Talk:Eugenics

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Citations[edit]

This article is seriously lacking in them. There's a tonne of unsourced info which needs to be sourced or axed. Webbtje (talk) 18:08, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

The removal of pseudoscience from this article certainly deserves discussion as well. It appears to be a bit of an edit war. tmtoulouse 18:15, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
The lebensborn stuff appears to be almost complete bollocks and in serious need of good citation if it's not going to be deleted in short order - David Gerard (talk) 19:23, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Not all of it. The stuff about it being a breeding programme certainly is BS, and probably Himmler's alleged order as well. But it's true that they handled a large number of children born to German occupation soldiers (not just SS members) and Norwegian women. Edit: apart from that, calling these women "collaborators" is pretty low. Most of them probably carried these babies as a result of genuine love affairs or rape, but not as a way of seeking rewards from the occupiers. Throwing them in with Quisling and his ilk is unwarranted. Röstigraben (talk) 21:20, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Request for community comment: Edit war between myself and Research psychologist[edit]

I seem to be in an edit war over this article with User:Research psychologist, as they appear to want to want to whitewash out the POV of this article and make it more friendly to Eugenics. Every edit I've made since then to re-RWify this article has been reverted by them without comment. The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 20:08, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

I'm with the clownophobe. EddyP (talk) 20:15, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Nevermind. Turns out to be a sockpuppet of MarcusCicero based on this edit. The Goonie Punk Can't sleep, clowns will eat me! 20:30, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
What, because they said "hypocrisy"? -- Nx / talk 20:32, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
No, because the sentence "Your hypocrisy is telling" is a common MC sentence. Plus, the douche has done nothing but edit war since arriving. The Goonie Punk Can't sleep, clowns will eat me! 20:33, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Maybe, but it's awfully subtle for MC. And there were some good edits too. -- Nx / talk 20:39, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Another MC-esque edit comment. The Goonie 1 What's this button do? Uh oh.... 20:40, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
EC NX, Are you kidding? This is classic MC...P-Foster (talk) 20:41, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
So what, anyone who says "immature" is now MC too? That's not enough for a permablock. -- Nx / talk 20:43, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
I find it quite amusing that you are in such denial of the fact that you are both a hypocrite and immature, that you falsely accuse me of being someone else who has likewise noted your hypocrisy and immaturity. ...which is, come to think of it, a rather immature thing to do. Research psychologist (talk) 21:12, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Major telltale there: virtually no-one but MC's socks state that he was right about everything. Professor Moriarty 21:32, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
You accuse me of hypocrisy, and give nothing more than insults. I tried to bring our edit warring to the talkpage and even asked you to comment, but no. You'd rather hurl insults over our edit war than do anything constructive to remedy the situation, so fuck off. Gooniepunk2010 Oi! Oi! Oi! 21:20, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
You have the attention of a lot of people now RP. Go up a section and discuss your edits, sources, reasoning, all that good stuff. tmtoulouse 21:29, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

(unindent} I'll agree with you there. But this guy's edit-warring has to stop one way or another. I've asked numerous times for talkpage comment, and to no avail. Lord Goonie Hooray! I'm helping! 20:44, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Then vandal bin them for that, as I did. -- Nx / talk 20:45, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, as I've never supported permabanning anyways. Lord Goonie Hooray! I'm helping! 20:46, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Stop channeling CP[edit]

Each editor stands on their own merits. Enough with this "it is MC we can ignore everything" crap. This user has a strong POV, and is not being very constructive in the dispute, but we don't user administrative tools in a conflict over content. tmtoulouse 20:58, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes, but I asked numerous times for comment from this guy, and was met with nothing but insults. What the fuck else am I supposed to do to reason with someone who is not being reasonable? The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 21:22, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
I have yet to find a non-vandal who won't either eventually give up or come to the talk page given a rejection of their edits a sufficent number of times or enough people being involved in the dispute. Lets see what happens for now. tmtoulouse 21:25, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. Gooniepunk2010 Oi! Oi! Oi! 21:27, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, starting the request for comment on the talk page was the right thing to do. It attracts people who may not have seen the revert warring to chime in. And, yeah, claiming that an editor is an alias of another editor is a bit pointless, no matter how much you feel they are the same or similar. People on the internet share many common traits, both "good" and "bad", without being each other. Oh well, he seems to have stopped for now? ħumanUser talk:Human 21:55, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Spiritual collectivist propaganda in the Eugenics article[edit]

The belief that eugenics is pseudoscience is the consequence of spiritual collectivism, which causes the sense that 'all humans are one', meaning that there can not possibly be innate differences in quality between different individuals. That is the antithesis of rationality, and it is quite humorous that such propaganda exists on a website called 'rationalwiki'. It has become quite clear by now that all of the anti-fundamentalist / anti-creationist material on rationalwiki is just the shell of a trojan horse, a trojan horse carrying this spiritual collectivist propaganda. Gooniepunk2010, Secret Squirrel, Human, and P-Foster, all of which are spiritual collectivists as evidenced by their edits to the Eugenics article, are all bureaucrats. It is my understanding that one can only be raised to bureaucrat level by Trent Toulouse himself.

Do you think that by posting such propaganda to a place with the trappings of rationality, you can fool anyone into thinking that eugenics is pseudoscience? I believe that you will succeed in fooling some people- innocent people who do not know just how sociopathically deceptive some people can be. I pity them.

Research psychologist (talk) 22:07, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Okay. (FYI:Any bureaucrat can make any user a bureaucrat, not just TT.) P-Foster (talk) 22:12, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Any bureaucrat can promote any user to bureaucrat, I believe the one in your list of conspirators that I have personally promoted is Human. I am going to pass on addressing the fallacies of poisoning the well, red herring, and ad hominem (only bring them up since your thumping "rationality" so much). Let us strip away the conspiracy theories and the general denigrations and get to the actual content issues at hand.
So your argument is that there are innate differences between humans, that these differences are objectively "better" or "worse" when compared with each other, that we can assess these differences, and control their relative frequencies, that is what you are saying right? tmtoulouse 22:16, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
For the interest of the non-gibbering - the only usage I can find of "spiritual collectivist" is a Dave Sim rant that, of course, talks about feminism. I can't find anything showing the phrase to be in common use in eugenicist or racist circles - David Gerard (talk) 22:19, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
I have no clue what spiritual collectivism means. I certainly do not believe that "all humans are one", nor that "there can not possibly be innate differences in quality between different individuals". What does any of that have to do with eugenics? I don't get it. Eugenics is based on oversimplified archaic notions of heritability - simply sterilizing everyone with an undesirable trait isn't going to remove that trait from the gene pool and anyone with a basic understanding of genetics understands this - and tied in with 19th century pseudo-scientific racism, ergo, it is bullshit. If the argument here is about collectivism, eugenics is certainly collectivist, being a practice claimed to be justified by some collective need by "society" to "cleanse" the gene pool of "undesirable" traits. Who defines "undesirable"? And isn't eugenics an attempt to remove "innate differences in quality" and make everyone more alike? Secret Squirrel (talk) 02:47, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Lebensborn section moved here for referencing[edit]

This section strikes me as complete bollocks. The only reference given is the Wikipedia article, which just doesn't support it. Real good sources needed.

===Lebensborn===
The Nazis went one step further with their eugenics program. In 1935, by order of Heinrich Himmler, the SS established a selective breeding program called Lebensborn. Under this program, men and women considered to be of "good Aryan stock" were matched in order to produce Aryan children. Later, when Germany invaded other northern European countries during World War II, then Nazis kidnapped many local children whose parents were thought to be ideal Aryans. These children were then sent to reeducation camps in Germany, then adopted out to Nazi party members.
When Germany invaded Norway, the SS accelerated the Lebensborn program within that country. Because the Nazis believed that all Scandinavians -- but especially Norwegians and Swedes -- were of the purest Aryan stock, Himmler ordered all SS officers stationed in Norway to father children with local women, even if those SS officers were married. When the local women got pregnant, they were sent to special Lebensborn houses in southern Norway.[ref]There were at least 9 of these facilities in southern Norway, and perhaps as many as 15. Only Germany, with 10, had as many facilities.[/ref] After giving birth, the babies were taken from their mothers and sent to Germany to be raised by Nazi party members. During the 4½ year occupation of Norway, the German invaders produced as many children there (about 8,000) as were produced by Germans in Germany during the 10 years that the program was active.
As for the Lebensborn children who were born after the Nazis evacuated, let's just say that the Norwegians were not kind to them or their collaborating mothers.
The SS also operated at least 12 other Lebensborn facilities that were scattered across the countries that they invaded, stretching from France to Poland.[ref]See the Wikipedia article on Lebensborn.[/ref]

- David Gerard (talk) 22:19, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Larry V. Thompson "Lebensborn and the Eugenics Policy of the Reichsführer-SS," Central European History, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Mar., 1971), pp. 54-77 . P-Foster (talk) 22:29, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
That covers everything asserted in the above? I ask because it's the very first I've heard of it - David Gerard (talk) 22:30, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, I didn't actually READ the damn thing yet....P-Foster (talk) 22:33, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
In a word, "no." "In December 1935, Heinrich Himmler established an SS agency designated as Lehenshorn, or the "Well of Life" society, ordering it to perform a twofold task to administer welfare assistance to SS families having a large number of racially valuable children; and to extend maternity and child-care facilities to expectant mothers, whether they were married or not, if they could prove the biological excellence of their expected children. Even with the emphasis placed on racial value as a criterion for Lehenshorn involvement, the agency might appear to have been a curious blend of an SS "fringe benefit" combined with a charitable SS gesture toward unwed mothers. In reality, Lehenshorn functioned as one unit within a comprehensive eugenics policy begun earlier in 1931 when the Reichsfuhrer issued his famous "marriage decree" to the SS.1 The contribution which Lehenshorn made to this eugenics program is examined below with emphasis placed on the socio-biological motives that prompted the Reichsfuhrer s concern for childbearing and ultimately lay behind the agency's founding." --nothing about "kidnapping" or "Norway" in a quick skim...P-Foster (talk) 22:40, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
I've found a few, but they're in German. In a nutshell: no breeding programme, no "matching", no orders to SS officers to father children. The numbers seem correct, though, and there was indeed a heavy focus on Norway. Also, it seems strange to award so much prominence to this particular project, when the sterilization and extermination programs that were justified by Eugenics affected much more people. Whoever wrote this probably took the sensationalist claims about Nazi breeding way too seriously. Röstigraben (talk) 22:55, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
So, what about this paragraph? Keep it out, or mention it and use that opportunity to debunk the breeding myth? I don't know if it's relevant enough to justify any kind of treatment here, because this subject is somewhat obscure even in Germany. Röstigraben (talk) 15:02, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't see much point debunking something with no known adherents. Write something sensible and apposite, I guess :-) - David Gerard (talk) 16:12, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I'd say leave it out, because otherwise the article kind of gives an impression of "The Nazis sterilized and killed a lot of people, but here's the really juicy stuff...". And yeah, it's a total fringe topic. There's probably ten times as many people who believe that the Nazis are still busy operating UFOs out of Antarctica. Röstigraben (talk) 16:29, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Eugenics and racism[edit]

I agree there is a cultural aspect to race, but there is also a genetic one. Neutering all the non-Aryans would lead to an increasingly white population. While it would be racist it would not be bad eugenics, it would be brutal. It makes great sense and is not absurd. --194.215.122.193 (talk) 22:31, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

What we're talking about is the motivation behind eugenics, and the motivation was racism. Neutering all non-aryans would make a more white population, but it wouldn't make the population any better, and the belief that it would is racist and not genetically based. ThunderkatzHo! 22:42, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
It is racist, but if you are racist you prefer a skin color and an eye color and a hair color and a maybe even a body type and so on. Eugenics gets you those, so I still think there's something wrong with the sentence. It's more racism that is absurd, not eugenics. Killing the "wrong" races does alter human traits. However I kind of see what you are getting at. Could we conceive a better section title? --194.215.122.193 (talk) 23:16, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
The pitfalls of eugenics? ThunderkatzHo! 03:18, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Citations (2)[edit]

Yes, I read the discussion on this talk page before adding shit-loads of fact tags; my reasons for adding them aren't covered. This article seriously needs some citations for its conclusions. First, at least some diseases/traits are recessive, so eugenics could be used to reduce their incidence: simply saying this is never the case is just wrong. Second, the Gould information may be valid but should be properly cited with details of works and statements of views. Third, the final para is totally unsourced and seems to be pure POV.

2/10 - must do better. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 03:35, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Sperm Banks[edit]

Is the establishment of sperm banks which tended to promote donors as welthy, or intelligent, or physically superior or cuter worth mentioning ? I also have problems with the article seeming to say that this doesnt work. The basic approach is that of livestock breeding with breeding animals with desirable traits and culling those with undesirable traits. It seems to me to be more a social issue than one of it working. Hamster (talk) 22:40, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

 It might work, but it would be painstakingly slow, even in a society that essentially has a class of isolated breeders with everyone else sterilized. A dog breeder might live to see over 100 generations. That's enough to make significant progress. A human breeder might live to see 4, assuming they don't care about child sex slavery. Dogs make about 10 pups a year. Humans make about 1.

Eugenics is based on thoroughly valid science.[edit]

Lo and behold, I discovered this in this article:
Eugenics is not a valid science.[citation needed] Most human traits are multifactorial, and simple breeding cannot reinforce or diminish their frequency.[citation needed] Furthermore, it usually seems to be carried out for racist reasons instead of genetic ones.

I tried editing the section to remove this travesty, but found myself writing an essay. Here are my random thoughts on the subject; and I welcome anyone who wants to render them coherent and use them.

Yes, eugenics is applied in racist directions. That's nasty. But scientific validity doesn't give a gram of goat shit for our preferences and moral qualms. I'd really love zero-point energy production to work, but the laws of thermodynamics don't bend the knee to me or to anyone else I know. Any technology that's worth a tinker's damn has morally objectionable and morally admirable applications -- consider that the same science has given us nuclear medicine, nuclear weapons, and nuclear waste. Is nuclear physics not a valid science because the consequences of nuclear accidents and waste are so unpleasant? Um ... no, so sorry, arguing from consequences, or morality, isn't going to influence my view of whether some field of science is valid.

But this is wide of the point: eugenics isn't a science in itself, valid or not. It is an application of the technology of animal breeding, based on a valid science called genetics, to humans; and really, there haven't been many technologies in human history more richly demonstrated to be effective in the real world. The Westminster Dog Show contains splendid evidence of the variation that can be introduced into a single species. And artificial selection is applicable to humans, unless one wants to claim that humans are somehow outside the bounds of selection, natural or not.

Many Ashkenazic Jews undergo genetic testing to determine whether they carry the genetic trait that causes Tay-Sachs disease, which is a recessive genetic illness, fatal in the homozygous state and symptomless in the carrier state. To my knowledge, most of those who test positive choose not to reproduce in an effort to avoid passing the trait on. It's difficult to see how this doesn't meet the definition of eugenics (unless we want to include moral objectionability in the definition of "") and equally difficult to see a moral objection to its aim.

So yes: eugenics can be applied to humans in the same way that it has quite successfully been to dogs. It could work -- in theory. The fact that many of its applications are agreed to be morally repugnant doesn't make it false.

However, eugenics is not practicable in humans for several reasons. First, many traits deemed valuable (such as intelligence) are poorly defined and poorly understood, making a hash of efforts to breed on those traits. Second, the same is true of many traits deemed undesirable. Third, humans' extremely long reproductive period and our stupendously long maturation period will probably make any eugenics program an extremely long-range project, requiring centuries to fix even a simple trait in a bloodline large and varied enough to be viable. Fourth, human reproduction is much more difficult to control than canine reproduction: ensuring the required level of compliance is likely to be very difficult. --CogitoErgoRaraSum (talk) 01:06, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the above. There are many reasons why we wouldn't want to or shouldn't go down that route, but it could be done. So it's not pseudoscience.--BobSpring is sprung! 17:55, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
The strict definition of eugenics is not widely agreed upon. Some might file these examples under the heading of genetic engineering, even if only to distance it from the term "eugenics," or possibly "liberal eugenics." Furthermore, I would consider attempts to expunge certain illnesses such as Tay-Sachs from the gene pool to be unproven or speculative science rather than science or pseudoscience for the reason that it might have unintended consequences vis-a-vis genetic diversity. In any case, the term "eugenics" is almost always invoked to refer to the pseudoscientific interpretation of the pre-WWII era and RW focuses on pseudoscience. I wouldn't be against adding modern incarnations of "eugenics" if a distinction is made between these two definitions. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 06:18, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
"Eugenics" has typically been carried out by selective breeding whereas "genetic engineering" looks to selectively edit genes in a laboratory - and as a consequence it's a more refined technique. Apart from that I see little difference in either the objectives or the consequences.
It seems to me that a lot of eugenics conversations really revolve around argument from adverse consequences.--BobSpring is sprung! 07:13, 21 December 2011 (UTC)


About two years later...[edit]

Indeed, one would have to be an extremely young earth creationist to deny that eugenics is both scientific and works. It's mankind's second oldest science, and a wildly successful one. This article is a disgrace. Demigord (talk) 14:27, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

Fix or fudge, you decide. Innocent Bystander (talk) 14:50, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
I've tried to expand the article to explain that human eugenics would be similar to animal breeding. In order to maintain a specific variety like a thoroughbred horse or a purebred dog, you have to make sure that the breed only mates with other members of that breed. Mutts will eventually revert to type. And mutts will probably be healthier than any purebred dog. (My dad always wanted a Dalmatian. We got him a Dalmatian. That dog lived just over ten years. Hip dysplasia; towards the end the dog could not right himself without human assistance, and was in constant pain. I hate kennel club standards.) Eugenics is going to require a level of planning over human sexual activity that's never been achieved before. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 05:02, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Eugenics is just as scientific as engineering[edit]

What engineering is to physics, eugenics is to genetics. Both are the normative application of a scientific field. Engineering is based on both the subjective preferences of architects and the science of physics, and eugenics is based on both the subjective preferences of politicians/citizens/IVF consumers and the science of genetics. We must not have double standards in how we apply logic. It is possible to have eugenics as a pseudoscience, but it is also possible to have it grounded in genetics. It is also possible for engineering to be a pseudoscience if engineers began to make claims that were unsubstantiated. Just as the eugenics movement was often based on outdated or misunderstood genetics research, engineering also struggled to keep up with the best scientific standards of physics. If we are going to label eugenics a pseudoscience because of its failure to always be based on modern genetics then fairness also requires for us to label engineering a pseudoscience for it failure to always apply the science of physics with scientific accuracy. The last sentence was facetious, but my point is that a field such as engineering can be both normative and an imperfect understanding or application of physics, yet it can still be considered a science, so why should this logic not apply to eugenics? 50.10.89.234 (talk)

Since I actually am an engineer, I think I'm marginally qualified to answer your question. The field of engineering as a whole is solely concerned with solutions to specific problems. The ethical implications of said solutions are of practically no import to engineers. Engineers design missiles, bombs and guns, concerning themselves only with the effectiveness of such devices. Whether or not they should be used is not an engineering dilemma.
To work with your analogy... Engineers are always trying to "build the better mousetrap". But "better" in this case is some quantifiable goal. Whether it's measured in killing effectiveness, ease of use, reduction in production costs etc. Where it would become pseudoscience is when an engineer claims to have invented said mousetrap but will never clearly define what "better" is. Or what objective criteria are used to distinguish between a superior mousetrap and an undesirable one. Objective being the key stumbling block. Because engineers and mice have strongly differing opinions on the subject. --Inquisitor (talk) 22:40, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

Dr. Richard Dawkins says breeding humans for qualities is possible[edit]

You know you need to rethink the idea that eugenics is a pseudoscience when rationalwiki's definition of Pseudoscience includes Dawkins as a sources for refuting pseudoscience, yet Dr. Richard Dawkins in an earlier statement, has said that breeding humans for preferred traits is possible and suggest that we should have a discussion over the moral aspects of this.

"The spectre of Hitler has led some scientists to stray from "ought" to "is" and deny that breeding for human qualities is even possible. But if you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability? Objections such as "these are not one-dimensional abilities" apply equally to cows, horses and dogs and never stopped anybody in practice.

I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler's death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them. I can think of some answers, and they are good ones, which would probably end up persuading me. But hasn't the time come when we should stop being frightened even to put the question?" - Dr. Richard Dawkins http://www.heraldscotland.com/from-the-afterword-1.836155 50.10.89.234 (talk) 17:08, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

The problem is that the main difficulty with eugenics is that it an ethical problem not a scientific one. Because we regard humans as a "special" we give ourselves a special status. We start from this ethical conclusion and search around for "scientific" evidence to support us.
It's a sort of similar problem to the one over at bestiality, although there our need to keep humans special forces people into contortions to to pretend we care about animals' "consent".
Frankly it leaks a but over into the fact that we eat animals and not humans - though there are better scientific reasons for that one.--Weirdstuff (talk) 19:04, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
The other practical difficulty is that if you wished to breed specific traits into humans, you'd have to keep their pedigrees separate from the rest of the human race. Think of what happens to pedigreed dogs and cats. They can't be allowed to mate with any old dog or cat; and in fact, the kennel club standards tend to be so unforgiving that they often lead to some degree of pedigree collapse. It could be done to humans, but the will to do so would have to be sustained over generations and centuries, the pedigrees would need to be maintained separate, and while you could produce humans with any inheritable traits you'd like, you aren't breeding supermen. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 19:25, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
OK. But "difficult" is not the same as "impossible" obviously. The Siberian foxes experiment got spectacular behavioural results with something like 20 generations if I remember correctly. If we assume a human generation as 20 years then we would indeed be looking at 400 years. So it would be a tough project.--Weirdstuff (talk) 19:34, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Breeding animals for specific traits often does introduce weakness which we tolerate because we don't really care that their appearance or higher yield reduces their lifespan or makes them susceptible to fractures (or other health issues) as longevity is not usually a requirement in domesticated animals. Selecting humans for athletic abilities which covers such a small portion of their life seems pointless. To me the only real question is not whether we select for certain abilities but whether we should aim to eliminate certain genetic defects. The problem is of course that we have no idea what we might eliminate if we filter the gene pool. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 20:43, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
any animal breeder can tell you that its possible. It is the social and moral implications that prevent it. I used to breed budgies and the common method was to select breeding pairs based on features of an ideal bird per the Budgie society standards. You then breed father/daughter, mother/son and siblings in subsequent generations. With an annual breeding program you could get maybe 4 sets of offspring from each male and two from each female. Move that into human terms and the same 5 year program for a budgie would take about 100 years. I would be curious to see some figures for traits like musical or mathmatic aptitude or other non-physical traits. The issue of culling the failures would be one of the social/moral implications. Hamster (talk) 20:46, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
you don't need a breeding program to eliminate certain defects from the gene pool, you simply need to decide not to treat them and let them die or perhaps sterilization before reaching breeding age. Hemophiliacs and dow2ns syndrome for example. oh wait, thats been done ! Hamster (talk) 20:51, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
To get back to the pseudoscience point. We all agree that eugenics would be:
  • Highly unethical and morally repugnant.
  • Exceptionally difficult with some outcomes difficult to control or predict - at least with our present knowledge.
  • Exceptionally long-term if carried our as a breeding programme. (Though, in point of fact, within the time-scales being discussed direct genetic manipulation would be a lot faster.)
But none of the above says "pseudoscience". It might say "unethical science" but that's not the same.--Weirdstuff (talk) 08:21, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
Quite so. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 09:13, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
Now, I am convinced that personality traits like social dominance, susceptibility to tribalism, xenophobia, and susceptibility to sexual jealousy are heritable traits. People differ measurably in these traits. They are the expressions of genes or gene complexes.
They are also fairly strongly associated with criminality. If there is an ethical problem with sterilizing violent convicts in an attempt to decrease the incidence of these traits in the population, I don't understand what the ethical problem with this is. These are prisoners, convicted of crimes; we punish them by making them unable to beget children. The only problems I understand here are whether it's cost effective (American style prison sentences may have a similar effect, but vasectomies and tubal ligations might be cheaper); and whether it has side effects that would backfire (advanced societies might need an underclass of violent untermenschen to sic on their enemies). But the mystic horror that I expect will greet this proposal is something I just do not feel and do not grasp the basis for. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 14:57, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
UDHR Article 16. Innocent Bystander (talk) 15:07, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
And to think that the same person was foaming at the mouth about how activism made people horrible...--ZooGuard (talk) 15:53, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Maybe it's morally wrong, although only from a man-made set of morals constructed from an ancient religious framework, but it's scientifically sound. It's not a pseudoscience, but one of the darker applications of science. And, although the usage of German there was to make a point, the modern world is more like that than we like to admit. As long as we are human, we'll have war. Peace is pretty much impossible. Genius and fighter rarely overlap, with the traits needed to control a government being far different from traits needed in a warzone. So, as long as there is war, we'll need the hypermasculine idiots that blindly follow their orders to fight wars. As long as we exist, there will be wars. So, as long as we exist, we will need dumber, easily controlled, but very strong, populations. --PosthumanHeresy (talk) 01:20, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Categorization and template, this time seriously[edit]

Well I tried putting it to biology per this talk page but it seems it seems that people will believe only what their prejudices let them.--Weirdstuff (talk) 15:47, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

So are we all agreed - including Mr Zoo guard after he has read the page - that this is not pseudo-science?--Weirdstuff (talk) 16:06, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
No. Did you read my edit summary?
And a part of the problem is that "this" is not a single thing. The article covers a number of various concepts and practices lumped together under "eugenics", as well as the historical eugenics movement in the West. Not all of them (if any) were rooted in the science of the day, and even less so in the science of today. So, the pseudoscience category stays. If you want, you can remove the annoying navigation template, but please don't put "Biology" there. It implies... stuff.--ZooGuard (talk) 16:16, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Please tell me what is pseudo-scientific about any current definition of eugenics? (Where eugenics means controlled breeding with the objective of favouring a specific trait or trait.)
Please tell me why that would not involve the application of the the biological sciences.--Weirdstuff (talk) 19:25, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
"And a part of the problem is that "this" is not a single thing." Hammer meets nail. Eugenics was a melange of legitimate science, pseudoscience, and politics. It should really be under both the biology and pseudoscience cats. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:40, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I believe Politics is a fitting category for eugenics because eugenics is both a belief system or "ism" and public policy. Pseudoscience is not a fitting category for eugenics because eugenics differs from Astrology, Ufology, and the Supernatural because unlike these pseudosciences, eugenics has a public policy agenda or normative agenda behind it. Eugenics is also distinguished from these other pseudosciences because Dr. Richard Dawkins claims that breeding humans for traits is possible. Dawkins would never claim predicting the future from the stars is possible. The Biology category may not be a good fit, because although one could claim eugenics is the implementation of the Hippocratic oath, this statement is probably too controversial for it to be generally accepted. Examples of topics that are already under the Politics category are Fascism, Libertarianism, and Totalitarianism. My other categorical suggestion is to create eugenics as its own category, and include both pseudosciences like Phrenology and legitimate sciences like pre-implantation genetic diagnosis as subcategories under the eugenics category. Publiceditz (talk) 16:39, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

The problems with eugenics[edit]

It would be possible to 'breed out' some of the less pleasant genetic diseases with limited genetic footprints, but mutations do happen (Queen Victoria and haemophilia), and what is considered 'well bred' in one generation is not in another (and it is difficult to predict what to breed for in a hundred years form now). 171.33.222.26 (talk) 17:39, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

better means of genetic testing would make a breeding program easier if breeding for physical characteristics while avoiding culls. The issues of intelligence I think are less understood with some nature vs nurture issues. The biggest problem would be getting a society to accept killing the unsuitable children. Hamster (talk) 05:22, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, you don't need to kill children. Test or even edit fertilized eggs. We already do the former and Designer babies are probably gonna be here before today's infants are adults. The technology is here in a crude form today. No need for senseless infanticide. 73.25.110.186 (talk) 04:31, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Does eugenics need historical revisionism?[edit]

Some bio-ethicist and journalist claim that genetic screening, such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, is a form of eugenics; however, defining genetic screening as a form of eugenics is problematic because it gives the impression that the practice is unethical and pseudoscientific. The logic a person may use is the following:

All eugenics practices are unethical and pseudoscience (according to rationalwiki); genetic screening is a eugenics practice(according to some bioethicist [1] [2]); therefore genetic screening is unethical and pseudoscience.

I believe the solution to this problem is to claim that all forms of past racial discrimination under the guise of eugenics was not truly eugenics because these practices did not truly improve the gene pool. Under this historical analysis of history, only the practices that truly and objectively benefit the gene pool can be defined as eugenics. 173.227.98.2 (talk) 21:46, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

The idea of eugenics is subjective in that the definition does not include the goal you are moving towards. IMO we shouldn't cater to people too dumb to realize that. Also, consider that what really has put eugenics to rest are the (post-WWII shortage of people followed by) low birth rates. China had their one child policy until recently when they decided the age structure is getting dangerously skewed towards old people. Should people gain a new passion for popping out 7+ babies per family all the moralists would change their positions. Whether mainstream society will have a genuine issue with genetic screening depends on how it will change the birth rates. I can see it going either way. --Someon (talk) 23:27, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I love this sentence in the article: "There is no reason to believe that a selective breeding plan to encourage certain physical traits in humans will mean the same results that plant and animal breeders have achieved for centuries (who were without specific knowledge of the genes they were selecting in and out)"
Damn right! I mean humans are not animals! Humans are special! The fact that you can breed traits into "animals" doesn't mean it would work for God-created humans.--Coffee (talk) 19:28, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
It WOULD work for humans, but just not well. Humans produce few offspring and take many years to mature. The ideal candidate for domestication is more like dogs, fish, fruit flies, or microbes, where a breeder can make meaningful progress in their lifetimes, or in the case of bacteria, can make meaningful progress in a day. With humans, it would take a thousand years.

The absurdity of eugenics too strongly worded[edit]

"Whilst eugenics is based, in theory, in the perfectly valid science of genetics, its application is always far from scientific." What would a "scientific" application be? The Nazis did not know much about Genes, yet breeding for certain traits would still be possible (see the Siberian Fox experiment).

"Furthermore, whereas it is (relatively) easy, for example, to breed cattle for higher milk yield, defining what is meant by a "better" human being is a very difficult question." There is quite a bit of consensus that blindness is not a great trait unless you live in a cave. Or that a brain with Alzheimer's disease is not what you want to end up with.

"The development of the field of epigenetics,[wp] i.e. heritable environmental factors in genetic expression that occur without change to underlying DNA structures, poses further problems for eugenics." Epigenetics is gene expression, rather than genetic information itself. Big difference. And its scope is vastly overstated in the media and by those who hate human differences to be hereditary, see f.ex. http://nautil.us/blog/epigenetics-has-become-dangerously-fashionable.

"The extreme reductionism of eugenics often crossed into what is now comical territory. Nearly every social behavior, including things such as "pauperism" and the vaguely defined "feeble-mindedness," could be traced back to a single genetic disorder according to eugenicists." Actually, the biological consensus is that all human behaviour has a heritable part. How could it be otherwise?

"Stephen J. Gould was strongly opposed to eugenics. He wrote extensively on the topic, including his treatment on intelligence in The Mismeasure of Man." Gould seems to have found any heritability of human traits socially undesirable and thus denied its existence. See also his statement that the eye has evolved by pure chance :) "The Mismeasure of Man" is debunked and its section on intelligence (especially the skull measurements) was by far its weakest part. 193.62.251.21 (talk) 09:18, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

Controversial edit[edit]

Suggesting eugenics would end human suffering is a claim that not made. However, higher intelligence would reduce human suffering, and that is hard to dispute. Lower IQ correlates with criminal records (though not if it's too low), unemployment, shorter life and poorer health, less salary, less educational attainment. Some points I'd like to make:

  • genetic engineering (or whatever word may be invented) is a euphemism. While being straightforward is political suicide (in the West), advocates including Richard Dawkins (who suggested aborting a kid because of Down's syndrome kid and trying again) are eugenicists.
  • researchers on genes carrying intelligence may not intend eugenic outcomes, yet to what other use could that knowledge lead? Kids with Down Syndrome benefit little from knowing their chromosomal anomaly, yet are now aborted at a rate of

~ 90% because the genetic information allows prenatal screening. The latter means eugenics is (in that special case) legal eugenics.

  • if you think a baby can be aborted because of a disability or its like support withdrawn after birth (e.g. when it is born without a small brain), you support eugenics. A hard truth, but the truth nonetheless.

193.62.251.21 (talk) 02:15, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

Frankly the amount of thought you've put into these opinions is kinda lazy. You can't think of any other reason to not want to have a child with a crippling genetic disorder other than the good of population's genepool? None? Nothing else comes to mind? ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 18:04, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm a cynic.
Eugenics does not merely deal with the gene pool (then people would only be sterilised and not killed, and at least male Down's syndrome kids would not be aborted since they are infertile).
The idea is to kill off "useless eaters" and the mere existence of substandard children seems a problem for advocates.
When abortng because of DS, a parent did not think the effort of raising such a disabled kid was worth it. Had it not been disabled, this would be different.
Compassion could be claimed as the cause of such killing (it certainly was at the T4 program), but ignores that
  • disabled people (like babies) can often not consent to their death or have few options to protest. This makes it quite easy to trash them.
  • there is no clear threshold of a life worth living. Is it an IQ above 70? Having friends? Not being in permanent pain?
  • resources not given to a severely disabled kid can be spent elsewhere. Unless it produces economic output, a zero-sum game occurs.
193.62.251.21 (talk) 18:27, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
The personal opinions of the parents to be, dummy.
Eugenics as a program has as one of its most important failings the false objectivity of its brainless directors. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 18:31, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
I probably have a far wider idea of what constitutes eugenics than you. To me, any killing of people which do not threaten your life because they are somehow undesirable is eugenic.
In the case of Stalin's purges, the whole motivation seems to have been the "wrong" upbringing of certain groups, like rich peasants. Not their genes.
As for the parents having a choice: kids are not private property (in my personal opinion). They could give them away if unwilling to care for their upbringing.
Don't think I'm a pro-lifer, yet I find the standard "pro-choice" idea conveniently ignores some valid points of the opposition.
This probably will not lead to anything, however. We simply disagree. 193.62.251.21 (talk) 18:56, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
I think that all your thoughts here really warrant is an eyeroll. You're trying to cram a square peg into a round hole and saying "Hey this triangle peg is not a square peg either" as a supporting statement. Words mean things. You can disagree with the most common definitions of those words, it just kinda makes you harder to understand and forces you to redefine your ideas every single time you bring them up. And let's be honest, from your edit history, you've got an agenda, and not a one that reflects well on you as a person. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 19:24, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

Could we really achieve what we do in plants and animals? Not easily![edit]

Ignoring the question of "is it a good idea?" for a second, I would argue that selectively-breeding humans is fundamentally not an easy thing to do. Specifically because:

1. Breeding age is high. Humans take over a decade to reach sexual viability and more like two for sexual maturity. This matters a lot. Dogs can be bred after about 6 months. That means a Eugenicist will accomplish 10-40 times LESS than an equally-skilled dog breeder.

2. Domestication is not compatible with freedom or prosperity. It is fundamentally difficult to control who breeds with who in a society with free association. The better the isolation, the better the domestication, but the worse the economic productivity and happiness.

3. Humans don't make many babies. While a female dog can churn out 10 puppies a year for 10 years, Human females take almost a year between births and almost always yield single offspring instead of quintuplets. The total number of children per woman is much fewer. A child a year from 13 to 52 would be 40 kids, but over a very long period that would almost coincide with the length of a breeder's career. The point is that humans are not very fertile, compared to dogs.

4. Testing your new breed of people takes effort, including standardized education and controlled environments. That means a lot of expense and time, during which you don't know if their relatives are good for breeding or not.

5. Plants in particular are very different from animals. It is relatively easy and often necessary to hybridize tangentially-related species, clone a single ideal plant genome trillions of times by inexpensive and reliable methods, or graft completely-unrelated organisms together. Contrast humanity where these are virtually impossible.

6. Genetics offers a better solution. If you know the genes you're looking for, then obtain them outright. Designer babies are technologically within reach and genetically-selective sperm and egg banks are already a thing. If the gene you want doesn't exist, make it yourself and CRISPR it into a fertilized egg.