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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After growing up in an inbred society to a seriously inbred mother and carrying inbreeding traits myself, I could not possibly disagree with you more. It is by sheer, sheer luck I ended up with most of my father's traits, rather than my poor sister. One look at my mother's side of the family and you'd shudder. We're talking the riverside family from "Deliverance" here.

If by "naturally selected" you mean NATURALLY, not medically, I totally agree. "inbred stupids" would not be able to survive without government support, in a "natural" world, they would not live to the age of procreation :)
Reminds me of the "designer babies" story. While I can surely understand the desire to weed out such imperfections resulting from genetic disease, I think it would be foolish to assume that a desire for profit would not eventually work it's way into the mix resulting in one's ability to (given the finances) design their baby to specific detail. The designer babies aspect may not seem realistic today but neither was in vitro fertilization once upon a time.
Do you think protocols could be set to limit the potential for profit in that market?  If we determined at a national level exactly which genes we would allow to be selected out, and specifically prohibited selecting for, then do you think a safe 'system' could be put in place?
Possibly Heather but you know as well as I that such choices are based solely on what is acceptable at the time. I can't say that it certainly would go beyond the scope of simply improving the potential health of individuals to something more selective but history suggests it probably would if there is money to be made. I would hope I'm wrong.
It certainly is a hell of a Pandora's box.  Personally I think we'll more than likely open it before we are prepared to deal with the results properly.  I happen to think it's a natural and logical step for us to take, but yeah, I agree, we likely won't be able to keep it logically managed.  Leads me to thinking of the movie Gataca.
The thirst for knowledge will force this step either way I presume. The future should prove interesting.
Do you think anyone would be offended if we called the process 'Intelligent Design'?
Bazzing, someone call Leno we have a winner.

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. 




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