Sep 05, 2013 CANADA (SUN) Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was introduced to the world in the 1860's - quite recent, when considered on the timeline of modern history. Today, Darwinist theory is perhaps most commonly known for being the cause of great turmoil in the classroom, where scientists and religionists have drawn battles lines. Proponents of Intelligent Design, who are primarily fundamentalist Christians, have been squaring off against members of the Darwinist science community in a war over textbook content. For many, however, the whole debate is of little interest and seems to have no connection to the pressing issues of modern life.
Most people don't given Darwinist philosophy a second thought, and have little understanding of the enormous role it actually plays in their lives today. In reality, the impact of Darwinism ripples out across the entire planet, and is increasing in importance. One of the areas in which it has come to the fore is genetic engineering. Here, too, science and religion are at odds as genetics morphs into modern eugenics, demanding a re-evaluation of the ethics of this so-called progressive science.
Logo from the Second International Congress of Eugenics, 1921
The term "eugenics" is not typically found in the mass media today. Many think of it only in the context of the dark science engaged in by Nazi Germany, or the sterilization programs in mid-century homes for the mentally impaired. But in fact, the concept of eugenics came back to the forefront in the early 1980's, with the advancement of genetic science. Experiments like the Human Genome Project have now put a modern face on eugenics - and in some ways, it is a far more dangerous face than the old, evil countenance of days past. Today eugenics is being dressed up and paraded before the public as one of the 'blessings of modern science' - the magic of genetic engineering, which promises to put an end to disease, let parents customize the gene traits of their children, and other supposedly benign benefits of modern science.
Science archivist Martin Frost authored a good overview of the ethical issues at the heart of the modern eugenics movement, which for all practical purposes is nothing more than the most recent advancement of atheistic Darwinist philosophy.
"Ideological social determinists, some of which have obtained college degrees in fields relevant to eugenics, often describe eugenics as a pseudoscience. Modern inquiries into the potential use of genetic engineering have led to an increased invocation of the history of eugenics in discussions of bioethics, most often as a cautionary tale. Some ethicists suggest that even non-coercive eugenics programs would be inherently unethical, though this view has been challenged by such thinkers as Nicholas Agar.
In modern bioethics literature, the history of eugenics presents many moral and ethical questions. Commentators have suggested the new eugenics will come from reproductive technologies that will allow parents to create "designer babies" (what the biologist Lee M. Silver prominently called "reprogenetics"). It has been argued that this non-coercive form of biological improvement will be predominantly motivated by individual competitiveness and the desire to create the best opportunities for children, rather than an urge to improve the species as a whole, which characterized the early 20th-century forms of eugenics. Because of this non-coercive nature, lack of involvement by the state and a difference in goals, some commentators have questioned whether such activities are eugenics or something else altogether. But critics note that Francis Galton did not advocate coercion when he defined the principles of eugenics. In other words, eugenics does not mean coercion. It is, according to Galton who originated the term, the proper label for bioengineering of better human beings.
Daniel Kevles argues that eugenics and the conservation of natural resources are similar propositions. Both can be practiced foolishly so as to abuse individual rights, but both can be practiced wisely.
Some disability activists argue that, although their impairments may cause them pain or discomfort, what really disables them as members of society is a socio-cultural system that does not recognize their right to genuinely equal treatment. They express skepticism that any form of eugenics could be to the benefit of the disabled considering their treatment by historical eugenic campaigns.
James D. Watson, the first director of the Human Genome Project, initiated the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Program (ELSI) which has funded a number of studies into the implications of human genetic engineering (along with a prominent website on the history of eugenics), because:
Distinguished geneticists including Nobel Prize-winners John Sulston ("I don't think one ought to bring a clearly disabled child into the world") and Watson ("Once you have a way in which you can improve our children, no one can stop it") support genetic screening. Which ideas should be described as "eugenic" are still controversial in both public and scholarly spheres. Some observers such as Philip Kitcher have described the use of genetic screening by parents as making possible a form of "voluntary" eugenics.
Some modern subcultures advocate different forms of eugenics assisted by human cloning and human genetic engineering, sometimes even as part of a new religious movement (see Raëlism, Cosmotheism, or Prometheism). These groups also talk of "neo-eugenics", "conscious evolution", or "genetic freedom".
Behavioral traits often identified as potential targets for modification through human genetic engineering include intelligence, depression, schizophrenia, alcoholism, sexual behavior (and orientation) and criminality."
Srila Prabhupada gives us an amazing legacy in his presentation of the Absolute Truth as it relates to Darwinism philosophy. He offers clear explanations on the hazards of Darwinist thinking: moral hazards, social ills, and incentives for the demoniac nature to exploit the other living entities under the guise of Darwinism and eugenics. Darwinist philosophy is insidious, and we find that it touches nearly every aspect of modern life, in too many ways to mention, but His Divine Grace has exposed the fundamentals of all these manifestations.