June 5, 2016

Is Individuality the Savior of Eugenics?

Nathaniel Comfort, Associate Professor of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, takes a look at the dark history and bright future of eugenics in the US.

According to wiki;
Eugenics is the bio-social movement which advocates practices to improve the genetic composition of a population, usually a human population. It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human hereditary traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of more desired people and traits, and reduced reproduction of less desired people and traits.

from the article;
"Some of the new eugenicists have been coy about the term: “In point of fact, we practise eugenics when we screen for Down’s syndrome, and other chromosomal or genetic abnormalities,” said Savulescu in a 2005 interview. “The reason we don’t define that sort of thing as ‘eugenics’, as the Nazis did, is because it’s based on choice. It’s about enhancing people’s freedom rather than reducing it.” However, others called a spade a spade."

I don't see why the author talks about calling a spade a spade. To me the "old" eugenics sounds nothing like what the article describes as "personal" eugenics, so why would we want to hang onto that word? "Personal" eugenics is about the individual and his freedom of choice, "old" eugenics was the exact opposite, the state telling you how to walk, talk and look and if you didn't conform to their ideal you were not allowed to reproduce and were likely to be sterilized or worse...

Personally I would prefer to move away from the eugenics label as it has a lot of negative baggage, baggage which will have to be conquered before any parent would even consider applying it to their child. We call children whose genetic makeup has been manipulated designer babies, why not call the process designing? It sure sounds more personal and artistic compared to the historic and dark connotations the word eugenics brings up.

"If collectivism carries the risks of the slavish embrace of ideology and the concentration of power, individualism carries the risks of selfishness and lack of foresight."

The Kinks - Dedicated follower of Fashion ( Orig. Promo)

> http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/08/23/is-individuality-the-savior-of-eugenics/
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics_in_the_United_States
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_genetic_engineering

Photo below; Piccinini - Undivided | Patricia Piccinini has an ambivalent attitude towards technology. She is keenly interested in how contemporary ideas of nature, the natural and the artificial are changing our society. Specific works have addressed concerns about biotechnology, such as gene therapy and ongoing research to map the human genome... she is also fascinated by the mechanisms of consumer culture - http://www.patriciapiccinini.net/

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