Ever since CRISPR was invented, a technique that allows for the insertion or deletion of DNA letter by letter, the question has been "why not use this to genetically engineer human beings?"
The technical answer is that CRISPR only works 1 in 20 times. As a result, it's no use on a full-grown adult, who would need all their cells changed, not just 1 in 20 of them, to see a noticeable difference. CRISPR's efficacy is bound to improve with time, but that's a good reason why we can't do anything with it now. The same is true of egg embryos. Harvesting so many eggs, fiddling with them all, and sequencing them all to see if you finally got the CRISPR to 'stick' on one of them is prohibitively expensive except for the super rich. For the rest of us, simply doing a quick check for known diseases and implanting the healthiest embryo due to natural fertilization works just as well and for a lot less.
This all changes if you can get a relatively inexpensive source of embryos -- stem cells retrained into being eggs and sperm -- and fiddle all you like with an inexhaustible supply of them. We can cultivate thousands, millions of stem cells from just a scrape of skin. A 1 in 20 success rate in numbers like that would allow us to do any number of CRISPR modifications and always find 'one' success that managed to include every single change made to the overall recipe. This would be the designer baby we've all been waiting for. This stem cell technology is around, but will probably still take around ten years to come to fruition. The cost would still probably be too high for normal consumers to resort to this method of fertilization, but that wouldn't stop the well-to-do from having ideal children from here on.
The biggest roadblock is not CRISPR's unreliability, or the lack of successful stem cell breeding, but obnoxious government interference which is telling parents they cannot choose who their own children will be. Parents are obligated, by the government, to gamble on each child they have. They have to gamble with the child's mental retardation, the child's violent psychopathy, the child's terminal illnesses, the child's chronic illnesses, the child's autism, the child's schizophrenia, the child's ugliness, the child's unathleticness, the child's clinical depression and suicide rate, the child's wish to become a pixie and change sexes halfway through puberty, etc, etc. Even though parents are putting all of the love, all of the time, all of the effort and all of the money into a child's creation, apparently it is still the government's decision what kind of child you will have and how good a parental experience you will be able to enjoy.
Genetic engineering is banned by the government in virtually every country with the CRISPR technology that could actually achieve it. Even though all CRISPR could do is improve the human race by making children less violent, less criminal, less stupid, less depressed, less ill, less insane, less everything negative in the universe, it is for some reason banned because suffering and death are 'natural' and therefore part of God's 'perfect' plan. Even though Voltaire wrote Candide centuries ago mocking this ludicrous belief in the perfection of the world despite all of the obvious absurdities and tragedies pervading it, here we are centuries later with the same stupid idea made into law all the same. Philosophy can never make any steps forward because there are still so many worthless vermin with the right to vote keeping the rest of us down, just like they did centuries ago with their superstitious nonsense, for equally ludicrous and meaningless reasons like 'it would get in the way of equality.' So people should deliberately have worse children than they could have so that people with low self esteem will feel better about themselves not being the only losers in the world? We need to sacrifice the children of our next generation just so that misery will always have company?
The ludicrousness of the opposition to genetic engineering shines forth when people list the objections to the science -- But what if the parents want to give their children blue eyes and blonde hair? HORRORS! Blue eyes and blonde hair! That would certainly be the end of the world. Any child with blue eyes or blonde hair is clearly the devil incarnate, a blight upon this world, and should be aborted immediately. What if the parents wanted to go way further than that, and give their children uniquely beautiful hair and eye combinations like those found in anime? What about pink eyes and pink hair? Or what about purple eyes and purple hair? What if we had red eyes? Silver eyes? Think of the infinite new color combinations humans could boast if they were able to design their children's individual looks! The world would become a much more creative, individualistic, vibrant and colorful expression of diversity. Instead of the universal combination of black hair and brown eyes that the world is relentlessly heading towards via miscegenation (all non-black hair and all non-brown eye genes are recessive, as opposed to dominant black hair and brown eye genes), we could all choose for ourselves how we want our children to look. What masterpiece we want to paint and present to the world in the form of our own living progeny. It wouldn't just be hair and eye color though. With CRISPR, we can insert and delete any genes we please. We could make children have any facial structure we liked, any skin color we liked, any hair texture we liked, any nose shape we liked, any bone structure we liked. Everything is in our power to sculpt the perfect looking human being for you. Every time you look at your child you'll be overjoyed, because it will be the ideal you always yearned for. Instead the government has the right to force an ugly child onto you that doesn't resemble either you or your dreams, because you can't be trusted with the design of your own child?
Around 85% of Americans polled say they don't want science to genetically engineer the next generation of children to be more intelligent than the last. This despite the fact that we have discovered a great many intelligence genes that could account for as much as 30% of the variation of intelligence between people already. The science to increase human intelligence is already available. At least for the genes we know to confer intelligence upon people, there is no reason left not to give them to every child ever born, because intelligence is an unqualified good, the very reason we are worth more than the animals and plants and rocks we live beside. But like usual, the sensible, sane 15% of Americans who realize intelligence is a good thing, unlike, apparently, the terminally stupid 85% of Americans who actually revel in their own retardation, are held back by government force from tinkering with their children's mental capacity. God forbid we allow the next generation of children to solve simple reading comprehension problems, keep track of vast lists of facts in their memory, and come to innovative solutions to nettlesome problems standard formulas can't crack. We should keep them all mental midgets and cripples, just like us, who just shamble through life as zombie autopilots doing exactly what we are told and never thinking any further than the next meal.
The idea that anyone, anywhere on Earth has the right to restrict the capacity of someone else to think is abhorrent. As Ayn Rand said, if there were a God, his sole and only commandment would have been "Thou shalt think!" It represents everything human about us. The very essence of our being is our sapience. It is in the title of our species. It is in our very definition, 'rational animal.' To propose that making babies more capable of thinking is sinful, instead of the very purpose and meaning of our existence and the greatest blessing we could ever bestow upon the universe, is pure evil. The exact antithesis to humanity's moral purpose and worth.
CRISPR is ready, but humanity isn't. This is why the science we really need right now isn't AI, genetic engineering, virtual reality, or mind uploading. Even though all of these ideas would work just fine in abstract, they're useless in the face of the political shackles that stop individuals from actually exercising their god given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness bestowed upon them and to their posterity, as detailed in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution by Thomas Jefferson, a greater mind than anyone, apparently, living today, in an age of greater rationality, hope, and common sense than exists anywhere, apparently, today. What we need is spaceflight. Spaceflight is the only invention of any worth, because it's the only invention that will allow the political minority on issues so vital to human progress as genetic engineering to become a new, separate, political majority which will then pass the libertarian freedoms we always had a right to and always should have had from the beginning.
Look how difficult it is for South Sudan or East Ukraine to win their freedom away from their oppressive mother states. Now imagine if, instead of just wanting to separate along ethnic lines while still maintaining all the same ideological and political measures as their previous motherland, these countries wanted to adopt a wildly unpopular ideology or political theory, which was the cause of their secession. Imagine again that the number of people seceding were not in the millions, but just in the few thousands, and that everyone else on Earth opposed their radical interpretation of reality. How likely is it that these people would be granted their independence and have their freedoms protected by the UN and NATO? The UN and NATO would be the first troops deployed to root out this 'dangerous mentality' with their 'endless human rights violations' that 'pose a threat to all of us.' Mormons weren't even allowed to practice polygamy and were stomped out by government force in the 1800's, a time that was much more freedom loving than our own.
However, imagine how easy it would be for a private group, announcing no agenda or ideology of its own, but simply getting together and buying a spaceship. This group would then launch it to the ends of the galaxy, and, once safely away from all possible majority scrutiny, in fact reveal themselves to be in the .0001% minority on all ideological fronts. This group of space explorers could set up their kingdom to have any morals, any culture, any religion, any family structure, any science they please. No one could stop them. Spaceflight gives birth to all other freedoms. The freedom to get away from the majority oppressive enemy is the only science we ever needed. From there on, everything else will just flow in naturally. The moment we're out of Earth's gravity, we can start CRISPRING our kids to kingdom come. We can design all children to come as twins, or triplets, so that they'll always have lifelong companions. We can allow incest, because CRISPR would get rid of all possible genetic flaws as a result of inbreeding. We can change the sex ratio to just one man per ten women and allow polygamy without any possible victims. On a space shuttle to freedom, destination someplace other than Earth, any dream can come true, for a population however initially small. Even one person could be the start of it all. With scientific advancements allowing for immortality or indefinite clone replacements with memory uploads/downloads, stem cell technology that can turn any ordinary cell of yours into an embryo, and CRISPR to delete any hazardous mutations or genetic flaws in the original floorplan, while adding in any synthetic DNA your AI predicts would be useful, even a breeding stock of one could give birth to indefinitely many healthy children of indefinite diversity ad infinitum.
We can already make artificial DNA. We can already delete hazardous mutations. In other words, the science is already available for every person to become a founding God of his own planet. The only thing we need now is the rockets to get us there. Since all scientific progress is currently banned on Earth except space flight, space flight is the key to all scientific progress. Get out of government's jurisdiction and each of us could become as powerful as a God-King. All of us could spread our wings and fly freely through the cosmos, pollinating the universe with our dreams.
There is no use talking to the zombie 85% of Americans who believe increasing the intelligence of children via science is somehow unethical. If they're that anti-morality. If they're that obviously batshit insane. If they are that opposed to the source of all that makes humanity worthwhile, then no conversation is capable of curing their spiritual illness. Even though all statistics show that more intelligent people have better life outcomes in all fields -- they are less criminal, live longer, earn higher incomes, are better educated, have happier and more stable family lives, are more productive workers, are more likely to contribute major progress to the arts or sciences, so on and so forth, if none of that evidence has already convinced people that intelligence is a good thing, and that therefore our children should have more of it, nothing else we say or do will work in the future either. These people are beyond helping. They're just despicable worms not even worth talking to a second longer. All we can do is separate from them, separate from their tyranny over the right-thinking minority, which can still compute simple things like "two cookies is better than one cookie, so two brain cells is probably better than one brain cell as well," and live out our own lives as God intended. God gave us the desire to be free and the desire to progress to ever higher stages of evolution. That is why we dream of elves and angels and higher life forms, not full of the defects that plague mankind today. If humanity will not allow us to transcend, there is no further reason to live among human beings. They have stopped in their course of evolution and become apes. We are the only true humans left, and we will define the future, leaving the pathetic relics that don't embrace power when it becomes available to them infinitely far behind.
Spaceflight is the only way to get away from envious, bigoted, nuclear weapon bearing zombie fools. Once spaceflight is available, not only all the material abundance of the universe, but all the spiritual abundance of human ingenuity and human imagination will also come into our hands. It is only then that mankind's full flowering will show.
Across the heavens, thousands, millions of separate civilizations, all embracing what they feel is important to them, will each play out in their own mini-dramas. Each will accept the consequences of their own choices, and none of them will have any regrets, because they were all free to live out life as they pleased. Wherever their ideals and beliefs lead them, they will be content with the result, because it was their ideal and their belief, no one else was left to force themselves upon them, and the entire starry sky will sing a song of freedom.