Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Calling Names and Making Change

The point of calling out those who claim to be or think of themselves as progressives actually as conservative when they make bioconservative arguments for bioconservative outcomes is hardly because it affords the presumably delirious pleasures of calling people not-nice names.

Look, it should be evident to anyone that even committed progressive people have conservative reactions to some prospective changes in the world, just as even committed conservative people will sometimes collaborate in the accomplishment of progressive ends. This is one of the reasons why we can be hopeful about democracy and progress even in times like these. Everybody has hearts and minds that can be changed by argument or touched by empathy, everybody negotiates partial, multiple, conflicting identifications that demand a measure of flexibility and critical thinking.

The theoretical point that matters to me here is simply this (a familiar point I hammer here a lot and about which I will say more in my next post): Politics isn't morals.

If you aspire to be a secular democratic progressive person and work to facilitate progressive democratic outcomes (like I'll admit I very much want to do myself) that doesn't mean you won't inadvertently or sometimes even quite consciously contribute to very different outcomes out of fear, ignorance, weakness, prejudice, skewed priorities, bad luck, inertia and so on, here and there (as I have done countless times all my life myself).

The point is that when these things are pointed out to you, what you do, it seems to me, is you reassess what you are up to, you change direction precisely because you want to be progressive. You don't pout and stamp and get defensive about the unfairness of being criticized for your hypocrisy or your complicity (well, maybe a little bit, maybe initially, since we're none of us Saints) in outcomes you do or know you should disapprove of.

You try to understand what went wrong, or why you looked at things wrong, or why your critics are looking at what you are doing wrong, or try to rethink how better to keep from getting read wrong.

In a moment when fear of difference or greed for one's position or privileges get the best of you, you can easily act against the grain of the democratization you would otherwise struggle to realize in the world with your peers.

Still, the business of analysis is to call a spade a spade when it is one. If somebody tells me my fear is making a conservative out of me, that is a charge I am going to take seriously. That doesn't mean I'll agree with every indictment I hear that takes such a form, especially when I realize it is coming from cynical conservatives scoring gotchas to undermine progressives by using their actual earnestness against them.

But when a presumably progressive person starts advocating blanket perpetual bans of all genetic engineering out of a declared fear for same-sex conception, refusing to grant that any treatments might eventuate from this banned work that might be safe, useful, wanted, or empowering, well, you'll forgive me when I say that their fear has caused them to become conservative.

Not only is this not counterproductive or facile but it may be the single most useful thing to say to such a person.

To construct elaborate "new" political mappings letting people think they are "beyond left and right" in such moments is just to provide alibis for people when they are at their worst, when they need to think more deeply about what they are doing and change course.

27 comments:

De Thezier said...

Dale Carrico said:

The point of calling out those who claim to be or think of themselves as progressives actually as conservative when they make bioconservative arguments for bioconservative outcomes is hardly because it affords the presumably delirious pleasures of calling people not-nice names.

Although I understand the notion that some arguments might unintentionally lead to biconservative outcomes, can you clarify why promoting a ban on a specific technique or technology which we can agree had more negative consequences than positive consequences (think about scandals involving hormones or pesticides) is not bioconservative while others are?

De Thezier said...

Dale Carrico said

But when a presumably progressive person starts advocating blanket perpetual bans of all genetic engineering out of a declared fear for same-sex conception, refusing to grant that any treatments might eventuate from this banned work that might be safe, useful, wanted, or empowering, well, you'll forgive me when I say that their fear has caused them to become conservative.

I agree with you. But that's not what I am talking about, is it?

Dale Carrico said...

But that's not what I am talking about, is it?

I'm no longer exactly sure what you're talking about.

Dale Carrico said...

[S]ome arguments might unintentionally lead to biconservative outcomes,

There are no actually bioconservative or transhumanist outcomes, in stricto senso. These are hyperbolic rhetorical/ideological lenses through which actually ongoing technodevelopmental struggle are imbued with significance for mostly moralizing purposes. What would be a real bioconservative or transhumanist outcome? There is no "nature" for bioconservatives to preserve, there is no possibility of a transhuman "transcendence" of human finitude.

All the actual outcomes (which bioconservatives and transhumanists will always see first as stepping-stones along the paths toward their nostalgic/superlative aspirations) need to be translated back into concrete terms -- back into the language of comparatively modest technoscientific discoveries bereft of their superlative or disasterbatory freighting, as well as back into the language of very familiar political reforms in the service of left (democratization) and right (incumbency).

can you clarify why promoting a ban on a specific technique or technology which we can agree had more negative consequences than positive consequences (think about scandals involving hormones or pesticides) is not bioconservative while others are?

Which ban? How sweeping? On what grounds? In perpetuity?

As I have often said, bioconservativism is the repudiation of technoscientific developments, especially the repudiation of genetic, prosthetic, and cognitive interventions in the name of a defense of the "natural" deployed as a moral category. Remember that, and remember the level of generality at which it is pitched. Bioconservatism is lodged at that level, like transhumanism its actual substance and force as a discourse is ideological in the broad sense.

Although such arguments will often piggyback on more sound technical or political considerations, these will always be redirected to a larger ideological project of nostalgic moralizing.

Signs to watch for, if you are unsure whether you are dealing with a sensible and progressive need for regulation to ensure greater safety and less exploitation in the context of some technoscientific change: Is there a refusal to consider even remote possibilities of safe alternatives to presently risky techniques? Is there a demand for sweeping prohibitions that migrate beyond the area of concern under discussion to limit adjacent areas of inquiry and intervention? Is there a presumptuous assumption that present ignorance justifies perpetual bans? Does one notice repeated recourse to particular illustrative examples that seem curiously invested in emotion -- the incessant recurrence of same-sex conception in John Howard's discussion, the fetishization of designer-babies in other bioconservative accounts in ways that may bespeak more familiar inter-generational tensions, the raced and gendered boundary crisis that seems so palpably to be symptomized in so much alarmist bioconservative language about hybridity, chimeras, trans-species transplantation and so on?

I personally advocate strong regulation of environmental pollution and waste, of medical misinformation and fraud, bans on unsafe experimental procedures and am especially sensitive to their imposition on vulnerable people (the racist, sexist, homophobic history of duressed and fraudulent medical experimentation would make the hairs stand up on the necks even of the most rabid libertopian transhumanist if they actually knew it, I believe), so I don't know why you seem suddenly to worry that I've forgotten all that.

The point is not, however, for some calculation of whether "positive" or "negative" consequences (to whom? for what?) weigh more from moment to moment, abstracted away from the actual diverse ends of different stakeholders to technoscinetific change, but to insure that [a] actual social costs are not externalized or displaced so that some consistently benefit while others bear undue costs and risks, and to insure that [b] people are actually informed and actually nonduressed when they would make consensual recourse to risky technique (there is no such thing as a non-risky intervention after all) to wanted and available therapies, whether normalizing or non-normalizing.

This isn't cost-benefit analysis for technocratic wonks, this is the democratic demand that the scene of informed nonduressed consent be sustained in the service of democratizing technodevelopmental social and celebrating consensual lifeway multiculture.

John Howard said...

But when a presumably progressive person starts advocating blanket perpetual bans of all genetic engineering out of a declared fear for same-sex conception, refusing to grant that any treatments might eventuate from this banned work that might be safe, useful, wanted, or empowering, well, you'll forgive me when I say that their fear has caused them to become conservative.

If you're talking about me, you've got this backwards. I'm not supporting a ban on GE "out of a fear of same-sex conception." Allowing people to create people and engineer people's genomes is a huge waste of resources and will require a huge government police state. Same-sex conception will open the door to allowing people to create people with modified genomes, and the only useful law against genetic engineering will also prohibit same-sex conception. Preserving forever the requirement of both-sex consensual conception will be good for society, the environment, concepts like freedom and dignity and democracy, and for individuals and individual rights. I see no reason to believe that there will be any good outcomes, though I can certainly see that outcomes might be "safe" (since there is no perfectly safe way to reproduce, safety is a dangerous and eugenic requirement to introduce to reproduction, as AnneC pointed out), "useful" (like hoolahoops?), "wanted" (what a meaningless word, I want a Porsche, some blow, and teen pussy), empowering (see above), etc. Who cares? There will always be people to create a demand for anything, no matter how much you try to educate everyone not to demand the wrong things, or the same things too soon, or whatever it is that you say education will do.

The benefits of maintaining natural reproduction, where everyone is created equal, as the union of a man and a woman, plus the benefits of stopping wasteful research into genetic engineering and stopping the possibility of government control of production, will far outweigh any possibly benefits that future people won't even notice, except in their extra privileged life over natural people.

And if you are going to throw open the door to all that bad bad stuff merely because you refuse to admit that same-sex couples aren't quite the same as male-female couples, well that's your own fears messing with you. Remember what you wrote in response to Dvorsky (or at least remember what I thought you were saying) - same-sex conception and post-genderism is not the answer to making gays equal and equally respected or protected, it is only a tool to exploit gays and use them as guinnea pigs and moral feet-in-the-door to get beyond natural conception. It will have negative effects on the lives of gays everywhere, even the vast majority that don't have any interest in trying same-sex conception. Just give it up, dude, and use that concession to make positive advances toward equality and equal protections.

Dale Carrico said...

Same-sex conception will open the door to allowing people to create people with modified genomes,

Yes, that's true. If it's safe and wanted, that's a good thing.

Preserving forever the requirement of both-sex consensual conception will be good for society, the environment, concepts like freedom and dignity and democracy, and for individuals and individual rights.

Why, because you say so? You're talking about curtailments of liberty to make consensual recourse to safe and wanted modification. That's not what freedom, dignity, or democracy actually look like however much you squawk out those words. Freedom, consent, and democracy will take us to places different from where we are now -- embrace it if you would be a progressive, fight it and you're a conservative. Understand this about yourself.

If risks, costs, and benefits are unfairly or undemocratically distributed, if misinformation or duress undermines the scene of thereapeutic consent, then I will cheerfully fight side by side with you to resist and change that. But you clearly want something more than that, and that thing you want is not about freedom but about being reactionary. At least that's the way it look to me.

(since there is no perfectly safe way to reproduce, safety is a dangerous and eugenic requirement to introduce to reproduction, as AnneC pointed out),

I agree there are always risks -- but we can have reasonable knowledge of risks, enough to know when people are being misinformed about them, or duressed in their vulnerability to assume them disproportionately.

"useful" (like hoolahoops?),

You really want to make fun of the idea that some things are more useful than others in the service of attaining ends?

"wanted" (what a meaningless word, I want a Porsche, some blow, and teen pussy),

You don't approve of what some of your peers want and so you want to police them into behaving as though they want the things you want them to want. Typical.

empowering (see above), etc.

Don't believe in empowerment either? Why gets you out of bed in the morning? You call me a BS artist. Please, you don't believe half the crapola you're peddling in this world-weary performance.

Who cares? There will always be people to create a demand for anything, no matter how much you try to educate everyone not to demand the wrong things, or the same things too soon, or whatever it is that you say education will do.

Well, yes, it's true, I do believe if more people have more access to reliable knowledge and less duress in their lives and have more of a say in the public decisions that affect them then they'll colloborate to make more freedom and more progress together. You believe that everything will suck unless you get to dictate to everybody what they should want. I'm a democrat and you're an elitist. These words have meanings.

I see no reason to believe that there will be any good outcomes, though I can certainly see that outcomes might be "safe"

If these outcomes are safe and wanted then they are good by definition, because it is good whenever our free informed nonduressed citizens can make consensual recourse to the tools at hand in culture to contribute some measure to the sum of creative expressivity or the solution of shared problems. That's what good means in this context as far as I can see.

The benefits of maintaining natural reproduction, where everyone is created equal,

Except that they obviously are not. Suffering, disease, stigmatized morphologies and lifeways, many things are distributed unequally at present that might meet with successful therapeutic address through medical research that you disapprove of.

as the union of a man and a woman,

God, I'm so sick of you're endless paeans to sooper awesome straight sex as the end-all and be-all of existence. For heaven's sake get over it.

plus the benefits of stopping wasteful research into genetic engineering and

It remains to be seen what is wasteful or not. I have already agreed with you that my own priorities involve neglected conditions in the overexploited regions of the world and therapies to ameliorate suffering from hitherto untreatable conditions -- but I certainly don't see why this would lead to your own hysterical bans on treatments that push your clone-army designer sooper-baby human-animal hybrids panic button.

stopping the possibility of government control of production,

By controlling it absolutely?

will far outweigh any possibly benefits that future people won't even notice,

Forgive your fellow citizens if they are not quite willing to take your word on that.

except in their extra privileged life over natural people.

And by "natural people" you mean, MEEEEEEEEEE! just like bioconservatives always do.

And if you are going to throw open the door to all that bad bad stuff

Never sensibly specified, of course, but okay...

merely because you refuse to admit that same-sex couples aren't quite the same as male-female couples,

Well at least one difference seems to me pretty obvious (especially so when I'm getting fucked up the ass), but how that "difference" is supposed to translate to queers not allowed to make consensual recourse to safe and wanted medical therapies to enable same-sex conception because we're actually second class citizen, well, yeah, I guess I do refuse to "admit" that.

Also, fuck you.

well that's your own fears messing with you.

Somebody certainly seems frightened here.

Remember what you wrote in response to Dvorsky (or at least remember what I thought you were saying) - same-sex conception and post-genderism is not the answer to making gays equal and equally respected or protected, it is only a tool to exploit gays and use them as guinnea pigs and moral feet-in-the-door to get beyond natural conception.

Remember how you saw what you wanted to see in something somebody wrote that wasn't there because you're a zealot and that's what they do? The Gender Poet post is available here.

Here is the key passage:

Historically, as medical techniques to help women more safely end and prevent unwanted pregnancies, or alternate reproductive technologies (ARTs) to facilitate wanted ones, or transsexual surgeries and therapies actually became available they were taken up opportunistically by creative people to practice their sexed, gendered, desiring lives in ways that accorded better with their sense of who they are and what they wanted, while at once these emerging techniques were understood in terms of prevailing norms and were used to police those terms in new ways. Technology isn't inherently emancipatory -- it isn't inherently anything -- it becomes emancipatory only when it is taken up by people organized to ensure emancipatory outcomes. The very same gender reassignment techniques that empower an informed and consenting transsexual person might be deployed to coerce an intersex child in ways that disempower them catastrophically. I worry that the technological determinism of Dvorsky's transhumanist handwaving about inherently emancipatory technologies, his airy dismissal of modern feminism, his glib acquiescence to a simplistic and sexist vision of genetic destiny (why treat the ways in which men and women presumably are different from one another as more salient than the ways in which men differ from one another and women differ from one another?) all point to an epic underestimation of the practical political work of anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-heterosexist discourse and practice and witness and play to democratize gender, peer-to-peer.

Part of what Haraway is getting at that seems a bit lost on the transhumanist "post-genderists" is her point that sex-gender is, in her words, "an obligatory distribution of subjects in unequal relationships." I mean, leave it to a straight white guy to actually imagine he has "accomplished" the incarnation of a post-gender subjecthood. It isn't enough to point to the evil of the violences and vulnerabilities of sexism and heteronormativity, the fact remains that sex-gender is not so much a disease as a language we all speak, a language we have to learn if we are to speak at all. People who recognize that language can be used to lie or confuse don't declare ourselves post-linguistic, but strive to remake language to tell more truth. We use it to testify to neglected experiences, we subject it to critical scrutiny, we use it to make poetry.

When we push against the customary demands and expectations of sex and gender to live our lives more as we see fit, we are subversively citing and reciting sexed and gendered terms in the world we are born into, we are not "post-gender" so much as we are striving to write new poetry with gender.


How you "read" in that what you are claiming to have found there is quite beyond me.

same-sex conception and post-genderism is not the answer to making gays equal and equally respected or protected,

The answer? I never implied it was. I don't believe in "the answer" in the sense you seem to mean by that phrase. If such a therapy becomes safely available it will indeed be a likely part of a world that has become more free and equal for lgbtq folks though.

Don't worry, though, baby, you'll really be fine.

it is only a tool to exploit gays

Progressives need to see to it that it isn't.

and use them as guinnea pigs and moral feet-in-the-door to get beyond natural conception.

Queer conception is going to look "unnatural" to bioconservatives and social conservative, it's true. If they want to live in the past, they should put on a hoop skirt and grub around in some malarial swamp while they wait for Jeebus to Rapture them up or what have you.

It will have negative effects on the lives of gays everywhere, even the vast majority that don't have any interest in trying same-sex conception.

Well I know I personally have no interest at all in same-sex conception, that's for sure. But I don't know that your claim about a majority of queers not being interested in such therapies squares with my own admittedly anecdotal impressions from folks in the actual community. But, whatever.

Just give it up, dude, and use that concession to make positive advances toward equality and equal protections.

What, you're still trying to peddle your John Howard plan to save the queers by trading our rights to marry for our agreement to repudiate the possibility in perpetuity of having queer kids via even safe same-sex conception techniques? Do you realize what a crazy homophobic asshole you sound like? Gay marriage is coming whether the theocons want it or not. Queers don't have to become non-reproductive second class citizens now just so biocons are less scared at night about the bad clone-armies coming to get 'em.

Antonin said...

Whoever said that conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear couldn't have imagined a more fitting and epitomizing example as this exchange.

John Howard said...

You're talking about curtailments of liberty to make consensual recourse to safe and wanted modification.

Modification of who? You want to modify yourself, fine, but if you want to create a citizen, that citizen is not yours to modify, how do you know that person wants to be modified? Maybe they'd rather have the connection to their progenitors, to be like them. Just as deaf parents often want deaf children, children might want to have the traits of their parents and siblings, rather than having the experts of the government coerce their parents to believe that they should torn from their parents genetic heritage and given somebody else's genes. Until you get consent from the person being modified, you don't have consent to modify them. Point of fact.

And General Statement: Purposefully creating someone is wrong. People should come into the world on their own accord, by the mutual consent of their egg and their sperm meeting each other in the dark and deciding to join together. People shouldn't be forced into life like Frankenstein's Monsters, it seriously threatens personal responsibility. Plus, there are too many risks to being conceived, whether anyone's trying to fiddle with the DNA or not. We should only have ourselves to blame for existing, and we shouldn't blame our parents for the circumstances of our birth. And once we are adults, we all have a right to marry and have sex, but that's not the same thing as purposefully creating a child, a child is supposed to be welcomed and conceived of, but not "wanted." The idea of purposefully creating someone on demand, to meet a want, is offensive (yeah, so ban it). There is no need to devote medical resources or research to creating people. Not existing is not a medical ailment that needs anyone's attention, in fact it's perfectly healthy to not exist.

That said, we have a right to attempt to be healthy, and part of health is being fertile, so medical resources to help us be fertile to have our own children is perfectly valid. But to intervene and stop someone from having their own children and coerce them or "educate" them into having children that you think they should have instead of their own children is not medicine, it's eugenics and it's wrong to force that on us just because some people might want to do it.

I haven't read your whole reply yet, btw. I'm probably way off track by now.

Dale Carrico said...

if you want to create a citizen, that citizen is not yours to modify, how do you know that person wants to be modified?

Fetuses don't want things. All procreation is creation in the sense you mean.

Just as deaf parents often want deaf children, children might want to have the traits of their parents and siblings, rather than having the experts of the government coerce their parents to believe that they should torn from their parents genetic heritage and given somebody else's genes.

Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining. You want to keep parents from making reproductive decisions and you want to pretend that you are advocating freedom and I am advocating coercion?

Until you get consent from the person being modified, you don't have consent to modify them.

Until you get consent from people to be born at all given the demands of life on earth nobody should be conceived at all... oh, wait, that's completely batshit crazy.

Purposefully creating someone is wrong.

You disapprove of planned parenthood, then? Sex education? Contraception, prenatal care?

People should come into the world on their own accord,

You mean like the flower-babies sprouting from the ground in Munchkinland in the Wizard of Oz? Because, John, I don't know how to break it to you, but it doesn't work like that.

by the mutual consent of their egg and their sperm meeting each other in the dark and deciding to join together.

Holy sweet patootie! We got a loonie!

People shouldn't be forced into life like Frankenstein's Monsters,

If you call queer kids Frankenstein's Monsters you should be ashamed of yourself being such an asshole to such nice kids.

it seriously threatens personal responsibility.

Not as much as your whole police state prohibition of safe wanted therapies that scare you would.

there are too many risks to being conceived, whether anyone's trying to fiddle with the DNA or not

At last! Something not completely paranoid! Yes, there are risks. Yes, we need to delineate risks, regulate research and clinical trials, we need transparency, we need less corruption in administration and oversight, we need stronger laws against fraud and misinformation and proprietary secrets, we need more social security to ensure costs and risks are not assumed by the vulnerable, and so on. Talking sense this way won't get you to sweeping perpetual bans of all modification or genetic engineering, though.

[W]e all have a right to marry and have sex, but that's not the same thing as purposefully creating a child, a child is supposed to be welcomed and conceived of, but not "wanted."

Again, you disapprove of planned parenthood and prenatal care altogether, then?

The idea of purposefully creating someone on demand, to meet a want, is offensive (yeah, so ban it).

The reason you really want to ban this is precisely because you know that this won't be "offensive" to many of your peers and you think your values should prevail over theirs, even by force, even if these values don't create real social costs or undue risks of harm (except the "harm" and "risk" to your parochial view of life -- which you are perfectly free to maintain as you see fit).

But to intervene and stop someone from having their own children and coerce them or "educate" them into having children that you think they should have instead of their own children is not medicine, it's eugenics and it's wrong to force that on us just because some people might want to do it.

I'd be very interested to see where on earth you think you find me advocating such a thing. I agree that coercing or "educating" people into having children that reflect parochial conceptions of "optimality" is eugenic. I thoroughly dissaprove of the very idea of such a thing. You have obviously confused me, yet again, for a transhumanist.

John Howard said...

How you "read" in that what you are claiming to have found there is quite beyond me.

Well, I stil don't know what they heck you're talking about in that. I just thought you were disagreeing with Dvorsky, and as my post on PHB was asking whether people agreed or disagreed with Dvorsky, I assumed people would stick within that framework in their response. You should have warned us that you were incomprehensible and both agreeing and disagreeing, or maybe neither agreeing nor disagreeing. I'd say it was artful if I thought bullshit was art.

Dale Carrico said...

Well, I did disagree with Dvorsky. Sorry I didn't disagree with Dvorsky in quite the way you expected or wanted me to. As it happens, not everybody thinks my writing is incomprehensible (although lots of transhumanists seem to do, so you'll be happy to see in what august company you find yourself), but from where I am sitting your comment looks just as likely to reflect poorly on you as me.

John Howard said...

I agree there are always risks -- but we can have reasonable knowledge of risks, enough to know when people are being misinformed about them, or duressed in their vulnerability to assume them disproportionately.

Wait, who is "we" and why do "we" have to know something about "people" being misinformed or duressed? Are "we" going to step in and stop "them" from attempting to create a person if "we" know more about the risks than "they" do? What if it is a married man and a woman, are we going to analyze their risks, too? We have to let married people do things that might result in conception even if we might think that it is risky. It is always risky. It is always less risky if they don't conceive. It is also always coercive and duressed, whether they think they both honestly want to have children or realize that they are doing it to make the other happy or their parents happy or to follow societal conventions or their biological impulses. At what point does that become enough duress for you to think it should not be allowed? And again, what are you going to do to stop duressed people from doing before you think it is safe? Nothing.

Dale Carrico said...

Wait, who is "we" and why do "we" have to know something about "people" being misinformed or duressed? Are "we" going to step in and stop "them" from attempting to create a person if "we" know more about the risks than "they" do?

Why, we the people, struggling peer to peer to form an ever more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for a common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, that's who. You goota problem with that?

What if it is a married man and a woman, are we going to analyze their risks, too?

We already do.

We have to let married people do things that might result in conception even if we might think that it is risky. It is always risky. It is always less risky if they don't conceive.

Less risky if they don't conceive? In what sense?

At what point does that become enough duress for you to think it should not be allowed? And again, what are you going to do to stop duressed people from doing before you think it is safe? Nothing.

Do you believe that informed, consent is even possible? Do you really want to deny the value of autonomy altogether, just because we grant the complexity of our embeddedness in finitude, in history, in sociality?

You simply assert that I would do "Nothing" to defend the scene of consent, on the basis of what I have no idea. On the contrary, I think health care providers and administrators and especially for-profit medical personnel who conceal risks, misinform people about risks, engage in fraud should face catastrophic fines and prison sentences.

I also advocate extension of social security and medicare (I advocate -- in my blog, in conference papers, in my university lectures, and so on -- both universal single payer healthcare and a basic income guarantee, as it happens).

You seem to see only two insanely hyperbolic extremities -- complete laissez faire advocated by techno-utopian transcendentalizing "enhancement" eugenicists, or complete prohibition advocated by bioconservative naturalizing "preservationist" eugenicists.

Because I don't believe in your parochial vision of the natural or approve of the police state you would use to "defend" it, you simply assume I'm a libertopian techno-optimizer. You're not only wrong, but very foolish to reduce the terms of the discussion in this way. You really are just as bad as the transhumanists.

John Howard said...

Well at least one difference seems to me pretty obvious (especially so when I'm getting fucked up the ass), but how that "difference" is supposed to translate to queers not allowed to make consensual recourse to safe and wanted medical therapies to enable same-sex conception because we're actually second class citizen, well, yeah, I guess I do refuse to "admit" that.

Also, fuck you.


The difference translates into same-sex couples not being allowed to attempt to conceive with their own gametes because the difference is that the genetic imprinting of the couple's gametes is not complementary. Thus allowing them to attempt to conceive together requires modifying one of their gametes so it is no longer representative of the person and probably has been derived from a lab process involving stem cells and added genes to induce pruripotency and hormone baths or transfers into another person or animal's gonads - all in a blatant attempt to create a person in spite of the unloving disregard for that person's well-being. People shouldn't be allowed to do that.

You don't have to get married and procreate to be a first class citizen (and we are all allowed to), and you don't need the ability to do same-sex conception to be a first class citizen, and you don't need to have the right to attempt same-sex conception to be a first class citizen. Everyone will give up the right to conceive with modified gametes, not just gay people.

So, some people won't be allowed to do something that they want to do. Big deal, tough luck. We don't have to let everyone do everything they want to do. As long as it's fair, applies to everyone equally, and is not capricious or invidious, it's OK to make laws that prohibit things.

Dale Carrico said...

So, some people won't be allowed to do something that they want to do.

You are claiming the right to keep informed nonduressed fellow citizens from making consensual recourse to non-normalizing therapies even if these are safe and wanted. This isn't a matter of somebody wanting to randomly strangle people who look at them funny. How many other police state measures do you intend to advocate and then make fun of people who "whine" about their liberties being curtailed to satisfy your vision of the "natural" state of affairs with which you are personally comfortable?

Big deal, tough luck.

Yeah, we'll see who ends up boo-hoo crying because nobody else gives a damn if queers have queer kids that make you uncomfortable.

We don't have to let everyone do everything they want to do.

You are hereby elected Pope of the Church of No Shit, Sherlock.

As long as it's fair, applies to everyone equally, and is not capricious or invidious, it's OK to make laws that prohibit things.

Actually, tyranny doesn't become okay just so long as you ensure that it is imposed universally, sorry. And not only that, but given the specificity of same-sex conception that is the technique you're wanting to ban here, just so you know, this isn't exactly the first time we queers have heard conservative jackholes peddling this line of mile-high crapola, telling us banning gay marriage is nondiscriminatory since straight people are also forbidden to get gay married, so, no, I don't see it as particularly marvelously fairminded of you to prohibit straight couples as well as queer folks from having access to safe wanted same-sex conception techniques when these come available. Kiss my faggot ass.

John Howard said...

Yes I oppose all direct outcome-oriented attempts of purposefully creating a human being (or even an animal. Even agriculture is borderline). That "direct outcome-oriented attempts" language is meant to cover my opposition to IVF, turkey basters, and also people who run home from work when their temperature is right and try to conceive just then. It is meant to not include "hey, let's have non-protected sex because it would be great to have a baby with you." In other words, it's good to conceive of the possibility of a child, to feel conception of a child to be a pleasant and sweet concept, but I think it is bad to want a baby as a goal to be pursued.

Not many people would agree with me in this culture, I know. Luckily, I'm not trying to ban running home from work to conceive, or IVF or donor conception (yet). I do think we need to ban donor conception and IVF though, but not as urgently as the use of modified gametes, since modified gametes haven't been done yet and would start creating people unequally. It is much harder to ban something after people have started doing it and gotten used to it. But you asked what else I would ban, and DC and IVF are my answer. Well, maybe sodomy, abortion, contraception, movies, pro sports, cigarettes, interest, insurance, advertising, imports, television, techno music, umm, well that's a start.

John Howard said...

so, no, I don't see it as particularly marvelously fairminded of you to prohibit straight couples as well as queer folks from having access to safe wanted same-sex conception techniques when these come available.

Again (and don't forget this next time), everyone would be prohibited from using modified gametes. That means that we would all only be allowed to conceive with someone of the other sex. The ban on same-sex conception is merely a side-effect of the ban on genetic engineering, and derives from the fact that biologically, both sexes are required for sexual reproduction. Overcoming gender restrictions like you and Dvorsky want to do requires allowing use of modified gametes. Though there are very different reasons to do them, and very different reasons to not do them, they can't really be decided separately. They have to both be allowed or both banned.

And what is your definition of Transhumanist that makes you not a Transhumanist? You oppose a ban on genetic engineering, you want same-sex conception to be researched and made safe, you want people to be allowed to create "better humans" if they want to, I don't see where you diverge from Transhumanism. Yeah, they like to talk about robot gods and uploading their minds more than you do, but I never see you say that anything they want to do should not be stopped. You just think they're too flamboyant and embarrass you, you are afraid they'll attract too much scorn and actually hold back Transhumanism.

Mitchell said...

John Howard's views on how one shouldn't create life, except almost by accident, have reminded me of my own "life philosophy", which is to be, not just a transhumanist, but an antinatalist. And that in turn suggests to me a still broader framing of these debates. There is a perspective on politics and culture in which the spectrum runs radical, liberal, conservative, reactionary, and in which radical and reactionary are supposed to have an esoteric kinship in their extremism - they operate outside the daylight political world of left and right. I have no idea where this perspective originates; I ran across it in the work of William Irwin Thompson, but I doubt that he invented it. In any case, it seems natural to suppose that if transhumanism is the radical cousin of technoprogressivism, that antinatalism is the reactionary cousin of bioconservatism.

Dale Carrico said...

Again (and don't forget this next time), everyone would be prohibited from using modified gametes.

I didn't "forget" this, I pointed out that tyranny doesn't become fair-minded or just simply because you promise to exercise it universally.

That means that we would all only be allowed to conceive with someone of the other sex.

Yes, and conservatives want to ban gay marriage for both straight and gay people but nobody is fooled into thinking this makes it non-homophobic.

The ban on same-sex conception is merely a side-effect of the ban on genetic engineering, and derives from the fact that biologically, both sexes are required for sexual reproduction.

The whole point of this discussion is that medical interventions may arrive that eliminate this requirement in ways that are safe and which would be wanted by many of your fellow citizens, but that you want to make this a legal requirement even after it is no longer a biological one because the thought of hyperbolic irrelevancies like clone armies and sooper babies and human-animal hybrids makes you wet your bed.

Overcoming gender restrictions like you and Dvorsky want to do requires allowing use of modified gametes.

Well, what I actually said in the piece that you liked so much because you didn't read it apparently is that gender is something we do not something we have, it is like using (and being used by) a language, and strictly speaking emerging technologies that get taken up in our gender performances in the future won't be a matter of "overcoming gender" so much as matters of doing it differently. Drag for example is not an "overcoming" of gender, but a subversive citation of it already here and now, as transsexual interventions and intersexual interventions also are.

Though there are very different reasons to do them, and very different reasons to not do them, they can't really be decided separately. They have to both be allowed or both banned.

"Genetic engineering" is actually an incomparably more broad designation than the many specific interventions that could be subsumed under it, with extraordinary differences in their costs and risks and benefits.

I think our attention should be on preserving a technoscientific practice that names those risks, costs, and benefits reliably, on a commitment to universal access to knowledge -- rather than proprietary secrecy or for-profit misinformation/fraud or corrupt oversight in the service of incumbency -- and on the provision of universal basic healthcare and basic income to minimize the duress under which medical decisions are made -- otherwise, I champion the informed, nonduressed consensual recourse of my peers to wanted therapeutic interventions whether these are normalizing or not.

And what is your definition of Transhumanist that makes you not a Transhumanist?

Do you read anything I write? Transhumanism invests concrete and imagined technoscientific changes with what I call superlative significance, just as bioconservatives invest them with apocalyptic significance. Transhumanism is an ideological and rhetorical project of "transcendence" of finitude (actually Dvorsky's piece framing new forms of prosthetic/cultural gender performances as in fact an "overcoming of gender" provides a perfect example of the general pattern), while bioconservatism is an ideological project of the would-be "preservation" of a set of parochially preferred customs designated as "natural." Your reaction to me provides a perfect case in point.

You oppose a ban on genetic engineering,

This charge is far worse than useless, it is actually deranging hyperbole (exactly as bad as transhumanist hype). I advocate regulation and oversight of genetic therapies and their administration, while advocating bans on clinical trials until a consensus of relevant scientists affirm that a technique looks promising enough to justify them, and advocate a scene of actually informed actually nonduressed consent to facilitate a fairer distribution of technodevelopmental costs, risks, and benefits once emerging techniques are made available. Apocalypse and transcendence are just deranging distractions, and almost always anti-democratizing in their effects.

you want same-sex conception to be researched and made safe,

If it can be, yes. Safe same-sex conception would be an undeniable emancipatory technodevelopment for queer families and others who want it.

you want people to be allowed to create "better humans" if they want to,

Don't put your eugenicism in my mouth. You're the one who thinks he knows what "natural human beings" must look like and who is willing and even eager to coerce people into behaving always only in ways that ensure your vision of humanity is the one that is exhibited in the world. I'm not fooled by your rhetoric and I'll do my best to see to it that nobody else is, either.

I don't see where you diverge from Transhumanism.

Of course you don't. Because your zealotry is such that anything that isn't exactly bioconservative automatically shifts to the other extreme -- precisely as happens with your mimetic co-dependent evil twin transhumanism.

Here's the difference. I just believe in goddamn healthcare. I believe in consensual healthcare, whether applied to the constellation of techniques you're used to now (people like you were arguing against anesthesia making nearly identical arguments to the ones you are peddling now a little over a century ago) or the constellation of emerging genetic, prosthetic, and cognitive therapies, whether these consensual interventions yield effects that are deemed normalizing (or therapeutic) or non-normalizing (or "enhancing" or "de-naturalizing" depending on which kind of zealot you are, transhumanist or bioconservative).

I don't believe in the "natural" human bioconservatives faux-nostalgically hope to actualize through their Prohibitionism, nor do I believe in the "transcendent" post-human transhumanists superlatively hope to actualize through their "optimizing" enhancements.

Yeah, they like to talk about robot gods and uploading their minds more than you do, but I never see you say that anything they want to do should not be stopped.

What should be stopped is unfairness, violence, exploitation, duress, corruption, and incumbency in healthcare practices, now and emerging and upcoming, as elsewhere in society.

You just think they're too flamboyant and embarrass you, you are afraid they'll attract too much scorn and actually hold back Transhumanism.

When they like me transhumanists also like to call me a "closeted transhumanist" just as when they disapprove of me they like to call me a "closeted bioconservative."

Yer Either With Us or Agin' Us. I think the analogy to broader politics is actually fairly apt:

Neocons trump up an apocalyptic "War on Terror" designed to enable incumbent interests to centralize control and loot resources and distract attention from environmental disaster that rhetorically claims to defend Democracy while dismantling the rule of law and civil liberties on which democracy actually depends all the while activating deep ugly irrational racism to set the tyrannical machineries in motion.

Biocons trump up an apocalyptic "War on Nature" designed to enable incumbent interests to maintain control over diversifying networked multiculture that rhetorically claims to defend human dignity while dismantling the scene of legible informed nonduressed consent on which dignity actually depends, all the while activating deep ugly irrational sexism and homophobia to set the tyrannical machineries in motion.

The fact is that transhumanism, on the other hand, is a Robot Cult consisting of an archipelago of actually-existing self-identified organizations, embedded in a conscious sub(cult)ure that explicitly fancies itself an identity movement, devoted to a transcendentalizing derangement of technoscientific language and promising super-predicated capacities to its membership, superintelligence, superlongevity, and superabundance, not one of which makes any kind of sense.

I have written literally thousands upon thousands of words delineating the limitations of this organizational movement, this sub(cult)ure, this discourse, this rhetoric, connecting it up to prevalent neoliberal and eugenicist Developmental and Bioethical vocabularies that are also enormously damaging in the real world.

If you cannot grasp the difference between what I am advocating and what they are up to it is because your own bioconservative assumptions and aspirations blind you to all the differences that make a difference here.

John Howard said...

You seem to see only two insanely hyperbolic extremities -- complete laissez faire advocated by techno-utopian transcendentalizing "enhancement" eugenicists, or complete prohibition advocated by bioconservative naturalizing "preservationist" eugenicists.

That's what you rudely reduce reduce everyone else to, but that's not what i see. Of course it won't be complete laissez faire, no one thinks that it will be, though some advocate for more freedom. One of the major down sides, perhaps the biggest, is that it will require a huge government regulatory bureaucracy - and that "army of lawyers" you approve of - wasting tons of resources and human effort.

It will result in arbitrary decisions about what is allowed or not allowed, requiring a police state to enforce these decisions. In other words, more of the status quo, more of the unfairness and corruption and exploitation that goes with government bureaucracy. Oh yeah, you'd get rid of that and replace it with nondurressed consent. (Dude, there is no such thing as nonduressed consent. Every decision a person makes is made as a result of duress, except for that very first one pf deciding whether to exist at all, which you want to deny also. You've rested your whole case on achieving something that can never exist, in other words, it's fetishized bullshit.)

There is an either/or that we face though, and that is whether to ban or to continue to allow genetic modification (which is not medicine or medical or therapy, btw, since those require a person to be sick first. Same-sex conception is not medicine either, since being either male or female is not a disease, like Dvorsky claims and you apparently agree). Everyone is on one side of that line, and that makes it the only useful place to place the "bioconservative"/"transhumanist" line. If you are going to call me a bioconservative because I'm for the ban on genetic modification, then you should play fair and accept that you are a transhumanist. Otherwise I could say that since I am not against SCNT, I'm not a bioconservative, but that would just be vanity attempting to declare myself some sort of unlabelable maverick, like you triumphantly proclaim yourself. I'm a bioconservative, you're a transhumanist. Just as enacting the ban isn't going to "close the future" or "dismantle the scene of informed nonduressed consent", opposing the ban isn't going to cause a robot god to descend from the sky and eliminate sex and pleasure. If you want a real debate that's free from hyperbole and extremism, come have one. The issue is whether we (through our congress) should enact a ban on creating people by means other than joining the sperm of a man with the egg of a woman. No hyperbole necessary.

John Howard said...

Again (and don't forget this next time), everyone would be prohibited from using modified gametes.

I didn't "forget" this, I pointed out that tyranny doesn't become fair-minded or just simply because you promise to exercise it universally.


You implied that the only thing I was trying to ban was same-sex conception, which is a smear, making me seem driven by homophobia rather than being driven to preserve human reproductive rights and equality by stopping wasteful and dangerous research into what will wind up as coercive eugenics, and which already is breeding angst and purposelessness.

As to my contention that as long as a law effects everyone equally it is valid, that is the finding of our constitutional system of government, made explicit with the 14th Amendment. There are such things as just, non-tyrannical laws that limit freedoms, and this would be one of them. Even if only a small percentage of people would desire that freedom, as long as the law applies to everyone equally, that's OK. I mean, duh, obviously only people that are affected by a law are affected by it; would-be pot smokers are targeted by drug laws, and would-be genetic engineers would be targeted by laws against GE. Duh. Remember that "duh" before you make another glib facetious remark, OK? Duh, now get over it, being gay doesn't mean you have a right to force us to allow genetic modification, and you ought to have enough self-respect not to play that "oh please, help us, we're pathetic" card.

John Howard said...

you want people to be allowed to create "better humans" if they want to,

Don't put your eugenicism in my mouth. You're the one who thinks he knows what "natural human beings" must look like and who is willing and even eager to coerce people into behaving always only in ways that ensure your vision of humanity is the one that is exhibited in the world. I'm not fooled by your rhetoric and I'll do my best to see to it that nobody else is, either.


Confused here. Are you saying you don't want people to be allowed to create "better humans" if they want to? Of course, I get that "better humans" is a transhumanist trademark, but would you stop someone from attempting to create what they viewed as a "better human?" Even if it was safe, wanted, etc? No, you would allow everyone to make better humans. So don't deny those words fit in your mouth as if you wouldn't.

And it is not eugenic to insist that every person has the right to use their own gametes to reproduce with the person of their choice, using their gametes (except for a few supportable basis that apply to everyone equally and are based on the relationship, not the individuals - like being too closely related, already married, not old enough yet, or (now we need a new one) being of the same sex.)

Thats what I think we should insist on, and is what would be threatened by allowing an industry to develop that offers alternatives to using our own genes.

And it's not eugenic to enact a law against genetic engineering, to insist that all people be created equally, through the consensual union of a man and a woman. Natural conception is eugenic if there is coercive pressure to use special gametes, like choosing egg doors or sperm donors, but that's why we need to ban that practice too. The key is that people choose each other and love each other and join together mentally and spiritually and legally, not based on their potential as good progenitors but based on their love for each other. True, people certainly do think of potential mates in terms of their genetic potential, sometimes even secretly planning a divorce after the child is born or conceived, but that's a form of evil too, perhaps worse than using donor gametes.

At any rate, to summarize: me: not a eugenicist, me: in favor of equal conception rights and opposed to coercive eugenics, you: in favor of coercive eugenics, opposed to equal conception rights (witness your view that gay people don't have a right to conceive with a person of the other sex), and a fucking transhumanist eugenicist bullshit spouting asshole if there ever was one.

Dale Carrico said...

John Howard: That's what you rudely reduce reduce everyone else to, but that's not what I see...

John Howard a few sentences later: There is an either/or that we face though, and that is whether to ban or to continue to allow genetic modification

You can't help yourself.

My advocacy of informed consensual recourse to wanted therapies that scare John will, he insists result in arbitrary decisions about what is allowed or not allowed, requiring a police state to enforce these decisions.

Note that trying to facilitate people making informed consensual recourse to wanted therapies is "arbitrary" and yields a "police state" while demanding everybody conform to his dictates by force of absolute prohibitions is non-arbitrary and involves no police state but only happy happy love joy. Up is down, as usual.

Modification medicine is not medicine or medical or therapy, btw, since those require a person to be sick first.

Education is still education even when a student isn't completely ignorant (as no student ever is), and neither is any patient reducible to their illness, nor is their treatment ever confinable to the condition it targets. Health is holistic, its effects complex. Emerging medical techniques highlight these things in new ways, but they actually aren't new. Just as you impose the word "natural" on your parochial prejudices to try to bamboozle your peers into thinking things that can be changed are instead inevitable, so too you rely on a fantasy of what health care is to forestall a nightmare of what you fear it will become.

Some of your fears are warranted, as I keep pointing out only to be ignored or told that I'm just bullshitting because I won't join your cult any more than the trasnhumanist one. But the fears that count here are essentially political, best addressed by improving access to reliable information (by penalizing fraud, and eliminating secrecy, among other things), by ensuring that distributions of cost, risk, and benefit are democratic and fair, and by ensuring people are supported with basic healthcare and basic income so that they won't be duressed by precarity into exploitative circumstances.

You still want to police people into not doing what they want because you don't like it, even if it is safe and wanted. You sound like a common or garden variety would-be tyrant, John. Face it, own it, or change it.

As to my contention that as long as a law effects everyone equally it is valid, that is the finding of our constitutional system of government, made explicit with the 14th Amendment.

Bwahahahaha! Is torture valid in our constitutional system if everybody is subject to it? Is involuntary search and seizure? Every not forbidden is compulsory! Sounds awesome!

since being either male or female is not a disease, like Dvorsky claims and you apparently agree

"Apparently" as in the opposite of what I actually literally explicitly said in the piece you presumably are responding to, but, heck don't let that stop you. Up is down! Up is down!

You implied that the only thing I was trying to ban was same-sex conception, which is a smear, making me seem driven by homophobia rather than being driven to preserve human reproductive rights

You endlessly bring up the specter of same-sex reproduction while writing pious ode after pious ode to the miracle of male and female reproduction. Think it through. And how you can sit there laundry listing all the reproductive techniques you want to ban while claiming to be Captain Fantastic Champion of Reproductive Liberty is really beyond me. Next you'll be calling yourself a sex libber because you want to forbid people to have sex in anything but the Missionary Position.

If you are going to call me a bioconservative because I'm for the ban on genetic modification, then you should play fair and accept that you are a transhumanist.

Sorry, but bioconservatives and trasnhumanists don't get to demand we interpret actual concrete technical developments and actual political struggle through the lens of robot cult transcendence or nature-cult apocalypse, you extremists don't get to tell people how to understand what is happening here on planet earth. I repudiate you both in the name of basic sense and actual democratic deliberation.

declare myself some sort of unlabelable maverick, like you triumphantly proclaim yourself.

I'm just a secular democrat who thinks scientific and political progress are possible, and should be as safe, fair, and consensual as possible. Ooh, what a cra-a-a-a-a-azy maverick!

Just as enacting the ban isn't going to "close the future"

Well that's true enough, free people will still outsmart you, although tyrants always make things harder and more awful to no good purpose.

or "dismantle the scene of informed nonduressed consent",

Except, you know, in the silly literal sense in which consent is undermined when consent is undermined, which is what you want to do.

opposing the ban isn't going to cause a robot god to descend from the sky

No shit sherlock, I make fun of people who believe in a Robot God. As anybody who reads a fraction of my writing will immediately see. You really must be desperate to try to imply otherwise.

and eliminate sex and pleasure.

Also true. Though it looks to me like most censorious conservative pricks you want to restrict it because it makes you skeered.

get over it, being gay doesn't mean you have a right to force us to allow genetic modification, and you ought to have enough self-respect not to play that "oh please, help us, we're pathetic" card.

So you want to fuck us over and then make fun of us for pointing out what you are doing. Is every conservative on earth an asshole? Is there not one single exception? And by the way this whole being gay doesn't give the right to impose your gay on me by actually existing bullshit is such a tired rehash of conservative jackholes who claim equal rights are special rights. Like some queer kid's existence in the world is gonna spoil your het baby's next Christmas. I'll tell you who needs to get over it. I'm not scared of you, Mr. All Natural.

Confused. Are you saying you don't want people to be allowed to create "better humans" if they want to?

No, I'm saying people who make consensual recourse to wanted therpies don't seem to me like "better humans" than people who don't, or who choose different therapies than others, or different lifeways than others. I think the very atrtibution of "better humanness" to just those humans who "enhance" or "preserve" some particular morphology or lifeway over others is a bigot. I don't approve of bigotry. You wouldn't understand.

And it is not eugenic to insist that every person has the right to use their own gametes to reproduce with the person of their choice, using their gametes

Actually, the moment alternate modes of reproduction become available the restriction of access to them becomes eugenic, precisely as eugenic as the selective application of technique does, so long as the restriction, like the selection is organized by a moralizing project to impose some vision of proper humanity over possible alternative. Hiding you head in the sand, saying la la la la la! doesn't make the world you pine to preserve less contingent in actual fact. Progressives move on and adapt our intuitions to changed circumstances so the democratic values of equity ion diversity still live on in the changed circumstances of the world as it actually is, and actually is becoming.

The key is that people choose each other and love each other and join together mentally and spiritually and legally, not based on their potential as good progenitors but based on their love for each other.

Nobody is gonna take away your true love girlfriend, just because some folks want to fuck anonymously and some queers want same-sex conceived babies.

At any rate, to summarize: me: not a eugenicist, me: in favor of equal conception rights

So long as they conform exactly equally to your demands

and opposed to coercive eugenics,

Except the coercion to enforce prohibition of safe wanted therpies that make turn humans away from your prefered ideal, that is to say, yes, you are a eugenicist.

you: in favor of coercive eugenics,

Name one instance.

opposed to equal conception rights

In which, "equality" means, I guess, something like enforced homogeneity? Explain to me how respecting everybody's informed, nonduressed consensual recourse to therapies and celebrating the resulting lifeway diversity that eventuates from such consent can possibly be perceived as a defense of inequality? Up is down. Again.

(witness your view that gay people don't have a right to conceive with a person of the other sex),

Show me where you "witness" this? I've actually contributed sperm to lesbian friends who wanted to conceive a child. How does allowing consensual recourse to same-sex conception disallow consensual recourse to different-sex conception? Bioconservatives are so weird and uptight. Jeez, Louise!

and a fucking transhumanist eugenicist bullshit spouting asshole if there ever was one

You wish.

Go into your corner and cry now, baby, you'll surely feel better. All the skeery same-sex conceived kids won't hurt you, or demand to see your willy, or whatever it is that has you so freaked.

John Howard said...

You can't help yourself.

It's a fact that we a question before us whether to ban or allow germline genetic modification. Everyone will have to be either pro or con about that question. It does not make everyone choose either "complete laissez faire advocated by techno-utopian transcendentalizing "enhancement" eugenicists, or complete prohibition advocated by bioconservative naturalizing "preservationist" eugenicists." Yes, the choice is complete prohibition of genetic modification or not, but you make that sound like it would shut down the hospitals and end democracy. You also make it sound like I'm saying not banning it will result in complete laissez-faire blah blah, when I'm pointing out that not banning it will in fact result in huge government bureaucracy and invasive genetic testing and a loss of reproductive rights.

Regarding reproductive rights, being allowed to create people according to design using modified gametes is not reprodutcive rights, it does not "reproduce" anyone. Reproductive rights mean that everyone is allowed to use their own genes to reproduce. Those are threatened and coerced when labs pressure people into using improved genes or modified gametes instead of their own. Since you are in favor of allowing people to use improved genes (if its safe and wanted, etc) you are applying pressure and coercion to people to not use their own genes, thus curtailing everyone's right to use their own gene. (Oh, they'd still have the right, but in practice they won't use it, it will have been coerced away, much like gays won't use the right to marry someone of the other sex because that right has been coerced away.)

You reveal that you agree with Dvorsky about gender being a disease, because you refer to same-sex conception as a medical treatment or therapy. Medicine and therapy treat diseases, so if same-sex conception is medicine, that means being male or female is a disease.

Dale Carrico said...

Yes, the choice is complete prohibition of genetic modification or not, but you make that sound like it would shut down the hospitals and end democracy.

I've made it sound like you wanted to do precisely the tyrannical thing you wanted to do because you're scared of difference.

You also make it sound like I'm saying not banning it will result in complete laissez-faire blah blah, when I'm pointing out that not banning it will in fact result in huge government bureaucracy and invasive genetic testing and a loss of reproductive rights.

You're the one who keeps accusing me of BSing and saying what amounts to "anything goes" just because I won't sign on to your bioconservative Prohibition fantasy. Your sudden concern for the bureaucracy attaching to the provision of wanted useful services is an obvious panic-stricken attempt at distraction, especially coming from somebody willing to champion a full-on police state to impose his parochial vision on those who disagree with him.

being allowed to create people according to design using modified gametes is not reprodutcive rights, it does not "reproduce" anyone. Reproductive rights mean that everyone is allowed to use their own genes to reproduce.

Yeah, yeah, we get it, heterosexuality now, heterosexuality tomorrow, heterosexuality forever.

Those are threatened and coerced when labs pressure people into using improved genes or modified gametes instead of their own.

How many times do I have to point out that I disapprove of coercion before it counts with you. Answer: there is no adequate number of times because you regard the mere existence of an alternative you disapprove of as evidence of "pressure." Because this is really about you getting your way despite what anybody else wants.

Since you are in favor of allowing people to use improved genes (if its safe and wanted, etc) you are applying pressure and coercion to people to not use their own genes, thus curtailing everyone's right to use their own gene.

Allowing = pressuring, coercing. Up = down.

Oh, they'd still have the right, but in practice they won't use it, it will have been coerced away, much like gays won't use the right to marry someone of the other sex because that right has been coerced away.

Did you really just say that? Gays don't marry heterosexually because we've been coerced away from that right by, what... domestic partnership, or something? Is there a typo in your sentence here? Is this exchange happening?

You reveal that you agree with Dvorsky about gender being a disease, because you refer to same-sex conception as a medical treatment or therapy.

How on earth does this follow logically from the premises? I don't believe gender is a "disease" and you're "revelation" to the contrary is an embarrassing delusion or facile effort at deception. It doesn't even seem sane to pretend otherwise given what I've actually written on this topic.

Medicine and therapy treat diseases, so if same-sex conception is medicine, that means being male or female is a disease.

Medicine also improves health and well being. One need not be diseased to be welcome comfort, help, or well-being on one's own terms.

Try again, bioconman.

John Howard said...

Yeah, yeah, we get it, heterosexuality now, heterosexuality tomorrow, heterosexuality forever.

As the way people are created, right. Not as the way people live their lives, but as the way they create new lives, it should be done in the way that people can do it by themselves, without relying on government intervention to go in create a baby from modified gametes. The only way to create a baby without government regulated modified gametes is heterosexually. Blame Darwin, it's because of evolution that there are two complementary sexes, and we are all only one or the other. That's a good thing that doesn't need to be overcome. You agree with that, supposedly, or else you agree with Dvorsky.

"How many times do I have to point out that I disapprove of coercion before it counts with you. Answer: there is no adequate number of times because you regard the mere existence of an alternative you disapprove of as evidence of "pressure." Because this is really about you getting your way despite what anybody else wants."

You don't understand coercion. And considering that you have based your whole political utopia on non-duressed consent, you really should think about whether it is possible or not. I think you will find that it isn't. It's just a way for you to get what you want. You claim that you should have a right to do whatever you want (because you claim that you (or anyone as well-educated as you) wouldn't want to do something that is unsafe to begin with). I haven't read it, but Chomsky has a book called "Manufacturing Consent" that might be relevant here, judging by the title.

"Allowing = pressuring, coercing. Up = down."

Telling someone that there is a better way to conceive their baby if they want to pressures them tremendously. "Do you want us to take out that gene for breast cancer, or leave it in? It's the latest thing."

And this relates to gay couples being pressured into doing same-sex conception. After all we will have heard about the unfairness of donor conception, if someone comes along and offers same-sex conception, how is a gay couple supposed to resist the pressure from their family and friends and each other to not pony up the hundred grand and have a child made for them? They are already under enormous pressure to get married here in Massachusetts not that its legal, from strangers and family and friends. The same thing would happen with same-sex conception, which is precisely why it is being developed (and homosexuality was suddenly embraced), to force open the door into non heterosexual reproduction using modified gametes and bring on so-called "liberal" eugenics.

If you are against exploitation and for equitable distribution of health care resources, and for equal protections for same-sex couples, you should oppose same-sex conception and shut the door on that big government, corporate, exploitive, carbon-spewing industry.

Dale Carrico said...

Blame Darwin, it's because of evolution that there are two complementary sexes, and we are all only one or the other.

I prefer culture to evolution, but I'm quite happy to use Darwin wherever he has something helpful to say. As for one or the other, you ever heard of intersex people?

You don't understand coercion. And considering that you have based your whole political utopia on non-duressed consent, you really should think about whether it is possible or not.

If you define nonduressed consent as omnipotence then, yes, it's a vacuity. Same with liberty, freedom, will, and the rest. I think you would be quite alive to the distinction between what I mean by informed nonduressed consent and by its violation in any context that applied to your own circumstances, except perhaps in the context of the effort to score facile high school debate points by hyper-restrictively defining legible notions out of existence.

It's just a way for you to get what you want. You claim that you should have a right to do whatever you want

That's simply demonstrably not true. Say what you will.

I haven't read it, but Chomsky has a book called "Manufacturing Consent" that might be relevant here, judging by the title.

I've taught the book to undergraduates. Chomsky doesn't denigrate the very idea of consent, he criticizes what passes for it in authoritarian societies.

Telling someone that there is a better way to conceive their baby if they want to pressures them tremendously.

This makes no sense to me at all.

if someone comes along and offers same-sex conception, how is a gay couple supposed to resist the pressure from their family and friends and each other to not pony up the hundred grand and have a child made for them? They are already under enormous pressure to get married here in Massachusetts not that its legal, from strangers and family and friends.

The world's gays all thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your valiant fight to free us from the pressure of having the option to marry like straight people who want to already have, or to have any other new choices you disapprove of. You're a real humanitarian.

If you are against exploitation and for equitable distribution of health care resources, and for equal protections for same-sex couples, you should oppose same-sex conception and shut the door on that big government, corporate, exploitive, carbon-spewing industry.

What could be more obvious? Any environmentalist worth her salt knows the place to begin the fight against human made climate catastrophe is to ban the emergence of safe wanted techniques to enable same-sex conception. Mm-hm.