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.
"Either screening the sperm/egg to the end of swapping the sperm/egg if one doesn't like the probability offered of passing problematic genetic traits or screening the ebryo for invitro fertilization."
Ok but out of the two why would you want to pick screening the sperm/egg rather than screening the embryo if there is an element of probability rather than certainty is the genetic outcome of the sperm/egg scenario. Keep in mind that I'm agreeing with embryo screening as an alternative to sperm/egg screening.
"The key, I feel, is to give people the option."
Well I've been holding back on expressing my opinion on that until I got to know where your from, because you mentioned a lot of this as being publicly payed for. In the united states anything that resembles socialized health care is going to be hated, and of coarse there's the christian hate to it as well. In order to be provided publicly provided(most research is payed for by government grants too isn't it?) you'll need theists to agree with it.
"I realize many theists may not go for it, but after a generation of those who are rational enough to make the choice ending up with healthier children, aren't we already moving in the right direction?"
Yes, but if there's a better option that can be accomplished then why not go for that?
I think you'll like this link.
There is a phrase going around molecular bio-engineering circles, "Eugenics Paradox" which is that if one believes Eugenics to be a good solution, one is a candidate for such solution
Kind of like the guy who invented the Brass Bull (at the request of a king) and was promptly asked to be the first 'subject'.
1. It is impossible to estimate the value of any given human being. Not with science, religion, mathematics, metrics, not unless you follow the cause/effect chain to infinity.
2. It is the height of human arrogance and ignorance, in their current infantile brain-state/intelligence level to suggest they have the capability to decide who lives or dies.
3. See the historical eugenics experiments, carried out by ugly, freakish looking doctors, and sociopaths with no speck of decency of humanity. Injecting en masse, children with syphillis etc. etc. (wikipedia unethical human experimentation)
4. Diseases in many cases are mutations that ultimately lead to an improved survival trait - but in the tiny, silver of nothingness that we see, (a single human life) we see an inconvenience that we don't like.
5. Ten of the best geneticists in the world wouldn't be able to tell you what genes are beneficial for what and when and why because nobody can predict the future environment.
There you have a systematic and complete rebuke of Eugenics, and let us hope now the subject is well understood, and that having 'strong feelings' in favor of it is likely the sign of a mental disorder, racism, profound ignorance, self-destruction or parental influence.
You make valid points, the best one is number 4 IMO.
The fact is that the medical/pharmaceutical/military/industrial complex practice anti-eugenics. We are accomplishing anti-eugenics by practising the religious doctrine of "Human Life is Precious" and the misread Hippocrates Oath of "Do No Harm" which gets re-interpreted in modern society as "Life At All Costs"... probably due the long domination of Christian morality in Western Civilisation. Asians take death more in stride, generally.
So back to no.4, yes in the long term, diseases are good for the human species, for diseases are the natural eugenics programme, without discrimination. Various fitness characteristics provide various ethnicities, with various susceptibilities... a diverse Homo sapiens population, like a diverse market portfolio. But because of our misguided efforts of saving ALL lives at ALL costs, we have created a society of sick people. One third overall of Western society are entirely dependent on regular medical/pharmaceutical interventions. And in seniors, the ratio is reversed.
With our mighty technology and know how, we don't really "live longer"... we die longer, we live sicker, and congenitally deficient people are encouraged to breed, creating yet more sick offspring for the medical/pharmaceutical machine.
So eugenics can erroneously be confused with natural selection and survival of the fittest. But as you say, we humans really only see ourselves, that is the extent of our life experience, we have deeply flawed perception capacities, we constantly are misinterpreting our senses, and misinterpreting our ability to predict the future, we are nice to others because we want them to be nice to us, and we fear death, cuz we still live in a superstitious society which has difficulty contemplating nothingness.
Yes, I'm saying eugenics is bad and it's being practiced at this very moment on a grand scale by people who have no comprehension of what they are doing. Google the Codex Allimentarius (2009)
Eugenics can be defined as the sanctioned or approved killing or sterilizing of a part of a population deemed 'unfit'. Have you seen the restaurants available in the ghetto? Poison factories. Big cities are built to kill people. Irradiated cookies. All a nasty experiment with no real 'science' behind it other than paranoia.
Health Care has become a sophisticated extermination system. System labels 'drug seeker' routes crazy person to mental hospital, kills with shock therapy. And the pathetic, sad thing is that criminality, insanity and many diseases are not genetic but caused by radiation, early development, and do not disqualify said human's genes from the pool
Once you start flagging humans and saying 'these genes are bad', 'these genes are good', nature will laugh in your face. You'll never, ever, ever, know who's genes were what, not for thousands of years.
It is human beings superimposing pseudo-god powers on a preexisting universal determinism system they couldn't begin to understand.
Eugenics is shameful ignorance to put it lightly, and especially if you happen to be a Doctor who swore the oath "To help and the very least, do no harm."
You seem to be mixing the terms Eugenics and Genocide.
Also, trying to insinuate that there is any correlation between 'Atheism' and Eugenics is degrading to Atheism, atheists and completely discredits, undermines and the entire point of it, which is to halt the indiscriminate practice of religious Eugenics. To come saying "I have a better way to exterminate people!" is, as mentioned earlier, the wonderful Eugenics Paradox.
If someone has a genetic potential to spread debilitating anomalies to their offspring, then preventing them from breeding isn't a socially acceptable answer. Instead, Genetic research that could help to identify the offending chromosomes, and replace them with a healthy version of that chromosome in the sperm or egg before they're combined would be a better option. Medicine is the answer, not chastity belts.
Strictly biologically speaking, scientifically speaking... a "healthy version of that chromosome" is strictly a short-term opinion, a short-sighted opinion, a non-scientific opinion, and carries practically no weight in the context of DNA evolution. Evolution is a multi millennial process, there is no such thing as "good" or "bad" or "healthy", various mutations lead (or not, depending on varying degrees of reproductive success).
Homo sapiens is now the the most successful species on the planet, not only successful, but destructive. Our destructiveness as no historical living species counterpart, the only Earthly events to have so modified our planet are asteroid hits and volcanism. Our highly self adulating brains assume that we know what a "good" or "bad" chromosome is. To think that we can improve on 4 million years of evolution with a little decadal tinkering. There is nothing "healthy" about the impact of Homo sapiens on our planet.
We need not "practice" eugenics, but accepting that death is a part of the value of life would be an interesting idea, we do not 'need' to be saving all these lives. It is at best a moralistic feel good wish.
I agree. I only suggest the medical alternative to prevent those that may have misgivings about it from not knowing the pleasures of sex or having a family.
Could not have been stated more eloquently.
What gave eugenics a bad name, I believe, is the notion that some groups are inferior to others. "Negroes," gypsies, the Irish, you name it. As a result, the emphasis became (especially under the Nazis) the breeding of a super race, not the elimination of genetic flaws.