×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Could Colorblindness Cure Be Morally Wrong?

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the don't-forget-deaf-culture dept.

Biotech 981

destinyland writes "One in 12 men suffers from colorblindness, though '[t]he good news here is that these folks are simply missing a patch of DNA ... which is just the kind of challenge this Millennium is made for. Enter science.' But NPR's Moira Gunn (from Biotech Nation) now asks a provocative question. Is it wrong to cure colorblindness? She reports on an experiment that used a virus to introduce corrective DNA into colorblind monkeys. ('It took 20 weeks, but eventually the monkeys started distinguishing between red and green.') Then she asks, could it be viewed differently? 'Are we trying to 'normalize' humans to a threshold of experience?'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

981 comments

WTF? Just ask the patient. (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 4 years ago | (#31634866)

"Would you like to be cured?"

Problem solved.
 

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (5, Insightful)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | about 4 years ago | (#31634898)

Or, if it makes her feel better to not call it a cure..."Would you like to see all the colors, like just about everyone else can?"

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (5, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 4 years ago | (#31634966)

Ah, but where does it end?

"Would you like ultra-wide spectrum super-HD eyes with 60x optical zoom, Internet-connected HUD and complimentary laser cannons, just like everyone else has?"

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31634992)

"Would you like ultra-wide spectrum super-HD eyes with 60x optical zoom, Internet-connected HUD and complimentary laser cannons, just like everyone else has?"

Hell yes.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635200)

Ok sure, just sell your liver and kidney first, because unfortunately YOU can not afford it right now.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#31635000)

No, I wouldn't. If everyone else has them, I want at least 120x optical zoom, ad-block on the HUD, and an automatic targeting program for the laser cannons.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (5, Funny)

Krneki (1192201) | about 4 years ago | (#31635100)

No, I wouldn't. If everyone else has them, I want at least 120x optical zoom, ad-block on the HUD, and an automatic targeting program for the laser cannons.

Add the ability to convert Americans fat chicks into Sweden porn stars and you got yourself a deal.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (5, Funny)

Twinbee (767046) | about 4 years ago | (#31635278)

I am an interested customer.

Tell me, do the laser cannons automatically come with the packaged shark/s? I have had problems assembling parts in these kind of situations before, so it would also be nice to know if the shark comes pre-attached to the laser, or if any soldering is required.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (2, Funny)

nodd (1704580) | about 4 years ago | (#31635004)

As long as it's able to run Crysis, I'd love it!

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635206)

I'm as optimistic as the next guy that safe and affordable HD 60x optical zoom laser cannon eyeball technology is only a couple years away, but Crysis? Be reasonable with your expectations.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 4 years ago | (#31635012)

Ah, but where does it end?

"Would you like ultra-wide spectrum super-HD eyes with 60x optical zoom, Internet-connected HUD and complimentary laser cannons, just like everyone else has?"

Hell, yeah!!

That's even dumber than the first question.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (3, Funny)

dennism (13667) | about 4 years ago | (#31635080)

Ah, but where does it end?

"Would you like ultra-wide spectrum super-HD eyes with 60x optical zoom, Internet-connected HUD and complimentary laser cannons, just like everyone else has?"

Yes. Yes I do.

WANT! (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 4 years ago | (#31635124)

Ah, but where does it end?

"Would you like ultra-wide spectrum super-HD eyes with 60x optical zoom, Internet-connected HUD and complimentary laser cannons, just like everyone else has?"

Oh, I hope it doesn't end there!

*squee!*

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 4 years ago | (#31635164)

Ah, but where does it end?

"Would you like ultra-wide spectrum super-HD eyes with 60x optical zoom, Internet-connected HUD and complimentary laser cannons, just like everyone else has?"

It ends when I say "No, thanks".

I could get LASIK now, but for various nonfinancial reasons I opt not too, I fail to see the significant difference with your example.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1)

Hairy1 (180056) | about 4 years ago | (#31635170)

Yes Please. Where do I sign up?

Not laser cannons though - can I swap for super sensitive ears?

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (4, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | about 4 years ago | (#31634912)

Yeah, the 'moral dilemma' is kinda silly. But why stop at curing colourblindness? When can I get my IR and UV vision?

What's interesting is that some women can see 4 colours instead of the 3 (or less...) the rest of us are stuck with. So there is definitely evidence that the brain can handle more input than it's currently receiving.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (2, Insightful)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | about 4 years ago | (#31634986)

Which makes the question: Why should the vast majority of women be colorblind when their condition could be corrected?

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1)

thms (1339227) | about 4 years ago | (#31635204)

Yes, it is not that this could dissolve (or "destroy") and entire communities, such as blind peoples braille alphabet or deaf peoples sign language. There was actually a case where parents wanted their child to be deaf as well. Cochlear implants are seen quite critical by some. I'm not sure where to stand on this issue. Maybe communities which enhance themselves collectively will replace those.


As to tetrachomats and their obvious evolutionary advantages, there is the corresponding hypothesis that being colorblind makes it easier for you to spot certain shapes.

Well, why don't we change it? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635266)

What if they someday find a "gay gene" (or even just those for various intersex conditions) and cure those?

"Would you like to be heterosexual, just like everyone else?"

(The interesting thing about that is that you can piss off both sides of that debate. What if, in the future, being gay or not was indisputably a choice thanks to medical science? Would those who chose to cure themselves be seen as traitors or...?)

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31634924)

"Would you like to be cured?"

Problem solved.

Kind of like asking $sexual_preference people if they would like to be cured? Or perhaps asking $skin_colour people if they would like to be cured? Perhaps the "problem" is identifying colour blindness as a defect that needs a cure and trying to make all humans meet some baseline or be classified as defective.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#31634998)

Kind of like asking $sexual_preference people if they would like to be cured? Or perhaps asking $skin_colour people if they would like to be cured? Perhaps the "problem" is identifying colour blindness as a defect that needs a cure and trying to make all humans meet some baseline or be classified as defective.

Asking someone if they want to do something is far, far different from making them do something. I get bombarded with advertisements all the time that tell me I have a problem: I'm too heavy, too light skinned, have teeth which aren't white enough, don't get enough exercise, have too many wrinkles, and have an inadequate penis and sex life. Do they then make me change my ways? No, they merely ask me to buy their products. I don't consider that immoral.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (2, Funny)

Kenoli (934612) | about 4 years ago | (#31635030)

Sexual preference and skin color are not disabilities. They don't prevent anyone from doing anything.
Someone with color blindness is physically incapable of doing something that a large majority of people can do.

The colorblind are defective and must be repaired.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#31635092)

Sexual preference and skin color are not disabilities. They don't prevent anyone from doing anything.

Too-light skin color will be seen more and more as a disability if the ozone layer gets worse - if you're too light, you're toast.

Better a "natural tan" than an unnatural melanoma.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 4 years ago | (#31635036)

Kind of like asking $sexual_preference people if they would like to be cured? Or perhaps asking $skin_colour people if they would like to be cured? Perhaps the "problem" is identifying colour blindness as a defect that needs a cure and trying to make all humans meet some baseline or be classified as defective.

No. It isn't. It's more like asking people with myopia if they would like to be cured. Neither $skin_color people nor $sexual_preference people have a body part that fails to function correctly. In the case of color-blind people, our eyes do not function correctly. Or do you think eyeglasses, contacts, or eye surgery are morally wrong as well?

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#31635094)

Well, the phrasing is possibly unfortunate, but I don't really see the problem. Ask a typical homosexual if they'd like a treatment that makes them heterosexual, and they'll say no, although a few will probably say yes. The same would probably be true in reverse.

If a simple treatment could alter skin colour, I expect that there would be a lot of takers, just as there are a lot of customers for hair dye now. You'd probably end up with fashions in skin colour - maybe black would be in one year, white the next, and you'd really confuse all of the racists.

My father is red-green colour blind, and I'm sure he'd jump at the chance to distinguish red and green. I'm not, although I do have slightly non-standard colour perception (I can distinguish more shades of blue and fewer shades of red than an average human, apparently). I wouldn't particularly want a 'cure' but if it were reversible then I wouldn't mind seeing what you all see for a bit.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 4 years ago | (#31635264)

Really??? I imagine there are a huge number of gay people who would be very, very happy to at the very least experiment with a "cure" for their "affliction", if only because of enormous societal pressure for them to normalize their preferences. Certainly a huge swath of the secretly gay conservative party would do anything for such a treatment.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1)

tpstigers (1075021) | about 4 years ago | (#31634944)

Try to look at the bigger picture. The question could just as easily be: "Would you like to be Harrison Bergeron?"

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31634960)

As someone who is red green colorblind, if someone asked me, I'd say yes. It's in part prevented me from working in a number of fields I'd be interested in. I wanted to be a pilot as a kid. I later wanted to be an electrical engineer, but I have a hard time with resistor values that are color coded, so that was out. I have a hard time with Ethernet cable pairs, lights on switches and routers, so I have a difficult time with networking courses. You tell me you can "fix" my vision, count me in.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (2, Interesting)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 4 years ago | (#31635184)

I'm an electrical engineer, and I can tell you that anyone who says you can't be one because you can't read resistors is a complete idiot. I am deeply saddened that you could not pursue that interest because of that extremely minor issue.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1, Insightful)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 4 years ago | (#31634984)

You are forgetting about all the accidents and injuries caused by people with colorblindness being less aware of warnings and other color-coded safety information. Society has to pick up the tab, and as such is within its rights to require every citizen to obtain full vision correction whether they like it or not!

(Don't worry about the cost of the procedure; it will be covered by your government-mandated insurance purchase.)

Hell yes I'd like to be cured! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635026)

Colorblindness really limits you career choices in life.

I'd take that cure as soon as it is determined safe for humans.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (5, Interesting)

f3rret (1776822) | about 4 years ago | (#31635068)

In all fairness it is a valid question to pose.

Genetically altering humans is a fairly big ethical question. Granted curing color blindness is fairly harmless, but once we know how to do that and accept it can be done it pretty much stands to reason that we will find out how to do other things and will accept doing those.

While curing color blindness and any number of genetic defects might in the long run be the best course of action, at least from a "continuation of the species"-viewpoint, at what point do we draw the line.
I mean when we first begun to do surgery we did it to save life and for "the betterment of mankind", and now we are doing cosmetic surgery. In the case of cosmetic surgery the point can be made that people who have not had the surgery are at a disadvantage (Can't get certain jobs on ground of attractiveness, and so on), now when we start to do "cosmetic" DNA surgery we are tampering with humanity at a pretty basic level and run the risk of the species splitting off in to one (or several) different species, those who had have the genetic augmentations and those that have not.
So once we are two different species what'll the augmented species think of the non-augmented one? Will the people who for whatever reason are not able to get or unwilling to get the augmentations done be considered as some kind of untermench or will the non-augmented line be terminated all together?

I am not advocating that we should ban all genetic medicine, far from it, personally I would love to be cured of my colorblindness and I'm sure there are any number of people with various other genetic defects that would like to be cured.
This also raises the question: how do we decide what constitutes a defect, and how to we go about determining if it should be cured? Also if we are set on removing genetic defects from the gene pool how to we deal with people who do not want the cure? Do we forbid them from breeding so they will not pass on their "defective" genes?

Whatever is the case, it's a valid debate and one we'll WILL need to have before we do these sorts of things, even if they seem kind of harmless.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635172)

I am not advocating that we should ban all genetic medicine, far from it

Thank god! The entire 21st century scientific enterprise and inevitable bionic-human future was waiting for you approval.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635108)

totally. i love npr, but moira gunn is a little bit of an idiot especially as a "tech reporter". if you take some time to listen to her opinion pieces they are usually either not very well thought out or extremely conservative (and skeptical of disruptive technologies). i've taken to just changing the channel whenever she's on...

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 4 years ago | (#31635132)

I have a feeling that the idea is that over generations, the normalizing could be restricting the full range of vision if we try to 'fix' it. Short term gain, potentially long-term loss. It could be argued that 'natural selection' should take its course instead. Of course, no one could say for sure.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (3, Informative)

Robin47 (1379745) | about 4 years ago | (#31635220)

I think we might be missing the point. I read it as "Maybe we shouldn't have the cure available because it would be morally wrong." That strikes me as a lot more ominous.

I'm deaf and they are researching a similar cure for my condition. I can't wait to hear again. But what if they decided it would be wrong to change me from the way my genetic makeup made me? Or maybe the people in a third world country shouldn't be helped to advance because they would loose their heritage? In each case, the people should have the right to decide their fate. Just my opinion but interesting question.

Re:WTF? Just ask the patient. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635254)

I am replying to this as AC because I just modded a bunch of comments here.

I saw your comment when I was modding, and I wanted to give it a +1 Insightful, but I noticed the bucket was full.

I think your comment sums up the situation the best. Short, concise, to the point.

Thank-you.

Who knows? (4, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 4 years ago | (#31634874)

Who knows what kind of mutations would best preserve human life here on Earth . . . or in Space . . . or on another planet? We're infants playing with power tools!

Re:Who knows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31634930)

You're right, this is one step closer to letting us see more than our current piddly slice of the electromagnetic spectrum. Next up, honeybee DNA to see ultraviolet wavelengths?

Re:Who knows? (4, Insightful)

Snarfangel (203258) | about 4 years ago | (#31635242)

Who knows what kind of mutations would best preserve human life here on Earth . . . or in Space . . . or on another planet? We're infants playing with power tools!

After a few generations of letting infants play with power tools, who knows what carpentry skills would evolve.

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31634884)

What about someone who is paralyzed? Would it be morally wrong to "normalize their threshold of experience"?

Re:Stupid (3, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 4 years ago | (#31634972)

What about deaf? Apparently, there are some parents who would deliberately wish to have a deaf child [guardian.co.uk].
'We celebrated when we found out about Molly's deafness,' says Lichy. 'Being deaf is not about being disabled, or medically incomplete - it's about being part of a linguistic minority. We're proud, not of the medical aspect of deafness, but of the language we use and the community we live in.'

Now the couple are hoping to have a second child, one they also wish to be deaf
Not that I know anything about it, but they are out there. I hope those in the know will chime in here.

Re:Stupid (3, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | about 4 years ago | (#31635162)

While I despise being sue-happy, this is one of the cases where I really hope the child sues her parents when she grows up for intentionally crippling her.

Re:Stupid (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#31635258)

You can learn sign language perfectly well if you can hear. Lots of people can.

Some people feel the need to take seeing the silver lining too far. Our kid is deaf? Oh, that's perfect! We were hoping for that all along! Hopefully the next one will be too! Hey, EVERYBODY should be deaf!

cb or CB? (2, Funny)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | about 4 years ago | (#31634890)

Are we talking about curing the lower case color blind or the upper case Color Blind?

Re:cb or CB? (3, Funny)

digitalchinky (650880) | about 4 years ago | (#31635286)

We should be talking about curing my non-existent sense of smell too :-(

At least with color blindness people go "oh, how many fingers am I holding up?", but you tell someone you have no sense of smell, they go off and consume the most vile crap they can find just to let rip with a dirty sloppy arsed fart in the interests of testing the aforementioned anosmia. Now don't get me wrong, the entire planet smells exactly the same to me no matter my location, but farting on me...

As as light colorblind... (1)

Extremus (1043274) | about 4 years ago | (#31634894)

... all I can say is that, apart from caption in maps and clothes, everything is fine. It is also a very good topic to start a conversation at the bar table: "sure you are colorblind?! What color is this?" Sundenly I become the center of the attention and I like it like that! Stay away from my genes!

Re:As as light colorblind... (5, Funny)

MechaShiva (872964) | about 4 years ago | (#31634922)

It's not all puppies and kittens. When I asked my wife for my gray towel, she looked at me quite puzzled. It was shortly thereafter that the mystery of why her husband was using a purple towel was solved.

Re:As as light colorblind... (2, Interesting)

adonoman (624929) | about 4 years ago | (#31635050)

As the child of a color-blind dad, I think the worst part is getting all the various shades of brown, red and green play-dough mixed up into one nasty brown color all the time. Eventually we stopped letting him get near it. Although reflecting back, that may have just been his way of getting us to clean up ourselves....

Tetrachromat (2, Interesting)

eightball (88525) | about 4 years ago | (#31634918)

I am waiting for the tetrachromat patch. So, I think you can assume my position.

Only if you're female (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635072)

tetrachromat requires 4 color receptor coding genes...2 on each X-chromosome...the y-chromosome can only hold 1.

So I hope you're a female slashdotter. Otherwise, a gender-change seems to be an extreme price to pay to get your vision patched to tetrachromatic.

i think it would be morally wrong (2, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | about 4 years ago | (#31634920)

i think it would be morally wrong to have the ability to cure the colorblind (or any other disability or disease) but not do it out of some delusional religious belief.

no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31634928)

that question is bad and she should feel bad.

I think I'll pass on this. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31634940)

I am color blind. It doesn't really cause me any problems other than a small number of awkward social situations where I can't observe something that is obvious to a room full of people. That and I can't see the numbers in the dot tests.

But that actually sounds really freaky, a virus that can change my perception of colors. I've lived my whole life with color blindness and I have to wonder what it would be like to "cure" it suddenly. Who knows? Maybe I associate a given thing with a given color, and seeing it differently would be freaky or just not right, like waking up one morning to learn that ketchup is really green.

If you came to me and said, I can give you something that'd cure your color blindness, I think I'd be inclined to say no. Life has been all right up to now without that "cure".

What the... I don't even... (4, Insightful)

epp_b (944299) | about 4 years ago | (#31634942)

What kind of stupid, half-witted, pseudo-concern is this? This is the same as asking if a cure for cancer is morally wrong; after all, it, too, is [ultimately] due to faulty genetics.

Re:What the... I don't even... (1)

amasiancrasian (1132031) | about 4 years ago | (#31634982)

Exactly! There is also the "moral" question on whether or not doctors should treat diabetes or any genetic condition, because essentially what "survival of the fittest" would normally take care of is being artificially perpetuated by human beings. I personally think that's a load of BS, but the argument is valid. But that's what differentiates humans from animals is that the "survival of the fittest" also includes using your head.

Re:What the... I don't even... (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 4 years ago | (#31635040)

What kind of stupid, half-witted, pseudo-concern is this? This is the same as asking if a cure for cancer is morally wrong;

            Welcome to slashdot!

          Seriously, there are those who consider a lot of what are generally considered defects/handicaps/etc "communities" that should be preserved. Deafness, for instance, autism as another. I think it's asinine but it's on-point to the question.

Consenting adults (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31634950)

I'm a consenting adult.

If I want to put a drug into my body, it's my right. If I want to put a penis into me, it's my right. If I want to put my penis into something, it's my right.

If I want my DNA changed, then it's my right. Anyone who says otherwise is a prohibitionist and a statist, just like people who support our government locking up consenting adults for other victimless acts.

Re:Consenting adults (2, Insightful)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | about 4 years ago | (#31635058)

If I want to put my penis into something, it's my right.

Depends on what you want to put it into—if it's another living being who doesn't/can't consent, that's not your right.

Re:Consenting adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635216)

Also you don't have a right if it's, for instance, my car.

Too much political correctness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31634962)

I mean... WHAT?

I have AIDS, and that makes me unique. I don't care if you have a cure, I want what makes me and my life different!

The Qualia beast raises its head again (5, Interesting)

Twinbee (767046) | about 4 years ago | (#31634968)

When Qualia [wikipedia.org] is concerned, nothing is certain. It's reasonable to produce scientific measurements of this and that. But what colours (or saturation) they *map* to inside the brain is another matter. For example, some creatures are monochromats, which means they can probably only see one colour. But what that colour actually is, is anyone's guess.

Apparently, some people have four colour cones instead of three. Do they see a new colour competely outside our range, or just have extra 'depth' to distinguish our current range more easily?

Re:The Qualia beast raises its head again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635112)

They just have the extra "depth" - they can see the same spectrum as us, but they can see coral and mauve and salmon and rose and blush when the rest of us are like "I don't get it... isn't it all just pink?" Knowing people who used to work in paint factories, that explains why they said all the best color-matchers were women.

Re:The Qualia beast raises its head again (1)

pydev (1683904) | about 4 years ago | (#31635144)

It's reasonable to produce scientific measurements of this and that. But what colours (or saturation) they *map* to inside the brain is another matter.

That can be determined experimentally as well, both by sticking electrodes into brains, and by performing clever experiments.

For example, some creatures are monochromats, which means they can probably only see one colour.

No, it doesn't mean "probably", it means they can actually only see one color.

But what that colour actually is, is anyone's guess.

Just lower the lights until your night vision kicks in. Voila, you have monochromatic vision too.

Apparently, some people have four colour cones instead of three. Do they see a new colour competely outside our range, or just have extra 'depth' to distinguish our current range more easily?

That's not a question of qualia; it's easy to determine experimentally.

What's wrong with normal? (5, Insightful)

CoffeeDog (1774202) | about 4 years ago | (#31634974)

I can see how the topic of meddling with DNA to augment/fix people can be a slippery slope, but by itself the question of "is it morally wrong to cure colorblindness" seems to be the same as "is it morally wrong to cure short/far sightedness". We already normalize things like this and it's entirely by individual choice. You can choose to wear your glasses or not and now you'll be able to get your color vision corrected or not.

'normalize' humans to a threshold of experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31634976)

No such conspiracy.

Well, see you in a bit. I gotta run down to Wal-Mart to pick up some LSD.

not wrong (4, Interesting)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | about 4 years ago | (#31635018)

It can't be wrong if we are fixing an inability to process particular wavelengths of light.There are definitely other things that we could do when we mess with bio-engineering /genetics etc that could raise moral and ethical issues . Now, using DNA to provide someone the ability to hear like a dog etc etc, that is more serious stuff ofcourse or maybe not. Maybe it is moral that if we have technology that can improve our senses, it is ok to improve it even if we humans were not gifted with it at birth. I dont believe Nature is perfect.

No. (4, Insightful)

Zadaz (950521) | about 4 years ago | (#31635022)

No. It's not "normalization". Being able to differentiate between colors is incredibly valuable.

Now if they were researching gene therapy to make swarthy folks more acceptably white we might have something to complain about.

In a related note: If I could get gene therapy to let me see further into the UV and IR ranges I'd totally go for it.

Re:No. (1, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31635246)

I think a cure for guidoness is something we must find now, not later. The people with this disorder dye themselves orange, and are by all accounts mentally handicapped. This is not something we should let happen to our fellow humans.

Morally wrong? (4, Insightful)

J'raxis (248192) | about 4 years ago | (#31635054)

How about you just let people invent the cure and then let them ask the individuals who are colorblind if they want to be cured or not? It's only "morally wrong" if you try to force someone to be "cured" from something they don't see as a disease.

Let's ask another question: Is it morally wrong to deny someone a cure because in your own infinite arrogance you think it's "wrong" to give it to them?

Oh give me a BREAK! (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 years ago | (#31635056)

"normalize"? We have a society and a world... forget that, we have poisonous foods and non-poisonous foods that can be differentiated by color. There are poisonous snakes that are differentiated by color as well. This isn't a "normalization" like gay or not-gay. It's a disability that has managed to propagate for a long time. I am glad not to be color blind. I would hate the driving related problems of being color blind, not to mention the disqualifications in jobs that may be experienced along with many other things.

I recall some stuff about deaf people wanting to stay deaf. Once again, it's just damned stupid. I would want more senses, not fewer. Perhaps these same deaf people are just wanting their sympathetic free ride through life to continue. Who knows what the reason might be, but it is pretty clear in that I have yet to hear of any hearing person wanting to be deaf or anyone having lost their hearing not wanting it back.

I have never heard of anyone losing color sensitivity before, but if they did, I suspect the same would be the case as with deaf people.

Re:Oh give me a BREAK! (2, Insightful)

Eskarel (565631) | about 4 years ago | (#31635186)

There's a little more gray area with deaf people. For better or worse, being deaf is part of what defines who they are and how they see and experience the world. It could be argued that changing the fact that they are deaf would change who they are as people, which can seem a little bit scary. Now personally I think that defining yourself by a disability is as mind bogglingly short sighted and stupid as defining someone else by their disability which is a form of prejudice, but people none the less do it.

OTOH none of the people I know who are colour blind seem to define themselves that way. They don't seem to split the world into people like them and people like me, at least not on the colour blindness axis, so there's probably little risk of large personality shifts.

just revert the repo to an earlier version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635062)

sometimes moral questions are just dumb - is it moral to repeat them?

Dr Pangloss's Disciples Strike Again! (2, Insightful)

TheNarrator (200498) | about 4 years ago | (#31635066)

Ahh... Another Dr. Pangloss who believes we live in the best of all possible worlds... We've been dealing with this sort of idiocy for quite some time now, at least since Voltaire satirized it in 1759

http://www.shmoop.com/candide/dr-pangloss.html [shmoop.com]

Dr. Pangloss and his philosophy are the principal focus of Voltaire’s satire. Dr. Pangloss, Candide’s tutor and mentor, teaches that in this best of all possible worlds, everything happens out of absolute necessity, and that everything happens for the best. This philosophy parodies the beliefs of Gottfried Leibniz, an Enlightenment era thinker who believed that the world was perfect and that all evil in it was simply a means to greater good.

Every twist of the plot, every new natural disaster, disease, and incident of robbery or assault in Candide is intended to prove Pangloss’s Optimism utterly absurd and out of touch with reality. Pangloss’s personal sufferings alone are more than unusually extreme. In regard to his own misfortune, Pangloss responds that it is necessary to the greater good. The result is that the philosopher appears utterly blind to his own experiences as well as the horrors endured by his friends.

as an extreme red-green colorblind person... (4, Insightful)

Laebshade (643478) | about 4 years ago | (#31635070)

I say "fuck you" to your moral objection. Color blindness is a disability. It may not be anywhere near as serious as being handicapped, missing an appendage, or say, a whole eye, but it does cause problems nonetheless.

As noted by others (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 4 years ago | (#31635086)

Hell - I'd love to have a tatrachrome vision palette. Heck - I'd go for infrared, UV, even radio would be cool. Now, how I would "understand" these new "colours" (which like other colours are simply ranges of EM frequency) is beyond me, especially given as how my brain didn't evolve to decode them. But it would still be totally k3vvL in my book.

Infrared could be very cool. Especially looking at this girl who's often on my homebound bus ride...

Nhhhnnngngngngnggggnnnn...

normalize this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635088)

Ok, so we don't want a "normalized" human experience. The next step should be trying to augment the "average" capabilities of humans.

Mediocre Mass Media Talk Tactics (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 4 years ago | (#31635122)

"Are we trying to 'normalize' humans to a threshold of experience?"

We who? Implying that the listener is involved is a simplistic means to maintain their attention. The listener certainly has nothing to do with the project.

Are the researchers doing these things? No, they're only trying to solve an interesting problem. They're not trying to do anything to anyone. They're only trying to make this available.

Only the potential recipient has the responsibility. Nobody else matters.

As a colorblind man (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635134)

If I could get my colorblindness fixed/cured/eliminated and it's affordable, I'd do it. Seriously, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but there's stuff I simply don't see and I'm not even that color blind. The orange paint on grass used by contractors? Essentially invisible to me. Entire fields are closed to me due to colorblindness. Can't become an electrician due to color coding, for example.

The whole "moral" aspect is by people who think that an amputee shouldn't want their legs back just to be "normal" (obviously, an extreme example).

If I'm colorblind and that can be fixed, awesome.
If I'm blind and that can be fixed, awesome.
If I'm deaf and that can be fixed, awesome.
If I'm paraplegic and that can be fixed, awesome.

Seriously, how is this possibly a moral argument?!?

No, that is a stupid question. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31635210)

It would not be any more morally wrong than me using contacts or glasses.

Idiocy as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31635226)

I am unable to distinguish some shades of red and green. Do I want to be cured? Erm, cured? How about you go fuck yourself and let scientists work on useful stuff? My back is feeling pretty sore, go grow me a a pair of backbones. Get one for yourself too, figuratively speaking.

silly question (4, Insightful)

slew (2918) | about 4 years ago | (#31635234)

better link [hplusmagazine.com]

Would curing a slow-growing cancer or rheumatoid arthritis morally wrong?
How about giving someone a pair of glasses, or contacts or perhaps laser-eye surgery?
How about restoring hearing to a deaf person (or simply the ability to hear about 20KHz again)?
How about vaccinating against rubella or meningitis to prevent deafness?
Or vaccinating people succeptible to polio or small pox?
Well one could argue that many of these are approximatly the same level of intervention as curing color blindness.

The article generally assert that if DNA is some magic new science to be wary of because someone else's "fix" can be another person's "enhancement" as if this is some sort of new issue. Sadly it is not. HGH is a recent example of something not-dna related. HGH is medically useful to accelerate the development of children that have development deficiencies and are used by some atheletes to gain an enhancement. Some people are taking ritalin and adderall to help with hyperactivity, but others to get better SAT scores. An older example might be taking antibiotics or steroids.

DNA retro-technology isn't moral or immoral, it's just a new technology like many others that spun out of scientific research. The people who apply the technology are either moral or immoral (or amoral) about it. Sadly there are some of each type that apply any technological advance. I guess the question at least keeps bioethicist employed.

Anti-cure is a Rawlsian bitch (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about 4 years ago | (#31635260)

Some folks just NEED dependents ... feebs & crips and "inferiors" who lick the helpers-hand -- building their ego and validating their power. Case-in-point ... right_sighting the color_blind. Wonder what the NEXT helper_be_gone genetic horror will be: slobbering stroke-victims standing up straight, spitting sunflower seeds and doing their numbers ?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...