This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
So Why Do We Find The Idea Of Genetically Modified Babies Abhorrent? By Ian R Thorpe
Photo: Children of the Corn http://merrymerryquitecontrary.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/children-of-thecorn.jpg
A lot of people, I refer to them as followers of The Church Of Scienceology, have accused me of being anti – science. This could not be further from the truth, in fact I try to bring a scientific objectivity to my citiques of innovation. One thing that does strike me about The Church Of Scienceology however is its priests and lay followers seem to be devoid of a moral compass and thus incapable of understanding where the boundaries lie regarding what are acceptable areas for research and what are ethically off limits. This being the case, Julian Savulescu’s recent suggestion that we have a “moral obligation” to genetically engineer babies should be warning enough that if voters in developed nations do not elect governments that will impose legal limits we are heading to, a new and more frightening era of eugenics that Hitler's scientists ever envisaged world via natural conception, gestation and birth. Will the idea that in the
future no natural human being ever coming into the world the arouse enough revulsion to make people take the threat seriously or will a majority, like the sedated hoardes on Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World simply accept the blandishments of increasingly authoritarian governments and increasingly creepy academics? Let me put this in simple terms. What Savelescu suggests is that if a gene associated with a certain kind of cancer or with hereditary conditions can be identified, we have a duty to modify the DNA of any foetus carrying that gene. It is a classic scientist's oversimplification. DNA is hugely complex, , it is not a case of “Swiutch off this gene and your baby will not develop Parkinson's Diease but rather “gene A and gene K have been linked to Parkinson's disease, your baby will have genes A and K active and so MIGHT develop the disease. However your baby's gene Z is also active and we know genes K and Z are present in concert pianists (or superstar athletes, this is purely hypothetical), if gene K is switched off your child has a lower chance of developing a debilitating disease but also a lower chance of gaining life enhancing achievements. Now the situation looks rather different and you see the ethical dilemma more clearly. Do parents or those in government and the medical professions who would usurp parenthood have the right to make those choices on behalf of an unborn child especially as they are not removing a certainty of disease but only a possibility? It would be easy to misunderstand my problem with Savelescu, like anyone who values free speech and understands its importance to society I would defend his right to propose such ideas. Sadly the world seems to be moving towards the 'Scientific Dictatorship' that President Dwight Eisenhower warned of in his farewell speech in 1960 The issue of ethical boundaries is a central to what ought to become one of the most important book to be published in this century, The Blank Slate, by Steven Pinker. To illustrate the kind of moral dilemmas science throws up and society proves
itself inadequate to deal with, Pinker cites a study that “asked about a hospital administrator who had to decide whether to spend a million dollars on a liver transplant for a child or use it on other hospital needs”, and which found that “not only did respondents want to punish an administrator who chose to spend the money on the hospital, they wanted to punish an administrator who chose to save the child but thought for a long time before making the decision”. Clearly the respondents to the question were guided by sentimentality, 'save the life of a child now' beats save many lives over a long period for the same cost. Talking about putting the greatest good of the greatest number ahead of the life of one child is taboo. Not only do we now see why the costs of socialized health care always run out of control leading to a breakdown of the system, we see how easily people lose sight of practical considerations when the cost is not coming out of their own pocket. That’s why social commentators and political philosophers steer clear of taboos. According to Pinker's book the great taboo of today is that of human nature. The integrity of our natural being and what philosopher David Hume called The Tabla Rasa the blank slate is one of the sacred cows of the scientific community. Ten years after the book was published, the tabla rasa ideal of human personality (that we are born as a blank slate, we inherit nothing from all those thousands of generations of humans that preceded us in a direct line,) is still routinely discussed as fact rather than a hypothesis or more accurately a fantasy, and continues to raise serious questions about the
Genetically modified scientists
kind of society The Church Of Scienceology is planning; one of which may be that we are rushing towards the sort of genetic engineering of humans proposed by Saveluscu in which scientists working for government departments decided what each individual will be.
If you have not read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World please do, his vision of a future dystopian society, though written in 1932 contains some uncannily accurate foresights into where civilization is today and where it is heading. The blank slate doctrine affects almost every area of our lives. Take, for example, recent moves in Ireland to set quotas on women in politics, a move that is moderate compared to quota systems already implemented in Scandinavia. Whether one thinks this is right or not, what is wrong is that the starting premise is a totally pseudoscientific view of human nature – gender feminism. It is worth inserting a note here that in Scandinavian nations where gender equality legislation imposed quotas for the proportion of women that must sit on the boards of companies has led to chaos. Being part of the board on a large company is a full time job, not seven hours a day full five days a week full time but twenty-four seven full time and with a lot more stress than a management position. Not enough women could be found to fill the quotas imposed in Scandinavian companies, they simply did not apply for the jobs. This has meant companies operating for years with a third of the board of directors made up of acting or temporary appointees. Pinker wrote that there are two types of feminism: Equity feminism is a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology. Gender feminism is an political doctrine based on three claims about human nature. The first is that the differences between men and women have nothing to do with biology but are socially constructed in their entirety. The second is that humans possess a single social motive – political power – and that social life can be understood only in terms of how it is exercised. The third is that human interactions arise not from the motives of people dealing with each other as individuals but from the motives of groups dealing with other groups, in this case, the male gender dominating the female gender. It is of course a left wing (they like to call themselves liberals but this is fascism wearing a liberal name badge) fallacy that women are the same as men in everything except their reporoductive organs. Gender feminism is no more scientific than
astrology, yet the idea of total equality of outcomes is still some sort of vague official goal among the European and American elite, largely because, and I quote, “people’s unwillingness to think in statistical terms has led to pointless false dichotomies." There we see the truth of the Scientific Dictatorship, your humanity, you emotions, five million years of evolution are all as nothing against the latest set of statistics constructed by manipulating data to achieve the required result. It is amusing to see how heavily the arguments of the Scientific Dictatorship rely on statistics when anyone who understands anything about statisical methods knows they are more closely related to The Dark Arts than scientific research. The end result of gender feminism has been the blackening of the name feminist, which many women and men deny because they associate it with radical, unscientific ideas about
Genetically Engineered Breast Is Best
“gender” being a “social construct”, ideas which are still taught as fact in
British universities despite their having no more empirical evidence to support them than creationism or string theory. Then there is the false dichotomy about nature and nurture in child-raising. In education, for instance, public debate still revolves around the idea that intelligence is environmental, when all available evidence suggests that it is between 50 and 80 per cent nature. So when Chris Woodhead made the point that children from higher socio-economic backgrounds are, on average, cleverer, his views were considered outrageous. Nothing is ever as simple as scientists would like it to be of course, just as empirical evidence shows that a child born to affluent professional parents can become a down and out, drunk or junkie ot that the child of a couple of dysfunctional losers can become a highly successful businessman no matter what the pseudoscience of evolutionary psychology might want you to think, human beings simply defy
mathematical analysis. There are environmental factors that disadvantage poorer children just as there are ways in which women can be given more choice in their careers, but that is the point of Pinker’s book – accepting human nature does not necessary mean embracing any ideology particularly the rigid dogmas of the politically correct left. Steven Pinker is no polemicist and he leaves readers to draw their own conclusions. Being a conservative, liberal or socialist are all legitimate stances, depending on what priorities one favours (stability, freedom or equality). But what is not legitimate is forcing debate to revolve around false facts. Pinker does wander near quicksand in suggesting the home environment really has only a slight influence on children’s development. Apart from the amount of attention children get from parents and grandparents which imparts moral values or the grounding in cultural traditions and encouragement to engage with literature, music and community activities, humans learn by osmosis as much as by formal teaching. Pinker's certainty that there is no soul is a bit wild. Despite my not being at all religious I think if we broaded the definition of soul from that adopted by the Abrahamic religions,y well be something bigger than us, not a conscious entity that controls events in our lives but The Oneness of Hindu and Buddhist belief, The Awen of Druidic philosophy or The Force that helps Jedi Knights (actually an idea borrowd from Hinduism and Druidism and adapted for entertainment value). In my view ninety per cent of twentieth century science is mathematical speculation while the most recent evidence from quantum physics that can be demonstrated suggests the ancient Hindus, Zoroastrians and Druids were nearer to explaining the nature of the universe and human consciousness than string theory and those OCD clowns at CERN. I have the right to choose not to believe those things science insists are fact because, in the absence of any way of testing it, the theory cannot be disproved; what I don’t have the right to do is force others to accept my opinions as facts, and to damn them as right wing nut jobs or thought criminals if they don’t.
And that is exactly how advocates of the blank slate have come to dominate the public sphere for so long, and why terrible decisions have been made by public officials, based on the fuamentally flawed idea that human nature can be shaped by propaganda, bullying, misinformation and manipulation. Even now, when it ought to be obvious to even an idiot that the whole house of cards is tumbling down, governments, corporate concerns, academic institutions and the media keep escalating their campaings of fear and panic and dependency creation to make us all conform.
Don't dare question Big Bang theory for the origin of the universe. Scientists have video recordings of how it happened. Unfortunately they lose sight of the fact that it is only pictures generated from a mathematical model. Source: http://idlethumb.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/universe.jpg
As Pinker reminds us: “Research on human nature would be controversial in any era, but the new science picked a particularly bad decade in which to attract the spotlight. In the 1970s many intellectuals had become political radicals. Marxism was correct, liberalism was for wimps, and Marx had pronounced that ‘the ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class’. The traditional misgivings about human nature were folded into a hard-left ideology, and scientists who examined the human mind in a biological context were now considered tools of a
reactionary establishment.” Richard Herrnstein was branded a racist for arguing, in 1971, that “since differences in intelligence are partly inherited, and since intelligent people tend to marry other intelligent people, when a society becomes more just it will also become more stratified along genetic lines”, even though he was not even discussing race. The death threats he received and the mobs that invaded his lectures were typically fascistic responses from the 'enlightened left'. E. O. Wilson, whose Sociobiology concluded that some universals, including the moral sense, may come from a human nature shaped by natural selection in an attempt to explain things such as violence and altruism through evolution. Again the response from the 'liberal – left' would have done any fascist regime proud; a widelyread article by a group of academics accused him of promoting theories that “led to the establishment of gas chambers in Nazi Germany”. Well I personally never had much faith in the logical abilities of academics. The accusation that Wilson (a committed Social Democrat) was led by personal prejudice to defend racism, sexism, inequality, slavery and genocide was especially unfair and irresponsible, because Wilson became a target of vilification and harassment by people who read the critique of his book but not the book. Other examples of left wing fascism down the years included vicious and concerted attacks on a group of scientists who found murder rates in pre-agriculture societies were astonishingly high being accused of racism and of justifying genocide; and rape. Another failure of logic. What we learn from all this is The Church Of Scienceology does not like having its dogmas and certainties challenged. Since we in the developed world have rejected theocracy as a form of government it is fair to assume most of us believe researchers do not acquire the truth by divine revelation. That being the case it is, is it not, incumbent on us to respect those who explore ideas and theories that may turn out to be incorrect. To protect the right to explore ideas we have enshrined in law the right to free speech. Moral criticism ought to be reserved only for those who try to impose their
dogmas, suppress criticism or discredit research and evidence which does not point to conclusions that support the preconceptions of the elite. It is ironic then that the very people who insist they have a monopoly on enlightened tolerance, intelligent argument and creative thinking are the ones trying to implement The Genocide Of Ideas That, unfortunately, is how the synthetic orthodoxies of the estblishment are imposed across a range of subjects, despite those orthodoxies being incredibly weak in terms of empirical supporting evidence. On the idea that intelligence is entirely environment, Pinker wrote that “even in the 1970s the argument was tortuous, but by the 1980s it was desperate and today it is a historical curiosity”. And yet now, in the second decade of the 21st century, it is still not considered decent to question the taboo about human nature when it comes to social or education policy. Similarly we are not allowed to question the effectiveness and harmlessness of vaccines despite much evidence that many are barely fifty per cent effective and in a small number of cases do have serious side effects, or the absurd notion that global warming (now rebranded climate change because the globe is no longer warming) is caused entirely by Carbon Dioxide emissions from human activity, or that Genetically modified crops are benign, risk free and the only way to feed the planet's growing population when not only is it proved beyond doubt that in real world conditions G M crops do not produce significantly higher yields, but do provide a delivery route for toxins in pesticides and herbicides to get into the human body and cause harm to humans, animals and the environment. If the left, the advocates for a Scientific Dictatorship are so certain they are right, why can they only respond to questions with lies, fascistic hate attacks and smear campaigns against their critics? Just as the good name of feminism, socialism and liberalism have been discredited by the radical and extremist 'progressive' movement, the whole of the science academe has been damaged by the blank-slate orthodoxy, which has led to widespread anti-intellectualism, since the public at large come to view academia as a
mouthpiece for government, a distributor of untruths and propaganda, agenda-driven nonsense like genetic modification (eugenics by another name), politically correct ideology and political authoritarianism. The public has lost their trust in academics and come to despise intellect, particularly in the scientific fields. The problem is not that scientists are stupid, their high IQ score testify to great intelligence. Unfortunately their world has become so focused and specialised and in earlier education the principles of the renaissance education method have been abandoned in favour of too early specialisation and coaching for exams rather than educating to produce well rounded individuals that, cocooned in the university environment for most of their adult lives, the academic community tend to be big on book learning and light on life experience. A decade after The Blank Slate was published, we need to lose that taboo on debating human nature. Scientific research you did not see about in mainstream media has shown we are more than biological computers and the most vulnerable and dysfunctional among us need help in getting back in touch with humanity, not crackpot social engineering schemes and a Brave New World.
RELATED POSTS: They Who Would Be Gods Plants Doing Mathematics? I Think Not Neuromancers and other Neurosience Fiction Quantum Soul: Is Each A Part Of The Universe Can Your Body Sense Future Events? Mathematics and reality Science and Reality Quantum Metaphysics The Illusion Of Self Flight From Freedom The Truth Is Not Out There String Theory Unravelled Before Big Bang Atomic Verse
Desgnier Babies - no thanks Picture Source myinterestingfiles.com
When Aliens Got Funky With A Monkey
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.