Eugenics and the Future of the Human Species

Written by Sam Vaknin

"It is clear that modern medicine has created a serious dilemma ... Inrepparttar past, there were many children who never survived - they succumbed to various diseases ... But in a sense modern medicine has put natural selection out of commission. Something that has helped one individual over a serious illness can inrepparttar 127672 long run contribute to weakeningrepparttar 127673 resistance ofrepparttar 127674 whole human race to certain diseases. If we pay absolutely no attention to what is called hereditary hygiene, we could find ourselves facing a degeneration ofrepparttar 127675 human race. Mankind's hereditary potential for resisting serious disease will be weakened."

Jostein Gaarder in "Sophie's World", a bestselling philosophy textbook for adolescents published in Oslo, Norway, in 1991 and, afterwards, throughoutrepparttar 127676 world, having been translated to dozens of languages.

The Nazis regardedrepparttar 127677 murder ofrepparttar 127678 feeble-minded andrepparttar 127679 mentally insane - intended to purifyrepparttar 127680 race and maintain hereditary hygiene - as a form of euthanasia. German doctors were enthusiastic proponents of an eugenics movements rooted in 19th century social Darwinism. Luke Gormally writes, in his essay "Walton, Davies, and Boyd" (published in "Euthanasia Examined - Ethical, Clinical, and Legal Perspectives", ed. John Keown, Cambridge University Press, 1995):

"Whenrepparttar 127681 jurist Karl Binding andrepparttar 127682 psychiatrist Alfred Hoche published their tract The Permission to Destroy Life that is Not Worth Living in 1920 ... their motive was to rid society ofrepparttar 127683 'human ballast and enormous economic burden' of care forrepparttar 127684 mentally ill,repparttar 127685 handicapped, retarded and deformed children, andrepparttar 127686 incurably ill. Butrepparttar 127687 reason they invoked to justifyrepparttar 127688 killing of human beings who fell into these categories was thatrepparttar 127689 lives of such human beings were 'not worth living', were 'devoid of value'"

It is this association withrepparttar 127690 hideous Nazi regime that gave eugenics - a term coined by a relative of Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton, in 1883 - its bad name. Richard Lynn, ofrepparttar 127691 University of Ulster of North Ireland, thinks that this recoil resulted in "Dysgenics -repparttar 127692 genetic deterioration of modern (human) population", asrepparttar 127693 title of his controversial tome puts it.

The crux ofrepparttar 127694 argument for eugenics is that a host of technological, cultural, and social developments conspired to give rise to negative selection ofrepparttar 127695 weakest, least intelligent, sickest,repparttar 127696 habitually criminal,repparttar 127697 sexually deviant,repparttar 127698 mentally-ill, andrepparttar 127699 least adapted.

Contraception is more widely used byrepparttar 127700 affluent andrepparttar 127701 well-educated than byrepparttar 127702 destitute and dull. Birth control as practiced in places like China distorted bothrepparttar 127703 sex distribution inrepparttar 127704 cities - and increasedrepparttar 127705 weight ofrepparttar 127706 rural population (rural couples in China are allowed to have two children rather thanrepparttar 127707 urban one).

Modern medicine andrepparttar 127708 welfare state collaborate in sustaining alive individuals - mainlyrepparttar 127709 mentally retarded,repparttar 127710 mentally ill,repparttar 127711 sick, andrepparttar 127712 genetically defective - who would otherwise have been culled by natural selection torepparttar 127713 betterment ofrepparttar 127714 entire species.

Eugenics may be based on a literal understanding of Darwin's metaphor.

The 2002 edition ofrepparttar 127715 Encyclopedia Britannica has this to say:

"Darwin's description ofrepparttar 127716 process of natural selection asrepparttar 127717 survival ofrepparttar 127718 fittest inrepparttar 127719 struggle for life is a metaphor. 'Struggle' does not necessarily mean contention, strife, or combat; 'survival' does not mean that ravages of death are needed to makerepparttar 127720 selection effective; and 'fittest' is virtually never a single optimal genotype but rather an array of genotypes that collectively enhance population survival rather than extinction. All these considerations are most apposite to consideration of natural selection in humans. Decreasing infant and childhood mortality rates do not necessarily mean that natural selection inrepparttar 127721 human species no longer operates. Theoretically, natural selection could be very effective if allrepparttar 127722 children born reached maturity. Two conditions are needed to make this theoretical possibility realized: first, variation inrepparttar 127723 number of children per family and, second, variation correlated withrepparttar 127724 genetic properties ofrepparttar 127725 parents. Neither of these conditions is farfetched."

The eugenics debate is onlyrepparttar 127726 visible extremity ofrepparttar 127727 Man vs. Nature conundrum. Have we truly conquered nature and extracted ourselves from its determinism? Have we graduated from natural to cultural evolution, from natural to artificial selection, and from genes to memes?

Doesrepparttar 127728 evolutionary process culminate in a being that transcends its genetic baggage, that programs and charts its future, and that allows its weakest and sickest to survive? Supplantingrepparttar 127729 imperative ofrepparttar 127730 survival ofrepparttar 127731 fittest with a culturally-sensitive principle may berepparttar 127732 hallmark of a successful evolution, rather thanrepparttar 127733 beginning of an inexorable decline.

The eugenics movement turns this argument on its head. They acceptrepparttar 127734 premise thatrepparttar 127735 contribution of natural selection torepparttar 127736 makeup of future human generations is glacial and negligible. But they rejectrepparttar 127737 conclusion that, having ridden ourselves of its tyranny, we can now letrepparttar 127738 weak and sick among us survive and multiply. Rather, they propose to replace natural selection with eugenics.

But who, by which authority, and according to what guidelines will administer this man-made culling and decide who is to live and who is to die, who is to breed and who may not? Why select by intelligence and not by courtesy or altruism or church-going - or al of them together? It is here that eugenics fails miserably. Shouldrepparttar 127739 criterion be physical, like in ancient Sparta? Should it be mental? Should IQ determine one's fate - or social status or wealth? Different answers yield disparate eugenic programs and target dissimilar groups inrepparttar 127740 population.

Aren't eugenic criteria liable to be unduly influenced by fashion and cultural bias? Can we agree on a universal eugenic agenda in a world as ethnically and culturally diverse as ours? If we do get it wrong - andrepparttar 127741 chances are overwhelming - will we not damage our gene pool irreparably and, with it,repparttar 127742 future of our species?

And even if many will avoid a slippery slope leading from eugenics to active extermination of "inferior" groups inrepparttar 127743 general population - can we guarantee that everyone will? How to prevent eugenics from being appropriated by an intrusive, authoritarian, or even murderous state?

Harry Potter and the Moons of Jupiter

Written by K.A.Cassimally

It is inrepparttar latest Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter andrepparttar 127671 Order ofrepparttar 127672 Phoenix, that readers getrepparttar 127673 confirmation thatrepparttar 127674 ‘Boy who lived’ is indeed interested in a science that even some Muggles are good at: Astronomy,repparttar 127675 study of celestial objects, of space and ofrepparttar 127676 physical universe as a whole. Mayberepparttar 127677 awful Dursleys did do some good things with Harry when they letrepparttar 127678 wizard, who did not yet know he was one, learn Astronomy.

At Hogwards School of Witchcraft and Wizardry though, Harry and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, seemed to be going on more withrepparttar 127679 giant ofrepparttar 127680 giants: Jupiter but to be more precise with its moons.

But unluckily forrepparttar 127681 wizards and witches, Astronomy was making life difficult. As Harry and his friends would be sitting for their O.W.L.S (Ordinary Wizarding Level) atrepparttar 127682 end ofrepparttar 127683 year, they were bombarded with homework. This was fortunately corrected by Hermione before being actually handed torepparttar 127684 teachers. And believe me, this was a good thing too as both Harry and Ron were making terrible mistakes. If it were not for Hermione, both boys would be getting a ‘D’ standing for Dreadful onrepparttar 127685 top corner of their parchment rolls. An would be: ‘“Harry, you must have misheard Professor Sinistra,” says Hermione, “Europa’s covered in ice not mice!”’

Europa as you might have guessed is way too cold for mice. Spacecrafts have taken photos of this natural satellite and Europa does look lifeless.

If you are a Harry Potter fan though, you may well say that Harry went on Europa by magic and then saw living organisms there. Well coming to think of it, maybe he did find life on Europa if of course he ever went there.

This is because below Europa’s ice coating, scientists think that there may well be a big ocean of liquid water. The biggest ocean inrepparttar 127686 Solar System in fact and that says something. Here on Earth, life and water appear to go together. So it is logical to think that there may be life in that ocean of Europa, is it not? Of course life inrepparttar 127687 form of microbes or some sort of alien fish is expected. And maybe swimming mice!

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