Alright, now… Hmmm, how to start this one? Eugenics. Hitler. Parenthood. Human-race-betterment.
Darwin. Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday was recently celebrated by some of us. His theories on evolution are widely accepted, but in some parts of the world highly controversial. Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton built upon his cousin’s book “Origin of species” and formed the basis of “eugenics”. Most of us here in the coastal, more cosmopolitan centres tend to agree with the basic principals that Darwin has laid out. We may still deep-down wish to believe in a higher being (God or pantheon; whatever you want to call it), but somehow manage to bend this want or need to include evolutionary thought. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is great! Whatever floats your ark! Black and white, or shades of grey, or even a multi-hued rainbow of god-theories, all mish-mashed together with theories of dinosaurs, extinction and primordial ooze. We’ve all had our own thoughts.
Here’s where I get off.
I agree that all animals on the planet are connected. I agree in the evolutionary process. I cannot discount the possibility of a cosmic purpose or deus. My reason for starting this paper goes beyond that.
Let me put this to you, human evolution and science as two opposing forces, divided by purpose. Normal evolution of the human species, without science, would produce strong, able offspring with minimal hindrances to normal life (however, I have no scientific proof to this
To keep things brief (and my mind focussed!), let me talk about one subject. Glasses. In the early 1960s there was an adage “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses”. What this meant was “Men would prefer mating with females whose eyesight was not handicapped.” A quick aside - personally I get off lookin’ at some “glasses-wearin’ teacher cos-play” stuff!
Let’s go back in history. Way back. “Goog” and “Oog” are stone-age guys. Twins. They both grow up together and reach adult-hood. One day Groog and Oog go hunting. They each take three pointed sticks and go off to hunt wild pig. Groog’s eyesight sucks! Oog has wonderful eyesight! Remember: there are no ophthalmologists at this point in history. Two wild pigs come out from the underbrush and rush through where Oog and Groog lie ambushed. Oog spears his soon-to be-dinner square in the chest and manages to kill it clean, with one spear! Groog misses the throat and the blow glances off enraging the pig! The Pig turns, wounded and pissed! Groog realizes his mistake, grabs spear #2 and sets for the next charge! The pig attacks, Groog misses again and this time is gored by the pig in his gut. Bleeding, Groog grabs spear #3 and finally manages to off the wounded, angry pig. The twins bring back their prizes to the tribe and are greeted with hooplah and much merriment! Three weeks later, Groog’s wound has festered, and without any real “science”, he dies. The moral of the story? “Groog with bad eyesight dies because of it!”
Yeah, all of you out there can poke holes in this! There are a million stories like this and nine-hundred-ninety-nine-thousand going in “Groog’s” favour. Fluke! Bring Groog into the 20th century, and we see him shopping for his pork at Safeway (the name actually implies he’ll come home from the hunt un-scathed!) There are gazillions of ways that science has changed our (my) society for the better. And I wouldn’t unchange all of them. The eradication of Polio, the ability to control Black-plague, the internal combustion engine (one of my faves!) and countless other benefits are all great!
But now as the human species runs out of everything; space, food, “things to get a PHD for”, oil etc we turn our science to saving the “unsavable”. We do this before asking if we should. Will someone cure Down’s syndrome? How about the measles? The common cold? What ever happened to attrition? Can we honestly say that every life is a life worth saving? (ok. Nobody mention Steven Hawking!) It’s not easy to draw lines in the sand: who deserves what, etc.
All I can ask is that everyone think a little bit before inventing a new Botox. We are not all beautiful (healthy) for a reason! Rich old men should marry and breed with gorgeous young models! Ugly (inner-beauty included) people should die lonely spinsters!
No more feeling sorry for those weaker than ourselves. If someone goes into shock and dies after eating a peanut, GOOD! Less likelihood that they’ll breed and have three children who grow up with some new antibiotic resistant peanut-allergy! What if someone who grows up needing a heart transplant, gets one, has three children all needing the same? Is it OK for science to start growing new hearts? It is for reasons like this I am not an organ-donor. I don’t want any of me used to help “dumb-down” our genetics.
Here’s a question I will pose to you. If you marry someone, find that you and your spouse are unable to conceive naturally. Do you adopt, or do you use science to “do the dirty work for you”? There are now many scientific ways of helping with this. Surrogate mothers, Invitro-fertilization and fertility drugs.
I have had many such conversations with my wife. We have a fine young son, healthy and strong and (so far) no signs of any syndrome requiring a specialist. She has told me that if we couldn’t conceive normally, she would seek out scientific help (her reasoning is that she wants my genes to continue. Bleah!) Me, I would prefer the adoption route. There are millions of kids who could benefit from having a stable family.
Next question. If your spouse, years after you marry, shows you pictures of her pre-teen years. She has coke-bottle glasses, braces on her teeth, and crutches because of her scoliosis. Her dad spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with orthodontists, laser eye surgery, and specialist surgery on her spine. Oh, yeah and she’s pregnant with twins. It is extremely early in the pregnancy, but one of the foetuses has been diagnosed with Spina-bifida but the other one is perfectly healthy. What do you do? Abort both? Get a divorce so her father can continue to pay for her genetic faults? Buck up and do your best… do with what “God has given”?
I guess my main questions are: When is it right for science to take control? When do we take the control back? It’s good to ponder all the benefits to the human situation that science has achieved. We’d probably all die without our refrigerators, electricity, and Oilfields. But there are things that we could do without. Heart-transplants, Cancer-cures (I hear everyone ready to pounce on that one! Sorry, I believe in attrition.), boob-jobs and Orthodontics.
Just think before you marry, settle down, breed or just ogle that hottie for a second. “Will this be good for me and my species?”
And now the punch line… I, myself am a child of science-manipulation. So is my son. We are both Caesarean-section children! Without a fully-equipped hospital, we’d both be dead.
Thank you! Thank you. Please tip your waitress well! I’m here all week, try the veal!