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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great damn movie!  My sis works in a theater where Ethan Hawke is writing and acting in plays...it happens to be Phillip Seymour Hoffman's theater...sorry off subject...but as for the pandora's box argument here, yes the problem is human fallibility, and just plain greed.


With the horrors I read about and watch about everyday that we are STILL doing to each other, we are no where close to a period of time, when I could imagine any kind of intelligence and compassion getting this kind of thing even close to right. this degree of genetic engineering...what would probably start off already on a terrible note, could escalate into a horrible nightmare of unimaginably worse, haves vs. have nots., and who knows?  Maybe more tyrannical rulers in the world...actually I'm confident of that.


We have to re-engineer human thinking, I"m serious, we have too many irrational and dangerous tendencies, sometimes I don't even know how we can have people in such high power positions, as in, how can it not be even worse?  Many would argue, it Is right now so bad in the world on so many levels with leaders making such dangerous and foolish choices, that it's only because we are not facing it right now as we speak, that we are able to even have this luxury to simply post on forums!

As long as we maintain a clear distinction between filtering eugenics and genetic engineering, this discussion is productive, but if we mix the two, we end up with entirely different outcomes. The first results in reduced population, the second increases population. Those are massively contradictory political objectives.

Regulate it the same way one does organ transplants perhaps?

Though not completely without faults, compared to the number of legit occurances, the number of illegitemate ones are fairly small. One could easily avoid organ theft - ban all organ transplants.

As long as the potential benefit vastly overshadows the potential harm, there needs to be extremely compelling arguments for a complete ban. 



Why not just follow the Big Book of Genetic Defects as a constitution of sorts? Just remove the designer element altogether and leave anyone wanting a superbaby to shame.

Or just deny the people who were having so (now) called special needs babies foot the bill without government support if they chose to carry to term?

If women have the right to choose due to economic variables, why not give them something to concider?

This is not a good option. Some people should not be given the right to make personal decisions. Look at the couple who wanted to name their son Adolph Hitler. The court, rightfully, said no.

"Some people should not be given the right to make personal decisions."

I thought people were in control of their own financial position?

You may not have seen it, but I am only arguing for a mandatory genetic screening/correcting for severely quality and/or length of life reducing and very expensive known genetic diseases within the timeframe of abortion - not pure cosmetics or stretch it into infanticide.

At a future time, once the vast majority of scientists agree, there might also be an opening for promoting beneficial adaptations - i.e. intelligence.

"Banning all organ transplants would not only not prevent organ theft it would put it through the damned roof."

Depends on the penalty. If immediate execution of those involved it wouldn't be much of a problem. Swift death sentences are quite good at regulating unwanted intentional planned behavior. But I doubt society would accept it.. :)

"No, the very best thing to prevent fraud and violence in the market for organs is to allow people to legally buy and sell them."

This is absolutely true. But then people can't take the moral hgh road while overlooking the detrimental effects of a ban. Haven't seen any evidence that the harm of organ trading outweighs potential benefits.

"We saw the same thing wit alcohaul prohibition."
And with drugs, prostitution, gambling... When there is not an official market with division of responsibility, an unregulated market pops up almost immediately. In fact, these completely unregulated markets are almost perfectly capitalistic. Apart from the illegality part. :)
Always reminds me of Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork, where all crime is endorsed and regulated :)
I wouldn't call socially unacceptable behavior crimes, I'm more on the psychological pathologies side. Crime is a treatable social disease, not a punishable offence.

I wasn't really trying to day prostitution or drug use are crimes (I don't believe they are), but that where there is money and desire, the people will find a way. Any worries of abuse and illegality can be conveniently circumnavigated by making it legal. In South Africa there is a push to legalise prostitution to provide social service and protection to prostitutes (who, as a group, are vulnerable to abuse by their pimps).

Not all crime is a socially treatable disease - some of it certainly is (eg. increased crime levels in ghettoes and townships) but some of it is an inescapable result of what we are - animals. The will to power breeds corruption and abuse, and I believe some of it is unavoidable.

Well, there is a field called social medicine which deal with exactly these questions. Crime is a symptom of either personal or social medical ailments which are preventable. If there was no demand for prositution, there wouldn't be a need for it. You can acheive this by tampering with nature or behavior.

Idk exactly where the debate on prositution will end up - perhaps serial-monogamy due to ~300% increased average lifespan since the inception of the concept will lead us to finding it to be an accpetable outlet for natural urges like sport is an acceptable outlet for violence.

And you are absolutely right on the corruption aspect, but in that case the social structure of justice is forcing increased rational behavior. Powerful people committ spectacular crimes for complicated reasons very rarely, most criminals do not have sufficient social education.


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