Pushing the Limits

Eugenics vs. Genetic Engineering

Understanding Eugenics

  • Eugenics: The science of improving the human population by controlled breeding to increase "desirable traits" in human
  • 1920s-1930s Eugenics Movement (Heart)
  • Nazism and Eugenics (Heart)
  • "New" Eugenics: Concerned with welfare/rights of individuals (Sparrow)
  • "Old" Eugenics: Perfectionist scientist concerned with health of the race (Sparrow)
  • "New" Eugenics motivations still look very similar to "Old" Eugenics (Sparrow)

The Medical Side of Genetic Engineering

  • Clinical Studies now use viral based systems to treat genetic diseases (Thrasher and Serymour)
  • Doctors can uncover genetic disorders and then suggest gene therapies (Moyer)
  • Maximal benefits occurs in younger recipients (Thrasher and Serymour)
  • Genetic therapies should be administered as soon as possible (Schwartz)
  • Screening has become routine practice in many countries (Schwartz)
  • Selecting/Manipulation of genes may allow us to treat depression (Schwartz)

The Dark Side of Genetic Engineering

  • Loss of “humanity” with cosmetic enhancement as “playing God” changes the meaning of human nature (Crook)
  • Creates another class of society of those who can pay for enhancements (Crook)
  • Discrimination against those with inherited genetic "faults": Sexism, Racism, Homophobia (Crook)
  • Designer Babies (Crook)

Toeing the Line

  • Moral question: Where do we draw the line with advancing new technology? (Crook)
  • Accept germ line therapy or enhancement, provided if respects what is already present or implied in the individuals genome (Crook)
  • Allow a certain scope for genetic therapy but rule our manipulation that treats individual (Crook)
  • Parents should be permitted but not obligated to enhance their children (Crook)
  • Restrictions to avoid "polarization" and "homogenization" (Crook)

Works Cited

  • Cowan, Ruth S. "Medical Genetics Is Not Eugenics." Chronicle of Higher Education 54.1 (2008): 1-12. ERIC. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
  • Crook, Paul. "The New Eugenics? The Ethics of Bio -Technology." Australian Journal of Politics and History 54.1 (2008): 135. History Reference Center. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
  • Heart, Bradley. "Watching the 'Eugenic Experiment' Unfold: The Mixed Views of British Eugenicists Toward Nazi Germany in the Early 1930s." Journal of the History of Biology 45.1 (2012): 33-63. EBSCO. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
  • Huxley, Julian. "How Can Man Improve Man?" New Scientist 192.2578 (2006): 14. Science Reference Center. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
  • Mahoney, Joan. "Genome Mapping and Designer Babies: A Comparative Perspective." UMKC Law Review 79.2 (2010): 309-14. OmniFile Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson). Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
  • Moyer, Melinda W. "Infant Possibilities." Popular Science 285.2 (2014): 50-85. Health Source - Consumer Edition. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
  • O'Brien, Gerald V. "Eugenics, Genetics, and the Minority Group Model of Disabilities: Implications for Social Work Advocacy." Social Work 56.4 (2011): 347-54. Wilson OmniFile Full Text Mega Edition. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
  • Sparrow, Robert. "A Not-So-New Eugenics." Hastings Center Report 41.1 (2011): 32-42. Wilson OmniFile Full Text Select Edition. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
  • Thrasher, Adrian J., and Leonard W. Seymour. "Gene Therapy Matures in the Clinic." Nature Biotechnology 30.7 (2012): 588-93. EBSCO. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
  • Tuhus-Dubrow, Rebecca. "Designer Babies and the Pro-choice Movement.” Dissent (00123846) 54.3 (2007): 37-43. OmniFile Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson). Web. 10 Nov. 2014.

Shannon, Brook, Hannah, Naomi, & Eric