Designing a baby, or editing the genes of an unborn child, strikes many as risky, unseemly, unnatural, unethical, or likely to lead to a dystopian future of one sort or another. Still, I predict that within my lifetime, the United States will arrest, try, and convict some parents for refusing to edit the genes of their child before he or she is born. Consider what is now punished. In The Kindly Inquisitors, Jonathan Rauch’s defense of liberal free-speech norms, the author noted that the liberal, scientific view of  knowledge, which he was championing, asserts a unique claim to legitimacy in the modern West. Lest anyone doubt his characterization, he cited the fate of Christian Scientists:

On December 4, 1984, a 4-year-old girl named Natalie died very painfully of an infection. The cause was a common bacterium that is almost always cured by antibiotics. Her parents, however, did not use antibiotics. They used prayer. To many of us, that sounds preposterous. But imagine what it is to believe fervently in the healing power of your Lord. Imagine that your child is sick, and you want the best treatment, the one that is right and most likely to work. That treatment is prayer, or so you believe with all your heart. And that treatment you use. CONTINUE