Eugenics and Prejudice

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of eugenics. The idea seems fairly reasonable: select people with superior features, thus enabling humankind to advance into “superhuman.” In the process, ones with lesser qualities would be discouraged from reproducing, but individual sacrifices are surely justifiable in the name of advancing the human species. The term eugenics emerged when the idea of evolution and natural selection started to garner attention, and the idea propagated with cursory application of the theory. Eugenics was promoted by the governments of countries in Western Europe, allowing groups of people with unfit qualities to be segregated, sterilized, or even exterminated. Now, this idea has lost its popularity mainly due to ethical concerns. However, there are real dangers to narrowing the gene pool for the said purpose.

The concept of superiority is vulnerable to prejudices of people who are making the decision. During Middle Ages in Europe, most important, and thus arguably superior, feature of an individual was piety. Around the same time, the most important feature of an individual in Korean society was decency. Some cultures might promote bravery, while other cultures promote obedience. In current society, people from early on are raised to believe that intelligence is an important feature of becoming a successful individual. However it is also possible that due to unforeseen catastrophic events, their ability to compute mathematical problems or correctly quantify strength of materials would become irrelevant, and the most important traits may become finding edibles or running away fast enough from predators.

People are often blinded by the society they are raised in, and fail to realize their limitation in making decisions for the future. Scientific theories have helped to advance our understanding of the nature and to produce feasible benefits in numerous areas including the field of medicine and agriculture, but we must remind ourselves that it is up to us to use them wisely and that we are the ones bearing the consequences.

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One thought on “Eugenics and Prejudice

  1. Very interesting……How does culture shape our adaptation and evolution? Something really interesting to discuss! “Some cultures might promote bravery, while other cultures promote obedience. In current society, people from early on are raised to believe that intelligence is an important feature of becoming a successful individual. However it is also possible that due to unforeseen catastrophic events, their ability to compute mathematical problems or correctly quantify strength of materials would become irrelevant, and the most important traits may become finding edibles or running away fast enough from predators.”

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