May 22, 2008

Stephen Pinker opines on conservative bioethics: "The Stupidity of Dignity."

In TNR:
The sickness in theocon bioethics goes beyond imposing a Catholic agenda on a secular democracy and using "dignity" to condemn anything that gives someone the creeps. Ever since the cloning of Dolly the sheep a decade ago, the panic sown by conservative bioethicists, amplified by a sensationalist press, has turned the public discussion of bioethics into a miasma of scientific illiteracy. Brave New World, a work of fiction, is treated as inerrant prophesy. Cloning is confused with resurrecting the dead or mass-producing babies. Longevity becomes "immortality," improvement becomes "perfection," the screening for disease genes becomes "designer babies" or even "reshaping the species." The reality is that biomedical research is a Sisyphean struggle to eke small increments in health from a staggeringly complex, entropy-beset human body. It is not, and probably never will be, a runaway train.

63 comments:

rhhardin said...

The soap opera version of dignity rules everything because soap opera news rules all public debate.

The actual version, and what it's parasitic on, comes from responding yourself to somebody else's need.

That can be quite various, and in particular is too various for the needs of soap opera.

Salamandyr said...

It's not exactly like those on the side of "science" are shining pillars of rectitude or anything. The promises made about embryonic stem cell research have it curing everything but the croupe and that comes out next week.

Palladian said...

"The sickness in theocon bioethics goes beyond imposing a Catholic agenda on a secular democracy and using "dignity" to condemn anything that gives someone the creeps."

Hmm, replace "theocon" with "liberal" and its still true.

"...the panic sown by conservative bioethicists, amplified by a sensationalist press, has turned the public discussion of bioethics into a miasma of scientific illiteracy."


Lol. "Climate Change" anyone? Talk about a "miasma of scientific illiteracy".

Yachira said...

Change Pinker's thesis around a bit and you get a very nice criticism of leftist 'global warming' "science."

Henry said...

Most of the evidence of bioethics panic that I come across is at Whole Foods

Either Pinker has a blind spot or he doesn't get out much.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

"The sickness in the global warming agenda goes beyond imposing a Green agenda on a secular democracy and using "environmentalism" to condemn anything that gives someone the creeps"

Fixed.

Kirby Olson said...

He says that it "probably" won't become a runaway train. That word "probably" undoes everything he just said, and means that just anything could happen, and leaves him a loophole as big as the exploding Hindenberg.

downtownlad said...

Figures that Palladian wouldn't believe in Global Warming.

Unfortunately for him, the scientific facts speak for themselves.

http://www.lib.utah.edu/services/prog/gould/1998/Figure_6.gif

http://www.esf.org/fileadmin/be_user/images/graph1.png

Freeman Hunt said...

Most of the evidence of bioethics panic that I come across is at Whole Foods

Ha. No kidding. Pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified crops, microwaving, etc.; harbingers of the natural foods apocalypse all.

paul a'barge said...

downtownlad, I'm doing your work for you:
click here

paul a'barge said...

Hello Mr Pinker?
Remember Josef Mengele?

Palladian said...

"Figures that Palladian wouldn't believe in Global Warming."

I don't "believe in" scientific theories. I accept them when presented with enough facts to come to a reasonable conclusion. I don't actually care much about climate change, it's a fact of life and nature. I'm responding to the politicization and fantasizing of science by environmentalists and the left. They're just as guilty of it as the "theocons", just as ignorant and just as inflexible.

Like you, for instance. You don't care a tinker's fuck about anything aside from yourself and your various pathologies, and you certainly don't care about "global warming" or whatever you're calling it today. You're just using it as a bludgeon in your attempt to "stick it to the man" yet again. As is obvious from every discussion you interrupt, "global warming" is just another excuse to start one of your hurricanes, with you at the epicenter. We're on to you, Mary.

Palladian said...

And to add to my previous comment, I don't follow climatology, and I haven't read much serious research on the subject. I freely admit this, which is something the armchair Gores never do. I'm commenting on the hysterical, media-driven smokescreen that has accumulated about the subject, obscuring science in the process. A dangerous thing. I'm not sufficiently informed about the subject to actually argue from facts, and neither are you.

downtownlad said...

Paul - It's not even worth debating the subject with you, since you're an ideologue and you've made up your mind regardless of what the underlying science says.

So continue to cherry pick your research, and pick one month, instead of looking at the long-term trend.

Reminds me of Ann's post on George Bush's popularity, where Bush had a 2 point upward blip to 48% approval, and she talked about how it was the beginning of a rebound (it wasn't).

Reminds me of people who posted about the decline in oil prices from $120 to $100 and talked about how they were on their way down again (it wasn't).

Reminds me of the Powerline post from last week and how they talked about an upweek in the market was the start of a new boom in the economy (market isn't exactly booming this week . . .)

Things don't go up and down in a straight line. There are many blips along the way, and it's disingenuous to grasp at one blip to try and repudiate the underlying data.

The fact is that we're in the middle of a La Nina event which is supposed to cool the earth. Despite that, global temperatures are higher than their 20 year average for the past 2 months. And the last 20 years were hot. Most normal people would think that maybe something is up when what should be a colder than normal month is actually warmer than average. You do realize that the La Nina event will end right?

vet66 said...

So what if the global climate is warming a bit. That is the natural cycle of things. To those who want to believe the sky is falling global warming is not the smoking gun of disaster.

Seems like just yesterday it was global cooling that was going to drive us all to Mexico to starve or fight each other for mangos.

The 10th century Vikings were run out of Greenland because of Global Cooling. Consider the history of solar cycles and atmospheric changes:

200-600 - Roman cooling
400-900 - Dark ages cooling
900-1300- Medieval warming (Vikings to Greenland)
1300-1850- Little Ice age (Adios Vikings)
1850 - Present - Modern warming which will probably last until 2250

Now that is scientific fact. The europeans were praying in their churches during the little ice age because their villages were being overrun by advancing glaciers.

Get used to change. Isn't that what Barack Hussein Obama is always preaching?

The universe does not revolve around us!

downtownlad said...

Actually vet66, I couldn't give a flying fuck about climate change, but I do admit that it's happening. I don't plan on having any kids, so I actually don't give a crap what happens to the world or the universe after I die.

That's why I really don't care if we pass on debt to our children and grandchildren. I'll gladly let them pay my bills as long as the bubble doesn't burst while I'm here.

Richard Fagin said...

There is a lot of hoo-hooing about global warming in the comments today, when more relevant to this discussion is that right-wing religious zealot President Bush's caution on stem cell research seems to have been vindicated by later discoveries.

It's difficult to have a discussion on any form of ethics, let alone bioethics, with people who impute "rights" to animals and plants, while subordinating human interests to the plants and animals.

downtownlad said...

The stem cell decision was one of Bush's worst decisions ever.

Research was stopped for almost a decade. Of course it's hard to measure all the medical advances that didn't happen, because we don't know about them. Of course, we'll find out eventually what they are.

Let's suppose one of your loved ones dies of some disease one month before a cure becomes available because of stem cell research. Then maybe you'll recognize what that one decade of research lost us.

All because we had to protect a bundle of cells in a petrie dish.

Chip Ahoy said...

So Stephen Pinker has found convenient scapegoats. He's got a bug up his bum about Catholics and whoever else thinks differently from himself and extrapolates down from that. They put brakes on automobiles for a reason. Mr Pinker needs to calm down. Plus there's enough stupidity to spread around; the same people who condemn US developed genetically modified grain that could go far in alleviating world hunger as "Frankenfoods" go on and allow for actual human-animal hybrids.

I get a little tired of being called stupid, especially when it comes from stupid people with serious agendas.

Wait. What I meant to say is,

HAHAHA X ∞

I'll laugh every time I think of Pinker being frustrated by people more thoughtful than himself. I just thought of Pinker being frustrated again, oh no, here I go.

HAHAHA X ∞

And when I think of all the commenters over there that agree with Pinker and automatically hate anything they imagine that can start with a prefix "con" that they can cleverly coin into consomething, thereby demonstrating how witty they are at neologism.

HAHAHA X ∞

Well, that's quite a lot of laughter for one day. All this gratuitous acrimony has caused me to close my laptop for the nonce, and to assemble and consume a pile of raw food.

Maguro said...

Research was stopped for almost a decade.

Bullshit. US Government-funded research using embryonic stem cells was stopped for almost a decade. Bush had no effect privately-funded research or on scientists anywhere else in the world. Or can stem-cell miracles only be accomplished on Uncle Sam's dime?

Tibore said...

In reading the article, I'm not certain that Pinker's addressing the same notion of "dignity" that the Catholic Church is. His illustrations seem to demonstrate that he's discussing the concept of social dignity, which can be thought of as bearing and comportment. That's a fair definition of dignity, and in his examples that is indeed what he's discussing, but I fear that he's missing what the Catholic Church is referring to in the process: There is a spiritual component to the "dignity" referred to in Catholic documents and teachings, as well as a far more integrated sense of morality.

"Dignity" in common usage, such as what Pinker employs for his illustrations, is as much about one's bearing and way of carrying one's self as anything else, and there's not really a moral or spiritual component to it. You can argue, as he did in the article, that totalitarian leaders in foreign countries exude a certain air of dignity ("Every sashed and be-medaled despot reviewing his troops from a lofty platform seeks to command respect through ostentatious displays of dignity"), and I think we all can agree with Pinker that there's really no morality or genuine spirituality in such exudations. But contrast what Pinker is referring to with what the Catholic Church is discussing: A "dignity" which doesn't address one's bearing or social comportment as much as the moral and spiritual sense of what is respectful to human beings.

If you think about it, there's really no impingement on social dignities in the act of experimenting with embryonic stem cells. If anything, the thought of a scientist or technician carefully working amongst lab equipment is seen as utterly dignified, socially. But the Catholic Church's argument is that this is an impugnment upon the moral sense that is part of the spirit, and therefore an "indignity" because it's an assault on the respect due to the moral/spiritual component of a human being (for the record, I'm not in perfect alignment with my own church on this - limits to what's right and what's not should be discussed, but an absolute ban is ignoring the scientific aspects and arguments, not to mention may not be based in total understanding of the scientific procedures nor of the moral implications - but that doesn't stop me from understanding the basics of the Church's argument). It's treating an embryo - by the Church's definition, an ensouled human being - as just cellular matter instead of as an individual, and in the moral sense that's wrong, even if there's no indignity committed in the social sense.

(And again, I'm not in complete alignment with the Church's arguments, but covering my stance would take tons more room than I want to spend here. Plus, I'm not in total disagreement either; I recognize the moral questions raised. Feh... this is a deep topic...)

Anyway, rounding back to the point, the bottom line is that Pinker seems to miss the point about what the Catholic Church is referring to when they speak of "dignity". And from what I've read so far (I'm on page 7 of his article), his whole argument seems to be based on that misunderstanding.

birdie bob said...

You are absolutely right, Maguro. And that private research found a method which renders the use of embryonic stem cells obsolete. In short, Bush was right!
Take a look at this Charles Krauthamer article from last November for a great summary.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/29/AR2007112901878.html

vet66 said...

Downtownlad;

The point is that certain groups are emphasizing scientific expediency as a tactic to create the artifice of looming cataclysm that only they can prevent. The signs of false science abound.

Consider what Mary Shelley in FRANKENSTEIN implied concerning what happens when mankind plays GOD. Your bubble is fragile.

Bissage said...

I think Professor Pinker is all worked up because he sees this dignity concept as a stalking horse (Yeah, I know that’s terrible but his metaphors were off the scale. Come on, Sisyphean struggle? And I think he meant herculean, anyway) covering for neo-Luddite technologic backsliders (oops, I did it again).

Well . . . fine . . . but if he succeeds in destroying those ideas that got us where we are today, I hope he pauses for a wistful moment to ask himself, “Would it have hurt us so very much to light a fire, and gather just a few laurel leaves?"

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

market isn't exactly booming this week . . .)

Depends on where you are looking and where you are investing. The media and evidently DTL also thinks that "the market" is represented by DJIA and SP500. That is like looking at the horizon through a paper towel roll. You are only looking at a very truncated part of the whole and missing the entire sunset.

Things don't go up and down in a straight line. There are many blips along the way, and it's disingenuous to grasp at one blip to try and repudiate the underlying data.

This is true. It is also disingenuous to only present a couple of the blips over a very very very short time (in the time line of the Earth) and call it as representative of the entire and contradictory subsets of data. Taking your talking points from Al (I have a vested interest) Gore or the MSM which consists of people who barely can understand economics....much less scientific data, and refusing to even consider that there is another side to the argument, is a pretty lazy way to get information.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

downtownlad said:
Things don't go up and down in a straight line. There are many blips along the way, and it's disingenuous to grasp at one blip to try and repudiate the underlying data.

Despite that, global temperatures are higher than their 20 year average for the past 2 months.


Wouldn't 20 years be a small blip in the 4.5 billion year history of the Earth?

I couldn't give a flying **** about climate change, but I do admit that it's happening. I don't plan on having any kids, so I actually don't give a crap what happens to the world or the universe after I die.

So why doesn't this same attitude apply to your concern over stem cell research? Since we are (allegedly) a decade behind, you'll never see the benefits anyway?

I could go on, but have better things to do with my time.

Debunking dtl; so easy even a redneck can do it.

Quasimodo said...

How dare those damn Catholics try to make themselves heard in this country. Sure, they may be tax paying citizens, but that does not give them the right to try to influence policy. Who the hell do they think they are? Atheists? It's about time decent intelligent folk put them in their place.

(/godwin off)
Anybody know a store where we can buy a large number of pretty brown shirts?
(/godwin on)

vbspurs said...

Consider what Mary Shelley in FRANKENSTEIN implied concerning what happens when mankind plays GOD. Your bubble is fragile.

One has to be careful about that lesser message.

She lived in an age where umbrellas were condemned by the CoE, because umbrellas subverted the Will of God too (He meant you to get wet with rain, so you get wet).

BTW, that notion didn't last long and the Church saw its own folly, rescinding the displeasure.

Clearly, advance does equal tinkering at times, playing God if you will.

It's the attitude she was trying to caution against.

You know the one:

When you run roughshod because you're drunk with the capabilities of your scientific ideas.

Pogo said...

" just another excuse to start one of your hurricanes, with you at the epicenter. We're on to you, Mary."

How true.
Maybe GW is actually increasing the number of hurricanes. Well, just DTL hurricanes.

Richard Dolan said...

Pinker: "The sickness in theocon bioethics ...." Those five words make for a strange string, and promise major conceptual problems down the line.

Start with "bioethics." How is that supposed to differ from regular, plain-old ethics? The "bio-" prefix suggests some scientific approach, and the word "sickness" adds to the sense that this is really a scientific kind of issue, for which a trained doctor applying just the right medicine is all that is needed to set things aright. But the subject (ethics) is not a scientific discipline at all. Not an auspicious start.

What does "theocon" add? From context it's clear that Pinker (a) isn't a "theocon" and (b) has a low opinion of "theocons". But except as a dismissive designation expressing Pinker's personal views, what does it add? Presumably, the pairing "Catholic/secular" coming just a little later in the same sentence provides the key: secular is good, and religious is bad (or, at least, out of bounds). Why that should be so, other than Pinker's disagreement with the arguments advanced by the dismissed "theocons", is not clear. In all events, for Pinker, secular = scientific, while religious = "panic," "sensationalistic," and all-around confusion.

Since Aristotle, ethics has been viewed as an inquiry into how best to achieve the highest good (which Aristotle called happiness, and regarded as the end-in-itself of life). By whatever name, that end-in-itself is achieved by living one's life in accordance with virtue and by avoiding vice. The devil always being in the details, folks have been arguing ever since about what counts as "virtue," "vice," how to recognize them and how to achieve the end of "highest good/happiness".

Pinker evidently thinks all of that is rubbish. He sets up a conflict between demands for "dignity," which he thinks have turned "public discussion of bioethics into a miasma of scientific illiteracy," on the one hand, and "biomedical research [which] is a Sisyphean struggle to eke small increments in health from a staggeringly complex, entropy-beset human body," on the other. But ethics (or "bioethics") isn't a scientific inquiry at all. Instead, it is an inquiry into the "good life," meaning how to achieve the highest good in one's life. There is no scientific experiment one can conduct to pursue that inquiry, let alone distinguish virtue from vice; nor is there any blinking-and-beeping monitor one can plug in to measure how well one is doing in achieving the highest good. So how exactly is anyone, except possibly Pinker, turning "public discussion of bioethics into a miasma of scientific illiteracy"? Pinker is on thin ice (indeed, I think he's fallen through) in charging that others are getting bogged down in "illiteracy" here.

Pogo said...

Steven Pinker simply thinks that science and technology merely need to say "Whoops! I didn't mean for THAT to happen" as sufficient atonement for all collateral damage.

But where science is revered Über Alles, though, saying My bad! is clearly enough.

Revenant said...

Well . . . fine . . . but if he succeeds in destroying those ideas that got us where we are today

We got "where we are today" not because of religious concerns over meddling with God's plan, but in spite of them.

P. Rich said...

Science

TNR = Null

For the less technically inclined,that is a First Principle.

TNR + Pinker("Theocon") > Crap

And that is a logical derivation.

Fen said...

using "dignity" to condemn anything that gives someone the creeps.

Is that why the enlightened folk won't allow sonograms of a fetus on the tele?

ricpic said...

Clearly, advance does equal tinkering at times, playing God if you will.

You've got quite a penchant for that: lording it over others. Rather inappropriate given what a raging mediocrity and empty vessel you are Vicky.

Cheers,
ricpic

Revenant said...

Is that why the enlightened folk won't allow sonograms of a fetus on the tele?

Er, what? I've seen sonograms of fetuses on television all the time. They usually show up at some point on any show in which one of the characters is pregnant.

Pogo said...

"I've seen sonograms of fetuses on television all the time."

Actually, that's just Karl Rove on Fox News.

Revenant said...

Actually, that's just Karl Rove on Fox News.

I *thought* that kid seemed unusually well-informed about the Presidential race...

AllenS said...

I planted corn that is genetically modified. It's called Round Up Ready corn. It's been modified so you can spray it with Round Up and it won't hurt the corn, but will kill the grasses and weeds. I checked the corn this morning, and it's still not up. Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks since I planted. There has been absolutely no heat. Almost every morning is in the 30's or 40's and it's not warming up that much during the day. 36 this morning and it finally got to the 70's.

Pogo said...

Maybe the corn is invisible.

It makes harvesting hard, but the bugs can't find it.

vbspurs said...

Children of the Corn, Pogo?

Stephen said...

And the EU pushes bans on genetically modified organisms because of their Catholic/Bilderberger/Rothschild/Mossad agenda?
Damned theocons.
Oy.

Michael_H said...

DTL said: "Figures that Palladian wouldn't believe in Global Warming.

Unfortunately for him, the scientific facts speak for themselves."

Then he said: "It's not even worth debating the subject with you, since you're an ideologue and you've made up your mind regardless of what the underlying science says."

And then he said: " (I)couldn't give a flying fuck about climate change.."

Which was followed by: "..actually don't give a crap what happens to the world or the universe after I die."

Thanks; I'm glad you've cleared up your position on the matter.

Palladian said...

"...I actually don't give a crap what happens to the world or the universe after I die."

Probably much rejoicing.

AllenS said...

Since I planted that corn for my corn burning furnace, if it ends up being invisible, I guess I'll then have to pretend that I'm warm this coming winter.

Trooper York said...

Catholics are not all that worried about bioethics. We just don’t want two protozoa’s to marry. That would be a sin.

Revenant said...

Speaking of McCain and religious fruitcakes -- he disavowed Hagee's endorsement of his Presidential bid today.

Adjoran said...

After reading Pinker's piece, I have renewed hope in the attempt of 10,000 chimps to type Shakespeare by chance. The odds are their first attempts will be as well written as the referenced article, and better reasoned.

Father Martin Fox said...

I would take more interest in liberal moralizing about bioethics if they gave even half a damn about unborn babies.

memomachine said...

Hmmmmm.

1. I have kidney failure and will probably die from it. No sympathy required, just an FYI.

2. I absolutely oppose any treatments that are derived from destroyed embryos.

3. *shrug* people die. They die all the time. They die from old age, disease, car accidents. People die young. I will die.

So any treatments derived from embryonic stem cells can only delay death, not stave it off forever. Better to die with a soul merely tarnished with average sins than a soul dripping with the blood of children.

Strange isn't it? Adults die all the time in the act of saving children. Yet here is a situation where children are to die to save adults.

4. The harvesting of embryos IMO greatly blurs the line between human and non-human. To me that line is incredibly important and worth the lives of those, like myself, who would die without a miracle treatment. As it is that line has been blurred far too much.

Once the line was drawn around the idea of human. Now that line has an escape clause for mentality. Now if the human being doesn't have an acceptable level of sentience or brain size, the argument used against Terri Schiavo, then human now becomes "human".

And that frightens me because we all have a highly malleable sense of normal. Time passes, things change and slowly the concept of normal also changes. What is unimaginable becomes unusual. What was unforgivable becomes old fashioned.

The most terrible Hells on Earth have come about because people rationalized their way into believing that human was now "human".

5. Terri Schiavo was starved to death because she was diagnosed with PVS. Yet PVS doesn't actually *have* a set diagnosis and many people thought to have PVS have come out of it to lead normal lives.

6. Terri Shiavo was starved to death because her brain shrunk by 1/4 and that was thought to be sufficient cause.

Yet there is the case of the French tax bureaucrat who literally had almost no brain. (all jokes aside)

link

"In fact the man, who works as a civil servant in southern France, has succeeded in living an entirely normal life despite a huge fluid-filled cavity taking up most of the space where his brain should be."

""The case is extreme, but there are other cases of patients with incredibly little brain matter," Florian Heinen, a brain development expert at the Dr. von Hauner's Children's Hospital at Munich University, explained to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. "Obviously these few nerve cells can achieve just as much as the millions more cells that other people have.""

...

It may be that embryonic stem cell technology could work. It may be that it'll cure everything. It may be that it'll confer immortality.

None of those reasons are good enough. No reason, ever, is good enough to turn human beings into "human" and then into the raw materials for manufacturing processes.

Eli Blake said...

What I will never understand is this:

Why is it that destroying a no-longer-wanted-embryo for the purpose of research is considered murder, but nobody objects when the storage facility destroys them by either putting them into an incinerator or throwing them into the trash (where they will either die of exposure or be eaten by insects, depending on what time of year it is.)

It's like saying that if I shoot you then it is murder, but if I strangle you then it's not.

Either murder is, or murder is not, but it can't be murder for one and not for the other.

I don't get what the difference is.

Revenant said...

*shrug* people die. They die all the time. They die from old age, disease, car accidents. People die young. I will die.

So die, then.

But why should other people have to die just because *you* don't especially care about staying alive?

vbspurs said...

. I have kidney failure and will probably die from it. No sympathy required, just an FYI.

Memo, I don't need to tell you how sad this made me reading it. My prayers to you...if you'll permit a perfect stranger so to give.

May I just say though that your argument of "people die, shrug" is a losing one.

It's like those people who mention that 4000 US Soldiers killed in Iraq is but a pittance compared to one single day in WWI, or in the Civil War.

Whilst factually true, it strikes people as irremediably cold-hearted (which, it is), and all arguments are lost the moment they're uttered.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Why is it that destroying a no-longer-wanted-embryo for the purpose of research is considered murder, but nobody objects when the storage facility destroys them by either putting them into an incinerator or throwing them into the trash (where they will either die of exposure or be eaten by insects, depending on what time of year it is.)

I would say both are murder, but the first (because there's a scientific component) transgresses mere callousness into something Mengelian.

Cheers,
Victoria

Bissage said...

Holy bouncing beachballs, Batman!

Why’s ricpic a-ric-pick-picking a fight with Our Lady of Victory?

That’s what I get for falling behind on my USDA Reference Daily Intake of Althouse.

Damn!

And now for something completely different: Two dirty pictures of Calista Flockhart.

How's that for a palate cleanser?

Michael_H said...

Bissage-please stop posting photographs of starving children.

knoxwhirled said...

All you have to do is look at how plastic surgery has been exploited to see that people are more than willing to take available medical technology to scary extremes.

knoxwhirled said...

Another truly inspired, apeshit string of comments from dtl. bravo

Sigivald said...

Longevity becomes "immortality," improvement becomes "perfection," the screening for disease genes becomes "designer babies" or even "reshaping the species."

While I have sympathy with Pinker, it should be pointed out that vocal transhumanist types are in fact calling for, hoping for, and promoting all three of those goals he asserts the "theocons" are inventing.

And on "designer babies", well, isn't that the obvious next step? Who would stop at preventing diseases, if one could make their child stronger, faster, smarter, etc?

SGT Ted said...

So, modern eugenicists are now calling themselves "transhumanists"?

Revenant said...

So, modern eugenicists are now calling themselves "transhumanists"?

Eugenicists aimed to improve the species by eliminating "bad" people or preventing them from breeding. Transhumanists aim to improve themselves and their own descendants through the modification of their bodies and genetics.

The two aren't comparable.