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.. orn or even fertilized. In this way, a doctor can see that a child will have a genetic disorder and can prepare the parents for the child’s birth. The general term for these practices is genetic counseling. This is an umbrella term which includes in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling. In vitro fertilization and artificial insemination are techniques that were originally created in order to overcome infertility among couples.

In vitro fertilization involves fertilizing an egg outside a woman’s body and later inserting it into the uterus. Artificial insemination involves placing sperm inside a female in order to fertilize an egg. Due to eugenic ideals, these techniques have become a way of producing racially or intellectually superior children. For example, Hermann J. Muller, an American Nobel-prize winning biologist suggested that a few outstanding males could be used for breeding with many women.

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This would create many strong, beautiful and intelligent children. This led to Robert K. Graham’s suggestion to keep Nobel-prize winners’ sperm frozen in sperm banks such as his 1971 Hermann J. Muller Repository for Germinal Choice, dedicated to his mentor. Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are surgical procedures that help determine if a ftus will be healthy after birth. Amniocentesis consists of extracting some of the amniotic fluid using a needle.

The liquid contains some shed cells from the ftus and therefore can be evaluated to see if there are any genetic disorders. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is essentially the same thing but instead of extracting liquid, a piece of the membrane surrounding the ftus is removed and evaluated. Another difference is that amniocentesis can only be performed five months into the pregnancy whereas CVS can be used only 9 weeks after fertilization. Amniocentesis and CVS have also become eugenic procedures as the main concern of doctors is if the parents should have the baby. Most genetically unfit ftuses end up being aborted. Therefore, the unfit are rejected which is a characteristic of eugenics.

Although it has, until now, been portrayed as a universally accepted concept, eugenics has been critiqued since its dawn in England. For example, scientists have rejected it because of its unscientific practices and pro-life advocates rejected its use of abortion. Even though these groups have slightly different perspectives on the issue, one can see that they all have the same basic concern. They want eugenics, as it has been practiced until now, to be abolished. Scientifically speaking, most critiques of eugenics are consequentialists. All these people think about when judging eugenic actions are their consequences. The main scientific objection to eugenics is the fact that human crossbreeding is a great contributor to genetic variation.

By having many different types of genes, a human can more easily adapt to its environment. However, if a pure race is produced, many of the genes responsible for effective adadtation may disappear from the human gene pool. In this way, in the future, humans could not adapt to an increased global temperature, for example, and the population could be severely depleted. Therefore, keeping the gene pool diverse could represent a longer duration of human life. Similarly, there is a belief that genes that are harmful in the homozygous (double dose) state, they may be helpful in the heterozygous (single dose) state. Therefore, removing these genes from humanity by sterilizing or killing all carriers may be harmful to other people who could benefit from the heterozygous state of the gene. Before scientists can begin to eliminate certain genes, they must know exactly what role each gene plays in an individual. It is perhaps possible to obtain this information, but humanity is very far from achieving this type of knowledge.

Therefore, scientists should let nature take its course as people have done for millions of years. There is also a concern that gene mutations can be eliminated in other ways instead of eliminating the genes themselves. For example, it has been discovered that radiation is a great contributor to gene mutations. North Americans might think that this only applies to victims of Hiroshima but in fact, X rays such as those in all North American hospitals and doctors’ offices, have much greater mutative effects on a population gene pool than that of Hiroshima. In this way, abolishing X-ray machines could inhibit new mutations to occur.

Thus, eugenic practices would be unnecessary. The Catholic Church also rejects most eugenic practices. John-Paul II once wrote that No biologist or doctor can reasonably claim, by virtue of his scientific competence, to be able to decide on people’s origin and destiny(John Paul II, p.14). In essence, this is what eugenicists do. They judge who should live and who should die. The Pope also wrote that no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being(John Paul II, p.

16). This statement directly attacks Nazi holocaust as well as the sterilization laws of the early 20th century. By sterilizing a person, one is essentially destroying the lives of future children. As stated earlier, no doctor can decide if these children should be born or not, therefore eugenic sterilization is essentially wrong. These opinions are rooted deeply in the Catholic Faith as it is believed that all humans are the temples of God and that they are created in his image.

The body as it is in nature thus must be the standard of biological good. In this way, any genetic tampering or physical harm inflicted on the body is actually interfering with what God wants for human beings. Therefore, Catholics believe that eugenics is iniquitous. Catholics also have a strong opinion on natural human rights. For example, the Charter of the Rights of the Family, published by the Holy See, states that, Human life must be absolutely respected and protected from the moment of conception(Holy See, 4).

This statement places a delicacy upon the modern eugenic practices such as amniocentesis and artificial insemination. These customs could be regarded as sinful by the above statement as it is interference with the natural birth process devised by God. However, therapeutic interventions such as the ones mentioned are not completely wrong, according to Pope John Paul II. He stated in 1983, at the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association that, A strictly therapeutic intervention whose explicit objective is the healing of various maladies such as those stemming from chromosomal defects will, in principle, be considered desirable, provided it is directed to the true promotion of the personal well-being of the individual without doing harm to his integrity or worsening his conditions of life. Such an intervention would indeed fall within the logic of the Christian moral tradition.

(John Paul II, p. 22) The problem though is the fact that the eugenic use of therapeutic intervention usually leads to abortion. Therefore, the Catholic Church disapproves of eugenics, and its use of intervention on ftuses. As seen, the eugenic movement is completely opposed to the beliefs encouraged by the Catholic Church. Some people would say that the Church is exaggerating its conservative values, which tends to be a common comment these days, but when one truly thinks about what the Church is opposing, one can see that its objections are well conceived. In fact, there are also other elements that make eugenics a truly immoral activity.

Perhaps the foremost problem with eugenics is the fact that the people in charge of the projects decide the fate of others. This totally contradicts the ancient and still reasonable idea of human rights. By these rights, an individual is allowed to make his own choices that determine the fate of himself and his family. In a eugenic system, the whole population is considered a whole body. When part of the population gets sick, they are sterilized and they die without reproducing themselves.

This is like cutting off a baby finger when it is diseased; it does not hurt the whole body . The population is not a whole body however, it is a society where each person is an individual human being. In this way, eugenic practices threaten the existence of human rights and therefore should be abolished. Eugenics is also a very useful science for powerful villains. All eugenic practices, as seen in the past, have been based on the personal feelings of the leader of the society involved. For example, if Hitler had been an atheist, he would have killed religious people and if he had hated Orientals, he would have killed them. Eugenics seems to be an easy way for powerful people to act against their enemies. This is wrong since no person has the right to expose another person to suffering or death simply because of who they are.

This is truly prejudiced and without a doubt immoral. Unfortunately, some people disregard this natural right. Racism is a big part of eugenics as well as eugenicists determine that a certain group is more fit to live than another. This means that some individuals are more important than others. Since God created all humans equal, then it is outright impossible for a person to be inferior to another. Therefore racism is iniquitous and should not be a part of eugenics.

However, it is difficult to have eugenics without racism. If a perfect race was discovered, the unforgettable fact is that no sane person would accept his own to be inferior. Even if it was proven by legitimate tests, that person would do anything to avoid suffering, which, for the racially unfit, is the ultimate end of eugenic practices. As a result, whoever is the authority of the research tests will ultimately choose another race to be eliminated. Therefore, there is extreme racism when eugenics comes into people’s heads.

Biologically and ecologically speaking, eugenics is a very uncertain practice. Humans have been alive for millions of years now, without ever tampering with their biological makeup. They simply let nature do its job. Now, by looking at everything that humans have developed, one can then see that letting evolution function by itself is not a bad thing. In fact, it is probably the wisest thing to do.

Scientists tend to think that they know all the consequences of eugenic practices but actually, this is impossible. The human being and its society are too complex for people to know the effect of every minute change. A small variation in the gene pool could cause some major problems. Therefore, humans should simply let nature do its job in preserving the life of humans, just as it has for millions of years. Who knows, scientists might be lowering the survival rate of humanity by tampering with its natural biological processes. As seen, because eugenics is biologically unsound, encourages racial inequality and includes immoral actions, eugenics is iniquitous and should no longer be performed.

If eugenics ever became a driving force in society, there would be racial, biological and moral disputes everywhere. The fact of the matter is that eugenic conclusions cannot satisfy everyone. There must be a triumphant party as well as a failing one. Naturally, the failing group would not give up its fight and larger disputes would arise. Ultimately, this could lead to World War III, and, considering the presence of nuclear weapons, the destruction of the world.

In this way, the science concerned with the amelioration the condition of humanity would ultimately be responsible for its destruction. Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY Chase, Allan The Legacy of Malthus: the Social Costs of the New Scientific Racism New York: The Random House, 1976. Eugenics New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1st Edition (1967), Volume V, pp. 627-629. Garrigan, Owen Man’s Intervention in Nature New York: Hawthorn Books, 1967.

Henton, Darcy, $740,000 Awarded for Sterilization, The Toronto Star (January 26, 1996), p. A 2. Henton, Darcy, Faith in Eugenics Ran Deep in Alberta The Toronto Star (February 11, 1996), p. F 1. Hillel, Marc Of Pure Blood New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1976.

Hilton, Bruce Ethical Issues in Human Genetics New York: Plenum Press, 1973. Hillel, Marc Of Pure Blood New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1976. John Paul II Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and the Dignity of Procreation Sherbrooke: Les ditions Paulines, 1987. Kevles, Daniel J. In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Use of Human Heredity Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995. McLaren, Angus Our Own Master Race: Eugenics in Canada, 1885-1945 Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Inc., 1990.

Packard, Vance Oakley The People Shapers Boston: Brown Little, 1977. Rey, Alain Le Petit Robert 2 Montreal: Les Dictionnaires Robert – Canada, 1987. Social Issues.


Eugenics President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” The Civil War was fought to save the republic and free the enslaved. World War II was fought to save the world and stop a group which thought they were a superior race. What do these two wars have in common? They were fought, in part, for equality. The difference or believed difference between people causes tension and discrimination. Genetic engineering will cause a new form of differences between people and will cause an infinite amount of damage.

Along with the potential damage, genetic engineering is morally and religiously wrong. Although genetic engineering has not been fully developed, we have come a long way and are now very close. The Human Genome project has almost mapped every one of a human’s chromosomes. Doctors can now tell you if you have or if your child will inherit a certain disease. But first what are genes? Genes are often described as ‘blueprints’ or ‘computer programs’ for our bodies and all living organisms. Genes are specific sequences of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) that are used in the production of proteins.

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They are a single factor among many. “They provide the ‘list of ingredients’ which is then organized by the ‘dynamical system’ of the organism.” That ‘dynamical system’ determines how the organism is going to develop. A recipe of ingredients alone does not create a dish of food. .. a gene is not an easily identifiable and tangible object.

It is not only the DNA sequence which determines its functions in the organisms, but also its location in a specific chromosomal, cellular, physiological and evolutionary context. It is therefore difficult to predict the impact of genetic material transfer on the functioning of the extremely tightly controlled, integrated and balanced functioning of all the tens of thousands of structures and processes that make up the body of any complex organism (Vanaja,24.) Therefore, genetic engineering, also known as eugenics, refers to the artificial modification of the genetic code of a living organism. Genetic engineering changes the fundamental physical nature of the organism, sometimes in ways that would never occur in nature. Genetic engineering is religiously wrong. To the majority of the United States that is Christian, genetic engineering would pose a serious problem.

In the Bible it states, “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him: male and female He created them.”(Genesis, 1-27) Notice, it says that “God created man in His own image .. ” It does not say man was created in his parents image. For a religious person, the choice is left to the superior being they believe in. It is not right for us to create another person to fit our wants and needs. Not only would you be taking the role of the superior being (if you believe in a superior being) or Mother Nature, but you would also be deciding your child’s destiny. So, to the population of the world that is religious or believes in destiny, genetic engineering would be making decisions that should not be made by another human.

A genetically engineered child would stand as a symbol that defies any religion practiced. This child would be a symbol for man being more powerful than God, Jesus, Alla, Buddha, Mother Nature, and Destiny. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal .. “(Jefferson,1). Genetically engineering a person would make the Declaration of Independence meaningless. When this document was written the creators assumed everyone was created with the same chance to be someone great and healthy, hence everyone is created equal. However, once people have the chance to genetically enhance their child, people will no longer be created equal.

Society will crumble due to the instant fall of the basic beliefs on which this country was built. Also, depression will become wide spread, because if you were not modified during birth, than you will have no chance to succeed. Today we hear so much about insurance companies in the news, on the radio, and in the newspaper. But what would happen if genetic testing and modifications were legal? Insurance companies make money by insuring people and things for events or accidents that never happen. For example, if you paid to have your car insured in the case of theft, and the car was never stolen, then the amount you paid is pure profit for that insurance company.

If this is the case, then why would insurance companies insure a person that has been genetically tested and is known to be a likely candidate for lung cancer? They wouldn’t. A “study showed that about two-hundred and fifty employees in a medium-sized hospital had access to medical records-a number that makes inadvertent disclosure of private information seem likely.”(Wheeler,325). Insurance companies make money off unlikely events, therefore they would not insure something that is likely to happen. The result would be the insurance companies only insuring those who are known to be unlikely candidates for serious diseases or have been genetically modified. Thus supporting discrimination.

When filling out a job application what do you notice? In bold print, “We are an equal opportunity employer.” So much is done these days to fight discrimination. Eugenics would open the gates for a new and greater type of discrimination. It is probable that people would care less if you are white or black, now they would just care if you are modified or not. In the movie Gattaca, the main character is not accepted by a preschool because he was not genetically modified. The principal shuts the gate to the school as she says, “I’m sorry we can’t, what if he falls or something?” In other words, since the child is not modified he is too much of a liability.

Discrimination has and always will be a part of our world. However, it never becomes a significant problem until the discrimination is concentrated between two groups. In other words, the concentration of discrimination is spread over many groups. But if there were only two groups a violent dispute would be inevitable. Also, if two groups develop, who will stop the upper group from gaining complete control? Discrimination does not only occur due to physical or genetic differences. It also occurs due to the difference in wealth. The gap between the rich and poor will only increase with the development of genetic engineering.

Let us pretend genetic engineering became available at the exact moment you read this sentence. From that point on the rich would be modifying their children to be “cream of the crop”. At the same time the poor and most of the middle-class would be giving birth to unmodified children. The modified would be given two extreme advantages: they would be born into a financially stable family and have enormous genetic advantages. The future would see the rise of the eugenics population and the further decline of the naturally born.

The cycle would continue infinitely as the eugenics population gained more money and the naturally born struggled to find jobs. Why do people dislike school, their job, and sometimes their parents? Because, people do not like to be told or ordered to do things. So why should we be given the right to decide what our child is going to look like or what special features they are going to be given? It is morally wrong. In Gattaca there is a scene where a man plays a piano in front of a transfixed crowd. After his performance the pianist takes a bow and then tosses his gloves. The main character, Victor, catches a glove and finds it has six fingers.

The pianist plays so well because he has six fingers. His parents decided he would play the piano before he was even born. In any other non-instrumental profession the man would have been an ostracized. Genetic engineering would turn into a way for parents to live their ideal life through their child. For example, if Mr.

Jones wanted to play basketball but was turned away due to his lack in height, he could make his son tall so his son would turn into a basketball player. Many more problems can result from genetically engineering a child. The development of eugenics will shake the foundation that all religions and this country were built on. Insurance and medical companies will collapse and the social gap will reach an extreme. “Once an intelligent life form reaches the stage we’re at now, it proceeds to destroy itself.”(Hawking,15) Medicine.


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