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.
Hate to come with another George reference, but the education system is designed to make people stupid. They don't want 'smart' people. They want OBEDIENT WORKERS. So if you mean stupidity is fixable with a proper education system, you must mean something altogether different. We will never have a proper education system. The education system is the SOURCE of the stupidity. Have you ever taken Masters in Psychology courses? It's not education. It's being slapped in the side of your head with a piece of raw meat and someone saying, "DON'T YOU DARE THINK", "YOU DON'T HAVE A BRAIN" defend your thesis and water down this study until it's so tepid and ineffectual that you expire from banality while writing the abstract. Some people love it though.
"hire mathematicians, not math teachers. Hire Scientists, not science teachers. Have our children educated by the actual members of the field..."
I very much agree with this. Kids need to be taught the arithmetic etc., but it would only take a couple of minutes per lesson to feed in the higher theory too. And this higher theory makes it all understandable and more interesting. After all, the thing with mathematics and science is that it makes sense. In school teaching they tend to be scared of this stuff, but this is a giant mistake.
Simon, most professionals do not have teaching skills. Those are entirely different skill sets... I have had professionals give me courses at university level in sciences and business administration, and though there were a couple of exceptions, generally they were completely incompetent teachers and a majority of students came out of the course disappointed at having wasted our money. At the K-12 level it would be an even worse mess.
@T A A - if school teachers could incorporate a bit of more advanced knowledge into their math lessons - it would encourage a lot more students into college-level mathematics. For example, I never understood quadratic equations properly until college, yet it would have only taken 3 minutes to impart this knowledge in school.
@Simon. In my high school, students of grade 12 had the choice between regular math (for the not brainy) and advanced math (which finally managed to drop me from my A+ math history), it was much harder and much more challenging.
But it was still regular teachers, not professionals who got that for me. My physics teachers were really awesome in high school also, in fact my college physics profs were awesome too. They were all teachers.
But I find odd you'd assume that it would have only required three minutes to teach you quadratic equations as a teen. How do you know that?
I'm talking about the extra little bits of information that make it all come clear.
@Awdur Ffuglen If you don't know what a "flaw" is then why did you introduce the term into the conversation?
Why do you say that Stephen Hawking would not have been born under a eugenics program? If it was done stupidly, maybe. But those of us here who support the idea are talking about eliminating the bad gene - replacing it with a viable gene - then letting the fertilized egg develop. He would be alive and healthy (without ALS) under that program.
You are the one pushing for eugenics to be a stupidly run program which almost blindly sterilizes people.
Most of us will associate eugenics with manipulation of the gene pool through selectivity in mating, not gene splicing or gene elimination. And in many ways is more effective. If you can remove a gene from a zygote (if that is how it's done), that gene will still be present in his/her sperms/eggs. By preventing those infected with the bad gene from reproducing, you eventually virtually eliminate it from the gene pool.
If we do this, I would hope we do it right by changing the first cell - which I think should result in that defective gene being totally eliminated. Unless I've forgotten something.
"Unless I've forgotten something."
You got it right.
The Science presently and into the future will allow the intercession at the egg/sperm level before conception.
"Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Helen Keller? Or do I need to name 10,000 other famous people with 'flaws'."
It would be more informative for you to do tell us which of their mothers wanted their child born with what you term "flaws".
Eugenics is purposeful planned Evolution (ie. the elimination of what you term "flaws"). What mother would choose a blind child over a sighted child? If all it took was manipulating the genome of an egg and sperm prior to conception (except of course for some religious mothers).