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Old 05-09-2007, 11:30 PM   #16
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I can't believe you don't thank that lucky sperm which beat 180 million - odd others to create you!! And that was just that one time in which you were actually created! So many sperm. One baby. Those odds, huh. And you're ungrateful.

I'm certainly going to ask every sperm from now on if it wishes to fertilise my egg or not.
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Old 05-09-2007, 11:43 PM   #17
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i heard it said that if the average ejacuate were -- in theory -- of the volume it would take to fill an Olympic (50m) pool, then each sperm would be the size of a goldfish.

amazing.

i still want to know if we'd abort if we'd be giving birth to a deaf baby. or a blind baby. if we could test for such things.

essay question: what does ability difference -- hearing abled, or not; sight abled, or not -- bring to our lives? do we learn from those who are differently-abled? is it condescending to view those who are deaf/blind/whatever as teaching tools for the rest of us? would most of them change their abilities if given the chance?

on a side note, i know i bring up the gay thing, but i think the deaf thing is very interesting. the US's premiere deaf university -- Galludette -- is in DC, and from what i understand, deaf people see themselves as quite politicized and have as strong a sense of pride in their own community as any other minority group -- in the same way that many gays would never want to be straight, many deaf people would never want to be hearing.

just saying. i think it's all interesting, and it leads me into some self-absorption, in that my life is certainly enriched when i meet differently-abled people from all walks of life, but then i wonder if i'm being a jerk and condescending if i see each little encounter as my own litte sitcom-esque "very special episode of Blossom" where i learn a tidy life lesson in 22 minutes about people who are different from the rest of "us."

and then i realize that i perform that function for myriad other people. and while responsiblity/burdens can suck, it's really not all that terrible.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:06 AM   #18
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May be they do, may be they don't. But no matter what, could they do anything about the fact that they are different?

could sleeping with a woman make a gay straight? Or could the loudest rock concert make one deaf people regain the hearing?

I watched a TV interview of one pop singer when I was younger. He was pretty popular around that time in the local area, but he couldn't walk. On the interview, he told the reporter stop telling him how strong and brave she think he is, and told her that he is not, and he probably cried more than anyone else in the world, at night. He only made the choice refuse to have a sad life, because he don't have a second choice.

I guess the answer for this thread's question is whether we should play the safe bet or take the move that risk more than one people's happiness and lives. Making this kind of decision is like gambling, no right or wrong answers, only winner and loser.

=======================

To Angela Harlem:

I know the odd are so low, almost like wining the top prize lottery, and there always people criticize me for not being grateful. Let me tell you a story, because it's easier to explain this way.

In 2002, I was a third year uni student, and our uni build a new 20 floors library tower. A girl and her boyfriend is spending the lunch time at the roof of the building, and she was playing with the boy. Suddently the boy dropped his mobile phone out of the building. It was only few people in the campus, but there was another boy just walked out of the library. the phone hit his head almost killed him.

I think the chance for someone got hit by a mobile phone droped from 20th floor is almost equal to the chance of winning the top prize lottery, too. I doubt the one got hit by the phone felt grateful.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:25 AM   #19
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Down's is a very variable condition from extremely mild cases to extremes, some can even enter mainstream education with some specialist help.

Problem is the testing can not tell the degree of mental retardation or other health effects that the child will suffer.

Down's could be screened for before fertilisation though,most of the time it is caused by an extra chromosome in the egg, rarely in the sperm...so you could detect it before abortion even becomes a consideration, as there is no possible life yet.

I would be against messing around with our gene pool as A_Wanderer suggests. A lot of genes do not operate independently, intelligence is believed to be controlled by multiple genes, the tweaking required to produce a super intelligent baby, may have many undesirable results...certain genetic abnormalities may also have desirable effects, one of the most well known ones would be sickle cell anaemia. Those with the full blown condition die quite young, those who are carriers are slightly anaemic, but they don't get malaria.

Again I would be wary of the people who actually control the technology to do so anyway, it is likely only the rich would initially be able to afford it.
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Old 05-10-2007, 07:08 AM   #20
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As a starting point, I agree with Lies; ultimately being pro-choice, even if you advocate some particular time-window limit, inevitably means respecting the moral autonomy and integrity of individuals to make their own personal decisions about abortion, and you run the risk of making that respect pretty hollow if you get into trying to force broad social consensus (with accompanying implicit threats of public shaming and exile into furtive silence) as to the moral acceptability of what are otherwise legally permissible abortions for reasons X, Y and Z. As with anything else concerning this issue, there does of course need to be some room for qualifications--for example, both India and China have made it illegal for doctors to reveal sex during prenatal screening, not for 'feminist' or 'humanitarian' reasons but because they were seeing clear signs of demographically untenable sex-ratio trends in several regions. I feel differently about extending the flexibility for those kinds of imposed restrictions to vaguer questions of what makes for an acceptable quality of life (for both parents and child), though.

As far as the rest--well, Irvine used himself (as a gay person) as an example, so I'll use myself as a rather different sort of example. Without getting into details, I have an inheritable genetic defect that entails surgical and/or radiation treatments maybe once every year or so, occasional bouts of disabling pain, and random progessive neurological consequences, the worst of which is, usually, severe hearing loss to the point of requiring lipreading skills by late middle age. Does society in a general sense benefit from having people with my condition around, no, obviously not--it uses up disproportional medical resources per capita, causes occasional but inconvenient workplace disruptions, inflicts stress on families etc., while in and of itself offering nothing socially useful or "redeeming" that I can think of. On the other hand, it hasn't stopped me from having a satisfying career, a family, friends, hiking and running and all the other things I like to do in my spare time, and it doesn't usually cause symptoms until sometime in one's 20s, so it doesn't inherently place added burdens on parents. The three kids I have now were all born before the diagnosis was made, so it wasn't something we even thought about with them; we do, though, sometimes think about it with regard to any future children we may or may not decide at some point we'd like to have. Genetic screening isn't an option at present, as the gene involved is known, but how to predict what sorts of mutations in it will cause problems (many of them don't) isn't...yet. So, basically it comes down to 'risk factor' and most days my tendency is to think, well, in the grand scheme of all the possible things that could go wrong, this just isn't one to be all that afraid of; the consequences really aren't that disruptive, the treatment approaches are getting better all the time even if they can't cure it, and while of course it would feel better to know my child wouldn't ever have to deal with this, nothing in my own experience leads me to see this as an insurmountable obstacle to leading a productive and rewarding life, either for the afflicted or for all the people they'll have strong influence on in the course of their lives. "Life lesson in 22 minutes"--well, I guess I can serve that role to a point on account of my hearing loss, but on the other hand, on balance I really don't see any reason for anyone to ever feel sorry for me or my family. I can give as well as I can take, what I have to give comes from a mix of acquired and inborn skills that no one has to wait on me hand and foot to access, and I certainly don't need or expect to ever require someone hovering protectively over me at every moment on account of this.

But, this is obviously way less pervasive of a handicap than many others. I guess personally, my tendency is to evaluate those in terms of how they'd likely effect, first, the future social and physical viability of the child and second, the stability of the relationship between their parents and (if applicable) other relatives--existing siblings most of all. I do tend to see profoundly socially disabling conditions as being more serious than most physically disabling ones--for me, having normally functioning legs, eyes, ears etc. isn't essential to what makes a human life productive and worthwhile (though I'd grant that deafness is somewhat different here, in that it can be profoundly socially isolating, depending on what 'treatment' is given); whereas being able to work together with, gain and give support from and to others--those things I do see as innately tragic to be without. But obviously that's a very vague criterion--who gets to define and delimit what those capacities look like? I don't have final answers on that, nor would I want to impose them on anyone else. I feel similarly on the question of how much and in what ways a disability is likely to affect parents and siblings--having children ALWAYS brings with it huge risks, huge unknowables, huge potential consequences if the unforeseen happens, and I think it's irresponsible not to contemplate that (whether as preparation for having an apparently healthy child, or as reality check for contemplating having a disabled one)...but, it's likewise irresponsible not to think about whether your relationship and/or family in its present state is realistically up to the demands and strains you know in advance will likely result. To that extent I do think it's a great thing that parents of/children with Down's Syndrome are speaking out about what their experiences have been, to help demystify what it's like and lift it out of reflexive-associations-with-tragedy territory.

And as far as the possibility of one's child being "genetically fated" to be gay, well, in my opinion you've got a seriously messed-up sense of what makes for a productive and fulfilling life if you see that as a fundamental obstacle. Lots of racial and ethnic minorities would rather be from the majority "if I'd had the choice", lots of women would rather have been men "if I'd had the choice", there are occasional but nagging social heartaches that can come along with all kinds of things, but no one's genes are to blame for that; there's nothing inherent in those qualities to keep you from actively contributing to your community, your family, your work of choice, nor from finding it rewarding to be alive and able to participate and contribute. A sense of self-worth, and seeing that same possibility in others, shouldn't hinge on idealized 'normatives' like that; being able to contribute and participate productively may require certain fundamentals, and we could argue endlessly about all the gray areas surrounding that, but unless you want to get into playing rhetorical politics with false dichotomies and overwrought reductiones ad absurdum, I think equating what are really pretty garden-variety occasions for wistful wouldn't-it-be-nice thinking with profound disabilities is defeatist and deluded.

As an aside, I think most of us can feel pretty grateful to live in the sort of environment where modern medicine, advanced diversification of labor, high standards of living, and so on have made so many disabilites so much less tragically consequential than they might be elsewhere...I know I am.
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If you can't be the BEST parent in the world, please do not have children. If you really want a baby, adopt homeless kid, please.
Why would someone who'd make an incompetent biological parent be any better as an adoptive one?

And there is no such beast as "the best parent in the world". I don't know anything about your family or personal background and don't want to make assumptions, but what you're describing sounds more like defeatist self-loathing than bad parenting. What a person has to offer the world isn't contingent on who their parents were or what happened with them, and it's having that opportunity to give to others and receive from them in return that makes being around worthwhile--not how attractive or rich or socially accomplished you are. That doesn't have to include one's parents; for some cutting themselves off from them may ultimately be necessary, but that's no reason to give up and feel chronically embittered about the whole endeavor.
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Old 05-10-2007, 07:45 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511


essay question: what does ability difference -- hearing abled, or not; sight abled, or not -- bring to our lives? do we learn from those who are differently-abled? is it condescending to view those who are deaf/blind/whatever as teaching tools for the rest of us? would most of them change their abilities if given the chance?
These days we are regularly putting in cochlear implants into pretty much every deaf child who is suitable for such an approach. This has been long disputed by the deaf society as an attempt to stamp out "deaf culture." But let's get real here, what parent, given the choice, would not provide their child with a chance to function in the hearing world?
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Old 05-10-2007, 08:15 AM   #22
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^ From what I've read, that really is a minority view within the deaf community--i.e., that I'd never consider giving my children cochlear implants, this is a cultural genocide against deaf people, etc. However cochlear implants are far from a true 'fix' for being hearing-disabled, the result is not analogous to normal hearing, and extensive 'aural rehabilitation' therapy to assist children with implants is usually required. Not a reason not to give them the opportunity of course, as it definitely will broaden the range of people they can readily interact with, but just as a qualifier. The implants are often not helpful to congenitally deaf adults, as their brains tend to already be highly adapted to nonverbal communication.

I will say that having hearing loss has made me more appreciative of the value of sign language for profoundly deaf or severely hearing-disabled people--lipreading is obviously a highly useful adaptive skill, and if I had a deaf child who couldn't benefit from a cochlear implant (due to e.g. auditory nerve damage), I would most definitely want them to learn to lipread, but on the other hand I personally would preferentially use signing to communicate with them, and would understand completely if they preferred to focus their life and work on the (signing) deaf community as adults; inevitably much of lipreading is guesswork, you do miss a lot, and it just can't compare to the ease and thoroughness of comprehension available through sign language.
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Old 05-10-2007, 08:50 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Why would someone who'd make an incompetent biological parent be any better as an adoptive one?

And there is no such beast as "the best parent in the world". I don't know anything about your family or personal background and don't want to make assumptions, but what you're describing sounds more like defeatist self-loathing than bad parenting. What a person has to offer the world isn't contingent on who their parents were or what happened with them, and it's having that opportunity to give to others and receive from them in return that makes being around worthwhile--not how attractive or rich or socially accomplished you are. That doesn't have to include one's parents; for some cutting themselves off from them may ultimately be necessary, but that's no reason to give up and feel chronically embittered about the whole endeavor.
I know you didn't got my point.

What I believe is that everyone has the duty to take care of the homeless children, and you cannot deny your share. However, if you want to produce more children to this world, you'll have to take more responsibilities. Unless you are 100% sure you'd be able to handle it, don't bring the baby to this world.

It is not about parenting, it is about the baby's well. Happiness is a personal feeling. Being the best parent will increase the chance of bring more happiness to the family. That's all I want to say.

I don't know about your experience, but after seeing so many people around me commit suicide from primary school to uni for various reasons, I can not stop asking one question if they haven't been borned to this world, would everything be better for them?

And for abortion, I know someone would say, well, I'll be the best parent, I have the confidence. I love my baby, no matter what will happen. But please, it is not about you, your baby will got most of it, and this decision sometimes could have changed everything.
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Old 05-10-2007, 04:22 PM   #24
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What I believe is that everyone has the duty to take care of the homeless children, and you cannot deny your share.
Not my offspring or relative then not my problem.
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Old 05-10-2007, 04:46 PM   #25
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So what if we do? I would have no objection to selecting in favour of beneficial traits for my offspring and maximising their potential and I think people should have as much respect for the new master race of augments as they do for others.
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Old 05-10-2007, 05:29 PM   #26
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Angel of Death, sure, except for the issue of choice; and of course some don't remember Wrath of Khan.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:25 PM   #27
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Abortion due to some severe disease seems reasonable but the point that I am raising is that we may reach a stage where some have the opportunity to choose which embryo they will carry - it is that sort of reproductive technology, not abortion, that allows for this.
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Old 05-11-2007, 03:36 AM   #28
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Well the easy answer is there is no easy answer.

For me, I would definitely have a child in spite of any but perhaps the most debilitating or painful or life-shortening or threatening conditions, just because I believe that there is a lot of value to life in and of itself, and that there are many ways to find value and joy and all the rest even if everything isn't "perfect."

It's all a continuum, I suppose, of what we consider makes life worth living and we all fall at different points on that continuum. Which is why issues like this would be so difficult to legislate.

But I understand the bleaker point of view too. . .my mom has it. I've often heard her voice whether it would have been better if we hadn't been born. . .and it's said out of grief, usually, especially with watching my brother, who is paranoid schizophrenic suffer through so much. I've never felt unloved or anything from it. . .

For a long time she used to tell me: "Don't have children. This world is too awful a place." But then recently, I think her desire for grandchildren has kind of muted that sentiment!
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Old 05-11-2007, 03:38 AM   #29
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Not my offspring or relative then not my problem.
Wow. You walk a narrow and lonely road, my friend. A narrow and lonely road. . .
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Old 05-14-2007, 11:04 AM   #30
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Yesterday I took my mom to Denny's for supper and we had to sit next to this elderly couple with two middle aged Down's sons. They seemed quite a handful. While I do have issues with a healthy child being aborted, I do think that in the case of Down's babies it may be best for everyone in the long run. They usually have health problems too and can be a very large financial and emotional burden on the family as well as the community. I feel awful saying so but that's how I feel.
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