“People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great.” James Watson
The term designer babies is by and large just emblematic of the idea that genetic technology can do more than merely correct the frail aspects of human existence. It can redress nature’s essential randomness. Purely elective changes are in the offing. The industry argues over the details, but many assure that within our decade, depending upon the family and the circumstances, height, weight and even eye color will become elective. Gender selection has been a fact of birth for years with a success rate of up to 91 percent for those who use it.
It goes much further than designer babies. Mass social engineering is still being advocated by eminent voices in the genetics community. Celebrated geneticist James Watson, codiscoverer of the double helix and president of Cold Springs Harbor Laboratories, told a British film crew in 2003, “If you are really stupid, I would call that a disease. The lower 10 per cent who really have difficulty, even in elementary school, what’s the cause of it? A lot of people would like to say, ‘Well, poverty, things like that.’ It probably isn’t. So I’d like to get rid of that, to help the lower 10 percent.” For the first half of the twentieth century, Cold Spring Harbor focused on the “submerged tenth”; apparently, the passion has not completely dissipated.
Following in the footsteps of Galton, who once amused himself by plotting the geographic distribution of pretty women in England, Watson also told the film crew,” People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great.” Watson gave no indication of what the standard for beauty would be.
War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race. By Edwin Black. Pg. 442-44