Is Perfection the Trend?


Taken from
Taken from

Most people are trying to reach perfection, but is it possible? The definition of perfection from Merriam-Webster is something that cannot be improved. But how does one know that there isn’t any improvement that can be made? Some people believe that genetic engineering can lead to perfection of humans. However Michael J. Sandel believes that designer children doesn’t drive to mastery but destroys “an appreciation of the gifted character of human powers and achievements”(Holland 97).

When parents are able to choose their children’s genes, they might want their children to be intelligent, good looking, tall, healthy, and even a specific gender. From the parents’ eyes the children might look perfect to them, but by looking at the society as a whole, designer children creates a greater potential for disparities between the rich and the poor. The rich families have the access to enhancement technologies, while the poor just maintain the natural way. If the enhancement is passed down the generations, the poor and the rich eventually become two different kinds of people. However, aren’t we trying to solve the wealth gap? If designer children actually occurs, it probably will just keep on widening the wealth gap. Ultimately, “the economic divisions may grow into genetic divisions”.

Sandel mentions that if the society approves that designer children is considered as enhancement to the society, everyone should have the access to it. This indeeds creates a problem that everyone is going to be similar. For example, if the society believes that taller people are considered more perfect than shorter people, parents are going to spend money just to make their children a little bit taller. But is it necessary to waste that money just to be like everyone else. If everyone has the access to it, the society altogether becomes more enhance and perfect than ever. However, this then raises another question, who will do all the physical labor jobs, when everyone is smart and isn’t willing to hard labor? The society eventually will collapse. Everyone just wants to be on the top of the social pyramid.

Genetics is just one part of us. The environment also plays a significant role. This means that our genes expression can be influenced by environment. For instance, the genes might be turned on or off depend on the environment, which therefore influence how humans develop. As a result, even though parents might be able to decide what they want their children to be like, it might not always have the exact same outcome they want.

The main concern I have is should we strive to perfection and what exactly defines as perfect? Everyone has a different concept on perfection; some might think that having good health is perfect, while others believe that health, appearances, and intelligence make perfection. Moreover, since everyone has different idea of a perfect child, it is going to be hard to regulate the biotechnology such as screening embryos or preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Personally, I believe that having a good health is enough. Therefore, I accept the use of biotechnologies for medical needs instead of something beyond health. It’s because nobody can become perfect



Foster, Helen. “HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT BABY.” Web. 1 Feb. 2014. <>

Abarado, Anne-Marie. “Designer Babies: Creating Perfection or Breeding Trouble.” Web. 1 Feb. 2014. < babies.pdf>.

Ly, Sarah, “Ethics of Designer Babies”. Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2011-03-31). ISSN: 1940-5030 Web. 1 Feb.2014. <>

Michael J. Sandel. “The Case Against Perfection: What’s Wrong with Designer Children, Bionic athletes, and Genetic Engineering?” In Arguing about Bioethics, edited by Stephen Holland, 93-104. New York: Routledge, 2012.


10 thoughts on “Is Perfection the Trend?

  1. I found this argument extremely interested. I had never stopped to think that we all have a different definition of what “perfect” is. I also never thought of the repercussions cloning would have on the social construct of society. You make a great point when you state that a society can not function if everyone is intelligent and physically gifted, as there will be no one willing to do the jobs that involve hard labor. Also, I agree that the accessibility of this procedure is a huge obstacle. It would be detrimental to our society if only the wealthy were given access to “perfect babies”, increasing the economic gap to a level that could likely never be fixed.

  2. I agree with your argument completely. It is a common misconception that we can engineer ourselves using only our genes in order achieve “perfection.” People often forget that they would also have to engineer environments in order to achieve this “perfection,” as we are a product of not only our genes but also our environments. Furthermore, what if the person doesn’t want to be what they were genetically engineered to do? Then, that means that the engineered person’s rights will be encroached upon. Also, I agree with biotechnologies still being allowed for medical purposes, but one argument that exist is whether or not this is even fair because some people cannot afford these biotechnicological treatments. This is just only something to think about, though.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this blog because I think you put things into perspective. Often, people believe that there’s a norm that everyone follows and everyone strives to be that “perfect” person — kind, intelligent, healthy, etc. However, I also believe that people do have different views on perfection and what they define as perfect. One person may think that physical beauty is perfection while another may believe that kindness and intelligence and health is perfection. Because we all have these different views on what perfect is, I also think that biotechnologies should simply be used for health purposes, and not necessarily to make someone more “perfect.”
    I also really liked your point about how striving for perfection may widen the gap between the wealthy and the poor. It’s the sad truth that there are those who can afford to have all these biotechnical changes to themselves so that they can be “perfect,” and there are those who can’t afford these luxuries. This would definitely widen the gap between the rich and the poor and make us seem like we are two different peoples.

  4. This post really does drive the point home that no one can be perfect, which I totally support. When cloning individuals, people try to achieve something more desirable than what they would have naturally obtained. I agree with your economical views of the matter as well. We definitely would have a diminishing society if the majority of the world became apart of one specific class. No one is perfect, so it would be difficult to get the perfect clone of someone. The point abut what makes a person perfect is also interesting. Also, who would dictate what exactly makes a person perfect? People have so many differing opinions that are strictly opinions and not absolutes. This was a very good argument, great read.

  5. There was one point I found especially striking in this post and that is the potential homogeneity of a society in which we are all given access to genetic enhancement. Though perfection can be seen as subjective, I also believe that in America there is already a cultural idea of what perfection is and what it would consist of. Consider the traits that are always discussed when speaking of genetic enhancement: memory, height, muscles… It is generally agreed that intelligence is a good thing, athleticism is a good thing (even for those of us who dislike sports), physical beauty is a good thing, a mild sense of humor is a good thing. Our culture, as well as others, whether we like it or not already have an image of the “perfect” person. In America he/she has: intelligence without being overbearing, mild athleticism, a relatively slender build (more muscular if male), evenly distributed and often European facial features, etc. In Sandel’s essay, the example of the market-based sperm bank that was used still had received demand for the same type of donor. What does this say to us? Well, to me it says that although there are exceptions, there is an ideal in which we aspire to in our culture, and if given the option to select genes, a mass amount of diversity would be lost, leaving us with significant genetic and social consequences.

  6. This post brought interesting perspective to the idea of perfection, and it was throughout-provoking to try and define the term perfection. I would guess many individuals would have different definitions, and therefore, when we next discuss perfection in terms of cloning, we need to delineate what the term perfection refers to.

    I think the statement “when everyone is smart and isn’t willing to do hard labor jobs” is not a valid argument against cloning because there are intelligent, strong manual laborers currently in our nation’s workforce. Their decision to hold a manual labor job is either due to their passion and love of labor or their economic circumstances that have led them to hold a manual labor job. Genetic engineering and cloning may lead to improvements in intellect and stature of individuals, but if there was a massive, easily accessible, cloning movement, the economic situation could improve with smarter citizens populating our nation.

    I am not sure whether cloning would change the power dynamics of society as you have suggested. I agree that there would definitely be changes in social structure of the nation, but there is still a personal element of motivation, pride, and passion that we cannot exactly predict for this sort of circumstance. But, if everyone believes they were cloned according to his or her definition of “perfection” then this would carry grave consequences on people’s humility and appreciation of their gifts, as we discussed in class. I think there exists stronger arguments against a population wide cloning movement, particularly the naturalism and manufacturing arguments, and these objections can be used against arguments for nation wide advancing and betterment via cloning and gene selection.

  7. Sarah,
    I totally agree with your argument that most people are attempting to create ‘the perfect child.’ I don’t believe that there is any such thing as a perfect child nor that a child can be created perfect through genetics due to the impact of the environment on a persons character. By changing or deciding what genes are desired, one might be destroying a future Mozart or van Gogh. I say this because it is usually the people that are not ‘perfect’ that have the most artistic talent.
    Even if it were possible to decide the genetic makeup of children, how would we make this available to everyone? Would it be a first come, first serve option? How about a lottery? Whatever the case, there will always be some form of corruption where people who have money will be able to buy their way to the front of the line, making it an unfair option.

  8. I found this argument very intriguing as a whole. The idea that society will be unable to function with only genetically engineered people is an interesting perspective, but I disagree. Although Sandel states that if genetic enhancement is accepted by society then everyone should gain access to it, this is basically impossible because money always gives the wealthy an advantage. Since genetic engineering is not complimentary, not everyone will gain access to it and it will increase our economic inequalities as you stated. This increase in inequalities will keep the poor at the bottom and they will be able to continue working their hard-labor jobs. However, another option is if genetic engineering was for some reason complimentary then technology and other brilliancies could take over the lower class manual labor jobs because society would be technologically advanced as is. Either way, I do not think society will collapse because of genetic engineering, but I personally only support medical genetic engineering.
    As for the case on perfection, I like that you claimed that perfection is subjective and we cannot truly label anything as perfect. As stated in many comments above, designing our children does not necessarily create “perfection” it basically just eliminates natural variety and the potential for natural brilliancies. It is likely that only the wealthy would be able to design their babies at first, and this would definitely increase the disparities between the rich and the poor, but without collapsing society as a whole.

  9. I would like to further expand on your note on environmental factors affecting a person. I believe that this point is too often overlooked during discussions of “designer babies”. When you say “For instance, the genes might be turned on or off depend on the environment, which therefore influence how humans develop, ” there is also another layer of control there- the parents being able to control the environment. This means that even after genetic variables controlled, the environment can help or hurt the children depending on the awareness of the parents. This I believe helps explain the conclusion that parents might be able to decide what they want their children to be like, however it might not always turn out just as planed.

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