Eugenics in the news and our research dissemination conference

Some genetics/eugenics news : just to remind us all that eugenic developments remain real.

[Thanks to Alison, Bob and Tony for these]

Article 1, entitled : ‘Three-parent IVF’ could combat genetic disease.

It’s about a DNA test; you can find any ‘genetic condition’ and replace the DNA in the egg with somebody else’s. Opens the door to all kinds of possibilities – e.g. finding a deaf gene like connexin 26 and replacing it.

Article 2, more recent, entitled: Oxford Professor Says Mankind (sic) Is Ethically Obligated To Create Genetically Engineered Babies

Here’s what the Professor, Julian Savulescu, says:

“Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good
enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?” wrote
Prof Savulescu, the Uehiro Professor in practical ethics. “So where
genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an
individual and society, we should allow parents the choice
.”

As the author states, there’s a word for that Julian, in case you had forgotten. It’s called Eugenics.

Thirdly, the UK’s BBC2 ‘Newsnight’ programme did a report on modern day eugenics thinking in the context of the Paralympics. Unfortunately the programme, on BBC’s iPlayer, is only available in UK, but it’s accessible until Wednesday September 4th: I will try and get a transcript.  It featured another Professor, John Harris, who veers towards eugenic thinking…but he was robustly challenged by a UK Paralympian and a writer for the Daily Mail who has a disabled daughter.

Finally, a research dissemination conference, “Sleepwalking Into Eugenics? Genetic modification and disabled people”, will take place at the M-Shed in Bristol on Saturday 10th November, 9am to 4pm. We will be sending out details very shortly (look out for further information in British Deaf News); it’s free but people need to register. The conference will present the results of a Centre for Deaf Studies research project – if these issues interest you, it’s an umissable event.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 comments

  1. Hi,
    I was watching the BBC2 debate on Eugenics and they said something like: “Eugenics- taking advantage of evolution to improve human life”. I wonder what they meant by that? I must point out, evolution is not progressive as many people may think– all those t-shirts showing ‘ape crawling’, then ‘ape stooping’, and then ‘ape walking’ (or skiing or dancing, or playing football…) are based on the false assumption that living things are “progressing” to something “better”. I wouldn’t take research coming from biologists or geneticists who’ve got evolution wrong too seriously.

    1. Ok, point taken. I just want to add that these people are so called ‘experts’ on the issue, Professors etc…and they are advocating eugenics but trying to argue it isn’t: or they argue that even though nazi murder’s and the sterilisations programs in countries like Sweden, parts of the USA, Peru and other countries could be termed a bad thing, we shouldn’t reject it entirely because forms of modification could be a good scientifically. They take a medical perspective towards disabled people, assuming their quality of life is of a lesser standard than the non-disabled. Insulting and patronising in the context of the Paralympians, for example. And so many famous people have had crippling disabilities but made amazing contributions to science and culture – Stephen Hawkings is the best example; Woody Guthrie (Huntington’s Disease) is another, and there are hundreds more. The arguments of these Professors are a ‘liberal’ form of eugenics. Their arguments imply a potentially dangerous ‘drift’ towards eugenics – sleepwalking is a good description of what’s happening. The onward march towards eugenics is a dangerous one and at the very least, all that’s happening (and its going fast) should be subject to rigorous public debate and these genetic scientists (and their academic apologists) should be held to account.

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