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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With all this talk about improving the human genome through GE, don't we also need a discussion about how to prevent deterioration. I think it can be agreed that the Third Reich's solution was less than optimal. How about some other ideas.

YEARS ago I heard a rumor that the Indian government was paying men to get vasectomies. At the time I thought it was a great idea, but I heard no more about it. Is this not considered "moral" or something?

I had a roommate recently who was what we might call a middle-class Indian. He grew up in Mumbai, a city that most Americans would find more than vaguely familiar. Shopping malls, movie theaters, storefronts where you can buy clothes and electronics, modern roads with recent model cars. I'm betting very few of those middle class (frequently Brahmin) Indians volunteered for a vasectomy. So, perhaps that program was viewed as a way to get rid of the poor lower castes and untouchables. While the caste system has been outlawed in India, it is alive and well socially.

That is indeed the type of arguments used by the procreation pushers :)

Oops. I certainly wasn't implying that India or Indians were to be singled out. The point of eugenics would be to artificially lift human traits which are seen to be positive - like intelligence and good health. It therefore seems reasonable to discourage negative traits. While it is nowhere near universally true, statistically those with lower intelligence are more in need of money.

With exceptions, like Mormons, societies all over the world are discouraging big families for upper classes and encouraging them for lower classes. I'd think that voluntary recompensed vasectomies would prevent the birth of millions of unwanted children with lower levels of positive traits. And it would be extremely cheap way to reduce social welfare budgets. I'd guess there are millions of men that don't ever want children anyway who would gladly accept $100 payment to make it certain.

I just chose India to discuss because it was an example I was familiar with and knew something about. 

Yes, but without all those stupid people, you wouldn't be so smart anymore. You'd be just another average smart guy. And I know a great many stupid people who better at surviving than some very intelligent people. First define intelligence. The smartest man in the world, Chris Langan (measured by IQ) believes in eugenics (as of last year, he may have changed his position) what does that say? You're talking about killing off all the people that you get rich off of! The people who amuse you, make you look better, go to jail instead of you. You're talking about exterminating the spice of life. Watering down culture to some dreary standard. We won't survive long that way. No, not only must be survive, but we must survive in style. 

Millions of men want to castrate themselves for $100? I was not aware of this movement.

The problem I see now is there are a LOT of useless people procreating like rabbits. When I say useless, I mean have no redeeming social value. Sociopaths, assholes, douchebags, exploiters, con-artists, cheaters.

But as I said before, no way to know the value of any of those children. They could very well be important contributors to society. Who are we, and who are you to make any kind of determination? What qualifies you to play omnipotent one?

"there are a LOT of useless people procreating"

"They could very well be important contributors to society"

Your post are so CHOCK-FULL of contradictions, it's really difficult to know what you stand for.

So you don't see any difference between, on the one hand, selecting a child, determining that he is the progeny of two "useless" (to use your word) parents and converting him to soilent green and, on the other hand, voluntarily preventing his conception in the first place? Perhaps we should spend our entire health budget in keeping the horribly deformed offspring of street bums artificially alive because, who knows, one of them could become a Hawking. (For your personal edification, Awdur, the previous sentence utilized something call 'sarcasm' - look it up.)

"I think it can be agreed that the Third Reich's solution was less than optimal."

May want to rephrase that in way that doesn't make you sound like a neo-nazi. 

I I shudder to think about what a "more optimal" Nazi "solution" would have looked like. 

If one is talking about a quasi-optimal "solution" to the problem of eugenics, one couldn't do worse than the Nazi solution. Many of the greatest minds in history lived in Germany prior to Hitler's emergence. Unfortunately for eugenics, a great number of these minds were of Jewish parentage.

And yet, we didn't more or less catch up to them technologically till toward the end of the war in Europe, and then in large part because Hitler had no clue how to conduct a war, which caught up with him that one winter in Russia. 

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