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Opening Arguments

Brave New World

If deaf people could hear again, how many would choose to?

Deaf people could one day have their hearing restored through a ground-breaking gene therapy technique, scientists reported yesterday.

They showed that they can trigger the growth of new hair cells in the inner ear that are crucial to hearing as they pick up sound vibrations.

In tests on mice they showed that stimulating these usually irreplaceable cells to grow resulted in new cells that helped detect noise.

Researchers believe the approach could eventually be used to improve or restore hearing to the 9 million people in Britain classified as deaf or hard of hearing.

There is a deaf culture that consider deafness a difference worth celebrating rather than a disability to be "cured." Those who are deaf should have the option of staying that way or hearing again, I think most would agree. But what if we have the ability to turn off the deafness gene so that no one ever had to be born without hearing again? What about the mentall illness gene, or the left-handed gene, or the gay gene. The Brave New World is just around the corner, so these aren't just theoretcal debates.


Larry Morris
Fri, 09/05/2008 - 10:42am

I beg to differ - they are all just theoretical debates until an actual gene is found to be the cause of mental illness or left-handedness or being gay, or deafness for that matter ... do we really know any of these are genetic ?

Bob G.
Fri, 09/05/2008 - 12:37pm

Take stroll in MY neighborhood Larry (armed), and tell me the problems YOU see are NOT in ANY way genetic.

The issue is that scientists won't admit to a STUPID gene.
(when we all know there HAS to be one)