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Old 23rd March 2017, 12:59 PM   #161
Emily's Cat
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Oh, god, no.
Whew! I feel less boggled now!

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What I am saying is that GATTACA is a work of fiction. It doesn't actually tell us whether the kind of eugenically-optimized society we're discussing would be desirable or acceptable. PhantomWolf thinks that such a society would turn out like GATTACA, and he may be right. But looking at the movie doesn't tell us one way or the other. It's just a movie.

I happen to think it's a good movie. More than that, I think it's good science fiction, because it tells a story about how human society responds and adapts to technological change--genetic optimization, in this case. And I think it recognizes a truth about human nature, that our societies create winners and losers. They always have, and they probably always will.

A good story has conflict, and GATTACA gives us that. It tells the story of a loser in the new society, and their struggle to win against the odds and the forces stacked against them. It's a good story. It's a believable story. I think that it is even an artistically true story.

But it's still just a story. It's not data. It's not an argument against marplots' vision, it's a competing vision. Or even a complementary vision.

My point is this: It's not sufficient to reject GATTACA because it depicts winners and losers. All societies create winners and losers. Our current societies, even the best of them, create winners and losers. GATTACA doesn't look very desirable or acceptable to me, but then I haven't really seen it. Who knows what it's really like? If its tradeoffs are worse or better than the ones we currently are making?
I get you, and for the most part I agree. Where I might differ some is in the conclusion that it's "just a story", mostly in the sense that a story can also be a parable. A story can be a method for rasing ethical questions and for demonstrating the consequences of certain decisions or actions. For example, all of Aesop's fables are just stories, but they're also effective methods for teaching behavioral norms, and consequences. They're great for teaching what "sour grapes" means, and for understanding that response. They teach about compassion, consideration, and the effect it can have on other people. Nearly all of them are stories that illustrate ways that humans interact with each other, and the effect of one person's actions on another.

In that light, I think that GATTACA could be considered more than "just fiction". In the same way that 1984 illustrates a potential outcome that we should seek to avoid, so does GATTACA. It certainly doesn't mean that it's the only possible outcome of genetic optimization... but it does highlight a specific risk that is a plausible outcome of genetic optimization.
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Old 24th March 2017, 01:04 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
I have to ask, if the employer is "negotiating" with prospective employees by telling them their will have to bear all health care costs associated with condition "x", why are they offering health insurance at all as part of their compensation scheme?

Will they also require a genetic test for their partners, or children (solely to reduce unnecessary insurance costs)? After all if the employee is so disloyal to the company that they marry someone with the genetic predisposition to condition "x" they might incur additional insurance costs as a result, or if not the spouse then any children of the union (or prospective adoptees) may also incur such expenses - and then there is the lost productivity that might result from dealing with sick family members, better make it a condition of employment then to require that the employees be single and without children or face termination for potentially costing the company money.
Real world example.

I know of an employer that attempted to introduce a clause into their union contract that would restrict employees from engaging tin "risky" behaviors such as Skiing, Snowboarding, Surfing, Rock climbing, motorcycling etc.

They failed miserably.
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Old 24th March 2017, 01:35 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by BStrong View Post
Real world example.



I know of an employer that attempted to introduce a clause into their union contract that would restrict employees from engaging tin "risky" behaviors such as Skiing, Snowboarding, Surfing, Rock climbing, motorcycling etc.



They failed miserably.

I can imagine that easily. Just like I can imagine that DNA testing employees would also fail miserably.
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Old Yesterday, 05:48 AM   #164
BobTheCoward
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
I can imagine that easily. Just like I can imagine that DNA testing employees would also fail miserably.
The advantage of a free market is we have failure. Yours is the best argument I have read for allowing DNA testing by employers.
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Old Today, 04:06 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
The advantage of a free market is we have failure. Yours is the best argument I have read for allowing DNA testing by employers.
Every system has the "advantage of failure".

I have to admit I'm a bit puzzled by the rest of your remark, simply because my argument has been that DNA testing will in most cases not reveal any information that could be considered a bonafide occupational requirement, and therefore should not be a consideration in the hiring process.
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Old Today, 02:02 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
Every system has the "advantage of failure".

I have to admit I'm a bit puzzled by the rest of your remark, simply because my argument has been that DNA testing will in most cases not reveal any information that could be considered a bonafide occupational requirement, and therefore should not be a consideration in the hiring process.
The big risk, in my opinion, is that it's not really in any employer's best interest anyway.

Sort of like polygraphs. There's a ghost of a chance they can help, but it's just too unpredictable as to whether it'll help for this specific employee's evaluation, which makes it a complete waste of resources.

Specifically, the problem is the [availability heuristic]. We don't have enough information to use a DNA profile to translate into employee fitness. The temptation would be to cherry pick 'favourite' alleles because they catch our interest, rather than because they are meaningful. We don't know how to combine them into a final probability - it's too complex - so pick one and go with it, and call the process 'scienctific'.

Just as an example, I have alleles for being a super taster. A chef would want to hire me, right? Well, I also have alleles for hypoxic conditioning predisposition. So, that means I'd be a good swimmer. Which means millions of hours in chlorinated water. Which means I have no sense of taste or smell.

Would the prospective chef be considering whether his applicants can hold their breath for a long time? Probably not. So he's not really evaluating his applicant's probability of being good at the job - just taking stabs in the dark with a few choice alleles, wasting time and money, and essentially still randomly picking applicants, but prying into their privacy and paying a DNA testing company good money that's just being wasted.
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