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Eugenics on Nature

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
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Re: Eugenics on Nature

Post by Sculptor1 »

psyreporter wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 12:32 am
Sculptor1 wrote: January 1st, 2022, 4:28 pm I asked you to cite the accusation you made of me. Not summarise your argument.

You said this: 'ideologically driven rant that is based on a notion of sacredness and not practicality'.
Where did I say that?
A few posts back:
Sculptor1 wrote: September 20th, 2021, 9:26 amAs it is we live in a complete artifical world as it is, and we need all the tools we can get to help us keep things going.
If you have any specific objections to the work of genetic engineering I'd be happy to discuss that.

However since GE is not significantly different from the selective breeding that we have been doing for the last 10000 years then I cannot support your idealogical rant against it, as it seem to be based on a notion of sacredness and not practicality.
Fair enough. I was surprised that I had spoken so freely on this Forum. I contribute to a couple other Fora where such langauge is more common place. I must have forgotten which page I was on at the time.
Nonetheless Genetic Engineering has provided us with all our domesticated species from pet mice to wheat, tomatoes and dogs. And though the term genetic engineering is now more assocaited with GM we have been selective breeding to great benefits for 20,000 (to include canines) years. Such domestic selection as Darwin phrased it is not without problems but the benefits have been great, and the ever present pressure of natural selection hs continued to stiffle any major horrors.
So there are specific areas where criticism is valid, but it would be hopless to argue on a more generatl level against GE.
For example. Whilst dog breeding has been very successful in that domestic dogs enjoy more than double the lifespan of their progenitor the wolf, there are careless breeders who continue to ignore significant objections of inheritable weaknesses.
Dog s provide wonderful companionship. But are also able to detect cancers, COVID, drugs. They are guides for the blind and deaf, and companion dogs provide comfort to the sick and dying, as well as special alerts for people in danger of fits; friends for severly autistic children.
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Re: Eugenics on Nature

Post by psyreporter »

Selective breeding or pollination in plants can be seen as a form of eugenics however that does not mean that it can be generalized with GE.

With eugenics, one is moving 'towards an ultimate state' as perceived from an external viewer (the human). That may be opposite of what is considered healthy in nature that seeks diversity for resilience and strength.
Impenitent wrote:blond hair and blue eyes for everyone



With selective breeding, one works with real animals and plants - meaningful beings with a purpose - and a population of millions of individuals. The potential for shaping evolution in that way is limited and the individual animals and plants may be able to overcome problems.

With GE, artifificial intelligence based automation, synthethic biology and in specific exponential growth, changes for an intended result can be applied on a massive scale, directly affecting millions of animals and plants at once.

The situation is quite different from selective breeding and the idea of the field synthetic biology is that the result of the whole endeavour will be that science will 'master life' and can create and control evolution of species in real time, as an 'engineering approach'.

(April 6th, 2019) Synthetic Biology in The Economist: Redesigning Life
Reprogramming nature is extremely convoluted, having evolved with no intention or guidance. But if you could synthesize nature, life could be transformed into something more amenable to an engineering approach, with well defined standard parts.


Can life have well defined standard parts for science to master and 'redesign' life?


What do you think of my arguments with regard GE based eugenics?

Argument 1: origin of life cannot be factored out

The source of life is unknown as of today. If it is unknown where life came from, it is not possible to claim that what has been observed is limited to what has been observed. The origin of life cannot be factored out because it hasn't been observed.

Overcoming problems is essential for progress in life. When humans would attempt to control genetic evolution from their short-sighted and external perspective, they may hinder a vital core of successful evolution. What may appear as a genetic defect in a given time may be part of a longer term (e.g. 300 year) strategy to achieve evolutionary solutions that are essential for longer term survival.

A basis of respect for nature may be vital for successful evolution.


Argument 2: GE for top-down control resides on the essence of inbreeding

Top-down control of genetic evolution through GE could be seen as a sort of incest of which it is known that it causes fatal problems.

One could start with the question: why does inbreeding cause severe issues such as major health problems and infertility? Does this question have an answer (not just the mechanism, but 'why' it is so)?

GE for top-down control of genetic evolution would reside on the essence of inbreeding so despite that it can be said that science (humans) will attempt to outrun any problems, at the core the practice may be set to cause fatal problems.


Argument 3: GE for Eugenics promotes weakness on the long term

From my perspective, using GE to remove 'unwanted genes' and diseases from the human race logically promotes weakness due to the principle that overcoming problems results in strength.

The reason is the essentiality of resilience, the ability to overcome unforeseeable problems, not just the ones that can be predicted.

Overcoming problems is essential for progress in life. Some perceived defects may be part of a 300 year evolutionary strategy that is essential to acquire solutions for longer term survival. The fight to overcome the defects or diseases makes humanity stronger in the future. Filtering out genes (eugenics) would be like fleeing instead of overcoming problems and thus logically results in increased weakness over time.

An easy life or offspring with genes linked to prosperity (financial, career, intelligence etc) may not be what is good for longer term human evolution.

It may be essential to value what it takes to perform like Stephen Hawking in life. Despite a heradic genetic disease, he has contributed to human existence in ways that few others may have could.

In the case of Stephen Hawking can be seen that things may turn out differently than expected and for resilience to be served, a basis of respect should exist to allow people like Stephen Hawking to perform in life.

The struggle with a disease can result in solutions that enable humanity to survive on the long term. Not giving up could be essential and should be valued and rewarded socially to be effective.

It may be best to serve life instead of trying to stand above it.

Some hints:

Down syndrome: occurs 1 in 700 births, genome called "Super Genome".

(2018) The Down syndrome 'super genome' ... 090148.htm

Huntington's disease: 80 percent less cancer than the general population.

(2018) Huntington's disease provides new cancer weapon ... 084458.htm

(2007) Biologists Link Huntington's Disease To Health Benefits In Young
A new hypothesis has been proposed to explain prevalence of the disease by suggesting that people with Huntington's disease are healthier in childbearing years and have more children than general population. Huntington's strengthens the immune system during most fertile years allowing them to produce more offspring. ... 130029.htm

At question could be: would it be possible that the presumed (genetic) diseases/disorders serve a purpose? Perhaps in a time-span that is difficult to comprehend from the limited individual human's perspective?

It is logically good to intend to prevent disease. Perhaps there are good use-cases for eugenics when certain fundamental questions are addressed and kept in awareness. As it appears however, the idea that the human can 'master' life itself is based on a dogmatic belief in uniformitarianism (the idea that facts are valid without philosophy), which could result in disastrous flaws in human evolution.

An attempt to stand above life as being life logically results in a figurative stone that sinks in the ocean of time. | “If life were to be good as it was, there would be no reason to exist.”
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Re: Eugenics on Nature

Post by Raymond »

What a great question! I mean not the questions per se but the whole of writing leading to them. My sincere compliments! Both eugenics and atheism and the removal of moral from science very well explored. I'll be back!
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