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.

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You have a point about bloodlines disappearing. But that is a different issue than homogenization - related but still not the same. My point still stands. But your point about disappearing bloodlines is something which is happening now.

In North America, yeah, AFAIK the bloodlines are already fading and in a couple hundred years they could effectively be gone. South America, again AFAIK, will take a bit longer - depending upon whether or not the few tribes still on their own are allowed to remain so.

Well no really, they are not "fading", native bloodlines are truly homogenising with Caucasian ones (and to some extent black and asian as well), both in N and S America. I lived in Ecuador for a while, the 'mestizo' population there used to be 70% now it's 90%. Bolivia is the only country who's native bloodlines are purer than Ecuadors. All other S.American countries have lost their "true" native bloodlines, a vast majority of the population is homogenised, moreso than N.America. The difference is only that in N.America the mix is whiter, whereas in S.America, the mix is "nativer" (pardon the language slaughter). As "Latinos" are moving from S. to N.America, their "nativer" mixing with our "whiter" is further completing the homogenisation. Even "black" people aren't really black, already in slave days the homogenisation with whites had begun.
Similarly in the Caribbean, Indian/black/Asian/white is the makeup of most Jamaicans, and other islands have varying combos of those.

@Awdur Ffuglen

I'm not sure if there is a point to responding to you since you are saying contradictory things but when I pointed that out to you earlier you basically said something like 'so what'. But I'll give it another shot.

"Current primitive technology and lack of regulations does not bode well for human/ecosystem cohabitation." – here you show you understand.

But then you say "Point being you need a high population to achieve advanced technology." and junk like "Quality is irrelevant." These things are wrong.

When someone condemns you're impossible idea of 200 billion people you say:

"Your standards of judgment are based on today's technology, today's waste products, today's attitudes, today's carnivorous human, today's scientist."

Yes. Because that will give an accurate picture as to the human factors we have to deal with. If we don't take that into account we won't survive having 20 billion people on Earth.

 

You claim to support taking care of the environment but then say things like "Do you know how vastly empty entire regions of this planet are? Have you been to Wyoming? Siberia?" and "Yes, there 25 million square miles of uninhabited space, but we haven't figured out how to properly utilize it or dispose of waste yet. Or even make those areas habitable. Christ, we're still living in two dimensions. We haven't even utilized the multiple trillions of cubic feet of sky."

But those places are not empty – except of people. There are millions of lives in a square mile of just about anywhere. There are exceptions but no people will want to go live in those desolate areas. Unless you intend to force people to move to those places, we will not live there. Instead we will occupy the more fertile regions burying productive ground under concrete, asphalt , buildings and useless lawns. Well, useless in terms of their fertility. Humans do enjoy those lawns for entertainment/relaxation.

And all that "empty" sky? Mountains change air flow patterns over continents. If you fill that "empty" sky you will alter the air flow and thus the local climate. You could create areas of flooding while making other places into deserts. You could create significant ecological problems with buildings that huge.

These are the facts you need to consider when figuring out if we can sustain 20 billion – the goal we need to meet long before we reach 200 billion.

I think I read less than 25 pages. (for real) Hope I didn't miss too much. (jk)

Here's a relevant article.

UK Government backs mitochondrial replacement

01 July 2013

By Dr Rosie Morley

Appeared in BioNews 711

The UK Government is to support the introduction of mitochondrial replacement therapy. The IVF-based procedure could allow women with mitochondrial disease the opportunity to have healthy children, by replacing their own, faulty mitochondria with healthy mitochondria from a donor.

[...] article

There are currently two mitochondrial replacement techniques in development, both of which involve transferring the nuclear DNA of the future parents into a donor egg containing healthy mitochondria. 'Pronuclear transfer' involves taking the nucleus of a fertilised egg containing DNA from both the father and mother, and transferring it into a donor egg in which the nucleus has been removed. In the alternative method, 'maternal spindle transfer', the mother's DNA is transferred to the donor egg before it is fertilised. The treatments have been shown to be effective in animals but could not be fully tested in humans without changes made by Parliament.

[...] article

'nother interesting segue:

Following a severely autistic boy's incessant howling in the neighbour's yard (being babysat at grandma's house) and freaking out the neighbourhood children, a neighbour dropped off this letter  (full story here) :

" They should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate them to science ...  no employer will ever hire him, no normal girl is ever going to marry/love him, and you are not going to live forever..."

My brother worked for over  a decade on the night shift of an institution where people such as this were eventually abandoned by parents. Individuals banging their heads to the blood, playing with feces, tied to beds, my brother is a very sensitive and humane person, but he lost his PCness working in that place. These people are not alive, they are abandoned here by families who thought they could handle things, by a society which expects taxpayers to foot the bill for perpetual care of individuals which can never be autonomous. Once they are abandoned into the hands of government, they receive no visits, they are forgotten by those do-gooder families, pro-lifers, life at all costs, who live with the illusion that they can care for such people. They can't. They are not alive.

And neighbours are expected to put up with the constant howling... shame really.

I think in the future, new borns for which it is known that they will never achieve autonomy, there should be serious consideration of ending it there instead of perpetuating the pain, just for the sake of appearances.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/08/20/letter_attacking_autisti...

I think in the future, new borns for which it is known that they will never achieve autonomy, there should be serious consideration of ending it there instead of perpetuating the pain, just for the sake of appearances.

(And advances in genetics and epigenetics will someday help us deal with it even sooner.)

Autism is unlike other mental disabilities in several ways. First is that if the child is diagnosed and trained early, they can become far more functional. Since it was never diagnosed early until recently AFAIK there are no adults yet who were autistic children. (Aspergers is a less severe version and in general people with Aspergers are functional members of society.)

Second, there is evidence that someone with autism is indeed a person but they are overloaded with stimuli making every moment of life somewhat hellish. The behaviors the autistic person engages in help block some of the outside stimuli making things less unbearable.

So pretty much the worst thing you can do with an autistic person is to grab/shake/yell at them - you are only making things worse increasing their need to do whatever it is that you find annoying. Imagine for a moment that the annoying stimulus was happening every minute of your life. You would bang your head or scream or whatever too.

It could be argued that the autistic are more alive than anyone else - all their senses cranked up far too high.

 

That said, there is still the issue of those with brain damage who will never be able to function in society. That is very much an issue caused by the idea (usually religion based) that every life is sacred and must be preserved at all costs. Unfortunately medicine has progressed beyond religious morality and those with ethics have not stepped in to cut through the crap and point out the flawed mentality of preserving a human shaped non-sentient.

I, personally, find it more cruel to prolong the life of a severely deformed fetus (one which can never be repaired to full functionality of mind and body) rather than humanely terminating it as soon as it's deformities are determined. Similarly, I think people need to have the option to (self) terminate if they experience disease or injury rendering them too physically or mentally crippled for life to be bearable for them anymore. Even though I know this is the only life they will have, I still do not see any valid reason to put someone through hell. Especially not because someone else interferes - someone who is deluded enough to put an ancient book of mythology ahead of human and humane concerns.

The DSM-5 has brought about massive changes to the definitions of Autism and Aspergers, they are now much closer together. (That is if it's even worth using the DSM anymore, considering the MHAs are not feeling the DSM anymore and thinking of killing it)  On functionality... my counsellor can not determine if I'm on the Asperger chart or not, because whatever the childhood challenges I had, I overcame partially overcame. The fact is that society is replete with people who don't quite fit in, people who've had tremendous childhood trauma and health issues, who later in life have learned to function appear functional... but we aren't really. There are so many people with mental health issues, that if we took off the veneer of all our learned "fitting-in" behaviours and just were ourselves in real life, the image of our "functional society" would completely disintegrate.

I have a friend of mine who's child is now 5, eyes half open, can not walk (muscle development simply does not happen, can't speak (and will never), teeth are a problem (therefore feeding's a problem), she's either in giggle (not connected to anything we'd recognize as funny, more of a motor reflex giggle) mode or scream mode or silence I can't remember the disease name, it's not one of the common ones. I think I can't remember it because I have a bit of a mental blockage on this issue. This friend of mine is a "good" person, in a decent marriage, and she loves her child (what choice does she have) disown her? But she has no life, the government provides a helper, to help my friend get through the day, chores, etc, because the child has zero autonomy (if awake), so the mom is in 100% service mode. It's no life, and it distresses me to see such a nice lady have her life so entirely broken. The docs did not think the child would live past 3-4... I think the parents secretly reckoned that this hell would only last a few years so they could handle that... but medical interventions and therapists are extending this child's life... extending... extending... how long can the parents sacrifice their life for?

Under natural selection, this child would have died within the first months, the parents probably would have had a new healthy child (it's not a genetic condition either is carrying) and their life would be so different. Medicine will never overcome the freak diseases. The greatest advances in medicine were done before BigPharma took over research directions and seeked profit instead of health

Surely we atheists can effect enough change onto society that we can fight the religious "life at all costs" mantra. Even within the medical community, there is a faction which feels that the Hippocratic Oath no longer is useful to us given the level of our technological abilities. :(

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