Related or contrasting ideas may be found in the sections on Animal Rights, Knowledge, Life, Medical Ethics, Nature, Progress, and Science




НазваниеRelated or contrasting ideas may be found in the sections on Animal Rights, Knowledge, Life, Medical Ethics, Nature, Progress, and Science
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UTILITARIANISM

Modern eugenics is based on a faulty application of utilitarian reasoning

Charles Colson (former special counsel to President Nixon; founder, Prison Fellowship; 1993 recipient of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion) and Anne Morse (senior writer, the Wilberforce Forum; senior writer, Prison Fellowship), “War on the weak: eugenics has made a lethal comeback,” Christianity Today, December 2006, p. 72

“Seventy years later, eugenic ideas are surfacing again, masquerading as humanitarian progress — as in research labs where scientists destroy ‘leftover’ human embryos to find cures for diseases, or in sperm banks where women select their baby’s father from hundreds of donors on the basis of intelligence or gifts, or in doctors’ offices where parents feel subtle pressure to abort imperfect fetuses, or in hospitals when futile-care policies allow doctors to decide who lives and who dies. Today, some ethicists, like Princeton’s Peter Singer, brazenly argue that it’s permissible to kill disabled children after they’re born — children like my autistic grandson, Max — all in the seductive guise of maximizing human happiness. This utilitarian logic is being applied not only to taking life but also to creating it in the image of man. English scientists are attempting to create ‘designer babies’ by transplanting the nucleus from the cell of a woman with defective mitochondria into the healthy egg of another woman. The resulting child would have three genetic parents. It’s the first step toward genetic engineering of human beings.”


The utilitarian logic behind eugenics leads us to moral atrocities

Charles Colson (former special counsel to President Nixon; founder, Prison Fellowship; 1993 recipient of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion) and Anne Morse (senior writer, the Wilberforce Forum; senior writer, Prison Fellowship), “War on the weak: eugenics has made a lethal comeback,” Christianity Today, December 2006, p. 72

“As Judeo-Christian influence erodes in Western society, traditional ethical norms are giving way to the only remaining absolute: maximizing happiness. But sacrificing one to benefit all soon makes all vulnerable. If we follow the deadly logic of modern utilitarianism, other questions will soon confront us: Why not take the body parts of prisoners sentenced for life to save others, as the Chinese do? Why feed those unable to work or provide medical care to someone in the last stages of illness? Evolutionary ethics give us no reason to eschew moral horrors. Indeed, as Richard Weikart points out, the early Darwinists stated quite boldly that mass death was necessary in order to improve the race. They ‘claimed that the winners in the struggle for existence have to “stride over the corpses of the vanquished,"’ Weikart notes. ‘This is what they saw as natural law. Natural evil serves a good purpose then, that is, of producing higher species.’”


CUSTOMIZED CHILDREN

There are no limits to genetic tinkering

Jeremy Rifkin (president, Foundation on Emerging Technologies), in Genetic Engineering, ed. by William Dudley, 1990, p. 77

“Engineering is a process of continual improvement in the performance of a machine, and the idea of setting arbitrary limits on how much ‘improvement’ is acceptable is alien to the entire engineering conception.”


Parents will demand the right to grow children to their whims

Eve and Albert Stwertka (physicians and college instructors), Genetic Engineering, revised edition, 1989, p. 13

“Suppose science were to develop a pill that could make children grow seven feet high or even taller. Should such a pill be sold or should it be banned? How would you prevent some misguided parents with dreams of future glory from trying to turn a normal youngster into a monster-sized athletic colossus?”


The history of human growth hormone demonstrates the parental drive to customize children

Robert H. Blank (prof. of political science, Northern Illinois Univ.), “Ethics and Policy: Issues in Biomedical Technology” in Technology and Politics, ed. by Michael E. Kraft and Norman J. Vig, 1988, p. 247-248

“As couples (and singles) have fewer children, increasingly there is a demand for such technologies from parents who believe they can guarantee a ‘perfect child.’ According to many observers, young couples are going to considerable lengths to ensure the birth of a near-perfect child, including selection of the sex of their progeny. Survey data indicate that many parents would consider termination of a pregnancy even for moderate defects in the unborn child, such as heightened risks of early heart disease or criminal tendencies. Recent evidence of parents seeking human growth hormone ‘therapy’ for their young children simply because estimates are that they will not reach their desired height attest to this quest for the ‘perfect child.’”


The ‘perfect baby’ mindset will lead to commodification of children

Robert H. Blank (prof. of political science, Northern Illinois Univ.), “Ethics and Policy: Issues in Biomedical Technology” in Technology and Politics, ed. by Michael E. Kraft and Norman J. Vig, 1988, p. 248

“This emphasis on technological ‘perfection’ raises questions concerning the purpose of children in this generation and tends to commodify them. It is not surprising that terms such as ‘quality control’ over the reproductive process and children as ‘products’ of particular techniques are commonplace. With the increased availability of sex and characteristic selection techniques, motivations for their application must be examined closely. There is a clear danger of viewing children as commodities.”


Genetic customization of offspring is consumer culture without limits

Hilary Rose (professor of sociology at City University, London), “Eugenics and genetics: the conjoint twins?” New Formations, Spring 2007, p. 13

“This new science fiction in which intending parents get to choose the eye colour, height, intelligence and looks of their prospective child is part of a new consumer culture without limits. If you want it, can pay for it, and someone can provide it, then it, whatever that ‘it’ is, is yours. A revitalised economic liberalism enthrones the consumer as king — or even queen. Of course we all know that accompanying this claimed new technological possibility there will be some moral questioning around the desirability of letting the market into parenthood, but with so many of the bioethicists weakened by their subscription to the thesis of the importance of the market as the chief arbiter of our futures and by their own positioning within biotechnology as consultants and advisers, they are unlikely to cut much ice. None the less, while tasteless, absurd, even impossible, the dream of the perfect baby takes its place alongside other consumer fantasies, of the perfect house, suit, job, garden or partner.”


Eugenics will lead to custom-designed kids — and aborted “imperfect” fetuses

John Leo (staff columnist), “Genetic Advances, Ethical Risks,” U.S. News and World Report, September 25, 1989. p. 59

“Annas fears that the mapping of the human genome may lead to a very narrow notion of what a physically normal person is. This, in turn, could promote an increase in the number of abortions, or even create a market in prescreened high-grade embryos guaranteed to look like Robert Redford or to make the Olympic team.”


Genetic modification of children disfigures the bond between parent and child

Michael Sandel (Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government Theory, Harvard University), “Designer babies: the problem with genetic engineering,” Tikkun, September-October 2007, p. 40+

“Let’s go back to the example of designer children. It’s very hard to make sense of what’s precious or special about the relationship between parents and children without drawing, at least a little, on the ethic of giftedness. To appreciate children as gifts is to accept them as they come, not as products of our design or instruments of our ambition. Parental love is not contingent, or at least it shouldn’t be contingent, on attributes that the child happens to have. We choose our friends and our spouses at least partly on qualities that we find attractive, but we do not choose our children — that’s an important moral fact about parenting. Even the most conscientious parent cannot be held wholly responsible for the child that they had. This is why parenting teaches us what the theologian William May calls ‘an openness to the unbidden.’ The problem of genetic engineering lies in the hubris of the designing parents. Even if this disposition doesn’t make parents tyrants to their children, still it disfigures the relation between parent and child and it deprives the parent of the humility, the human sympathies, and the openness to the unbidden.”


HUMAN NATURE

Eugenics will alter the fundamental nature of humanity

Jeremy Rifkin (president, Foundation on Economic Trends), in Biomedical Ethics, ed. by Julie S. Bach, 1987, p. 27

“With human genetic engineering, we get something and we give something up. In return for our own physical well-being, we are forced to accept the idea of reducing the human species to a technologically designed product. Genetic engineering poses the most fundamental of questions: is guaranteeing our health worth trading away our humanity?”


Genetic modifications will sharply alter the nature of human existence

Tom Athanasiou (Executive Director of EcoEquity) and Marcy Darnovsky (Associate Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society), “The genome as a commons: through all the trials and tribulations of human history, what binds us in the end is our common humanity,” World Watch, July-August 2002, p. 33

“Indeed, the techno-eugenic hard school is now promising that, within a generation, ‘enhanced’ babies will be born with increased resistance to diseases, optimized height and weight, and increased intelligence. Farther off, but within the lifetimes of today’s children, they foresee the ability to adjust personality, design new body forms, extend life expectancy, and endow hyper-intelligence. Some actually predict splicing traits from other species into human children: in late 1999, for example, a Ted Koppel/ABC Nightline special on cloning speculated that genetic engineers will eventually design children with ‘night vision from an owl’ and ‘supersensitive hearing cloned from a dog.’”


Genetic control of humans imperils all of mankind through the gene pool

French Anderson (director of the molecular hematology laboratory of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute), “Human Gene Therapy,” in Ethics, Reproduction, and Genetic Control ed. by Ruth Chadwick, 1987, p. 158

“Germ line gene therapy, however, is a different and unique forms of treatment. It will affect unborn generations and has, therefore, a greater impact on society as a whole than treatment confined to a single individual. The gene pool is a joint possession of all society. Since germ line gene therapy will affect the gene pool, the public should have a thorough understanding of the implications of this form of treatment.”


Human genetic modification tampers with humanity’s common ownership of its genome

Tom Athanasiou (Executive Director of EcoEquity) and Marcy Darnovsky (Associate Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society), “The genome as a commons: through all the trials and tribulations of human history, what binds us in the end is our common humanity,” World Watch, July-August 2002, p. 33

“But consider first the fundamental point: our patently inadequate ability to protect the resources of the global commons, to do them justice, to make them (in reality as well as in United Nations rhetoric) ‘the common heritage of humankind.’ Consider, through this lens, the likely fate of the human genome — the script which unites us as a biological species — as it too goes on the auction block.”


Human genetic engineering will bifurcate the species

Tom Athanasiou (Executive Director of EcoEquity) and Marcy Darnovsky (Associate Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society), “The genome as a commons: through all the trials and tribulations of human history, what binds us in the end is our common humanity,” World Watch, July-August 2002, p. 33

“And attend to this chilling bit of futurology from Lee Silver, a Princeton professor and self-appointed champion of the new techno-eugenics: ‘[In a few hundred years] the GenRich — who account for 10 percent of the American population — [will] all carry synthetic genes.... All aspects of the economy, the media, the entertainment industry, and the knowledge industry [will be] controlled by members of the GenRich class.... Naturals [will] work as low-paid service providers or as laborers.... [Eventually] the GenRich class and the Natural class will become...entirely separate species with no ability to crossbreed, and with as much romantic interest in each other as a current human would have for a chimpanzee.’ Silver’s predictions, in case this isn’t clear, are not voiced in opposition to a eugenically engineered future. Here and elsewhere, his tone alternates between frank advocacy of a new market-based eugenics and disengaged acceptance of its inevitability.” [Brackets and ellipses in original text]


Genetic alterations of this scope will change human destiny forever

David Suzuki (prof. of zoology, Univ. of British Columbia) and Peter Knudtson (biologist and nature journalist), Genethics: The Clash Between the New Genetics and Human Values, 1989, p. 207

“Genetic manipulation of human reproduction has the potential to multiply medical errors exponentially — sending ripples that radiate far beyond the finite lifetimes of gene therapist or consenting patient. Our ethical judgments, individually and collectively, ought always to reflect this profound biological difference between somatic cells — with their short-lived genes that lie in the moral domain of individual choice — and germ cells — with their potentially immortal genes to which future generations also lay moral claim.”


Humanity is not wise enough to take on this task

June Goodfield (fellow, British Royal Society of Medicine), Playing God: Genetic Engineering and the Manipulation of Life, 1977, p. 177

“For the first time in history, we may have the possibility of rewriting man as we know him out of the script altogether. It is this which fills many of us with sadness or horror. We feel that we have neither the wisdom nor the knowledge to do this.”


DISCRIMINATION

The eugenic mindset demeans and dehumanizes those who are disabled

Jeremy Rifkin (President of The Foundation on Economic Trends, Washington DC; fellow at the Wharton School’s Executive Program at the University of Pennsylvania), “Ultimate therapy: commercial eugenics in the 21st century,” Harvard International Review, Spring 2005, p. 47

“What makes the new language of molecular biology so subtly chilling is that it risks creating a new archetype, a flawless, errorless, perfect being to which to aspire — a new man and woman, like us, but without the warts, wrinkles, vulnerabilities, and frailties that have defined humanity’s essence from the very beginning of our existence. No wonder so many in the disability rights community are becoming increasing frightened of the new biology. They wonder, if in this new world, people like themselves will be seen as errors in the code, mistakes to be eliminated, lives to be prevented from coming into being. We are not likely to be tolerant when we come to see everyone around us as defective.”


It will increase discrimination against the handicapped

Robert H. Blank (prof. of political science, Northern Illinois Univ.), “Ethics and Policy: Issues in Biomedical Technology” in Technology and Politics, ed. by Michael E. Kraft and Norman J. Vig, 1988, p. 248

“Furthermore, it is probable that the availability of technologies for prenatal diagnosis, screening and selection will heighten discrimination of children born with congenital or genetic disorders. Already there is a clear danger that acceptance of selective abortion reduces tolerance of the living affected.”


It will stigmatize the handicapped

Philip Elmer-Dewitt (staff writer), “The perils of treading on heredity: uncontrolled tampering with DNA could stir up a host of ethical dilemmas,” Time, March 20, 1989, p. 76

“Advocates for the handicapped fear that in the future the physically afflicted may no longer be seen as unfortunates worthy of special treatment, but as ‘wrongful births,’ genetic errors committed by parents who failed to take proper action against a defective gene.”


Genetic-based eugenics will create a caste system

Robert H. Blank (prof. of political science, Northern Illinois Univ.), “Ethics and Policy: Issues in Biomedical Technology” in Technology and Politics, ed. by Michael E. Kraft and Norman J. Vig, 1988, p. 248

“Leon Kass expresses concern for those abnormals who are viewed as having escape the ‘net of detection and abortion’ as attitudes toward such individuals are ‘progressively eroded.’ In this atmosphere, increasingly such individuals will be viewed as unfit to be alive, as second-class humans or lower, or as unnecessary persons who would not have been born if only someone had gotten to them in time. Parents are likely to resent such a child, especially if social pressures and stigma are directed against them.”

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