I have some pretty strong feelings about eugenics (it's a good and necessary practice), but I find it very, VERY difficult to talk about it with anyone since I'm instantly labeled a Nazi for supporting it. I'm hoping the folks on Think Atheist will be more inclined to intellectual discussion than name-calling and dismissal.
The start off, some disclaimers: genocide is wrong; taking human rights away from people of a race/religion/hairstyle you don't like is wrong; concentration camps are wrong; violence in wrong.
There. Now to the actual discussion.
When I talk about eugenics, I'm talking about the practice of systematically removing debilitating genetic traits and defects from a population by means of regulating the reproduction of its citizens. Do you have Schizophrenia? Did you know that this ailment is genetic and very easy to pass on to you children? Please, do not punish an innocent child with this problem. Are you genetically healthy, intelligent, and talented? Do you have special immunities that make you less likely to get sick? By all means, spread these traits to future generations, either by having children yourself or donating to a sperm or egg bank. Do you want children but should not carry your genetic problems onto them? Adopt. Adoption will always be available no matter what the society (just because someone has good genetic material does NOT mean they would make a good parent). Do you say that adoption is not the same? Then I suppose you care more about satisfying your selfish desires than the well being of a child.
Eugenics is, at its base, very simple - think about the future first.
I'm leaving this post now for what I'm hoping will be thoughtful and anti-inflammatory discussion.
I'm talking about the extra little bits of information that make it all come clear.
@Awdur Ffuglen If you don't know what a "flaw" is then why did you introduce the term into the conversation?
Why do you say that Stephen Hawking would not have been born under a eugenics program? If it was done stupidly, maybe. But those of us here who support the idea are talking about eliminating the bad gene - replacing it with a viable gene - then letting the fertilized egg develop. He would be alive and healthy (without ALS) under that program.
You are the one pushing for eugenics to be a stupidly run program which almost blindly sterilizes people.
Most of us will associate eugenics with manipulation of the gene pool through selectivity in mating, not gene splicing or gene elimination. And in many ways is more effective. If you can remove a gene from a zygote (if that is how it's done), that gene will still be present in his/her sperms/eggs. By preventing those infected with the bad gene from reproducing, you eventually virtually eliminate it from the gene pool.
If we do this, I would hope we do it right by changing the first cell - which I think should result in that defective gene being totally eliminated. Unless I've forgotten something.
"Unless I've forgotten something."
You got it right.
The Science presently and into the future will allow the intercession at the egg/sperm level before conception.
"Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Helen Keller? Or do I need to name 10,000 other famous people with 'flaws'."
It would be more informative for you to do tell us which of their mothers wanted their child born with what you term "flaws".
Eugenics is purposeful planned Evolution (ie. the elimination of what you term "flaws"). What mother would choose a blind child over a sighted child? If all it took was manipulating the genome of an egg and sperm prior to conception (except of course for some religious mothers).
No mom would say "Yes I want my child blind." But we don't have the technology to predict if/when or how a kid goes blind. He might go blind because his retinas detach 7 days after he's born. He might go blind because his parents bottle feed him Coca Cola (loaded with mercury). Or some soy drink that's all the rage that causes him to stop insulin reuptake when he's nine. People are screwed for a lot of reasons besides genetics!
I had my tubes tided (cauterised) at age 30, but I had to nearly threaten the doc to have it done!
The moronic pro-lifers who insist that all foetus have the right to be born, yet care not for the crap life that is likely to ensue. The time where kids sue parents is coming... pollution, physical/mental abuse.
Basically I have practised auto-eugenics. Funny how my friends are all convinced I'd make a "great parent", and are always so saddened that the "best" potential parents are not the ones breeding. Indeed, I'm being a great parent by not breeding.
I bet you're an honorary auntie or something.
On and off! LOL
I teach part-time, I work part-time, I travel part-time, and I do lots of community volunteering.
A half century ago I would have been called a spinster... (with a massive "closet" of life experiences :)
Choosing to abort a fetus because a scan shows a defect, and choosing to get sterilized are two very different things. Choosing to get sterilized, I believe, is an act of laziness and fear. You can screen your children, you just choose not to.
One of the reasons why humans have survived so long is that we are such an adaptable species with so much variation. If you eliminate genetic variations, you make the human race easier to kill off. If you want the human race to continue to exist, it is best not to make the gene pool homogenous. Any of the traits you mentioned could have a beneficial side to them that has simply not yet been discovered. It would be ignorant to eliminate those traits.