Eugenics and the Future of the Human Species

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Modern eugenicists distance themselves fromrepparttar crude methods adopted atrepparttar 127672 beginning ofrepparttar 127673 last century by 29 countries, including Germany, The United States, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Venezuela, Estonia, Argentina, Norway, Denmark, Sweden (until 1976), Brazil, Italy, Greece, and Spain.

They talk about free contraceptives for low-IQ women, vasectomies or tubal ligations for criminals, sperm banks with contributions from high achievers, and incentives for college students to procreate. Modern genetic engineering and biotechnology are readily applicable to eugenic projects. Cloning can serve to preserverepparttar 127674 genes ofrepparttar 127675 fittest. Embryo selection and prenatal diagnosis of genetically diseased embryos can reducerepparttar 127676 number ofrepparttar 127677 unfit.

But even these innocuous variants of eugenics fly inrepparttar 127678 face of liberalism. Inequality, claimrepparttar 127679 proponents of hereditary amelioration, is genetic, not environmental. All men are created unequal and as much subject torepparttar 127680 natural laws of heredity as are cows and bees. Inferior people give birth to inferior offspring and, thus, propagate their inferiority.

Even if this were true - which is at best debatable -repparttar 127681 question is whetherrepparttar 127682 inferior specimen of our species possessrepparttar 127683 inalienable right to reproduce? If society is to bearrepparttar 127684 costs of over-population - social welfare, medical care, daycare centers - then society hasrepparttar 127685 right to regulate procreation. But does it haverepparttar 127686 right to act discriminately in doing so?

Another dilemma is whether we haverepparttar 127687 moral right - let alonerepparttar 127688 necessary knowledge - to interfere with natural as well as social and demographic trends. Eugenicists counter that contraception and indiscriminate medicine already do just that. Yet, studies show thatrepparttar 127689 more affluent and educated a population becomes -repparttar 127690 less fecund it is. Birth rates throughoutrepparttar 127691 world have dropped dramatically already.

Instead of cullingrepparttar 127692 great unwashed andrepparttar 127693 unworthy - wouldn't it be a better idea to educate them (or their off-spring) and provide them with economic opportunities (euthenics rather than eugenics)? Human populations seem to self-regulate. A gentle and persistent nudge inrepparttar 127694 right direction - of increased affluence and better schooling - might achieve more than a hundred eugenic programs, voluntary or compulsory.

That eugenics presents itself not merely as a biological-social agenda, but as a panacea, ought to arouse suspicion. The typical eugenics text reads more like a catechism than a reasoned argument. Previous all-encompassing and omnicompetent plans tended to end traumatically - especially when they contrasted a human elite with a dispensable underclass of persons.

Above all, eugenics is about human hubris. To presume to know better thanrepparttar 127695 lottery of life is haughty. Modern medicine largely obviatesrepparttar 127696 need for eugenics in that it allows even genetically defective people to lead pretty normal lives. Of course, Man himself - being part of Nature - may be regarded as nothing more than an agent of natural selection. Still, many ofrepparttar 127697 arguments advanced in favor of eugenics can be turned against it with embarrassing ease.

Consider sick children. True, they are a burden to society and a probable menace torepparttar 127698 gene pool ofrepparttar 127699 species. But they also inhibit further reproduction in their family by consumingrepparttar 127700 financial and mental resources ofrepparttar 127701 parents. Their genes - however flawed - contribute to genetic diversity. Even a badly mutated phenotype sometimes yields precious scientific knowledge and an interesting genotype.

The implicit Weltbild of eugenics is static - butrepparttar 127702 real world is dynamic. There is no such thing as a "correct" genetic makeup towards which we must all strive. A combination of genes may be perfectly adaptable to one environment - but woefully inadequate in another. It is therefore prudent to encourage genetic diversity or polymorphism.

The more rapidlyrepparttar 127703 world changes,repparttar 127704 greaterrepparttar 127705 value of mutations of all sorts. One never knows whether today's maladaptation will not prove to be tomorrow's winner. Ecosystems are invariably comprised of niches and different genes - even mutated ones - may fit different niches.

Inrepparttar 127706 18th century most peppered moths in Britain were silvery gray, indistinguishable from lichen-covered trunks of silver birches - their habitat. Darker moths were gobbled up by rapacious birds. Their mutated genes proved to be lethal. As soot from sprouting factories blackened these trunks -repparttar 127707 very same genes, hitherto fatal, became an unmitigated blessing. The blacker specimen survived while their hitherto perfectly adapted fairer brethren perished ("industrial melanism"). This mode of natural selection is called directional.

Moreover, "bad" genes are often connected to "desirable genes" (pleitropy). Sickle cell anemia protects certain African tribes against malaria. This is called "diversifying or disruptive natural selection". Artificial selection can thus fast deteriorate into adverse selection due to ignorance.

Modern eugenics relies on statistics. It is no longer concerned with causes - but with phenomena andrepparttar 127708 likely effects of intervention. Ifrepparttar 127709 adverse traits of off-spring and parents are strongly correlated - then preventing parents with certain undesirable qualities from multiplying will surely reducerepparttar 127710 incidence of said dispositions inrepparttar 127711 general population. Yet, correlation does not necessarily imply causation. The manipulation of one parameter ofrepparttar 127712 correlation does not inevitably alter it - orrepparttar 127713 incidence ofrepparttar 127714 outcome.

Eugenicists often hark back to wisdom garnered by generations of breeders and farmers. Butrepparttar 127715 unequivocal lesson of thousands of years of artificial selection is that cross-breeding (hybridization) - even of two lines of inferior genetic stock - yields valuable genotypes. Inter-marriage between races, groups inrepparttar 127716 population, ethnic groups, and clans is thus bound to improverepparttar 127717 species' chances of survival more than any eugenic scheme.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at

Harry Potter and the Moons of Jupiter

Written by K.A.Cassimally

Continued from page 1

Unfortunatelyrepparttar mystery of life in Europa cannot be solved by this generation and I personally think nor canrepparttar 127671 next. This is because ofrepparttar 127672 technology which still needs to take a big step forwards.

Back at Hogwarts, Hermione who was correcting one of Ron’s essay about Io, another of Jupiter’s numerous satellites, when she spotted yet another mistake. She remarked, “And it’s Io that’s gotrepparttar 127673 volcanoes.”

She was right again. Some people (I’ll say including Ron) say that Io looks like a pepperoni pizza becauserepparttar 127674 satellite is dotted with volcanoes. “Io has more pepperoni-coloured volcanoes than Ron Weasley has freckles,” says Dr. Tony Phillips. At this very moment dozens of these volcanoes are vomitingrepparttar 127675 hottest lava inrepparttar 127676 Solar System. The plumes rise so high into space that volcanic ash freezes before falling back torepparttar 127677 ground as sulphurous snow. NASA’s spacecrafts have actually flown through these plumes and survived.

Back on Earth and at Hogwarts more precisely where Hermione told Ron overrepparttar 127678 latter’s shoulder, ‘“Jupiter’s biggest moon is Ganymede, not Callisto.”’

Ganymede isrepparttar 127679 largest known satellite discovered inrepparttar 127680 entire Solar System. It is a little wider than Mercury, which isrepparttar 127681 closest planet torepparttar 127682 Sun inrepparttar 127683 Solar System.

Ron’s mistake is not of those terrible ones though because Callisto is only a little smaller than Ganymede. Like Europa, Callisto may be concealing an ocean.

These four satellites were all discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1960. Galilei was astounded when he observed Jupiter through his primitive telescope as he saw four little ‘stars’ nearrepparttar 127684 giant planet. He was even more amazed when he discovered that these ‘stars’ were moving in what seemed to be an orbit around Jupiter from night to night. Astronomers now call these four natural satellitesrepparttar 127685 Galilean satellites.

Almost everything that is known aboutrepparttar 127686 Galilean satellites comes from NASA’s spacecraft, especiallyrepparttar 127687 two Voyager probes. But Hogwarts is a school of magic whereas Astronomy is simply magic.

K.A.Cassimally is the editor in chief of Astronomy Journal, a small publication of the RCPL Astronomy Club, Mauritius. Check out the new website (to be launched in February 2004):

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