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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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. :)
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.

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.

It's the social psychology (the disease) part of social medicine (the cure) in particular which is relevant. It also include health care economics, vaccination programs, (etc) and what you suggested.

Well, there are certainly connections between chemistry and psychology/biology, but crime is more a function of applied behavior than chemistry. Whether it is brain chemistry which affects behavior, or social education which affects brain chemistry is not really a valid question, they seem to interact. You do certain things because it is socially acceptable, and avoid others because they are not. These work inside a physical construct, the genes you are born with, but separate from them with ability to often override them. If someone goes around kicking babies, they probably need individual treatment, but burglary is often ralted to socio economic factors which are fixable without chemicals.

From a completely amoral rational standpoint, prositution is an excellent means of income for (mostly) women. They literally control the supply curve, and demand is very high. They are merely correcting a market imperfection in sexual behavior by charging in a commonly accepted resource acqusition tool (money). One of the points of sex is as a bonding ritual is mutual protection - a social act - which is why sex is both a natural and social construct.

 

Sickle-cell anaemia is locally/geographically relevant. Geographical diversity has always had it's place in nature. Through the millenia, it has more prevalence in Africa because it actually helped some people reach reproductive age. In Canada, it is of no use.

 

ADD/ADHD is a social consideration. Westernised schools "consider" it a disease, because it changes class dynamics, but it is not. On the other hand, studies in this area are not really conclusive yet. Since the prevalence of these conditions are on the increase in North America, even though we are constantly increasing the Euro/Asian/African blood content of North American bloodlines... it contradicts the "migratory" theory.

 

In my definition, eugenics is simply a means to re-establish natural selection, not an excuse to meddle with our genetic code. If a person can live their life without constant medical intervention, great.

I wouldn't breed my dog to a subpar mate. Why would I do the same to myself?
That said, I don't want my reproductive choices limited, so I would be very cautious about suggesting the same...to anyone. (Which sort of sucks..because I know plenty of people that simply should NOT reproduce.)
Further, we are barely cracking into the surface of human genetics. I don't think we honestly know enough about our DNA to be calling any shots that might even possibly limit civil rights.
This isn't just about reducing the major diseases we can identify. We have to look deeper into "junk DNA" that isn't as useless as we once thought as well as a whole slew of variables such as gene activation and other mysteries we are still trying to unravel.
Selective reproduction...by choice. That is a no-brainer. But we simply don't know enough to make any laws that limit free will.




......unfortunately.
If given a convenient option, though, don't you think many people might opt for genetic screening to limit the possibility of passing, say, a high probability of type 1 diabetes to their children?  I certainly don't think we are in a position to start trying to select for limited positive traits, and that such options might reduce our gene pool rather rapidly as everyone might start shooting for superlatives, but offering the option of selecting against well known negative markers might be all the 'advantage' we need to consider at this point.
Oh yeah. I mean..i would even go so far as to say it should be free and mandatory.
If we don't attempt to limit the mother's choice once she has been privately given all results/test accuracy margins.

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