"In the future sex will be for recreation; procreation will be for science."

Perhaps not a word-for-word quote but that was certainly the meaning of the line.

It was spoken, with enthusiasm, by one of the genetic researchers in this excellent, if worrying, BBC Storyville documentary: the gene revolution changing human nature.

I now know what CRISPR means, where it comes from, how it works, what its applications might be, and what the moral implications are.

Given I had attended my mother's funeral earlier that day during which the subject of her seven year losing battle with Alzheimer's was a major theme, it made sobering, yet hopeful viewing.
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  • The Heavenly hosts felt this would get a better airing in Purgatory. Which is where it should be now.

    Doc Tor
    SoF admin
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    That program / programme is available only to UK users (learned only AFTER spending precious time struggling to create an acceptable password to register).
  • One can only hope that science gives us permanent cures for stds first.

    AFF
  • I got an itch to scratch over this.

    My impression Colin is that we don't know as much about ourselves as we think we do. Call me a luddite, and I'll call you next Tuesday [insert Groucho Marx gif].

    I also have a moral objection rooted in my faith, but I would prefer to argue the secular case against this stuff because I'm not an evangelist.
  • You (likely) have no idea just how "recreational" it could get. It has the chance to turn into pure entertainment.

    Have you seen the deepfake videos that have started come out? There are plenty that are safe for work; Obama seemingly giving a Trump speak, Trumps face on a woman's body. They are getting increasingly harder to tell apart from real footage.

    Even now all you need is $100 and to be facebook friends with someone who has at 50, maybe fewer photos of themselves and you can be the owner of a pornographic video featuring that person.

    Take that technology which will keep developing, add Virtual Reality, and tec clothing that can stimulate sensations on your body and it's going to take a whole lot of people out of the gene pool in a surprisingly short time.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited February 8
    Take that technology which will keep developing, add Virtual Reality, and tec clothing that can stimulate sensations on your body and it's going to take a whole lot of people out of the gene pool in a surprisingly short time.

    Sounds like non-fatal Darwin Award recipients.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    The Heavenly hosts felt this would get a better airing in Purgatory. Which is where it should be now.

    Doc Tor
    SoF admin

    Thank you. I wasn't sure where it should go.
  • Ohher wrote: »
    That program / programme is available only to UK users (learned only AFTER spending precious time struggling to create an acceptable password to register).

    Ah. Sorry about that.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    I got an itch to scratch over this.

    My impression Colin is that we don't know as much about ourselves as we think we do. Call me a luddite, and I'll call you next Tuesday [insert Groucho Marx gif].

    I also have a moral objection rooted in my faith, but I would prefer to argue the secular case against this stuff because I'm not an evangelist.

    My sole moral objection is that I don't approve of parents having too much control over their children and choosing the physical attributes of your child is a step too far. However, eliminating known health risks in your child, such as a propensity to get Alzheimer's is a positive thing.

    At a pragmatic level, if we were to engineer people to be faster, taller, whatever, then we just establish a new norm which seems a bit pointless.
  • Gattica is relevant I think.
  • GattAca. The title is comprised of the letters of the DNA bases (no I).
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Sadly, the sequel CUAAUGU didn't do nearly as well at the box office.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    "In the future sex will be for recreation; procreation will be for science."

    and..."Take that technology which will keep developing, add Virtual Reality, and tec clothing that can stimulate sensations on your body and it's going to take a whole lot of people out of the gene pool in a surprisingly short time."

    Shades of Brave New World.
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Despite how trite it might sound, I'm sorry for your loss, Colin. You will feel many things over the coming days and weeks and months and around you life will go on irritatingly as normal. 'Tis nine years and ONE DAY since my own dear father died so this stuff is on my mind...

    WRT to the more substantive point, obviously I'm not going to be able to see the clip either, being in the antipodes. As far as 'eliminating known health risks in your child' goes - well, it depends how far it goes, doesn't it? I have epilepsy, and am...uncomfortably aware that a potential parent making purely rational decisions might look to spare themselves that, if at all possible. Whereas I'm happy to have had the opportunity to live, even if my ideal would in fact be to live without this malady. I'll take what I can get. I'm also very grateful for the medication. But that's from the inside, isn't it? Another example, from the outside - I'm peripherally acquainted with a young woman of 20, who has just lost her mother to breast cancer. Interestingly - although not all of them have died - every single one of her female relatives on her mother's side of the family have been diagnosed with breast cancer. If I was this young woman (in addition to seeking to have my boobs prophylactically lopped off), I would want to ensure that if I had any children, they were boys. I understand this technology is available (I believe semen can be screened in some way to alter the male/female ratio to give about a 95% chance of your chosen gender? It must work relatively well, because India went to the trouble of banning it a couple of years ago). I sit here at my computer and say, if I was her, I would do this, and I would want this, but if I was actually her, I might feel quite differently about the situation. And therein lies the problem with your scientist's predictions, I think. They are made from the outside.
  • Men can get breast cancer too.
  • I caught the documentary on BBC4 while away on business, so I admit it was on while I was processing data and hence not given my full attention.

    There was a fair bit of speculation about where technology could go, but what caught my attention was the more immediate potential applications. There was a large section about screening for known genetic traits that can result in inherited medical conditions, so that parents could know whether they carry these genes, and then if they chose IVF the possibility of screening embryos to remove those which carry the deleterious genes.

    Towards the end of the programme there was also a discussion of sickle cells, where one copy of the gene creates minor difficulties but creates a significant resistance to malaria but two copies results in a significant medical condition. Being a single gene, it's a simple target for both identification and CRISPR, so exactly the sort of genetic "correction" currently achievable. This is a good example of potential for these "faulty genes" to have a positive benefit - we know what that is for sickle cell, but the persistence of "faulty genes" in the population means they're likely to have some unknown benefit. They also interviewed a young man with sickle cell anemia, asking him whether he would value a means to eliminate the gene, whether he would use that technology to prevent him passing on the condition to his children ... and he was clear he wouldn't, because this was part of who he was and living with sickle cell was part of what had made him the man he was.
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Men can get breast cancer too.
    Sigh. I am aware of this. But I know, as do you, that their risk of developing such is very much lower than for women. I imagine everyone else reading the thread is acquainted with these two facts also.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    I've been under the impression that sex's primary value in the culture in which I've been swimming for the past 3/4 of a century already IS recreational, or at least a form of entertainment. As the MeToo movement has made distressingly clear, legitimate questions can be raised about recreational / entertaining for whom? And for whom is non-reproductive sex something else altogether?
  • nailed it
  • Broadly speaking, there are four aspects of sex, which (in no particular order, and recognising that these are often mixed up) are:

    1. Procreation. Part of what the programme presented was that this is becoming more artificial - with increasing IVF, genetic screening of both partners and embryos etc.

    2. A means of bonding within relationships

    3. Pure recreation - it's fun and enjoyable

    4. An exercise of power of one person over another.

    I'd say that it goes without saying that 4 is a big problem which is abhorrent and should never be acceptable. But, I don't see any reason why recreational sex needs to also be an exercise of power. Recreational sex could be part of bonding within a relationship, but again doesn't need to be (whether or not you consider pure recreational sex without power imbalance or a relationship is a good thing is probably a different discussion entirely). I can't see how relationship bonding wouldn't include recreation, and also the act of trying for a baby is also something that should help a couple bond - though, again isn't necessary as part of that relationship bonding.
  • I think there is also an element of fantasy in sex. People get into 5all kinds of em
  • Sorry, people get into all kinds of emotional positions and fantasy scenarios. For example, fantasies of being overpowered, or overpowering, seem quite common. After all, we start to trawl strange areas of the unconscious, during sex, and there seems little point in censoring them, as they will bite your bum, or wherever you want to be bitten. I suppose this fits into the wider issues of losing control during sex, which seems pretty crucial. This reminds me of the old joke in therapy, how can I be more spontaneous?
  • For those abroad who can't watch BBC programmes, this article covers the subject pretty well https://www.sciencefocus.com/future-technology/the-genetic-revolution/
  • Ohher wrote: »
    I've been under the impression that sex's primary value in the culture in which I've been swimming for the past 3/4 of a century already IS recreational, or at least a form of entertainment. As the MeToo movement has made distressingly clear, legitimate questions can be raised about recreational / entertaining for whom? And for whom is non-reproductive sex something else altogether?

    Pretty much what I was going to say. There are very confident people and there are the more vulnerable. It's not rocket science to realise that a combination of both would not make for happy relationships. I, for one, am glad I lived in an age where the pressure to form instant physical relationships was not so strong and we were free to take our time to make deep friendships first.

    I'm thinking of watching 'Chewing Gum' which I gather explores this change in attitudes (not least among Christians), because I want to try to understand current attitudes. I cannot believe it will lead to 'happy ever after' and not just because it wouldn't make good television!
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