Twitter blew up into a frenzy when ‘Professor Richard Dawkins‘ made a tweet regarding ‘eugenics‘ and whether it could work for ‘humanity‘. It seems that people have blown the whole thing out of proportion, because he wasn’t advocating it, he was just suggesting that if it can work in the animal kingdom, then it could work for humanity. Many people claim that eugenics is a ‘pseudoscience‘, but ‘selective breeding‘ has been used in wildlife with the idea to eradicate disease, or genetic mutations to improve the quality of life, through breeding out imperfections.
‘Francis Galton’, who coined the term, was influenced by ‘Charles Darwin‘s’ theory of ‘natural selection‘, in the late nineteenth century, and proposed that selective breeding could leave humanity controlling their evolutionary path. During the second world war the ‘Nazis‘ studied Eugenics as a reason to justify their mass genocide of the ‘Jewish‘ population, to promote the ‘master race‘, and because of this it was decided by scientists that it was a failed science and unethical.
Yet, eugenics has been used to tailor make plants and animals through ‘artificial insemination‘, to create ‘pedigree livestock‘, through altering ‘genetic properties‘. The issue many seem to have regarding humans is who are we to play God? What if it creates more harm than good in the long run? And is it unethical for doctors to selective breed? Would the world not be a better place if scientists were able to eradicate life changing diseases, defects or disabilities? It’s unethical to breed away race or civilisations, but to promote the wellbeing of humanity surely has to be worth consideration? There’s always the risk that the application of eugenics on humans could be used for aesthetic reasons, with parents wanting handsome children, who are physically perfect in every way. It’s a debate that I’m sure will never reach a satisfactory conclusion for the majority.