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Old 03-10-2008, 01:48 AM   #1
The Awoken One
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Eugenics- For or Against?

Are you for or against the use of eugenics upon the human race? Why or why not?

I'm asking this because this article: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/200...sk_pablo_kids/
was on the front page of Yahoo! features and it really caught my eye. Some people are arguing that it is unethical to use such force to eliminate the "weaker" of human beings. I'm not sure which side to go on and am hoping maybe some of you can enlighten me on this issue and sway me to one side.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:57 AM   #2
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It is unethical to eliminate 'weaker' human beings. The idea of Eugenics developed from Darwinism as a way of kind of helping evolution along. Originally it was a voluntary process, focusing on developing the more intelligent and sophisticated middle classes and breeding out undesirables in the lower classes. However it was adopted in the states as a forced practice. More than 60,000 people over the country were sterilised after some clever scientists noticed that degenerate fathers tended to produce degenerate sons. It was employed famously by the Nazi regime. After that I think they gave up on the idea (though sterilization was still going on in scandinavia as late as the 70s.) I guess you could say that eugenics is a way of 'playing nature' (as opposed to playing God).

I personally think that eugenics is highly unethical, even the more passive type. It is also a dangerous concept to throw around, if Hitler and some German scientists managed to fuel mass genocide we shouldn't be considering it today.

Aspects of the weaker form of eugenics do make sense though. For example, it was first presented as a socialist theory that encouraged the lower classes to limit the size of their families. This is what the article you posted seems to be talking about, not eugenics as such but population control. Earth is way past the point where it can sustain humans and population control has to be considered. Obviously the main problem is in the third world where people raise particularly large families (lack of contraception + the more kids you got the more labour and money you've got I guess). But I think the reason for limiting reproduction here wouldn't be to 'breed out' undesirables as in eugenics but to slow the rate of population growth, placing less strain on nature and economies.

I don't think this article is talking about eugenics as such but 'Pablo' does make a good point about an educated child being an asset to a problem such as climate change. I hope that's helpful, just some stuff I've studied at Uni...

Another question though... is disease, famine etc nature's way of limiting population growth? Think of the population problem Africa would face without the extreme poverty, disease, AIDs crisis etc.
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:44 AM   #3
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Pros: When done right, everyone will be vastly smarter, kinder and more beautiful.

Cons: When done wrong, everyone ends up living in the dark ages again due to only allowing hardcore christians to breed. In addition, avoiding a genetic bottleneck - which would lead to greater susceptibility to diseases, both genetic and pathogenic - would be very difficult.

This may go as far as rendering humanity unable to evolve to face a different climate in the future, though with sufficient advances in genetic engineering, that could probably be avoided.
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Ross_videosprint wrote View Post
It is unethical to eliminate 'weaker' human beings. The idea of Eugenics developed from Darwinism as a way of kind of helping evolution along. Originally it was a voluntary process, focusing on developing the more intelligent and sophisticated middle classes and breeding out undesirables in the lower classes. However it was adopted in the states as a forced practice. More than 60,000 people over the country were sterilised after some clever scientists noticed that degenerate fathers tended to produce degenerate sons. It was employed famously by the Nazi regime. After that I think they gave up on the idea (though sterilization was still going on in scandinavia as late as the 70s.) I guess you could say that eugenics is a way of 'playing nature' (as opposed to playing God).

I personally think that eugenics is highly unethical, even the more passive type. It is also a dangerous concept to throw around, if Hitler and some German scientists managed to fuel mass genocide we shouldn't be considering it today.

Aspects of the weaker form of eugenics do make sense though. For example, it was first presented as a socialist theory that encouraged the lower classes to limit the size of their families. This is what the article you posted seems to be talking about, not eugenics as such but population control. Earth is way past the point where it can sustain humans and population control has to be considered. Obviously the main problem is in the third world where people raise particularly large families (lack of contraception + the more kids you got the more labour and money you've got I guess). But I think the reason for limiting reproduction here wouldn't be to 'breed out' undesirables as in eugenics but to slow the rate of population growth, placing less strain on nature and economies.

I don't think this article is talking about eugenics as such but 'Pablo' does make a good point about an educated child being an asset to a problem such as climate change. I hope that's helpful, just some stuff I've studied at Uni...

Another question though... is disease, famine etc nature's way of limiting population growth? Think of the population problem Africa would face without the extreme poverty, disease, AIDs crisis etc.
The case in the US is intersting because, excluding the immigration, the population is decreasing. It looks like prosperity and education automatically decreases the population without having to select and kill of a segment of the population.

I agree that (voluntary) population control is necessary. Malthus got it right, but he didn't factor in to his estimate of the available food, our ability to convert energy into food thus supporting a much higher population limit. But the energy will run out soon and then not only the food production, but its transportation will drop and we will see the worldwide starvation that he predicted.

The solution must be both making the world prosperous and well educated, and finding or creating a source of energy for all well in excess of the amount we presently use here in the greatest energy consuming country.

The first could enable a stable population level and the second would make it sustainable.

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Old 03-10-2008, 06:37 AM   #5
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I think we should keep the genetic diversity around until it's needed. Evolution will take care of itself when it's really needed.

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Old 03-10-2008, 06:56 AM   #6
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Eugenics isn't wrong because of the goal. It's stupid because it makes the assumption that we know enough to figure out what is and is not adaptive. It assumes we know what is best and runs the huge risk of narrowing out genetic variability and losing more than we gain.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:47 AM   #7
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Gee, I had to really study this thread to see how it got from the question to rap...!

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Rocketman the Sequel wrote View Post
Eugenics isn't wrong because of the goal. It's stupid because it makes the assumption that we know enough to figure out what is and is not adaptive. It assumes we know what is best and runs the huge risk of narrowing out genetic variability and losing more than we gain.
Well said. So I won't say it again.

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Now that we let women vote and work, teh smart ones aren't makin' as menny babies
I've read that for African American women, the IQ/family size negative correlation is just about perfect. Find a black woman with an IQ of 150, and she just won't have kids. The correlation is strong but less perfect for other ethnic groups.

Oh, and btw, thanks for that whole vote thing. Work, I don't do.
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:58 AM   #8
Philboid Studge
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I don't see what that Salon article has to do with eugenics, nor that 'Some people are arguing that it is unethical to use such force to eliminate the "weaker" of human beings.'

The column is about whether squirting out a second brat will harm the environment. A few years ago Bill McKibbon devoted a whole book to the proposition called Why Not One? He was agonizing over whether to have a second little shit and eventually came to the conclusion that he was awesome for stopping at just the one (because of the environmental impacts). His argument was so compelling I was left thinking, Why not none, dude?

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Old 03-10-2008, 07:12 AM   #9
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Philboid Studge wrote View Post
His argument was so compelling I was left thinking, Why not none, dude?
Sounds like what they're endorsing over at VHEMT.

Wait just a minute-You expect me to believe-That all this misbehaving-Grew from one enchanted tree? And helpless to fight it-We should all be satisfied-With this magical explanation-For why the living die-And why it's hard to be a decent human being - David Bazan
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:10 AM   #10
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Indeed. The "article" actually reminds me that we are inevitably headed for an Idiocracy, as Rhinoq and I fear.

The people who care enough about the environment and are intelligent enough to realize the environmental ramifications of having multiple children are, generally speaking, less likely to have children.

Generally speaking, our most intelligent and educated people spend years in college and have demanding careers afterwards, therefore they're not as likely to procreate as Billy Joe and Bobby Sue Dropout working together at the factory.

My grandfather was a Harvard-educated doctor that had 8 kids, but that was a different time, and, of course, he was Catholic. (He went to med school at Pitt, [one of the nation's top medical schools] where he met my grandmother who, despite getting her masters in English, stayed home to raise them.)

Now that we let women vote and work, teh smart ones aren't makin' as menny babies!

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Old 03-10-2008, 07:18 AM   #11
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I like the E.O. Wilson quote:

“Darwin's dice have rolled badly for Earth . . . The human species is, in a word, an environmental abnormality.* Perhaps a law of evolution is that intelligence usually extinguishes itself.”


*Hey Einstein, that's two words.

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Old 03-10-2008, 07:31 AM   #12
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I like their response to this question:

Q: Does VHEMT favor abortion?

Only when someone is pregnant.

Wait just a minute-You expect me to believe-That all this misbehaving-Grew from one enchanted tree? And helpless to fight it-We should all be satisfied-With this magical explanation-For why the living die-And why it's hard to be a decent human being - David Bazan
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:34 AM   #13
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:02 AM   #14
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There shall be no further discussion on this subject - the Vatican Mafia has updated its 'sin list'

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Some God Botherer wrote
"(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control," he said.
The Vatican opposes stem cell research that involves destruction of embryos and has warned against the prospect of human cloning.

Stop the Holy See men!
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:45 AM   #15
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Been around the world and found
that only stupid people are breeding
The cretins cloning and feeding
And I don't even own a TV.

Harvey Danger, Flagpole Sitter
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