Monday, January 09, 2006

Morality Monday

Let's get this week started right with what will prove to be my most controversial Morality Monday to date.

First some assumptions necessary for the question. (Note to readers: I am not claiming that any of these assumptions are true or that they have any basis in fact)
1. Assume that homosexuality has a genetic cause.
2. Assume we have the technology to modify, safely and without any side effects, someone's genes when they are in utero.

If you or you significant other were pregnant and the doctor told you that the fetus carried the gene that causes homosexuality, and told you that through some very simple and entirely safe process he could alter that gene to cause you child to be born a heterosexual, would you ask the doctor to do it?

As always, comments are welcome. However, if anyone comments and says anything to the effect of, "Homosexuality is not genetically caused!" or "But your assumptions are false!" I will delete your comment. I know that my assumptions are in all likelihood false. It's called a thought experiment.

Now for my take. Firstly, I have no kids, but it seems to me that a parent has an obligation to do everything in his or her power to enable the child to have the best life possible. Now I'm not saying homosexuality is in any way wrong, and in fact if it is genetically caused as it is here, it is on the exact same plane as heterosexuality. However, assuming that the societal mores regarding homosexuality remain the same (and there's no reason to think a little scientific evidence would change that), it seems clear that a heterosexual would have an easier life with fewer hurdles to overcome, and thus would be more likely to have a successful life (however you might define that). So my answer would be that yes, I would ask to doctor to do it.

Unfortunately, homosexuality is not the only trait that puts one at a disadvantage in America. This is also the land of prolific institutionalized racism. So if I said that I would prevent my child from being born gay, would I then also prevent my child from being born black or hispanic? And what about gender? Despite the great successes of the feminist movement, women are still at a marked disadvantage to men. So would I also change my child's gender? If you answered yes to the homosexuality question, try to grapple with these as well.

As for me, these secondary questions make me uncomfortable, and I'm not sure how to answer them. But I'll continue thinking about it and see if I can come up with something. Any help would be appreciated.


Anonymous Leo said...

What if the doctor didn't have a way to change the genes, but it was early enough in the pregnancy that abortion was still an option. What genetic factors would incline you to consider terminating the pregnancy?

I, for example, would strongly consider aborting all female fetuses. Male children bring wealth into the family, but girls join their husbands family, taking their dowry with them.

11:54 AM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

careful you don't loose your footing, 'cuz that slope looks pretty slippery to me...

1:33 PM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

Leo, Nell's parents were quite upset when they found out they were having a girl, but the pain was alleviated by the fact that they already had a male child to support them in their old age. I think reasonable people can agree that it's probably a good idea to abort all female fetuses until a male child is born. After the male is born, you don't lose too much by having a girl.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Mike1877 said...

Hummm I would have my child changed. I think even homosexuals would prefer to be heteral if given the choice to be. The pain that goes with being gay I think alone if reason enough for that. So yes I would change my childs gene. Whether or not to change boy to girl or abort a girl because she is a girl. No I would not. Family today is becoming a "Loose" term. I think married couples now more than ever are spending equal time with each others family. And taking on the family responsibility no matter his or her side.

As far as the racial thing. If your white and your wife is white, and changing its color. You better be asking your wife whats up! Mixed couples. I dont think I would change the color one side to the other. I think society is becoming more and more racially tolerant as the years go by. maybe its just me.
I believe Gay poeple now go through much more ridicule, and suffering than any of the other races. To a point that pain is also charecter building.

5:05 PM  
Blogger scarlet panda said...

I've had several close gay friends, none of whom would now say they wished they were heterosexual. Aside from some painful experiences during adolescence, they're perfectly happy with their sexual orientations and can't really imagine their lives any other way.

6:44 PM  
Blogger freethoughtmom said...

y'all are missing the obvious side effect of not being heterosexual: less chance of grandchildren. We know 4 or 5 gay/lesbian couples, none with kids.

As we have supposedly finished reproducing, don't believe that I haven't thought about this very carefully. But due to my husband's graduate work, he thinks we are fucking optimists to even be having any children, as he sees no future for them. Now that I've shared such feelings of despair and hopelessness, I'll be slinking off now.

answer: no change [my argument was facetious as most of our heterosexual friends don't have children either]

6:16 PM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

What if we change the genetic condition to some unnamed disease which would increase your child's chances of contracting a deadly disease? Any of those "no changers" willing to change their position under this condition?

7:25 PM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

If it was to combat a disease, then I definately would do it. However, the logic that gets me there is not the same. We already give our children vaccines; I would see this as a prenatal vaccine.

1:48 PM  

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