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Is the practice of eugenics ethical? Show more Show less
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It is difficult to disconnect the 20th century's unethical genetic practices from any modern discussion of eugenics. This history makes many people uncomfortable with the idea of genetic engineering. Since then, scientific practices have become far more ethical. Do modern eugenics overshadow the unethical past? Will the practice of eugenics always be unethical?

Eugenics is ethical Show more Show less

Eugenics improves biological fitness by enhancing the quality of genetic populations and increasing the chances of desirable human traits. The practice also reduces the likelihood of inheritable diseases and abnormalities.
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Eugenics is ethical when it is controlled by the individual

When decided by groups of people, eugenics used to single out and abuse others. If a patient or parent decides to use genetic engineering to change one person, it is ethical.

The Argument

When decided by an individual, eugenics is an ethical practice. In the past, eugenics was seen as unethical because groups of people were discriminated against in the name of science. If an individual decides to undergo a genetic treatment, it is clearly ethical since it is by that person’s choice. People should be allowed to improve their health through gene therapy as they see fit. [1] Additionally, parents should be allowed to decide the genetic makeup of their children in order to ensure a healthier lifestyle for the child. When a child is in the womb, the parents have authority over the child and their health. These decisions may include altering their child’s genetic code in order to prevent the child from inheriting or transmitting genetic disease. If the parents are well informed and choose this for the health of their child, their practice of eugenics is ethical. [2]

Counter arguments

It is unethical for parents to intervene with nature and change their child's features. Parents could abuse eugenics by using it for more than health purposes. This can lead to physical enhancements and appearance alterations based upon the preference of the parents. This can be influenced by negative motivations such as conformity with society. Widespread conformity such as this can be abused and lead to discrimination of those that are not designer babies. [2]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Only the patient should have the final say in decisions concerning their personal health. [P2] Eugenics through means such as gene therapy can improve a person's health. [P3] If the patient freely decides to undergo eugenic practices, it is ethical.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/gene-therapy/about/pac-20384619#:~:text=Gene%20therapy%20replaces%20a%20faulty,%2C%20diabetes%2C%20hemophilia%20and%20AIDS.
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1129063/

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 18 Aug 2020 at 13:37 UTC

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