Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Fertility guru's IVF warning: Rich could pay to have brighter babies, says Lord Winston
Winston is just another old obstructive Leftie. He originally opposed IVF but reversed when he saw how popular it was.
Leftists don't like naturally-occurring human differences so it is no surprise that he dislikes accentuation of those differences. The fact is that a higher percentage of smarter, healthier, prettier (etc.) people in the population would be beneficial to the population as a whole.
But rich people might end up with smarter kids! he shrieks. They do already and why should they not? He never answers that question. It is just the usual kneejerk of hate that defines Leftists
Breakthroughs in IVF could ‘threaten our humanity’ by prompting parents to demand designer babies, Robert Winston has warned.
The fertility pioneer said that he feared a time when the rich could alter the appearance and ability of children by tinkering with their genes.
And he claimed a ‘toxic’ climate had been created by the desperation of childless couples and the pace of scientific developments in the booming IVF industry.
Warning of a resurgence in eugenics, the broadcaster and Labour peer said there was a ‘real risk that we could see that kind of attitude in our humanity occurring again’.
In the future, he claimed, the rich may be able to pay to have babies with enhanced intelligence, musical ability and strength.
Lord Winston’s comments will be hugely controversial among fertility experts, not least because he is a pioneer in IVF treatment and has helped to bring more than 10,000 babies into the world.
Medical ethicists last night praised him for speaking out, saying it was refreshing to hear a scientist who ‘saw the bigger picture’ about the potential dangers. But his comments angered fertility groups. They said IVF was a ‘lifeline’ and it was wrong to suggest childless couples were looking to have a designer baby as the vast majority simply wanted a child.
Lord Winston, who is instantly recognisable from his TV programmes such as Child of Our Time and The Human Body, told a fertility conference that new genetic screening technologies meant scientists working with IVF needed to be particularly aware of the danger of eugenics becoming more prevalent.
Taking aim at fertility colleagues and patients, he said: ‘One of the problems with our work is that we have been carried away with massive enthusiasms in reproduction. That mixture of enthusiasm and patient desperation is actually a very toxic and heady mixture. It is worthwhile standing back a little from the technologies that we employ.
‘One of the issues of the market is that rich people may well be able to afford, in due course, the kind of enhancement to their genetics that other poor people may not be able to afford.’
The 73-year-old added that a growing market for fertility treatments and pressure to enhance human qualities could mean we ‘end up with a society where some people may actually have something that might threaten our humanity’.
Lord Winston, emeritus professor of fertility studies at Imperial College London, was delivering a speech at the University of Kent titled Reflections on IVF technology – will we be human in 100 years?. He told fellow fertility experts: ‘The age of eugenics is one that we don’t think of as being important now.’
But he added: ‘In a world where there is conflict, where there is shortage of resources, shortage of water, shortage of food, climate change, I don’t think it is impossible that this is necessarily going to die out.’
The hugely controversial theory of eugenics suggests that humans can be improved by preventing people with supposedly undesirable qualities or genetic defects from reproducing.
Similarly, those seen to have ‘desirable qualities’ should be encouraged to have babies.
It has been regarded as a toxic doctrine since it was used by the Nazis to justify a compulsory sterilisation programme, whereby ‘defectives’ were not allowed to reproduce.
Josephine Quintavalle, of campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said that IVF gives people the chance to think about having a perfect baby. She added: ‘In many aspects, the opportunities to think about best and better are increasing by the moment.’
Philippa Taylor, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: ‘If Lord Winston is saying this, I hope that people take notice. He is someone who is an expert in the area but also someone who sees the bigger picture.’
But Susan Seenan, chief executive of support group Infertility Network UK, said: ‘Most patients just want to have a baby. They are not looking to have a designer baby.’ She added that to the average patient, IVF is a lifeline – and eugenics is the last thing on their mind.
Dr Allan Pacey, the chairman of the British Fertility Society, said he doubts we will ever have the skill to alter complex traits such as musical ability. He added: ‘The law prohibits it, even if it was technically possible.
‘Most infertile couples are desperate for a baby, rather than a specific type of baby, and I don’t see that changing.’
Making girls wear pink is WRONG: Education expert says colour-coding children by gender is damaging
Feminists are pushing sh*t uphill on this one. I once came across a feminist mother who dressed her toddler daughter in brown but all the other mothers I have come across dress their boy babies in at least some blue and their girl babies in at least some pink. I suspect that in some cases it is in fact a deliberate defiance of feminism.
I am in a position where I often get to speak briefly to young mothers and I routinely congratulate them on their children. And only in the "brown" case mentioned above have I ever got wrong whether the child was a boy or a girl. Even in the case of the littlest ones, the colour and manner of dress make the identity of the child obvious
Making girls wear pink is wrong and could harm their future, an education expert has warned.
Hannah Webster, a spokesman for a private schools' organisation, said the idea of having blue for a boy and pink for a girl is 'pernicious' because it leads them towards certain roles regardless of their real identities.
She said: 'There will be those who say that pink and blue colour coding does not matter - that it is just a fact that boys like blue and girls like pink. They are wrong.'
She added: 'If we designate a particular colour to a gender, it leads us to designate all manner of other things by gender too.
'The result is girls and boys read different kinds of books, play with different kinds of toys, study different subjects, consider different occupations, have different roles within the workplace and family and are ultimately valued differently by society.
'What is pernicious about this is that everyone is then attributed with roles and characteristics regardless of their individual identities and talents. And this then occurs before a child is even born.'
Writing in the magazine Attain, produced by the Independent Association of Prep Schools, she writes that, at the time of the First World War, the colours were reversed.
According to a 1918 edition of Ladies' Home Journal, the rule at the time was pink for the boy and blue for the girl.
Blue was considered a softer colour which was prettier for girls, and also the colour in which the Virgin Mary was often depicted.
Ms Webster, the association's communications manager, wrote: 'Most of us want a society in which people are judged according to their whole identities rather than just their gender.
'We can only have a hope of this if we stop presuming an array of character traits - starting on the basis of colour preference - go hand in hand with a person's biological sex.'
Ms Webster spoke out after the parents' group Let Toys Be Toys launched a campaign to remove 'boys and girls' signs in shops.
Marks & Spencer and Toys R Us are among those who have already pledged to make its toys 'gender neutral'.
As previously reported in MailOnline, Let Toys Be Toys was set up by a group of British parents in November 2012, calling for a change in the way toys are marketed to boys and girls.
They had noticed girls were increasingly being encouraged to play with dolls, prams and kitchens - all inevitably in pink colours - while toys deems to be for boys were cars, guns and sports-related.
One of the campaign's founders, Tricia Lowther, 44, a self-employed copywriter from Durham, who has a six-year-old daughter, told the MailOnline: 'It does bother a lot of parents, we seem to have tapped in to a huge and growing sense of frustration with the way toys are promoted according to outdated, illogical and sexist stereotypes.
'I can't speak for any of the others but what pushed me to make a stand was the realisation, after my daughter was born, that gender stereotyping in children's products had become worse than when I was a child myself back in the Seventies. It's something that has become almost impossible to escape and is very limiting for children.'
A similar Let Books Be Books project, calling for reading material not to be marked as 'for boys' or 'for girls' is backed by children's laureate Malorie Blackman, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and the author Philip Pullman.
Being homosexual is only partly due to gay gene
Research finds that while gay men share similar genetic make-up, it only accounts for 40 per cent of chance of a man being homosexual. So many homosexuals COULD be cured!
Homosexuality is only partly genetic with sexuality mostly based on environmental and social factors, scientists believe.
A study found that, while gay men shared similar genetic make-up, it only accounted for 40 per cent of the chance of a man being homosexual.
But scientists say it could still be possible to develop a test to find out if a baby was more likely to be gay.
In the most comprehensive study of its kind, Dr Michael Bailey, of Northwestern University, has been studying 400 sets of twins to determine if some men are genetically predisposed to being gay.
The study found that gay men shared genetic signatures on part of the X chromosome - Xq28.
Dr Bailey said: “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice. Our findings suggest there may be genes at play – we found evidence for two sets that affect whether a man is gay or straight.
“But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved. “The study shows that there are genes involved in male sexual orientation.
“Although this could one day lead to a pre-natal test for male sexual orientation, it would not be very accurate, as there are other factors that can influence the outcome.”
Dr Alan Sanders, associate Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern University, who led the study said that it was it was an 'oversimplification’ to suggest there was a 'gay gene.’
“We don’t think genetics is the whole story. It’s not. We have a gene that contributes to homosexuality but you could say it is linked to heterosexuality. It is the variation.”
The study builds on work by Dr Dean Hamer from the US National Cancer Institute in 1993 who also found an area of the x chromosome that he believed was linked to male sexual orientation.
Last year Canadian scientists found that the more older male siblings a man has, the greater change he will be gay.
They believe that the immune response produced by a pregnant mother increases with each son, increasing the odds of producing more feminine traits in the developing brain of the foetus.
Each older brother raised the odds that a man was homosexual by one third.
Researchers at the University of California believe that homosexuality can be explained by the presence of epi-marks — temporary switches that control how our genes are expressed during gestation and after birth.
Daryl Bem, a social psychologist at Cornell University, has suggested that the influence of biological factors on sexual orientation may be mediated by experiences in childhood. A child’s temperament predisposes the child to prefer certain activities over others.
Interestingly no similar genes have been discovered which influence female homosexuality. “No-body has found something like this in women,” he added.
Dr Bailey said environmental factors were likely to have the biggest impact on homosexuality.
He added: “Don’t confuse “environmental” with “socially acquired.” Environment means anything that is not in our DNA at birth, and that includes a lot of stuff that is not social.”
Richard Lane, of Stonewall, said that while studies into the origins of homosexuality have yet to produce firm evidence, they do to point to a biological root.
He said: 'The thing that’s consistent across all of them is that they all point to sexual orientation being something fundamental to a person rather than the lifestyle choice some opponents of equality repeatedly suggest.’
British police failing to record one in five crimes: Official report says up to 740,000 victims are being denied justice
One in five crimes goes unrecorded because of failures by police.
Up to 740,000 victims of violence, burglary and other offences are being denied justice, a report revealed yesterday.
One rape was not logged because the officer thought it would be too much work. An attack on a boy with autism was written off as ‘sexual experimentation’.
The report by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary piles pressure on forces already under fire for Plebgate, Hillsborough and the abuse of stop and search powers.
It said the sheer number of unresolved crimes meant some officers had to be guilty of ‘discreditable or unethical behaviour’.
And the investigation reinforces warnings from statisticians and MPs that crime figures cannot be trusted.
Spelling out the human cost, the report said: ‘Victims are failed because the crimes against them are not investigated, they have no hope of justice according to the law.’
The unrecorded rape case led to accusations of laziness from campaigners.
‘This is about much more than inaccurate statistics or poor number-crunching,’ said Adam Pemberton of Victim Support. ‘Each mistake represents a victim losing their chance to get justice and to access support services.
‘It is completely unacceptable that victims of any crimes – let alone serious sexual offences such as rape – should have their complaints go unrecorded or downgraded because of police incompetence or even laziness.
‘Most victims want more than anything for their offender not to commit another crime, but if the police can’t reliably recognise and record when and where a crime has been committed, their efforts to cut crime may well be misdirected.’
Police ignored a complaint made on behalf of a female rape victim by a doctor who had examined her injuries.
A report of several assaults by a member of staff at a care home on teenage victims went similarly unrecorded.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: ‘I commissioned HMIC to carry out this investigation in order to get a detailed assessment of how the police are treating recorded crime statistics. HMIC’s interim report exposes unacceptable failings by the police.
‘It is quite possible, once HMIC has completed its work on recorded crime statistics and made recommendations on how the police need to improve, that we will see an increase in recorded crime.’
She pointed out however that offending was at its lowest level since 1981.
Inspectors carried out checks on 13 police forces and listened to phone calls made by members of the public.
These were checked against police records to see if the incidents had been properly logged.
Out of a sample of 3,102 incidents, HMIC found 2,551 crimes should have been recorded, but 523 were not, including sexual offences, crimes of violence, robbery and burglary and even 14 rapes.
The watchdog said the figures suggested 20 per cent of crimes may be going unrecorded. Last year, police recorded 3.7million offences.
The inspectors said: ‘In the light of what we have so far found it is difficult to conclude that none of these failures was the result of discreditable or unethical behaviour. The failure rate is too high.’
HM chief inspector of constabulary Tom Winsor said: ‘The consequences of under-recording of crime are serious, and may mean victims and the community are failed.’
The report comes after serious concerns were raised over the integrity of crime figures, sparked by claims made by former Metropolitan Police officer James Patrick last year.
Mr Patrick told MPs that massaging crime figures to hit performance targets had become ‘an ingrained part of policing culture’.
Police forces inspected so far are Cheshire, City of London, Devon and Cornwall, Essex, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Gwent, Hertfordshire, Metropolitan, Norfolk, North Wales, North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire.
The remainder will be checked ahead of a final report in the autumn.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.