Anyone trying to create tensions between men and women today are great big 5% players.
As we stated we will begin this week's discussion of public policy surrounding men, women, gender by looking at what brings men and women together ---marriage and family---and what breaks men and women apart---the inability to support families and the disregard of survival of children.
If you are a BABY BOOMER you no doubt read any number of books about UTOPIA. We did----it was not a utopia to us =====it was a frightening level of societal control painted with FAKE left social progressive ideals of equal pay no matter the employment---the sanitation worker earns as much as the doctor for example. One thing recurrent in UTOPIA literature is this policy of BREEDER CONTROL. Creating CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY through controlled breeding. This was in the 1960-70s folks----and this is when medical research surrounding reproduction started to become ETHICALLY AND MORALLY QUESTIONING.
Remember, the authors of these kinds of books are all global 1% LITERARY STARS--like my favorite UNBERTO ECO----their job is simply to create a story selling the ideas of MOVING FORWARD ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE FOR ONLY
THE GLOBAL 1% OF MEN.
10 of the Best Utopian Books Everyone Should Read
Posted by interestingliterature
The best utopian works
Utopian literature has a long history, so in the following top ten selection we’ve tried to pick a representative sample of what the genre has to offer. Here are ten of the best utopian novels, romances, and philosophical treatise (utopian fiction loves to blur the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction, essay and story).
Plato, Republic. In a sense, the utopian genre might be said to begin with Plato’s Republic, in which he sets out his ideal society (famously, no poets were allowed). The Republic sees Socrates debating with a number of other people about the nature of justice and the ideal city-state. The book also discusses various possible forms of government, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Sir Thomas More, Utopia. This 1516 work is the book that gave us the word ‘utopia’ – from the Greek meaning ‘no-place’, though with a pun on eu-topos, ‘good place’, implying that such an ideal society is too good to be true. More’s island utopia has variously been interpreted as a sincere description of the perfect world and as a satirical work poking fun at the world’s excessive idealists. Mind you, given that in Utopia adulterers are taken into slavery, and repeat offenders are executed, it makes you wonder whether More’s Utopia isn’t more dystopian than anything…
Sir Francis Bacon, New Atlantis. Although he never completed it, this utopian novel by one of the great philosophers of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras is well worth reading. It was published posthumously in 1627 and outlines a perfect society, Bensalem (its name suggesting Jerusalem) founded on peace, enlightenment, and public spirit. Available in Three Early Modern Utopias Thomas More: Utopia / Francis Bacon: New Atlantis / Henry Neville: The Isle of Pines (Oxford World’s Classics) along with More’s Utopia and another early utopian novel, Henry Neville’s The Isle of Pines.
Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World. Cavendish’s work is frequently interested in the idea of utopia, such as the all-female university she imagines in The Female Academy and The Convent of Pleasure, in which a group of women remove themselves from society in order to devote themselves to a life of pleasure. But The Blazing World, published in 1666 when London was quite literally ablaze with the Great Fire, is her most representative utopian work, a fictional account of a young woman’s fantastic voyage to an alternative world, which she accesses via the North Pole. Cavendish’s looking-glass utopia anticipates the world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books in a number of startling ways.
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels. In this work of 1726, which was an immediate bestseller, Lemuel Gulliver actually visits four different fantasy worlds, but the one that’s especially interesting here is the world of the Houyhnhnms, horses endowed with reason and speech, and a world in which humans are yobbish Yahoos flinging their muck around. Gulliver interprets the Houyhnhnms’ society as a utopian world, though whether Swift is inviting us to agree, or to distance ourselves from Gulliver, remains a contentious point.
Samuel Butler, Erewhon. This hugely inventive 1872 satire by the author of the anti-Victorian novel The Way of All Flesh is perhaps more accurately described as ‘anti-utopian’, though it follows the utopian narrative structure. The fictional land of Erewhon – almost ‘nowhere’ backwards – is the setting for this novel. Among the things satirised by Butler in this book is the rise of the machines, which Butler argues will evolve at an ever-faster rate – along the lines of Darwinian evolution – until the machines eventually overtake humans.
Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000-1887. Published in 1888, Bellamy’s novel imagining a perfect future society spawned a nationwide movement in America. (It also predicted electronic broadcasting and credit cards.) Bellamy’s plan for a ‘cloud palace for an ideal humanity’ also helped to inspire the garden city movement in the US and the UK. The best edition is Looking Backward 2000-1887 (Oxford World’s Classics).
William Morris, News from Nowhere. Morris was a socialist whose 1890 utopian novel, set in the London of 2035, envisions a future world in which common ownership of the means of production has been achieved and Morris’s socialist dream has come true. Morris wrote News from Nowhere partly in response to Bellamy’s novel above.
H. G. Wells, A Modern Utopia. Wells was repeatedly drawn to utopias and dystopias, as is evident right from the beginning of his career and his first novel, The Time Machine (1895). The 1905 novel A Modern Utopia posits the existence of an alternate Earth, very much like our own world and populated with doubles of every human being on our own planet. The rule of law is maintained by the Samurai, a voluntary noble order.
Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed. Published in 1974 when the Cold War had become established as a leading theme of much speculative and science fiction, The Dispossessed is a utopian novel about two worlds: one essentially a 1970s United States replete with capitalism and greed, and the other an anarchist society where the concept of personal property is alien to the people. One of the finest examples of the utopian novel produced in the last fifty years.
The ideals of marriage evolved from as early as mammals evolving from lower tiers of animals----we study animal groups to identify which groups have males helping females with infants born and which simply supply the seed and go away. Mammals evolved with few seeds----fewer opportunities for young to be born and survive ====so males were drawn into the role of partners in seeing those young survive.
DON'T BLAME IT ON THE WOMEN GUYS=======YOUR CAPTURE TO FAMILY IS EVOLUTIONARY.
Before OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% continuous wars over which man gets the most power and real estate the natural societal structure was indeed naturally joining men and women in creating children and seeing they survived. It was the PRE-CHRISTIAN/MUSLIM/JEWISH/HINDI era of HOMER AND VIRGIL----of VISIGOTHS AND GHENGIS KHANS that killed the ideals of marriage and of going forth being fruitful and multiplying. It was at the time of PROPHETS we see the HEADS OF ORGANIZED RELIGION take hold---and religious texts placed the focus back to building that partnership of men and women in child-bearing and survival by instituting MARRIAGE.
Our citizens tied to thinking the words in our religious texts as Bible or Koran are word for word ---from GOD-----have always met with citizens saying ----NO, these are edited and compiled writings of historical events tied to these religions-----Jesus is born and dies----Muhammad is born and dies both being devoted to GOD. women have long known who WRITES THESE STORIES-----as to why women are subject to men---why often women are not allowed to be equal leaders inside major religions.
WHETHER MARRIAGE IS A GIFT OF GOD OR AN EVOLUTIONARY MUST FOR SURVIVAL OF SPECIES-----MEN AND WOMEN HAVE JOINED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS IN BEING FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLYING.
Men hanging around to help with infants has evolved in SURVIVAL OF THE SPECIES----we being the human species.
2.4 The Origin of Marriage
(OB4)by Dr. Werner Gitt on June 28, 2012
Share: Marriage is a gift of God.
When God brought to Adam the woman who was specially created for him, he cried out joyfully: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.”
Evolution: Marriage has not been established by God, neither did it exist from the beginning, rather, it was socially acquired in the framework of cultural evolution.
Robert Havemann [H3, p. 121] describes the evolution of matrimony as follows: “In primitive societies everybody—men and women—were equal. There were no matrimonial unions, but so-called group marriages existed. These groups had no rules about who could have intercourse with whom.” Similarly, a development from a matriarchy (Latin mater = mother; women ruling) to a patriarchy (Latin pater = father; men ruling) is assumed.
The Bible: Marriage is a gift of God. When God brought to Adam the woman who was specially created for him, he cried out joyfully: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23). This joy over a real companion is the explicit will of God: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18). Marriage has been established by the Creator; it is therefore not a humanly devised institution. It existed from the beginning, as Jesus himself defined the origin and essence of marriage in Matthew 19:4-6: “Haven’t you read . . . that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” With the commandment “You shall not commit adultery,” God protects marriage and allows sexual intercourse only inside this close union (Eccles. 9:9). Sexual relations (becoming one flesh) before or outside marriage is branded as fornication and immorality.
The supposed evolutionary development from a matriarchy to a patriarchy is biblically false. The woman was originally given as a “helper” (Gen. 2:18), but not as a ruler of the man. Through Paul, Christ also confirmed this revelation in the New Testament: “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor. 11:3). The role assigned to men neither leads to a slavish submission of women as in Islam, nor to the rivalry aspired to by the women’s liberation movement. The God-given relationship between man and woman is expressed most clearly in the comparison with the relationship between Christ and the Church: “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:24–25).
Thomas Aquinas as EMPEROR CONSTANTINE were tied to the ideals of EMPIRE-BUILDING-----these are the earliest OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% the Catholic Church capturing the early gnostic religions growing independently among the 99% of people----conforming religion to what has been WEALTH AND POWER.
Here is where homosexuality vs heterosexuality identified as NATURALISM became the societal structure even though through animal and mammal species there are those in a species not interested in having children or being tied to opposite sex. NATURALISM according to evolution includes individuals we called CONFIRMED BACHELORS AND BACHELORETTES.
We love our religious and philosophical intellectuals------we also recognize only the male voices in these fields are heard over thousands of years. No wanting to get into the argument over IS GOD A WOMAN OR MAN-----we are going with the idea of gender identity in how one feels towards our higher being GOD.
PRE-ORGANIZED RELIGION with pagan and Greek mythology gods were helpful and harmful to humans----they used mankind as toys to be manipulated-----organized religion creates the ideal of GOD as good---as man being mirrored upon GOD-----and of GOD wanting his creation to expand and multiply.
ORGANIZED RELIGION CREATED MAN IN LIKENESS OF GOD AND CREATED GOD AS SALVATION OF MAN.
If your goals are to destroy all societal structures of thousands of years-------global 1% would kill organized religion and evolutionary partnering of men and women in survival of species.
Remember, there is a big difference between INTELLECTUAL interest in religion and philosophy and their interconnections and between a person feeling the calling of PASTOR, RABBI, OR IMAM. OUR GLOBAL IVY LEAGUES big on intellectual interest and study----not so much being rank and file holy men and women.
Thomas Aquinas, part 6: natural law
Modern thinkers who appeal to natural law as a foundation for morality often lose sight of Aquinas's more flexible naturalism
Monday 5 March 2012 05.00 EST First published on Monday 5 March 2012 05.00 EST
Thomas Aquinas's Aristotelian interpretation of natural law has shaped western law and politics, although it is a minor section in the Summa Theologiae (ST II.I.94). It belongs within a comprehensive account of four levels of law (ST II.I.90-104). Eternal law is incomprehensible to us, because it is the order upon which all other order depends. We cannot think outside the laws we think with. Divine law is revealed in scripture and is meaningful only to those who accept scriptural authority. Natural law is what we have in common. It refers to our rational capacity to discern general principles in the order of nature to enable us to flourish as a species in communities, given that by nature we are social animals. Today, we might say that it is in our DNA.
Human law is the interpretation of natural law in different contexts (ST II.I.95-97). Like Aristotle, Aquinas believed that just laws relate to the species, so the collective good comes before the individual good – although in a just society, these are not in conflict. This means that law is not about individual morality, and individual vices should only be legislated against when they threaten harm to others. Unlike Aristotle, Aquinas believed that an informed conscience takes precedence over law. No individual should obey a law that he or she believes to be unjust, because laws that violate reason are not laws. Moreover, laws must have sufficient flexibility to be waived when necessary in the interests of the common good.
Natural law supports different cultures and religions, but unjust societies are those whose laws violate natural law.
Modern thinkers who appeal to natural law as a foundation for morality often lose sight of Aquinas's naturalism, presenting it as a transcendent rational capacity or divine command that overrides our natural instincts and desires. This manifests itself in the rationalist quest to conquer nature (now redounding on us in a looming environmental catastrophe), and in the Catholic church's attempt to use politics and law to impose its views on sexuality over and against changing social customs.
Aquinas argues that laws should change to reflect customs (although custom cannot change natural or divine law). I'll focus on two issues relating to this in terms of a widening gulf between the Catholic hierarchy and modern culture, including many Catholics.
Contraception: Aquinas believed that the sex act must be intended for procreation for the preservation of the species (ST II.II.153.2). He also believed that children need to be raised in a loving environment, and marriage is the proper context for this. But we now know that females are not always fertile, and sexual activity among animals seems to be less functional than he realised. The changing role of women is also a transformation in culture and custom that requires a radical rethinking of law and reproductive ethics. The prohibition of artificial birth control finds little support from this reading of natural law, particularly since it flies in the face of customary practice among many Catholics and non-Catholics.
Homosexuality: once one accepts that non-procreative, loving sex is good, the argument from natural law against homosexuality becomes untenable. What remains central from a Thomist perspective is what it means to live well as a sexual creature whose relationships reflect the love of God and respect the dignity of the human made in the image of God.
Natural law is our rational capacity to interpret the laws of nature in order to use our scientific knowledge well. It is still relevant, even if our science is very different from Aquinas's, as we see from debates about the ethical implications of the laws of evolution. The Darwinian eugenicists of the early 20th century were engaged in one kind of natural law deriving from evolutionary science, and debates on this blog about genetic altruism are another form of natural law. They follow Aquinas insofar as they express a desire to discern order and goodness rather than randomness and futility in what science reveals to us about nature. Evolutionary eugenics may be as rationally defensible as evolutionary altruism, so why do we think one is bad and the other is good? Aquinas would have said because one respects the dignity of the human made in the image of God and the other violates it, but without that perspective, the answer is less clear.
MOVING FORWARD ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE FOR ONLY THE GLOBAL 1% OF MEN has nothing to do with evolution---nothing to do with survival of fittest-----nothing to do with eugenics. It is totally driven by the fact modern global 1% have KILLED MOTHER EARTH with industrialization and those sociopaths are now trying to create societal structures in the midst of LOST NATURAL RESOURCES and ENVIRONMENTAL DEVASTATION.
DARWIN did not study human behavior or development. His studies were of plant and animal species historically and structurally formulating a hypothesis of SURVIVAL OF FITTEST. It was other scientists tied to human superiority that drew DARWIN'S reference to evolutionary survival tied to those able to evolve to environmental changes.
WHAT DO WE HAVE IN MOVING FORWARD? WE HAVE DEVASTATION AND DECLINE OF ENVIRONMENT DRIVING THE GLOBAL 1% TO SURVIVE BY KILLING OF HUMAN SPECIES.
While the global 1% of men have through history done this through wars and pestilence -----China's ONE CHILD ONLY policy was just that---today's medical technology now allows GENDER MANIPULATION=====microchip implanted birth control----all of which necessitates the breakdown of societal ideals around marriage, having families, being SEXUAL.
And of course whenever there is a push towards controlling population as in China recently-----the female infants are less valued and aborted for male. MOVING FORWARD has a goal that is different ---GENDER BLENDING kills both what it means to be MALE AND what it means to be female.
The same global 1% behind these FAKE ALT RIGHT ALT LEFT policies are the ones creating the worst in world history attack on natural human sexuality-------HYBRIDIZATION OF HUMANS because we hybridize plants and animals don't we say global 1% of men?
Why "Survival of the Fittest" Is Wrong
Filed to: Daily explainer
You've probably heard it a million times in descriptions of evolution and natural selection. Charles Darwin even liked to say it. But the phrase "survival of the fittest" is wrong, and understanding why can help us better understand what it means to be human.
Darwin uses the phrase "survival of the fittest" in chapter four of On the Origin of Species to describe the process of natural selection. But he did not coin the phrase. It was borrowed from English philosopher Herbert Spencer, who first talked about survival of the fittest in his Principles of Sociology. "The term 'natural selection,'" wrote Darwin in The Origin, "is in some respects a bad one, as it seems to imply conscious choice." Referring to the process as "survival of the fittest," Darwin thought, helped clarify things. But the famed naturalist's appropriated turn of phrase turned out to be rather inappropriate, itself.
11/16/2017Princeton biological anthropologist Alan Mann told io9 that in most cases, "survival of the fittest" has been replaced by the term "reproduction of the fittest," or "differential selection." This holds particularly true in discussions concerning mammals — humans, especially. Mann says there are two main reasons for this.
One: for an organism to reproduce, it is implied that it must first live long enough (i.e. survive) to do so. And two: the phrase "survival of the fittest" paints a mental image of what Mann characterizes as "the tooth and claw of bloody nature" — as though every organism in a particular area is perpetually fighting for the ability to survive. In this context, "fitness" can be misinterpreted as an ideal evolutionary goal. "But Evolution acts to produce function, not perfection" says Mann. Moreover, "fitness" should properly refer not so much to characteristics like strength or speed, but rather an animal's ability to produce viable offspring.
On Fish and Humans
Where a phrase like "survival of the fittest" becomes relevant, says Mann, is in discussions about what is known in ecology as "selection theory," or ideas about the trade-off between the quantity and quality of an organism's offspring.
Fish, for example, can produce and fertilize thousands of eggs during a mating session; but the number of fertilized eggs that are eaten, killed, or die in some other way before reaching sexual maturity is huge. This "make as many as you can" reproductive strategy is called "r-selection." Large numbers of offspring are produced, but the vast majority of them perish. And this strategy, says Mann, does, in some ways, follow the concept of "survival" of the fittest.
Say you have a newborn fish that is a prey species to a larger, predacious fish. In most fish species, there is little-to-no parental care, so that animal has predator-avoidance behaviors built into its neurological system. When a young fish sees the shadow of predator nearby, or feels the water current of a larger fish, it begins to exhibit predator-avoidance behavior. For many fish, says Mann, this means either swimming very fast, or swimming in a zig-zag fashion. But of course, predacious fish have also evolved mechanisms to catch prey. He continues:
So if the prey fish is going zig zag zig zag zig zag, and the predator fish has evolved mechanisms to go zig zag zig zag zig zag, that particular prey becomes lunch. If however there is a biological variation, and instead of the prey fish join zig zag zig zag zig zag, it goes zig zag zig zag zig zig, it lives another day. So, on that level, survival of the fittest has some meaning.
But other animals, and mammals in particular, employ a reproductive strategy dubbed "K-selection." They produce fewer young, so their strategy is based on cultivating behaviors like postnatal protection and nurturing. These learned behaviors ensure their smaller number of offspring will reach reproductive maturity.
Human Behavior and Evolution
"Fitness" refers not to how long an organism lives, but how successful it is at reproducing. And "survival of the fittest" fails to encompass the subtleties of natural selection in mammals, which Mann points out often involve learned behaviors.
"One of the things that's happened in human evolution," he says, "is the time from birth to reproductive maturity and adulthood has been prolonged." This, he continues, probably holds true for most large-bodied mammals (think elephants, for example, or great apes). "When you think about that kind of biological change, it's really pretty difficult to understand, unless there is some adaptive advantage in allowing the young to internalize more behaviors."
In other words, increasing the age of sexual maturity makes little sense in the absence of some other evolutionary adaptation that makes it possible for offspring to develop safely over a longer period of time. This insight is crucial for understanding humans (and, arguably, mammals in general) not just in a biological light, but a cultural one, as well.
Consider, for example, that a typical pregnant human usually gives birth to just one child, occasionally two, and very rarely more than that. As a result, human parental investment in offspring is huge. An infant is raised, often by more than one family member, through a very long childhood development and dependency period. This not only ensures that the offspring will reach reproductive maturity, but that it has time to, as Mann puts it, "learn more appropriate behaviors, become better socialized into their society, and by this way become more successful and therefore capable of producing more offspring of their own."
It's therefore likely that the behavioral repertoires of humans, apes and other mammals have become remarkably complex because of the adaptive advantage they've provided as the time between birth and reproductive maturity has increased. On one hand, this allows for evolutionary fitness to be maintained. At the same time, however, it allows room for the possibility of sexually mature, adult animals (who have very clearly "survived," to reproductive age) who do not actually reproduce — once again highlighting the important distinction between "survival" of the fittest and "reproduction" of the fittest.
Among humans, not having children is often a culturally motivated choice, rather than a biological limitation (though both are often at play). People choose not to have children in order to pursue a career, or to raise only a small number of children. Others forego having children for so long that, when they finally decide to conceive, they encounter complications during childbirth. Despite a prolonged maturation period, these individuals are surviving to maturity without a problem. Evolved social mechanisms have played a large part in making that survival possible. But those same mechanisms can also lead to humans not reproducing, in which case their biological fitness would be considered to be very low.
Ultimately, "survival of the fittest" is necessary, but not always sufficient, for the survival of the species.
The same global 1% behind these FAKE ALT RIGHT ALT LEFT policies are the ones creating the worst in world history attack on natural human sexuality-------HYBRIDIZATION OF HUMANS because we hybridize plants and animals don't we say global 1% of men?
While George Bush----the FAKE religious born again Christian -----was creating all kinds of headlines in national media over science tied to embryonic stem cells------as a FAKE CHRISTIAN tied to FAKE RELIGIOUS RIGHT----they had to pretend to be aghast at this manipulation of GOD'S CREATION.
What Bush did with stem cell research had one goal------take stem cell research overseas to FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES with no US standards of morals, ethics, or quality of life to allow global medical corporations do these research to patent the medical advances to private global corporations. Global Johns Hopkins was the earliest to expand overseas via massive ROBBER BARON FRAUDS-----and indeed leads in these gender blending ending of human species.
Hybridization was done naturally by plant and animal breeders-----selecting for best production and growth cross-mating genes. What we have seen during CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA as national media pretended great moral outcry putting an end to such goals---while MOVING FORWARD-----is moving away from natural hybridization to CHEMICAL OR BIOTECHNICAL GENE MANIPULATION.
This is why citizens shouting against MONSANTO----and now against HUMAN GENETIC MANIPULATION are not believing the propaganda over to where BIOTECH BIOLAGE TELEMEDICINE IS GOING.
Genetic manipulation of humans includes our X AND Y CHROMOSOMES.....interrupting natural MEIOSIS.
Well, the global 1% and their 5% are lying, cheating, stealing, no morals or ethics, no US Rule of Law, no GOD'S NATURAL LAW-----so manipulation of individual human being's ability to have natural children---or even worse man-made fetus production with manipulated genes----including OUR X AND Y CHROMOSOME is about what we would expect from FAR-RIGHT WING EXTREME WEALTH SOCIOPATHS
Stem Cell Research and ‘Science vs. Religion’
by Joe Heschmeyer
Filed under Christianity and Science
A 2005 New York Times article begins:
"When Donald Kennedy, a biologist and editor of the eminent journal Science, was asked what had led so many American scientists to feel that George W. Bush's administration is anti-science, he isolated a familiar pair of culprits: climate change and stem cells. These represent, he said, 'two solid issues in which there is a real difference between a strong consensus in the science community and the response of the administration to that consensus.'"
There's a world of difference between Kennedy's two examples. For climate change, he's alleging that the Bush administration ignored or misrepresented the data in order to advance their political agenda. If true, that's anti-science. But for stem-cell, the Bush administration didn't deny that stem cell had medical promise. The argument wasn't that we couldn't do it, but that we shouldn't. As this editorial from Wired notes:
"President Bush’s stem cell policy may have been restrictive and misguided, but it wasn’t anti-science.
In the wake of Obama’s decision to lift Bush’s funding ban, many scientists are celebrating the freedom of science from ideology. Their relief is understandable, but the rhetoric is disturbing.
The Bush administration didn’t skew stem cell research like it did environmental science: It simply said it wasn’t right."
That's exactly right. Saying we shouldn't do something isn't "anti-science," since science can't, and doesn't, answer questions of should and shouldn't: those are moral and ethical questions, beyond its scope. But just because the questions are beyond the scope of science doesn't mean that science shouldn't be bound by them:
"There are good reasons why society puts ethical boundaries on science.
The Nuremberg code is the best-known example of this. Shocked by the horrors of Nazi science, the civilized world agreed that tests should never again be conducted on people who hadn’t agreed to take part, and that test subjects should not be knowingly harmed.
The Nuremberg code was invoked by activists outraged when the Bush administration, at the chemical industry’s urging, proposed tests of pesticides on pregnant mothers and children. They weren’t being anti-scientific. They were being humane."
Exactly. The Tuskegee Experiment certainly advanced science, but it was so brutally cruel and inhumane that we shake our heads at the thought that this could have been done to human beings, here in America. Someday, we'll likely do the same at the thought of destroying the bodies of unborn children for science. The Wired editorial concludes:
"As ideology, Bush’s restrictions on embryonic stem cell funding were legitimate.
They represented a moral objection to the destruction of embryos by people who believe that life begins when sperm meets egg.
It’s not an objection shared by everyone. But characterizing conscientious objectors as anti-scientific is dangerous.
'No thinking person should promote a science that claims to be value-free,' said Murray. 'There are plenty of experiments that would be scientifically interesting that we simply won’t do because of legitimate ethical concerns about how we treat the human subjects of research.'
Most Americans now support research that Bush stifled and Obama will fund.
But there will be plenty of cases in the future when the aims of science — or, to be more precise, certain scientists — conflict with widely held values. And if the legacy of the stem cell debate is to label all conscientious objection as anti-science bias, it will be a toxic legacy indeed."
This is a great point. In fact, the one mistake the editorial makes is in treating the question of when life begins as if it were a moral or ethical question. It's not, or at least, not primarily. It's a scientific question. And science is quite clear on it: life begins at conception. In that scientific understanding is one which informs our policy actions: for example, it's illegal to destroy fertilized bald eagle eggs, because those are baby bald eagles. In fact, it's the proponents of ESCR are the ones who are anti-science, in this sense: they purposes ignore or misrepresent the scientific data that embryos are human beings, unique members of the species homo sapiens, with DNA and epigenetic material distinct from both zygotes and both parents.
In fact, if one familiarizes oneself with the arguments within the Bush and Obama Administrations on the question of ESCR, it's clear which side is the thoughtful and scientific side, and which embraces "progress" at any price. As the Hastings Center notes, Dr. Leon Kass, former head of Bush's President's Council on Bioethics, argued "that bioethics should define societal goals or ends before we decide whether to pursue various types of biotechnology," and understood the need to keep ethical considerations at the forefront in the midst of scientific pursuits:
"As Kass wrote nearly 40 years ago, we must begin 'with a serious deliberation about our ends and purposes' in biomedical technology, because 'it is indeed the height of irrationality triumphantly to pursue rationalized techniques while insisting that ends or purposes lie beyond rational discourse.'
As an example, the first sentence of one of the council’s publications asks: 'What is biotechnology for?'"
Now, Dr. Kass and the rest of the Council weren't "anti-science," obviously. Kass has a doctorate in biology from Harvard, and did molecular biology research at the National Institutes of Health before entering the field of bioethics. But for asking these questions, the entire President's Council was disbanded by the Obama Administration, and publicly mocked by his team:
"A White House press officer told The New York Times that the council was being disbanded 'because it was designed by the Bush administration to be 'a philosophically leaning advisory group' that favored discussion over developing a shared consensus.' Obama will appoint a new bioethics commission that “offers practical policy options.”
The article quotes Alta Charo as saying that the Bush council 'seemed more like a public debating society' and that a new commission should focus on helping the government form ethically defensible policy."
Charo's leering is disturbing: she's playing the Parker Selfridge to Kass' Dr. Augustine (that's an Avatar reference, folks), demanding Kass and Co. shut up with their silly "ethical concerns" so we can do what we want to do.
The Irrelevance of Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Now, the entire field of embryonic stem-cell research may prove to be completely extraneous. That is, adult stem cells, with a few modifications, appear to be able to do everything embryonic stem cells can do, and there's no need to kill babies to get them. From the Washington Post:
Scientists have invented an efficient way to produce apparently safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos, a long-sought step toward bypassing the moral morass surrounding one of the most promising fields in medicine.
A team of researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Boston published a series of experiments Thursday showing that synthetic biological signals can quickly reprogram ordinary skin cells into entities that appear virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. Moreover, the same strategy can then turn those cells into ones that could be used for transplants.
"This is going to be very exciting to the research community," said Derrick J. Rossi of the Children's Hospital Boston, who led the research published in the journal Cell Stem Cell. "We now have an experimental paradigm for generating patient-specific cells highly efficiently and safely and also taking those cells to clinically useful cell types."
Scientists hope stem cells will lead to cures for diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injuries, heart attacks and many other ailments because they can turn into almost any tissue in the body, potentially providing an invaluable source of cells to replace those damaged by disease or injury. But the cells can be obtained only by destroying days-old embryos.
[This isn't true: the Post writer is confusing stem cell research, generally, with "embryonic stem cell research," specifically, even though the entire article is about how embryonic stem cell research isn't the only kind of stem cell research, and in fact, not even the most promising.]
The cells produced by the Harvard team, known as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, would avoid that ethical objection and could in some ways be superior to embryonic stem cells. For example, iPS cells could enable scientists to take an easily obtainable skin cell from any patient and use it to create perfectly matched cells, tissue and potentially even entire organs for transplants that would be immune to rejection.
Let this sink in for a moment. One of the arguments opponents of ESCR raised was that it wasn't necessary: that doubling-down on other forms of stem cell research, which don't require destroying embryos, would be able to produce the same results as ESCR. It's increasingly apparent that this argument was correct. And yet, ESCR continues. In fact, even the Harvard team using iPS cells still does ESCR, just to compare the two:
Rossi and other researchers, however, said that embryonic stem cells are still crucial because, among other things, they remain irreplaceable for evaluating alternatives.
"The new report provides a substantial advance," said National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins. "But this research in no way reduces the importance of comparing the resulting iPS cells to human embryonic stem cells. Previous research has shown that iPS cells retain some memory of their tissue of origin, which may have important implications for their use in therapeutics. To explore these important potential differences, iPS research must continue to be conducted side by side with human embryonic cell research."
That's amoral science. No longer is the argument that ESCR is needed to save lives: it's increasingly obvious that iPS cells can do so as well. Now, it's just a question of curiosity: if we're going to say iPS is as good as ESCR, shouldn't we keep doing them both to compare? That's disgusting, given that ESCR harvests dead unborn children.
MOVING FORWARDS towards 1960s-70s UTOPIA of manipulated breeding ---------we have watched as national media and our LEADING MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS provide a LEFT ALT RIGHT ALT LEFT medical reason for advancements in reproductive science---freezing egg and sperm-----artificial insemination------in vivo vs in vitro conception----we are now heading towards a fetus developing completely outside of a women's uterus.
We have no doubt that providing sterile couples the opportunity to reproduce was ETHICAL----no left social progressive voices were shouting against artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. When the left social progressives started sounding and questioning the ethics and morals of reproductive science---when surrogate mothers were increasingly being hired bringing poor women into earning money through reproductive actions has ALWAYS harmed our women. Whether having children to sell for income or having to offer the womb for earnings----starts to cross ethical and moral boundaries.
AS WE SHOUT WITH FAKE GREEN TECHNOLOGY PRETENDING TO BE ENVIRONMENTAL ----SO TO HAS THIS MARCH TOWARDS REPRODUCTIVE RESEARCH BEEN A PRETENSE TO HELPING 99% OF WE THE PEOPLE WITH OUR DESIRES FOR FAMILY.
We have already discussed how all those frozen eggs and embryo banks are now being used in MOVING FORWARD gender manipulation =====just as our US citizens once able to afford these SOCIALLY PROGRESSIVE processes of reproduction are now being PRICED OUT OF THESE REPRODUCTIVE SERVICES.
As a female scientist tied to minoring in EMBRYOLOGY I have watched the progression of these fields closely---including how women scientists used to be those public university research facility leaders when all ethics and moral oversight was in place----and have watched as women scientists have been moved out and replaced by our global 1% MOVING FORWARD PREDATORY AND PROFITEERING HEALTH AND MEDICINE MEN have moved in these few decades.
Differences between In-vivo and In-vitro fertilization
May 20, 2017 Sandesh Adhikari Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) 0
In-vivo and in-vitro fertilization two different methods of fertilization that occurs between the female egg and male sperm in different setting. Simply understanding, in-vitro fertilization refers to the fertilization of egg and sperm within the human body (female) while in-vitro fertilization refers to the fertilization outside the human body i.e. in laboratory.
Some other difference between in-vivo and in-vitro fertilization are:
In-vivo fertilization In-vitro fertilization
In-vivo fertilization refers to the normal method of fertilization between female egg and male sperm within a human body. In-vitro fertilization refers to the artificial method of fertilization between female egg and male sperm outside a human body The term in-vivo came from the Latin word “within the living” The term in-vitro came from the Latin word “within the glass” It is a natural/normal method of reproduction that occurs in uterus/womb of female body It is an artificial method of reproduction done in laboratory using different humanized techniques This method of fertilization is normal and natural among couples This method of fertilization is chosen to cure infertility in human, either male or female It is a non-surgical method of fertilization It is a surgical method of fertilization Babies born through this method are considered as normal babies Babies born through this method are called ‘test-tube-baby’ From chemical perspective, during in-vivo fertilization all chemical reactions between the egg and sperm occur within the human body From chemical perspective, during in-vitro fertilization all chemical reactions between egg and sperm is conducted in laboratory None of the chemical changes and reactions are in human control as everything occurs within human body All the chemical changes and reactions are in human control/in a controlled environment as this fertilization is conducted outside human body It is a simpler technique of fertilization It is relatively a more complex technique as it involves surgical procedure to retrieve the eggs The cost per treatment is lower Cost per treatment is higher and causes higher financial burden This method provides limited information during check up and treatment This method provides valuable information during treatment as the reactions between egg and sperms are evaluated initially in the lab setting It can be also considered as an experiment done using a whole living organism It can be also considered as an experiment done outside while living organism This method of fertilization is suitable for fertile couple who don’t have any reproductive health complications This method of fertilization is suitable for infertile couple/s that has some complication related to reproductive organs. It is a not an assisted method of fertilization It is a physician assisted method of fertilization This method does not have risk of multiple pregnancy The risk associated with this method is the possibility of multiple pregnancy
These are the public policy issues we will discuss in more detail these week-------including looking to where that race to GENETIC DNA MAPPING and now patenting research tied to X AND Y CHROMOSOME manipulations are going.
We will say this to our 5% to the 1% women in medical research-----we see in our medical research articles in SCIENCE OR NATURE a long list of doctoral contributors assigned to these research almost all male---with what is about the only female on these teams named on the articles. Now, our 99% of women in science need to WAKE UP to where MOVING FORWARD in genetics and especially gender blending is going------having a women titled as lead author does not reflect the LEFT SOCIAL PROGRESSIVE BENEFIT of these research.
Below we refresh our basic high school science on X AND Y SEX GAMETES----back in the 1970s we were researching that MEIOSIS spindle being assured that it was impossible to insert more sex chromosomes into that natural process -----identifying the anomaly of one extra chromosome and its effects on gender identity.....extra X extra Y------what we saw was little effect on gender identity====
THIS IS A LONG BORING ARTICLE BUT PLEASE GLANCE THROUGH TO REMEMBER TERMINOLOGY.
Science & Tech
23 February 2015
Sex isn’t chromosomes: the story of a century of misconceptions about X & Y
The influence of the XX/XY model of chromosomal sex has been profound over the last century, but it’s founded on faulty premises and responsible for encouraging reductive, essentialist thinking. While the scientific world has moved on, its popular appeal remains.
By Ian Steadman
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When the International Astronomical Union (IAU) reclassified Pluto from planet to dwarf planet in 2006, it did nothing to change the fact of the existence of Pluto. Its status, however, is an innocuous example of how science is not always an objective descriptor of reality, but an interpreter, loaded with the context of previous generations – how the Greek “planetai” and the post-Copernican “planets” were both labels to describe things that moved in the heavens, even if we realised those things weren’t actually that similar to each other on closer inspection over time.
The scientific process often involves tweaking taxonomies. Humanity saw distant objects above, and the taxonomy we built was simple: two entries, one labelled “planets”, the other “stars”. Over time we added extra things, like asteroids (rocky) and comets (icy), to cover new discoveries – and, then, even further research (and pictures like those returned by the Rosetta probe) meant that some of the things we thought made asteroids and comets very different were really only a reflection of our perspective. (And, for what it’s worth, at the same meeting in 2006 where the IAU created the new term “dwarf planet” for objects like Pluto and “planet” for, y’know, planets, it also voted to use “small Solar System body” for everything else. This too will pass, probably.)
We all believe in the existence of comets and asteroids, even though the colloquial distinction between them makes less and less formal sense – would we bother with two different names if we’d only discovered them today? What purpose would drawing the dividing line between them that way serve?
Famously, when the first taxidermied duck-billed platypus was sent back to London by naturalists working in Australia, it was believed to be a hoax, as it refused to cohere to the then-accepted definitions of mammals and birds by insisting on being a hairy warm-blooded creature that laid eggs. The taxonomical status of the platypus (and the few other egg-laying monotremes that have yet to become extinct) is still a subject of debate to this day - biologists have found it has genes usually only present in fish and amphibians. A male platypus even has ten sex chromosomes (XYXYXYXYXY), instead of the normal two for a mammal.
Ah, but there’s a weasel word there: “normal”. And with sex chromosomes, perceptions of “normal” play a huge role – not only in what we think that they are and do, but in the very existence of the term “sex chromosomes”. This is the subject of Sarah Richardson’s revelatory book Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome, a history of the science of sex and the invention of the sex chromosome concept – one that Richardson argues we should reject entirely as a mistake that has led to bad science, societal prejudice and widespread misunderstanding of what sex really is.
This is the point in talking about this issue where, so to speak, things can fall apart. Just as mammals not only don’t lay eggs, but shouldn’t, it can come across as a bizarre postmodern self-indulgence to say that humanity isn’t split neatly in two on the basis of whether they’re chromosomally male (XY) or female (XX). This is a framework that makes intuitive sense to almost everyone because it correlates exactly with sexual dimorphism – there are those with penises, and those with vaginas, and with a bit of luck combining the two means we end up with even more humans that each have their own penises or vaginas. But like the platypus, it’s crucial not to think the taxonomy more important than the reality it’s meant to describe.
As Claire Ainsworth writes for Nature, the science of sex has, for some years now, recognised that sexual characteristics exist on a spectrum – not as a binary:
Sex can be much more complicated than it at first seems. According to the simple scenario, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome is what counts: with it, you are male, and without it, you are female. But doctors have long known that some people straddle the boundary – their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another. Parents of children with these kinds of conditions – known as intersex conditions, or differences or disorders of sex development (DSDs) – often face difficult decisions about whether to bring up their child as a boy or a girl. Some researchers now say that as many as 1 person in 100 has some form of DSD.
Since the 1990s, researchers have identified more than 25 genes involved in DSDs, and next-generation DNA sequencing in the past few years has uncovered a wide range of variations in these genes that have mild effects on individuals, rather than causing DSDs.
Ainsworth’s article is an excellent overview of the current state of the science of sex; Richardson, as a historian and philosopher of science, excels at telling of the people whose work (and whose mistaken assumptions) has misled popular thinking on sex over the years. She describes how existing sex and gender stereotypes were projected onto chromosomes by early researchers, in turn creating and reinforcing the misunderstanding among the wider public that the strict XX/XY binary is a true synecdoche for sexual dimorphism. In reality, there are extremely few sexual characteristics solely controlled by the presence or absence of a Y chromosome – and just as there are plenty of characteristics controlled by genes found on other chromosomes, the “sex” chromosomes also carry genes that determine traits that have nothing to do with sex.
Y is not the essence of masculinity, nor is X that of femininity. As Richardson writes:
Gender has helped to shape the questions that are asked, the theories and models proposed, the research practices employed, and the descriptive language used in the field of sex chromosome research... Today, scientific and popular literature on the sex chromosomes is rich with examples of the gendering of the X and Y. Humorous maps of the X and Y chromosome – pinned up on laboratory walls and always good for a laugh in an otherwise dry scientific talk – assign stereotypical female and male traits to the X and Y, from the ‘Jane Austen appreciation locus’ to ‘channel flipping’.
The X is dubbed the ‘female chromosome’, takes the feminine pronoun ‘she’, and has been described as the ‘big sister’ to ‘her derelict brother that is the Y’ and as the ‘sexy’ chromosome. The X is frequently associated with the mysteriousness and variability of the feminine, as in a 2005 Science article headlined ‘She Moves in Mysterious Ways’ and beginning, ‘The human X chromosome is a study in contradictions’. The X is also described in traditionally gendered terms as the more ‘sociable’, ‘controlling’, ‘conservative’, ‘monotonous’, and ‘motherly’ of the two sex chromosomes. Similarly, the Y is a ‘he’ and ascribed traditional masculine qualities – ‘macho’, ‘active’, ‘clever’, ‘wily’, ‘dominant’, and also ‘degenerate’, ‘lazy’, and ‘hyperactive’.”
We treat the X and Y chromosomes in a way we’d never think of treating other physical characteristics – many people who would think it absurd or rude to tell a stranger that “really you’re male, though” because they have short hair, or a penis, or excess body hair, nevertheless think nothing of doing so when it comes to having XY chromosomes. Sex Itself is the story of how some scientists became convinced that there was something in the body, and then the cell, and then the genome, that would literally be “sex itself” – the only thing that truly mattered for sex, the thing that was its true source and the thing that finally allowed for a simple, causational definition of sex. It’s also the story of how the premise of that entire argument was wrong from the start.
Surprisingly, though, the emergence of the “sex chromosome” concept didn’t happen immediately – while the term itself was first coined by Edmund Wilson of Columbia University in 1906, and not generally accepted by the rest of the science world until the 1920s due to its incompatibility with what was already understood about inheritability.
During the 19th century, biologists were “fascinated by the diversity of forms of sexual dimorphism and intersexuality in nature”, Richardson writes. Sex was seen as something that began before conception and which could change before and after birth – experiments with castrated chickens, and male guinea pigs given ovaries through transplants, gave rise to what was known as the “metabolic model”. A combination of environmental factors – like the health of the parents, or the temperature of an egg – determined the sex development of the offspring.
By the end of the century, though, microscopes had improved enough to allow biologists to see inside the nuclei of cells, and researchers “raced” each other to try and identify the cellular evidence that would confirm the theories put forward by Darwin in On The Origin of Species in 1859. It didn’t take long for chromosomes to be found - but German cytologist Hermann Henking found a weird, unpaired chromosome in the sperm of a fire wasp in 1891. He called it the “X element”, and others speculated that it might be a “degenerate” or “accessory” chromosome that no longer serves a purpose, like the appendix in the human gut.
Between 1903 and 1906, Nettie Stevens (left) at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania investigated this “X element”, and found that it wasn’t alone – there was a tiny Y chromosome hidden right next to it. Elsewhere, Wilson (he who first used the phrase “sex chromosomes”) also found the Y, and agreed with her that its presence seemed to influence the development of male sex characteristics. (Richardson takes some time to sardonically note the extraordinary achievements Stevens, who was never offered a full faculty post, made “in the face of few opportunities for women” – when she applied for post-doctoral funding from the Carnegie Institution in 1903, she “assembled stunning letters of recommendation” from America’s most prestigious cytologists, and “none failed to note her brilliance – for a woman”.)
Stevens and Wilson both agreed that the X and the Y had something to do with sex – but they disagreed as to what. Stevens thought that sex must be one of the traits carried on the X, in the same way other chromosomes seemed to carry multiple traits; Wilson, instead, saw them as solely sex-determing. There was “a whole-chromosome effect – one X kept things titled towards maleness, while two Xs pushed the balance in favour of femaleness”.
The two worked to refute each other until Stevens died in 1912, aged 50. By 1920, Wilson’s version of the chromosomal theory of sex won out, as the term “sex chromosomes” became almost ubiquitous in the scientific literature, displacing “accessory chromosomes”, “hetero-chromosomes” and “idiochromosomes” as popular alternative labels. This came after a strong fight from those who disagreed. Richardson writes of Thomas Montgomery at the University of Philadelphia, who called the sex chromosome theory “an absurd and simplistic overextension of the chromosome theory of heredity”; and of Thomas Hunt Morgan, one of the leading figures in the young field of embryology, who blasted it for inventing “a special element that has the power of turning maleness into femaleness”.
Calling them “sex chromosomes” ran against the accepted convention of naming other chromosomes after their size and structure within a cell, not their function. And there were still unanswered questions: what the hell was going on with species that reproduce with more than two X accessory chromosomes at a time? What about odd numbers of sex chromosomes? A significant number of species didn’t reproduce in line with the neat sex chromosome theory. Wilson was one of those who tried to integrate the sex chromosomes into the metabolic theory – with sex chromosomes, hormones and environmental pressures each influencing how offspring move through different parts of the sex development spectrum – but the damage, Richardson argues, was done.
One of the main reasons the name had such appeal, she argues, is that the 1920s and 30s was when oestrogen and testosterone were first isolated, and the idea of binary “sex hormones” captured the popular imagination:
By the mid-1920s, hormones had become, like genes today, the most prominent object of biomedical, pharmaceutical, and popular interest to emerge from modern biology. Sex hormones seized the public imagination and became a node through which ideas were exchanged between scientific theory and cultural norms, ideologies, and expectations. Scientists promoted the view that the sex glands were the ‘master glands’ of the endocrine system... Pharmaceutical hormone therapies promised new fertility aids and offered the prospect of a simple, highly effective means of birth control. Many also believed hormones would permit the correction of modernity’s gender deviants – feminist spinsters, homosexuals, impotent males, and frigid wives. The endocrinology pioneer Eugen Steinach promoted testicular transplantation as a medical cure for homosexuality and a 'rejuvenation' therapy for low virility and listlessness in elderly men.”
(It was around this time, by the way, that Frank Buckley, the then-manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers, started a rumour that he was injecting his players with a serum taken from monkey glands to improve their performance. The sex hormone fad was weird.)
In this context, sex chromosomes made perfect sense – a matching pair to go with the hormones that determine maleness and femaleness. By the end of the 1930s, the metabolic theory had been discarded in favour of this new model, where the genetic sex (XX/XY) causes the developments of either testes or ovaries, which in turn create the sex hormones that take care of the rest. This two-stage process was “a powerful mutually self-reinforcing framework for the biology of sex”, and the foundation upon which later work – like the idea that sex is biological and fixed, and gender social and malleable - was built.
This can been seen in how the sex chromosomes began to influence debates on gender and sexuality. There was speculation that the Y chromosome “represses” the feminine X, or that femaleness is the “absence” of maleness; or, that the “greater intellectual variability among males” (ie, why male researchers thought men were smarter than women) was down to the lottery of having a single X chromosome. With two Xs, unusual recessive traits would be more commonly repressed, but with one, rare genes presumed responsible for genius must be allowed through. And, similarly, early women's rights activists and feminists, as well as male writers like the anthropologist Ashley Montagu, seized on the idea of having twice as much X as men as the scientific justification for what was really women's “biological superiority” over the male. The idea of the X and Y carrying “sex itself” was entrenched, helped by the fashionable eugenics of the time that saw biology as the justification for a range of racist, sexist and classist prejudices.
This only became worse after the Second World War, with the discoveries of DNA and the first specific chromosomal causes for certain illnesses (like Down’s Syndrome, caused by an extra chromosome 21). The fashion was to think of genetics as the reductive answer to everything – it felt like every physical characteristic, from eye colour to height to intelligence to sex, was caused by the presence or absence of a single gene or set of genes. The sex chromosomes of the 1930s hormonal model – “the genetic homunculi underlying sexual dimorphism”, as Richardson calls them – fit perfectly into this new paradigm.
Karyotypes (pictures of chromosomes against a stark white background) became widely known, giving people perhaps the first real iconic image of the human genome. The sex chromosomes were shoved to the margin or to the end of the last row, accentuating their perceived difference – the format still used today:
A human male karyotype.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Sex Itself has plenty of stories about the general public not understanding that X and Y are not all there is to sex, but it has even more when it comes to scientists leaning on theoretical models built on sand not realising until too late. (Though that isn't to say this was true of everyone – Richardson finds plenty of evidence of geneticists struggling to figure out how much influence they should really ascribe to the X and the Y.)
One particularly damning example is that of the so-called “super male” – the discovery by a researcher that an unusually high number of men incarcerated in an Edinburgh prison had an extra Y chromosome (making them “XYY males”), leading to speculation that “it predisposes its carriers to unusually aggressive behaviour”. The amount of time spent investigating this hypothesis, and its influence on pop culture, is astounding:
The so-called XYY syndrome was a mainstream target of investigation in the most prestigious journals of biology, genetics, and cytogenetics... by 1970, nearly two hundred papers on the link between XYY and aggression had appeared in the scientific literature. Between 1960 and 1970, XYY research comprised 82 per cent of all published scientific studies on the human Y chromosome. It accounts for 28 per cent of the entire body of Y chromosome research generated in the quarter-century between 1960 and 1985.
As Jeremy Green records, ‘by the early 1970s, there had been at least two thriller films in which the main character is a violent criminal driven by a chromosome abnormality, a series of crime novels with an XYY hero (who constantly wrestles with his inner compulsion to commit crimes), and as a spin-off from the novels, a TV series called The XYY Man’. The Oxford English Dictionary cites Peter Cave’s 1974 Dirtiest Picture Postcard as the earliest English-language usage of the Y chromosome in a nonscientific text: ‘You’ve buttonholed me to give me long and boring lectures upon Germaine Greer, the faulty Y chromosome and the drudgeries of housework and child-bearing’.
But of course there was no link between having an extra Y chromosome and extra “maleness”, because maleness is not defined by the Y chromosome. Stereotypically male traits (like aggression, even though not every XYY male in a prison was there because of violent crime) are a result of a complex interplay of nature and nurture, and the projection of the western concept of maleness onto the Y chromosome led to untold hours of research into a dead-end.
And this type of thinking was common with the X chromosome as well - Richardson describes how Klinefelter (XXY) males were seen as more “mother-dependent”, and tested to see if they were more like men or women in their verbal and social skills. XXY males look like men, and most men with the extra chromosome never realise they have it – yet researchers often interpreted their deviations from normal maleness (like larger breasts or smaller testes) not on objective terms, but as “feminised” male traits, in turn creating a stigma.
The last gasp of the sex chromosome theory came in the 1990s, with the discovery of the SRY gene on the Y chromosome – without it, the development of male gonads is impossible. It’s the only genetic tag found only in those who present as male, and is the best candidate to underpin the classic sex chromosome theory. But, as Richardson writes: “Today the SRY gene is understood as one among the many essential mammalian sex-determining factors that are involved in the genetic pathways of both testicular and ovarian determination. Mammals require cascades of gene product in proper dosages and at precise times to produce functioning male and female gonads, and researchers recognize a variety of healthy sexual phenotypes and sex determination pathways in humans.”
Ascribing biological sex based on the presence or absence of the SRY gene makes no sense when it’s only part of a massively complex network of other biological and environmental factors, especially when it’s not even necessary in every species of mammal. (And perhaps we owe our Victorian ancestors some belated recognition here for their more nuanced appreciation of sex development.) Many scientists strenuously argue that research into the genetics of race shouldn’t begin by cataloguing genomes by what we perceive to be different racial groups, to avoid projecting racial bias onto results – shouldn’t we do the same for sex?
Richardson points to several different groups as responsible for digging genetics out of its chromosome-determining rut: criminal psychologists, clinical physicians and, above all, feminists, whose interrogations of gender and sexuality (often from outside the scientific academy) created an important body of empirical evidence. Anne Fausto-Sterling and Jennifer Graves, in particular, as well as feminist science pressure groups like the Society for Women’s Health Research, are cited as important critics of the binary representation of biological or genetic sex - and critical to the post-2000 “conceptual shift” towards the complex model we know today, where the interplay of different genetic and environmental factors gives rise both to physical sex characteristics and aspects of the psychological feeling of gender identity.
Sex Itself is a comprehensive demolition of the very term “sex chromosomes” – a taxonomy from nearly a century ago, stumbling along half-alive in the public’s imagination but long overdue a visit to the glue factory:
Gender ideology is dynamic, persistent, and ever-present in genetic and genomic research on sex and gender; it cannot be surgically or permanently excised from the science. Rather than seeking to somehow eliminate gender in science, we are better advised to focus on modeling the many roles of gender assumptions in particular areas of the sciences to develop gender-critical methods for and approaches to science.
The question is not ‘how can we get all of this gender politics out of genetics?’ but rather ‘how can we enlarge and critically hone our ideas about gender, which are central to our scientific theories of sex?’
In the time between the discovery of Pluto in 1930 and its reclassification as a dwarf planet in 2006, it had only completed a third of a full orbit around the Sun; about the same amount of time sex chromosomes had to enjoy being mystical arbiters of all things sex. Worrying about the hurt feelings of a downgraded planet is as sensible as worrying about those for some clumps of genetic material in a cell – what matters is how we make sure that we interpret our world, and build our taxonomies, in such a way that improves our understanding of the world, not limit it.
It is not an ethical horror waiting to happen as UK Guardian knows----these have been the goals of MOVING FORWARD CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA these few decades of deregulated no oversight and accountability medical research much of which was done overseas in Foreign Economic Zones now simply coming back to a US with AFFORDABLE CARE ACT DEREGULATED, PREDATORY, AND PROFIT-DRIVEN global health and medical systems.
Please stop allowing FAKE ALT RIGHT ALT LEFT social progressive national media and global corporate health organizations sell this march towards SOCIAL BENEFIT FOR 99% OF WE THE PEOPLE----our access to all of what used to be helpful to our families facing reproductive difficulties are slowly being made too expensive to access soon for 99% of citizens. This is not a WOMAN issue only ----this is the ability of 99% of men towards SURVIVAL OF HUMAN SPECIES.
REAL left social progressives were shouting this a few decades ago---------
THIS IS WHERE SCIENCE FOR SCIENCE SAKE IS BECOMING ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY MALE and GLOBAL 1% MALE!
Designer babies: an ethical horror waiting to happen?
Nearly 40 years since the first ‘test-tube baby’, how close are we to editing out all of our genetic imperfections – and should we even try to do so?
Sunday 8 January 2017 03.30 EST Last modified on Saturday 2 December 2017 10.35 EST
Comfortably seated in the fertility clinic with Vivaldi playing softly in the background, you and your partner are brought coffee and a folder. Inside the folder is an embryo menu. Each embryo has a description, something like this:
Embryo 78 – male
• No serious early onset diseases, but a carrier for phenylketonuria (a metabolic malfunction that can cause behavioural and mental disorders. Carriers just have one copy of the gene, so don’t get the condition themselves).
• Higher than average risk of type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.
• Lower than average risk of asthma and autism.
• Dark eyes, light brown hair, male pattern baldness.
• 40% chance of coming in the top half in SAT tests.
There are 200 of these embryos to choose from, all made by in vitro fertilisation (IVF) from you and your partner’s eggs and sperm. So, over to you. Which will you choose?
If there’s any kind of future for “designer babies”, it might look something like this. It’s a long way from the image conjured up when artificial conception, and perhaps even artificial gestation, were first mooted as a serious scientific possibility. Inspired by predictions about the future of reproductive technology by the biologists JBS Haldane and Julian Huxley in the 1920s, Huxley’s brother Aldous wrote a satirical novel about it.
That book was, of course, Brave New World, published in 1932. Set in the year 2540, it describes a society whose population is grown in vats in an impersonal central hatchery, graded into five tiers of different intelligence by chemical treatment of the embryos. There are no parents as such – families are considered obscene. Instead, the gestating fetuses and babies are tended by workers in white overalls, “their hands gloved with a pale corpse‑coloured rubber”, under white, dead lights.
Brave New World has become the inevitable reference point for all media discussion of new advances in reproductive technology. Whether it’s Newsweek reporting in 1978 on the birth of Louise Brown, the first “test-tube baby” (the inaccurate phrase speaks volumes) as a “cry round the brave new world”, or the New York Times announcing “The brave new world of three-parent IVF” in 2014, the message is that we are heading towards Huxley’s hatchery with its racks of tailor-made babies in their “numbered test tubes”.
The spectre of a harsh, impersonal and authoritarian dystopia always looms in these discussions of reproductive control and selection. Novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, whose 2005 novel, Never Let Me Go, described children produced and reared as organ donors, last month warned that thanks to advances in gene editing, “we’re coming close to the point where we can, objectively in some sense, create people who are superior to others”.
But the prospect of genetic portraits of IVF embryos paints a rather different picture. If it happens at all, the aim will be not to engineer societies but to attract consumers. Should we allow that? Even if we do, would a list of dozens or even hundreds of embryos with diverse yet sketchy genetic endowments be of any use to anyone?
I don’t think we are going to see superman or a split in the species any time soon, because we just don't know enough
Henry Greely, bioethicist
The shadow of Frankenstein’s monster haunted the fraught discussion of IVF in the 1970s and 80s, and the misleading term “three-parent baby” to refer to embryos made by the technique of mitochondrial transfer – moving healthy versions of the energy-generating cell compartments called mitochondria from a donor cell to an egg with faulty, potentially fatal versions – insinuates that there must be something “unnatural” about the procedure.
Every new advance puts a fresh spark of life into Huxley’s monstrous vision. Ishiguro’s dire forecast was spurred by the gene-editing method called Crispr-Cas9, developed in 2012, which uses natural enzymes to target and snip genes with pinpoint accuracy. Thanks to Crispr-Cas9, it seems likely that gene therapies – eliminating mutant genes that cause some severe, mostly very rare diseases – might finally bear fruit, if they can be shown to be safe for human use. Clinical trials are now under way.
But modified babies?
Crispr-Cas9 has already been used to genetically modify (nonviable) human embryos in China, to see if it is possible in principle – the results were mixed. And Kathy Niakan of the Francis Crick Institute in the UK has been granted a licence by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to use Crispr-Cas9 on embryos a few days old to find out more about problems in these early stages of development that can lead to miscarriage and other reproductive problems.
Most countries have not yet legislated on genetic modification in human reproduction, but of those that have, all have banned it. The idea of using Crispr-Cas9 for human reproduction is largely rejected in principle by the medical research community. A team of scientists warned in Nature less than two years ago that genetic manipulation of the germ line (sperm and egg cells) by methods like Crispr-Cas9, even if focused initially on improving health, “could start us down a path towards non-therapeutic genetic enhancement”.
Besides, there seems to be little need for gene editing in reproduction. It would be a difficult, expensive and uncertain way to achieve what can mostly be achieved already in other ways, particularly by just selecting an embryo that has or lacks the gene in question. “Almost everything you can accomplish by gene editing, you can accomplish by embryo selection,” says bioethicist Henry Greely of Stanford University in California.
Because of unknown health risks and widespread public distrust of gene editing, bioethicist Ronald Green of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire says he does not foresee widespread use of Crispr-Cas9 in the next two decades, even for the prevention of genetic disease, let alone for designer babies. However, Green does see gene editing appearing on the menu eventually, and perhaps not just for medical therapies. “It is unavoidably in our future,” he says, “and I believe that it will become one of the central foci of our social debates later in this century and in the century beyond.” He warns that this might be accompanied by “serious errors and health problems as unknown genetic side effects in ‘edited’ children and populations begin to manifest themselves”.
For now, though, if there’s going to be anything even vaguely resembling the popular designer-baby fantasy, Greely says it will come from embryo selection, not genetic manipulation. Embryos produced by IVF will be genetically screened – parts or all of their DNA will be read to deduce which gene variants they carry – and the prospective parents will be able to choose which embryos to implant in the hope of achieving a pregnancy. Greely foresees that new methods of harvesting or producing human eggs, along with advances in preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) of IVF embryos, will make selection much more viable and appealing, and thus more common, in 20 years’ time.
PGD is already used by couples who know that they carry genes for specific inherited diseases so that they can identify embryos that do not have those genes. The testing, generally on three- to five-day-old embryos, is conducted in around 5% of IVF cycles in the US. In the UK it is performed under licence from the HFEA, which permits screening for around 250 diseases including thalassemia, early-onset Alzheimer’s and cystic fibrosis.
As a way of “designing” your baby, PGD is currently unattractive. “Egg harvesting is unpleasant and risky and doesn’t give you that many eggs,” says Greely, and the success rate for implanted embryos is still typically about one in three. But that will change, he says, thanks to developments that will make human eggs much more abundant and conveniently available, coupled to the possibility of screening their genomes quickly and cheaply.
Advances in methods for reading the genetic code recorded in our chromosomes are going to make it a routine possibility for every one of us – certainly, every newborn child – to have our genes sequenced. “In the next 10 years or so, the chances are that many people in rich countries will have large chunks of their genetic information in their electronic medical records,” says Greely.
But using genetic data to predict what kind of person an embryo would become is far more complicated than is often implied. Seeking to justify unquestionably important research on the genetic basis of human health, researchers haven’t done much to dispel simplistic ideas about how genes make us. Talk of “IQ genes”, “gay genes” and “musical genes” has led to a widespread perception that there is a straightforward one-to-one relationship between our genes and our traits. In general, it’s anything but.
There are thousands of mostly rare and nasty genetic diseases that can be pinpointed to a specific gene mutation. Most more common diseases or medical predispositions – for example, diabetes, heart disease or certain types of cancer – are linked to several or even many genes, can’t be predicted with any certainty, and depend also on environmental factors such as diet.
When it comes to more complex things like personality and intelligence, we know very little. Even if they are strongly inheritable – it’s estimated that up to 80% of intelligence, as measured by IQ, is inherited – we don’t know much at all about which genes are involved, and not for want of looking.
At best, Greely says, PGD might tell a prospective parent things like “there’s a 60% chance of this child getting in the top half at school, or a 13% chance of being in the top 10%”. That’s not much use.
We might do better for “cosmetic” traits such as hair or eye colour. Even these “turn out to be more complicated than a lot of people thought,” Greely says, but as the number of people whose genomes have been sequenced increases, the predictive ability will improve substantially.
Ewan Birney, director of the European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge, points out that, even if other countries don’t choose to constrain and regulate PGD in the way the HFEA does in the UK, it will be very far from a crystal ball.
Nearly anything you can measure for humans, he says, can be studied through genetics, and analysing the statistics for huge numbers of people often reveals some genetic component. But that information “is not very predictive on an individual basis,” says Birney. “I’ve had my genome sequenced on the cheap, and it doesn’t tell me very much. We’ve got to get away from the idea that your DNA is your destiny.”
If the genetic basis of attributes like intelligence and musicality is too thinly spread and unclear to make selection practical, then tweaking by genetic manipulation certainly seems off the menu too. “I don’t think we are going to see superman or a split in the species any time soon,” says Greely, “because we just don’t know enough and are unlikely to for a long time – or maybe for ever.”
If this is all “designer babies” could mean even in principle – freedom from some specific but rare diseases, knowledge of rather trivial aspects of appearance, but only vague, probabilistic information about more general traits like health, attractiveness and intelligence – will people go for it in large enough numbers to sustain an industry?
Greely suspects, even if it is used at first only to avoid serious genetic diseases, we need to start thinking hard about the options we might be faced with. “Choices will be made,” he says, “and if informed people do not participate in making those choices, ignorant people will make them.”
Green thinks that technological advances could make “design” increasingly versatile. In the next 40-50 years, he says, “we’ll start seeing the use of gene editing and reproductive technologies for enhancement: blond hair and blue eyes, improved athletic abilities, enhanced reading skills or numeracy, and so on.”
He’s less optimistic about the consequences, saying that we will then see social tensions “as the well-to-do exploit technologies that make them even better off”, increasing the relatively worsened health status of the world’s poor. As Greely points out, a perfectly feasible 10-20% improvement in health via PGD, added to the comparable advantage that wealth already brings, could lead to a widening of the health gap between rich and poor, both within a society and between nations.
Others doubt that there will be any great demand for embryo selection, especially if genetic forecasts remain sketchy about the most desirable traits. “Where there is a serious problem, such as a deadly condition, or an existing obstacle, such as infertility, I would not be surprised to see people take advantage of technologies such as embryo selection,” says law professor and bioethicist R Alta Charo of the University of Wisconsin. “But we already have evidence that people do not flock to technologies when they can conceive without assistance.”
The poor take-up of sperm banks offering “superior” sperm, she says, already shows that. For most women, “the emotional significance of reproduction outweighs any notion of ‘optimisation’”. Charo feels that “our ability to love one another with all our imperfections and foibles outweighs any notion of ‘improving’ our children through genetics”.
All the same, societies are going to face tough choices about how to regulate an industry that offers PGD with an ever-widening scope. “Technologies are very amoral,” says Birney. “Societies have to decide how to use them” – and different societies will make different choices.
One of the easiest things to screen for is sex. Gender-specific abortion is formally forbidden in most countries, although it still happens in places such as China and India where there has been a strong cultural preference for boys. But prohibiting selection by gender is another matter. How could it even be implemented and policed? By creating some kind of quota system?
And what would selection against genetic disabilities do to those people who have them? “They have a lot to be worried about here,” says Greely. “In terms of whether society thinks I should have been born, but also in terms of how much medical research there is into diseases, how well understood it is for practitioners and how much social support there is.”
Once selection beyond avoidance of genetic disease becomes an option – and it does seem likely – the ethical and legal aspects are a minefield. When is it proper for governments to coerce people into, or prohibit them from, particular choices, such as not selecting for a disability? How can one balance individual freedoms and social consequences?
“The most important consideration for me,” says Charo, “is to be clear about the distinct roles of personal morality, by which individuals decide whether to seek out technological assistance, versus the role of government, which can prohibit, regulate or promote technology.”
She adds: “Too often we discuss these technologies as if personal morality or particular religious views are a sufficient basis for governmental action. But one must ground government action in a stronger set of concerns about promoting the wellbeing of all individuals while permitting the widest range of personal liberty of conscience and choice.”
“For better or worse, human beings will not forgo the opportunity to take their evolution into their own hands,” says Green. “Will that make our lives happier and better? I’m far from sure.”
The simplest and surest way to “design” a baby is not to construct its genome by pick’n’mix gene editing but to produce a huge number of embryos and read their genomes to find the one that most closely matches your desires.
Two technological advances are needed for this to happen, says bioethicist Henry Greely of Stanford University in California. The production of embryos for IVF must become easier, more abundant and less unpleasant. And gene sequencing must be fast and cheap enough to reveal the traits an embryo will have. Put them together and you have “Easy PGD” (preimplantation genetic diagnosis): a cheap and painless way of generating large numbers of human embryos and then screening their entire genomes for desired characteristics.
“To get much broader use of PGD, you need a better way to get eggs,” Greely says. “The more eggs you can get, the more attractive PGD becomes.” One possibility is a one-off medical intervention that extracts a slice of a woman’s ovary and freezes it for future ripening and harvesting of eggs. It sounds drastic, but would not be much worse than current egg-extraction and embryo-implantation methods. And it could give access to thousands of eggs for future use.
An even more dramatic approach would be to grow eggs from stem cells – the cells from which all other tissue types can be derived. Some stem cells are present in umbilical blood, which could be harvested at a person’s birth and frozen for later use to grow organs – or eggs.
Even mature cells that have advanced beyond the stem-cell stage and become specific tissue types can be returned to a stem-cell-like state by treating them with biological molecules called growth factors. Last October, a team in Japan reported that they had made mouse eggs this way from skin cells, and fertilised them to create apparently healthy and fertile mouse pups.
Thanks to technological advances, the cost of human whole-genome sequencing has plummeted. In 2009 it cost around $50,000; today it is most like $1,500, which is why several private companies can now offer this service. In a few decades it could cost just a few dollars per genome. Then it becomes feasible to think of PGD for hundreds of embryos at a time.
“The science for safe and effective Easy PGD is likely to exist some time in the next 20 to 40 years,” says Greely. He thinks it will then become common for children to be conceived through IVF using selected genomes. He forecasts that this will lead to “the coming obsolescence of sex” for procreation.