Skip to comments.Unnatural selection: Is evolving reproductive technology ushering in a new age of eugenics?
Posted on 01/13/2012 4:19:44 PM PST by wagglebee
Humanity has long dreamed of perfection, striving to be faster, stronger and brighter, pushing nature to the limit. Four centuries before people were conceived in a petri dish, Swiss alchemist Paracelsus claimed flawless little beings could be grown in pumpkins filled with urine and horse dung, but there is no record he produced a crop.
With the birth of Louise Brown in 1978, the test tube finally succeeded where the pumpkin had failed, and the year she turned 11, scientists moved beyond making life in a lab: They found a way to peer into an embryo's genes and predict what that life might be like.
That ability is now morphing into a whole new approach to baby-making, one that gives people an unprecedented power to preview, and pick, the genetic traits of their prospective children.
Just as Paracelsus wrote that his recipe worked best if done in secret, modern science is quietly handing humanity something the quirky Renaissance scholar could only imagine: the capacity to harness our own evolution. We now have the potential to banish the genes that kill us, that make us susceptible to cancer, heart disease, depression, addictions and obesity, and to select those that may make us healthier, stronger, more intelligent.
The question is, should we?
(Excerpt) Read more at theglobeandmail.com ...
This idiot fails to realize that EVERY TIME mankind tries to play god, it backfires.
Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.
So that's where MSNBC gets their commentators.
History is full of major setbacks, that wrecked entire civilizations, plunging them into protracted declines, even dark ages. Predicating the very survival of mankind upon technological intervention into reproduction is a recipe for disaster for this reason alone, not that this is even remotely the only reason.
I’ll point out that the increasing preference for c-section delivery, for a very basic and common example, is laying the ground for a big jump in both mother and child dying in childbirth when that means is not available, and there will come a time. History shows us this. Generations of women born with a genetic predisposition to physical limitations that make giving birth difficult, generations of babies larger than can be delivered naturally without difficulty, generations of men whose genetic contribution to larger than ideal infants with nothing to slow this down.
I say this as the descendant of men who have a tendency to father children that are larger than usual at childbirth. Our family cemetery has a sad number of mothers and children who died in this manner. It affects me every time I go there, to clean a tombstone, to place flowers or to bury another loved one.
They’re messing with fire and some future generation will be faced with this again, but on a much more widespread basis, because there has been no check upon it.
And, this is pretty innocent compared to some of the other interventions on a genetic level as far as the egg and sperm itself. A child born to a couple having difficulty conceiving is a godsend for them. Medical technology allows this in many instances. Looking down the road, though, the children conceived and born via these methods will very likely have problems with fertility themselves, and may ultimately prove infertile. There are other genetic maladies that play a role in unsuccessful fertilization as well.
Then, there’s the whole shades-of-Nazi-Germany issue of “designer babies.”
This is not good, not good at all, but medical science and the populace as a whole do not see that. I really don’t know where this will end, but when it does it won’t be pleasant.
Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of people that would be A-ok with this stuff. And some of them are FReepers.
Incorrect assumptions: Just because you can build a tower means you can build a tower all the way to heaven.
Just because we have a bunch of supercomputers and can figure out the human genome, this is just observational. It doesn’t mean we can do much of anything about it.
Yes, we can do a little jigger here and there, as well. But that’s about it.
And I'm not talking about some hypothetical in the future. I'm talking about within five years. Food prices have been going up. People in the Third World will start seeing that they are unable to buy enough food to sustain themselves.
For generations, we have enabled huge numbers of babies to be born to people who are completely unable to earn a living or feed themselves by their own efforts.
So what PRECISELY do you propose be done?
Are you supporting eugenics-based population control?
The greatest threat facing mankind is the general failure to reproduce, not too much reproduction.
Fewer tells a monumental human story, largely ignored, but which promises to starkly change the human condition in the years to come. Never before have birth and fertility rates fallen so far, so fast, so low, for so long, in so many places, so surprisingly. In Fewer, Ben Wattenberg shows how and why this has occurred, and explains what it means for the future. The demographic plunge, he notes, is starkly apparent in the developed nations of Europe and Japan, which will lose about 150 million people in the next half century. Starting from higher levels, but moving with geometric speed, the demographic decline is also apparent in the less developed nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Only the United States (so far) has been exempt from the birth dearth, leaving America as more than "the sole super-power." Perhaps it should be called the global "omni-power." These stark demographic changes will affect commerce, the environment, public financing, and geo-politics. Here Wattenberg lists likely winners and losers. In Wattenberg's world of "The New Demography" readers get a look at a topic often chattered about, but rarely understood.
Youve heard about the Death of the West. But the Muslim world is on the brink of an even greater collapse. WILL WE GO DOWN IN THE IMPLOSION? Thanks to collapsing birthrates, much of Europe is on a path of willed self-extinction. The untold story is that birthrates in Muslim nations are declining faster than anywhere elseat a rate never before documented. Europe, even in its decline, may have the resources to support an aging population, if at a terrible economic and cultural cost. But in the impoverished Islamic world, an aging population means a civilization on the brink of total collapse something Islamic terrorists know and fear. Muslim decline poses new threats to America, challenges we cannot even understand, much less face effectively, without a wholly new kind of political analysis that explains how desperate peoples and nations behave. In How Civilizations Die, David P. Goldmanauthor of the celebrated Spengler column read by intelligence organizations worldwidereveals how, almost unnoticed, massive shifts in global power are remaking our future.
Remarkably, most conventional wisdom about the shifting balance of world power virtually ignores one of the most fundamental components of power: population. The studies that do consider international security and demographic trends almost unanimously focus on population growth as a liability. In contrast, the distinguished contributors to this volumesecurity experts from the Naval War College, the American Enterprise Institute, and other think tankscontend that demographic decline in key world powers now poses a profound challenge to global stability. The countries at greatest risk are in the developed world, where birthrates are falling and populations are aging. Many have already lost significant human capital, capital that would have helped them innovate and fuel their economy, man their armed forces, and secure a place at the table of world power. By examining the effects of diverging population trends between the United States and Europe and the effects of rapid population aging in Japan, India, and China, this book uncovers increasing tensions within the transatlantic alliance and destabilizing trends in Asian security. Thus, it argues, relative demographic decline may well make the world less, and not more, secure.
Overpopulation has long been a global concern. But between modern medicine and reduced fertility, world population may in fact be shrinking--and is almost certain to do so by the time today's children retire. The troubling implications for our economy and culture include:* The possibility of a fundamentalist revival due to the decline of secular fertility* The threat to the free market as the supply of workers and consumers declines* The eventual collapse of the American health care system as inordinate expenses are incurred by an aging populationPhillip Longman's uncompromisingly sensible solutions fly in the face of traditional ideas. State intervention is necessary, he argues, to combat the effects of an aging population. We must provide incentives for young families, and we cannot close our eyes and hope for the best as an entire generation approaches retirement age.The Empty Cradle changes the terms of one of the most important environmental, economic, and social debates of our day.
The world's population is still growing, thanks to rising longevity. But fertility rates - the average number of children born per woman - are falling nearly everywhere. More and more adults are deciding to have fewer and fewer children. Worldwide, reports the UN, there are 6 million fewer babies and young children today than there were in 1990. By 2015, according to one calculation, there will be 83 million fewer. By 2025, 127 million fewer. By 2050, the world's supply of the youngest children may have plunged by a quarter of a billion, and will amount to less than 5 percent of the human family. The reasons for this birth dearth are many. Among them: As the number of women in the workforce has soared, many have delayed marriage and childbearing, or decided against them altogether. The Sexual Revolution, by making sex readily available without marriage, removed what for many men had been a powerful motive to marry. Skyrocketing rates of divorce have made women less likely to have as many children as in generations past. Years of indoctrination about the perils of "overpopulation" have led many couples to embrace childlessness as a virtue. Result: a dramatic and inexorable aging of society. In the years ahead, the ranks of the elderly are going to swell to unprecedented levels, while the number of young people continues to dwindle. The working-age population will shrink, first in relation to the population of retirees, then in absolute terms. A world without children will be a poorer world - grayer, lonelier, less creative, less confident. Children are a great blessing, but it may take their disappearance for the world to remember why.
Demographic Winter: Decline of the Human Family (DVD/ Documentary)by Rick Stout
One of the most ominous events of modern history is quietly unfolding. Social scientists and economists agree - we are headed toward a demographic winter which threatens to have catastrophic social and economic consequences. The effects will be severe and long lasting and are already becoming manifest in much of Europe.
A groundbreaking film, Demographic Winter: Decline of the Human Family, reveals in chilling soberness how societies with diminished family influence are now grimly seen as being in social and economic jeopardy.
Demographic Winter draws upon experts from all around the world - demographers, economists, sociologists, psychologists, civic and religious leaders, parliamentarians and diplomats. Together, they reveal the dangers facing society and the worlds economies, dangers far more imminent than global warming and at least as severe. These experts will discuss how:
The population bomb not only did not have the predicted consequences, but almost all of the developed countries of the world are now experiencing fertility rates far below replacement levels. Birthrates have fallen so low that even immigration cannot replace declining populations, and this migration is sapping strength from developing countries, the fertility rates for many of which are now falling at a faster pace than did those of the developed countries.
The economies of the world will continue to contract as the human capital spoken of by Nobel Prize winning economist Gary Becker, diminishes. The engines of commerce will be strained as the workers of today fail to replace themselves and are burdened by the responsibility to support an aging population.
Government programs will slow-bleed by the decrease in tax dollars received from an ever shrinking work force. The skyrocketing ratio of the old retirees to the young workers will render current-day social security systems completely unable to support the aging population.
Our attempts to modernize through social engineering policies and programs have left children growing up in broken homes, with absentee parents and little exposure to extended family, disconnected from the generations, and these children are experiencing severe psychological, sociological and economic consequences. The intact familys immeasurable role in the development and prosperity of human societies is crumbling.
The influence of social and economic problems on ever shrinking, increasingly disconnected generations will compound and accelerate the deterioration. Our children and our childrens children will bear the economic and social burden of regenerating the human capital that accounts for 80% of wealth in the economy, and they will be ill-equipped to do so.
Is there a tipping point, after which the accelerating consequences will make recovery impossible without complete social and economic collapse? Even the experts cant tell us how far we can go down this road, oblivious to the outcomes, until we reach a point where sliding into the void becomes unpreventable.
Only if the political incorrectness of talking about the natural family within policy circles is overcome will solutions begin to be found. These solutions will necessarily result in policy changes, changes that will support and promote the natural, intact family.
Just as it took the cumulative involvement of activist organizations, policy makers, the business world and the media to create the unintended consequences we are beginning to experience, so it will take the holistic contribution of all of these entities, together with civic and religious organizations, to change the hearts and minds of all of society to bring about a reversal.
It may be too late to avoid some very severe consequences, but with effort we may be able to preclude calamity. Demographic Winter lays out a forthright province of discussion. The warning voices in this film need to be heard before a silent, portentous fall turns into a long, hard winter.
And then what do you predict?
What changes in policy are you recommending?
That is interminably vague.
I applaud Santorum for his specificity on tax policy, when so many politicians are like “so yeah if elected I will lower taxes don’t worry about the details commoners”.
Of course, there are some self-proclaimed conservatives who object to the pro-parenthood tax policies Santorum has put forth.
Cesarean sections per se are nothing new. Hence their being named after Julius Caesar, who was allegedly born this way.
What is new is the survival of the mother.
Be careful where you are headed, or you will condemn every medical intervention against any ailment that raw Darwinism would have “weeded out.”
playing god? By like for example, eradicating diseases like polio and smallpox by using vaccines? Developing effective treatments for things like cancer and heart disease?
A trait that causes mothers and often infants to die in childbirth is not one that is favorable at all to the survival of mankind when another collapse inevitably comes along. Show me medical history that indicates “Caesaren section” in use for more or less vanity purposes prior to the twentieth century. The legendary association with Julius Caesar ... did his mother survive it? I do not recall, and suspect not if indeed he was brought into the world in this manner.
I’m pointing out that these medical advances, some for vanity, some out of sympathy for childless couples and some whose purpose eludes me, have consequences that will be dire when the time comes that those procedures are no longer available. I have no problem philosophically with the notion of “selection” leading to the furtherance of favorable traits and the elimination of unfavorable ones; anyone who grew up on a farm sees this every day.
Attempting to apply this to human beings has a nasty and fairly recent history. What we’re discussing is the inverse of that other than “designer babies,” though. Inadvertantly but deliberately selecting for negative reproductive traits on a widespread basis is not the most wise thing to be doing, regardless of ones’ political, religious or philosophical orientation, and that is just what is occurring in the instances I mentioned, as well as others.
I PROPOSE nothing. I PREDICT that a time will come when the needs of the unproductive exceed the ability of the productive to satisfy. At that point, people will start dying of various causes.
If I am given a choice between preserving the lives of the children of the unproductive, and preserving the lives of my own children, I will choose my own.