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The Dawkins Agenda: Eugenics

November 11, 2009

The Dawkins Agenda: Eugenics

Those that claim to be saving the world always have a desire to rule it.

There is always a nagging question when you listen or read Richard Dawkins diatribes against religion and that is: what does he propose as the alternative world view. Most of his followers would say that he is being selfless and only trying save us from the dreadful mistakes of the past and the chains of today. Yet that does not answer the question. What does Dawkins want? What is his vision for the future? What is his agenda? We know that he wants to cure the world of the virus of religion (his term) because it is the root of all evil (his term again). Yet he has not given any indication of how ‘good and evil’ are to be defined and why one is better than the other. So for a while we have been left with a bunch of vague fuzzy feel good pronouncements about evolution and his meaningless pseudo science of the ‘meme’.

However given enough time everyone who has a plan to save the world will eventually reveal their plan to control it. In Dawkins case one of his agenda items was revealed in letter to the ‘Sunday Herald’ in Scotland:

“IN THE 1920s and 1930s, scientists from both the political left and right would not have found the idea of designer babies particularly dangerous – though of course they would not have used that phrase. Today, I suspect that the idea is too dangerous for comfortable discussion, and my conjecture is that Adolf Hitler is responsible for the change.

Nobody wants to be caught agreeing with that monster, even in a single particular. The spectre of Hitler has led some scientists to stray from “ought” to “is” and deny that breeding for human qualities is even possible. But if you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability? Objections such as “these are not one-dimensional abilities” apply equally to cows, horses and dogs and never stopped anybody in practice.

I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler’s death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them. I can think of some answers, and they are good ones, which would probably end up persuading me. But hasn’t the time come when we should stop being frightened even to put the question?”

I quoted the entire letter so there would be no mistake or question about context.

He opens paragraph one with the prospect of designer babies and then blames Hitler for ruining the brand name of designer babies. Since he calls it a conjecture I am happy leave it at that.

However here is the real suggestion: “…But if you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability?”

This only asks whether the ability to breed humans as you would a better cow is physically possible. Note how this is, on face value, an innocent question and not much different than asking if one day it would be possible perform a brain transplant. They question makes no moral or ethical judgments either way. However we should know that this question is a set up for the next bombshell.

“I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler’s death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them.”

Some people may be ignorant of why eugenics attained its bad reputation but for those that do need a history lesson, it was the corner stone of Hitler’s New Order. He copied the policies of forced sterilization and racial hygiene from those that were being used in the USA at the time. For those that do not need a history lesson it is obvious that even 600 years would be too soon to revive the disastrous policy of eugenics (Appropriately described as a ‘War on the Weak’.)

The other problem I have is Dawkins use of the word ‘moral’ because it begs the question of: ‘Whose morals?’ Of course we would have to assume that we are using Dawkins’ moral yard stick here otherwise the whole appealing to morality special pleading falls apart. Moral difference only matter when people are talking about an agreed set of values not private ones.

Asking the difference between training and breeding does not require a medical degree to sort out. If you are breeding for any ability then you are engaging in eugenics. If you are only training then you are not.

Dawkins may well ask why training is acceptable and eugenics is not but the answer was given decades ago. World War 2 was not just a war against Hitler’s desire to invade nations it was also a war against the ideal of Eugenics. In Hitler’s Germany eugenics became a state policy and was expanded to include euthanasia. The Holocaust was the inevitable end of this eugenics policy.

For now, it seems, that we do have an insight into Richard Dawkins. His vision of the bright new future looks ominously like one we have trudged down before. Eugenics may be rejected by the world as cruel and racist but it is definitely on the Dawkins Agenda.

You have been warned.

Ref:

http://www.sundayherald.com/life/people/display.var.1031440.0.from_the_afterword.php

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