Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Dangers and Potentials Eugenics, And Should We Pursue It?

Eugenics is the practice of "weeding out" the faults in humans as a whole, and promoting the growth of the strengths. Similarly to how we cultivate and produce larger and healthier food stocks, Eugenics tries to make just the strongest and healthiest of humans to reproduce. Francis Galton coined and developed the term "Eugenics" in the 1800's after his cousin, Charles Darwin, published "The Origin of Species" in 1859. Francis was fascinated by this idea and pushed it to the limits in regards to human development. 

Eugenics was pushed for in the United States in the early 1900's, and was seen the case of Carrie Buck to have the potential of horrifying results. This article shows the danger of Eugenics.

Emma Buck, Carrie Buck's mother, was deemed "feeble minded" and "sexually promiscuous." With this Carrie was sent to a mental asylum. Shortly after Carrie Buck, who was considered to have a similar condition, was sent to the same asylum after giving birth to an illegitimate child, Vivian. Vivian at 6 months old was also said to be not of average standards, "below average." Carrie and Emma were sterilized. Even Carrie's younger sister was told she was getting an appendicitis surgery and was sterilized. These accusations of being below average, and feeble minded were based on no solid grounds. Both Carrie and her daughter, Vivian, placed in honors in school.

The idea of Eugenics comes from a good place. Quite literally the name comes from "eu" in Greek being good, and "-genes" being born. The potential of the future of mankind being hyper intelligent, healthy, and strong is a good goal to strive for, but the road to this goal must be tread on carefully.

Any discussion of Eugenics also will eventually discuss the Nazi's of World War II. Hitler pushed the ideas of building a stronger nation with the concepts that Eugenics were built upon. But like the Carrie Buck case, there are dangers that must be considered when sterilization and even genocide are brought into the picture.

Eugenics has a long history of terrifying results. But should we as a species stop all "tampering" of the gene pool? Along the same vein of genetic faults being hindered, and strengths being enhanced in Eugenics as we knew it, modern Eugenics, genetic enhancement, is making strong steps to building a healthier human race as this article highlights.

Modern Eugenics identifies the genetic flaws in people and can potentially heal or cure the ailments of man. Things like blindness and sicknesses can be cured.

The idea of Eugenics is good, but to implement it is difficult. We as a human race are not perfect and our decisions are far from perfect. Like in the case of Carrie Buck, we could, and do, make improper judgement. And in this case the judgement of whether or not a person is mentally below average is a slipper slope. Maybe in terms of mental strength and other such cases where we must use our judgement, we should wait until we are able to definitively state whether a person is on one side or the other.

But this raises the point of whether we should pursue Eugenics as a whole or not. In cases such as genetic disorders and even life crippling diseases that result in a life long struggle with pain and handicap, should the decision of whether or not the parents should prevent their potential child to go through this life be made?

I believe that in the most extreme cases of genetic faults decisions should be made. If a child is to be determined with genetic certainty to have a life long crippling disease that will be passed down continuously, I think that it would be better to save this life from such misery.

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