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New Technology, Same Old Eugenics

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?



A new technology is tempting scientists to monkey around with the human genome. In other words, new technology, same old temptation.

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John Stonestreet

If there were an award for the most impactful technology that almost no one has heard of, the winner could be CRISPR.

Now, CRISPR has nothing to do with refrigerator drawers that keep fruits and vegetables fresh. No, it’s the latest technology tempting us to try our hand at playing god.

CRISPR stands for—get ready, it’s a mouthful—“clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat.” And all God’s people said, “Huh?” Well, originally, it referred to a series of repeats of the base sequences in the DNA of bacteria.

To simplify this complicated story, geneticists are learning how to use the CRISPR in bacteria to edit the genome of other, far more complicated life-forms. As Nobel Laureate Craig Mello told National Public Radio, CRISPR “essentially [allows you to] change a genome at will to almost anything you want. The sky’s the limit.”

Well, maybe not yet, but there’s little doubt that CRISPR technology allows scientists to manipulate and edit genes much more quickly and at a much lower cost. With CRISPR they can potentially modify a gene and move it to another cell or even to another animal.

No wonder Mello calls it “really exciting.”

And another word for it would be “troubling.” Not because using technology to potentially prevent serious illness is a bad thing, but because of the historically proven reality that we most likely won’t stop there.

In a recent Washington Post article, writer Robert Gebelhoff was asked, “What’s the difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?” His answer: “not much, really.”

After all, technology like CRISPR holds forth the promise of one day being able to “eliminate genetic disorders in humans.” While we can all get behind eradicating terrible genetic disorders like Tay-Sachs and Cystic Fibrosis, the fact remains that “editing out inheritable traits from the human population” is in fact what the eugenics movement was all about.

daily_commentary_03_10_16As Gebelhoff points out, “The field of genetics has always had an uncomfortable link to eugenics,” which he defines as “the science of improving people through controlled breeding.” As Edwin Black chronicles in his definitive history of the eugenics movement, “War Against the Weak,” after the horrors of the Third Reich, eugenics was re-named “genetics” to rid itself of the taint of things like mass involuntary sterilization.

But scientists have never given up the idea of using “genetic engineering as a means of perfecting the human species.” And the only restraint on what Black has dubbed “newgenics” seems to be “Well, just don’t be a Nazi about it.”

And that’s not a joke. Scientists like the Nobel Laureate Joshua Lederberg and evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane maintain that what Haldane called “positive eugenics” was different because “No living person would be eliminated from the gene pool.” Instead, “society could guide human development by eliminating negative traits and encouraging desirable ones through genetic engineering.”

Phrases like “no living person,” “negative traits,” and “desirable [traits]” strongly suggest that the sanctity and dignity of all human life doesn’t play much of a role in “newgenics.” “Positive eugenics” is at odds with the idea that there’s “a moral, social and physical advantage in allowing diversity to flourish within the human gene pool.”

Instead, what’s “negative” and what’s “desirable” will be determined by a worldview that prizes physical perfection above all, only considers temporal criteria of value, and uses some image bearers as tools and eliminates others—much as we saw in the 1997 film, “Gattaca.” This war on the weak, like the original one, will be waged by people claiming to act in the name of the public good under the mantle of scientific objectivity.

What could possibly go wrong?

Further Reading and Information
New Technology, Same Old Eugenics: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

What is presented as beneficial technology has the potential to turn deadly, specifically to the unborn. For further discussion on this subject, check out the resources linked below.

Resources

Eugenics Redux: Won’t We Ever Learn?
Chuck Colson | BreakPoint.org | December 15, 2011

Lethal Foresight: Deciding Who Gets to Be Born
Eric Metaxas | BreakPoint.org | June 25, 2012

Suffer the Little Children: Genetic Testing and Lives Worth Living
John Stonestreet | BreakPoint.org | August 1, 2013

What’s the difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?
Robert Gebelhoff | Washington Post | February 22, 2016

War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race
Edwin Black | Dialog Press | April 2012


Comments:

Money can bring the Monster out of anybody
The Novel "Monster" by Frank Peretti, presents the expected out come when big money causes scientist to do the unthinkable, to murder other humans in order to achieve their goal of to make evolution work. But of course in their rush to be like God they obviously fail miserable.
Crony capitalism with a scary twist
"'Positive eugenics' has little to do with true science and benevolence but mostly with power, control, and the reign of ruling 'elites.'"

Amen.

This unholy alliance has been going on for over 150 years now, ever since Thomas Huxley (aka "Darwin's Bulldog") got hold of the evolution theory and used it as a vehicle to propel his Godless philosophy into the mainstream. If the science of thermodynamics had been more fully developed in the 1850's, it would have been easy to prove the fallacy of the theory of evolution due to evolution's inherent violation of the Law of Entropy.

More recently, Du Pont, a major chemical manufacturer, got into bed with international governmental bodies to outlaw the production of CFC's-- chemicals which Du Pont had developed-- because the patents were expiring. A ban on production would put Du Pont in position to produce their replacements (and collect patent royalties from other manufacturers who produce them under license.) The ban had little to do with hard science, as there were other theories about the existence of the ozone hole, and everything to do with protecting Du Pont's profit margin. (Brigitte Smith, "Ethics of Du Pont's CFC Strategy 1975–1995," J. of Business Ethics, vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 557-568. An abstract is available online at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A%3A1005789810145)

One of the negative outcomes of the CFC ban was that the price of refrigerators nearly doubled in the U.S. I can only surmise that a similar increase occurred overseas and in Third World countries, where the storage of perishable food is an issue of immediate concern. Once again, corporate cronyism and greed brings harm to those in the most desperate situations.

In the case of manipulation of the human genome, the outcomes are potentially far worse. When sinful humans attempt to play God, they will cause harm every time. What kind of Mr. Hydes will emerge from this experimentation? Will a just and powerful Creator be able to restrain His mighty wrath at those who jab their thumbs in His eye, and make a wretched mess out of what He created, and called good?

May God have mercy on us, and save us from the false religion of scientism.
"Positive eugenics" has little to do with true science and benevolence but mostly with power, control, and the reign of ruling "elites."

"Positive eugenics" will allow the dominant class to arbitrarily decide what traits are good or bad. Eugenics, just like positive eugenics or genetic engineering, has predominantly to do with the dominance of huge corporate interests. Real science on eugenics has been weak back in the 1920s or 30s, just like robust science on GMOs is absent today but in both instances we find that dogma, greed, and industry-crafted favorable "studies" and their hype are mostly supporting those authoritarian ideologies.

One of the earliest cases that has demonstrated that fact is the infamous tryptophan disaster of 1989 where the FDA ignored the warnings of their own scientists about the real risks of GMOs, simply to protect the business interests of the GMO industry, which they've been colluding with for decades - see http://www.supplements-and-health.com/l-tryptophan.html

The government-GMO industry cartel has the average person believing that they're protecting their health. Yet, lying about real facts, denying real facts, or minimizing or ignoring real facts is not protecting or helping the public, it's deceiving the public.

As Stonestreet puts it, a war is "waged by people claiming to act in the name of the public good under the mantle of scientific objectivity."




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