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Eugenics - good or bad?

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Post Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:48 pm
Is eugenics good or bad? Is it (can it be) ethical and moral? Eugenics has a very bad name because it has been used by Nazis as an excuse for their horrific crimes against humanity. But eugenics appears to be a valid scientific area which is, perhaps, wrongly seen as having any connection with Nazism.

Should we try to slowly (over generations) and voluntarily improve the global population by applying eugenics programs? For example, if we find a certain gene which makes people smarter, stronger or better in any other objective way, should we try to propagate this gene further into global population to improve everyone's qualities? An obvious way of propagating such gene would probably consist of social advantages for those possessing the gene - but only in the specified area, i.e. people with "scientific gene" would be preferred to take scientific jobs and so on. Would that be morally and ethically justifiable?

Eugenics is a common theme in many sci-fi novels where civilizations use eugenics programs to create castes of people who are better at certain tasks which leads to creation of genetically different elites. For instance, we could use eugenics to create elite groups of people such as soldier elites, engineer/scientist elites, doctor elites, teacher elites and so on, dramatically improving the objective quality of population. The different castes of elites would not be allowed to interbreed in order not to dilute their unique DNA.

Once again I would like to underline, that participation in such eugenics program would be voluntary, nobody could be forced to be part of it.

What are your thoughts?

Please keep this discussion civil and don't troll with useless replies such as "OMG, Hitler!!!".
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Post Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:19 pm
Bad, I dont really trust the judgement of a bureaucrat to decide on whether I should live or die or whether I should have the right to put children into this world.

The state in general strikes me as a hub of stupidity and I dont want it making these sort of decisions.
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Post Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:32 pm
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Bad, I dont really trust the judgement of a bureaucrat to decide on whether I should live or die or whether I should have the right to put children into this world.

The state in general strikes me as a hub of stupidity and I dont want it making these sort of decisions.


Maybe we misunderstand each other. I am not talking about some forced global eugenics program. I am talking about a voluntary eugenics program run by governments.

For example, people could decide to submit their DNA and their family health records to a government agency responsible for the eugenics program. If it is found that they have a certain gene which makes them better in some area (sports, science etc) they would get an invitation to join the eugenics program. They would not be forced to join it, they could refuse and just have children with anyone or have no children.

People who would be part of the eugenics program would be divided into multiple castes based on a specific gene we wish to propagate (science gene, soldier gene, teacher gene). People inside each of these castes would then breed together to further propagate the specific gene we are looking for, the castes would not be allowed to interbreed.

Another point is, that people with genes dangerous for society (psychopaths, sadists, serial killers and such) would be sterilized so their bad genes are not propagated in society. This would in a longer run decrease crime and asocial behaviour.

Finally, there could be a special eugenics program devoted to decreasing appearance of hereditary diseases in the population. For example, people with a hereditary disease would be offered a special government grant to sterilize themselves (for example $10000). This would, of course, be voluntary and they could turn down such offer.
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Post Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:45 pm
furrypurpledinosaur wrote:
For example, people could decide to submit their DNA and their family health records to a government agency responsible for the eugenics program. If it is found that they have a certain gene which makes them better in some area (sports, science etc) they would get an invitation to join the eugenics program. They would not be forced to join it, they could refuse and just have children with anyone or have no children.

People who would be part of the eugenics program would be divided into multiple castes based on a specific gene we wish to propagate (science gene, soldier gene, teacher gene). People inside each of these castes would then breed together to further propagate the specific gene we are looking for, the castes would not be allowed to interbreed.


Ignoring the fact that technology is not advanced enough to do this, I find your statements pretty weird, first you say its gonna be ''voluntary'' then right after you say that if they choose to join this program it would no longer be voluntary since leaving it would be prohibited?
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Post Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:04 pm
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Ignoring the fact that technology is not advanced enough to do this, I find your statements pretty weird, first you say its gonna be ''voluntary'' then right after you say that if they choose to join this program it would no longer be voluntary since leaving it would be prohibited?


It would be permitted to leave at any time.

Plus, what technology are you talking about? There is no technology needed fro eugenics. We have been breeding dogs for centuries, I suggest we do the same with humans.
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Post Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:36 am
I am in favour of eugenics, with tight restrictions on who can be sterilised.
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Post Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:40 am
I am in favor of this programme if run by an ethnic group itself on a micro-level to get rid of certain diseases which plague their genes sometimes as an ethnicity. But, I am against such a programme run by those few who are in control of millions upon millions of human beings. Besides, running such a programme which selects for "smart genes" only, for example, might miss the boat, a little. Our survival as a species depends on many other factors, one being our diversity and ability to adapt to many different geographical locations. This has little to do with being smart.
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Post Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:53 am
For population control: Seems almost necessary.
For some ideological shaping of humanity: Rather not; potential benefits are not even anywhere near worth the risks.
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Post Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:09 am
Problems with eugenics:
    Ethical issues in relation to the person that is the recipient of euthanasia- similar to the ethical issue of disigning people eugenics involves interfering with potential people.
    Ethical issues in relation to people who are forced or pressured into not reproducing- this is an interference with their freedom and needs justification.
    Slippery- ridiculously complicated at an evidential level.
    Fascinating- a planner's paradise, endless utopian justification.

As with many things when done with a bit of libearlism they're not so bad - see wiki on liberal eugenics - and it is difficult to point to any real issue. Eugenics shouldn't harm anyone, quite the reverse. Maybe it's just too early days to start interfering with our blueprint directly? Possibly people are being overly cautious, but it does open a bit of a can of worms. There would be a strong incentive to medicalise parenting and plan. Also liberal eugenics sort of defeats the point of eugenics in that the genetic health of the species is a social goal that requires social co-ordination.

fluffydinosaur wrote:
An obvious way of propagating such gene would probably consist of social advantages for those possessing the gene - but only in the specified area, i.e. people with "scientific gene" would be preferred to take scientific jobs and so on. Would that be morally and ethically justifiable?
I think using genetic information is not straightforwardly eugenics. If we used genetic information fanatically we might run into Brave New World type issues, such as erosion of autonomy or human dignity which make the world a meaningful place. Similar issues are run into in most utopias
aside from liberal ones. What is clearly eugenics is trying to enhance people's genetic make up eg in a liberal eugenics regime by allowing people to access genetic information at the point at which people are created, so that they make a better genetic choice. Say you have a million sperm and you select the best one out and feed it (to) the best egg (maybe even whether its yours or not). The issues here are a bit different, though related.
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Post Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:36 am
There's a "science gene" and a "soldier gene"?

The idea seems ridiculous. Allow people to try to breed ubermenschen as babies if they want, but any government programme of assistance for a super race is rather bizarre.
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Post Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:38 am
Lots of problems to overcome, but I'm all in favour.

If it was my kids I'd want any genetic diseases wiped out, choice of gender, choice of hair/eye colour would be nice too, plus a decent IQ.

Is that too much to ask?
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Post Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:53 am
Suprised I haven't responded to this before....


Yes, I support a state-led eugenics movement to enourage the improvement of our stock. With the development of reprogenetics, we can circumvent known genetic disorders and promote more fit children. I'm also not adverse to negative eugenics, which would have a smaller, but more stable, evolutionary effect.
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Post Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:30 am
I'm opposed to state mandated eugenics but I think voluntary efforts are perfectly reasonable. If you're conceiving using in vitro wouldn't you rather have a Harvard professor than some alcoholic redneck? I think so. When people screen potential sperm donors this is eugenics. I would also suggest free screenings for genetic conditions and free voluntary sterilization for those found to have severe conditions such as high propensity to cancer and other diseases. That being said I don't want to open up a can of worms.
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Post Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:37 am
If you agree Eugenics is good, why is state mandated eugenics so bad? If you believe in vitro will lend towards harvard professers, why not mandate sperm donors meet certain requirements? Why not subsidize screening for genetic disorders? Same thing, state interference.

Obv, it doesn't require the state to have a heavy hand, but the state should have a standard to promote and encourage eugenics.
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Post Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:59 am
I never said it was good, I have my qualms about it, I simply said it was perfectly reasonable. In other words I'm not an active proponent, I simply see the logic behind it and favor liberal eugenics but I am opposed to government mandated eugenics.
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Post Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:55 am
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Eugenics used to prevent hereditary diseases, and healthier people, is good.

Using it to make a superior class(smarter, stronger, faster) of people, would be bad. It would be too easy to turn into something that could be abused.
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Post Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:50 am
Godstud, what if it's done by encouraging the permanently unemployed, such as Alcoholics, drug users, or general welfare queens, to recieve visectomies/IEDs as a condition of payment?

Also, do you recognize that abortion has eugenic effects?
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Post Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:33 am
Quote:
For example, if we find a certain gene which makes people smarter, stronger or better in any other objective way, should we try to propagate this gene further into global population to improve everyone's qualities?


Utopia will never be realized unless all races become homogeneous by spreading their seed willingly. Select genetic manipulation is unethical, has no mutual value and creates inequality in a heterogeneous society. The homogeneous society already carries within it the finest that evolution and genetics have to offer. Genetic manipulation should only be considered in the confines and permissions of a homogeneous society. This, restricted to correcting malignancies within.
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Post Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:41 pm
Figlio di Moros wrote:
Also, do you recognize that abortion has eugenic effects?
Abortion may have the "effect", but it's not eugenics.

Figlio di Moros wrote:
Godstud, what if it's done by encouraging the permanently unemployed, such as Alcoholics, drug users, or general welfare queens, to recieve visectomies/IEDs as a condition of payment?
That would fall under abuse, since it would be a form of state-sponsored blackmail. Blackmail and coercion are normally crimes. Why not sterilize mentally disabled people too, while you're at it?


Sandori wrote:
Select genetic manipulation is unethical, has no mutual value and creates inequality in a heterogeneous society.
QFT and most eloquently,as well.

Sandori wrote:
Genetic manipulation should only be considered in the confines and permissions of a homogeneous society. This, restricted to correcting malignancies within.
That would be the only conditions I would want to have with eugenics used within a society.
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