Friday, February 29, 2008

Slippery Slope of Eugenics

Sir Francis Galton was a cousin of Charles Darwin and a supporter of eugenics. He believed that society, by protecting the weak, was hindering the process of natural selection and, as a result, hindering the progress of the human race. He believed eugenics was the remedy. This is what Galton had to say about eugenics:

I propose to show in this book that a man's natural abilities are derived by inheritance, under exactly the same limitations as are the form and physical features of the whole organic world. Consequently, as it is easy, notwithstanding those limitations, to obtain by careful selection a permanent breed of dogs or horses gifted with peculiar powers of running, or of doing anything else, so it would be quite practicable to produce a highly-gifted race of men by judicious marriages during several consecutive generations.

If you have read my previous posts, then it is quite obvious what I believe about eugenics. I mean, does it bother anyone else that humans are compared to dogs and horses? Suppose that humans are animals and nothing more. Then free will is an illusion and you never really chose to read this blog. Morality is an illusion and Hitler wasn't necessarily "wrong" because wrong doesn't exist. In fact the only thing that can be said about Hitler's actions is that they were harmful. And since there are no Shoulds and Oughts then humans can act however they want. Why should I care about the human race. I am temporary and so is the human race. So forget eugenics, I will take care of myself. And I won't be "wrong" in doing so.
I believe that we have free will and I believe that morality exists. So there must be something else about humans. We are more than some long string of genetic code, don't you think?
Back to eugenics. Who would be doing the selecting? What criterion would be used to determine if I am eligible to make babies? It seems like a slippery slope. At the start only major genetic defects are targeted for elimination from the gene pool by the eugenics program. Then less severe defects like ADHD and scoliosis. Then things like learning disabilities are targeted... Then things like albinism. Then fair skin in general. Then light colored hair. Then curly hair. Then left-handedness. Then ...


Ian B said...

-"Then free will is an illusion and you never really chose to read this blog"
Is it friday at five yet?

Cheney said...

"Suppose that humans are animals and nothing more. Then free will is an illusion and you never really chose to read this blog."
I'm not sure if potentially here you are saying animals have no free will. I guess you mean it in the context of domesticated animals and selective breeding which makes sense but for other animals who's to say they don't have free will?

Kyle Caffey said...

I would say that anything that is simply matter and energy has no free will. Where would free will come from? Is free will made out energy or matter?