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Science & Technology

If we had a cure, would we use it ?

By T.K. Randall
June 10, 2012 · Comment icon 34 comments



Image Credit: sxc.hu
If mankind invented a cure to all known infectious diseases, would we and should we even use it ?
The answer might seem like an immediate 'yes', however there are some possible side-effects in long term human evolution. Throughout history such diseases have played a role in our development by weeding out those susceptible to certain pathogens, before modern medicine was available huge numbers of people died from illnesses that are treatable today.

"Our evolutionary history has been a continual arms race against the pathogens that plague us," said Professor Vincent Racaniello. "We have all these ways of intervening when people get sick, when otherwise they would have died and we would see some natural selection for people with more robust immune systems."
With scientists chasing after cure-all anti-virus treatments and a universal flu vaccine in labs around the world, the eradication of infectious diseases certainly appears to be medical research's ultimate (if remote) goal. But what if we actually got there?


Source: Live Science | Comments (34)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #25 Posted by libstaK 11 years ago
Some of your "genetic management" ideals are scaring the beejesus out of me right now folks - just saying
Comment icon #26 Posted by Socio 11 years ago
Some of your "genetic management" ideals are scaring the beejesus out of me right now folks - just saying Not much different than how we manage other spices of animals today, to not take steps to manage our own species is absolutely irresponsible with a guaranteed catastrophic outcome.
Comment icon #27 Posted by libstaK 11 years ago
Not much different than how we manage other spices of animals today, to not take steps to manage our own species is absolutely irresponsible with a guaranteed catastrophic outcome. Yes but disregarding a person's right to determining whether or not they wish to be a parent is going a little too far - diversity is also a part of the evolutionary process, what may be considered a genetic weakness could be the first tweek that leads to an alternate evolutionary path that proves beneficial in particular environmental circumstances, claiming we know what "perfection" is equates to having a "God" me... [More]
Comment icon #28 Posted by karmakazi 11 years ago
Ok ,you jump first .. It isn't about killing those who are alive, but stemming the number of new lives being conceived. Rather than jump, just don't have kids. We would have to have extremely strict world wide birth licensing where there would be screening processes to determine whom are the fittest parents (plural) out of them there would have to be a lottery to award licenses in order have a child so that the Human population can be shrunk and maintained at a sustainable level. I'm not sure we have to go that far, in the US one of the issues is that the more kids you have the more tax breaks... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by paperdyer 11 years ago
Does anyone remember the Title of the Star Trek TOS where Kirk was kidnapped to a duplicate of the Enterprise in order to give a race a disease they had no cure for? Their world had become so crowded that they wanted/needed diseases to cause death? We'd eventually get that way here if diseases were erradicated.
Comment icon #30 Posted by Spid3rCyd3 11 years ago
I think the super rich would have access to this kind of technology, the rest of us, well...more than likely not.
Comment icon #31 Posted by csspwns 11 years ago
well tat wont happen in my lifetime so no
Comment icon #32 Posted by Socio 11 years ago
Yes but disregarding a person's right to determining whether or not they wish to be a parent is going a little too far - diversity is also a part of the evolutionary process, what may be considered a genetic weakness could be the first tweek that leads to an alternate evolutionary path that proves beneficial in particular environmental circumstances, claiming we know what "perfection" is equates to having a "God" mentality. Yes strict measures would have to be put into place to keep any kind of "God" Mentality to ever come to fruition, but the benefits that could come from controlling the Huma... [More]
Comment icon #33 Posted by libstaK 11 years ago
Yes strict measures would have to be put into place to keep any kind of "God" Mentality to ever come to fruition, but the benefits that could come from controlling the Human population would be enormous for not only mankind but all life on this planet. Imagine if we only let the most responsible, educated, healthiest, and financially well off married couples have children, imagine if if we could control populations so that each country has a population it could sustain. No more famine, no more need so spend billions on foreign aide, illegal immigration all but gone, child abuse all but eradica... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by Socio 11 years ago
I am absolutely certain that you do not comprehend what you are suggesting here. Controlling people is what Dictators and Totalitarian Regimes do. Yes, let's just eradicate all these "undesirables"? I agree, the world would be Utopic without homelessness, starvation, overpopulation and all those things but the foundation of Utopia cannot be built on the suppression and suffering of those members of humanity least capable of defending themselves. There is something very deep and fundamental I think you need to see about why what you are saying is not the answer. I'll give you a hint, brush up o... [More]


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