Is there a way to morally implement eugenics?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by wallyj84, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. wallyj84

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    Historically, eugenics has been used to support various types of racism and classism. Everything from limiting the immigration of "lesser" races, to the holocaust has based its rational on eugenics. But, IMO that doesn't mean that the basic idea of eugenics is wrong or inherently immoral, just that people have implemented it poorly. They've used eugenics as a way to justify their own racism/classism. These people twisted what was really a fairly decent theory into something horrible.

    I honestly feel that there is a lot of value to the basic idea of eugenics and that if it was properly implemented it would lead to a better society.

    So I ask you, do you think that it's possible to morally implement eugenics, and if so how would you structure this eugenics based society?
     
  2. willow78

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    I guess it could be possible, but it has such a negative connotation it would be difficult. It's like a lot of theories or practices or movements - the original intent may have been well-meaning and even have potential benefits, but through 'twisting' and 'warping' (whether deliberate or accidental) becomes divisive and problematic. I find it's not the use that causes this but rather the mis-use. Possible but potentially hazardous.
     
  3. Pendlum

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    I don't think it would be possible. If you have to implement it, the ultimately there has to be some form of criteria, or a person or group who decides what genes and traits are 'good', and 'bad'. Some things are obvious, but some aren't, and are ambiguous. Ultimately it just isn't fair, and the ability for oppression and outright destruction is just too great. What if it was decided that anyone with a gay gene was to be terminated, or have it altered?

    Ultimately I find that there is no use for eugenics because it is essentially trying to force evolution, but in a specific direction. Let nature take its course.
     
  4. D_Aston Asstonne

    D_Aston Asstonne Account Disabled

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    Not in the slightest.
     
  5. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    No part of Eugenics is morally justifiable, and besides the evidence suggests that from the perspective of the genetic health of the Human species Eugenics would be catastrophic.
     
  6. Gillette

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    Letting nature take it's course would be a form of eugenics in itself. As it stands though the application of medicine we are practicing a sort of reverse eugenics.
     
  7. SilverTrain

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    Uh oh, I feel a philosophical discussion brewing. :wink:
     
  8. NCbear

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    I agree. We are saving lots of genes that would ordinarily have died out. And they're continuing to affect long-term outlooks of genetic diseases.

    NCbear (who isn't advocating eugenics, but who's willing to consider elements of human behavior--and their outcomes--as an intellectual exercise)
     
  9. D_Humper E Bogart

    D_Humper E Bogart New Member

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    Well as long as Kahn and James T Kirk get to fight, it can't be all bad. :)
     
  10. Bbucko

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    Eugenics is another one of those 20th century ideas that's been completely discredited and deserves the scorn it's received on this board. The answer to the question posed in the title is no.
     
  11. Gillette

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    Eugenics as an official program of any sort is abhorrent, I agree, but to play devils advocate don't eugenics come into play on a personal level fairly often?

    Standards of feminine attractiveness are skewed toward fertility cues, while standards of masculine attractiveness are skewed toward indicators of success. Intelligence is valued over it's lack, as is strength, etc.

    In heterosexuals don't you think this is motivated by the desire (even if subconcious) to improve on our own genetics should offspring be a possibility?
     
  12. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    That's not Eugenics that's natural selection. Human's are programmed to behave in that way by genetics. Eugenics is planned or schemed unnatural selection.
     
  13. Bbucko

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    Hilly summed up my feelings pretty much, though instead of "unnatural" I'd have probably gone with "artificial". It's almost like saying that Phrenology has practical applications in how some people approach plastic surgery.
     
  14. Pendlum

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    If you want to call that eugenics, fine, but it isn't a form of eugenics that is implemented at all, it just happens. So there is no moral dilemma except on an individual basis. And even then, many people are appalled at some of the criteria a person may have.
     
  15. wallyj84

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    That's definitely true. Without modern medicine I would have been blind and crippled from birth. I'm able to walk and see now only because of modern medicine.
     
  16. NumberTwentySix

    NumberTwentySix New Member

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    OP, The premise eugenics is based on is that people are more qualified than nature to determine what their most advantageous traits are. I think most people that have a rudimentary understanding of evolutionary biology will disagree with that premise.

    The most basic form of eugenics I can think of is sex selection, a case for which mounds of data exist. There are only two traits (male & female) and selection may be done prenatally. Individuals and societies can and do express a preference for one over the other. It is for this reason that today there are some 32 million Chinese men for whom there will never be a corresponding Chinese woman. Sons are more desirable in China, both on a macro (society) and micro (family) level so healthy girls were aborted at a rate 15% greater than boys.

    Across a whole society, the result is that those "preferable" boys will have a much harder time passing on their genes, since there are that many fewer girls with whom they could potentially mate.

    The simple fact is we aren't nearly as clever as we think we are, and it is best to leave our genome to do its own thing.
     
    #16 NumberTwentySix, Feb 22, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2011
  17. Gillette

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    Natural selection already selects for adaptive characteristics so eugenics isn't necessarily "unnatural", though planned and schemed are accurate. My point is that in the case of humans we are self aware enough that we do often conciously select traits with offspring in mind.

    Women use sperm banks to become fertilized. Often there is a list of traits (height, health, IQ) to help the women choose. I would consider this an example of positive eugenics on a personal level as the only selection factor is (hoped for) inherited traits.

    Before anyone gets their dander up, "positive" eugenics is the deliberate selection for desired traits.

    Can plastic surgery change the skull itself?
    I honestly don't know.


    Dying of a disease or old age doesn't involve a moral dilemma of any kind that I can imagine. It does just happen so how can there be dilemma if there's no choice?

    If all medical treatment were to cease, that would be a form of eugenics because it would be selecting against all who require medical assistance to survive. Absolutely this would have major moral implications because we do have the science preserve life.

    Speaking of the medical field...

    My ex-step-aunt (if that's a term) and her husband, after having two children with severe disabilities were given genetic testing. They were told that because of their unfortunate combination of genes that it was extremely unlikely that they would have a fully healthy child. Their doctor advised them against conceiving again.

    They conceived again.

    In addition to two boys with serious health problems they now have a daughter. She was born with no eyes (slits were created and prosthetics inserted to keep the eye sockets intact), no vaginal openings whatsoever (surgery so she could pee), severely mentally handicapped and with a poorly developed heart.

    The doctor advising them against conceiving is an example of negative eugenics (discouraging an undesired combination of inherited traits). Was it immoral of him to do so?
     
  18. Pendlum

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    I wasn't talking about death, merely partner selection and passing down genes when I said let nature take it's course. Further more, the doctor told them of the risks, he never said they couldn't conceive again, and he never prevented them from conceiving. If you were in their shoes, but a doctor didn't tell you that your genes have a very high degree of producing disabled offspring, after three, or even the two, would you not think that something doesn't seem right?
     
  19. earllogjam

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    The only way to implement eugenics these days albeit passively is to live in an isolated community.

    Iceland, indigenous tribes of the deep Amazon, KKK members in the deep south, and the Japanese come to mind.
     
  20. Gillette

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    Okay, but the point I was making with my reference to medicine is this. What most people forget is that nature plays a greater role in natural selection than partner selection does, very often a non adapted organism doesn't survive to the reproductive stage. When you said let nature take it's course I took that to mean nature in all it's indifference.

    Eugenics isn't necessarily forced conception nor absolute prevention of breeding. It has been taken to such extremes by mad men but that is not a mandatory condition of eugenics. My example still qualifies.
     
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