The bad idea of eugenics

In the readings it talked about eugenics. This  was basically the idea that flaws in people had a genetic root and could be removed from the population as a whole. It also said that humans could be bread to more perfect versions of themselves. In eugenics the flaws were sometimes personality related and had nothing at all to do with genetics.   This is because at the time the understanding of genetics was very limited. This allowed medical professionals to use the language of evolutionary biology to imply that traits were related to at most a few genes. Thus if people with flaws were stopped from reproducing their bad genes would be removed overall improving humanity. This was very wrong because inheritance in humans is complex and traits are often expressed by the combination of many genes. However eugenics  became the accepted “science” of the day.  This leads to the next question asked: does  eugenics give us reason to separate   science and society? I think the answer to that would be no. While eugenics is a horrible “science” that came out of an underdeveloped science  it does not warrant separating the two because if they are separate much worse can happen. Science is influenced by society  and can be misused by society but society also puts ethical limits on science. Without these limits imposed by society, science might do very horrible things in the name of discovery. This can best be illustrated when in ww2 the Nazi and Japan conducted horrible human experiments because there were no ethical limits against what they did. I will not go into detail but Japan’s unit 731 were unrestrained by ethics and did unspeakable things. This is why we need societies that are willing to impose ethical limits on science because without the limits things can get very gruesome.

One thought on “The bad idea of eugenics

  1. I like how you talked more about the “science” behind eugenics (or at least, what people thought was the science at the time). I totally agree how this movement was passed off as science but was really more of a social movement using fancy words that made itself seem more sophisticated and justified than it really was. I also agree that science and society should not be entirely separated. I especially like how you used society as a kind of ethical “checks and balances” for science to follow, so technology does not progress without slowing down to check if it is ethical.

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