Friday, February 15, 2008

Ugly people shouldn't reproduce.

Throughout much of the reading for this week, VAS covers the idea of specific genetic reproduction, only certain people should be able to procreate. It talks about how homeless, alcoholics, prostitutes, criminals, antisocial, and those with other "hereditary diseases", should be "snipped in the bud". (122) Along with this Herman Muller, geneticist and 1962 Nobel Laureate said:

"Probably close to 20 percent of the population. . . have inherited a genetic defect. . .To avoid genetic degeneration, then, that 20 percent should not be allowed to reach sexual maturity."(119)

However, when two people have a kid, isn't there always a heterogeneous trait?

I'm going to use my niece as an example. She has blond hair and blue eyes. My sister and her husband are both Hispanic, with brown hair and eyes. Now either the milkman played a role, or it was this heterogeneous trait.; probably the latter. Point being, even if two perfectly normal people had a child, isn't there still the chance the child will have a genetic defect?

And another thing that caught my eye. I was really shocked to find out that not only Muller, but other noble laureates, and even Mensa advocated the extermination of the genetically inferior. I figured since these were the smartest people in the world, they would be able to come up with better solution, because the idea they pose seems a bit barbaric.


Sterbenz said...

First off i would like to point out that by no means are Mensa members the smartest people in the world. To join Mensa all you have to do is pass some test, which basically says you have an IQ of above 145. All that means is that you can pass that test, it doesn't mean you know everything. Just putting that out there.
And i think your assertion is totally correct. Personally i have always been a nurture over nature person and i also think that people get to make most of their own decisions.
I do also like how the book pokes holes in its own theory though. it says that none of these people should be able to reproduce, but it also points out how many great thinkers there have been with average parents. these parents carry the "genius" gene along with others, so why can't all you alcoholics and prostitutes carry this gene as well. So the book advocates taking aways the ability of certain people to procreate and then says that almost everyone should be allowed to procreate because we still don't actually know what is going to come out in the end. Strange huh??

kdl63 said...

first off, nice title. I knew I just had to read it. Next, I think Mensa is a crock. Knowledge and wisdom are two totally different things and an IQ test only measures common knowledge. It would seem that these people would be the most capable of developing wisdom, but doesn't mean that they actually have it.

Ian B said...

At the very least, the Intelligence Quotient is an empirical estimation of "intelligence" and I dont think that anyone has ever equated it to the elusive "wisdom". Also, I may be reading the book differently, but I dont really see that the book is supportive of eugenics. If it was, I think the quotes would be a bit more convincing. They seem shocking to us because we exist in a different cultural and historical context and I think the author intends to eploit that.

emma said...

i was shocked by all those quotes as well. i'm not saying that these people are the smartest in the world, but they're definitely held in very high regard by very many people. and what's to say that all those very many people wouldn't adopt those views as well, they are loyal fans/ admirers/ followers/ believers/ supporters. how difficult would it be to convince enough people-powerful people-that it was time to cleanse and purify the human race?

Jay said...

Strangely, Vas says Hermann Muller was a 1962 Nobel laureate when he actually won the prize in 1946 (for the discovery of x-ray mutations) according to wikipedia. This changes things a bit I think since those were very early days in the science of genetics. His view was probably common among people who studied eugenics at the time, but in those days I think this study wasn't very scientific, and not much like the study of genetics today.

Ian B said...

I think Vas was saying that the quote itself was from 1962 and that Hermann Muller was a Nobel laureate of an indeterminate year