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I was reading a book by Jonathan Glover about ethics of reproductive technologies. The discussion was mostly interesting and nuanced , but I was left wondering why the discussion was restricted only to the new technologies (genetic screenings, treatments etc.) with almost no attempt to put these issues into the context of the present day reality in the absence of these techniques. At times I got a feeling that this omission was deliberate and provided a convenient way to ring-fence discussion into a “safe zone” where most of the readers would not feel uncomfortable. I find it strange how we can easily judge a selection for blue eyes or intelligence (for example) as “bad” when it happens consciously by technological means, but treat it as “good” (or at least neutral) when we do the same thing “naturally” while falling in love while being influenced by the very same preferences. It is as if we are carrying a free get out of jail card, which makes the moral judgment different depending on whether the act was done consciously or unconsciously (from the “heart”). After all the preferences that people have for their partners are very often shared by others and those traits that we find attractive are often at least partly influenced by genes. It is not as if one prefers a partner with mental problems and the other a one without. It is more like the most in the society rejecting certain people with thousands of individual acts of rejection. Such collective behavior dooms some people into genetic oblivion.

Now, I would not say that those rejecting people they do not fancy are acting immorally. Quite the contrary. I think everyone is responsible for their happiness and should not pick someone (or a life that) they do not desire as an act of sacrifice. However, in my opinion one should not jump to the conclusion, that just because something was done “from the heart”, it would be by default more moral than the conscious choice. Call me an idealist if you want, but I think that proper ethics and morality transcends the feelings/vibes of some individual.

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