Sunday, October 12, 2014

Designer babies on Lisa Ling's "This Is Life"; Bourdain discovers mandatory mixed marriage in the history of Paraguay


Lisa Ling’s “This Is Life” series continued Sunday night with an exploration of generically designed babies (rather like “Brave New World”), call it eugenics, the episode called “The Genius Experiment: Designer Babies: Creating the Perfect Child.”   
  
A preview video is here

Lisa Ling described the theories of Robert Graham, but then presented the life of one particular young man, well built, working in manual labor as a roofer, because he already had a record as a felon, for growing marijuana.  He said he was ahead of his time.  He also got a girlfriend pregnant as a teen but is determined to support his kids.  He had plenty of books in his library and was teaching his older son chess.  

The pressure that parents feel to have their kids wind up on top was well documented in the 2004 book “The Cheating Culture” by David Callahan (March 28, 2006). 


As a former substitute teacher, I can say that teens who grow up in upper middle-class homes seemed to have a tremendous advantage over less lucky peers and often over-achieved them in multiple areas. But this didn’t seem to be matter of deliberate genetic design.  From a purely biological viewpoint, interracial marriage and childbearing may be desirable because it tends to increase genetic variety a reduce the risk that children will receive multiple copies of problematic genes. (As Anthony Bourdain pointed out in his “Parts Unknown” segment, “Paraguay” tonight, it has sometimes been required, rather than forbidden.)  Bourdain visited Paraguay partly to trace his own roots for a CNN series, and that would imply he has a slight fraction of indian blood.  
    
I had reviewed a film on eugenics “Homo Sapiens: 1900” on Feb. 14, 2014. 

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