Monday, August 21, 2017

Human Design: Humans Can Look And Perform Any Way You Want Them To

rantt |  But as you saw, eye color and hair color are controlled by a lot more than a few genes and those genes can be altered by everything from hormones in the womb to environmental pollutants. Our genome didn’t evolve for easy, modular editing in the future. It evolved in response to diet and stressors in our ancient past. If you wanted to make sure that your child was 6' 3" tall, weighed no more than 200 pounds, and was really good at football, that’s going to involve total 24/7 control over thousands of genes and the child’s environment from the moment of conception.

Maybe this could be possible one day, but it certainly won’t be any day in the foreseeable future, and it definitely wouldn’t be practical if it was ever possible, or even remotely advisable. The kind of eugenic thought which gripped the world in the early 20th century and kicked off the Holocaust was actually based on a profound misunderstanding of statistics, and very pseudoscientific approach to evolution. Basically, Francis Galton and his followers mistook more people becoming literate and educated as a rise in mediocrity through a mathematic concept known as regression toward the mean, triggering a wave of racist and classist alarmism.

Eugenicists were worried that their “superior” genes were being corrupted by interbreeding between classes and races, that genetic diversity was just dragging them down towards brutish mediocrity. It’s a train of thought you can still find resonating among today’s racists, or ethno-nationalists as they like to call themselves. But this worry reveals a profound lack of scientific understanding that’s fairly critical to any future effort to modify DNA, and shows they’re using the wrong ways to measure human progress.

Genetic diversity is essential for any species to survive and adapt to its new environment. Without a significant enough library of genes that can help us deal with a future stressor, we may be unable to cope with drastic changes in diet or new diseases that come at us. Similarity in genes results in severe inbreeding, making us a lot more vulnerable to an environmental blow that could kill off an entire population without giving it a chance to develop any useful mutations. History is replete with examples of inbred organisms dying off when climates changed or during disease outbreaks.

Ultimately, this is why even in a far future where we can customize children, we have to be extremely mindful of allowing diversity and not messing with too many genes which could one day contribute to disease resistance, or give us the ability to adapt to a new diet. Nature doesn’t necessarily care if we’re getting high IQ scores because those are fairly arbitrary, and are much closer correlated to household values and income than biology. It’s also completely disinterested in our athletic prowess or how conventionally attractive we are to a particular culture. It only cares about reproduction rates.

In fact, in the grandest scheme of them all, nature is a series of trials which test random organisms with random genetic make-up in different climates with different resources and against different stressors. The ones able to live long enough to reproduce and pass down their genes are successful, even if they don’t end up with long lives and building civilizations that explore new worlds. Evolutionarily speaking, we’re pretty successful, but nowhere near as successful as insects or bacteria which typically live fast, die young, and are constantly reproducing in large numbers.