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Eugenics - A Thought Experiment

The following was originally a hastily thrown together note I had posted to Facebook. Reading it again, years later, I decided that it actually wasn't a terrible thought experiment. There are a lot of broad assumptions made and the whole thing is rather contrived but I think it may be valuable to get people to start thinking about the follies of humans, with our limited wisdom and intellectual capacity, trying to selectively breed humans. It short and I think worth spending a few minutes to read.

Aside from some spelling corrections, and the removal of an image of Khan Noonien Singh with three women, nothing has been changed from the original.

Text

August 12, 2011 at 8:49pm


You have two humans; one notable genetic variance between them along with a financial one. One can afford dental care and never has to have any teeth completely removed. The other may not be able to afford dental care but has a dental condition that causes teeth to fall out during the aging process which isn't easily prevented even with the most expensive dental care.

Okay? Now which one is genetically inferior? The first human was accepted into a eugenics program due to financial status being used as an indication of superiority. The first human is kept safe in a bunker during a mass extinction event. A descendant of the first human, we will call Marjorie, has the same genetic patterns that determined the teeth of her ancestor. She emerges into a harsh uncivilized environment after the bunkers systems inevitably break down after several decades.

The second human, surviving by pure chance maybe, had children who in turn procreated. Her descendant we will call Mary. Like the descendant of the first human mentioned, the descendant of the second human also has her ancestor's teeth. Both Marjorie and Mary live a tribal existence, eeking out a living while civilization is rebuilt.

Neither Marjorie or Mary have access to dental care because they are both taken by a barbarian tribe as slaves to be eventually married and assimilated into the tribe. Humans often take care of their elderly and infirmed and the women are lucky in this regard. However, the progression of time is relentless and with the same diet and similar tooth enamel strength Marjorie and Mary experience tooth decay.

Marjorie dies from an abscessed tooth at a ripe old age of 55. She had her tooth extracted but the infection went into her jaw. Mary on the other hand, lost all of her teeth by then. Mary lives much longer than we currently assume in such conditions and is able to share wisdom for many years to come. Mary finally dies just shy of her 102nd birthday.

Now which one seems genetically inferior? Okay? So who gets to make the eugenics decisions? Who decides who is genetically inferior or discarded in the name of social Darwinism? Eugenics is quackery. It's not what we would call “good science.” Furthermore, if the ethics of this aren't profoundly obvious you may be a psychopath. The rest of us don't get the psychopath excuse. We know better. To allow others to con us into thinking eugenics is somehow for the benefit of humanity is treason against one’s own species.

Don't feel bad. It DOES sound like a good idea until you realize the truth of it.

Science in Society


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