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.

Views: 2247

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hell yeah, extend the twenties!

And still, focus more on the health of all the young, from birth.

I like that perspective, rather than just "extending life". I'm sold.

Time for some Steven Pinker:

Q: A common fear seems to be: "But if genetic determinism is actually true, doesn't that mean the Nazis were right?"

A: Your question, of course, alludes to a conventional wisdom among left-leaning academics that genes imply genocide. But the 20th century suffered “two” ideologies that led to genocides. The other one, Marxism, had no use for race, didn't believe in genes and denied that human nature was a meaningful concept. Clearly, it's not an emphasis on genes or evolution that is dangerous. It's the desire to remake humanity by coercive means (eugenics or social engineering) and the belief that humanity advances through a struggle in which superior groups (race or classes) triumph over inferior ones.

"Don't tell me what I should quit saying. You want to come meet in person? We can settle this in physical form. "

:) Sure, behind the school at 3:05 PM.*

Did you really do that?  How long have you had Internet access?  You do realize that everything we post is recorded forever and is admissible in criminal courts in all 50 states, correct? 

Hopefully if you meant to sit down over a nice lunch and have a pleasant conversation, then my answer would be a resounding "Yes", as long as you are paying the round trip plane fare, full meals and lodging at minimum 4 star establishments.*

* Sarcism.

Signed: Hubert S. Troll III

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With the other posts deleted this one now looks so out-of-place. :(

It could be extremely beneficial to our species, eliminating diseases and susceptibility to illnesses.

But I've a couple of question I think should be considered... For example do you use eugenics for only physical ailments or mental ailments also? Obviously I think it would be fantastic if you could stop certain cancers, diabetes, auto-immune reactions, etc. before they arise (and remember it's not always possible, some genes will turn on in life due to external factors, and these ailments may also come from external factors).

In the case of mental disorders what happens? There are plenty of people that are extremely productive members of society with mental disorders, for example the famous mathimatican John Nash had paranoid schizophrenia, Catherine Zeta Jones has bi-polar disorder, Herschel Walker, NFL player and Micheal Phelps, Olympic swimmer, both have ADHD and Kurt Cobain suffered from depression and ADD. There are many people who mental disorders could have been prevented by eugenics, but would society be the same without them? Has anyone asked people suffering from these ailments about their quality of life? Taking it to the extreme, what if sexuality could be changed by eugenics. Could you 'cure' homosexuality by using eugenics? 

I think the drive for perfection of our species could lead to us losing our humanity - not from eugenics, but from people abusing eugenics for their own benefit. I think as a species we are too immature to be able to use the technology we have for our benefit. I think we need to sort out the problems we already have in the world before we go down this road... There's no point in making one room of a house perfect if the rest of the house is falling down around you....

But by putting those individuals on a podium, you're committing a judgement call, an unverifiable one. You may perceive that these people have been "good" for humanity, but what if hindsight could tell us there had no overall effect, or worse, perhaps left a negative effect?

We can not say what is "better", we can only determine where we put our limited public dollars. I would much rather see a cleaner environment to live in, rather than a planet full of "cured" old conservative folks... for as people age... statistically, we become more fearful and conservative.

I liked the Logan's Run TV series. People painlessly shut-down at age 30. Such as society would have almost no need for a pharmaceutical/medical/industrial complex. We could instead place our collective dollars in much happier and intelligent endeavours.

@Sean O'Byrne;

Very good post.

"...do you use eugenics for only physical ailments or mental ailments also?"

If by "you" you mean "we" then I feel the answer would be yes, since mental ailments (if there are such things) have a physical basis.  A genomic sequence which results in an undesirable outcome would be something worth consideration for changing if possible.

"In the case of mental disorders what happens? There are plenty of people that are extremely productive members of society with mental disorders,...(examples)...would society be the same without them?"

It isn't the removal of existing people nor their talents that the idea of eugenics thru genomic manipulation makes a possibility.  It is the removal of the disorder that limits them.

"Has anyone asked people suffering from these ailments about their quality of life?

A better question might be:  How often have they asked themselves about their quality of life?  Would they want their own children not to suffer as they have?

Remember we are entering a time where eugenics thru genomic manipulation can be accomplished prior to conception.

"Taking it to the extreme, what if sexuality could be changed by eugenics. Could you 'cure' homosexuality by using eugenics? "

This is a very good question.  The short answer is probably yes.  The longer answer is not so simple.

"I think the drive for perfection of our species could lead to us losing our humanity - not from eugenics, but from people abusing eugenics for their own benefit."

I think I mostly agree. Human greed is an ever present danger to the future to humankind (to the whole planet for that matter).

" I think as a species we are too immature to be able to use the technology we have for our benefit."

I think I partially agree. There are many, many examples I could point to showing how we have been mature enough to have benefited from our existing technology.  I do agree in a general sense humankind is immature, possibly very immature. :(

"I think we need to sort out the problems we already have in the world before we go down this road... There's no point in making one room of a house perfect if the rest of the house is falling down around you...."

I think I disagree.

Waiting until your house starts to fall is the worst time to start trying to improve it.  If we (the human race) continue at our current pace the evidence indicates the trend will take us to a world of increased suffering for a larger and larger percentage of the worlds population.

While eugenics is only a small part of the solution, now is the time to put more effort into research focusing on the physical miladies that manifest after our breeding years as these are the conditions that Natural Selection cannot deselect from our genome.

While Eugenics thru Genomic Manipulation has some wonderful possibilities and promise for humankind's evolution toward a much more productive future for all the inhabitants of this planet, it is a dangerous path.

If we do nothing to direct our future evolution and let nature take it's course, a shotgun approach, our chance at a better future is limited.

If instead we take aim, a sniper approach, our chance at a better future is vastly improved.  I choose a better future for all the species that occupy this planet.

In the case of mental disorders, who decides whether they are limited by them or not? How many times have you heard of people drawing inspiration from their disorders? This is not to say they should be made suffer from them - I have come to disagree with my own original point there! 

A better question might be:  How often have they asked themselves about their quality of life?  Would they want their own children not to suffer as they have?


Fantastic improvement on the original question - thanks! 

As for humankind being too immature, I did mean that in the most general sense! We need much more collective and global responsibility. 

In my last point I meant it in the sense that before we make something like this available to the public in Western countries, where we are already very privileged, we should be helping those less fortunate than ourselves!! 

One thing to bear in mind is that genes come in dominant and recessive forms. Most (maybe all) inheritable diseases are recessive, because otherwise most people would be positive for that disease. The upshot is that in eliminating or replacing the problematic gene, or by preventing someone who may be a carrier from procreating, there is just a chance you are accomplishing something. You might not. Don't forget that the person they mate with has to be taken into account as well.

@Unseen;

I refuse to allow you to mate with anyone. :P

Sorry, Gregg, but the only person you can refuse to let Unseen mate with is yourself.    :}

@Ward Cressin;

Damnit, too late, at least we can be thankful they'll be unseen gregg babies. LOL

So, Max Headroom* + Gun Monkey* = Gun Headroom & Max Monkey.

(You did use the plural "babies".) I'm not sure how unseen they will be. Of course, Unseen isn't very unseen himself - writing-wise.   :)

*Their current icons. (Just so the comment doesn't look totally illogical if either of you change your icons.)

 

RSS

Support T|A

Think Atheist is 100% member supported

All proceeds go to keeping Think Atheist online.

Donate with Dogecoin

Members

Forum

Things you hate.

Started by Devlin Cuite in Small Talk. Last reply by Unseen 55 minutes ago. 182 Replies

Blog Posts

Zella Mae Jarrett

Posted by Philip Jarrett on April 19, 2014 at 11:35pm 2 Comments

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Services we love

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Into life hacks? Check out LabMinions.com

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

© 2014   Created by Dan.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service