Ethics Committee: Designer Babies

Pre-Discussion Reading Questions

Due BEFORE Friday’s class

  1. Sandel argues that even if we “let the market decide,” there’s something morally objectionable to genetic enhancement. We will undermine three important moral values: Humility, responsibility, and solidarity.
  2. Pick 2 of the 3 values and in a paragraph for each one, in your own words, summarize his argument for how genetic enhancement will damage it.

Discussion Questions

Basic Comprehension

  1. What is the Principle of Parental Beneficence (PPB)?
    1. Do you agree that there is a duty to follow the PPB ? Justify your answer.
    2. Do parents have a duty to genetically enhance their children in a way that will predictably enhance that child’s well-being? Justify your answer.
  2. Both Veit (Procreative Beneficence and Genetic Enhancement) and Sandel argue that the Freedom/Autonomy objection doesn’t work against genetic enhancement.
    1. In your own words, reconstruct the Freedom/Autonomy objection.
    2. Explain why Veit doesn’t think it’s successful.
  3. In the movie Gattaca, what seem to be their main arguments against a world with genetic enhancement? I picked out 2 main ones, one which appears in Veit (not endorsed by Veit) and the other which appears in Sandel (but is not endorsed by Sandel). If you found others, list them as well.
  4. “Openness to the unbidden” plays an important role in Sandel’s arguments for what we lose with genetic enhancement.
    1. What does this this phrase mean?
    2. What are the 3 things Sandel would argue that we lose in a Gattaca-type world? Give the argument for any two of the three.
  5. Suppose we live in a Gattaca-like world. Congress has made a national search for the best bioethicists in the country. They discover that you and your committee studied with bioethics guru Ami Palmer (praise be upon him). You are tasked with writing the national policy on genetic enhancement. You MUST reach a consensus on your policies and on the reasons for the policies.
    1. Would you allow any genetic enhancement or would you wield your ban hammer? Justify your answer.
    2. What enhancements or kinds of enhancements would you allow?Justify your answer.
    3. What enhancements would you never allow? Justify your answer.
    4. Explain why you would allow some but not other kinds of enhancements? Or, if you would allow all, explain why you would not impose any restrictions?