Co-blogger Nita Farahany takes issue with “many parts” of my post defending the morality of designer babies against claims that they would lead to unjust inequality. I always welcome a good debate. But, in this case, virtually all of the things she “takes issue” with are not actually things I said in my post.
First, and most obviously, I did not “seeming[ly]…endorse… state control of reproduction.” To the contrary, the whole point of my post was to argue against people who do favor such control on the grounds that restriction of designer babies is needed to prevent inequality. In my judgment the state should not force parents to genetically enhance their offspring, but it should also not ban them from doing so, except perhaps in cases where the technology is dangerous or seriously unreliable. Like Nita, I am “against prohibitions against genetically modifying babies,” as she describes her own position. Second, I did not “conflat[e].. self-enhancement with offspring enhancement.” Some of the points I made would, of course, apply to both.
Third, far from “sensationalizing” claims about possible designer baby technology, I specifically noted in my post that “[o]bviously, it could turn out that designer babies with vastly increased abilities are technologically infeasible, or at least a long time away.” At the same time, I cited claims by some scientists that designer baby technology could become feasible in the near to medium-term future. I did not endorse or reject those claims, because I lack the scientific expertise to do so. I merely concluded that the possibility that they could be true makes the morality of designer babies worth debating. Readers can judge for themselves whether that qualifies as sensationalism or not.
Nita complains that I overemphasize the role of genetics in intelligence, and notes that a recent study […]