Eugenics

mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Eugenics

So, why is eugenics wrong?  I mean, from a rational perspective?

 

I can see how I would argue that it is bad if you make a broad based claim, like white people are better than black people, so black people should not be allowed to breed.  I imagine I can show evidence that runs contrary to the basic premise that white people are 'better' than black people.  The problem I run into is when you make eugenics smaller and more focused.

Say we outlaw breeding for certain very bad genetic traits, things like that.

In a first world country, I would say that if the parents/families are willing to take that risk, it might bring them more happiness to move forward with the birth...and since it is a first world country, they probably have resources available to support the resulting child.

But what about the third world?  Rationally, does it make more sense to push draconian population control / eugenics when the alternative is starvation and the death of healthy, due to resources consumed by the 'bad'?

I can also make a rational argument for not allowing eugenics stuff on existing people because it seems risky to myself in the long run.  Who decides who is 'fixed', etc...I might end up on the chopping block.  And I can argue against wide-spread eugenics by showing how genetic diversity is a good thing.  So I suppose my overall point is about eugenics practices being employed before conception and at the fetus level, especially regarding non-wealthy societies.

 

I'm not sure if I was very clear, feel free to ask questions so I can clarify my own, hardly understood, question.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
It's wrong because it's

It's wrong because it's pseudoscientific. There are no objective means of determining which characteristics are ultimately desirable or undesirable.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Mental retardation? 

Mental retardation?

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
mellestad wrote:Mental

mellestad wrote:

Mental retardation?

 

Yes even mental retardation. People with disabilities make contributions to the world. A person with a disability may make a contribution that someone without a disability would not have or could not have. It's a pseudoscience. 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
mellestad wrote:Mental

...


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
What sort of mental

What sort of mental retardation?

I'm going to try not to make a slippery-slope argument ...so I won't.  The world's over populated.  I can't honestly think of a reason not to implement some limited forms of eugenics, but in the face of overpopulation any new people, even those without terrible genetic disorders, are less than helpful.  That's not to say that we shouldn't practice some sort of eugenics (we already do), only I fail to see how it would help.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
If there are too many people

If there are too many people in the world then why don't you kill yourself? Stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:mellestad

Gauche wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Mental retardation?

 

Yes even mental retardation. People with disabilities make contributions to the world. A person with a disability may make a contribution that someone without a disability would not have or could not have. It's a pseudoscience. 

 

So your argument would be that if we set the limit on what defines a sufficiently bad case, that arbitrary limit might inadvertently cause the loss of benefit?

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
mellestad wrote:Gauche

mellestad wrote:

Gauche wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Mental retardation?

 

Yes even mental retardation. People with disabilities make contributions to the world. A person with a disability may make a contribution that someone without a disability would not have or could not have. It's a pseudoscience. 

 

 

So your argument would be that if we set the limit on what defines a sufficiently bad case, that arbitrary limit might inadvertently cause the loss of benefit?

Well that's one reason yeah, but what I'm saying is that given the complexity of genetics and human culture it's not possible to predict what traits will ultimately be desirable. A person might benefit the world despite what you consider to be a detrimental trait, or they might benefit the world because of that "detrimental" trait. It's impossible to predict.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:If there are

Gauche wrote:

If there are too many people in the world then why don't you kill yourself? Stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.

You may begin with yourself, if you like.  Is there a problem with pointing out the overpopulation?  We're all part of it.  I simply won't contribute any more to it by the time I die.  Perhaps you won't either.  Anyone practicing eugenics, however, will have.

Quote:
A person might benefit the world despite what you consider to be a detrimental trait, or they might benefit the world because of that "detrimental" trait. It's impossible to predict.
This sounds similar to an argument an anti-abortionist might make.  I'm afraid that if the child is never born we wouldn't know whether it, regardless of what traits it may or may not have, would have accomplished.  Your argument isn't useful; of course we wouldn't know.  That doesn't invalidate eugenics or make selective breeding a pseudoscience.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
Thomathy wrote:You may begin

Thomathy wrote:

You may begin with yourself, if you like.  Is there a problem with pointing out the overpopulation?  We're all part of it.  I simply won't contribute any more to it by the time I die.  Perhaps you won't either.  Anyone practicing eugenics, however, will have.

The problem is that you're acting like a little hypocrite. You think other people should line up to be sterilized and have their children aborted when they don't want to, but you're not going to have yourself euthanized at 30 like the guy in Logan's run. All you're going to do is what you wanted to do (not have the children that you didn't want in the first place) then act smug about it while you point out problems that everyone but you should make sacrifices to remedy. 

Quote:
This sounds similar to an argument an anti-abortionist might make.  I'm afraid that if the child is never born we wouldn't know whether it, regardless of what traits it may or may not have, would have accomplished.  Your argument isn't useful; of course we wouldn't know.  That doesn't invalidate eugenics or make selective breeding a pseudoscience.

Of course it invalidates it. Eugenics is improving genetic quality. Once you admit (which you just did) that you don't know what will ultimately be desirable your qualitative judgments are meaningless.

 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3719
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
If we set up some criterion

If we set up some criterion for what is desirable or undesirable, then surely we can predict, at least in general, whether a specific genetic trait will be good or bad. Plus, there are lots of defects for which I can't imagine any possible benefit. Asthma? Cancer? 

I mean, if having legs is desirable, then I assume that it would be undesirable for someone to be born with no legs.

Gauche wrote:
Of course it invalidates it. Eugenics is improving genetic quality. Once you admit (which you just did) that you don't know what will ultimately be desirable your qualitative judgments are meaningless.
 

Obviously, we can't be perfect, but I think there's a fallacy here. You're saying that if we eliminate the worst defects, we might accidentally eliminate someone who would have benefited society. Then, you're saying that, because of this, we can't reliably improve genetic quality. It seems to me that the generalization was unwarranted.  

Edit: Heck, every time you masturbate, you're killing tens of thousands of potential Einsteins.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:Thomathy

Gauche wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

You may begin with yourself, if you like.  Is there a problem with pointing out the overpopulation?  We're all part of it.  I simply won't contribute any more to it by the time I die.  Perhaps you won't either.  Anyone practicing eugenics, however, will have.

The problem is that you're acting like a little hypocrite. You think other people should line up to be sterilized and have their children aborted when they don't want to, but you're not going to have yourself euthanized at 30 like the guy in Logan's run. All you're going to do is what you wanted to do (not have the children that you didn't want in the first place) then act smug about it while you point out problems that everyone but you should make sacrifices to remedy.

Someone sounds bitter.  I'm hardly acting smug and I don't see how I'm being hypocritical.  The world is over populated.  One way to stop the trend of overpopulation is to stop making so many people.  I happen not to want children, it's a pleasant coincidence and it's hardly helping the problem, it's merely not contributing to it.  What would you propose any given person do about overpopulation other than point it out, not have kids and suggest that everyone else have fewer or none?

Gauche wrote:
Thomathy wrote:
]This sounds similar to an argument an anti-abortionist might make.  I'm afraid that if the child is never born we wouldn't know whether it, regardless of what traits it may or may not have, would have accomplished.  Your argument isn't useful; of course we wouldn't know.  That doesn't invalidate eugenics or make selective breeding a pseudoscience.

Of course it invalidates it. Eugenics is improving genetic quality. Once you admit (which you just did) that you don't know what will ultimately be desirable your qualitative judgments are meaningless.
I admitted that we can't know the accomplishments of any unborn person (which isn't wholly true), I have said nothing about the genetic quality.  Whether the person is selected or not we can't know what they might do if they're not born (though if the person is likely to suffer from a genetic disease wherein they will die in the first two months outside the womb we can be fairly certain they'll be a burden if nothing else; and yes, such disorders do exist).  We already practice a form of eugenics by picking our partners, aborting pregnancies, choosing zygotes without the markers for genetic disorders to be implanted for in vitro fertilization, having genetic screening done by doctors to assess the risk of producing offspring with fatal or debilitating genetic disorders and in a number of other ways.  I suppose we can't technically call the lot of it eugenics because the process is either largely blind or is not practiced to 'improve the qualities of the human species' (least not explicitly), but it is all selective breeding (however blind some of the techniques may be) and at least some of it is done with the express desire to not result in the production of fatal or debilitating genetic disorders (and we can predict those and what they'll produce).  Got a problem with selective breeding?

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
butterbattle wrote:If we set

butterbattle wrote:

If we set up some criterion for what is desirable or undesirable, then surely we can predict, at least in general, whether a specific genetic trait will be good or bad. Plus, there are lots of defects for which I can't imagine any possible benefit. Asthma? Cancer? 

I mean, if having legs is desirable, then I assume that it would be undesirable for someone to be born with no legs.

Gauche wrote:
Of course it invalidates it. Eugenics is improving genetic quality. Once you admit (which you just did) that you don't know what will ultimately be desirable your qualitative judgments are meaningless.
 

Obviously, we can't be perfect, but I think there's a fallacy here. You're saying that if we eliminate the worst defects, we might accidentally eliminate someone who would have benefited society. Then, you're saying that, because of this, we can't reliably improve genetic quality. It seems to me that the generalization was unwarranted.  

Edit: Heck, every time you masturbate, you're killing tens of thousands of potential Einsteins.

 

I agree, there are some cases that are pretty clear cut.  Again, I can argue against killing live people who have asthma, or even live people who will never learn to do anything but drool on themselves...but I am not sure I can make an argument for not stopping those potential problems in the womb, especially to a society that cannot easily afford to support them.

 

I'm not looking to rationalize eugenics, I am looking for a rational attack against it.  Gauche has the spirit, but I don't know if the argument is rational because I think there are certain criteria that are clearly negative.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
Thomathy wrote: Someone

Thomathy wrote:

Someone sounds bitter.  I'm hardly acting smug and I don't see how I'm being hypocritical.  The world is over populated.  One way to stop the trend of overpopulation is to stop making so many people.  I happen not to want children, it's a pleasant coincidence and it's hardly helping the problem, it's merely not contributing to it.

Well, you are being hypocritical because you're professing a virtue that you don't possess. Concern for this grave problem that you like to point out. You act as if others should be so concerned that they give up something they desire (reproduction). But you're not. You're only willing to do what you desired from the start.

Quote:
What would you propose any given person do about overpopulation other than point it out, not have kids and suggest that everyone else have fewer or none?

I think you could start by not suggesting that retarded people be eradicated.

Quote:
I admitted that we can't know the accomplishments of any unborn person (which isn't wholly true), I have said nothing about the genetic quality.
The idea that the accomplishments of individuals demonstrate superior genetic quality is the basis of eugenics.
Quote:
Whether the person is selected or not we can't know what they might do if they're not born (though if the person is likely to suffer from a genetic disease wherein they will die in the first two months outside the womb we can be fairly certain they'll be a burden if nothing else; and yes, such disorders do exist).
Who made you the judge of the value of human life? First of all nothing is certain, and the person may not die so it doesn't make sense to pre-emptively kil them. Even if they die who's to say that their life wasn't valuable to their parents or to them?

Quote:
We already practice a form of eugenics by picking our partners, aborting pregnancies, choosing zygotes without the markers for genetic disorders to be implanted for in vitro fertilization, having genetic screening done by doctors to assess the risk of producing offspring with fatal or debilitating genetic disorders and in a number of other ways.  I suppose we can't technically call the lot of it eugenics because the process is either largely blind or is not practiced to 'improve the qualities of the human species' (least not explicitly), but it is all selective breeding (however blind some of the techniques may be) and at least some of it is done with the express desire to not result in the production of fatal or debilitating genetic disorders (and we can predict those and what they'll produce).  Got a problem with selective breeding?

I don't have a problem with those things, but they're not eugenics.You're gay right? How would you like it if someone said that gay people should be identified in-vitro and exterminated? Purged from the gene pool the way that you'd like to purge retarded people.
 Then maybe you'd be more receptive to the idea that you shouldn't abase human life in that manner to say that some lives aren't worth living, and hey there are too many people anyway so let's make a cut at the bottom.   

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
butterbattle wrote:If we set

butterbattle wrote:

If we set up some criterion for what is desirable or undesirable, then surely we can predict, at least in general, whether a specific genetic trait will be good or bad. Plus, there are lots of defects for which I can't imagine any possible benefit. Asthma? Cancer?

What is that, the argument of being unimaginative?  Because you can't imagine something it can't be.

Quote:
Obviously, we can't be perfect, but I think there's a fallacy here. You're saying that if we eliminate the worst defects, we might accidentally eliminate someone who would have benefited society. Then, you're saying that, because of this, we can't reliably improve genetic quality. It seems to me that the generalization was unwarranted.  

Edit: Heck, every time you masturbate, you're killing tens of thousands of potential Einsteins.

No, I'm saying you might eliminate someone who would benefit society and in addition to that you had no objective means of determining which characteristics might be ultimately desirable or undesirable anyway as a basis for eliminating people.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
 There are a couple of ways

 There are a couple of ways you can approach this question.  Gauche is illustrating one of the reasons eugenics is possibly wrong.  People who want to have babies (or already have them) really get angry when people who don't want them to have babies tell them they ought not have babies.  We humans are driven by evolution to reproduce, and it's a damn strong drive.  Whether it's rational or not, we often feel as if our lives are being overly controlled if we are not allowed to reproduce at will.

Some things are not rational, but are still the "right thing to do."  It's just part of the human condition.  From a perspective of personal freedom, one can easily argue that any mass eugenics program is inherently unfair -- not egalitarian -- and therefore contrary to the notion of personal liberty and freedom.

As wonky as it sounds, a lot of people, given the choice of individual freedom versus humans driving themselves to mass starvation, disease, and environmental collapse, will choose individual freedom.  If that's what the majority of people in the world want and believe, there's no force in the world that will change it, and no way you'll be able to enforce something big enough to make an impact.

The thing is, from a strictly rational point of view, population control on a mass scale is the only logical choice for humanity right now.  As Thomathy has pointed out, we already practice eugenics to a certain degree.  High risk gynecologists are in the business of advising women that their fetus is so deformed that it will have a horrible, short life.  Every woman who has an abortion is practicing a form of shotgun-style eugenics.  If we were to institute a strict birth control policy, enforce abortions, and penalize people for having "unlicensed babies," we would certainly want to include provisions concerning obviously deformed fetuses automatically being aborted.

But like I said, rationality and public policy are sometimes at loggerheads.  This, I believe, is one of those times.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Hambydammit wrote: There

Hambydammit wrote:

 There are a couple of ways you can approach this question.  Gauche is illustrating one of the reasons eugenics is possibly wrong.  People who want to have babies (or already have them) really get angry when people who don't want them to have babies tell them they ought not have babies.  We humans are driven by evolution to reproduce, and it's a damn strong drive.  Whether it's rational or not, we often feel as if our lives are being overly controlled if we are not allowed to reproduce at will.

Some things are not rational, but are still the "right thing to do."  It's just part of the human condition.  From a perspective of personal freedom, one can easily argue that any mass eugenics program is inherently unfair -- not egalitarian -- and therefore contrary to the notion of personal liberty and freedom.

As wonky as it sounds, a lot of people, given the choice of individual freedom versus humans driving themselves to mass starvation, disease, and environmental collapse, will choose individual freedom.  If that's what the majority of people in the world want and believe, there's no force in the world that will change it, and no way you'll be able to enforce something big enough to make an impact.

The thing is, from a strictly rational point of view, population control on a mass scale is the only logical choice for humanity right now.  As Thomathy has pointed out, we already practice eugenics to a certain degree.  High risk gynecologists are in the business of advising women that their fetus is so deformed that it will have a horrible, short life.  Every woman who has an abortion is practicing a form of shotgun-style eugenics.  If we were to institute a strict birth control policy, enforce abortions, and penalize people for having "unlicensed babies," we would certainly want to include provisions concerning obviously deformed fetuses automatically being aborted.

But like I said, rationality and public policy are sometimes at loggerheads.  This, I believe, is one of those times.

 

Great response, thank you.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3719
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:What is that,

Gauche wrote:
What is that, the argument of being unimaginative?  Because you can't imagine something it can't be.

What? Hahaha.

No, I'm just expressing my perspective. I don't know any way in which asthma or cancer could be beneficial.

Although, to be honest, I'm not sure if I want to practice eugenics on asthma. Used correctly, eugenics could be really great for our species, but I'd rather save it for the worst defects. Tampering too much seems....wrong. I don't know; maybe it's my instincts. 

Quote:
No, I'm saying you might eliminate someone who would benefit society

Like Thomathy already said, this is a really lame argument. What good is it to argue about what MIGHT happen?

Anyways, there's always a chance that we MIGHT accidentally deny someone who could benefit society the privelege of being born. There's no way out of it. The only difference is that in this case, we feel slightly guiltier. 

Let's say, hypothetically, that in the future, eugenics does become widely practiced. A young couple makes love, the wife gets pregnant, and they discover that their child has a birth defect. They decide not to use the latest technology to select a perfectly healthy fetus, and they don't get an abortion. The child is disadvantaged with a birth defect, but grows up to live a long and comfortable, albeit unextraordinary, life. 

Now, what MIGHT have happened if they had used eugenics? They MIGHT have had a completely child, that MIGHT have grown up to become Neo Anderson and saved humanity or a brilliant scientist that invents the cure for all diseases. Yes, that MIGHT have happened, but noooo, those dang parents had to give birth to the child with the birth defect, who didn't benefit humanity greatly at all! 

Quote:
and in addition to that you had no objective means of determining which characteristics might be ultimately desirable or undesirable anyway as a basis for eliminating people.

Of course nothing is "objectively" desirable or undesirable. I'm a moral relativist, aren't I? 

All we have to do is think of a really, really horrible characteristic that we don't think anyone would want to be born with and that will be the end of it. I don't think anyone would want to be born without legs. Could there be someone out there in the vast cosmos that doesn't want legs? Uuuhh, it sounds stupid to me, but sure. In the end, however, I think the vast majority of people that are born with legs are glad that they have legs, and that's good enough for me.

Edit: Oh yeah, thanks for the clarification.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
butterbattle wrote:What?

butterbattle wrote:

What? Hahaha.

No, I'm just expressing my perspective. I don't know any way in which asthma or cancer could be beneficial.

Although, to be honest, I'm not sure if I want to practice eugenics on asthma. Used correctly, eugenics could be really great for our species, but I'd rather save it for the worst defects. Tampering too much seems....wrong. I don't know; maybe it's my instincts. 

I know that people don't like to acknowledge this but there is such a thing as too much organization. Undoubtedly, organization is essential, without it we have nothing. But in excess it crushes people, it grinds them down to nothing, like Aldus Huxley said it abolishes the very possibility of freedom.

You don't want human reproduction to be systematically regimented. One must consider the reality of what that means, even in light of concerns about the environment and the future.

Quote:
Like Thomathy already said, this is a really lame argument. What good is it to argue about what MIGHT happen?

Anyways, there's always a chance that we MIGHT accidentally deny someone who could benefit society the privelege of being born. There's no way out of it. The only difference is that in this case, we feel slightly guiltier. 

Let's say, hypothetically, that in the future, eugenics does become widely practiced. A young couple makes love, the wife gets pregnant, and they discover that their child has a birth defect. They decide not to use the latest technology to select a perfectly healthy fetus, and they don't get an abortion. The child is disadvantaged with a birth defect, but grows up to live a long and comfortable, albeit unextraordinary, life. 

Now, what MIGHT have happened if they had used eugenics? They MIGHT have had a completely child, that MIGHT have grown up to become Neo Anderson and saved humanity or a brilliant scientist that invents the cure for all diseases. Yes, that MIGHT have happened, but noooo, those dang parents had to give birth to the child with the birth defect, who didn't benefit humanity greatly at all! 

I didn' say it's a good argument. But it cancels out the equally lame argument on the other side that retarded people might have bad lives. A person with mental retardation might have a bad life or a good life, that's all you can say about it so don't eradicate them. 
 

 

Quote:

Of course nothing is "objectively" desirable or undesirable. I'm a moral relativist, aren't I? 

All we have to do is think of a really, really horrible characteristic that we don't think anyone would want to be born with and that will be the end of it. I don't think anyone would want to be born without legs. Could there be someone out there in the vast cosmos that doesn't want legs? Uuuhh, it sounds stupid to me, but sure. In the end, however, I think the vast majority of people that are born with legs are glad that they have legs, and that's good enough for me.

Edit: Oh yeah, thanks for the clarification.

It's exactly because something is patently obvious that it should be challenged. Of course no one would choose to be legless, but just because someone is without legs that doesn't mean they couldn't have other things. Maybe he has a great job, or a favourite pass time. Maybe he has a girl with no arms and they love each other. But you'd like to enter the picture pre-emptively and say "well, there's no joy without legs, so let's kill him". That's cold blooded man.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:butterbattle

Gauche wrote:

butterbattle wrote:

What? Hahaha.

No, I'm just expressing my perspective. I don't know any way in which asthma or cancer could be beneficial.

Although, to be honest, I'm not sure if I want to practice eugenics on asthma. Used correctly, eugenics could be really great for our species, but I'd rather save it for the worst defects. Tampering too much seems....wrong. I don't know; maybe it's my instincts. 

I know that people don't like to acknowledge this but there is such a thing as too much organization. Undoubtedly, organization is essential, without it we have nothing. But in excess it crushes people, it grinds them down to nothing, like Aldus Huxley said it abolishes the very possibility of freedom.

You don't want human reproduction to be systematically regimented. One must consider the reality of what that means, even in light of concerns about the environment and the future.

Quote:
Like Thomathy already said, this is a really lame argument. What good is it to argue about what MIGHT happen?

Anyways, there's always a chance that we MIGHT accidentally deny someone who could benefit society the privelege of being born. There's no way out of it. The only difference is that in this case, we feel slightly guiltier. 

Let's say, hypothetically, that in the future, eugenics does become widely practiced. A young couple makes love, the wife gets pregnant, and they discover that their child has a birth defect. They decide not to use the latest technology to select a perfectly healthy fetus, and they don't get an abortion. The child is disadvantaged with a birth defect, but grows up to live a long and comfortable, albeit unextraordinary, life. 

Now, what MIGHT have happened if they had used eugenics? They MIGHT have had a completely child, that MIGHT have grown up to become Neo Anderson and saved humanity or a brilliant scientist that invents the cure for all diseases. Yes, that MIGHT have happened, but noooo, those dang parents had to give birth to the child with the birth defect, who didn't benefit humanity greatly at all! 

I didn' say it's a good argument. But it cancels out the equally lame argument on the other side that retarded people might have bad lives. A person with mental retardation might have a bad life or a good life, that's all you can say about it so don't eradicate them. 
 

 

Quote:

Of course nothing is "objectively" desirable or undesirable. I'm a moral relativist, aren't I? 

All we have to do is think of a really, really horrible characteristic that we don't think anyone would want to be born with and that will be the end of it. I don't think anyone would want to be born without legs. Could there be someone out there in the vast cosmos that doesn't want legs? Uuuhh, it sounds stupid to me, but sure. In the end, however, I think the vast majority of people that are born with legs are glad that they have legs, and that's good enough for me.

Edit: Oh yeah, thanks for the clarification.

It's exactly because something is patently obvious that it should be challenged. Of course no one would choose to be legless, but just because someone is without legs that doesn't mean they couldn't have other things. Maybe he has a great job, or a favourite pass time. Maybe he has a girl with no arms and they love each other. But you'd like to enter the picture pre-emptively and say "well, there's no joy without legs, so let's kill him". That's cold blooded man.

 

Are we talking about pre or post birth here?

 

I agree with you post-birth, but pre-birth you are not 'eradicating' anything. 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
What does "eradicate" mean

What does "eradicate" mean where you come from? Where I come from it means to destroy something completely. If you scrub the gene pool to identify certain types of people and avort them, that's eradication. It's ensuring there wont be people like that in the world.

I haven't even touched upon why it's ethically questionable. I've just been pointing out that from a scientific standpoint it's as baseless as astrology and would be laughable if not so insidious. 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:What does

Gauche wrote:

What does "eradicate" mean where you come from? Where I come from it means to destroy something completely. If you scrub the gene pool to identify certain types of people and avort them, that's eradication. It's ensuring there wont be people like that in the world.

I haven't even touched upon why it's ethically questionable. I've just been pointing out that from a scientific standpoint it's as baseless as astrology and would be laughable if not so insidious. 

 

So are severely retarded people a class that should be kept?  I have  a hard time making an argument for those poor bastards who spend their short lives drooling on themselves in a wheel chair.  Besides, is that a 'type' of person?  They have a genetic defect, can you show that removing that genetic defect before birth would be harmful to the gene pool?  I am not a biologist, but aren't most things like that a result of a badly forming fetus anyway?  It isn't like parents would lose the opportunity to create a child.

And, no-one has argued for anything beyond specific measures for specific cases/diseases.

 

If possible, confine my use of eugenics to what I specifically asked in the OP.  If targeted, specific removal is not eugenics, then maybe I should be using a different word.  For me, ethically and scientifically need to at least be in the same ballpark, because when it comes to grey areas like this I try to have a rational basis for my ethics.

Like...when a badly handicapped couple gets the woman pregnant, and genetic tests show the baby will have the same condition.  What should be done?  There, that is the eugenics I am talking about on a specific case.

 

I think population control is a different matter.  It seems to have worked well for China, we will see if they can handle the long term fallout.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
I'd try again

 

In answer to the original OP if I had a badly disabled child gestating I would quit and try again.

I can only answer for myself - it's too subjective otherwise.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
mellestad wrote: If

mellestad wrote:

 

If possible, confine my use of eugenics to what I specifically asked in the OP.  If targeted, specific removal is not eugenics, then maybe I should be using a different word.  For me, ethically and scientifically need to at least be in the same ballpark, because when it comes to grey areas like this I try to have a rational basis for my ethics.

Like...when a badly handicapped couple gets the woman pregnant, and genetic tests show the baby will have the same condition.  What should be done?  There, that is the eugenics I am talking about on a specific case.

 

I think population control is a different matter.  It seems to have worked well for China, we will see if they can handle the long term fallout.

Eugenics was widely practiced in Europe and the United States in the early twentieth century. I recommend that you do an investigation and find out what eugenics is and what it means to live in a society that practices eugenics. It seems to me that you (and others) have been led down the primrose path here. You are operating under the erroneous assumption that eugenics has something to do with eliminating pitiful minorities to "protect the gene pool". But what did the foremost proponent of eugenics in the twentieth century have to say about that:

Bertrand Russell wrote:
The ideas of eugenics are based on the assumption that men are unequal, while democracy is based on the assumption that they are equal. It is therefore, politically very difficult to carry out eugenic ideas in a democratic community when those ideas take the form, not of suggesting that there is a minority of inferior people, such as imbeciles, but of admitting that there is a minority of superior people. The former is pleasing to the majority, the latter unpleasing. Measures embodying the former fact can therefore win the support of the majority, while measures embodying the latter cannot.
 
To eugenicists you are no better than the pathetic handicapped people in your example. Make no mistake, the concept is firmly rooted in utter contempt for the common man, no different than the so called divine right of kings. Anyone who would defend such a thing is misinformed to their own detriment. And if they're not misinformed and they actually know what it is but support it anyway then they're insane.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:mellestad

Gauche wrote:

mellestad wrote:

 

If possible, confine my use of eugenics to what I specifically asked in the OP.  If targeted, specific removal is not eugenics, then maybe I should be using a different word.  For me, ethically and scientifically need to at least be in the same ballpark, because when it comes to grey areas like this I try to have a rational basis for my ethics.

Like...when a badly handicapped couple gets the woman pregnant, and genetic tests show the baby will have the same condition.  What should be done?  There, that is the eugenics I am talking about on a specific case.

 

I think population control is a different matter.  It seems to have worked well for China, we will see if they can handle the long term fallout.

Eugenics was widely practiced in Europe and the United States in the early twentieth century. I recommend that you do an investigation and find out what eugenics is and what it means to live in a society that practices eugenics. It seems to me that you (and others) have been led down the primrose path here. You are operating under the erroneous assumption that eugenics has something to do with eliminating pitiful minorities to "protect the gene pool". But what did the foremost proponent of eugenics in the twentieth century have to say about that:

Bertrand Russell wrote:
The ideas of eugenics are based on the assumption that men are unequal, while democracy is based on the assumption that they are equal. It is therefore, politically very difficult to carry out eugenic ideas in a democratic community when those ideas take the form, not of suggesting that there is a minority of inferior people, such as imbeciles, but of admitting that there is a minority of superior people. The former is pleasing to the majority, the latter unpleasing. Measures embodying the former fact can therefore win the support of the majority, while measures embodying the latter cannot.
 
To eugenicists you are no better than the pathetic handicapped people in your example. Make no mistake, the concept is firmly rooted in utter contempt for the common man, no different than the so called divine right of kings. Anyone who would defend such a thing is misinformed to their own detriment. And if they're not misinformed and they actually know what it is but support it anyway then they're insane.

 

No need to get all riled up and climb on your high horse.  I asked a friendly question in the interest of getting considerate answers.

 

So your argument would be that, like one of my points above, the problem is that by giving anyone the right to make these decisions, they might be turned around and used on you?  Doesn't that only apply to post-birth eugenics?  Again, the argument seems to develop into a slippery slope argument, "if we don't allow severe retardation, next thing you know they will be wiping out minorities".  A genetic defect is not a 'minority' it is a genetic defect isn't it?

 

Answer my specific arguments, rather than show me the horror that can result in any idea taken too far.

 

(Edit:  That sounded a little harsh, let me re-phrase.  Would the argument be that by devaluing any life, you increase the risk of your own life being devalued?  Can this be compatible with a pro-choice stance?  The reason I asked in the first place is because in debates about secular morality, eugenics is one of the things that comes up as an 'inevitable' result of abandoning theistic morality.  The others are slavery and genocide, but I never had any problem showing how those are usually incompatible with hedonistic secular morality.  Eugenics though, always made me pause because I can't honestly say why it is wrong, in principle.  Sure, I can say why it is wrong as applied earlier in our history, but given a specific set of rules it actually seems like a good idea.  Hence, why I phrased is specifically.  Sorry if I snapped at you above.)

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
mellestad wrote:No need to

mellestad wrote:

No need to get all riled up and climb on your high horse.  I asked a friendly question in the interest of getting considerate answers.

 

Was my answer unfriendly? I see no unfriendliness there, but if you do I assure you it was not my intent. I mean, I told a guy to die earlier and he doesn't seem any worse for wear, but I understand that different people are more sensitive to certain kinds of language.
So, instead might I suggest that it is only from your vantage point that my horse appears to be high sir. It seems that your prejudices have quite easily been turned upon the feeble, infirmed and helpless.
I was taught, and believe staunchly that it is our charge to defended the weak, and that the law of the jungle and the adage that the weak are meat for the strong to eat cannot form the basis of civil society. Obviously, you come from a very different school so perhaps you can teach me why the weak, instead of being defended, should be attacked and eliminated.  

Quote:
So your argument would be that, like one of my points above, the problem is that by giving anyone the right to make these decisions, they might be turned around and used on you?  Doesn't that only apply to post-birth eugenics?  Again, the argument seems to develop into a slippery slope argument, "if we don't allow severe retardation, next thing you know they will be wiping out minorities".  A genetic defect is not a 'minority' it is a genetic defect isn't it?

 

Answer my specific arguments, rather than show me the horror that can result in any idea taken too far.

 

Dare I say that it is not a slippery slope, as we now find ourselves at the same elevation at which we began? The people who first conceived the idea believed in earnest, as I assure you their descendants do today that they are genetically superior to you and your kin and that it is evidenced by the fact that they are rich and powerful and in charge and you are not.
So if you want to talk about eugenics then let's talk about what Galton wrote, let's talk about what Russel wrote, let's talk about your reasoning for not wanting to make these poor unfortunate souls suffer this world.
 That's not a slippery slope, it's just being clear about your rationale. Unless you think that people who conceived, cultivated and defended a concept for more than fifty years were confused about it.
 

Quote:
(Edit:  That sounded a little harsh, let me re-phrase.  Would the argument be that by devaluing any life, you increase the risk of your own life being devalued?  Can this be compatible with a pro-choice stance?  The reason I asked in the first place is because in debates about secular morality, eugenics is one of the things that comes up as an 'inevitable' result of abandoning theistic morality.  The others are slavery and genocide, but I never had any problem showing how those are usually incompatible with hedonistic secular morality.  Eugenics though, always made me pause because I can't honestly say why it is wrong, in principle.  Sure, I can say why it is wrong as applied earlier in our history, but given a specific set of rules it actually seems like a good idea.  Hence, why I phrased is specifically.  Sorry if I snapped at you above.)

I see nothing wrong with a man being passionate about his beliefs. If you feel so strongly about eugenics then I urge you not to hold back for fear of offending me. As I've stated from the beginning it's my argument that you have no objective means of making these valuations.

 

 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


nigelTheBold
atheist
nigelTheBold's picture
Posts: 1868
Joined: 2008-01-25
User is offlineOffline
mellestad wrote:So are

mellestad wrote:

So are severely retarded people a class that should be kept?  I have  a hard time making an argument for those poor bastards who spend their short lives drooling on themselves in a wheel chair.  Besides, is that a 'type' of person?  They have a genetic defect, can you show that removing that genetic defect before birth would be harmful to the gene pool?  I am not a biologist, but aren't most things like that a result of a badly forming fetus anyway?  It isn't like parents would lose the opportunity to create a child.

Eugenics is useless in a narrow sense, and harmful in a broad sense.

Eugenics is about breeding, like we do with cattle and dogs. For those animals, we have specific traits we desire. Any animal that exhibits traits contrary to our desires is not allowed to breed. Really, though, it's about adapting other animals to our convenience.

How does that translate to humanity? It doesn't, unless one were to assume knowledge of a "better humanity." For eugenics to be rational, you'd have to find a rational description of a set of traits that would make a "better humanity" acceptable to most people.

Rephrased, we'd have to have a clear and rational idea as a social unit what traits to allow or disallow, and the knowledge of how to achieve those goals.

In the case of severely retarded offspring, further propagation is extremely rare. I have a niece who suffers from angelman's synrome (as well as secondary problems). She will not get a chance to pass on her genetic problems. Most cases are automatically removed from the breeding pool just by social practices, without taking any life.

Another argument against eugenics: evolution (nature's eugenics) is still happening today. Evolution is driven by many things, but one of the big factors is genetic diversity within a population. The greater the diversity, the more likely a population can adapt to environmental changes. Practicing eugenics reduces the amount of genetic diversity within the population, reducing our ability to adapt. Further, beneficial mutations are more likely to occur and succeed within a diverse population, while harmful mutations are more likely to express themselves within a population with little diversity. This is why inbreeding is generally not a good idea.

Anyway, there are many rational arguments against eugenics. My first argument is that it is not necessary in the case of severe genetic problems. My second argument is that it is harmful in an evolutionary sense, which ultimately will affect the survivability of our genetic line.

Meanwhile, there has been no rational eugenics plan. As a society, I doubt we could agree on what would constitute "bad" traits that aren't already filtered out. We'll certainly disagree on what would constitute "good" traits, beyond those that are already being propagated.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
Well, I see a number of

Well, I see a number of problems with eugenics. However, one of the big ones is that someone has to decide who gets to reproduce. But what is the basis for making the call?

 

The fact is that genetic disease is not one thing by any means.

 

Some conditions only show up if a child gets two bad copies of the same gene. In that case, the odds are 1:4 for each pregnancy that the child will have the disease. Let me stress the fact that it is for each pregnancy. If a couple knew that they both carried the gene, they might decide to play the odds and still have only children with the two bad versions. Because ultimately it is a roll of the genetic dice every time the conceive.

 

In any case, assuming a normal Mendelian distribution, half of their children will carry the gene to the next generation without developing the associated condition. Should embryos with a single copy of such a gene be aborted despite the fact that they will never get sick?

 

The remaining 1:4 of their children will not have either bad copy of the gene in question. Are those children more valuable breeders than their siblings?

 

Some conditions only require a single bad copy of a specific gene. Then any affected children will probably develop the associated condition. Often, such genes are carried on the X chromosome. Here, half the male children of a woman with a single copy of the gene will certainly develop the condition and half of her daughters will get the gene but not get the condition. Should we sterilize such woman despite the fact that she can have perfectly healthy children as long as they are girls? Shall we sterilize their daughters on the grounds that half of them will be carrying the gene in question?

 

Sometimes a genetic condition is only an issue in certain environments. For example, sickle cell anemia tends to be associated with resistance to malaria. So while people with the condition who live in Detroit are going to have nasty painful and short lives, it is not automatically a problem for someone who lives in Kenya.

 

In any case, all of the above examples assume that people can be defined by a single gene. I really hope that everyone knows how inherently poor that idea is. The fact is that we are all a mix of thousands of different genes.

 

What would we do with an individal who happened to have one gene that was generally recognized as bad and another that was recognized as good? What if the two genes happened to be closely associated and basically inseparable?

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:Thomathy wrote:

Gauche wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

Someone sounds bitter.  I'm hardly acting smug and I don't see how I'm being hypocritical.  The world is over populated.  One way to stop the trend of overpopulation is to stop making so many people.  I happen not to want children, it's a pleasant coincidence and it's hardly helping the problem, it's merely not contributing to it.

Well, you are being hypocritical because you're professing a virtue that you don't possess. Concern for this grave problem that you like to point out. You act as if others should be so concerned that they give up something they desire (reproduction). But you're not. You're only willing to do what you desired from the start.

...
Gauche wrote:
Thomathy wrote:
What would you propose any given person do about overpopulation other than point it out, not have kids and suggest that everyone else have fewer or none?

I think you could start by not suggesting that retarded people be eradicated.
I never did suggest that.  I have never written that retarded people should be eradicated.  In fact, some people with particular types of mental retardation have expressed true brilliance in a variety of areas and can offer a unique insight into the human condition.  Would you please stop putting words into my mouth, for the last time?

Gauche wrote:
Thomathy wrote:
I admitted that we can't know the accomplishments of any unborn person (which isn't wholly true), I have said nothing about the genetic quality.
The idea that the accomplishments of individuals demonstrate superior genetic quality is the basis of eugenics.
It is?  I thought it was,  in at least one of its iterations, picking out, sometimes arbitrarily, traits that are supposed to be superior .  I suppose there isn't a very neat definition for it. 
Gauch wrote:
Thomathy wrote:
Whether the person is selected or not we can't know what they might do if they're not born (though if the person is likely to suffer from a genetic disease wherein they will die in the first two months outside the womb we can be fairly certain they'll be a burden if nothing else; and yes, such disorders do exist).
Who made you the judge of the value of human life?
Who made you the judge?  Don't ask stupid, rhetorical questions.

Quote:
First of all nothing is certain, and the person may not die so it doesn't make sense to pre-emptively kil them.
You're wrong.  There are genetic disorders that result in the very early death of infants in every single instance.  There is literally no way they can be saved (presently) and no way that they can live through the disorder.  There are effective and extremely high efficacy tests for these disorders.

Quote:
Even if they die who's to say that their life wasn't valuable to their parents or to them?
Ridiculous. If they were never born this ceases to be a problem.  You're argument is based on a hypothetical and it's a bad argument.

Gauche wrote:
Thomathy wrote:
We already practice a form of eugenics by picking our partners, aborting pregnancies, choosing zygotes without the markers for genetic disorders to be implanted for in vitro fertilization, having genetic screening done by doctors to assess the risk of producing offspring with fatal or debilitating genetic disorders and in a number of other ways.  I suppose we can't technically call the lot of it eugenics because the process is either largely blind or is not practiced to 'improve the qualities of the human species' (least not explicitly), but it is all selective breeding (however blind some of the techniques may be) and at least some of it is done with the express desire to not result in the production of fatal or debilitating genetic disorders (and we can predict those and what they'll produce).  Got a problem with selective breeding?

I don't have a problem with those things, but they're not eugenics.
They are eugenics.  What the hell else would you call it?  Selective breeding?  It's a bloody form of eugenics.

Quote:
You're gay right? How would you like it if someone said that gay people should be identified in-vitro and exterminated?  Purged from the gene pool the way that you'd like to purge retarded people.
Is this some veiled slippery slope?  You do know that you make a presumptuous statement that makes your question loaded; I have never stated that I would like retarded people to be purged from the gene pool.  I really don't like to have things attributed to me that I have never stated.  I do like, however, how you seem to be conflating the idea of even the most basic sort of eugenics with some kind of maligned, government controlled programme to purge the world of arbitrarily bad traits.

Gauche wrote:
Then maybe you'd be more receptive to the idea that you shouldn't abase human life in that manner to say that some lives aren't worth living, and hey there are too many people anyway so let's make a cut at the bottom.
Well, I don't think I'm abasing human life.  I hold it in such high regard that I can't see how someone would want to watch a child born with tay-sachs deteriorate from six months of age to a thoughtless, drooling blob (quite literally with no mental capacity to speak of by the time of death) without ever learning to speak much less have the mental capacity to develop beyond six months of age and then die of whichever comes first of starvation or neurological degradation.  Frankly, your opinion on the matter doesn't interest me at all at this point.  And, if you'd rather use a different word for what I'm talking about than eugenics, go ahead, have at it, it's still a rose.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
nigelTheBold wrote:My first

nigelTheBold wrote:
My first argument is that it is not necessary in the case of severe genetic problems. My second argument is that it is harmful in an evolutionary sense, which ultimately will affect the survivability of our genetic line.
In the first argument, do you think, since the person will die or could live such a horrid and short life, it would be better to screen and prevent such pregnancies?  People already do that, after all.  To your second argument, how can you know what will ultimately affect the survivability of our genetic line?  You can't possibly predict the future and since we already participate in 'nature's' eugenics, is anything I've proposed going above and beyond what we already do or what 'nature' does?


Quote:
Meanwhile, there has been no rational eugenics plan. As a society, I doubt we could agree on what would constitute "bad" traits that aren't already filtered out. We'll certainly disagree on what would constitute "good" traits, beyond those that are already being propagated.
'Bad traits that aren't already filtered out'.  You mean, because the person won't propagate and they'll die?  I'm not suggesting that your niece should not have been born (I don't propose to make silly statements like that), but another zygote, in the future, if the disorder can be prevented by parents who so choose, do you find that problematic?

Further to that, what if cures for these genetic disorders are found?  A way to correct the problem through gene therapy or some other method.  Is that substantially different to aborting or choosing not to have a child that would certainly have the disorder?

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

In any case, all of the above examples assume that people can be defined by a single gene. I really hope that everyone knows how inherently poor that idea is. The fact is that we are all a mix of thousands of different genes.

For the record and because I don't trust Gauche not to, again, put words into my mouth or attribute to me things that I have never stated, I do see how poor the idea you've expressed is and I don't think that any such eugenics should be practiced of enforced.


 

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
nigelTheBold

nigelTheBold wrote:
Eugenics is useless in a narrow sense, and harmful in a broad sense.

 

Eugenics is about breeding, like we do with cattle and dogs. For those animals, we have specific traits we desire. Any animal that exhibits traits contrary to our desires is not allowed to breed. Really, though, it's about adapting other animals to our convenience.

 

How does that translate to humanity? It doesn't, unless one were to assume knowledge of a "better humanity." For eugenics to be rational, you'd have to find a rational description of a set of traits that would make a "better humanity" acceptable to most people.

 

Rephrased, we'd have to have a clear and rational idea as a social unit what traits to allow or disallow, and the knowledge of how to achieve those goals.

 

That is rather a good point Nigel. From pedigree pet, livestock and crops, we are already performing eugenics of a sort all the time. From our desire to emphasize certain specific traits, we have managed to reduce genetic viability of most of the life forms that we have done this with.

 

As it happens, a good deal of where we are going now is to try and mitigate the messes that we have made over the years. Genetically modified corn is desirable because in out haste to improve the yield per acre, we have made our corn vulnerable to diseases that wild corn is largely resistant to and that is just one example.

 

Another is with programs to breed wild genetic into domestic cats. Honestly, that is being done more because half wild cats “look cool” but along the way, it turns out that some of the cross breeds are resistant to a variety of feline diseases. For example, Bengal cats (part Asian snow leopard) are largely immune to feline leukemia. Mind you, the wild population of Asian snow leopard is endangered, so if this knowledge penetrates, that might actually help with conservation efforts.

 

Even so, the fact is that we don't really understand what we are doing with the efforts that we have done. Also, there really has not been any research into human breeding. However, if we wanted to do the same sorts of things that we have with other forms of life, that would eventually develop into the idea of not simply “culling the herd” as it were but actual mandatory breeding of humans to develop desirable traits. Personally, I have ethical concerns with that.

 

nigelTheBold wrote:
Meanwhile, there has been no rational eugenics plan. As a society, I doubt we could agree on what would constitute "bad" traits that aren't already filtered out. We'll certainly disagree on what would constitute "good" traits, beyond those that are already being propagated.

 

OK, that is interesting. A single example of a “bad trait” might meet your test there. How about Huntington's disease?

 

You only need a single copy of the bad gene from either parent to end up sick. Then onset of the disease is gradual and later in life. Lots of people do not get a positive diagnosis until they are already grandparents. As a result, if you even have a great uncle who gets the disease, then you can be certain that you are playing the genetic lottery with your descendants.

 

There is a genetic test but at best, it can not say if you will get sick, when or how badly. Lots of people who probably have the gene even die of other things before they are severely ill from it. However, if you believe that you have the gene, then it can be used in the laboratory to determine which of many test tube embryos should be implanted. Then you can avoid passing it on to later generations. Of course, testing your potential kids is roughly the same as testing you. I suppose that you could ask the doctor not to tell you either way and just make sure that none of your kids ever get sick from it.

 

Past that, what should happen with the affected embryos? I suppose that in the new political climate, they can be donated to a university for research but might they not have value to the family? Huntington's does not affect the major organs of the body but if your kids had a couple of dozen siblings that never happened sitting in a dewar in a laboratory, those might just be the best chance of a tissue match should something tragic happen and an organ donation become needed later in life.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Great points from Nigel and

Great points from people, that is the kind of thing I am looking for.

 

Gauche, I said from the beginning that I was looking for rational arguments against eugenics.  Your arguments have been emotional outbursts based on how you were raised and how it makes you feel, along with personal attacks about how I don't value human life, and how anyone who ever talked about eugenics held 'contempt' for human life.

 

I think you totally missed the idea behind this thread.  This was not about me trying to show how eugenics is right, it was about wanting something besides emotion to argue against eugenics.  Everyone else seems to have made that connection.

 

--------

So far I have:

1) Control of the eugenics program is difficult, and it might 'turn' on you if someone decides you are substandard (Like,  I have bad eyes).

2) Defining the initial set of un-desirable traits is difficult, if not impossible.

  2a) It is also very difficult to come up with an objective 'goal'.

3) Reducing genetic complexity in any way is dangerous.

4) It causes negative emotions because it runs contrary to our evolutionary drive to reproduce.

5) It runs contrary to the idea of personal freedom.

6) Genetics are complex, and since we don't know all that much about how everything interacts we might cause harm even with good intentions.

 

My 'argument' based on this would probably be: Eugenics, as typically understood is dangerous because you cannot control it or define a proper goal without endangering your own life or offspring.  It runs counter to the idea of personal liberty and our own human instincts for reproduction.  If we had a perfect understanding of human genetics, and a perfect 'leader' who could make a 'perfect' eugenics plan it would probably be good in the long run.  But since that will never happen, it is too dangerous to use on any kind of large scale.

Having said that, by promoting family planning, pro-choice values and teaching parents about the realities of human defect, you can help control population growth and limit the introduction of undesirable traits in an less formal way that is not likely to cause harm.

 

Does that sound reasonable?

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
mellestad wrote:Great points

mellestad wrote:

Great points from people, that is the kind of thing I am looking for.

 

Gauche, I said from the beginning that I was looking for rational arguments against eugenics.  Your arguments have been emotional outbursts based on how you were raised and how it makes you feel, along with personal attacks about how I don't value human life, and how anyone who ever talked about eugenics held 'contempt' for human life.

 

I think you totally missed the idea behind this thread.  This was not about me trying to show how eugenics is right, it was about wanting something besides emotion to argue against eugenics.  Everyone else seems to have made that connection.

 

I already told you in the first post what the rational argument against it is. It's a pseudoscience with no objective basis period. Your only retort was "well, what about retarded people can't we at least kill them?". The rational answer is no you can't kill people based on pseudoscientific, superstitious nonsense.

And beyond that, to be defended a concept must at the very least be understood.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:It's a

Gauche wrote:
It's a pseudoscience with no objective basis period. Your only retort was "well, what about retarded people can't we at least kill them?". The rational answer is no you can't kill people based on pseudoscientific, superstitious nonsense.

And beyond that, to be defended a concept must at the very least be understood.

Are you going to explicitly state how you concluded that it's 'pseudoscience with no objective basis period', or are you just going to repeat that statement as if it should mean anything to anyone?

And please, don't use this again, 'no objective means of determining which characteristics are ultimately desirable or undesirable.'

You've been shown to be quite incorrect about this.  Tay-sachs is just one example.  Further, it has been shown on the board that no one here agrees with the idea of sterilizing people who may carry genes that result in debilitating and fatal genetic disorders.  Again, should we rather call what we are discussing something other than eugenics to pacify you?  What would you have us call it?

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:mellestad

Gauche wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Great points from people, that is the kind of thing I am looking for.

 

Gauche, I said from the beginning that I was looking for rational arguments against eugenics.  Your arguments have been emotional outbursts based on how you were raised and how it makes you feel, along with personal attacks about how I don't value human life, and how anyone who ever talked about eugenics held 'contempt' for human life.

 

I think you totally missed the idea behind this thread.  This was not about me trying to show how eugenics is right, it was about wanting something besides emotion to argue against eugenics.  Everyone else seems to have made that connection.

 

I already told you in the first post what the rational argument against it is. It's a pseudoscience with no objective basis period. Your only retort was "well, what about retarded people can't we at least kill them?". The rational answer is no you can't kill people based on pseudoscientific, superstitious nonsense.

And beyond that, to be defended a concept must at the very least be understood.

 

I guess I remain unconvinced of the rationality behind what you wrote.  Saying I want to kill retarded people and calling it pseudo-scientific, superstitious nonsense is not a great rational attack on the opinion you incorrectly thought I had.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
Thomathy wrote:Gauche

Thomathy wrote:

Gauche wrote:
It's a pseudoscience with no objective basis period. Your only retort was "well, what about retarded people can't we at least kill them?". The rational answer is no you can't kill people based on pseudoscientific, superstitious nonsense.

And beyond that, to be defended a concept must at the very least be understood.

Are you going to explicitly state how you concluded that it's 'pseudoscience with no objective basis period', or are you just going to repeat that statement as if it should mean anything to anyone?

And please, don't use this again, 'no objective means of determining which characteristics are ultimately desirable or undesirable.'

You've been shown to be quite incorrect about this.  Tay-sachs is just one example.  Further, it has been shown on the board that no one here agrees with the idea of sterilizing people who may carry genes that result in debilitating and fatal genetic disorders.  Again, should we rather call what we are discussing something other than eugenics pacify you?  What would you have us call it?

Thomathy, you're trying to defend something without even knowing what it is. Eugenics is a well established concept going back more than a century There are libraries written about it. So don't say you're inventing something new called eugenics where a woman finds out her baby is sick and decides to get an abortion because you sound ignorant. Educate yourself about who came up the idea and why and what they wrote about it. Then come back here and talk to me about conflating and hyperbole.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
mellestad wrote: I guess I

mellestad wrote:

 

I guess I remain unconvinced of the rationality behind what you wrote.  Saying I want to kill retarded people and calling it pseudo-scientific, superstitious nonsense is not a great rational attack on the opinion you incorrectly thought I had.

I don't think I said anything about your true feelings. Maybe you just want to understand arguments in favor and against it. That's not the point. How could you argue for or against something without acknowledging what it actually is?

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:mellestad

Gauche wrote:

mellestad wrote:

 

I guess I remain unconvinced of the rationality behind what you wrote.  Saying I want to kill retarded people and calling it pseudo-scientific, superstitious nonsense is not a great rational attack on the opinion you incorrectly thought I had.

I don't think I said anything about your true feelings. Maybe you just want to understand arguments in favor and against it. That's not the point. How could you argue for or against something without acknowledging what it actually is?

 

Perhaps I mis-understood you then, and what I saw as emotion was simply your way of laying down your argument.  Let's go with that so we can move on, sound good?

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
mellestad wrote:Gauche

mellestad wrote:

Gauche wrote:

mellestad wrote:

 

I guess I remain unconvinced of the rationality behind what you wrote.  Saying I want to kill retarded people and calling it pseudo-scientific, superstitious nonsense is not a great rational attack on the opinion you incorrectly thought I had.

I don't think I said anything about your true feelings. Maybe you just want to understand arguments in favor and against it. That's not the point. How could you argue for or against something without acknowledging what it actually is?

 

Perhaps I mis-understood you then, and what I saw as emotion was simply your way of laying down your argument.  Let's go with that so we can move on, sound good?

Sure, I'll come back and write responses to you guys tomorrow.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:Thomathy

Gauche wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

Gauche wrote:
It's a pseudoscience with no objective basis period. Your only retort was "well, what about retarded people can't we at least kill them?". The rational answer is no you can't kill people based on pseudoscientific, superstitious nonsense.

And beyond that, to be defended a concept must at the very least be understood.

Are you going to explicitly state how you concluded that it's 'pseudoscience with no objective basis period', or are you just going to repeat that statement as if it should mean anything to anyone?

And please, don't use this again, 'no objective means of determining which characteristics are ultimately desirable or undesirable.'

You've been shown to be quite incorrect about this.  Tay-sachs is just one example.  Further, it has been shown on the board that no one here agrees with the idea of sterilizing people who may carry genes that result in debilitating and fatal genetic disorders.  Again, should we rather call what we are discussing something other than eugenics pacify you?  What would you have us call it?

Thomathy, you're trying to defend something without even knowing what it is. Eugenics is a well established concept going back more than a century There are libraries written about it. So don't say you're inventing something new called eugenics where a woman finds out her baby is sick and decides to get an abortion because you sound ignorant. Educate yourself about who came up the idea and why and what they wrote about it. Then come back here and talk to me about conflating and hyperbole.

Wait, so you're not actually going to respond?  You just going to claim I'm ignorant and tell me to educate myself?  That's ridiculous.  It's not an answer to any question I've asked you.  I know very well what eugenics is and I know very well what modern takes on it are and even if I didn't, that doesn't mean you can't answer my questions.  If what I'm describing isn't what you think eugenics is, you're going to have to tell me what you think it is that I'm describing and how it's categorically different from eugenics.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


nigelTheBold
atheist
nigelTheBold's picture
Posts: 1868
Joined: 2008-01-25
User is offlineOffline
Thomathy wrote:nigelTheBold

Thomathy wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
My first argument is that it is not necessary in the case of severe genetic problems. My second argument is that it is harmful in an evolutionary sense, which ultimately will affect the survivability of our genetic line.
In the first argument, do you think, since the person will die or could live such a horrid and short life, it would be better to screen and prevent such pregnancies?  People already do that, after all.  To your second argument, how can you know what will ultimately affect the survivability of our genetic line?  You can't possibly predict the future and since we already participate in 'nature's' eugenics, is anything I've proposed going above and beyond what we already do or what 'nature' does?

Good point. If I had conceived Shiann, and had I known about her genetic problems in utero, I would most likely have opted for an abortion, assuming my wife agreed. My brother is a person who would not abort anything (being extremely right-wing), even though this kid has essentially ruined his and his wife's lives.

As for prediction of survivability, no I can't. I do know there are certain principles: for instance, genetic diversity is generally good, even if it harbors "weak" traits. (Example: the link between sickle-cell anemia and resistance to malaria.)

My biggest concern about any kind of widespread or comprehensive eugenics is that it assumes complete control over the environment. Evolution itself is about adapting to the environment. We as humans have done great things in adapting our environment to us, and we continue to evolve to suit our modified environment. But, we don't have complete control over that environment, as impressive as our control may be.

Quote:

Quote:
Meanwhile, there has been no rational eugenics plan. As a society, I doubt we could agree on what would constitute "bad" traits that aren't already filtered out. We'll certainly disagree on what would constitute "good" traits, beyond those that are already being propagated.
'Bad traits that aren't already filtered out'.  You mean, because the person won't propagate and they'll die?  I'm not suggesting that your niece should not have been born (I don't propose to make silly statements like that), but another zygote, in the future, if the disorder can be prevented by parents who so choose, do you find that problematic?

Further to that, what if cures for these genetic disorders are found?  A way to correct the problem through gene therapy or some other method.  Is that substantially different to aborting or choosing not to have a child that would certainly have the disorder?

My niece should not have been born. No matter how much she enjoys life, she can barely perceive her own life. She will die young, not by the disease, but from the anti-seizure medication, which is slowly destroying her liver. She has effectively ruined the life of two adults who must constantly tend to her. (My brother's an asshole, and his wife a stupid bitch, but I wouldn't wish their life on them.)

She should not have been born.

But not because of eugenics. She is effectively removed from the genetic pool anyway.

Unfortunately, Angelman's syndrome is caused by imprinting, which occurs during meiosis and fertilization. It could happen to anyone, at any time, just like Down's syndrome.

There is quite a difference between fixing a genetic defect, and aborting a fetus with that defect -- but only from a personal point of view. It's the same difference between having a healthy child and not having a child at all.

Anyway, very good points. Those are the kind of subtleties to the question that make this interesting.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


nigelTheBold
atheist
nigelTheBold's picture
Posts: 1868
Joined: 2008-01-25
User is offlineOffline
Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

OK, that is interesting. A single example of a “bad trait” might meet your test there. How about Huntington's disease?

Excellent point. I considered that. Not Huntington's disease specifically, but something else: fatal familial insomnia.

Short answer to your point: I have no answer. I did mention societal consensus as a pre-condition for it to be rational eugenics, but that might be an arbitrary decision on my part.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
Thomathy wrote:Wait, so

Thomathy wrote:

Wait, so you're not actually going to respond?  You just going to claim I'm ignorant and tell me to educate myself?  That's ridiculous.  It's not an answer to any question I've asked you.  I know very well what eugenics is and I know very well what modern takes on it are and even if I didn't, that doesn't mean you can't answer my questions.  If what I'm describing isn't what you think eugenics is, you're going to have to tell me what you think it is that I'm describing and how it's categorically different from eugenics.

I can't answer those questions because you're not talking about eugenics you're talking about Thomathy's eugenics, which you invented, and you have yet to put your thesis out there.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:Thomathy

Gauche wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

Wait, so you're not actually going to respond?  You just going to claim I'm ignorant and tell me to educate myself?  That's ridiculous.  It's not an answer to any question I've asked you.  I know very well what eugenics is and I know very well what modern takes on it are and even if I didn't, that doesn't mean you can't answer my questions.  If what I'm describing isn't what you think eugenics is, you're going to have to tell me what you think it is that I'm describing and how it's categorically different from eugenics.

I can't answer those questions because you're not talking about eugenics you're talking about Thomathy's eugenics, which you invented, and you have yet to put your thesis out there.

You must be being an asshole for fun.  Or not.  Apparently you believe that I'm talking about a kind of eugenics I've invented, even though I've shown that selective breeding presently occurs among humans.  I didn't make it up, I'm pointing out examples.  Hamby did the same.  So, why don't you answer the bloody question without being (what I can only guess is) sarcastic?  If what has been described isn't eugenics, what would you call it?  Selective breeding?  If so, how is it substantially different from eugenics except that it's not a universally enforced practice?  And a new question: Is there anything wrong with aborting a pregnancy or screening for an illness from which the human, if born, will die from in a matter of months or a few years?  What exactly is the problem if there is one?


 

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
nigelTheBold wrote:Good

nigelTheBold wrote:

Good point. If I had conceived Shiann, and had I known about her genetic problems in utero, I would most likely have opted for an abortion, assuming my wife agreed. My brother is a person who would not abort anything (being extremely right-wing), even though this kid has essentially ruined his and his wife's lives.

As for prediction of survivability, no I can't. I do know there are certain principles: for instance, genetic diversity is generally good, even if it harbors "weak" traits. (Example: the link between sickle-cell anemia and resistance to malaria.)

My biggest concern about any kind of widespread or comprehensive eugenics is that it assumes complete control over the environment. Evolution itself is about adapting to the environment. We as humans have done great things in adapting our environment to us, and we continue to evolve to suit our modified environment. But, we don't have complete control over that environment, as impressive as our control may be.

Thanks for the thoughtful response.  I agree about genetic diversity.  I don't think people with 'weak' traits should be removed from the gene pool.  I also agree that while we have some control over our environment it is still largely us adapting to it rather than the other way 'round.

Quote:
My niece should not have been born. No matter how much she enjoys life, she can barely perceive her own life. She will die young, not by the disease, but from the anti-seizure medication, which is slowly destroying her liver. She has effectively ruined the life of two adults who must constantly tend to her. (My brother's an asshole, and his wife a stupid bitch, but I wouldn't wish their life on them.)

She should not have been born.

But not because of eugenics. She is effectively removed from the genetic pool anyway.

Unfortunately, Angelman's syndrome is caused by imprinting, which occurs during meiosis and fertilization. It could happen to anyone, at any time, just like Down's syndrome.

Wow, that sucks.  I hadn't considered that that disease put that much burden on the caregivers or reduced life to quite that level.  I can appreciate the sentiment that perhaps it would be better for your brother and sister in law had the child not been born, but it's after the fact.  From that perspective would you consider it inhumane to let a pregnancy (not necessarily in the case of your niece's disease because anyone could 'get' it) that would certainly result in that sort of life and burden continue to birth?  I'm trying to get a feel for the ethics around acceptable reasons to abort such pregnancies or even those around screening zygotes for disorders and selecting out those ones that would (baring other complications) develop normally.

 

Quote:
There is quite a difference between fixing a genetic defect, and aborting a fetus with that defect -- but only from a personal point of view. It's the same difference between having a healthy child and not having a child at all.
But if there were a chance for a healthy child if the couple went the in-vitro route, that negates the difference right?  I'm not necessarily talking about people having healthy babies or none, especially when they could have a healthy baby, just about people not willingly or knowingly conceiving a life that will be short, painful and quite burdensome.

Quote:
Anyway, very good points. Those are the kind of subtleties to the question that make this interesting.

Thanks.  I agree.


 

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3719
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Gauche wrote:I know that

Gauche wrote:
I know that people don't like to acknowledge this but there is such a thing as too much organization. Undoubtedly, organization is essential, without it we have nothing. But in excess it crushes people, it grinds them down to nothing, like Aldus Huxley said it abolishes the very possibility of freedom.

You don't want human reproduction to be systematically regimented. One must consider the reality of what that means, even in light of concerns about the environment and the future.

Yes, I understand the potential slippery slope there, but we can draw the line wherever we want. I still think, used sparingly and logically, this could be a good thing.     

Gauche wrote:
I didn' say it's a good argument. But it cancels out the equally lame argument on the other side that retarded people might have bad lives. A person with mental retardation might have a bad life or a good life, that's all you can say about it so don't eradicate them.
 

Gauche wrote:
It's exactly because something is patently obvious that it should be challenged. Of course no one would choose to be legless, but just because someone is without legs that doesn't mean they couldn't have other things. Maybe he has a great job, or a favourite pass time. Maybe he has a girl with no arms and they love each other. But you'd like to enter the picture pre-emptively and say "well, there's no joy without legs, so let's kill him". That's cold blooded man.

For the record, I would rather be born without legs than not be born at all. Life is a privilege. 

Reading back, I was thinking more in terms of overall benefit than what the individual would want. Or, rather, I was equivocating the person that didn't have legs with the person that did have legs, i.e. , in my mind, these two people were the same person and he/she would rather be born with legs.

Ugh, did that make any sense?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Stosis
Posts: 327
Joined: 2008-10-21
User is offlineOffline
I have to get to class so I

I have to get to class so I only had time to read about 3/4 of the posts but I wanted to get my say in. I would like to tell you of someone I met a few years ago. He is the grandson of one of my grandma's friends, let's call him Fred. He is mentally retarded and, while he has some control of his arms, must be strapped into a wheelchair. He has been like this since birth. Now, Fred wants to move out, get married and start a family. These are perfectly reasonable but unobtainable goals for Fred. Because of this he is miserable. He did move out for a while into a long term care home. I never heard the reasons but for some reason Fred didn't get along with the other people living there. This, of course, made him more miserable so he moved back to his mother's. Tell me, if Fred is this miserable, wouldn't it have been better to end his misery before he could feel it? What if his mother new before hand how his life would play out (or had some inclining, which is reasonable to assume) and she still wanted to have him, then tell me, who made the mother judge over whether or not an individual, who she does not yet know, is forced to suffer or not.


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Stosis wrote:I have to get

Stosis wrote:

I have to get to class so I only had time to read about 3/4 of the posts but I wanted to get my say in. I would like to tell you of someone I met a few years ago. He is the grandson of one of my grandma's friends, let's call him Fred. He is mentally retarded and, while he has some control of his arms, must be strapped into a wheelchair. He has been like this since birth. Now, Fred wants to move out, get married and start a family. These are perfectly reasonable but unobtainable goals for Fred. Because of this he is miserable. He did move out for a while into a long term care home. I never heard the reasons but for some reason Fred didn't get along with the other people living there. This, of course, made him more miserable so he moved back to his mother's. Tell me, if Fred is this miserable, wouldn't it have been better to end his misery before he could feel it? What if his mother new before hand how his life would play out (or had some inclining, which is reasonable to assume) and she still wanted to have him, then tell me, who made the mother judge over whether or not an individual, who she does not yet know, is forced to suffer or not.

 

Personally, I would say he should have been aborted.  For this conversation, the question would be: If the mother knew about the condition, should she have been legally forced to have an abortion?

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
Thomathy wrote:You must be

Thomathy wrote:

You must be being an asshole for fun.  Or not.  Apparently you believe that I'm talking about a kind of eugenics I've invented, even though I've shown that selective breeding presently occurs among humans.  I didn't make it up, I'm pointing out examples.  Hamby did the same.  So, why don't you answer the bloody question without being (what I can only guess is) sarcastic?  If what has been described isn't eugenics, what would you call it?  Selective breeding?  If so, how is it substantially different from eugenics except that it's not a universally enforced practice?  And a new question: Is there anything wrong with aborting a pregnancy or screening for an illness from which the human, if born, will die from in a matter of months or a few years?  What exactly is the problem if there is one?

 

 

Gardez votre sang-froid. I don't think any those things you mentioned could be considered eugenics except in extremely rare cases that don't really every happen. People don't really think about procreation when they look for a partner, sometimes they don't even care about sex and they're definitely not thinking about dna. People have abortions because they don't have money usually. And people go to IVF clinics because they can't have a baby, not because they want to have a perfect baby. Why don't you just call those things what they are? Why do you want to call them eugenics?

Someone having an abortion because the child is going to die has nothing to do with eugenics. The child would have died more than  decade before they could reproduce and pass on some abnormality. You can call anything you want eugenics but that doesn't necessarily make it so. I mean technically embezzle means to make away with, does that mean my lungs embezzle oxygen from the air? Not really.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft