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Thread: Eugenics

  1. #1
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Eugenics

    The purpose of this forum is to allow us to discuss subjects without them being trolled or +1d into oblivion.

    I therefore wish to open a topic that would almost certainly need to be locked in General. Eugenics.


    Modern Eugenics

    Applied preventatively in many countries around the world (though usually not described as such). Examples include:


    United States - blood test prior to marriage in Indiana, Mississippi and Montana (mainly to test for syphilis) sometimes also test for geneticv incompatability. Public polls show support for eugenics to prevent inherited fatal genetic disease.

    Israel - "Dor Yeshorim" - screening program for a range of genetic diseases used early in pregnancy, followed by voluntary ternmination. Blood tests are often also used for "matchmaking" (arranged marriages) to screen for genetic diseases common in the fairly inbred population. Positive tests can prevent the match,

    Cyprus - prior to marriage both partners must be tested for the hereditary disease "thalassemia" - two positive tests legally prevent marriage/children.

    China - carriers of certain genetic diseases may only marry if sterilized (some provinces also make the relevant health tests compulsory). Doctors may also rule a person "unfit" to marry/procreate.

    Japan - forced sterilization and abortions for certain genetic disorders (+ leprosy).

    Russia - forced sterilisation of pyschoneurologically or genetically abnormal persons (usually women).





    Dysgenics

    Dysgenics is the concept that those with low intelligence generally have higher fertility than those with high intelligence, and thus we are evolving towards lower intelligence. Average genotypic intelligence (now that the "Flynn effect" appears to have ceased in many developed nations) is declining, in the US at least.

    Positive Eugenics

    The term "positive eugenics" is one I've invented to refer to deliberate matchmaking of genetic stock in order to promote positive characteristics. This already happens on an individual level (It's rare, for example, for a PhD doctor to have children with someone who did not complete high school).

    Personally, I want to aim for a Gattaca style system where we can gradually eliminate a lot of negative genetic traits. I also think appearance will only be relevant for another handful of decades before changing it easily will be possible, so I am not worried about "normalisation".

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Ophichius's Avatar
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    Conceptually, the idea of selectively breeding our own species for positive traits is interesting and useful in a very, very long-term view. The problem with any eugenics discussion/attempts at implementation is that A) You run into the legacy of that one German asshole and his buddies. B) It would be a human-driven system. The flaws and loopholes, and politics would invariably ruin it as an endeavor.

    It's far easier to get people to accept a sort of 'self-selecting' eugenics as we have done, avoiding breeding when it would increase the probability of immediately harmful effects to the offspring. Anything beyond that is probably not feasible over the duration it would take to actually cause major improvements in the species.

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  3. #3
    Movember '11 Ginger Excellence Movember 2011Movember 2012 sarabando's Avatar
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    i fully support eugenics to eliminated things like downs and MS ect but i think we should draw the line at things like designer babies ect.

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    Donor lt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarabando View Post
    i fully support eugenics to eliminated things like downs and MS ect but i think we should draw the line at things like designer babies ect.
    Can we? Will there not always be people pushing the border? And the more they push the bigger the risk/chance that it'll be 'the new standard'.
    Coming soon(tm).


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    Kanv's Avatar
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    Can you please define "Flynn effect" so that everyone doesn't need to use the Google?

  6. #6
    Donor Rudolf Miller's Avatar
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    Won't there be a time when 'build your own baby' genetic workmanship will become reliable enough to take parental DNA and create a child guaranteed to get the best traits? I don't have any articles at hand but I remember recently reading about how there are goals with genetic mapping eventually being able to limit genetic defects and diseases.

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    Joshua Foiritain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarabando View Post
    i fully support eugenics to eliminated things like downs and MS ect but i think we should draw the line at things like designer babies ect.
    I really don't see the problem with designer babies, it would improve the quality of life for said babies which would most likely increase quality of life for the parents as well and it helps weed out unwanted genetic issues such as increased chances of getting various diseases which will improve the general population as designer people and regular people have children.

    Plus if designer people have a reduced chance of getting major illnesses they will cost the health care system less and will be more productive. Improving humans helps everyone.

    The only two arguments against it i think of its that's its unnatural, which is just perspective, people from 200 years ago would consider many things medical science does today unnatural and that it goes against the will of god, which i don't really consider relevant as every advancement pretty goes against the will of god and we cant exactly stop advancing.



  8. #8
    Diicc Tater's Avatar
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    It's my responsibility as a perhaps to-be parent to make sure I don't put forth lizard babies.
    Seriously. I'm waiting on the tests to show how fail my genes are together with the lady's. We will also take tests to see that all is alright if we get preggers.

    We will abort if it's not all ok. If I can avoid having a child with congenital disorder I will do so. Wife demands this as well.

    My personal opinion is that you should think and talk this trough before thinking about having a child. It's a big deal.
    Hell, some people don't even think about their economics before popping one out.
    Yes, I do think it's irresponsible to not plan at least a little ahead. It is after all another individual you are about to bring into (onto? hear the world.
    I see it as a personal responsibility.

    As long as it's not used to eradicate gingers, I think it's OK. What's wrong with limiting the amount of children born with congenital disorders?

    "Positive Eugenics". "Selective" might be better.
    In my teens I read some crappy sci-fi novel where everyone was given a marker depending on their genetic profile. Only those whit matching markers would be allowed to reproduce. Don't want that.
    (One of the guys was a halfblood alien who looked like shit. The girl with matching marker was not pleased.)

    The balance between what is a desired genetic trait or not will be delicate. Do we try to tune the VMAT2 gene to reduce cases of anxiety, depression and perhaps even religiosity* (*which is not yet verified)?
    Even so, Designer-babies are still babies.

  9. #9
    Sacul's Avatar
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    There are some very well marked diseases like MS/ALS that you can screen for. But for most diseases its 'only' an increase in chance.
    Using the example of my Bipolarity its genetic, its been tested and i have the so called markers. This means my kids will have a 15% chance of having bipolar disorder (its just a serotonine imbalance disease in its root cause), with 2 parents with bipo it will be 25% so i am told.
    Now this doesnt mean they will get a lottery ticket style chance on life because besides the increased chance there also has to be a firm trigger, a process that is not understood fully yet its just clear that a emotional trauma or schock needs to happen to tip the scales.

    My point being is that while eugenics sound ok to improve the genetic stock of humanity the lines arent clear cut. And history has given enough examples of slippery slopes when it comes to judging who needs to be sterilized and who not.

    On the part of positive eugenics. There is a huge debate on nature vs. nurture. I personally believe you can give your kid a head start with good genes but its the nurture part that will make him or break him. Offcourse sometimes nature fucks up and you might have spawned some hell breed that likes to torture kittens but hey it isnt a exact science.

  10. #10

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    Eugenics is a very interesting area of science and as said earlier I think it's our best bet for eliminating a lot of diseases, especially stuff like MS and huntington's. However eugenics is a great idea in the same way that communism is a great idea. Great in theory, but doesn't work in practice due to humans being humans. It will end up as another method with which we can discriminate against our peers for our own benefit.

    Gattaca is a good example actually in terms of genetic discrimination. Were designer babies to become commonplace you can be almost guaranteed the process would be horrendously expensive, thus further alienating the rich from the poor. Institutions like the one in Gattaca would come to exist, and those who did not have a flawless genome would be left by the wayside, when it is no fault of their own; people do not choose their birth. Over hundreds of years I suppose the technology would become old enough and common enough that genetically engineered humans became the norm, but the intervening years would be a time of much heartache for much of the human race. In my opinion anyway.

    Another thing to consider is that while at the same time as genetic screening etc would eliminate a lot of hereditary diseases, the ability to pick and choose genes (especially when certain things are more popular or essential from society's viewpoint), would significantly reduce the genetic variation in the human race, increasing our susceptibility to known or unknown diseases that could come to plague us in the future
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  11. #11
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kanv View Post
    Can you please define "Flynn effect" so that everyone doesn't need to use the Google?
    Gradual increase in average IQ in developed countries since records began. No proof as to cause but likely a combination of better diet, more scope for mental development etc.

  12. #12
    מלך יהודים Zeekar's Avatar
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    You forgot to mention the option of people becoming more familiar with those tests and became better at solving them because of that.


    

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lallante View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Kanv View Post
    Can you please define "Flynn effect" so that everyone doesn't need to use the Google?
    Gradual increase in average IQ in developed countries since records began. No proof as to cause but likely a combination of better diet, more scope for mental development etc.
    Could that possibly be attributed to people in (Dare I say it) lower socio-economic groups and thus arguably less intelligent procreating more rather than actually being more fertile?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiroi Okami View Post
    However eugenics is a great idea in the same way that communism is a great idea. Great in theory, but doesn't work in practice due to humans being humans.
    this made me chuckle, tho' i guess you didn't intend it. the phrase "humans being humans" implies an essential notion of human "nature" that is indifferent to "culture". a notion that looks in the context of eugenics even more absurd than usual.

  15. #15
    Donor Aramendel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarabando View Post
    i fully support eugenics to eliminated things like downs and MS ect..
    +1. Whenever I see people whining about stuff like that "because it discriminates disabled people" I rage a bit inside. Seriously, fuck them sideways. Maybe we also shouldn't try to create a vaccinate to AIDS because it would discriminate HIV-positive people?

    Designer babies... It has some negative aspects, but it could still be a necessary step towards a better life for everyone. The problem I see is that it could lead quite literary to a 2 class society which isn't only different culturally but also genetically. Because only the rich can afford them.
    However, in time such modifications would get cheaper and cheaper so everyone can get them. And the possibilities are endless. A better immune system, a higher longevity, a total elimination of birth defects, a resistance to cancer and and and... I think it would be morally wrong to deny our descendants such a potential because we cannot make them fair for everyone from the start.

  16. #16
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiroi Okami View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lallante View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Kanv View Post
    Can you please define "Flynn effect" so that everyone doesn't need to use the Google?
    Gradual increase in average IQ in developed countries since records began. No proof as to cause but likely a combination of better diet, more scope for mental development etc.
    Could that possibly be attributed to people in (Dare I say it) lower socio-economic groups and thus arguably less intelligent procreating more rather than actually being more fertile?
    In this context "more fertile" means "procreating more".

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    IMO:

    Eugenics has positive, and negative traits surrounding it. Gene Screening (or even health screening in general) prior to matchmaking is a trick used in domestic animals, and agriculture with positive and negative results. Not quite Eugenics, which is based around making human society stronger, but effectively the same thing.

    And lets break down what I'm talking about when I talk about Eugenics:

    Eugenics is (currently) a combination of Mendelian inheritance process, and genetic pre/post screening.

    It sort of kicks evolution into high gear, but instead of natural selection, specific traits are included/excluded to produce an outcome that is not based around environmental "survival of the fittest" concerns, but rather, what the human deems to be good.

    In that light, Eugenics, much like domesticated selective breeding programs, or GM crops... has the capacity to perform tremendous good in society. And, depending on environmental variables, could easily narrow the breadth of humanity to such an extent that we are a small change away from extinction.

    I support Eugenics for a populace, in both a positive, and negative context. I think partners being aware of what they are getting into by marrying another individual is a wonderful thing. I do not agree with restricting the personal choice to continue with a marriage because of a specific result, however.

    I think lowered birth rate modification to the human genotype would yield positive effects, but I have to temper that with the knowledge that unless you were in a position to dictate that to everyone... Whomever is left out would simply out-populate you.

    Adopting a Negative Eugenics program needs to be handled with extreme care, and only be used for reasons that provide a definitive benefit to society, from a scientific standpoint. I.E. Aborting a child due to their hair color, or prohibiting parents from breeding because the mendelian process indicates a high probability for a non-social-impact problem (freckles, 6 fingers instead of 5, etc...) is a big no-go in my book. To put it concisely; fuck designer babies, I'll take the more diverse, less psycho society for 1000, alex.

    A Positive Eugenics program would require definitive proof that 2 smart people produce a better child; and make that without regard to the environment in which they are raised. I.E. You take a newborn from a couple with 1 High School Diploma between them, and a Newborn from an astrophysicist+inventor, place them in an EQUAL environment, and see how they develop and turn out. And you do that multiple times, until you have a solid data set that proves it. Then I'll buy off on eggheads getting laid for the populations sake. Or, better yet, an egg+sperm harvest so you can create smart-babies on the fly, and use the lower intelligence population as a donor uterus.

    But, using Eugenics as a way to get black haired, blue eyed babies without birthmarks is a bad move. Not just because it creates an "elite" society, but because humanity themselves tend to want what everyone else has; and that means a weakness in the system that you don't recognize before it becomes the standard of a generation can easily spell an extinction event.

  18. #18
    Donor Sponk's Avatar
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    The problem of dumb people used to be solved by conscription. That went away once politicians realised that an army full of bads is a bad army.
    Contract stuff to Seraphina Amaranth.

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  19. #19
    FourFiftyFour's Avatar
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    Many people get caught up in the naturalistic fallacy, that what comes natural is better than what doesn't.

    This applies to natural birth, non monogamous relationships and the list goes on.

    LS6

  20. #20
    untilted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramendel View Post
    Designer babies... It has some negative aspects, but it could still be a necessary step towards a better life for everyone. The problem I see is that it could lead quite literary to a 2 class society which isn't only different culturally but also genetically. Because only the rich can afford them.
    However, in time such modifications would get cheaper and cheaper so everyone can get them. And the possibilities are endless. A better immune system, a higher longevity, a total elimination of birth defects, a resistance to cancer and and and... I think it would be morally wrong to deny our descendants such a potential because we cannot make them fair for everyone from the start.
    but will you consider your descendants still as "your (grand-)children"?

    or rather as some commodity you ordered at a lab, that should fulfill your desire for (genetic-)perfection to 100%? if the child doesn't turn out as promised (as the genes aren't as deterministic as many hope) will you file a complaint at the company about "bad quality" of their offered service? or will you still shrug it off as "fate"?

    or the other way around - with possibility comes responsibility. if parents can't/won't afford the best of the best, will they be able to appease their children for not being "responsible" enough?

    while the idea of a better world through technology sounds often desirable and is often portrayed as the present, just better, it is often forgotten that this better world of tomorrow likely won't resemble anything we experience today. but one thing will be certain, the better life everyone wishes for, won't come by technology (atleast not alone) - it never did. because discrimination, oppression and exclusion won't be solved by technology.

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