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Does modern biotechnology signal rise of new eugenics movement?

| | April 5, 2016

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

It’s comforting now to think of eugenics as an evil that sprang from the blackness of Nazi hearts. We’re familiar with the argument: some men are born great, some as weaklings, and both pass the traits on to their children. So to improve society, the logic goes, we must encourage the best to breed and do what we can to stop the stupid, sick and malign from passing on their defective genes. This was taken to a genocidal extreme by Hitler, but the intellectual foundations were laid in England. And the idea is now making a startling comeback.

Stunning advances in science are creating options early eugenicists could only dream about. Today’s IVF technology already allows us to screen embryos for inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis. But soon parents will be able to check for all manner of traits, from hair colour to character, and choose their ‘perfect’ child.

In academia, the word ‘eugenics’ may be controversial but the idea is not. To Professor Julian Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, the ability to apply ‘rational design’ to humanity, through gene editing, offers a chance to improve the human stock — one baby at a time. ‘When it comes to screening out personality flaws such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence,’ he said a while ago, ‘you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children’.

Read full, original post: The return of eugenics

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

1 thought on “Does modern biotechnology signal rise of new eugenics movement?”

  1. Since “The Spectator” prints on its letter page a large proportion of trivial stuff, and has only occasionally printed anything of mine, I would like to note here that I have written to this Editor, pointing out that although dangers would exist with a Dr Mengele-style state campaign to create a “super race” or with a Dr Moreau-style private anarchy to create “designer babies”, there is nothing morally or socially wrong in principle to try to reduce among future generations the proportion of hereditary disability, stupidity and criminality.

    Eugenics is not euthanasia; and mainstream Galtonians do not need lectures from “liberals” who kill unborn babies or subsidize a parasitic underclass.

    However, there is are problems with a runaway technology capable of splitting atoms and splattering minds, as well as splicing genes; and we are in sore need of “philosopher kings”.

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