both ways. If one can regard menial work as a form of restitution, then the same can be said for breaking rocks. I don't know about your country, but over here unemployment and welfare are two different systems with different requirements. Frankly, "the dole" only ensures that MAYBE you won't be out robbing people while you look for new work. Not much of a benefit, since you can do that to people while working as well.
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Old 02-18-2007, 07:15 PM   #26
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Unforunately, al, I didn't misunderstand anything.
Well you did miss the point Tot, and you've missed it again. Intentionally or unintentionally... it doesn't matter which. Specifically:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
If one can regard menial work as a form of restitution, then the same can be said for breaking rocks.
It would depend on whether the rock-breaking was such hard labour as to be physically debilitating, Tot. It was certainly back-breaking labour in the old days. Conditions were so harsh that it could legitimately be called a form of morally reprehensible slavery.

As I stated before, one cannot impose physically damaging tasks or workloads onto a prison population, and then excuse it as "part-payment of their debt to society". But innocuous tasks such as stamping license plates or doing laundry are- of course- totally different. Especially since prisoners also routinely receive a small wage for performing these tasks. And your attempts to equate old fashioned chain-gangery with modern prison work... are crass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
I don't know about your country, but over here unemployment and welfare are two different systems with different requirements.
lol, Tot, YOU were the one who appeared to be confusing the two terms, not I. You comment is therefore irrelevant to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Frankly, "the dole" only ensures that MAYBE you won't be out robbing people while you look for new work. Not much of a benefit, since you can do that to people while working as well.
... Oh dear, what is this supposed to imply? That there is some association between people on unemployment benefit and "going out robbing people"?

What possible relevance does this have to ANYTHING? Utterly ludicrous, to be frank.


[FW] Spider AL
--
Hewwo, meesa Jar-Jar Binks. Yeah. Excusing me, but me needs to go bust meesa head in with dissa claw-hammer, because yousa have stripped away meesa will to living.
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