February 20, 2024

Is human germline editing compatible with human dignity?

Human germline editing, whether it is for health reasons or for the more ambitious project of Transhumanism, is intensely controversial. International bioethics agreements ban or discourage it, but there is growing interest in its purported medical and commercial benefits.

In a recent issue of The New Bioethics, Calum MacKellar, of the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, argued that it is utterly incompatible with equality in an inclusive society. People with disabilities would inevitably be devalued. It violates a foundational commitment in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights to ensure that “All human beings are born … equal in dignity and rights”.

it is difficult to see how heritable genome editing can ever be seen as ethically acceptable by a pro-equality, inclusive society. This is because such a civilized society will always seek to consider all individuals with or without heritable biological disabilities or differences – variations which will never disappear – as inherently equal in value and in worth.

The video below neatly summarises his concerns in two minutes.