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Does the discovery that much of a person's ability and character is pre-determined by genes lead to a justification of eugenics?

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Introduction

Does the discovery that much of a person's ability and character is pre-determined by genes lead to a justification of eugenics? At the start of the 20th century, it was the general consensus that eugenics would surely be the logical step forward, enabling man to command his own evolution in a way that was efficient and progressive. Several American states introduced sterilisation laws to allow the compulsory sterilisation of certain individuals regarded as feebleminded or morons. European countries soon followed suit including not only Nazi Germany, but Switzerland and a number of Scandinavian countries. In the 1900s, the United States had a vision that with the huge number of immigrants entering their country every day, their fine American stock was in danger of being contaminated by "inferior" genes. Anti-miscegenation laws were soon introduced and many interracial marriages were declared invalid. Eugenics is a system by which an individual's human rights are disregarded and a person in high authority effectively chooses whether a certain person is allowed to reproduce. ...read more.

Middle

To "play" with a person's genetic makeup could therefore be disastrous and actually end up proving disastrous unless something has been explicitly proven. Many human conditions are not due to inheritance and are down to mutation or by damage during the birth process. This means that even if eugenicists were to create a human "super-race", such defects would still occur and would be unavoidable, even if the baby is born to super intelligent or good-looking parents. Some people even considered ways of changing the number of children that certain people are allowed to have. There was concern amongst certain scientists that the upper and middle classes - who were known to be more intelligent and hard working - were reproducing less than those from the lower classes who weren't as clever and were more prone to committing crimes. It was suggested that a law should be enforced worldwide to stop such "an awful atrocity" and that by creating a human super race, everyone would be better off in the long run. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, in my opinion, killing is never justified and so to propose a rapid culling of those who did not meet rigorous standards would be unfair and inhumane. Creating a super race would be advantageous to the future of mankind, but it has the potential to do more harm than good if the selection process falls into the wrong hands. Additionally, for a scientist to "play God" would be ethically and morally wrong and would pose problems for religions doctrines. It would also be denying those who wanted to reproduce the human rights that they deserve if they are told that they cannot. No government would be able to impose such a law or proposition without extreme protest from human rights groups and rightly so. It is best for nature to take its own course and so for a human to put such a plan into action would be defying morals and would be unjust for humanity as a whole. Darren Burn (C) 01/05/2007 ...read more.

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