Patients begin preventative measures based on gene tests
Slowly, science is convincing us that genetics (i.e., nature) is responsible for most of what occurs in our lives. Yes, behavioral sciences still have their uses, and psychology shouldn't be entirely ignored. The problem is that genetics is universal and psychology & other behavioral sciences can be influenced by trendy thinking. Just look back to other politically correct ideas that have fallen flat on their faces - George Carlin would bring up the example of women in the 70s who would play classical music to their unborn fetuses, supposedly to help with IQ down the road.
People don't want to admit that genetics account for most of what occurs in our lives, because that would be a concession to nature, and we can't have that. We need to believe that we can change our lives & our destinies through behavior and other means, that our materialistic lifestyles are okay, and that we don't really need as much exercise as our ancestors because we have four walls and a roof. Genetics is the ultimate reality, and since our modern society has increasingly tried to keep that reality outside the walls of the city, we won't realize this until it's too late. Why do you think we stubbornly cling to the idea that multiculturalism is better than singular-minded, nationalist societies with one culture? Why do people continue to eat food that's bad for them, and even insist on it, instead of shaping up and realizing that our diets & lifestyles are unnatural?
Genetics is a strong force in our lives, but we don't like to talk about it because we're afraid of death. Mr. Downing's actions in the above-referenced article represent the beginning of what we will be using genetics for in the future: How to Cheat Death, the new paradigm.
I am on the fence on this one. Downing had a device implanted into his heart so that he could avoid death if the same fate befalls him as it did his father & brother: sudden heart failure with no chance of making it to a hospital on time before death. To me, that's only step one. If an individual wants to avoid a very scary fate, that's one of the few areas where I would respect the individuals' right to act, because he seems otherwise to be a solid, contributing member of society and we can't lose those. He's not an obese, smoking buffoon who's looking to cheat not only genetics but also his own behavior.
Step two, further into the future, would involve using genetics to slowly breed out certain diseases in our society. But it wouldn't have to be like Gattaca, and I'd certainly not favor killing babies that are born with, say, development issues. No, good cultures & societies take care of all their members, as long as those members (family members of the developmentally disabled, in this case) are good members of society. This doesn't work today because there are so many parasites that our welfare state gets weighed down and - guess what - the dollar begins to devalue and everybody becomes resentful sociopaths. All it would take is a gradual restructuring of society - people would live within certain borders that believe in certain things, with a highly decentralized government and very little in the way of materialistic/greedy desire. Sounds Utopian but I've already mentioned that Michael Arth is on his way to pursuing this and has put his plan into action, and Corrupt.org is obviously a favorite site of mine, which pursues nationalistic goals which would make everyone a lot happier (except parasites that we support in modern times).
Step two would last a long time, because people would be breeding while in their new cultural lands. Genetic science would attempt to weed out certain genetic imperfections either during pregnancy or after birth, so that certain "bad genes" could be shut off and reproduction would involve the birth of a newer, better generation each time.
Obviously, there are complications; who decides which genes are bad and which are good? We're not talking blonde hair and blue eyes, we're talking heart disease and colon cancer. It'd be pretty easy to put together a 100-or-so list of things we would want scientists to eliminate, and of course each Nationalistic group would need to decide, beyond that, which other features they'd like to keep or discard. Sure, things can get scary from there, but it's a brave new world isn't it? And if you've joined up to live with like-minded people, it's likely consensus will be reached more easily, with outlandish ideas immediately dismissed.
Step three would likely involve less genetic intervention and simply keeping the gene pool within your new, Nationalist society free of outside influence - breeding within the group. Nature usually takes care of the rest; just look at Iceland, as well as the Scandinavia of the past, with people reaching new heights by continuing to breed within their own culture for generations?
Step three is simply the most natural way to live, but since our societies have become, for now, irrevocably mixed and multicultural, we would need to rearrange our borders & our governments before we're able to truly get a hold on nature and use genetics toward the proper ends.