Re: Eugenics

From: Sarah Lawrence (
Date: Sat Jun 10 2000 - 08:06:59 MDT

At 3:30 am -0700 on 10/6/00, Doug Jones wrote:
>Sarah Lawrence wrote:
>[A lot of bullshit rhetoric snipped]
>> Suppose you rob Captain Scott of his ship to prevent him exploring
>> Antarctica; or you rob Marie Curie of her pitchblende so she can't
>> discover radium.
>Suppose you give Scott some advice on the utility of sled dogs vs
>siberian ponies, or Mme. Curie some tips on radiation shielding?
>Suppose you give a jewish couple of eastern european descent the
>opportunity to ensure that their children don't have Tay-Sachs disease?
>Suppose you stop deliberately misinterpreting and distorting worthwhile
>research, you luddite?

I have no idea what makes you think I am against research, let alone a
luddite! Yes of course, if, at that time, the knowledge had been
available, the right thing to do would have been to tell these people
about it! But it wasn't -- Marie Curie was busy *creating* that
knowledge. The point of the bit you quoted is that people should not be
prevented from taking risks with their own lives just because someone
else thinks that the risk is too great. One of the ways in which
people are prevented from doing what they think best is by state
intervention in (not to mention prohibition of!) research such as the
genetic engineering research. The idea of banning this worthwhile
research is, I suggest, just as bad as the *old* eugenics programmes
in which various groups were forcibly sterilised. People seem to think
that regulating or banning this research is good, but that is an
example of the very same thinking as that which resulted in the old
eugenics programmes. Control of reproduction is again being taken out
of the hands of the individual (who may want to make use of the
research) and put in the hands of the state (who are regulating who
may do what with whom, and what information can be available, and what
new knowledge must (not) be created by companies wishing to work in
the genetic engineering sphere).

Sarah Lawrence
List Owner, The Fabric of Reality List: considering the
issues raised in the work of David Deutsch, and related
matters -- from the point of view of reason and existing
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