9/12 - Today's Ethical Question
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
One of the things that I missed during the summer was watching
Assignment Discovery before I get out of bed. It’s a cable in the
classroom educational type show. This week they started it up
again. It’s at 6 AM, and it’s over just about the time I need to
roll out of bed and into the shower at 7AM.
A hundred years ago when I was a kid, your choices were relatively
easy. Right and wrong were pretty much black and white. Do you go
behind the school with your buddy and smoke, or find a new friend?
Do you cheat on the math test, or do your best and get a c-?
Fortunately, I had a good upbringing, and made most of the right
choices. (Not all of them mind you, but most of them.) But, that’s
another chapter that I won’t get into here...
But, today on Assignment Discovery they posed
a choice that I don’t know how I would choose. I caught the last
quarter of today’s show that was called “Elements of Biology:
Genetics” The part I saw was titled “Making Babies: Genetically
Perfect”. They showed a couple whose children would have a good
chance of having some rare genetic and deadly disease, but they
were able to pick an embryo that didn’t have the disease, and in
essence, ‘design’ a child without the disease.
So, 6 years ago if doctors had come to my sweet wife and me and
said, “Look, if you have a 4th child, he will have a X% change of
having a brain tumor. Do you want to design a child that won’t be
predisposed to brain tumors, or do you want to take your chances?”
Having been though what we’ve been through, and not knowing what’s
in the future, I don’t know what I would have said. I’m thankful
that I didn’t have to make that choice. But, as weird as it seems,
I’m also very thankful for son #4 and the trials that we’ve been
through. I think it’s made all of us think about things a lot
So, in 2006, we don’t have to make choices like that. But, what
about our descendants? Your 3rd Great Grandson may be faced with
that same choice. (Or with even more choices. Maybe to choose a
boy with green eyes, red hair, that will have a higher IQ, be
taller, or shorter, or skinnier, or healthier, or whatever... than
This has been bug’n me all day. If you could give advice to that
3rd great Grandson of yours, someone that you’ll never meet in
this life, what would you say to him? I’m not sure what my answer
would be. Tell me what you would say.
At least I’m glad I’ll be working as a PACS administrator in two
weeks, not a Medical Ethicist.
Enjoy today’s Jokes!
A good friend will come and bail you out of the Police Lockup...
But, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying: "Wow...that
I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-
fitting clothing. If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing, I wouldn't
be signing up in the first place!
Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell
My father is a skilled CPA who is not great at self-promotion. So
when an advertising company offered to put my father's business
placard in the shopping carts of a supermarket, my dad jumped at
the chance. Fully a year went by before we got a call that could
be traced to those placards. "Richard Larson, CPA?" the caller
asked. "That's right," my father answered. "May I help you?"
"Yes," the voice said. "One of your shopping carts is in my yard,
and I want you to come and get it."
A friend of mine was in the hospital awaiting the arrival of her
first child. When I telephoned the hospital to see if the baby had
arrived, the nurse said it had. I asked if it was a boy or girl
and was told that it was against hospital policy to give this
information over the phone. "Fine," I said. "I can understand
that. But can you tell me what she didn't have?" "It wasn't a
boy," came the reply.