Thursday, May 10, 2007

Eugenics, Eugenics Everywhere: Why It Matters

There has been much talk about eugenics in the mainstream media and blogosphere recently. I thought that I would link to some of this news and opinion, and comment on why it matters.

I will start by linking to my previous post on why it matters. This issue is relevant to Darwinian Fundamentalism, because one of the tactics of the DF's is to obscure certain aspects of the history of Darwinian thought and deny the clear philosophical and religious implications of the way many or most scientists formulate macroevolutionary theory. The DF's also obscure the range of thought of those who are skeptical of macroevolutionary theory by suggesting that the only objections are religious and denying any scientific problems.

The New York Times reports on new developments relating to the widespread practice of aborting babies who appear to have Downs Syndrome:

Sarah Itoh, a self-described “almost-eleven-and-a-half,” betrayed no trace of nervousness as she told a roomful of genetic counselors and obstetricians about herself one recent afternoon.

She likes to read, she said. Math used to be hard, but it is getting easier. She plays clarinet in her school band. She is a junior girl scout and an aunt, and she likes to organize, so her room is very clean. Last year, she won three medals in the Special Olympics.

“I am so lucky I get to do so many things,” she concluded. “I just want you to know, even though I have Down syndrome, it is O.K.”

. . .

Their goal, parents say, is not to force anyone to take on the task of parenting a child with disabilities. Many participants in the ad-hoc movement describe themselves as pro-choice. Yet some see themselves as society’s first line of defense against a use of genetic technology that can border on eugenics.

Many would argue that it does not just border on eugenics, it is eugenics.

The Times article links to a prior piece by George Will on his son, who also has Downs Syndrome:
But many parents see expanded testing as a step toward a society where children like theirs would be unwelcome. The Newsweek columnist George F. Will labeled it a “search and destroy mission” for a category of citizens that includes his adult son, Jon Will.


At June 19, 2007 12:52 PM, Anonymous Aaron Marks said...

I like reading your posts. You talk about some nitty-gritty stuff, and challenge your readers to think hard while you do.


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