Monday, May 05, 2008

People at work were recently saying that they'd never donate sperm or eggs because there'd be a child with their genetics out there that they didn't know about. Upon my inquiring why that would matter, they essentially proclaimed that anyone who doesn't consider such a thing important is a bad parent. 'You came from my seed, but it doesn't matter.' == Bad parent.

This has some obvious logical consequences: I know of families where one child was born to them and one was adopted. They do not favour one child over the other. Therefore, ceteris paribus, they do not care that Child A has their genetics, and therefore these people are bad parents.

My conclusion is slightly different: I've observed that these people are good parents, and therefore, the people I work with are wrong (because, like most people, they've bought into the whole 'bloodline' idiocy we were supposed to have abandoned when we left the hereditary monarchy in favour of meritocracy). Genetics are a medical matter. It's the social aspects (IE, who raised you) that should matter to us socially.


Miciah said...

After WWII, I'm almost surprised that people would express such convictions, but I assume that people just don't think about what they're saying. Do these people actually use terms like "blood" in discussing this matter? That would seriously worry me.

LKBM said...

I don't think any of them specified blood.

An alternate argument for not donating sperm (but not one that supports their specific position) is that you're taking part in the creation of the child and therefore are partially responsible for ensuring its well-being, but that also means not working on fertility drugs or as an obstetrician.

Genetically, I'm willing to bet that if Duncan (my brother) and Sam had a boy, his genetics would be closer to mine than if I and a non-white had a girl.

I wish I could find good data on genetic variation between individuals, races, and species. (Actually, I guess Y is much smaller than X, so maybe those should switch? I dunno.)

Duncan said...

Perhaps you misunderstand their objection. I've been reading about your co-workers, and you're probably spot on, but give them the benefit of the doubt.

Imagine, if you will, that you are a super-genius bent on world domination (surprisingly easy to imagine, isn't it?) The muddled masses are clearly no impediment to you plans. You are running for ruler of the world virtually unopposed. However, there is one thing that could thwart your plans: a bastard child that has your intelligence, but that was raised by morons.

Suddenly, the sperm bank sounds like a bad idea.

The same sort of reasoning might apply to homicidal maniacs, psychopaths, and people with alien messages embedded in their DNA.

You should seriously consider that your co-workers might belong to one of these groups.

LKBM said...

I think the child of a super-genius, if raised by morons, would typically only be an ordinary genius. Of course, if I were a super-genius raised by morons, my bastard child could end up much smarter than me.

Privacy is a legitimate concern. If the health-insurance companies can get their hands on my DNA, analyse it, and determine that I'm susceptible to a particular disease, they'll refuse to insure me. :-(

It also could be used for targeted germ warfare, spoiling my world domination plans, which is what I first thought you were getting at, and maybe you were.

In my co-workers' case, though, they just have the 'protect your young' instinct.

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