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Grudge Match Debate! ktprktpr Vs Banshee: Genetics Profiling

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posted on Aug, 2 2003 @ 02:56 PM
DEBATE CHALLENGE: ktprktpr Vs Banshee

Our Newbie ktprktpr came to ATS complaining of a lack of credible debates, and issued an open challenge for a Grudge Match Debate. Banshee (who is no stranger to challenges, and doesn't back down) has accepted this challenge.

So, in the interested of civilized debate, we are taking these individuals to the debate forum.

The topic: Genetics Profiling: The importance of Genetics Profiling in identifying health problems in unborn babies, identifying other "undesirable" genetic traits such as physical stature, sexuality, disposition to genetic diseases, and potential criminal behaviour outweighs the parents and families right to privacy. Not only should future parents make decisions on these basis, but the government should have complete access to this information and make decisions about social and medical needs on that basis.

ktprktpr will argue the position of affirmative.

Banshee will argue the contrary position.

Banshee has won the toss for opening statement. (Banshee can pass his first post to ktprktpr if she wishes)

The format will be:

1 opening statment from each side.

4 alternating posts from each side. Each post cannot exceed 1,000 words and my not have more than one reference link. Each participant will have 18 hours for thier respective posts.

ktprktpr has first closing statement (like the opening statement, he can pass to Banshee)

Each side may have 1 follow-up rebuttal post to the other's closing statement, but rebuttals may not exceed 200 words.

Please follow all other rules of ATS Online Debate posting in the Debate Forum.

Remember, editting is strictly forbidden in debate threads.

Banshee, the debate thread is yours.

posted on Aug, 2 2003 @ 04:38 PM
The science of genetic profiling seems a noble one.
Now that the Human Genome Project has completed its mapping of the human genome, doors can be opened
to increased prenatal diagnoses of fatal diseases and anomolies. In a perfect world, we are at the
threshold of preventing the suffering of untold people due to genetic aberrations.
This is not a perfect world.
The ethical repercussions of using one's genetic structure in medical, legal, and social situations
are far-reaching and dangerous. Just as doors can be opened for increased health, they are opened also
to privacy invasion, disintigration of human responsibility, and the ownership of the basic building
blocks of life.
This is a dangerous path science is treading, and it is one that has a profoundly negative affect on each and
every one of us.

posted on Aug, 3 2003 @ 01:15 AM
(Opening statement; pro; 190 words)

This is not a perfect world. So we strive to make it the best we can.

Already genetic therapies cure unborn children of affliction. Charities are set up to help the poor and prisons are constructed to restrain criminals. These efforts improve the general quality of life in society.

Realistically, the ultimate goal of society is to maintain and improve the quality of life. In this ongoing task, the question becomes: What is the balance between an individuals' right and the right of society?

Whatever the answer may be, the question becomes mute when individual rights block powerful and emerging tools for society. Genetic profiling is such a tool. Should it not, at least, be wielded experimentally? What seems far reaching and dangerous to a child is tamed as familiarity and maturity are gained.

Genetic profiling is already practiced indirectly, through racism and other evils. Quite bluntly, since society's ultimate goal is to maintain and improve the quality life, genetic profiling should be integrated to work towards that goal. The specifics of that integration (privacy concerns, etc.) should be taken as exciting challenges to resolve.

posted on Aug, 3 2003 @ 06:51 PM
(a nod to my opponent before starting out. Good luck to you!)

Your thoughts are your own. Your actions are your own.
Your physical makeup, however, is not.
You are crafted like Rodin crafted marble, any imperfections artfully chipped away and your being
molded long before you took your first breath, even before you could be considered a viable human being.
You are exactly what someone else wanted you to be and you don't mind it because the genes that
contribute to a sense of individuality have been pruned back to more acceptable levels.
One day, after brushing your perfect teeth and combing your perfect hair, after donning stylish clothing
on a perfect body, you walk outside into a less than perfect world. Those less fortunate than you go
about their imperfect lives; as you stroll along you hear snippets of conversation about "individuality"
and "awareness" and "choice." A superior sense of pity tickles the edges of your brain as you think of
how flawed these proles are, how they still get colds and how they can still be wrong.
"It wasn't always like this," the voice of an old woman startles you from your thoughts. You draw back
in revulsion. She's one of "them," she'd one of those people who didn't want to go along with the
program. Her lips part in a smile, revealing less than perfect teeth.
"Once," she tells you. "Once we weren't made. Once we made ourselves out of what we were given by
nature, not science."

Science fiction?
But the beauty of science fiction is that so much of it is based on truth.
As gene mapping creeps forward bit by bit, our chromosomes are revealing just how much information they actually contain. Even before Watson and Crick identified the structure of the chromosome, medical
science was aware that certain traits were passed through family lines. Eye color, hair color, physical stature, certain diseases, these traits were all obvious manifestations. Today, however, 39 years after Watson, Crick and Williams won the Nobel for their research into DNA, science has found that blue eyes aren't the only trait carried in one's genes.
There are genes that predispose a person to types of cancer. There are genes that make a person more
likely to suffer from mental disorders. It is currently believed that a number of genes also determine a person's IQ long before they speak their first word. Due to the completion of the Human Genome Project and recent advances in the cloning and genetics communities, research and experimentation are taking place in creating "designer babies."
Much of this growing trend is being seen in fertility clinics. In vitro fertilization occurs when sperm and eggs are combined outside a woman's uterus, kept in a physiological conditions, and allowed to fertilize and begin dividing. After division occurs two or three times, the zygote (a fertilized egg between 0 and 15 divisions) is transferred to the uterus where the pregnancy is completed as normal.
For a couple who is unable to conceive naturally, in vitro fertilization is a way to have children when physiological disorders have prevented them from doing so. While it is a godsend to so many couples worldwide, it also raises some serious questions.
Genetic manipulation must occur when there are only a few cells to work with. In animal experimentation, the manipulation occurs in a petri dish just after the sperm and egg join. The zygote is then implanted in the animal's uterus and pregnancy is completed as normal. The problem plaguing scientists, however, is that many of the animals they "create" show unexpected side effects of the genetic manipulation if they survive to term. Limb malformaions are common in oncomice (mice
specifically created to study genetic-linked cancers) and a high rate of unexplained sudden death occurs in genetically modified rabbits. There is inherent danger in manipulating any being's genetic structure, as it is infinitely more complex than the Human Genome Project would like to admit.
Fertility clinics are finding greater instances of couples not only interested in pregnancy, but also in selective genetics. The biggest request? "I want a (boy/girl), can you make sure of that?" Gender selection isn't the only request, though. Parents want certain eye color, disease screening, disposition, et cetera. Current technology and ethical concerns do not allow for anything more than gender selection, but doors are being nudged slowly open on a world of "designer babies."
Science is in the midst of learning how to play God.
If the trend continues, we will one day be able to determine everything about a child before he or she
is born. We will be able to change the traits a parent finds undesireable. We will create something that is no longer quite human. When our mind and mental abilities are able to be manipulated against our will, how can we continue to be a society of freethinkers and visionaries?
As sure as future parents will want to choose their progeny's gender or hair color, governmental
agencies will want to "weed out" potential criminals, and from there insanity.
Has anyone ever called you crazy for your beliefs? If genetic manipulation is allowed to reach these levels, no one will be "crazy" anymore.

posted on Aug, 4 2003 @ 01:01 PM
When painted by extremism, genetic profiling will always look like dangerous science fiction. Using genetic profiling does not require a heavy handed "all or nothing" approach. And like atomic power, something as powerful as genetic profiling is not going to go away. Genetic profiling can be used for good and improving society's quality of life. Genetic profiling brings with it a unique kind of "transparency" that prevents degenerative and extreme use. This transparency will be discussed at my conclusion.

Bashnee's has raised several valid concerns, which if played out, would be fatal. I, hopefully, solve these concerns below:

I. There is an inherent danger in manipulating genetic structure. Bad things happen.

So what? Genetic profiling does not have to be carried out through genetic manipulation. Eugenics is a viable means of genetic profiling that would not result in genetic monstrosities by clumsy scientists. And hopefully there will come a point where genetic manipulation can be used in genetic profiling. But until then genetic profiling can be carried out in other harmless ways.

II. Science is in the midst of learning how to play God.

Yes, with power comes responsibility. To limit the maximum damage done, any intelligent use of genetic profiling would require an incremental approach. With intelligent planning we can play God and be risk free. It's all how you plan for it. Again, when painted by extremism, genetic profiling will always look like dangerous science fiction.

III. We will be able to determine everything about a child before it is born.

No. This brings us to the nature vs. nurture debate. Have you discovered what influences a child? Genetic profiling will certainly determine some things, but definitely not everything.

IV. We will create something no longer human.

What is a human? Humanity exists along the continuum of evolution. It is impossible to divide that continuum into human and other. Our white teeth, greater height and health would seem inhuman to our ancestors of years ago. In evolution the definition of humanity changes. Don't be to near sighted.

V. Our society would root out free thinkers and visionaries!

Genetic profiling is to be used to improve or maintain the quality of life. If we weeded out valuable leaders and visionaries do you think humanity would be around much longer? I assume that's why you brought this point up. In improving or maintaining the quality of life, under non-extremist conditions, the majority of human genetic material would have to be preserved.

Extremism is always undesirable. Genetic profiling brings with it an extreme power. "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely," .... when there is no accountability.

Absolute power can be wielded intelligently if checked by an equally powerful accountability. GP brings with it the greatest kind of accountability: the results of the human race, clearly visible for all to see. The science fiction, the mutant freaks and elimination of free thinkers would only occur under the eyes of us all. And with the whole world watching such misuse and abuses are very unlikely to occur.

posted on Aug, 4 2003 @ 09:56 PM
My opponent and I are both willing to accept a change in the reply deadline. I find that making a reply in under 18 hours, when the post was done in the afternoon, is diffucult to do. I have to sleep too, etc.

I propose that posts occur the day after the preceding one, before 8pm. This way someone could be normal by day and post on AT by night.

is this acceptable?


posted on Aug, 4 2003 @ 10:13 PM
If both members agree, we will adopt a 24 hour posting schedule.

posted on Aug, 6 2003 @ 03:12 PM
Is this debate on permanent hold because of the recent shake up at ATS?

posted on Aug, 6 2003 @ 05:41 PM

Originally posted by ktprktpr
Is this debate on permanent hold because of the recent shake up at ATS?

The shakeup caused some technical difficulties. My response will be up shortly.


posted on Aug, 6 2003 @ 06:44 PM
Were I an extremist, I might be spinning sci-fi nonsense.
However, I am a realist. I am taking into consideration past actions of medicine, politics, and the human race in general and applying this toward future abuse potential in the field of genetics.
After all, if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck...chances are that we might be looking at another duck.

Accountability is difficult to assign in the circles most interested in genetic profiling.
In the insurance field, there are no regulations preventing a health insurance company from assigning
premiums and even denying benefits based on one's genetic blueprint. A person can be completely
healthy, but a questionable gene or two can cause refusal of benefits or greatly increased premiums.
The current state of HMOs show us that a person's health is not a subject of concern. They are
corporations concerned about the bottom line, and if the bottom line is eliminating potential future financial risk, then a corporation will surely take that route.

In a similar vein, there is no regulation preventing employers from using genetic information to make
hire/fire decisions. Will you hold companies accountable for not misusing this information? A gene indicating a future potential for heart disease can legally be used to eliminate you from a potential job you are qualified for; a potential for future disease means a potential for sick days and therefore lost money.

Currently, criminals convicted of certain violent crimes are not only fingerprinted, but a sample of their DNA is stored in a national database. Certainly this is a wise use of DNA profiling, but who else will have their DNA stored?
In Britain, BioBank wants half a million blood samples for "research purposes." That's half a million people who have never raped or murdered anyone with their DNA stored in a data bank made availible to outside companies, including pharmaceutical companies.
There's also the NDNAD. Have you heard of it? Probably not. It's the National DNA Database, and it
claims to hold DNA data for over 2 million people. Were it just criminals, this might be seen as a positive resource for law enforcement. Why, then, does it also contain DNA information on non-criminal mentally disordered people?

If you want something from today's "real world" that gives you pause, pay attention to the recent populatiry of "Child ID kits." Several companies offer this service, often for free; they will fingerprint your child, photograph them, and take a DNA sample in case your child is ever reported missing. When out shopping with my sister one afternoon last month, we passed by a folding table outside a Walmart staffed by two nicely-dressed gentlemen. They explained they were offering this Child ID service right then and there, and asked if we had children in the family. After politely declining, we walked off while my sister cursed up and down that nobody's getting her son's DNA to do God knows what with. These words from a person that doesn't know a kerotype from a carrot stick? Who would think this to be a good idea?
This is a mass collection of genetic evidence on our nation's children. There are laws requiring websites to warn children not to enter questionable sites, but private companies and governmental agencies alike are free to run wild with our youth's DNA.

I ask again: who would think this to be a good idea, any of it?

posted on Aug, 7 2003 @ 10:38 PM
I'm going to try to briefly dissect the issues involved here and then come up with a solution that side steps those issues.

Accountability is a huge issue with any medical information usage. The fact is, that in the face of a dollar the corporate "higher ups" don't seem to care. The non-existence of legal regulation against genetic discrimination and faulty HMOs highlight this problem. Even your sister highlights this problem.

The medical information gleaned from genetic profiling is very useful for identification, indexing and prediction. This is most likely why non-criminal types are being pushed to add DNA to genetic databases. The answer to your repeated question, "Who would think this is to be a good?", is: "Not a body with something to lose."

Of course, such a system would in theory affect the corporate CEOs and higher up government types implementing it, but I'm sure they could find a way around it or being so rich, not suffer consequences. Any way you look at it, it's a normal mans' losing game.

What we are seeing is the clash between traceable genetic information and privacy.

Let me outline how genetic profiling is likely to be implemented:

1. You are born. You genetic information is stored in a national database.

2. This information is used in various ways. Depending upon legislation, and how well it is enforced, many basic things we take for granted now are affected.

3. When it comes time to have children, some doctor would do a DNA review. You may or may not be granted the right to reproduce. If genetic engineering were sufficiently advanced, a child might be engineered. If eugenics were done then most likely you would be simply "given" a child to rear, based on your genetic status. Not pretty.

But there's a way around all of this. Before I go forward let me point out that several points I made in the last entry have not been refuted. My comments, that society should strive to improve the overall quality of life and genetic profiling is the ultimate way to do it, still stand.

Using genetic information as a discriminatory measure is the issue with genetic profiling. If genetics were not used to discriminate than there would be no issue with what the government did. This ain't going to happen. The issue here is information.

The solution:

Do not store traceable genetic information. Simple.

Without traceable information the government, the HMOs, the insurances can't do much. A non-traceable gene bank would still allow the government to draw general trends and analyze the whole population of the US without singling out one person. And it would allow the government complete access to this information and the ability to make decisions about social and medical needs on that basis.

Here's how it works:

When a couple, or anyone I guess, goes in for genetic consulting (as in having a baby) they are given a random number printed on piece of paper. A blood sample is taken, associated with the random number, and sent to the lab. The couple is told to come back two weeks later.

The couple comes back two weeks later and gives the reference number to a nurse. The nurse hands them a sealed genetic report. The doctor looks over the report and confers with the couple. When the visit is over the couple disposes both random number and the report (like, burn it, or shred it). While the government has a copy of that genetic information, there isn't a person to associate it with. Of course, the whole thing would be free so no financial transactions could be traced to a visit.

Non-traceable genetic information erases privacy concerns by eliminating the connection between the person and personal genetic information. Wielding the might of genetic profiling, it allows mankind to step fearlessly into the future.

posted on Aug, 10 2003 @ 08:27 AM
let's try to keep replies to sometime late in the day after a post.... You can take the day the person posted to jot down any notes and make an outline or whatnot, and the next to write it out in a couple of hours. One reason I complained to DR about the debates was that people didn't finish them.

posted on Aug, 10 2003 @ 08:32 PM
Your "solution," while noble, will never happen as things stand today.
The first problem one will see with it comes back to accountability. You are assuming what is already a corrupt, money-driven industry will adapt to an anonymous method of testing when money is to be made otherwise.
Take note of just how private your medical information is at current. On the surface it may seem that only you and your doctor know what ails you, but the confidentiality that we assume exists, in fact, does not.
Pharmaceutical companies regularly receive reports of what drugs are prescribed for which conditions; if their pet project isn't being dispensed with enough frequency, they will push for more patients to receive their drug instead of a cheaper generic or a competitor's product.
Local, state, and federal governments routinely receive reports of health status. The term "green card" in the medical field refers to a report filed with the local health department when certain diseases show up in a doctor's office. While in the case of something like, oh, Ebola, it certainly makes sense to have this data availible to halt its spread. However, a night's indescretion resulting in a seemingly discreet visit to your doctor and a penacillin shot is summarily reported to the health department complete with your name and social security number.
Insurance companies demand detailed diagnostics for each of their members. Every time you go to the doctor, every cold, migrane, psychiatric visit, or ER visit is submitted to your insurance company complete with the results of any tests run and a very specific diagnosis.
Speaking from experience, it's harder to get a copy of your own personal medical records than it is for your insurance company or other agencies to receive that information.

These are the organizations you expect to respect one's privacy? When a migrane headache is no longer handled between you and your doctor, how can anyone truly believe their genetic information will be kept anonymous?
Private genetic banks and government agencies alike are salivating for genetic information on as many people as they can get their hands on. They ask for volunteers, yet won't agree to *only* use the data for research purposes. They assure privacy, but assign your name to the sample you provide.
I ask again, are these the people you'd trust with your genetic information, or that of your children?

You ask me to refute your points.
I have refuted them. Every word I type shows that the questionable benefit of genetic profiling is far outweighed by the tremendous risk associated with it. After seeing the ending stages of the Human Genome Project from the inside, I can honestly say that this venture is a true threat to our privacy.

(side note: apologies, I cracked a rib and it's very hard for me to sit down for a length of time. This was presented as soon as I physically could.)

posted on Aug, 11 2003 @ 07:12 PM
It is very difficult to come up with a case where a powerful new technology was halted before it was developed. Genetic profiling is being developed and driven by the medical and governmental agencies. It's not going to stop. Getting the Citizenry in the front seat is the best compromise we have today.

Let look at the two possible worst scenario cases:

1. Adamantly protest and balk at genetic profiling with traceable genetics, while the government and medical agencies slowly make the nightmare a reality.

2. Get a jump on the game and intelligently implement non-traceable genetic profiling, which takes the government up on its' offer, but by rules of the citizen.

So we have to work as hard as we can to get an intelligent system implemented. Writing that it'll never happen is insulting. Let me make my thesis clear, again:

Genetic profiling is going to happen whether the population wants it to or not. The government and medical industry can be very persuasive. Because these institutions operate on a different time scale than you or I, it is easy to gradually introduce subtle changes. Therefore, it is best to pre-empt a medical/governmental implementation by building an acceptable and robust system (such as the one I suggested) now. Note that my solution avoids all the privacy concerns you have listed throughout the entire debate.

My specific counter arguments have been met with concerns about privacy. Issues of privacy do not deal specifically, for example, with issues of genetic selection. It's like saying you don't deal with apples because you're wary of oranges; it makes no sense.

For instance, my counter argument allowing visionaries and free thinkers to live ("In improving or maintaining the quality of life, under non-extremist conditions, the majority of human genetic material would have to be preserved."), while not the strongest argument, has not even been addressed. ATS debate rules are very specific that if something is written and not specifically refuted later, it stands.

This is esp. critical because it is best to implement my solution (see my thesis) and there are no arguments against using genetic profiling while privacy issues are resolved.

The debate then turns to necessity of allowing genetic profiling to occur at all. My thesis addresses this issue and it would need to be demonstrated that genetic profiling will not occur. Otherwise, under the worst case scenarios, it would be best to go forward with genetic profiling, by citizen specification and rule.

(okay I think you have one more reply and then I get first closing argument and then you and then voting. Finally

posted on Aug, 14 2003 @ 08:24 AM
Been to long between replies. Kinda disrespectful. I have things to do and I use time in my day to do this. If you don't got the time than make it clear and retract. Broken rib seems fine when posting around everyday. Had fun though. Perhaps we can get a vote right now. No bad feelings or immaturity (I am a new member). Hope you get better.


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