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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DIGNITY & LIFE

Eugenics decreases respect for life

June Goodfield (fellow, British Royal Society of Medicine), Playing God: Genetic Engineering and the Manipulation of Life, 1977, p. 71

“We are concerned here with the rights of individuals and the sanctity of human life, not interpreted in the strict biblical sense but with a gentle reverence. Seen in these terms, life is something that one does not manipulate lightly, in any way whatsoever, without respect or concern. It is fears like these that worry so many other people about the headlong rush into a new biomedical technology: the fear that we are losing our respect for each other, and for what it means to be human.”


Tinkering with human genetics violates the ‘giftedness of life’

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+

“It seems to me that there is a reason for a set of moral considerations that go beyond safety and fairness. What makes us most uneasy about the use of genetic engineering to enhance or to create something, has to do with the fact that the drive to create children of a certain character reflects an aspiration to freedom, mastery, and control, and to exercise our human will and our ability to remake human nature to serve our purposes and satisfy our desires. It seems to me there is something flawed but deeply attractive about that. This uneasiness, I believe, connects to a recognition that there is a way in which who we are is a gift from the universe. And this is to say that not everything we are is a product of our own doing, and not everything in the world is open to any use we might desire or devise. An appreciation of the giftedness of life might induce in us a certain humility. What I’m trying to articulate here is, in part, a religious sensibility, but its resonance reaches beyond religion.”


JUSTICE

The issue of justice is the primary objection to eugenics policies

Julie M. Aultman (coordinator for the Bioethics program at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine; assistant professor of behavioral sciences), “Eugenomics: Eugenics and Ethics in the 21st Century,” Genomics, Society and Policy, 2006, Vol. 2, No. 2 (August 2006), p. 37

“The fifth and final thesis, on Justice, is the central moral problem of eugenics. There was an obvious separation between the classes where people of the underclass possessed undesirable traits and, because of this, were subjected to unjust and intolerable cruelty. ‘The injustice of this distribution of burdens and benefits is evident, even when we make the effort to accept, for the sake of argument, the eugenicist’s warnings about degeneration and their promise of a better society to come.’ Not only was justice the central moral problem of eugenics during the 20th century, it appears to be the central moral problem surrounding genomic data and technologies today.”


Human genetic engineering widens economic inequality

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. 34

“These boosters frankly acknowledge that designer-baby techniques would be very expensive and that most cloned or genetically ‘enhanced’ children would be born to the well-off. They concede that the technologies of human genetic redesign would therefore significantly exacerbate socio-economic inequality, and they speculate about a future in which a genetic elite acquires the attributes of a separate species. But they do not find in any of these possibilities reason to forego eugenic engineering. In Children of Choice, for example, John Robertson writes that genetic enhancements for the affluent are ‘simply another instance in which wealth gives advantages.’”


Human gene manipulation destroys equality

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. 34

“The techno-eugenic vision carries with it a deep ideological message. It urges us, in case we still harbor vague dreams of human equality and solidarity, to get over them. It tells us that science, once (and sometimes still) the instrument of enlightenment and emancipation, may bequeath us instead a world in which class divisions harden into genetic castes, and that there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. The story of an ‘enhanced’ humanity panders to some of the least attractive tendencies of our time: techno-scientific curiosity unbounded by care for social consequence, economic culture in which we cannot draw lines of any kind, hopes for our children wrought into consumerism, and deep denial of our own mortality.”


MEDICAL ETHICS

There can be no proper informed consent with genetic technologies

Judith Levine (freelance writer on women’s issues; co-founder of the National Writers Union; board member, National Center for Reason and Justice), “What human genetic modification means for women,” World Watch, July-August 2002, p. 26

“Didn’t these patients give informed consent? Yes and no. Most read warnings and signed their names. But with genetic therapies there’s no such thing as ‘informed,’ says Judy Norsigian of the Boston Women’s Health Collective, ‘because the risks can’t be known.’”


Genetic modifications violate the medical ethics of the Nuremberg Code

Judith Levine (freelance writer on women’s issues; co-founder of the National Writers Union; board member, National Center for Reason and Justice), “What human genetic modification means for women,” World Watch, July-August 2002, p. 27

“’The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment,’ reads the Nuremburg Code, drawn up after World War II to forbid future torturous experiments of the sort Nazi ‘scientists’ inflicted on concentration-camp inmates. What is the humanitarian importance of creating a faster 100-meter sprinter? Or even curing a disease with genetic engineering when other options are still untried? The science to find ‘safe’ means of human GE, says Newman, would constitute ‘an entirely experimental enterprise with little justification.’ In other words, ‘We can’t get there from here.’”


SOCIAL CONTROL

Women have a particular reason to fear technological changes in the birth process

Judith Levine (freelance writer on women’s issues; co-founder of the National Writers Union; board member, National Center for Reason and Justice), “What human genetic modification means for women,” World Watch, July-August 2002, p. 26

“If anyone should be wary of medical techniques to ‘improve’ ordinary reproduction — as GE [genetic engineering] purports to do — it’s women. History is full of such ‘progress,’ and its grave results. When limbless babies were born to mothers who took thalidomide, the drug was recalled. But the deadly results of another ‘pregnancy-enhancing’ drug, DES, showed up only years later, as cancer in the daughters of DES mothers. The high-estrogen Pill was tested first on uninformed Puerto Rican mothers, some of whom may have died from it. Today’s fertility industry takes in $4 billion a year, even though in-vitro fertilization (IVF) succeeds in only 3 of 10 cases. Virtually unregulated and highly competitive, these fertility doctors often undertake experimental treatments.”


Eugenics will increase government control of society

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. 243

“In addition to challenging basic values, human genetics for many persons raises the specter of eugenics and social control. References to a Brave New World scenario, where human reproduction is a sophisticated manufacturing process and a ‘major instrument for social stability’ are commonplace, as are aspersions to Nazi Germany. Moreover, fears of human genetic engineering, itself often a pejorative term, are cast in terms of playing God or interfering with evolution. Not surprisingly, opposition to genetic and reproductive intervention in this context is frequently intense.”


Eugenics will lead to control over human behavior

June Goodfield (fellow, British Royal Society of Medicine), Playing God: Genetic Engineering and the Manipulation of Life, 1977, p. 168

“Nevertheless, the prospects are still there, the disquiets are still there. There is the ‘human-scare’ scenario, by now familiar: evil people planning to use the technology to produce a race of acquiescent robots.”


Eugenics will subjugate humanity

Eve and Albert Stwertka (physicians and college instructors), Genetic Engineering, revised edition, 1989, p. 126

“They [critics of bio-engineering] also raise the old specter of ‘eugenics’ — the effort to improve human hereditary stock as if people were cattle — with all its abhorrent possibilities of abuse and its threat of domination by one racial or ethnic group over others.”


LIBERAL EUGENICS

The new generation of eugenics policies disguises its nature by avoiding the term ‘eugenics’

Julie M. Aultman (coordinator for the Bioethics program at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine; assistant professor of behavioral sciences), “Eugenomics: Eugenics and Ethics in the 21st Century,” Genomics, Society and Policy, 2006, Vol. 2, No. 2 (August 2006), p. 34

“Sheldon (1999), on the other hand, seems to think that even though research into human behaviour raises many of the same eugenical issues, ‘there is no need for us to fall again into the ideological quagmire of that earlier period.’ But have we not already fallen into that ideological quagmire? Chinese government has already passed a law, in 1995, to discourage people with low IQs from marrying, even though the word “eugenics” does not appear in the new law. Such a law mimics the laws of the twenties and thirties regarding population eugenics, and ‘progress on ethical and social issues has been rather less dramatic.’”


Habermas says even liberal eugenics undermines self-determination of future generations

“Regulating eugenics,” Harvard Law Review, vol. 121 (April 2008), p. 1585

“Not all liberal political philosophers agree that liberal eugenics is morally acceptable, much less required. Professor Jürgen Habermas, for example, believes that the very idea of eugenics is incompatible with liberal democracy’s postulates of autonomy and equality. Eugenics, by giving the living power over the not-yet-born, may threaten the ‘ethical self-understanding of the species’ shared by all moral persons — that we are self-determined and responsible beings — because the eugenically produced are forever in a relation of servitude to their parents. Moreover, basic human respect in interpersonal relationships is founded upon self-authorship of one’s life, an authorship the eugenically produced cannot claim. Professor Habermas’s argument for this point is cryptic: ‘[P]ractices of enhancing eugenics cannot be “normalized” in a legitimate way, because the selection of desirable dispositions cannot be a priori dissociated from the prejudgment of specific life-projects.’ He seems to be saying that the fact that a child’s enhanced nature was chosen by her parents implies that she cannot live autonomously.” [brackets in original text]


Voluntary eugenics imports the evils of capitalist competition into human reproduction

Amy Otchet (staff journalist), “The dangers of laissez faire,” UNESCO Courier, September 1999, p. 27

“Welcome to the world of laissez faire eugenics, says Arthur Caplan, one of the most influential American bioethicists. ‘This simply means that people are free to choose how they want to design their children, with the constraints that they don’t kill, harm or make them worse off,’ says Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania. ‘If you’re not taking any [health] risks, then it’s hard to criticize the goal of trying to biologically make your child better.’ Not so for the philosopher who first coined the term laissez faire eugenics, Philip Kitcher of Columbia University. ‘We’re putting the rat race into the womb,’ he says. ‘I used to be more optimistic,’ thinking that education and support for the disabled would lead to a genetic utopia free of discrimination. ‘But now I see the root of the problem goes deep into capitalist society with the pressure to compete,’ says Kitcher. ‘Parents with the resources will feel pressured to make sure that their children have “the right genetic stuff."’” [brackets in original text]


Non-coercive ‘liberal’ eugenics is still morally troubling

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+

“There are many today who say the only thing wrong with eugenics was its coerciveness, and if we could imagine a eugenic program that was not mandated by the State, that was not coercive, but was chosen by the individual parents trying to help and lift up their children, then there’s nothing wrong with eugenics. But I think that’s a mistake. I think that coercion was not the only thing wrong with eugenics. What we have today with designer children is privatized eugenics, free market eugenics, individualistic eugenics. Without the broad social ambitions for everyone, it’s really now an instrument for privileged parents to give their kids a competitive edge. Privatized eugenics reflect a deflation of the ideal of eugenics, perverse as that ideal was in its enactment, because it’s no longer trying to uplift humanity, or entire societies, but just trying to get a competitive edge. I think what’s wrong with eugenics, beyond coercion, is the fact of its ambition to try to control or exercise dominion over the genetic traits of the next generation. That’s morally troubling, whether done on a society-wide basis or done by individual parents trying to give their kids a competitive edge.”


MORATORIA

A moratorium on some human procedures would allow better moral evaluation

Michael Dorsey (Thurgood Marshall Fellow in Residence, Dartmouth College; member, Sierra Club board of directors), “The new eugenics,” World Watch, July-August 2002, p. 23

“Far from halting scientific progress, as some industry groups claim, the imposition of moratoria or bans on a couple of the most dangerous new human genetic technologies could help strengthen the long-term viability of basic and biomedical research by compelling its supporters to more thoroughly consider — and more forthrightly deal with — the social and moral implications of their work.”


Human gene therapy is not eugenic

There’s no historical connection between medical genetics and the eugenic movement

Ruth Schwartz Cowan (professor of history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania), “Medical Genetics Is Not Eugenics,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 16, 2008, p. 1

“There is, to start with, no meaningful historical connection between the enterprise once called eugenics and the enterprise now called medical genetics. There were certainly some Mendelian geneticists who were eugenicists, but the vast majority of classical geneticists figured out, early on, that most of the eugenic claims made about the inheritance of feeblemindedness and alcoholism were, if not entirely false, then at least undemonstrated. Human genetics, the genetics of probability and statistics in large populations, the genetics of allelic frequencies and mutation incidences, indeed had some eugenicists among its founding fathers and mothers, but medical genetics owes very little to it.”


We cannot change the fundamental nature of organisms

Lisa Raines (director of government relations, the Industrial Biotechnology Association), in Genetic Engineering, ed. by William Dudley, 1990, p. 199

“Current techniques of genetic engineering are capable of inserting only a handful of genes into an animal with 50 thousand to 100 thousand or more genes. Such manipulations would not disrupt anything fundamental in the animal’s architecture. A mouse with a human growth hormone gene is still fundamentally a mouse, though its growth characteristics may be enhanced.”


We cannot engineer complex human traits

David Jackson (chief scientific officer, Genex Corp.), in Manipulating Life, ed. by Gary McCuen, 1985, p. 33

“A great deal of popular literature is based on the premise that it will soon be possible to use genetic engineering for directed manipulation — that is to say, manipulation where a predetermined result is sought and achieved — of complex characteristics such as intelligence, aggressiveness, personality, good looks, and so forth. All of these characteristics, to the extent that their determinants are genetic, are surely specified by many genes, none of which do we have the slightest clue at the present time as to how to identify biochemically. The idea that it will be possible to successfully and directly engineer such complex human traits in any foreseeable future is simply preposterous.”


We cannot make novel human templates

Carl Heintze (freelance science writer, former newspaper reporter and former Columbia University Science Writing fellow), Medical Ethics, 1987, p. 63

“Although science has given us a few test-tube babies, it is incapable of creating different ‘models’ of human beings, as Huxley predicted. But the time does not seem far away when scientists may be able to control and cure some genetic diseases.”


Designer babies are beyond our technology

The United Kingdom Human Genetics Commission, Making Babies: reproductive decisions and genetic technologies, 2006, p. 84

“The kind of physical or behavioural characteristic that some people might want to select — such as beauty, intelligence or personality — will involve a large number of genes with complex and unpredictable interactions with each other and with the environment. Even if we were able to understand and predict these complex relationships, the limited number of embryos available in PGD would make selection for one with a specific combination of gene variants virtually impossible. The hope of making a designer baby is fanciful.”


The creation of babies with enhanced abilities is well beyond our technical grasp

The United Kingdom Human Genetics Commission, Choosing the Future: Genetics and Reproductive Decision-Making, 2004, p. 19-20

“There is sometimes a belief that in the near future, we will be able to enhance our children genetically and be able to select for certain characteristics such as beauty, intelligence or sporting ability. As HGC has heard, at the moment scientists know almost nothing about which genes might be involved in making up these characteristics and the role of the environment. Even if scientists did know this, an additional problem with selecting for such attributes would be that an impossibly large numbers of embryos would be required to find one with the desired genetic make-up. An even more remote possibility is enhancement through the genetic modification of embryos or fetuses. As with embryos, we have almost no idea of which genes to target or the means of changing them. Any such approach remains science fiction for the foreseeable future.”


Creating babies to specification is unlikely, since the desired traits are controlled by many genes

The President’s Council on Bioethics, Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness, 2003, p. 38

“Most of the traits for which parents might wish to engineer improvements in their children — appearance, intelligence, memory — are most certainly polygenic, that is, traits (or phenotypes) that depend on specific genes or their variants at several, perhaps many, distinct loci. In such cases the relationships and interactions among these genes (and between one’s genes and the environment) are certain to be enormously complex. Isolating all the relevant genetic variants, and knowing how to work with them to produce the desired result, will therefore prove immensely difficult.”


Not that many people would want to engineer the perfect human being

The President’s Council on Bioethics, Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness, 2003, p. 19

“Not everyone interested in the beyond-therapy uses of biotechnology will dream of human perfection. Many people are more or less satisfied, at least for now, with their native human capacities, though they might willingly accept assistance that would make them prettier, stronger, or smarter. The pursuit of happiness and self-esteem — the satisfaction of one’s personal desires and recognition of one’s personal worth — are much more common human aspirations than the self-conscious quest for perfection.”


Eugenics is already available through coerced breeding

Carl Heintze (public information officer, The Institute for Medical Research), Genetic Engineering: Man and Nature in Transition, 1974, p. 103

“Eugenics, as this is sometimes called, could be accomplished today, if man were willing to limit sexual reproduction to carefully selected partners. The idea is not unthinkable, but it is prevented by present-day ideas of personal human freedom.”


We already heavily modify our children in our search for perfection

Norman Levitt (Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University), “No child left behind,” Skeptic, Winter 2008, p. 77-78

“In other words, to put it whimsically, but only slightly so, to vicariously satisfy these aspirations, a kid would have to be a handsome six-footer (if female, five-ten would do), who can get into an Ivy league school on brains alone, charm his or her way into the heart of its snobbish social scene, and win a few varsity letters for tennis or track or crew. Even more disturbingly, a kid notably deficient in any of these areas — too short, too unathletic, too much put off by schoolwork and SATs — must be regarded as something of a personal disaster for his or her parents, marking them as having failed in an important aspect of their own lives. Thus, all sorts of techniques for remediation of juvenile shortcomings and for paving a child’s path to Olympian perfection have sprung up (though no doubt some are delusory): hormone treatments of kids even in the normal range, height-wise, to assure that they will reach the tall end of the bell-curve; sports camps offering intensive-training programs that aim to pull them up to professional levels of proficiency; all sorts of tutoring and coaching courses to ensure that they will knock the socks off the SAT.”


The use of genetic technology to modify the human race is inevitable: get used to it

Norman Levitt (Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University), “No child left behind,” Skeptic, Winter 2008, p. 78-79

“There is a certain inexorability to the social trajectory that leads to widespread use of biotechnological methods to shape the next and therefore all subsequent generations. This view is reinforced by the fact that millions of people, acting quietly and privately, consulting only their physicians, nowadays engage in practices that are clearly eugenic in intent and in effect, the purpose usually being to avoid giving birth to a child carrying a serious genetic defect such as Down’s Syndrome or Tay-Sachs disease. It seems inevitable that these practices will expand to include methods that produce novel and desirable qualities as well, as the technology becomes available. This is becoming a global phenomenon. If, for unforeseen reasons, American society comes to reject and suppress eugenics wholesale, then it will be taken up in Japan or China or India — somewhere or other, in any event, and with similar long-term consequences for our species as a whole.”

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