Friday, December 01, 2006

Bionic super baby

If you give cochlear implants to babies they can learn to speak normally. If you wait till there older they lose some brain plasticity and they do not learn spoken language as well.

Some deaf people argue with the use of such implants, "The idea of operating on a healthy baby makes us all recoil," says Harlan Lane, a psycholinguist at Northeastern University in Boston. "Deaf people argue that they use a different language, and with it comes a different culture, but there is certainly nothing wrong with them that needs fixing with a surgeon's scalpel. We should listen."

Now this might seem a strange argument but what happens when the bionic become superior to normal people? Ear implants are not very good at the moment but they will get better. What happens when they are better then standard hearing? Why should normal children have to be handicapped with standard hearing when children born deaf will have a surgically created advantage?

You could put limiters on the implants so they never got better then standard hearing but that would be a Harrison Bergeron world of handicapping everyone who is better then average

The idea of bionic super babies might seem a bit sci-fi but golfers now go for laser eye surgery to improve there vision beyond average ability. “Woods, who had lost 16 straight tournaments before his (eye) surgery, ended up with 20/15 vision and won seven of his next 10 events.”
Would it be immoral to laser eye surgery your normal visioned baby? But cutting off his foreskin is fine?


Max Radical said...

This argument drives me into a blinding rage. I'm happy that those who are deaf have found a way to deal with and accept the disability, but arguing that it's a beautiful natural, nay, cultural thing that shouldn't be surgically interfered with is idiotic.

At the risk of being rude:
Number of sensory apparati available to fully healthy human: 5
Number available to a deaf person: 4/5

If I was born deaf, and later in life found that my parents turned down the chance to give me hearing because 'deaf people are wonderful evolutionary flowers', I would beat them to death with a guitar I would never be able to otherwise appreciate.

What's next? "Holes in the heart are a wonderful experience, and provide powerful bonding and emotions between the infant and parent - for a couple of days, at least."

Bionic Laura said...

Agreed Mr. Radical. I think if we can fix things then we should. I am bionic, my pacemaker is the best thing ever. I can now run without fainting and my heart doesn't decide it will take a break every so often. This is much better. I don't hear people saying it's unnatural that you have a device that improves your life and maybe even save it. So why not deaf children?

David Curran said...

The point of the article is that surgically enhanced babies will be here in the near future and the because we can foist this surgical enhancement on deaf babies we cannot go off crying when they end up better then us.