They didn’t stop to think if they should…

During the week prior to Family Weekend, Team Kenan’s ongoing Couch program encouraged members of the Duke community to think on and engage in dialogue about whether parents have the right to predetermine their children’s genes and whether there should be limits on how humanity chooses to enhance itself.  Some students espoused the opinion that modifications of our innate genetic code could ultimately unravel what makes us innately ourselves, “It’s a human right to not want to change,”  Others wondered whether “fixing” challenges would fundamentally alter whom we become, “My brother is autistic. I would never just fix him because to me, he’s my brother and he lives a great life just like us,” and while admitting, “Everyone has things about themselves that they’d want to change”, nonetheless worried that the ability to make alterations would ultimately lead to more dissatisfaction, “There’s a point in which you should just love yourself.” 

Couch goers were concerned about the potential for a slippery slope effect: “It’s really difficult to set nuances for this. Genetic modification should be all or nothing,” worrying that pre-natal modifications could exacerbate social inequalities and pressures to conform to standards of attractiveness, physical prowess and mental ability set by those with the financial means to set the genetic bar. “Would it even be your baby if you modify [its genes]?”