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Inquiry about better humans

  1. Feb 29, 2004 #1
    inquiry about "better humans"

    Would you accept that, somehow, the human reproduction was manipulated and controlled (that is, mating, conception and gestation) in order to prevent the transmission of undesirable characteristics (mental and physical deficiencies, degenerative diseases etc) and favour the transmission of other more desirable chracteristics (intelligence, strength, beauty etc)? Why?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 29, 2004 #2
    Absolutely. That's why women are beautiful.

    cookiemonster
     
  4. Feb 29, 2004 #3
    um.. that is entirely what the point of reproduction is.. and always has... i have no idea why you doubted this to ask it.
     
  5. Mar 1, 2004 #4
    Re: inquiry about "better humans"

    You're talking about the basic concepts of reproduction and evolution. As to the question of "why?", there is no scientific answer, as "why?" is not a scientific question. Now, if you are asking "why" a particular trait has been preserved while others died off, then that question can be rephrased as "what happens to traits that are not 'fit' for their particular niche?", and the answer is "they go extinct".
     
  6. Mar 1, 2004 #5
    Re: inquiry about "better humans"

    btw, welcome to the PFs, lockecole. :smile:

    Is there anything more specific that you are wondering about on this topic (reproduction, natural/sexual selection,etc), or are you interested in the subject as a whole?
     
  7. Mar 2, 2004 #6

    hypnagogue

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    I think Locke was inquiring about the ethical feasibility of eugenics.
     
  8. Mar 4, 2004 #7
    Which is the game nature has been playing for billions of years...if it is unethical for a human to do it, then the human standard of ethics must be "unnatural".
     
  9. Mar 4, 2004 #8
    Re: Re: inquiry about "better humans"

    In addition, "why?" belongs to philosophy( and religion).
     
  10. Mar 4, 2004 #9
    Re: Re: Re: inquiry about "better humans"

    Sure, the question fits in right where it is, and I did attempt a scientific answer to a variant of the question.
     
  11. Mar 11, 2004 #10
    Re: inquiry about "better humans"

    Originally posted by lockecole

    Would you accept that, somehow, the human reproduction was manipulated and controlled (that is, mating, conception and gestation) in order to prevent the transmission of undesirable characteristics (mental and physical deficiencies, degenerative diseases etc) and favour the transmission of other more desirable chracteristics (intelligence, strength, beauty etc)? Why?

    If I understand your question correctly I would have to say NO. If you say that natural mating, conception and gestation prevents undesirable progeny, then why are there so many children born with deformity, disease or mental illness.

    If you are asking about human tinkering with procreation to eliminate the above, then you are talking about making a race of supermen and women. The nature of things would be disrupted with humans choosing who and what type of person should be replicated.

    This is a very slippery slope. Who would be brilliant enough and moral enough to choose the most desirable traits. The loss of disease and deformity would eliminate the need for the healing profession and leave only the lawyers.
     
  12. Mar 11, 2004 #11
    From a purely biological standpoint, we don't want to limit the geen pool excessively. Think about something like sickle-cell anemia...why has it lasted so long? Because it is bundled along with a resistance to malaria. The law of unintended consequences comes into play here...if we breed out "undesirable" qualities, which do we choose, where do we stop, and what do we do about unforseen outcomes?
     
  13. Mar 11, 2004 #12
    Re: inquiry about "better humans"

    there are no better humans! each of us enters the world to accomplish a personal goal. if it takes a strong body to achieve the desired goal, you born into a strong body.

    if a sharp wit is required, you might have a very weak body so that you hone this wit.

    IMHO, you not only get the physical body you need, but you are born into an enviornment that will assist as well. so, nature and nurture work together to help you reach the desired end.

    a person might be born into the world with a very severe disease and have the mental capacity to find the cure. the disease itself might be a motivating agent for the person to use the mental resources to work toward that cure.

    there is no good, better best OR bad, worse, worser, worsest - LOL -
    there just - IS ! -

    peace,
     
  14. Mar 14, 2004 #13
    Re: Re: inquiry about "better humans"

    This is a great answer!

    What exactly is meant by a slippery slope argument?

    Thanks!
     
  15. Mar 14, 2004 #14

    Kerrie

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: inquiry about "better humans"

    it was a good attempt mentat...but it's also okay to attempt it as a philosophical approach as well.:smile:
     
  16. Mar 14, 2004 #15

    Kerrie

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    Re: inquiry about "better humans"

    i don't think it's a good idea at all...we have already dabbled with "controlling" the natural world, and this led to extinction of so many different plants, insects and animals...controlling human reproduction for the most beautiful and "accepted" features could lead to the extinction of ourselves...allowing nature to take it's course-by allowing each individual human their choices of who they mate with-keeps our population diverse...
     
  17. Mar 15, 2004 #16

    hypnagogue

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    This is a bit facile, I think. Nature's evolution works based on simple principles of what does and does not work in the propogation of a system. If humanity started a eugenics program in earnest, it would not be a direct expression of what does and does not work in this way-- it would be an expression of what humans believe does and does not work. So now instead of dealing with nature, we would be dealing with models of nature, which of course are apt to be flawed in unforseen, and potentially dangerous, ways.

    Furthermore, any human eugenics program would have massive social implications. We would have humans choosing in a direct and planned manner what is good and bad in our genes, in our physical makeup. This cannot help but create yet another kind of social stratification to be tacked onto the pre-existing ones involving economics, social status, race, religion, etc. Social stratification can lead to nasty things like discrimination, oppression, and conflict, so introducing such a stratification where it need not exist surely has considerable ethical implications to be accounted for.

    So we can't just take principles from the system of nature at large and integrate them into human worldviews with the ethical justification that it must be OK because it's 'natural.' The circumstances are just too different. It's apples and oranges.
     
  18. Mar 16, 2004 #17
    Originally posted by hypnagogue

    This is a bit facile, I think. Nature's evolution works based on simple principles of what does and does not work in the propogation of a system. If humanity started a eugenics program in earnest, it would not be a direct expression of what does and does not work in this way-- it would be an expression of what humans believe does and does not work. So now instead of dealing with nature, we would be dealing with models of nature, which of course are apt to be flawed in unforseen, and potentially dangerous, ways. Furthermore, any human eugenics program would have massive social implications. We would have humans choosing in a direct and planned manner what is good and bad in our genes, in our physical makeup. This cannot help but create yet another kind of social stratification to be tacked onto the pre-existing ones involving economics, social status, race, religion, etc. Social stratification can lead to nasty things like discrimination, oppression, and conflict, so introducing such a stratification where it need not exist surely has considerable ethical implications to be accounted for.

    So we can't just take principles from the system of nature at large and integrate them into human worldviews with the ethical justification that it must be OK because it's 'natural.' The circumstances are just too different. It's apples and oranges.


    Actually nature does have specie that artificially creates the type and class of each individual born into the society.

    Elected government officials, once elected to office, and naturally the most intelligent among us, can formulate a system similar to the honey bees, ants and termites.

    The queen lays all the eggs in small incubators. Depending on the food they are fed and the quantities of a special developmental queen food, can decide which ones become the male drones, the workers, the nurses and sundry others that keep the nest at the right temperature and humidity.

    Think of it.... A class society created by the super senators and congressmen who decide who will prosper and who will live in poverty. Then like in India, an untouchable class that only serves the upper classes.

    Sounds like a vote for the Democratic party of the USA and their dividing Americans into classes.
     
  19. Mar 18, 2004 #18
    Hold on a second...nature does not only produce "fit" beings, that's what extinction is for. Yes, a human eugenics program would probably produce some "failures", but so does nature. Indeed, humans (if there nature is as dangerous as it appears to be) may be a perfect example of one of those mistakes.

    And what's the difference between this and normal Sexual Selection? It is merely a matter of degree.

    Actually, we can indeed take the principles of nature and integrate tem into our ethics/morals. We simply have to understand them better than we do. You see, Natural Selection (for example) is not "purposed" to destroy things or to retain things, it just does what it does. Humans, OTOH, have the ability to purposefully change whatever niche they're in, and thus are the ones in need of a moral framework (nature doesn't need any such framework, because it doesn't "purpose").

    In the end, who is going to hold them accountable if they completely abandon all moral and ethical sense? Nature wont care. Unless you believe in God, the only ones that will hold humans accountable are other humans, and that may not even always hold true.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2004
  20. Mar 18, 2004 #19

    Njorl

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    There are some flawed assumptions in this thread that lead to flawed conclusions. Our evolution is not based on survival of the fittest individuals. It is based upon propogation of the genes most likely to be propogated. That may seem a silly distinction to make, but it is important.

    The success of humans has not been due solely to the merits of individuals. It is more dependent upon our social evolution. The traits that make us work well together lead to our prosperity. Those traits enhance survival, and thus propogate. Some make the mistake that biological evolution and social evolution are seperate. They are intertwined.

    Those traits that seem most desireable in an individual may be disasterous if they are widespread. For instance, what makes a good leader? Do we really want everyone in society to be a good leader? We need more good followers than leaders, but it is not as appealing a trait.

    It may then seem only a matter of restraint. If we restrict ourselves to correcting genetic defects, eliminating genetic diseases and so on, it would not be harmful. But we do not exercise restraint well. If the infrastructure develops to routinely alter genes, a black market will develop to alter restricted genes. I do not suggest that we never cross this line, but that we delay until we know more about our genome, and how it affects not just one body, but a people as a whole.

    Njorl
     
  21. Mar 18, 2004 #20
    But isn't that just what causes us to be "fit" in all niches?
     
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