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Old 11th March 2017, 12:52 AM   #1
Aepervius
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Ethics of DNA testing in employment

Speaking of GOP wasting no time screwing folk over... There is another one of those nice bill. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-.../1313/all-info
HR1313 apparently would enable employer to request genetic testing of their employee, or be allowed to charge them more (under the "wellness" programs).

There is a summary here , http://www.businessinsider.com/house...17-3?r=UK&IR=T but the comment I see on this are inconsistent. Some says the genetic testing result would be available to employer others says they would not be.

Not matter which case it is a bad step.

Mod InfoThread split from a derail in this thread: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...0#post11755640
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Old 11th March 2017, 01:00 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
(some snipped)

Some says the genetic testing result would be available to employer others says they would not be.

Not matter which case it is a bad step.
What don't you like about it?
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Old 11th March 2017, 01:19 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
What don't you like about it?
Multiple things.

Firstly no one should be forced to undergo genetic testing for health insurance or enforced wellness programs. This is the last frontier of private information. And it is not even really reliable as your genetic marker may, for example, tells you are more at risk for diabetes, but you may never get diabetes. Yet that information is now there and can be abused by hiking your insurance or putting an heavier burden on you.

Secondly once the information is collected, depending on which interpretation of the bill you read, it is then available to employer which can abuse the information by deciding who they kick out or promote based on this. This is the ultimate kick in the balls & ovaries : something you cannot change, like your skin color, and get judged on it rather than be judged on your job output.

ETA And that also means that from the birth onward, some are already penalized on the job by employer just by the mere existence of their genetic make up.

You don't think insurer or employer want this information out of goodness of heart do you ?

Last edited by Aepervius; 11th March 2017 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 11th March 2017, 01:35 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
Multiple things.

Firstly no one should be forced to undergo genetic testing for health insurance or enforced wellness programs. This is the last frontier of private information. And it is not even really reliable as your genetic marker may, for example, tells you are more at risk for diabetes, but you may never get diabetes. Yet that information is now there and can be abused by hiking your insurance or putting an heavier burden on you.

Secondly once the information is collected, depending on which interpretation of the bill you read, it is then available to employer which can abuse the information by deciding who they kick out or promote based on this. This is the ultimate kick in the balls & ovaries : something you cannot change, like your skin color, and get judged on it rather than be judged on your job output.

ETA And that also means that from the birth onward, some are already penalized on the job by employer just by the mere existence of their genetic make up.

You don't think insurer or employer want this information out of goodness of heart do you ?
Goodness of heart? No. Just another way of evaluating a possible hire. Despite the way you've made it sound negative, it's going to be a boon for those who meet whatever criteria are set. I don't see it as much different than asking about grades in college or criminal history.

Do you think employees should be able to conceal medical conditions from their employers? It doesn't seem right for someone to take on a job just for the medical benefits - say, if I were pregnant or had a seizure disorder and kept it to myself, just to cash in on an employer's health insurance and then quitting.

It's not clear to me why I'm lying when I don't disclose some things to a potential employer but invoking "privacy" if I conceal others.

"Yeah, sorry. I forgot to mention I'll be blind in a year. But don't worry, it's a genetic disorder, so you had no right to find out anyhow."
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Old 11th March 2017, 02:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Goodness of heart? No. Just another way of evaluating a possible hire. Despite the way you've made it sound negative, it's going to be a boon for those who meet whatever criteria are set. I don't see it as much different than asking about grades in college or criminal history.

Do you think employees should be able to conceal medical conditions from their employers? It doesn't seem right for someone to take on a job just for the medical benefits - say, if I were pregnant or had a seizure disorder and kept it to myself, just to cash in on an employer's health insurance and then quitting.

It's not clear to me why I'm lying when I don't disclose some things to a potential employer but invoking "privacy" if I conceal others.

"Yeah, sorry. I forgot to mention I'll be blind in a year. But don't worry, it's a genetic disorder, so you had no right to find out anyhow."
Really? It's wide open to potential abuse, what about seeing if someone is a carrier for a genetic disease (say sickle cell), one could argue that they are a worse risk for higher familial medical costs as their offspring might have the disease... and in the case of sickle cell, the vast majority would be black.
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Old 11th March 2017, 02:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Really? It's wide open to potential abuse, what about seeing if someone is a carrier for a genetic disease (say sickle cell), one could argue that they are a worse risk for higher familial medical costs as their offspring might have the disease... and in the case of sickle cell, the vast majority would be black.
This is the sort of thing we have now and we manage it. If I refuse to hire someone based on their sex, I am making a distinction based on genetics. It happens to be the kind of genetic difference I can identify visually (XX v. XY), but it's genetic nonetheless.

Illegal discrimination isn't handled by privacy - otherwise we'd ask homosexuals to stay in the closet or Jews not to wear a yarmulke - but by laws directed at such discrimination when it occurs.

And it's not all negative either. Suppose I have some genetic advantage which will make me better at a job. Shouldn't I be able to exploit my natural gift in the same way I would intelligence, strength, vocal talent or any other inborn trait?

Last edited by marplots; 11th March 2017 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 11th March 2017, 03:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
What don't you like about it?
One of the principles of insurance is collective risk. The more specific it becomes then the less collective it is. At some point if the risk assessment is completely accurate there is no point in insurance, you might as well just put the money into a savings account. I appreciate that there are some people for whom the socialist concept of insurance as collective responsibility is anathema.
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Old 11th March 2017, 03:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
This is the sort of thing we have now and we manage it. If I refuse to hire someone based on their sex, I am making a distinction based on genetics. It happens to be the kind of genetic difference I can identify visually (XX v. XY), but it's genetic nonetheless.

Illegal discrimination isn't handled by privacy - otherwise we'd ask homosexuals to stay in the closet or Jews not to wear a yarmulke - but by laws directed at such discrimination when it occurs.

And it's not all negative either. Suppose I have some genetic advantage which will make me better at a job. Shouldn't I be able to exploit my natural gift in the same way I would intelligence, strength, vocal talent or any other inborn trait?
To be pedantic you almost certainly make the choice on gender not sex. Thus an XY individual with androgen insensitivity who is phenotypically female will probably be judged by you as female gender, even though of male XY sex.
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Old 11th March 2017, 03:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Goodness of heart? No. Just another way of evaluating a possible hire. Despite the way you've made it sound negative, it's going to be a boon for those who meet whatever criteria are set. I don't see it as much different than asking about grades in college or criminal history.
No it is utterly different. This is like your employer asking you when you stopped pissing in your underwear when you were young.

Prison => action that you did
Study => action that you did
Genetic material => utterly out of your own action , set at birth

You are basically telling that some people should never get a job due to their birth, because every employer can refuse them to their genetic. That's the long run.

Basically the parent may as well abort them all if any genetic problem would stop their employment.

Quote:
Do you think employees should be able to conceal medical conditions from their employers?
Yes. That's private and none of the employer business.

Quote:
It doesn't seem right for someone to take on a job just for the medical benefits - say, if I were pregnant or had a seizure disorder and kept it to myself, just to cash in on an employer's health insurance and then quitting.

It's not clear to me why I'm lying when I don't disclose some things to a potential employer but invoking "privacy" if I conceal others.

"Yeah, sorry. I forgot to mention I'll be blind in a year. But don't worry, it's a genetic disorder, so you had no right to find out anyhow."
That's why we have UHC. That way you penalize nobody and employer have no right to ask such question.
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Old 11th March 2017, 04:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
You are basically telling that some people should never get a job due to their birth, because every employer can refuse them to their genetic. That's the long run.
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Old 11th March 2017, 05:12 AM   #11
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Those arguing against using genetic information are advocating avoiding a true state of the world for social convenience. This seems anti-science and anti-empirical to me.

Suppose we were talking about worker protection here. If some allele made a person particularly susceptible to black lung, shouldn't that impact their ability to work as a coal miner? What about if I know your DNA is XY, you are of child bearing age, and the job entails working around teratogens?
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Old 11th March 2017, 05:21 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
No it is utterly different. This is like your employer asking you when you stopped pissing in your underwear when you were young.

Prison => action that you did
Study => action that you did
Genetic material => utterly out of your own action , set at birth

You are basically telling that some people should never get a job due to their birth, because every employer can refuse them to their genetic. That's the long run.

Basically the parent may as well abort them all if any genetic problem would stop their employment.
You mean like with Down syndrome?

If bedwetting had merit as a job performance indicator, then it should be used.

It puzzles me why you would want to deny an employer the means to get the best employee for the job, or why you would think they'd exclude people on a whim when they absolutely want to hire the best employee for the job.
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Old 11th March 2017, 05:23 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
You mean like with Down syndrome?

If bedwetting had merit as a job performance indicator, then it should be used.

It puzzles me why you would want to deny an employer the means to get the best employee for the job, or why you would think they'd exclude people on a whim when they absolutely want to hire the best employee for the job.
You're advocating a sort of social eugenics?
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Old 11th March 2017, 05:29 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
You're advocating a sort of social eugenics?
I'm claiming that concealing information is a bad idea hiding behind a false sense of social justice, itself predicated on unfounded fears.
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Old 11th March 2017, 05:36 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I'm claiming that concealing information is a bad idea hiding behind a false sense of social justice, itself predicated on unfounded fears.
How early would you propose undertaking the tests? At birth? Upon entering the workforce?
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Old 11th March 2017, 05:42 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
How early would you propose undertaking the tests? At birth? Upon entering the workforce?
Sometime prior to the point of application. For example, to enroll my kids in public school, I had to get a shot record (for immunizations) to present to the school. Presumably, the record could have been generated at any time before I showed up to register the kid. So it would be like getting any other documentation needed for an activity - no rush, just have it when you need it.
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Old 11th March 2017, 05:51 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Sometime prior to the point of application. For example, to enroll my kids in public school, I had to get a shot record (for immunizations) to present to the school. Presumably, the record could have been generated at any time before I showed up to register the kid. So it would be like getting any other documentation needed for an activity - no rush, just have it when you need it.

Why not when they're born? Then, if you discover a defective one, you don't need to invest anything in wasted medication or education for the doomed child.
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Old 11th March 2017, 05:55 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Why not when they're born? Then, if you discover a defective one, you don't need to invest anything in wasted medication or education for the doomed child.
I don't understand why those things are wasted or why the child is doomed. Did you have an example in mind?
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Old 11th March 2017, 06:06 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I don't understand why those things are wasted or why the child is doomed. Did you have an example in mind?

Well, if I child has a medical condition that leads to employers, after testing, just not giving him a job because the risk of him being ill is just too high, then the poor child is never going to be actually useful to society, ever. Literally unemployable. Why then invest any further time or money in the child?
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Old 11th March 2017, 06:18 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Well, if I child has a medical condition that leads to employers, after testing, just not giving him a job because the risk of him being ill is just too high, then the poor child is never going to be actually useful to society, ever. Literally unemployable. Why then invest any further time or money in the child?
Is it the case that having a job or contributing to society is going to be the benchmark for whether a life is worth living or having? That strikes me as odd.

I also find it unreasonable to think there is no job possible. Stephen Hawking has a job. Granted, he wouldn't make a very good airline pilot, but he managed to find something that fit him.

Maybe that's the disconnect - the idea that being denied job A means no other job will be available. But that's like saying only those who graduate cum laude will get employed.

Last edited by marplots; 11th March 2017 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 11th March 2017, 07:00 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I also find it unreasonable to think there is no job possible. Stephen Hawking has a job. Granted, he wouldn't make a very good airline pilot, but he managed to find something that fit him.
Firstly, he was employed before his symptoms became an issue, and he has a disease that usually is not genetic and cannot be tested for before symptoms appear. And, secondly, almost all the medical care he's received has been free-of-charge through the NHS, so the question of health insurance is irrelevant.
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Old 11th March 2017, 07:11 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Firstly, he was employed before his symptoms became an issue, and he has a disease that usually is not genetic and cannot be tested for before symptoms appear. And, secondly, almost all the medical care he's received has been free-of-charge through the NHS, so the question of health insurance is irrelevant.
I seem to remember right wingers in the USA claiming Stephen Hawking would have been doomed by our nasty socialist NHS, when in fact he was British and had been treated under the NHS. With his condition good luck plays some part in his survival (my father-in-law succumbed to the same condition within a year and that is far more normal) but NHS treatment certainly didn't hurt him.
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Old 11th March 2017, 07:30 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Firstly, he was employed before his symptoms became an issue, and he has a disease that usually is not genetic and cannot be tested for before symptoms appear. And, secondly, almost all the medical care he's received has been free-of-charge through the NHS, so the question of health insurance is irrelevant.
You missed the point. The point was that medical condition isn't necessarily a bar to doing a good job - it depends on the task. I would hire Mr. Hawking regardless of his disability for one type of task but not another.
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Old 11th March 2017, 07:39 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Parsman View Post
I seem to remember right wingers in the USA claiming Stephen Hawking would have been doomed by our nasty socialist NHS, when in fact he was British and had been treated under the NHS. With his condition good luck plays some part in his survival (my father-in-law succumbed to the same condition within a year and that is far more normal) but NHS treatment certainly didn't hurt him.
Yes, Stephen Hawking has been rather vocal about the NHS in response to those assertions.
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Old 11th March 2017, 07:40 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Is it the case that having a job or contributing to society is going to be the benchmark for whether a life is worth living or having? That strikes me as odd.
Well, if one wants to do anything, one needs money which means one needs a job. It's an essential part of the capitalist system.


Quote:
I also find it unreasonable to think there is no job possible. Stephen Hawking has a job. Granted, he wouldn't make a very good airline pilot, but he managed to find something that fit him.
Why? Why would anyone employ someone in danger of breaking down from a known medical condition when there will almost certainly be available an equally qualified candidate without the potential health issues?


Quote:
Maybe that's the disconnect - the idea that being denied job A means no other job will be available. But that's like saying only those who graduate cum laude will get employed.

Why? Why would anyone employ anyone in high danger of breaking down with health issues if they know in advance that this is likely to happen? As you say, why take on a known risk whether one's employing an airline pilot, plumber or street sweeper? Just employ the next one on the list and obviate the need to take the risk.


I don't see why you think only some employers for some positions would take advantage of the available information - all would.
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Old 11th March 2017, 08:51 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
You missed the point. The point was that medical condition isn't necessarily a bar to doing a good job - it depends on the task.
Which seems irrelevant to the point of companies not hiring people based on their genetic data if it looks like they may potentially cost the company in the future by having to use their health insurance.
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Old 11th March 2017, 09:50 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Well, if one wants to do anything, one needs money which means one needs a job. It's an essential part of the capitalist system.
The essential part of capitalism is capital, and it's irrelevant how it's acquired. Those who inherit wealth seem to do just fine. In fact, rather better than most.
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Old 11th March 2017, 09:54 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
The essential part of capitalism is capital, and it's irrelevant how it's acquired. Those who inherit wealth seem to do just fine. In fact, rather better than most.

I agree.

I think my fundamental point still stands.
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Old 11th March 2017, 10:01 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Goodness of heart? No. Just another way of evaluating a possible hire. Despite the way you've made it sound negative, it's going to be a boon for those who meet whatever criteria are set. I don't see it as much different than asking about grades in college or criminal history.

Do you think employees should be able to conceal medical conditions from their employers? It doesn't seem right for someone to take on a job just for the medical benefits - say, if I were pregnant or had a seizure disorder and kept it to myself, just to cash in on an employer's health insurance and then quitting.

It's not clear to me why I'm lying when I don't disclose some things to a potential employer but invoking "privacy" if I conceal others.

"Yeah, sorry. I forgot to mention I'll be blind in a year. But don't worry, it's a genetic disorder, so you had no right to find out anyhow."
First, your version of the motive here is unrealistic.

Second, there is a law that prevents discrimination against people with disabilities.

In addition, this is someone's business deal legislation. They lobby for a law they then profit from.
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Rigorous studies by researchers not tied to the $8 billion wellness industry have shown that the programs improve employee health little if at all. An industry group recently concluded that they save so little on medical costs that, on average, the programs lose money. But employers continue to embrace them, partly as a way to shift more health care costs to workers, including by penalizing them financially.
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Old 11th March 2017, 10:07 AM   #30
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Ahem... medical ethics and business ethics seems a tad off-topic in a thread about Trump's all new healthcare legislation doesn't it?
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Old 11th March 2017, 10:10 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Those arguing against using genetic information are advocating avoiding a true state of the world for social convenience. This seems anti-science and anti-empirical to me.

Suppose we were talking about worker protection here. If some allele made a person particularly susceptible to black lung, shouldn't that impact their ability to work as a coal miner? What about if I know your DNA is XY, you are of child bearing age, and the job entails working around teratogens?
Speaking of anti-science, how about you find a citation or two that demonstrates there is an advantage to the employer or the employee in adding this kind of information collection to their hiring protocol?

Is their health insurer offering lower rates if, for example, the employer screens out employees with certain genetic markers? Just what is the employer looking for? Is there a genetic marker for a hard worker? For an annoying worker?

You have an imaginary idea what genetic testing is currently able to show. Most of what you noted are hypothetical tests that don't exist or if they do they are not reliable.
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Old 11th March 2017, 10:11 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Ahem... medical ethics and business ethics seems a tad off-topic in a thread about Trump's all new healthcare legislation doesn't it?
FTFY
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Old 11th March 2017, 10:13 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
....
It puzzles me why you would want to deny an employer the means to get the best employee for the job, or why you would think they'd exclude people on a whim when they absolutely want to hire the best employee for the job.
Pray tell, what genetic markers is the employer looking for or looking to exclude? How can we decide if this is a legitimate screening test if we don't know what the employer is looking for or what they intend to do with the information?
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Old 11th March 2017, 11:00 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Pray tell, what genetic markers is the employer looking for or looking to exclude? How can we decide if this is a legitimate screening test if we don't know what the employer is looking for or what they intend to do with the information?
Well on the basis of this experience
https://twitter.com/SchneidRemarks/s...10969123958784
not those of us with an XX genotype. If a review of previously successful applicants for the post of US president has revealed that this is strongly associated with whiteness and maleness, should we limit candidates to those showing the markers for these characteristics? Is it somehow not racial discrimination if we choose the genes that define skin colour but not skin colour itself.

The problem is that how will one know who will be the best in the future? The nature of the job may change, a different skill set may offer your business expansion and new opportunities.
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Old 11th March 2017, 12:28 PM   #35
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What of The American Dream? Which posits that opportunity is available to all who would grasp for it. Making available one's genetic markers as a criterion for assessment of 'usefulness' could so easily preclude the possibility of making the best of oneself right out of the gate.

Would any one of us want to know of the moment and cause of our demise? How would that impact one's remaining days, especially if unhappily limited? Having before us an unknown and seemingly limitless road to travel is a *good* thing.

Revealing to those who can impact/shape one's sense of worth such intimate biological information over which one has no control is a very potentially bad thing. The Libertarian, ultra-capitalistic, Randian overtones here are positively Darwinian in the worst sense.
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Old 11th March 2017, 04:22 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Sometime prior to the point of application. For example, to enroll my kids in public school, I had to get a shot record (for immunizations) to present to the school. Presumably, the record could have been generated at any time before I showed up to register the kid. So it would be like getting any other documentation needed for an activity - no rush, just have it when you need it.
If you are going to allow Employers to determine employment on Genetic makeup then isn't is also fair that parents should be allowed to genetically engineer their children to have the best chance of employment?
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Old 11th March 2017, 04:59 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
It puzzles me why you would want to deny an employer the means to get the best employee for the job, or why you would think they'd exclude people on a whim when they absolutely want to hire the best employee for the job.
Good luck with that line of argument. You'll need it.
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Old 11th March 2017, 05:28 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
If you are going to allow Employers to determine employment on Genetic makeup then isn't is also fair that parents should be allowed to genetically engineer their children to have the best chance of employment?
You mean like aborting female children if you think a male child will do better? I suppose it's up to the parents, but if they did such a thing I'd think their logic a bit flawed.

If, on the other hand you are presupposing a situation where a kid could be genetically engineered with some specific attributes, then yes, I think people should be free to customize the baby they create. It's the flip side of allowing them to abort malformed fetuses - something we do now.

Throwing "genetics" into the mix is a red herring. If employers can hire workers based on their abilities/talents then any reliable/factual information along those lines should be equivalent. Test scores, previous job performance... whatever. I can't see why genetic information - to the extent it is accurate - should be treated any differently.
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Old 11th March 2017, 07:17 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
If, on the other hand you are presupposing a situation where a kid could be genetically engineered with some specific attributes
That's what I meant

Quote:
then yes, I think people should be free to customize the baby they create. It's the flip side of allowing them to abort malformed fetuses - something we do now.
Then you are a supporter of Eugenics. I suggest you watch the movie GATTACA, it'd likely be your version of a Utopia.
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Old 11th March 2017, 07:21 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
Then you are a supporter of Eugenics. I suggest you watch the movie GATTACA, it'd likely be your version of a Utopia.
Actually the message of that film is that genetics isn't everything, a human being is more than the sum of their DNA.
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