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View Poll Results: Do you support eugenics?

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  1. #161
    Senior Member TheCheeseBurgerKing's Avatar
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    @ygolo I never said that I wanted to steralize 10% of the population either, I started on this thread by saying I thought limiting their birth after a certain point was a good idea.

    Instead of asking me what I think like an intelligient adult, you just keep trying to trap me in what I've already said, lol.

    Here's fresh start.

    I simply think that genetic manipulation, in theory, is good.
    I am not familiar with the history of what has happened with eugenics in communistic countries.
    No, I do not think that Joseph Stalin's ghost should come back and kill all of the mentally handiapped people.
    I do think that the idea of reducing mentally handicapped people is good.
    Because of that belief, I would advocate research on the subject of manipulation.
    Like I said, i understand that tampering with genes is dangerous.
    I get that for this to be done in an ethical manner, I would have to happen quite gradually.
    I also know that communism has not worked in the past 100 years.
    No, I am no going to start a communist movement.

    Any other questions?


    EDIT: I just saw your last edit. I agree mostly. I mean I guess if it were really that cut and dry then I don't have one. I made my earlier point under the assumption that the better genes could be isolated. Either way though, research can never be a bad thing.
    @ygolo
    Now I'm starting to see what I believe to be your point. That eugenics movements have good intentions, but they are mislead and will not achieve what they set out to do. Just like communism.

  2. #162

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    @collierm48 I certainly was not trying to be condescending. But I was frustrated by what I saw as a misunderstanding of what I was saying. When I say things like "you failed to understand ___", I simply mean that I think you didn't understand ___. I don't like status or things of that sort. I know that my tendency to use facts when I argue can seem as if I am trying to be smarter.

    But I am actually just trying to either convince you of something, and this is the way I have been trained to think and argue--Close to the facts, using logic and math, and trying to elicit enough of an emotional response so that people look at the facts and the logic.

    Also, I would like for people to struggle less for sure.

    However, "Eugenics" is not just an idea to many people. The philosophy of Eugenics as it is usually conceived is based on the following errors:
    1) We know genetically what is good or bad
    2) By controlling reproduction we can control how much good or bad we have

    Neither of these things are true. Rather:
    1) Only nature knows what is fit or unfit genetically
    2) Controlling reproduction even to control traits we want is clumsy and can have unforseen consequences.

    Those are my points.

    My question to you is then, what was the vision you had for eugenics? How would this be done in an ethical manner?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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  3. #163
    Senior Member TheCheeseBurgerKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    @collierm48 I certainly was not trying to be condescending. But I was frustrated by what I saw as a misunderstanding of what I was saying. When I say things like "you failed to understand ___", I simply mean that I think you didn't understand ___. I don't like status or things of that sort. I know that my tendency to use facts when I argue can seem as if I am trying to be smarter.

    But I am actually just trying to either convince you of something, and this is the way I have been trained to think and argue--Close to the facts, using logic and math, and trying to elicit enough of an emotional response so that people look at the facts and the logic.

    Also, I would like for people to struggle less for sure.

    However, "Eugenics" is not just an idea to many people. The philosophy of Eugenics as it is usually conceived is based on the following errors:
    1) We know genetically what is good or bad
    2) By controlling reproduction we can control how much good or bad we have

    Neither of these things are true. Rather:
    1) Only nature knows what is fit or unfit genetically
    2) Controlling reproduction even to control traits we want is clumsy and can have unforseen consequences.

    Those are my points.

    My question to you is then, what was the vision you had for eugenics? How would this be done in an ethical manner?
    My vision was to simply make the population struggle less, as I'm sure was the vision of SilentMusings.
    Earlier on it seemed like people were trying to argue that mentally handicapped could be handy in the future.

    When you said that you couldn't tell which features would be beneficial in the future, it seemed like you were saying that mentally handicapped people had some sort of feature that non-MH'd people didn't and that just maybe we would want that in the future. I was simply arguing that this would never be the case.
    Now I know that we agree on this.

    You were trying to say that the genes need to be left un-touched because we can't simply modify genes for there to be "less struggle". That genetic make-up is very complicated and so therefore we should leave it be.

    What I was suggesting be done is something that isn't possible at this point in time. But I do think that we should continue to research to further our knowledge on the subject of genetic manipulation so that maybe in the future we can have a great deal of control over which genes are past on through insemination. This would be the absolute best scenario because we could sure handedly and safely produce less struggle.

    It seems to me that we agreed on knowing what is good, we just don't know how to sure handedly create it.


    I do get it though. You are saying that naturally we will figure it out on our own, and that we are best off to just trust nature to take care of itself.

  4. #164

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    @collierm48 I do understand the impulse. I believe we understand where each other is coming from.

    Still, I disagree on the first two paragraphs. But it may be too late at night for me to make the distinction I was trying to make clear.

    I could be wrong, but it seemed like you are talking about the externally visible trait of mental retardation (phenotype) and controlling it as we might a breed of dog that no longer has mental retardation. Like breeding for smartness, except in people instead of dogs. Or in the case of negative Eugenics breeding out dumbness.

    My point is that there are features that we want to preserve, they just might not be externally visible phenotypes, but the genes themselves. Maybe this is just a technical point to you. But to me, it is the whole thing.

    Good vs. bad, depends on context, and what we are trying to put in context are not traits (phenotypes) but genes (genotype).

    There are some people who equate genetic manipulation with eugenics, and perhaps that includes you. I am still ambivalent about this. Gene therapy, and even designer babies are somethings I have mixed feelings about. But I am wary of using the same word for all these things.

    James Watson does advocate this version of "Eugenics". http://www.dnalc.org/view/15472-Euge...es-Watson.html But he clearly says not to let the state control it, but rather individuals. I am undecided about this particular interpretation of eugenics.

    Also, like I said, I am wary of using the same word for things like mate selection, and individuals wanting healthier offspring for themselves with state enforced sterilization of those they deem unfit (which is the Eugenics history).

    I have a similar feeling about GMOs. I think it's actually a wonderful thing to fortify staple crops in regions where malnutrition is rampant with genetically modified sorgum and such. But it is an entirely different thing to force farmers to grow that and only that (which no one I know of advocates).

    The stronger argument against doing any sort of forced genetic manipulation is the denial of someone else's will without due process.

    But the genetic complications, I think, make the whole endeavor of doing things like this en mass problematic in itself, and amplifies the moral issues that must be dealt with.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  5. #165
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    @collierm48 & @SilentMusings

    To understand how genetic instructions works, you need to stop thinking in the faulty term of traits and start thinking in the mechanical terms of what they actually manifest as - proteins.

    In a more concrete equivalent, imagine you are running an army, and one of your airforce bases is running at low efficiency. Using the over simplification of trait logic, you can argue that this army has the trait of inefficient airforce bases, and any mutation of that would be a mutation of airforce inefficiency. But a true mechanical understanding of how those systems work allows us to find out that the airforce base is running at low efficiency because people are hungry, and people are hungry because one of the logistics soldiers in the kitchen is very meticulous and is throwing away every potato that isn't perfectly round. A mutation of that "trait" wouldn't be a slight change in the result (air force base inefficiency), it would be a slight change in that soldier, where you put him or what you do with him. Retraining him to supervise ammo supplies would reduce the toll of deaths and damage due to ammo accidents considerably, and improve the base's immunity to attempts at sabotage.

    In other words - what you perceive as a broken trait is a wrench in the cogs, but that's the very same trait that has any chances to mutate into a wrench in the toolbox. The genetic mutation of a mentally handicap person is not the actual handicap in itself, but rather a protein that changed the functionality of a biological system in a way that ended up either damaging mental development or unable to provide for it, for instance a protein released in the embryo's early development that damaged neurological connectivity. But it doesn't take much mutation for that exact same protein to change the development stage it's being released in, and what stopped the development of neurological connections within early development could end up helping the brain handle dysfunctional neurological connections and result in an adult brain that is more resistant to seizures or epileptic shock.

    I hope that helps minimizing the gap here.

  6. #166

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    Quote Originally Posted by collierm48 View Post
    EDIT: I just saw your last edit. I agree mostly. I mean I guess if it were really that cut and dry then I don't have one. I made my earlier point under the assumption that the better genes could be isolated. Either way though, research can never be a bad thing.
    @ygolo
    Now I'm starting to see what I believe to be your point. That eugenics movements have good intentions, but they are mislead and will not achieve what they set out to do. Just like communism.
    Even my own counter characterization is overly simplistic. There are indeed a few such isolatable genes (in terms of percentage). But things like autism, and mental retardation (which are both very broad phenotypes) do not fall under this category.

    If I, as an individual, finds out that I have some genetic disorder that have a high probability to cause my children to be miserable, I would seriously consider not having them. If other individuals chose the same, I would not fault them for it.

    Things like contraception, and encouraging people to not have children in overcrowded and overburdened areas also makes sense to me. This form of "negative eugenics", I think, are fairly innocuous, and frankly already happening.

    However, in this thread, the discussion was framed in terms of government run eugenics aimed at blanket removal trait(phenotypes). This, obviously, I am passionately opposed to.

    When numbers were quoted it was at 10% of the population, and this made me go through the roof. Trying to do something like that, I believe, would lead to mass genocide because even if the aim was sterilization, it would be on a scale that is unprecedented.

    Frankly, I think involuntary sterilization of even one individual is morally wrong, and many others feel that way. I think a mass sterilization program of that scale implies mass genocide and war because the people aimed to be sterilized, and many more who find the action wrong would rebel. Thus, eugenics, as it seemed to be conceived in this thread (and I could have misinterpreted) was something I found appalling and ultimately self-defeating.

    But, if you were just thinking about individuals refraining from having children is certain circumstances of their own free will, that is another matter entirely, and not something I would consider "eugenics".

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  7. #167
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    Gene doping, gene therapy and a host of other emerging medical technologies are going to be a "thing" this century whether we like it or not.

    On the whole I think the upsides of tinkering with our genetic code outweigh the downsides. The tech has both a huge potential for positive impact and a huge potential for abuse.

    I'm ultimately an optimist, and think we will keep from realizing the worst case scenarios with this stuff.

    The potential to bifurcate society into those who can afford it for their kids (themselves etc.) and those who can't does pose an issue.

  8. #168
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    How about if we could even move toward encouraging voluntary sterilization? I had my tubes tied as soon as I could find a doctor that would do it, for various reasons, some having to do with passing things on, and some financial. It was considered a very rash thing to do when I did it, and it still is -- just a year or two ago a doctor who was treating me for something entirely unrelated wanted to know why on earth I didn't have children.

    If we could just promote regular birth control and make it accessible and affordable, and educate that sterilization is a good option, NOT having children is a good option, that would go a long way toward correcting things. But these small steps in themselves would be considered radical and probably blasphemous.

    At the very least, making prospective parents pass the same kinds of test that prospective adoptive parents must pass seems a good idea to me. But again, a hard sell.

  9. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
    @collierm48 & @SilentMusings

    To understand how genetic instructions works, you need to stop thinking in the faulty term of traits and start thinking in the mechanical terms of what they actually manifest as - proteins.

    In a more concrete equivalent, imagine you are running an army, and one of your airforce bases is running at low efficiency. Using the over simplification of trait logic, you can argue that this army has the trait of inefficient airforce bases, and any mutation of that would be a mutation of airforce inefficiency. But a true mechanical understanding of how those systems work allows us to find out that the airforce base is running at low efficiency because people are hungry, and people are hungry because one of the logistics soldiers in the kitchen is very meticulous and is throwing away every potato that isn't perfectly round. A mutation of that "trait" wouldn't be a slight change in the result (air force base inefficiency), it would be a slight change in that soldier, where you put him or what you do with him. Retraining him to supervise ammo supplies would reduce the toll of deaths and damage due to ammo accidents considerably, and improve the base's immunity to attempts at sabotage.

    In other words - what you perceive as a broken trait is a wrench in the cogs, but that's the very same trait that has any chances to mutate into a wrench in the toolbox. The genetic mutation of a mentally handicap person is not the actual handicap in itself, but rather a protein that changed the functionality of a biological system in a way that ended up either damaging mental development or unable to provide for it, for instance a protein released in the embryo's early development that damaged neurological connectivity. But it doesn't take much mutation for that exact same protein to change the development stage it's being released in, and what stopped the development of neurological connections within early development could end up helping the brain handle dysfunctional neurological connections and result in an adult brain that is more resistant to seizures or epileptic shock.

    I hope that helps minimizing the gap here.
    What you are suggesting is that a change in protein structure is often not deleterious and may in fact be beneficial. This might get past others, but it will not get past me and in is the most laughable thing posted on the thread yet. I don't want to divert the discussion though, so read on.

    All that you, ygolo and others have been saying rests on a weak premise: that an unfavourable change in structure & hence function now might become useful in the future. However, you cannot say when, or even if this will be the case, which greatly weakens your argument. Back in the real world, millions of people live shitty lives due to inherited disorders - the probability is that changes in the genetic code will have no or a negative effect, and as evolution works over generations, sudden environmental stresses will not favour a useful mutation that has just appeared in the population. I have explained why this is so earlier.

    To take your latest example, for the one advantage listed, think of all the disadvantages. Dysfunctional neurological connections early in a person's life could lead to a whole range of physical and mental issues.

  10. #170
    Senior Member TheCheeseBurgerKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Gene doping, gene therapy and a host of other emerging medical technologies are going to be a "thing" this century whether we like it or not.

    On the whole I think the upsides of tinkering with our genetic code outweigh the downsides. The tech has both a huge potential for positive impact and a huge potential for abuse.

    I'm ultimately an optimist, and think we will keep from realizing the worst case scenarios with this stuff.
    I agree with this guy.

    To @ygolo and the other guy, I see the point that you two are trying to make, but you're guys are overthinking it in my opinion.


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