Saturday, February 23, 2008

Eugenics

Why do people consider it to be a dirty word?

Your own thoughts, please, in your own words.

And keep in mind: Hitler was NOT a eugenicist! He was a fucking murderous lunatic who thought "Aryan" meant blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Do NOT use him as an example of anything, okay?

12 Comments:

Blogger dez said...

Let’s start by going to Wikipedia for some definitions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

There is no question that the Nazis gave Eugenics a bad rep. Completely undeserved, of course, but I don’t see the stigma going away any time soon.

That aside, we have seen how modern medicine has given prospective parents a vote in regards to gender. I think we can also set aside the religious objections, since the work is being done whether the wing-nutters object or not. When it comes to their precious children, only the fiercest fundamentalists are willing to trust in the “divine plan”.

As long as the decision belongs solely to the parents, I don’t think there is a realistic objection to genetic manipulation of human beings, either by modern gene splicing or simply using the abortion veto.

The fear comes into play when this power is given to a larger group – Government or Corporation.

What if a Government could choose the race of every child born to a citizen? We have seen the horror of racial and ethnic cleansing taking place in recent times, so this is a real fear.

What if a Corporation started making supersoldiers for the military, or for its own use? Or, in a more benign application, humans specialized for certain tasks? Four or more arms? Eye on the backs of your hands? Gills?

And on top of all this: What happens to the mistakes? Will we be creating a new form of handicap? Can we trust any organization to use this power safely?

I believe the basis for the fear comes from our deepest instincts for survival. When we talk about Eugenics we are talking about our children.

Sunday, February 24, 2008 2:22:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

The stigma may not go away unless we make it go away by cleaning up the attitude towards the real objective of eugenics: species survival. And yes, we are talking about "our" children -- the future of our species. Who in their right mind would be able to argue that they'd rather have genetic idiots than intelligent kids, or cripples instead of healthy kids? Especially if and when they have it in their power to make the choice for themselves?

And you may be right about Government and Corporation. I don't trust 'em, either. That's why they should not. Ever. Have any say in the matter.

What happens to the "mistakes?" Nothing. They live out their lives just like everyone else. But they don't get to breed their genes back into the pool. If it's not possible to correct the genetics through gene manipulation (and it really oughta be possible to do it by the time this becomes a reality), then they don't get to breed, period.

I'm not advocating the killing of those born with less-than-perfect health. But it's specicide to suggest that allowing them to breed back into the collective would be okay.

Sunday, February 24, 2008 9:12:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

There is no substitute for good ol' mother nature. She has managed quite well for the past several billion years. Has she made some mistakes, absolutely! We are proof of that fact... However she has made far less than we humans have in the little time we have been around. Let natural evolution takes it course. We shall be what we shall be. If history tells us anything, we are simply another of her experiments that will eventually disappear for yet another species to find and unearth a few million years from now.

Sunday, February 24, 2008 9:42:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Tim, you may be right. But some of Mother's children keep insisting on "helping" by insisting on artificial "rights" to survive and propagate when doing so endangers the species. We are long past the point at which we can allow nature and evolution to take its natural course. We passed that point when the first healer interfered with natural death by infection or disease.

Sunday, February 24, 2008 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger dez said...

If we all can't sit in the forest and eat nuts and/or berries without the benefits of fire, much less clothing, then I think it is safe to say that Mother Nature is not a part of the equation anymore.

We took the reins from Her hands the first time we donned the skins of the animals we killed, to protect ourselves from Her weather.

But what have we done with those reins? Blind horsemen, and deaf as well. Evolution doesn't stop just because we can save the weak and infirm.

What happens to the deer when you kill all the wolves? Well, obviously their population explodes, they eat all the local forage and most starve to death. But, besides that, they also become a bit less competitive. A bit less fit for survival.

That's all Eugenics is about. Restoring the wolves - culling the herd of those who weaken it.

But, to do that, we have to be our own wolves.

Good luck with that.

Monday, February 25, 2008 7:30:00 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I disagree with you, Chim, about Hitler, or at any rate, the Nazis. From Wikipedia "Eugenics' scientific reputation started to tumble in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rüdin began incorporating eugenic rhetoric into the racial policies of Nazi Germany." In addition, eugenics originally meant selective breeding, which is what Hitler advocated, along with terminating any persons or groups of persons he deemed inferior, i. e., Jews, handicapped, Poles, people of color.

I think we must use Nazi Germany as an example of how badly wrong eugenics may turn.

Monday, February 25, 2008 9:37:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Use it as a bad example if you wish, and you'd be right. My point is that the Nazis corrupted the concept, and no one has so far made any effort to reclaim the original meaning. Everyone just runs around with their hair on fire screaming about genocide and racism. No one wants to touch the idea because they're afraid of being tainted by Naziism. Just like no one wants to show the running wheel symbol -- an ancient "wheel of life" pictogram -- because the Nazis corrupted it into their fucking symbology. It's NOT a Nazi symbol. It was merely stolen by them to justify genocide.

Rule by fear. If we allow that to happen, the Nazis won, after all.

I call bullshit.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I wear the "running wheel" symbol all the time, except mine is the 3 legged one, the triskele.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008 5:36:00 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

The link below shows the 3 spiral or 3 legged Celtic symbols.

Celtic symbols

Tuesday, March 04, 2008 5:45:00 AM  
Anonymous joe agnost said...

There was a whole write-up in this past weekend's Ottawa Citizen about Down's Syndrome and genetic screening. I couldn't believe what I was reading!

One quote sticks out and (paraphrased) said: "What would this world be like if we didn't have special needs people? We'd lose out on the joy etc..."

This was from the mother of a down's child... and she was suggesting that we should WANT to have special needs people... unbelievable!!

There was talk that with fewer down's kids there would be less funding etc... but I still see it as a plus!

The article said that about %80-%90 of parents told they are carrying a down's fetus would abort.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Karen: I'm familiar with all kinds of symbols, including the triskele. The one that Hitler stole was from ancient eastern mythology, and has four "legs," one for each major compass point. In some cultures, each leg symbolizes a season. The Celtic three-legged one is usually associated with the triple goddess.

My point was that no one uses it now because of its taint from the Nazis. The symbol itself has nothing to do with Naziism. But there are places in the world where you can be jailed for wearing it, even if it part of your own culture.

Just because the Nazis played around with their own twisted and adulterated version of eugenics is no reason to trash the entire subject. We should pick it out of the garbage heap, clean it off, and have a thorough look at it.

Why are people scared to do that?

Joe: I've seen that kinda thing before, too. It's the old, "I got one so you gotta get one, too!" atitude left over from childhood. Except when you're a child, you want everyone to have whatever it is because you like them and want to share. In cases like this, it's defense or revenge, plain and simple.

People who have mentally or physically handicapped kids get very defensive about it. And why wouldn't they? They spend more time, energy, and money looking after their kids, and they frequently have to do it for the entire life of the kid, not just until it grows up and gets its own mate and kids.

The parents' lives are very different from all their (soon-to-be former) friends' lives...very limited in a lot of ways. They are actually in a trap. But they can't admit it, even to themselves, because that would make them look ungracious and ungrateful. Society frowns on that. The cry would go up, "What kind of a parent wouldn't love an 'innocent' child...?"

Not taking on the burden would have nothing to do with not loving it and more to do with self-preservation, but self-sacrifice is a locked-in "virtue" in our society. Even at the cost of our sanity. So the parents of such children take on the burden, grit their teeth, and try to convince the world it's just what they always wanted.

Feh.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008 1:09:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

The Manx symbol is three legs, isn't it? Of course, the Christians came along and co-opted the triskele and said it stands for the trinity. Most certainly does not. As you said, it stands for the triple goddess, maiden, mother, and crone, or Brigit.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008 7:08:00 PM  

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