No Excuses

MIT Tech Review: Chinese scientists are creating CRISPR babies

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10 minutes ago, No Excuses said:

Stating my opinion is declaring it a done deal? I disagree with PeterMP but at least there is an acknowledgement that we approach these issues from a different standpoint. You’re butting into a conversation in which you are grossly unqualified to outright dismiss people’s views.

 

 

Out of all the things said in this thread, this is by far the most nonsensical and I probably have a lower view of Trump voters than mostly anyone on this board. 

 

So much for “ethics” and “morality”.

 

Look... the only view I've been dismissive of is the one you've posted about it being a reproductive rights and something that should be left up to the parents.

 

I'm perfectly qualified for that conversation. The other conversations, which I am grossly unqualified for, I've stayed out of. On purpose. You're just so set on attacking me on this that you forgot that part.

 

You've outright dismissed the concerns as 'hand waiving' which anyone who's spent time in academics knows that's your way of categorically dismissing those people as having no grounds to stand on for their view. You did not use the term "done deal." You did describe the argument as "hand waiving" and anyone who's been in academics knows what you meant. The fact that you're so involved in this field, and still called it hand waiving, means you did exactly what I said you did, even if you're now trying to walk it back.

 

 

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It’s always easy to argue when you assign people positions based on your own bogus interpretation of their statements. 

 

Before this thread gets derailed further, looks like the Chinese Academy of Sciences is not viewing this as an illegal experiment/procedure:

 

 

Jennifer Doudna (CRISPR inventor) also put out a very mild statement asking for peer review of the work.

Edited by No Excuses

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But CAS does make clear their opposition for the time being to anyone doing this in the future.  Legality would be beyond their purview anyway.  Also, no clear statement on illegality is not the same as CAS not viewing this as an illegal procedure (though it may simply be a case of murky law).

 

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On 11/25/2018 at 8:28 PM, PeterMP said:

 

eh, I'd generally disagree.  There appear to be very little advantages historically in being the first to develop a new technology, and with the ease of transferring information, knowledge, and people in the modern world the importance seems to be shrinking.

 

Atomic Weapons?

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8 hours ago, thegreaterbuzzette said:

So very human to insist that someone has to be to blame.

And what manner of creature are you exactly?  

 

8 hours ago, thegreaterbuzzette said:

What if it can be linked to a single parents genetics, can then other parent now prosecute and blame?

There’s a duscussion to be had about knowingly passing on genetic diseases, especially when there are other options for starting a family.  Unknowingly doing so is clearly a tragic accident.  Do you disagree?

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George Daley just gave a big, flashing green light to gene editing in embryos. Says we should stop debating ethics, the tech is ready and is basically declaring that’s Harvard is ready to do it.

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11 hours ago, No Excuses said:

 

My answer to this is no. Because you don’t need government regulations to prevent something that has an absurdly low probability of happening. We don’t design science policy in this country for hypotheticals like this.

 

There should be regulations designed to oversee conduct in germline editing. I am simply in favor of a system that doesn’t draw arbitrary lines in the sand, purely based on feelings rather than an assessment of the science and technology involved and the reproductive freedom that should be granted to individuals to make decisions on the wellbeing of their offspring.

 

We already have systems in place intended to investigate malpractice, for both  cosmetic and medical procedures. 

 

The issue  is do I actually have the fundamental right that you claim that people have.  Hypotheticals are important in that kind of conversation.  

 

From there, the problem is there has been essentially no assessment of the science and technology involved, and in reality, it will take decades for there to a true assessment of the science and technology involved.

 

Given the variety of human genotypes, there being reasonable chances that in some cases issues won't arise until after the teen years, and the number of possible negative affects having a true assessment of the science and technology involved is going to be very hard.

 

As I've already stated, we haven't yet determined the true effects of IVF alone.

 

You can't simultaneously say, I'm for pushing forward, and I want a policy based on a (good) assessment of the science and technology involved.

 

If you want to base policy on a good assessment of the science and technology involved, the first thing that has to be done is an assessment of the effects of IVF alone.  The effects of IVF are an active area of research now.

Edited by PeterMP

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20 hours ago, No Excuses said:

Bloomberg’s Noah Smith comes out in favor of the US pushing forward faster in this space. He is 100% right. Surrendering the story of CRISPR to the Chinese will have grave consequences.

 

 

 

 

First, I think he's wrong.  As I've already stated, it isn't hard to see where there will be negatives to this, and the country that rushes to adopt this will end up paying larger societal costs due to unforeseen issues with implementation of the technology.

 

Take fracking and waste water injection.  Countries that waited are going to be better off than the US that pushed ahead widely with the technology because mistakes were made, and we've learned from are mistakes, but those mistakes have had real costs even if we don't actually determine what they are/were.

 

Second, he's suggesting that we should ignore ethics for an economic benefit.  That's just dumb.  That same logic would hold for robbing a bank.  Hey, it might be wrong, but let's ignore that because the economics are beneficial.  This is essentially the same argument that Trump is making with respect to the Saudi regime.  We should ignore the quesitonable ethics of working with the Saudis for the economic gain.  My thoughts on the argument here and Trump's are the same.  It is wrong.

Edited by PeterMP
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12 hours ago, No Excuses said:

George Daley just gave a big, flashing green light to gene editing in embryos. Says we should stop debating ethics, the tech is ready and is basically declaring that’s Harvard is ready to do it.

 

Can he describe the epigenetic changes that occur as a result of exposing a human embryo to CRIPRS gene editing?

 

Does it matter what gene you edit?

 

Does the genotype of the embryo being edited?

 

etc.

 

And it isn't just humans.  To my knowledge, those questions can't be answered for any multicellular organism.  In terms of life time affects, we will really be doing these experiments on humans for the first time if we rush forward now.

 

(No, he can't really answer any of these questions so to simply declare the "tech" is ready is laughable.  This is no different than saying the fracking and waste water injection tech was ready when it was first widely implemented in the US.  Sure, the tech was ready.  The people implementing the tech just has no idea the actual negative consequences of it, and now we have areas of the countries dealing with long term affects.  And like that, this isn't a technology where unintended affects will be short lived.  We're talking about a case where unintended affects will last a person's whole life and very likely will have generational affects.

 

(Or we could talk about IVF,  Yes, the IVF tech was ready in that it works.  Was it ready in terms of really understanding the long term affects?  No.))

Edited by PeterMP

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6 hours ago, nonniey said:

Atomic Weapons?

 

Based on what has happened, there was no real advantage for us in creating atomic weapons first.  The Soviets were able to pretty quickly develop them followed by other countries.

 

What we did happen is we paid costs associated with testing of them in terms people's health and environmental pollution that other countries didn't pay to the same extent.

 

Like nuclear weapons and us and the Soviets, it isn't likely that China is going to be able to get so far out ahead of us that if it becomes clear that there really are advantages here that we won't be able to catch up enough fast enough that the fact that they took the lead is going to matter.

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3 minutes ago, PeterMP said:

 

Based on what has happened, there was no real advantage for us in creating atomic weapons first.  The Soviets were able to pretty quickly develop them followed by other countries.

 

What we did happen is we paid costs associated with testing of them in terms people's health and environmental pollution that other countries didn't pay to the same extent.

 

Like nuclear weapons and us and the Soviets, it isn't likely that China is going to be able to get so far out ahead of us that if it becomes clear that there really are advantages here that we won't be able to catch up enough fast enough that the fact that they took the lead is going to matter.

So your saying if Stalin had developed them first (or Hitler, Japan) that would have been better in the long run?

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9 hours ago, nonniey said:

So your saying if Stalin had developed them first (or Hitler, Japan) that would have been better in the long run?

 

I obviously cannot comment on the history of events that did not happen.  I can't comment on a history where Germany develops nuclear weapons and a means to deliver them reliably without doing massive damage to Germany itself because that didn't happen.

 

But the development of nuclear weapons by us first had no real impact on us defeating Germany in WWII (we didn't use nuclear weapons to defeat Germany), Japan (we used them against Japan, but they aren't the reason we defeated Japan.  We defeated Japan because they didn't have the resources to win a long term war against us (and much of the rest of the Pacific countries) (and if Japan or Germany does develop them first neither has the ability to strike at the mainland US), or the Soviet Union (again, we never used nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union.  We defeated the Soviet Union because they practiced an inferior economic and political philosophy).

 

I wouldn't necessarily say it would have better.  I would say that I doubt it would have made much of a difference  in terms of long term world history, and it is easy to get caught up in the supposed benefit of us developing them first and ignore the costs to us for developing them first.

 

There is no point in history where you really look and say us having developed nuclear weapons first was a deciding factor in the out come of events.  It might have played some role, but there were lots of other factors involved too.  I didn't say there was no advantage, I said there was little advantage, and those advantages appear to be shrinking as the ease at transferring information and technology are shrinking.

 

I'd say as a society and maybe as a species in general when it comes to the adoption of new technology we seem to have a choice-supportive bias.

Edited by PeterMP
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I just want to add on that there is currently an argument to develop more human reference genomes.

 

https://www.bme.jhu.edu/news-events/news/widely-used-reference-for-the-human-genome-is-missing-300-million-bits-of-dna/

 

That is the "human" genome that we have isn't really correct for large numbers of people and as such when we talk about editing the genome, for large numbers of people we don't actually even know what we are editing.  It would be like if somebody had made one of the Harry Potter movies first, and then asked you to edit one of the books without being allowed to read the whole thing first based on the movie that you had been allowed to watch.

 

*EDIT*
The more complete analogy is you are allowed to watch the movie, are given the pages of a draft of the book but they aren't in the right order and some pages from other books might have been added in or there might be pages missing from the draft, you are allowed to read all of the out of order pages with extra/missing pages, and then you are asked to edit the book based on the out of order pages that might have extra pages from another book added in or missing pages.

Edited by PeterMP

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10 hours ago, PeterMP said:

 

Based on what has happened, there was no real advantage for us in creating atomic weapons first.  The Soviets were able to pretty quickly develop them followed by other countries.

 

What we did happen is we paid costs associated with testing of them in terms people's health and environmental pollution that other countries didn't pay to the same extent.

 

Like nuclear weapons and us and the Soviets, it isn't likely that China is going to be able to get so far out ahead of us that if it becomes clear that there really are advantages here that we won't be able to catch up enough fast enough that the fact that they took the lead is going to matter.

 

This point you keep raising is absolutely devoid of any understanding of how science and tech policy works at the National and global level. 

 

Even within CRISPR, there is a patent fight worth billions going on for who gets to claim rights over the invention. Even with both parties being in the US, the consequences of the outcome are global (see rulings in EU vs the US). 

 

From an international perspective, the country that is first to technology almost always gets to right the rules and set global standards. They eventually attract the best talent to work on the tech, build a academic pipelines to support RnD and industry and have control over global supply chains.

 

We saw this play out throughout the world with telecom technology. We see this now with the race to 5G and which country gets to control majority of the global share over its deployment that will have long lasting ramifications for both industry and even national security. We see this with military technology all the time (look at GPS and the major advantages the US military has over every other country on Earth). We see this with our commercial space sector where we are far ahead of any other country.

 

Conversely, you can look at China and the catch up they are playing to the US on Artificial Intelligence, having to invest signficantly more than we are to simply catch up, not only in terms of basic knowledge, but also attracting the expertise needed to develop their technologies. 

 

I’ve sat in on meetings with defense officials about hypersonic weapons and the race to which country deploys them first and the global consequences of first to tech in this area. 

 

This argument literaly flies in the face of the international landscape of science and tech policy. 

 

Walk into the office of an Office Director at DARPA and tell them that first to technology doesn’t really have major advantages. You would be laughed out of the room.

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11 hours ago, PeterMP said:

 

Can he describe the epigenetic changes that occur as a result of exposing a human embryo to CRIPRS gene editing?

 

Does it matter what gene you edit?

 

Does the genotype of the embryo being edited?

 

etc.

 

And it isn't just humans.  To my knowledge, those questions can't be answered for any multicellular organism.  In terms of life time affects, we will really be doing these experiments on humans for the first time if we rush forward now.

 

None of these questions fundamentally get answered until the work is actually done in humans beyond the point of just germline editing. No amount of in-vitro or animal modeling will give you greater insights.

 

IVF is done all over country. It hasn’t been some apocalyptic scenario of a technology gone wrong.

 

We have a fundamental understanding of human genetics and enough knowledge to move forward. It isn’t just George Daley at Harvard. This was the broad consensus drawn by both NAS and Nuffield Committee on Bioethics last year. 

 

This has been discussed and debated at major academic bodies for the past several years now. There are questions about CRISPR and germline editing that will only be answered once we move into taking edited embryos, implanting them into humans and taking pregnancies to term. 

 

As far as gaps in our understanding of the human genome, there are enormous reference genome databases already and more on the way (the UK biobank will be adding 50,000). This isn’t a limiting factor for CRISPR work. And really what’s more important for germline editing is good single cell sequencing expertise for the embryo and a reference genome from both parents.  

Edited by No Excuses

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41 minutes ago, No Excuses said:

 

This point you keep raising is absolutely devoid of any understanding of how science and tech policy works at the National and global level. 

 

Even within CRISPR, there is a patent fight worth billions going on for who gets to claim rights over the invention. Even with both parties being in the US, the consequences of the outcome are global (see rulings in EU vs the US). 

 

From an international perspective, the country that is first to technology almost always gets to right the rules and set global standards. They eventually attract the best talent to work on the tech, build a academic pipelines to support RnD and industry and have control over global supply chains.

 

We saw this play out throughout the world with telecom technology. We see this now with the race to 5G and which country gets to control majority of the global share over its deployment that will have long lasting ramifications for both industry and even national security. We see this with military technology all the time (look at GPS and the major advantages the US military has over every other country on Earth). We see this with our commercial space sector where we are far ahead of any other country.

 

Conversely, you can look at China and the catch up they are playing to the US on Artificial Intelligence, having to invest signficantly more than we are to simply catch up, not only in terms of basic knowledge, but also attracting the expertise needed to develop their technologies. 

 

I’ve sat in on meetings with defense officials about hypersonic weapons and the race to which country deploys them first and the global consequences of first to tech in this area. 

 

This argument literaly flies in the face of the international landscape of science and tech policy. 

 

Walk into the office of an Office Director at DARPA and tell them that first to technology doesn’t really have major advantages. You would be laughed out of the room.

 

The CRISPR patent rights have nothing to do with what is currently happening.  That patent right fight is happening already based on research that was done years ago now and so is irrelevant with respect to the current conversation.

 

Second, any patent rights, including any patent rights related to future CRISPR future technology, are completely artificial and based on what we say legally, and we're seeing a pretty clear trend that the patenting of biologically related information is not considered legally valid (e.g. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/supreme-court-strikes-brca-gene-patent/story?id=19392299).  In general, doing anything because of possible international future patent rights is stupid due to the artificiality of patent rights.

 

The fact that China has closed the gap on us in terms of AI, the telecom industry in general, and there is a race to develop 5G technology is not evidence that I'm wrong.  It is in fact evidence that I'm right.  The supposed advantages that we have for having developed the initial telecom technology and CoSci don't really exist.  We had a huge advantage there over other countries (much larger than China has over us on CRISPR and will if we reasonably let them take the lead) and about 2 decades later it is essentially gone.  And that larger societal impact that lead had is questionable as the negative impacts of the technology on our larger society are clear.

 

Nothing you've said has really addressed anything I've posted.

 

The long term benefits vs. costs of this technology are relatively unclear.  Yes, we can do it (like fracking and IVF when their use first became wide spread), but the long term consequences are relatively unclear.

 

Chasing (short term) economic benefits by ignoring clear ethical concerns is not a good idea.

Edited by PeterMP

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17 minutes ago, No Excuses said:

 

None of these questions fundamentally get answered until the work is actually done in humans beyond the point of just germline editing. No amount of in-vitro or animal modeling will give you greater insights.

 

IVF is done all over country. It hasn’t been some apocalyptic scenario of a technology gone wrong.

 

We have a fundamental understanding of human genetics and enough knowledge to move forward. It isn’t just George Daley at Harvard. This was the broad consensus drawn by both NAS and Nuffield Committee on Bioethics last year. 

 

This has been discussed and debated at major academic bodies for the past several years now. There are questions about CRISPR and germline editing that will only be answered once we move into taking edited embryos, implanting them into people. 

 

As far as gaps in our understanding of the human genome, there are enormous reference genome databases already and more on the way (the UK biobank will be adding 50,000). This isn’t a limiting factor for CRISPR work. And really what’s more important for germline editing is good single cell sequencing expertise for the embryo and a reference genome from both parents.  

 

Certainly in vitro and animal modelling will give you some greater insights.  They won't give you all of the detail and there will still be possible unforeseen affects, but to claim there is no greater insight to be gained just isn't true.

 

Second, there is a difference between we will go forward with this in a limited and controlled manner where the benefits are pretty clear and we are going to go forward with this in a wide spread manner in cases where the benefit is not very important or at a larger societal level likely very beneficial.  However, if you do that, there are likely going to be limited economic benefits in the near future.

 

You are largely misrepresenting the position of the Nuffield Committee on Bioethics.  Here's there statement on what has happened:

 

"Today, the media has reported that gene-edited babies have been born in China. If these reports are true, this is deeply concerning. The possibilities raised by heritable genome editing could have significant implications for individuals and for all of society. We do not know enough about the safety of these procedures or welfare implications. It’s crucial that action is taken now to support research on safety, facilitate public debate, and put in place appropriate governance.

In July, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics published a report on the ethical and social issues raised by heritable genome editing interventions. We concluded that their use could be morally permissible in some circumstances. These circumstances do not, however, exist at present, anywhere. In our report we have discussed what these circumstances might be, but it is now for the wider society to agree them, and to define what governance measures should apply."

 

http://nuffieldbioethics.org/news/2018/nuffield-council-statement-reports-geneedited-babies-born-china

 

I'm not saying that IVF (or CRISPR) is an apocalyptic technology.  I am saying it appears there are real negative consequences that have real world negative costs that were not at all appreciated at the time when IVF became widespread, that we don't even rally understand all of the negative consequences, and are even further from understand why they happen so that we can prevent them going forward.  And the net gain of society from the wide spread use of IVF as it is currently practiced is questionable and in real terms is likely a negative.

 

Has your argument really devolved into, well as long as it isn't clearly a complete disaster we should do it?

 

Generally, reference genome quality from individuals is not done, which is why it is an issue because getting a human reference genome is still not a trivial or cheap thing.  Requiring the completion of a reference genome quality genome of both parents would actually be a reasonable thing to do (i.e. a government regulation), but that's also going to act as a deterrent to the implementation of the technology.

Edited by PeterMP

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11 minutes ago, PeterMP said:

.  

 

The fact that China has closed the gap on us in terms of AI, the telecom industry in general, and there is a race to develop 5G technology is not evidence that I'm wrong.  It is in fact evidence that I'm right.  The supposed advantages that we have for having developed the initial telecom technology and CoSci don't really exist.  We had a huge advantage there over other countries (much larger than China has over us on CRISPR and will if we reasonably let them take the lead) and about 2 decades later it is essentially gone.  And that larger societal impact that lead had is questionable as the negative impacts of the technology on our larger society are clear.

 

 

 

Wrong, wrong, wrong. 

 

Please spend a minute talking to anyone who works in federal science policy. No one thinks like this because this is now how science and technology works at the global scale. 

 

To continue with the telecom example:

 

US telecom companies dominating the landscape had major consequences for national security and allowing industry and jobs to flourish in our borders. We essentially got to write the rules globally on how the technology was deployed and used, who benefited. 

 

The country that dominates the 5G landscape will be writing the rules on telecom and most digital technologies for the next decade or two. There is a lot at stake for who gets there first (look at the futile US warnings to our allies on adopting Huawei and Chinese 5G). No one in US federal agencies is sitting around saying “well the Chinese might beat us but who cares, long term it won’t matter”. The arguments taking place are instead that the Chinese will be controlling the airwaves over which critical, sensitive information is going to be shared, many of which will contain information crucial to our economic and national security.  

 

Really not entertaining this argument further. You may hold the position that first to technology does not matter in the long run. Yet this is not how we approach science and tech within our borders, and particularly at the federal level. We haven’t historically, nor will we ever in the future. 

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Gattaca.jpg

 

"Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul" (Rabelais)

Edited by FrFan

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18 minutes ago, PeterMP said:

Has your argument really devolved into, well as long as it isn't clearly a complete disaster we should do it?

 

 

No. The technology is not a complete disaster, nor in my opinion are there major hurdles along the way that prohibit us from starting to use it for human germline editing. 

 

We see this consensus being reached at the human genome editing summit in Hong Kong. 

 

No technology is ever deployed with 100% certainty. We don’t even use this measure for clinical trials of drugs and devices that by and large are imprecise. It’s an absurd standard that we must answer every minute question before deploying CRISPR for germline edits, a technology that by most measures is poised to be far more accurate and precise, than most things that come out of clinical trials.

Edited by No Excuses

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9 minutes ago, No Excuses said:

 

No. The technology is not a complete disaster, nor in my opinion are there major hurdles along the way that prohibit us from starting to use it for human germline editing. 

 

We see this consensus being reached at the human genome editing summit in Hong Kong. 

 

No technology is ever deployed with 100% certainty. We don’t even use this measure for clinical trials of drugs and devices that by and large are imprecise. It’s an absurd standard that we must answer every minute question before deploying CRISPR for germline edits, a technology that by most measures is poised to be far more accurate and precise, than most things that come out of clinical trials.

 

I'm not asking that every question be answered.  I'm asking obvious ones based on our current knowledge of the effects of IVF.

 

Second, you seem to be suggesting that we go forward with this technology with much less information than what it takes to get through clinical trials despite the negative effects in this case certainly being life time (drugs can have negative life time affects, but in many cases they do not) and even likely generational in nature.

 

Given that negative effects will be large (i.e. at least the life time), why wouldn't you require at least the same standards as a drug clinical trial? (which requires extensive government over sight.)

 

So you've moved onto the another meeting/council rather than address the points made by Nuffield?

 

18 minutes ago, No Excuses said:

 

Wrong, wrong, wrong. 

 

Please spend a minute talking to anyone who works in federal science policy. No one thinks like this because this is now how science and technology works at the global scale. 

 

To continue with the telecom example:

 

US telecom companies dominating the landscape had major consequences for national security and allowing industry and jobs to flourish in our borders. We essentially got to write the rules globally on how the technology was deployed and used, who benefited. 

 

The country that dominates the 5G landscape will be writing the rules on telecom and most digital technologies for the next decade or two. There is a lot at stake for who gets there first (look at the futile US warnings to our allies on adopting Huawei and Chinese 5G). No one in US federal agencies is sitting around saying “well the Chinese might beat us but who cares, long term it won’t matter”. The arguments taking place are instead that the Chinese will be controlling the airwaves over which critical, sensitive information is going to be shared, many of which will contain information crucial to our economic and national security.  

 

Really not entertaining this argument further. You may hold the position that first to technology does not matter in the long run. Yet this is not how we approach science and tech within our borders, and particularly at the federal level. We haven’t historically, nor will we ever in the future. 

 

Again, all your doing is proving my point and making logical fallacies.  The fact that's the way it is done is not really an argument that it is right.

 

You're whole post is evidence of choice-supportive bias.  You talk about the jobs gained, while ignoring the jobs lost because the telecom industry made it easier to transfer information and ideas.  You talk about the benefits to national security, while ignoring the large scale leaks (e.g. Snowden) that the implementation of telecom related technology made possible.

 

You systematically ignore the negative consequences.

Edited by PeterMP

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10 minutes ago, PeterMP said:

 

Given that negative effects will be large (i.e. at least the life time), why wouldn't you require at least the same standards as a drug clinical trial? (which requires extensive government over sight.)

 

My opposition to government oversight is over dictating what is editable and what is not. I am in complete opposition to a government ban on this technology and it’s potential use. My view is that the question of what gets edited should be determined by professionals and the people involved in the trial. 

 

A lot of my opposition to government regulation in this space comes from the terrible policies that were crafted for stem cell research by past administrations.

 

I have no issue with oversight that deals with setting standards of procedure, care and consent. In fact, I have advised regulators and congress to consider creating a new clinical trial system specifically for germline editing because we really don’t have anything on the books that can ensure we do this in a responsible or efficient manner. 

 

I think the biggest failure from He Jiankui is that he did this work in secrecy. Good science is done out in the open.

Edited by No Excuses

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7 hours ago, No Excuses said:

 

My opposition to government oversight is over dictating what is editable and what is not. I am in complete opposition to a government ban on this technology and it’s potential use. My view is that the question of what gets edited should be determined by professionals and the people involved in the trial. 

 

That is not the standard we use for new drug trials.  Drug companies do not get to take drugs even into initial human clinical trials because they want to do it and they can find people willing to take it, much less to the wider market.

 

Though that does seem to have been the standard used with ivf.

 

(With respect to technology in general if China, Japan, Russia, and, Europe suffered some massive national security issues for being slower to develop and use telecom technology, it is not clear to me.  To use your previous standard, it was not apocalyptic for them )

 

The effects of those "terrible" policies were largely over stated at the time (we did not fall greatly behind in the field of stem cell science) and had positive affects that some still ignore.  Another case where it was argued that we had to push forward or we risked falling behind and their being terrible consequences where those consequences have essentially been negligible.

 

And it can be argued that the net effect of the policy has in fact been positive.

 

https://www.the-scientist.com/daily-news/benefits-of-the-stem-cell-ban-44088

 

"Federal aversion to embryonic stem cell research had a silver lining: it galvanized the development of new biotechnologies in stem cell science, two bioethicists argue"

 

A lot of work was done on developmental questions and creating different kinds of stem cells (e.g. pluripotent stem cells) and cellular transformations as a result of the ban that have generated as interesting if not more interesting results than that from the harvested embryonic stem cell research that went on in other countries and here after the ban was lifted.

 

I strongly suspect that forcing companies/institutions to better understand the negatives associated with IVF, the underlying mechanisms causing them, and how to prevent them will have more societal upside then insisting that we have to push forward (quickly) with genome editing to stay ahead of China.

 

Most experts in most fields say it is important that we are leaders in their field (everybody thinks what they do is important).  Practically, that's not possible, and logically, that's not likely.  There are almost certainly some fields where the current research is either really a dead end or the production of society benefiting results are long way off.

 

(Look at your other post, we have to lead in communication technology, we have to lead in hypersonic sonic weapons.  Everybody thinks we need to be leaders in space and energy and now CRISPR. 

 

I have to ask, what are the fields that are currently following research dead ends where being a leader isn't going to really be beneficial?

 

You saw the same thing when it came to building the super collider.  Not having a  US super collider has not been devastating to US physics, and if anything not paying to build a super collider looks like a good financial decision and likely allowed us to put money into projects that are generating more interesting results and forced people to take on other projects.)

Edited by PeterMP

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7 hours ago, PeterMP said:

"Federal aversion to embryonic stem cell research had a silver lining: it galvanized the development of new biotechnologies in stem cell science, two bioethicists argue"

 

A lot of work was done on developmental questions and creating different kinds of stem cells (e.g. pluripotent stem cells) and cellular transformations as a result of the ban that have generated as interesting if not more interesting results than that from the harvested embryonic stem cell research that went on in other countries and here after the ban was lifted.

 

None of this really changes the fact that the policy on stem cells was driven not by any science based policy but bogus ethical arguments. Science policy not based on facts or a proper understanding of the tech is nonsense, regardless of the outcomes. And even then, the major breakthrough of induced pluripotent stem cells came from a lab in Japan. But we had no way of knowing this when the initial ban was introduced. Ultimately it's hard to quantify or fully understand what was lost due to bad science policy and it's much easier to make revisionist arguments. Even the paper you links understands that it's hard to examine the impact and it is only their belief:


 

Quote

 

It is difficult to establish whether the stem cell research restrictions introduced by Bush affected the pace of stem cell innovation or whether the ensuing discoveries would have unfolded as rapidly had the ban not been issued. We recognize that necessity is the mother of invention. It is our belief that the federal restriction, along with the bioethical debates, promoted an accelerated pace of innovative biotechnology that influenced the direction of human stem cell research. 


 

 

 

To this day, it remains bad science policy.

 

I am going to link George Church's interview on this issue today (there are few in the world who have more authority than Church on genetic engineering😞

 

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/11/i-feel-obligation-be-balanced-noted-biologist-comes-defense-gene-editing-babies

 

Quote

A: People have said there’s a moratorium on germline editing and I contributed to reports that called for that, but a moratorium is not a permanent ban forever. It’s a checklist of what you have to do. It really seems like he was checking off the published list [see p. 132] by the National Academy of Sciences and added a few things of his own. At some point, we have to say we’ve done hundreds of animal studies and we’ve done quite a few human embryo studies. It may be after the dust settles there’s mosaicism and off targets that affect medical outcomes. It may never be zero. We don’t wait for radiation to be zero before we do [positron emission tomography] scans or x-rays.

 

Quote

A: I’m not saying they’ll never be an off-target problem. But let’s be quantitative before we start being accusatory. It might be detectable but not clinical. There’s no evidence of off-target causing problems in animals or cells. We have pigs that have dozens of CRISPR mutations and a mouse strain that has 40 CRISPR sites going off constantly and there are off-target effects in these animals, but we have no evidence of negative consequences.

 

Even the first US study on human germline editing with CRISPR last year found no off-site targets of consequence in their work.

7 hours ago, PeterMP said:

Most experts in most fields say it is important that we are leaders in their field (everybody thinks what they do is important).  Practically, that's not possible, and logically, that's not likely.  There are almost certainly some fields where the current research is either really a dead end or the production of society benefiting results are long way off.

 

 

It's not just experts. Ever year Congress asks for input from federal agencies and independent organizations on major areas of science and technology where the US needs to maintain global dominance. They do it because policy and funding priorities driven by these goals is necessary to maintain the elite position of our academies and institutes, and to create a vibrant private sector. They do it because it keeps our military far advanced than any other nations. 

 

You can think that it's silly. But it is the reality of our science policy in the US and it's worked for decades.

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