eng102

Topics: Eugenics, Bioethics, Liberalism Pages: 7 (2515 words) Published: October 3, 2013

Research Question: Could new eugenics really create ideal the way of life for new generations or may new eugenics which is called liberal turn out to be illiberal like old eugenics?

Eugenics is a science which aims to improve the human race through selective reproduction. The term was coined by Francis Galton in 1833 and actually it comes from Greek word “eu” which means good and “genic” which comes from generation. The good birth “eu-generation” has been considered a reflection of Darwin’s theory of evolution in human life but in an artificial way. Eugenics aims to create the fittest generation by making offspring healthier, physically more enhanced and more intelligent. In terms of creating a better generation and accelerating human evolution eugenics and transhumanism have common aims. Both of them aim to use technology to improve the human genome and eliminate the limitations. Although it seems they have only an influence on human biology, they have large social consequences which can change the structure of society. It could be argued that eugenics is basically getting rid of undesirables. These undesirable traits are perceived as different in terms of society and times. These traits are not limited to only mental disorders, physical disabilities and low intelligent, they have also included alcoholism and pauperism in the past. Although eugenics contains racist, biased, and unscientific aspects it still exists and it is acknowledged as a hereditary science. Today we have two definitions of eugenics which are distinguished from each other. One of them is the ‘old eugenics’ which has a coercive structure that generally involves governmental sanctions. This type of eugenics has been associated with the infraction of human rights since the Nazi eugenics programs in which many humans were killed due to the abuse of eugenic promises. These programs were manipulated by biased opinions and resulted in a disaster. Second type of eugenics is new eugenics or liberal eugenics which is created by redefining the old term and modernizing it. Modern eugenics advocates that the choice of enhancing of human characteristics and capacities lies with the individual. New eugenicists are defined as liberal due to its not having state control over the breeding and define liberal eugenics an morally justifiable. Despite the new definition eugenics is still controversial because it is hard to predict before the consequences of such a program when it is implemented. Old eugenics is criticized for there is no certain definition about which human traits are the fittest, whereas the new one is criticized because such choices are too serious to be left to the individual preferences of parents. I do not believe that new eugenics could be accomplish its promises of being liberal due to two main reasons: the first one is that parents are free to make intervention into their children’s genetics does not mean liberalism for children too; the second is that new eugenics would not stay in a liberal position over time and it would create more complexity.

That parents are free to make intervention into their children’s genetics does not mean liberalism for children. The most significant difference of new eugenics from the old one is its not being coercive. Eugenicists insist on a new definition where there is the promise that it will not give any harm to any individual’s autonomy. However they forget that children’s autonomy would be jeopardized by their parent’s choices. They would live a life which is determined from a wide range of possibilities and saying that the chosen life path is the best way for children is not fair. Every person has the right to make their own decisions according to universal human rights. If parents would make all decisions for their children before they were born is it possible to evaluate this kind of life as an ideal? Would any decision about their life remain for children? These questions are hard to answer...

Cited: Agar, N. "The Debate Over Liberal Eugenics [2]." Hastings Center Report 36.2 (2006).
B Prusak, Bernard G. "Rethinking "Liberal Eugenics.." Hastings Center Report 35.6 (2005): 31-42. Academic Search Complete.
Fox, Dov. "The Illiberality Of ‘Liberal Eugenics’." Ratio 20.1 (2007): 1-25. Humanities International Complete.
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World / Aldous Huxley. n.p.: New York : Perennial Classics, 2006
Magnet, Shoshana. "Identity And The New Eugenics In The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act." Media, Culture & Society 35.1 (2013).
Kevles, Daniel J. "From Eugenics To Patents: Genetics, Law, And Human Rights." Annals Of Human Genetics 75.3 (2011).
Koch, T. "Enhancing Who? Enhancing What? Ethics, Bioethics, And Transhumanism." Journal Of Medicine And Philosophy 35.6 (2010).
Pekalski, A. "Effect Of Eugenics On The Evolution Of Populations." European Physical Journal.
Sparrow, R. "A Not-So-New Eugenics: Harris And Savulescu On Human Enhancement. "Hastings Center Report 41.1 (2011).
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