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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The problem with a lot of pharmaceutical/medical infrastructure is that we're treating many many diseases under different names, which are in fact simply human ageing. Without religious pro-lifers and without post menopausal life expectancies, most "diseases" would simply not be an issue. When we talk of extending life, really we're talking about extending disease and maintenance costs. There is presently a lot of work being done, philosophically, in outside the breast cancer movement. In the early days, 50 years ago, breast cancers were grossly surgically removed including muscle and other underlying tissues. The beginnings of modern medicine! Today, the surgical removal of breast cancers has seen many improvements. But there are more and more people coming to the conclusion that the present style of research will never find a cure for cancer and all our research is delivering in maintenance.

 

Proving, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that cancer (given our underlying genetic variation) is environmentally induced may never be proven because the number of interacting factors involved are so complex that no simple yes/no answer will ever be possible. Meanwhile, we Industry interests continue to pollute our lives with impunity with known cancer causing chemicals.

 

It is an instance when rational debate cannot win. It is a political issue of weighing risks. I remember back in the days when dry-cleaning business and cigarettes "didn't cause cancer", yet today, beyond pure numbers, we have taken the political decisions to extricate these products from our lives. But the road ahead is long and combative, for industry does not give up profits easily.

It is hard to do so without taking away the freedom of each individual. All this traits should be naturally selected instead of being artificially selected ( by the human hand ).

 

Also, I think in the future there will be no need for this practice since we will be engineering our own genes.

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.

But is engineering our own genes not just a step further than choosing the ones we want (from a given set of options)? It is, after all, only increasing the size of the set.
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.

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