Cleansing the Human Gene Pool

What would you do if?

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Choakem
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Cleansing the Human Gene Pool

Post #1

Post by Choakem »

This is an argument that I've had with a theist friend of mine...
Background. Throughout evolution all life that has had defective genes have failed to reproduce or have died out. We(humans) are the only species that helps those with disabilities to pass on their defective genes to their off spring costing the tax payers Billions in education extras and support etc...


Assumption - We have full knowledge of the human DNA code....

Lets assume I'm overlord of the world:

I wish to pass new legislation that would put the following into LAW.

All pregnant women when having their 1st scan will have a small piece of DNA taken from the unborn child. The DNA is analyzed and if there are genetic markers that indicate defective genes then that child MUST be aborted. Within just a generation or two we could eradicate many genetic disorders.

Here is a small sample of what we could remove from the human gene pool
Down Syndrome, Cystic fibrosis, Haemophilia etc

It could be possibly argued that Cancer, Alcohol , Drug dependency could be factored by our Genes...

Who knows - Lets kill all Gay people (Is Gay genetic?) -

Taking the argument to extreme I suppose but you all get the general idea. I'm talking from an advancement of the Human Race here from a Genetic point of view...

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bluethread
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Post #21

Post by bluethread »

Ooberman wrote:
I was using rhetorical flourish to highlight what I see as the issue.
You mean to highlight one possible consequence that favors your view on the issue, out of the many possible consequences that might not favor that view. Whether it was your intention or not, rhetorical flourish often confuses the issue in the mind of the undisciplined reader.
1. The can be, at times, moral reasons to increase our knowledge of biology and to help save people. We are able to learn and help, why wouldn't we?
Ah, the gnostic argument, ie more knowledge is always better and leads to a better life. Have you not heard, "Ignorance is bliss". :dance2: Seriously though, knowledge is a virtue, but not an imparative. Throughout the ages, people have lived fine productive lives, while people die from various causes. They ahve also been able to cope with the idea that just because a thing can be done, does not mean it must be done at any cost. It is only in modern times and in first world countries, like these United States, that the argument that all people have the right to be kept alive for as long as possible has held any sway.
2. Some times this same research and technology can be detrimental, but it is through an abuse of the technology, not a result of the technology. None of that seems to remove the moral duty (that if one can help, one should try to help, even with some acceptable risk for abuse). I think we all agree this is a fine moral principle, perhaps the very definition of morals and moral duty.
Where have I heard this arguement . . . let me see . . . Ya, that's it, the first chapter of every mad scientist book that has ever been written. One need not even look to fiction. The transplantation of Frankenstein's monster fame is now common place and, thanks to obamacare, must be covered by every insurance policy in these United States. Some wonder why healthcare costs are so high. Well, there is one reason. This concept of "free health care for all" has seperated the consumer from the true cost of these procedures, let alone such ethical issues as organ farming.
3. If the moral reason fails, and there is no moral reason to mess with our genes, it's immaterial: someone is going to do it. The results of an immoral persons exploration of knowledge, alone, represents a far greater risk to all our survival that it is Objectively Good, IF we want to persist as a species or individual, to encourage the best and brightest of our species to explore advantages to our survival.
Now it is the elitist or cold war arguement, ie they can't be trusted with it, but we can, so we better get it first before they do. What makes you think that we can be trusted with this knowledge? As I elluded to above, modern societies are very good at existential moralization, ie what is is right and all other moral considerations soon are shouted down with the "so you are going to let them die" argument. At it's core this is a "survival of the fittest" arguement and historically will always redound to the wealthy and well placed. Admittedly, private industry or authoritarian governments may examine genetic engineering, as Nazi germany did. However, appealing to a threat to personal or national security is hardly justification for extorting funding from the citizens in a free society. Should we have toyed with physical eugenics in the 1940's, because Nazi germany did, just as we did with the atomic bomb and facism?
All of this seems axiomatic. Only by introducing religion does the issue get cloudy.
A little clarification here. Are you saying that the principles in those three point have been universally axiomatic? Gnosticism, humanitarianism, elitism and protectionism have been argued back and forth for millenia. I also, think you mean theistic philosophy and not religion. The definition of that term has become a bit mudded over time, but religion is not a set of beliefs, but a set of activities based on those beliefs. With that in mind, let's continue.
Suddenly harm and good are dependent on God, not our collective survival. In fact, God cares so little for our individual and our species survival that He placed us in an incredibly hostile environment that it seems he was willing to have collateral damage, whether we sinned or not.
Also, suddenly, we have to guess as to what the Purpose of Life is in order to answer the question of whether we should pursue genetic engineering the human species, even if it meant the eradication of "kinds" of people.
Well, I do not recall bring theism into this discussion, but since you introduced it, the arguments opposed to your take on those four principles have not been limited to monotheists or theists in general. I do admit that a good majority of modern atheists are scientific humanists and you take on these principles are closely related to scientific humanism. However, not using extrordinary means to keep people with certain major disorders alive is not eradication. Eradication is a form of active manipulation not passive indifference, much like the activities of the "scientists" of Nazi germany. Theistic phylosophy does find fault with passive indifference, but that is usually directed at personal indifference, not the balancing of the rights and responsibilities of one set of individuals against those of another by a government. In short, religious philosophy is not the only place one finds a reluctance for a society to engage in genetic engineering. In fact, some theist support genetic engineering on the basis of the prohibition of passive indifference as a religious tenet.
I am not claiming I'd like to make those choices, but I don't see it being a moral dilemma 1000 years from now when they have perfected the ability to remove all disadvantageous traits and still preserve Free Will, Creativity, Diversity and all the other things we value as being "Human". (If this is possible)

There is no reason we need to create a homogeneous society, since it doesn't make sense (it's a threat to our survival).
That is a big if. Also, we "less evolved" indiviuals may have no such need, but the "genetically enhansed" may not feel that same way, when the time comes.
The path is very clear under a non-theistic frame of morality. It also matches with the use of Reason.

Using a theistic frame of reference, as evidenced, and logically proved, guessing at God's preference only creates confusion in ethics.
So, how does it feel to have no confusion in your ethics? It, must be nice to have the path cleared of those pesky "Purpose of Life" questions. One can just go down the path of scientific discovery directed by logic without having to respect personal preferences and rights.

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Ooberman
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Post #22

Post by Ooberman »

bluethread wrote: Ah, the gnostic argument, ie more knowledge is always better and leads to a better life. Have you not heard, "Ignorance is bliss". :dance2: Seriously though, knowledge is a virtue, but not an imparative. Throughout the ages, people have lived fine productive lives, while people die from various causes. They ahve also been able to cope with the idea that just because a thing can be done, does not mean it must be done at any cost. It is only in modern times and in first world countries, like these United States, that the argument that all people have the right to be kept alive for as long as possible has held any sway.
I'm unclear of your position.

If we could help, should we help? We aren't talking about keeping people alive despite their wishes.

For example, if we have the opportunity to operate on a ruptured appendix, should we? (If the person wants it?)


Where have I heard this arguement . . . let me see . . . Ya, that's it, the first chapter of every mad scientist book that has ever been written. One need not even look to fiction. The transplantation of Frankenstein's monster fame is now common place and, thanks to obamacare, must be covered by every insurance policy in these United States. Some wonder why healthcare costs are so high. Well, there is one reason. This concept of "free health care for all" has seperated the consumer from the true cost of these procedures, let alone such ethical issues as organ farming.
I am unclear of your position. Do you believe that there are cases in which we might help despite some acceptable harm?

BTW, the place you might have heard it before is from Christian Apologetics: The Free Will argument. It's also the basis of Utilitarianism. It's the basis for a lot of things.


That's why I consider it axiomatic.

You seem to be arguing otherwise. Can you clarify?
Now it is the elitist or cold war arguement, ie they can't be trusted with it, but we can, so we better get it first before they do. What makes you think that we can be trusted with this knowledge? As I elluded to above, modern societies are very good at existential moralization, ie what is is right and all other moral considerations soon are shouted down with the "so you are going to let them die" argument. At it's core this is a "survival of the fittest" arguement and historically will always redound to the wealthy and well placed. Admittedly, private industry or authoritarian governments may examine genetic engineering, as Nazi germany did. However, appealing to a threat to personal or national security is hardly justification for extorting funding from the citizens in a free society. Should we have toyed with physical eugenics in the 1940's, because Nazi germany did, just as we did with the atomic bomb and facism?
We do toy with eugenics.

I am unclear of your position. Should we allow people to do genetic research for good purposes? Or should we only allow a "black market" of sorts for research into genetics?


Let's establish our common ground before we debate the topic.

You are commenting on examples of what we have done, I am trying to understand your basis for morality in these issues. I am trying to understand what you think is Good and Right, and then have you defend it.
Thinking about God's opinions and thinking about your own opinions uses an identical thought process. - Tomas Rees

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Re: Cleansing the Human Gene Pool

Post #23

Post by Charming Anarchist »

Choakem wrote:Lets assume I'm overlord of the world:

I wish to pass new legislation that would put the following into LAW.

All pregnant women when having their 1st scan will have a small piece of DNA taken from the unborn child. The DNA is analyzed and .....
.... like every other person who replaces God with Government, you (and your underlings) will eventually go bankrupt as you run out of people to rob to finance your dreams and desires. Your model is structured to fail and will lead to chaos.

That being said, you will get your wish anyway to cleanse the human gene pool eventually. Our world today is following that trajectory. Governments (and the people who worship them) are going bankrupt and they resort to warfare to finance their nonsense. The end result will be social degredation and mankind will regress to a socially primitive state. Nobody (as opposed to the select few today) will be able to afford our modern medical luxuries anymore. It will be survival of the fittest once again. Man will have no choice but to love his neighbor as himself if he wants to survive.

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Post #24

Post by SailingCyclops »

McCulloch wrote: .... The tinkering you describe would not be advisable until we know way more about genetics than we currently do.
I agree in principle. However, we are currently "tinkering" with natural selection in a very un-scientific, and irresponsible way. We have thoughtlessly polluted our environment with chemicals and radiation which can alter genetic material. That in itself isn't a big problem, but we then interfere further by using modern medicine to insure those damaged genes are propagated. In vetro, fertility treatments ......

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Re: Cleansing the Human Gene Pool

Post #25

Post by shnarkle »

Choakem wrote: This is an argument that I've had with a theist friend of mine...
Background. Throughout evolution all life that has had defective genes have failed to reproduce or have died out. We(humans) are the only species that helps those with disabilities to pass on their defective genes to their off spring costing the tax payers Billions in education extras and support etc...
We are also a species that voluntarily aborts our own offspring when there is absolutely nothing wrong with them to begin with. This in itself is a trait of those who are better off not reproducing so we see that nature has a way of thinning the herd of those who we don't need or even want around. The less insane people we have the better, right?

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Post #26

Post by otseng »

shnarkle wrote:The less insane people we have the better, right?
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Re: Cleansing the Human Gene Pool

Post #27

Post by nobspeople »

Choakem wrote: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:26 pm This is an argument that I've had with a theist friend of mine...
Background. Throughout evolution all life that has had defective genes have failed to reproduce or have died out. We(humans) are the only species that helps those with disabilities to pass on their defective genes to their off spring costing the tax payers Billions in education extras and support etc...


Assumption - We have full knowledge of the human DNA code....

Lets assume I'm overlord of the world:

I wish to pass new legislation that would put the following into LAW.

All pregnant women when having their 1st scan will have a small piece of DNA taken from the unborn child. The DNA is analyzed and if there are genetic markers that indicate defective genes then that child MUST be aborted. Within just a generation or two we could eradicate many genetic disorders.

Here is a small sample of what we could remove from the human gene pool
Down Syndrome, Cystic fibrosis, Haemophilia etc

It could be possibly argued that Cancer, Alcohol , Drug dependency could be factored by our Genes...

Who knows - Lets kill all Gay people (Is Gay genetic?) -

Taking the argument to extreme I suppose but you all get the general idea. I'm talking from an advancement of the Human Race here from a Genetic point of view...

Do we want to rid the world of those people that constantly get booked on trash TV shows (Jerry, Maury, etc)? If we do, what enjoyment would there to be had in humanity? :D
Seriously though, I'd think if this were possible it would have to be done in secret for sure as not everyone would come in to agreement over what to keep and what not to keep.
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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Re: Cleansing the Human Gene Pool

Post #28

Post by Purple Knight »

Choakem wrote: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:26 pmI wish to pass new legislation that would put the following into LAW.

All pregnant women when having their 1st scan will have a small piece of DNA taken from the unborn child. The DNA is analyzed and if there are genetic markers that indicate defective genes then that child MUST be aborted. Within just a generation or two we could eradicate many genetic disorders.
If you had this knowledge you would have no need to abort children. Instead, only allow clean gametes to combine and make a zygote.

If this is wrong it can only be because there actually is a god and it actually wishes this suffering on us for some reason. It wishes people to have down syndrome or progeria or whatever else you've got. I'm not saying there's no possible reason for a benevolent God to want this; I'm saying that without such an entity wanting this, there wouldn't be any reason not to do it.

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