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Consensual Eugenics

Blade-of-Truth
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4/20/2015 2:33:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I'm an avid supporter of consensual eugenics done for the study and application of science. I am interested in hearing some arguments against such a thing, and ultimately want this to be an exercise of thought in which I can run this position of mine through the constructive criticism machine that is DDO. I'll start by introducing my own position as well as the reasoning behind it, and will end with some simple questions.

Personally, I support consensual eugenics for the sake of perfecting the human form. While perfection itself is purely subjective, in striving for perfection we'll surely be met with excellence. To think that we could someday have a master race of humans standing 7 ft. tall with perfect vision, heightened hearing, increased age-span, and impenetrable immune systems is incredibly enticing to me. Only so much can be achieved through selective breeding, and with the full support and interest of the scientific community, I believe we could achieve paradigm-altering results within a handful of generations.

I do think, however, that there is something to be said about selective breeding as well. To dismiss such a thing so quickly as I did is an injustice. We have cases around the world where selective breeding of lesser-animals have been carried out, and the evidence of such things have yielded some extraordinary results. One such example would be the fox farm in Novosibirsk, Russia. The experiment, started in 1959 by Dmitri Belyaev, seeks the genetic mechanisms involved in domestication. Belyaev and his team spent years breeding the silver fox (Vulpes vulpes) and selecting only those that showed the least fear of humans, i.e., he bred the tamest pups from each litter. Additionally, he bred the most aggressive pups with each-other as well, all in the name of science of course.

After about ten generations of controlled breeding, the domesticated silver foxes no longer showed any fear of humans and often wagged their tails and licked their human caretakers to show affection. They also started to have spotted coats, floppy ears, and curled tails. As a result of domestication, the adrenaline levels of the domesticated foxes were significantly lower than normal. The presence of their multi-color coats is theorized by the scientists to be related to changes in melanin, which controls pigment production and shares a biochemical pathway with adrenaline. It could also be that it was a result of hormonal changes that occurred as the foxes became increasingly tame.

Please see the attached youtube video to check it out for yourself -https://www.youtube.com...

These two videos actually show the full contrast between the two foxes -
Aggressive Foxes https://www.youtube.com...

Domesticated Foxes https://www.youtube.com...

As you can see, the results speak for themselves.

What this shows is that the very nature of animals can be manipulated successfully by man. This leads me to believe that if there can be such apparent success in selective breeding alone, the benefits of bringing in the full support of science to study and apply the genetic changes to consenting humans would also be one that would attain a successful outcome.

So...

If you are against Consensual Eugenics, why?

If you support Consensual Eugenics, why?
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Genghis_Khan
Posts: 480
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4/20/2015 2:45:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I don't really see any ethical issues with selective breeding. The problem, however, is that you aren't going to be able to change humanity as a whole with voluntary eugenics. The majority of people are simply not open to having sex with people who they aren't necessarily attracted to upon the whims of random scientists. What's more likely to happen is that social issues will arise from having a significant minority of people who are scientifically recognized as being "genetically superior" -- discrimination, tension, and unfair advantages would inevitably follow.
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TBR
Posts: 9,991
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4/20/2015 4:31:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
The problems are not just ethical, but they are the sticky part.

I had a long(ish) explanation of how and why it could be "good" in my way-back. Let me see if I can think it though again, and be bothered to remember to post it later tonight.
Maikuru
Posts: 9,112
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4/20/2015 5:26:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Can you further explain your position on consensual eugenics? Most of the post was about selective breeding.
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Blade-of-Truth
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4/21/2015 3:54:44 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/20/2015 2:45:59 PM, Genghis_Khan wrote:
I don't really see any ethical issues with selective breeding. The problem, however, is that you aren't going to be able to change humanity as a whole with voluntary eugenics. The majority of people are simply not open to having sex with people who they aren't necessarily attracted to upon the whims of random scientists. What's more likely to happen is that social issues will arise from having a significant minority of people who are scientifically recognized as being "genetically superior" -- discrimination, tension, and unfair advantages would inevitably follow.

I don't think we have to limit it solely to voluntary sex with others. It could cover genetic engineering, DNA therapy, etc.

I agree that social issues would potentially arise, with a significant class difference between the genetically modified humans and natural ones. I don't see why that's necessarily a bad thing though. Whenever there is a major change in the structure of order there's conflict. The strong will survive though, and if it actually comes down to class-warfare I don't see that being bad if it leads to the emergence of a "master race". If we are thinking ahead, eventually we'll be entering the space age, which would thrust us into a whole new playing field. Would it not be more practical to expand into the universe with a perfected human form?

I know it seems like a stretch, but if we really take a step back and look at the grand scheme of things, I don't see many real negatives in striving to create the best form we can have.
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Blade-of-Truth
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4/21/2015 3:55:24 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/20/2015 4:31:57 PM, TBR wrote:
The problems are not just ethical, but they are the sticky part.

I had a long(ish) explanation of how and why it could be "good" in my way-back. Let me see if I can think it though again, and be bothered to remember to post it later tonight.

I'd look forward to reading your previous thoughts on the matter should you happen to recall them!
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Blade-of-Truth
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4/21/2015 4:13:51 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/20/2015 5:26:35 PM, Maikuru wrote:
Can you further explain your position on consensual eugenics? Most of the post was about selective breeding.

Yeah, I kinda got carried away with that. I just find it so fascinating, lol, well that and the fact that eugenics aims to apply those principles with the goal of changing human traits (more or less).

Specifically focusing on consensual eugenics, there's not too much to explain. My position is that I believe consensual eugenics would be a beneficial pursuit for the scientific community to re-visit for the sake of creating the perfect human form. One that is immune to most, if not all, disease. Perhaps heightened sensory perception, increased life-spans, the ability for trait selection, etc., there are just so many possibilities that eugenics could yield.

If evolution is true, and we have the ability to accelerate that process, I see no reason why we shouldn't study the means of doing so in a more controlled manner. Bringing the scientific consensus to one that support the consensual practice of it would be the best way for it to flourish while controlled.

I'm also not an expert on the matter though, which is why I'm seeking the stances and opinions of others. I want to see if I'm overlooking or failing to consider anything.
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Blade-of-Truth
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4/21/2015 4:19:50 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/21/2015 4:00:17 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 4/20/2015 2:33:22 PM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:


Have you seen the movie Gattaca?

Yes, fantastic film. I don't think that's necessarily how our own society would become... since it's just a hollywood film and all, but I don't see much harm even in that society. The genetically superior humans are performing tasks that natural humans can't perform adequately. If we had a being with advanced capabilities and didn't take advantage of those capabilities it'd be nothing but a waste. As a collective whole, we are accomplishing more because of the feats carried out by those genetically superior humans.
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Genghis_Khan
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4/21/2015 8:32:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/21/2015 3:54:44 AM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/20/2015 2:45:59 PM, Genghis_Khan wrote:
I don't really see any ethical issues with selective breeding. The problem, however, is that you aren't going to be able to change humanity as a whole with voluntary eugenics. The majority of people are simply not open to having sex with people who they aren't necessarily attracted to upon the whims of random scientists. What's more likely to happen is that social issues will arise from having a significant minority of people who are scientifically recognized as being "genetically superior" -- discrimination, tension, and unfair advantages would inevitably follow.

I don't think we have to limit it solely to voluntary sex with others. It could cover genetic engineering, DNA therapy, etc.

Right, I forgot about those possibilities. I still think a large swath of the population would have moral qualms against it (even if those qualms are not really warranted).


I agree that social issues would potentially arise, with a significant class difference between the genetically modified humans and natural ones. I don't see why that's necessarily a bad thing though. Whenever there is a major change in the structure of order there's conflict. The strong will survive though, and if it actually comes down to class-warfare I don't see that being bad if it leads to the emergence of a "master race". If we are thinking ahead, eventually we'll be entering the space age, which would thrust us into a whole new playing field. Would it not be more practical to expand into the universe with a perfected human form?

I know it seems like a stretch, but if we really take a step back and look at the grand scheme of things, I don't see many real negatives in striving to create the best form we can have.

Well, if you can just dismiss the social issues with "what's so bad about that", then I can just as easily dismiss the end-goal of a master race by asking "what's so good about that". Having a master race benefits very few of the people alive today; in fact, it's more likely to cause them problems like the social issues I mentioned. For any sort of *consensual* eugenics program to work in practicality, you're gonna need to be able to answer that objection more compellingly...
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Bennett91
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4/21/2015 11:30:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/21/2015 4:19:50 AM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/21/2015 4:00:17 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 4/20/2015 2:33:22 PM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:


Have you seen the movie Gattaca?

Yes, fantastic film. I don't think that's necessarily how our own society would become... since it's just a hollywood film and all, but I don't see much harm even in that society. The genetically superior humans are performing tasks that natural humans can't perform adequately. If we had a being with advanced capabilities and didn't take advantage of those capabilities it'd be nothing but a waste. As a collective whole, we are accomplishing more because of the feats carried out by those genetically superior humans.

It was kinda the point that the inferior man could do just as well as the superior ones, that's how he was able to maintain his disguise so well. And by placing such a focus on genes the society (a gene-ocracy if you will) loses sight of humanity. And I would think even with genetic "superiority" disease and other cultural maladies would still exist.
Wylted
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4/23/2015 2:31:02 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
We're at a place where ethical eugenics can take place, by playing with DNA or egg selection methods. As long as we don't take it too far we should be fine. Taking it too far could eradicate certain things that are extremely useful to society, such as people with an IQ of 200 which are disproportionately people with Aspergers. If we eliminate Aspergers it would be useful to most people with Aspergers, but unfortunately it would also prevent is from having a society which is as innovative and forward marching with technology as it is.
Wylted
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4/23/2015 2:33:45 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The way to the superman you dream of isn't through genetics in my opinion, but through what is referred to as a Kurzwelian merger between man and machine.
Blade-of-Truth
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4/26/2015 3:37:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/21/2015 8:32:52 AM, Genghis_Khan wrote:
At 4/21/2015 3:54:44 AM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
I don't think we have to limit it solely to voluntary sex with others. It could cover genetic engineering, DNA therapy, etc.

Right, I forgot about those possibilities. I still think a large swath of the population would have moral qualms against it (even if those qualms are not really warranted).

That's a fair point, and I can agree that there is potential for a large portion of the population to have qualms against it. I think the same can be said for anything that's brought about a major change though, and the fact that it's consensual would really negate any grounds that those with qualms would have to stand on, since it's not something they're being forcibly subjected to. Similar to how people have moral qualms against the tobacco industry for the high death rate of chronic smokers - but what real grounds do they have to stand on when it's ultimately a choice?

I know it seems like a stretch, but if we really take a step back and look at the grand scheme of things, I don't see many real negatives in striving to create the best form we can have.

Well, if you can just dismiss the social issues with "what's so bad about that", then I can just as easily dismiss the end-goal of a master race by asking "what's so good about that". Having a master race benefits very few of the people alive today; in fact, it's more likely to cause them problems like the social issues I mentioned. For any sort of *consensual* eugenics program to work in practicality, you're gonna need to be able to answer that objection more compellingly...

It boils down to health vs. social issues. Health wins out everytime. I'm sorry for not giving reason for my dismissal above, I just thought such things were common knowledge. To break it down, there are many reasons why the health benefits of consensual eugenics outweigh the social issues that'd potentially arise.

1) The rise of the super bug for instance.

We've seen several "super bugs" rise lately which seem to be immune to our modern antibiotics. Many suppose this is due to the rise of antibiotic resistance, but I think an article from harvardmagazine really captures the issue the best:

Recently, signs have arisen that the ancient relationship between humans and bacteria is ripe for another change. New drugs are scarce, but resistant bacteria are plentiful. Every year, in the United States alone, they cause two million serious illnesses and 23,000 deaths, reflected in an estimated $20 billion in additional medical costs. "For a long time, there have been newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about "The end of antibiotics, question mark,"" said one official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on PBS"s Frontline last year. "Well, now I would say you can change the title to "The end of antibiotics, period."" [1]

It's a lengthy article, but if you have the time, def read it in full because it's honestly fascinating. The article goes on to say:

In fact, we are already in the post-antibiotic era. It is not that drugs have lost all efficacy: the handful of truly untreatable superbugs has, so far, been contained. But decades of antibiotic use have altered, perhaps irrevocably, the relationship between humans and the microbial world.


The problem is that everytime we create a solution, various (and ancient) bacteria species evolves and keeps up. The stronger our solutions = the stronger the next form of bacteria will be. It's been an endless cycle, one that we thought we defeated in the last century, but are now realizing that we actually face a stronger enemy than ever before. So what do we do? Do we keep tweeking with antibiotics? Or do we alter our own genetic structure to eventually develop a human who is impenetrable by life-threatening bacterial diseases?

Don't get me wrong, there are some benefits to having to fight bacteria, such as humans developing a stronger immune system, but if we develop the means to artificially immunize ourselves against those bacteria the moment we discover them - I see no reason for that to not be seen as beneficial.

This plays into health outweighing society issues because at the end of the day, if we are all infected with a new super-bug, there won't be much of a society left for issues to even arise.

2) Space Age

As already mentioned, striving for excellence with genetically superior humans would serve as a great benefit for us during the coming Space Age. Even immune-system wise we don't know what sort of bacteria we'll be exposed to on various planets, by exploring the realm of genetic manipulation now we will surely be well equipped for whatever may come our way once the day comes. If preparation for future threats isn't something that you value, then fine, but I find this as one of the most beneficial aspects of consensual eugenics - especially considering that we need to best bodies possible to handle the muscle rot and other effects of long-distance space travel.

If we breed a 6'6 professional football player with a 5'10 professional runner, and then breed a 5'7 plumber with a 5'3 secretary, odds are that the offspring of the professional athletes will have better odds of success in a professional sport. Consensual Eugenics is only taking it one step further by allowing the science of selective breeding to be pursued as freely as any other. Since we do know that prolonged time in space does cause muscle rot, it'd follow that the sensible thing to do is to utilize humans who have a naturally high amount of muscle retention. If we can find two humans who both share that trait, and breed them, we'll produce an offspring who likely has that trait as well.

People often shrug off the connection between muscles and genetics, but it's all right there for anyone to see. Even professional body-builders know that the "perfect six-pack" actually depends on genetics. You can't just "build" the perfect six-pack if you don't have the genetic disposition for it. So, in creating the most efficient body for long-distance space travel, consensual eugenics plays a very practical and sensible role.

I'm running out of room now, lol, and sorry for this being like 5 days late.

Ultimately, those are just two of the ways in which consensual eugenics can serve to be beneficial for humanity. The first is the one that I would say outweighs the potential for social issues specifically though.

ref -
[1] http://harvardmagazine.com...
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