- The American Conservative - http://www.theamericanconservative.com -

I’m Not a Nazi

I’m not the kind of journalist who’s always stepping in it on Twitter. In fact, I’ve been a member since 2010, and to the best of my knowledge only one person ever blocked me. That argument was over the definition of the word “average,” and they’ve unblocked me since. But I stepped in it last week.

In the waiting room while my wife finished up an early-morning prenatal appointment, I flipped through some RSS feeds on my phone, not just to pass the time but also because one of my jobs here at TAC is to compile the daily Of Note roundup [1]. I spied a little gem from The New Republic called “Trump Has Turned the GOP Into the Party of Eugenics” and figured I should probably learn how such a horrifying thing happened. I didn’t get very far into the piece, though, because eugenics had been described as “discredited” three times by the third paragraph.

Maybe it shouldn’t, but this kind of scientism deeply irks me. Forced sterilization is a grotesque violation of human rights: that is the problem with it. Whether the science behind it has been “discredited” matters not one bit. By the same token, if I shoot someone in the head and take his car on the theory that this is the fastest way to get to the other side of town, my actions are not made any worse if I was wrong and the subway would have been faster, nor any better if they get me to work on time.

And it’s especially dangerous to turn a moral debate into a scientific one when you’re wrong about the science. Everyone’s jaws fall onto the floor when it’s said out loud, but the fact is that eugenics is effective. The eugenicists of last century certainly misunderstood some things, and plenty of them were downright crazy. But humans have been practicing eugenics on animals and plants for centuries with great success. One of the oddest things about human history, in fact, is how long we practiced artificial selection before anyone noticed that the natural environment could do the same thing. Charles Darwin discussed breeding in some depth in On the Origin of Species.

There’s no scientific reason that eugenics would be any less effective on humans. We still practice it, actually, just not by forced sterilization. We pre-screen embryos for genetic diseases. We abort Down Syndrome babies. We choose sperm donors—and live mates—with an eye toward what traits they will provide our offspring. With the exception of mate selection, there are lots of people who believe all of these actions are wrong. Personally, of these, I object only to aborting children with disabilities. But these practices achieve what they are intended to, and that is a separate question from whether they’re an acceptable thing to do.

Don’t take my word for it. This is not controversial among people who understand genetics and evolution. Here’s how the celebrated biologist Richard Dawkins put it in The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution:

Political opposition to eugenic breeding of humans sometimes spills over into the almost certainly false assertion that it is impossible. Not only is it immoral, you may hear it said, it wouldn’t work. Unfortunately, to say that something is morally wrong, or politically undesirable, is not to say that it wouldn’t work. I have no doubt that, if you set your mind to it and had enough time and enough political power, you could breed a race of superior body-builders, or high-jumpers, or shot-putters; pearl fishers, sumo wrestlers, or sprinters; or (I suspect, although now with less confidence because there are no animal precedents) superior musicians, poets, mathematicians or wine-tasters. The reason I am confident about selective breeding for athletic prowess is that the qualities needed are so similar to those that demonstrably work in the breeding of racehorses and carthorses, of greyhounds and sledge dogs. The reason I am still pretty confident about the practical feasibility (though not the moral or political desirability) of selective breeding for mental or otherwise uniquely human traits is that there are so few examples where an attempt at selective breeding in animals has ever failed, even for traits that might have been thought surprising. Who would have thought, for example, that dogs could be bred for sheep-herding skills, or ‘pointing’, or bull-baiting?

Also relevant: a massive review of behavioral-genetics research [2] from 2015 showing that basically all human traits are at least somewhat heritable—and that this heritability mainly seems to stem from simple “additive” [3] genetic variation, where a bunch of different genes either increase or decrease a given trait. Each child draws his genes randomly from each parent, so nothing is guaranteed, but a kid is more likely to inherit a lot of smart or shy or aggressive genes if his parents have lots of them to draw from. That’s one of the building blocks of natural selection—if people with a given trait are less able to reproduce, the genes for that trait become less common over time—and it’s how artificial selection often works too. You can’t discredit one without discrediting the other.

Anyhow, that’s what was going through my mind when I pulled up my RSS reader’s tweeting function and ill-advisedly fired this off:

You can guess what happened next. Lots of people retweeted or favorited it—including experts in genetics but also many alt-right types. One alt-righter joined the conversation and provided some scientific material explaining how artificial selection works; not being familiar with this individual’s entire Twitter feed, I retweeted (and later un-retweeted) some of it. Geoffrey Miller, a prominent if controversial evolutionary psychologist, argued that some types of eugenics, such as mate selection, aren’t immoral. I had a mind-numbing conversation with the author of the New Republic piece in which she repeatedly insinuated I have Nazi sympathies. My very pregnant wife got mad because I spent our lunch out together checking my phone, leading to an awkward conversation about what was so damn important.

That’s Twitter, I guess. Whatever.

Robert VerBruggen is managing editor of The American Conservative.
Follow @RAVerBruggen [6]

35 Comments (Open | Close)

35 Comments To "I’m Not a Nazi"

#1 Comment By Glaivester On February 21, 2017 @ 10:01 pm

“Eugenics is not science, nor pseudoscience – it’s more a form of engineering.”

-Someone I read somewhere. I think it was on Steve Sailer’s blog.

#2 Comment By Jones On February 21, 2017 @ 11:20 pm

Well, if you believe there are human rights concerns, maybe it would have been helpful to include that along with the point blank statement that “deliberate breeding works”? Because the natural follow up is, if it works, then why not?

Look, of course there are lots of people who are right of the mainstream who are nonetheless not extremists . . . but given the rapidly changing ideological environment everyone has a responsibility to clarify where they stand, and the request that one do so should not be taken as insulting. The truth is, right now there is no obvious fact of the matter where the reasonable opinions end and the extremism begins. There’s just too much change and confusion. The alt right really does exist and it really is powerful and expanding.

#3 Comment By M. Orban On February 22, 2017 @ 2:30 am

So you poked the hornets’ nest and when the hornets came out you said: Hey! I am not a bear! Let’s reason together!
So how did it work out for you?

#4 Comment By Ian On February 22, 2017 @ 2:43 am

Since people usually regarded as “progressive” ( Shaw and the Webbs for example) were keen eugenicists, I suspect “discredited” is a technical term meaning “politically embarrassing”. I further suspect that the loud shouting is a function of this embarrassment.

#5 Comment By Ken Eng On February 22, 2017 @ 9:00 am

I’m doing this from memory so I may get the quote wrong but I remember Jon Stewart in a discussion about torture “Torture can be moral or immoral, effective or ineffective. If I can convince you it’s ineffective, that’s good because I win the argument. But I really don’t give a rat’s ass about effectiveness – it’s immoral and we should not do it”. I apply the same reasoning to eugenics.

#6 Comment By edr On February 22, 2017 @ 9:06 am

Possibly the viability of Eugenics is one of those actual “facts” that its best not spending time on promoting/diffusing, particularly given the “fact” of human’s vicious proclivities.

Possibly its more productive not to tread on the issue of its viability and focus on the issue of its repugnance and how in the US even Supreme Court Justices, were enamored of the idea.

I’ve read articles on gene selection mentioning that if apes were going to code for genes they would have picked bigger muscles and lost out on the most important genetic advance homo sapiens made, brain power, suggesting current humans would select to solve the problems of the past and destroy their viability for the future, specifically gene variation across the species.

#7 Comment By Ian On February 22, 2017 @ 9:41 am

“Well, if you believe there are human rights concerns, maybe it would have been helpful to include that along with the point blank statement that “deliberate breeding works”? Because the natural follow up is, if it works, then why not?”

I can think of a few reasons not to that are not ‘moral repugnance’ – prominently that we might breed for the wrong things. For example, we might rid the world of sickle cell, then wish we hadn’t when our other anti-malarial approaches fail. But none of this excuses the anti-science position of essentially saying ‘we cannot breed humans for traits’. Of course we could, we just don’t want to (for all sorts of reasons).

#8 Comment By Yam Digger On February 22, 2017 @ 10:03 am

Yes, eugenics if properly practiced would produce a crop of intellectually and physically superior humans. But I’ve always said: Just because you CAN do something, it does not automatically mean you should.

#9 Comment By Ted On February 22, 2017 @ 11:08 am

I think conservatives would have an easier time debating if their reaction to someone calling them racist was just to deny it and call the accuser ridiculous, rather than launch into defense of the straw man they’ve been confronted with.

Are the Republicans bringing back eugenics? Is Donald Trump anti-Semitic? These questions have an easy answer if you are a Republican or Trump supporter, “No, next question.”

#10 Comment By TR On February 22, 2017 @ 11:38 am

Others have pointed out what Shaw and the Webbs (when they were hot for eugenics) could not have known about the dangers.

There used to a fear of what a lack of eugenics would bring. Without selective breeding we were degrading the species, in other words. And before it got to be politically incorrect, I think a lot of segregationists were in favor of eugenics (and abortion, for that matter), as long as they were practiced on Blacks.

#11 Comment By Donald On February 22, 2017 @ 11:44 am

This is an extremely common logical fallacy that you are describing. I don’t know if it has a name. It works like this–

You assume that statement X is true. (In this case, that eugenics is evil. I agree.)

You then assume that any proposition Y that fits in with statement X or seems to support it must be true and any proposition Z that might be seen by some as contradicting it must be false. In fact statements Y or Z may not prove or disprove X at all, but all that matters is whether they seem to do so.

People reason this way constantly, especially in politics, but also with any issue where emotions are involved. I once said in an ancient Compuserve discussion site (yes, long long ago) about evolution that most beneficial mutations are lost via random chance instead of being fixed in the population. This is a well known result in population genetics, first derived by Ronald Fisher I think. The local intelligent design guy thought I was supporting his position and one of the local evolution defenders thought I was spreading creationism. Um, no, I was just explaining one facet of evolutionary theory.

This fallacy is universal in political debate. The mere act of raising a point that doesn’t fit neatly into some political position automatically will make you suspect in people’s eyes. You may be called a troll or worse. If I had my own blog I would probably post a piece on this and then ask the commenters for their own favorite examples. I could come up with quite a few on my own, but this comment is too long already.

#12 Comment By Dain On February 22, 2017 @ 12:14 pm

Sigh. It’s impossible to have grown-up conversations.

#13 Comment By minimammal On February 22, 2017 @ 12:22 pm

This unwillingness to draw obvious scientific comparisons between humans and the natural world (of which humans are inextricably a part) reminds me of an experience I had in college at UCLA.

I was taking a non-science survey course on biodiversity and my professor invited the evolutionary biologist Brad Shaffer to talk to the class about his research on the California tiger salamander. According to his research, Shaffer drew the conclusion that our previous idea of speciation, in which two organisms are considered the same species if and only if they can produce viable offspring, was too narrow a definition. Through genetic analysis of the salamanders, Shaffer found that speciation occurs through geographic isolation between groups so that organisms that would previously have been grouped together within the same species can actually be broken down even further into more specific species groups based on their geographic isolation from each other.

After Shaffer’s presentation, I asked him if his research could be applied to humans and if it could be argued that there are multiple species of humans just as there were of his salamander, and he answered that maybe in the past such an argument could be made but today we are so intermixed and interconnected that we are now entirely the same species. I found his answer to be somewhat of a cop out. What about the isolated Amazonian tribes that have had little to no contact with the outside world? Or ethnic groups that have lived in remote mountains or valleys separated from others for thousands of years? Couldn’t it be argued in his theory of speciation that these people might be a different species of human?

I can understand Shaffer’s hesitancy to apply his research to humans but it does seem dishonest to let fear of political incorrectness create a false separation between the natural realm and the human realm. I also understand why it’s important that we think of humans as all the same species because otherwise the impulse arises to categorize people according to who is the “most evolved” or “superior” species (even though evolution by natural selection has nothing to do with superiority – it simply describes the traits that enable a given organism to survive within its respective environment). Nonetheless, I don’t think we need be afraid of talking about or be dishonest when it comes to applying discoveries in evolutionary biology to humanity.

#14 Comment By JonF On February 22, 2017 @ 1:20 pm

Re: But humans have been practicing eugenics on animals and plants for centuries with great success.

Well, yes and no. Certainly we have bred plants and animals that are more apt to our use. And if we define ourselves as God then that does mean they are “better”. But in fact many of our domesticates are failures: some cannot even reproduce without us. And others would soon die out as species if they had to go it alone (with some exceptions– feral cats, pigs and horses do just fine– on a species level– without us).
But the deeper problem with the statement is indeed a moral one: We are assuming that that our use for other creatures is a morally valid standard to judge by. If we are talking about cows or corn hardly anyone had a problem with that. But if we are talking about other people? Deliberate breeding of other humans has never really been done on a vast scale; we don’t know how well it would work (along with successes our endeavors with plants and animals have had some notable failures)*. But would it ever be morally licit to attempt that?

* And as an aside, spontaneous mutations happen all the time. We cannot, for example, ever breed the hemophilia gene out of us because in 30% of the cases it appears by mutation not by inheritance– hence, to cite a famous case, Queen Victoria’s hemophilia gene which condition had never manifested in her maternal Saxe-Coburg family.

#15 Comment By Will Harrington On February 22, 2017 @ 1:22 pm

Jones, it would be helpful if peoples reading comprehension were better. He clearly stated in the very first sentence of the tweet that he thought people should call it deeply immoral rather than discredited. What more do you need?

#16 Comment By Kurt Gayle On February 22, 2017 @ 1:34 pm

You wrote, Mr. Verbruggen: “That’s one of the building blocks of natural selection—if people with a given trait are less able to reproduce, the genes for that trait become less common over time…”

I think most geneticists would agree that your observation is firmly supported by the science of genetics.

And yet…and yet, if you were to question the currently popular notion that a gene, or combinations of genes, passes on the trait of homosexuality – arguing that the gene, or combinations of genes, would eventually be eliminated by natural selection because gay couples do not normally procreate – you would be called “hateful,” “homophobic” and, well, perhaps even “Nazi,” too.

#17 Comment By Benjamin Disraeli On February 22, 2017 @ 3:14 pm

Kurt Gayle states:
“And yet…and yet, if you were to question the currently popular notion that a gene, or combinations of genes, passes on the trait of homosexuality – arguing that the gene, or combinations of genes, would eventually be eliminated by natural selection because gay couples do not normally procreate – you would be called “hateful,” “homophobic” and, well, perhaps even “Nazi,” too.”

This is a simplistic formulation of natural selection. Traits that don’t directly benefit the individuals who mate and procreate are commonly maintained in the population as a whole. If homosexuality is accompanied by other advantages – say in enhanced infant/child survival due to increased ratios of nurturing adults to offspring, infrequent but still statistically significant numbers of homosexuals in a population would potentially be quite advantageous.

There is an enormous literature on the impact of in utero environment/genetics/epigenetics on homosexual/heterosexual development in humans and an array of laboratory animals. It would be nice to hear someone who makes as firm an argument as you do acknowledge that he has also taken the time to become truly informed on the issue before pontificating from a poorly structured intellectual foundation.

#18 Comment By Rebecca On February 22, 2017 @ 3:16 pm

Not to fear, eugenics has been cloaked in all kinds of PC language and has been passed off as the antithesis of Nazism, alt-right Trumpian sexism, racism, etc.

Exhibit A: Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, is the darling of Hillary Clinton and the Left. But Margaret Sanger even attended a Ku Klux Klan meeting, saying it inspired her, and even spoke at one. She vowed to eliminate the birth of black children, but warned that this effort must be done with great stealth and secrecy.

#19 Comment By The Autist Formerly Known as “KD” On February 22, 2017 @ 4:22 pm

Come, it is important to signal to the world that you are a member of the “I f#@$ing love science” crowd, and not a stupid Christian fundamentalist.

To do so, eugenics, because it carries bad social connotations, cannot be acceptable science, it has to be pseudo-science, like IQ research (except in capital cases) and the heritability of human behavioral traits.

Its not about morality, its about status signalling, you Nazi!

#20 Comment By Tom Usher On February 22, 2017 @ 4:48 pm

For those interested in this topic, I suggest Pinker’s book The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature.

His core thesis is that as our scientific understanding of genetics grows, the needle keeps moving soundly in the direction of nature over nurture. By the way, he is a Jewish professor who lost relatives to the Nazi concentration camps, and he has been called a eugenics Nazi.

#21 Comment By Zebesian On February 22, 2017 @ 6:40 pm

Traditional eugenics will become obsolete when genetic engineering is tested and becomes economical enough for most people to afford it. There is no point to a slow, unreliable, less ethical tactic when you can use embryo selection or CRISPR editing to cheat nature.

#22 Comment By jamie On February 22, 2017 @ 8:29 pm

Some people would object to the terms “breeding” or “stock” being applied to human beings, since it’s objectifying and instrumental.

I would be concerned about a general belief among conservatives that eugenics “worked.” As the author points out, shooting someone for their car works, and this is immoral, but if people convince themselves they’re in some sort of existential crisis, or a war (like maybe a “race war” for instance), they might feel their moral injunctions are relaxed.

I’m glad I didn’t bring up Nazis! They indeed practiced eugenics and they did justify their mass killings on a eugenic basis sometimes. And predictably, they didn’t actually start executing the infirm until the war started– Aktion T4 was started after the invasion of Poland, almost to the day, and the Holocaust itself wasn’t started until it was clear the Germans had lost Stalingrad. This is what happens when people know something is wrong but that it might work in a pinch. The pinch will inevitably come.

This is why I might encourage people to think about what they mean by “work,” and exactly how eugenics is supposedly supposed to get you closer to something desirable, and how that might not be true, even if it were permissible.

#23 Comment By AlexArr On February 22, 2017 @ 10:01 pm

Rebecca, while Sanger was by no means perfect, the quote most often attributed to her by anti-abortion activists, that she wanted “to exterminate the Negro population” is nothing less than a blatant attempt to misconstrue her words. Sanger was attempting to distribute birth control among blacks in the South who were highly suspicious of white doctors (this was the time of the Tuskegee syphilis study, after all). Her fear was that if people started hearing (false) rumors of sterilization, no one would sign up for the birth control program known as “The Negro Project.” It was necessary to work with members of the black community to ensure that elites like doctors and ministers were made a part of it and appeared as the public face of the initiative.

Given that W. E. B. DuBois supported “the Negro Project,” as well as the fact that she refused funding from someone who requested that she set up in Harlem to “to cut down the number of Negroes,” it seems unlikely that Sanger wanted to eradicate black people.

The speaking at a KKK event is unfortunate, but, given that she was speaking about birth control, not exactly a damning indictment.

fwiw, I found the following article to be quite illuminating: [7]

#24 Comment By EliteCommInc. On February 22, 2017 @ 10:03 pm

Gattaca was a pretty neat film.

Eugenic gets a bad rap because of its historic ties to white supremacists, most notable Hitler.

As a matter of prudence it’s probably wise to make some distinctions that is the direction you intend to apply the science.

Unless of course that is your intent. In which case

Heil, VerBruggen!!!

#25 Comment By Kurt Gayle On February 22, 2017 @ 10:34 pm

To “Benjamin Disraeli”: “It would be nice to hear someone who makes as firm an argument as you do acknowledge that he has also taken the time to become truly informed on the issue before pontificating from a poorly structured intellectual foundation.”

#26 Comment By Lyle On February 23, 2017 @ 8:59 am

“Exhibit A: Margaret Sanger:”

Some alterntive facts?

#27 Comment By Dorian On February 23, 2017 @ 10:01 am

Let me get this straight… eugenics may be immoral but it is effective? Hum, can’t the same thing be said of abortion? I doubt seriously anyone here would accept that moral equivalence. I would suggest that often morality “trumps” (ha ha see what I did) efficiency. Maybe eugenics is considered “discredited” precisely because efficiency doesn’t preclude morality. Let the fun begin!

#28 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 23, 2017 @ 11:22 am

Some people would object to the terms “breeding” or “stock” being applied to human beings, since it’s objectifying and instrumental.

Some people also object to the idea that humans evolved from apes. Unfortunately, this happens to be true, so I’m generally comfortable with dismissing Creationism as a fundamentally unserious ideology.

I would be concerned about a general belief among conservatives that eugenics “worked.”

I would be concerned by a general belief that it didn’t work, because, you know, I’m concerned any time people value political correctness and feeling good about themselves to, you know, facts and evidence.

Incidentally, there’s nothing inherently ‘conservative’ about eugenics in principle. I know plenty of people on the left who favour it in some form.

Personally I am with Mr. VerBruggen here. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to improve the genetic makeup of the human species. Likewise there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve the genetic makeup of any other plant or animal. Certain methods to get there are certainly immoral (and I’d generally include forced sterilization here). Mate selection is another form of eugenics though. Encouragement of lower or higher fertility through financial incentives is another. Artificially assisted reproduction is yet another. And down the road, genetic engineering is going to be (as Zebesian points out) the method that renders most of this debate moot.

I never really understand the thought processes of folks like Jamie (although calling it ‘thought’ as opposed to ‘regurgitation of PC talking points’ might be overly charitable). If you could improve the genetic makeup of future generations of humans- to make them smarter, prettier, healthier, more docile, whatever- why wouldn’t you?

#29 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 23, 2017 @ 11:26 am

This is why I might encourage people to think about what they mean by “work,” and exactly how eugenics is supposedly supposed to get you closer to something desirable

It’s supposed to get you to something more desirable because most traits are largely genetically influenced. This isn’t complicated.

Deliberate breeding of other humans has never really been done on a vast scale; we don’t know how well it would work (along with successes our endeavors with plants and animals have had some notable failures)*. But would it ever be morally licit to attempt that?

Humans have been doing unconscious selective breeding on themselves since, well, forever. It’s just, well, unconscious. Mate selection is a form of optimization of the genetic endowment of the future generation. So are incest taboos for that matter. The only difference now is that it would be conscious.

I’m with you on being opposed to any and all abortions being used for eugenic purposes, as well as to forced sterilization. This is a far cry from opposing, in principle, wanting to influence the genetics of future generations. And I suspect down the road this will be done more by genetic engineering than by controlled breeding.

#30 Comment By jamie On February 23, 2017 @ 3:30 pm

Hector:

It’s supposed to get you to something more desirable because most traits are largely genetically influenced. This isn’t complicated.

Desirable to who? Desirable for what?

If eugenics is immoral, then any product of eugenics is an abomination. I would think that is pretty simple.

We can easily grant that people can undertake to “breed” certain traits into generations of other human beings, but I’m really disturbed at the suggestion that this activity would produce any kind of positive or desirable consequence, for anybody, at any time, for any reason. It’s like saying burning a Rembrandt is a good way to heat your brothel.

The products of eugenics are, necessarily, deformed and permanently incomplete. They shoild be pittied. The benefits of intelligence, strength and beauty are illusory and reflect our human vanity.

#31 Comment By Zebesian On February 23, 2017 @ 6:46 pm

“Incidentally, there’s nothing inherently ‘conservative’ about eugenics in principle. I know plenty of people on the left who favour it in some form.”

I am one of those people on the left, though I definitely favor engineering-based methods. I also hope that they are applied equitably enough that Gattica doesn’t happen.

#32 Comment By mrscracker On February 26, 2017 @ 9:41 am

Well, I think eugenics doesn’t work in the long run because certain things we perceive to be weaknesses probably are important for survival of the species overall.

#33 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 26, 2017 @ 9:46 pm

I am one of those people on the left, though I definitely favor engineering-based methods. I also hope that they are applied equitably enough that Gattica doesn’t happen.

Yea, I’m a big believer in genetic engineering of humans as well, and I also think that access to the technology needs to be controlled by the state as a sort of public good, rather than being available only to rich people.

#34 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 26, 2017 @ 10:54 pm

If eugenics is immoral, then any product of eugenics is an abomination. I would think that is pretty simple.

I assume this is a joke, right?

First of all, what reason do we have to think that eugenics is inherently immoral? Second, where is the logical chain that because something is immoral, the products of that something are ‘abominations’ as well? Something can be immoral and still lead to a good result, and vice versa. A baby resulting from a rape is, as they say, still a blessing.

We can easily grant that people can undertake to “breed” certain traits into generations of other human beings, but I’m really disturbed at the suggestion that this activity would produce any kind of positive or desirable consequence, for anybody, at any time, for any reason.

Pro-tip: “I am really disturbed by….” is not actually, you know, an argument. Civilized people hold arguments based on reason and evidence, not on what they might find disturbing or not. Why do you find genetic engineering of humans ‘disturbing’, or for that matter ‘immoral’, and where is your reasoning or your evidence?

It’s like saying burning a Rembrandt is a good way to heat your brothel.

I don’t object to prostitution, but the more important objection here is that you’re assuming is that present day genetic traits in the human race, which might be rendered less common by genetic improvement of our species, are the equivalent of a Rembrandt. Where is your evidence that that’s true?

I could just as well say, genetic engineering of humans allows us a future in which we have more people around who look like Rembrandt models, as opposed to fewer. To my mind, failing to genetically improve humanity- and as said I’d much rather do that trhough genetic engineering than through encouraging or discouraging reproduction, and I would of course have no tolerance for actively immoral means like abortion- would be more immoral than the opposite.

#35 Comment By beelzebob On February 27, 2017 @ 9:39 pm

Hector, you wrote “Some people also object to the idea that humans evolved from apes. Unfortunately, this happens to be true…”

No. Both humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor, which was not an ape.