Genetics of Your Future Children Can Be Determined
Hitler tried it, so did Soviet Russia, Hollywood cannot get enough of it and countless people still endorse it all over the world. Debates around the topic just don’t seem to end. Here’s a look at what eugenics is all about.
What is Eugenics?
Eugenics refers to an attempt to improve the over-all quality of the human species by choosing which traits are to be passed on to the other generation. It basically is a borderline messed up concept about closely altering the genetic make-up of future generations.
How Recent is the Idea of Eugenics?
Not recent at all. The beliefs and principles of eugenics have been around since the time of Ancient Greece. However, modern eugenics date back to only as late as the 20th century. It began with Britain and spread to many parts of the world including the United States.
Hollywood, because that’s how it rolls:
Hollywood never disappoints when it comes to taking sci-fi theories to random levels of creativity and imagination. Two iconic products of this industry based on eugenics are the Ethan Hawke-Uma Thurman starrer Gattaca, and the 1917 film the Black Stork. The latter film was re-released in 1927 under the title Are You Fit to Marry?
Eugenics in Politics:
The most significant example in this case is that of Adolf Hitler and his campaign of ‘purifying’ the German race by the mass extermination of Jews. One of Hitler’s main goals was to preserve, or as he saw it, the purity of the Aryan German race as he went ahead to categorise large groups of people as “life unworthy of life”. Who else is glad this isn’t 20th century Germany?
The USSR has as disturbing a history as Germany when it comes to eugenics. It began as a systematic field of study in the 1900 with the Imperial era and lasted significantly right until the end of Stalin’s reign in 1939, when it begun to be viewed as a ‘fascist science’. It started as discussions on heredity, diversity and genes in the early 20th century and went ahead to become a full-fledged scientific discipline with societies and periodicals within a couple of decades. Though Stalin’s period saw the last of it, narratives about Russian eugenics are still prevalent in contemporary times.
Eugenics -the Foundation of Transhumanism:
We recently spoke about transhumanism and how this movement attempts to make the human species efficient with the use of technology. Transhumanism in a way, therefore stems from eugenics -a belief which conceives a world made of only the strongest and the best of their species, which in turn means getting rid of the weak and the inefficient.
Science has convinced us of its tendencies of being more than just disturbing -with phenomena like Artificial Intelligence, transhumanism and eugenics. There is also a sense of elitism among eugenicists who believe how some races are superior to others and therefore their existence should be privileged at the expense of other races. 21st Century Wire sums it up aptly when it says,
Eugenics rests on a necessity of there being superior and inferior genetic pools in the human population. It might be very socially unacceptable to speak publicly of there being some races, ethnic or cultural groups who are inferior to the rest, yet in secrecy this is exactly what elite Eugenicists believe.
Eugenics too joins the fray of one of the many theories and propositions ricocheting in the world right now. There has never been a consensus about it and it doesn’t seem likely to be reached in the near future. Do you think you’d be okay with genetically altering your progeny if it meant they would be the best of their kind, or would you rather let nature take care of it like it has done so far?