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Procreative Altruism: Lebensborn Re-imagined

*subhead*Himmler would have loved this.*subhead*
You remember Julian Savulescu, the Oxford "ethicist" who is telling parents that we are morally obligated to choose the child among many "possible children" that is determined by genetic testing to have the "best life." He wants us all to use IVF, whether we are infertile or not apparently, to create a batch of embryos and choose the best of the bunch based simply on their genetics. I have discussed Savulescu's wrong-headed, scientifically-suspect notion of "procreative beneficence" already.

Of course, in our "right is wrong," "wrong is right," "wait...there is no such thing as wrong anymore" culture, Savulescu won't be outdone in his race to CrazyTown. Some other Oxford "ethicists" want to take it one step further. (I am telling you, something wicked this way comes...out of Oxford.) Thomas Douglas and Katrien Devolder argue that parents should consider not just choosing the child that has the possibility of the "best life," but also the one that will be genetically better for the rest of society. They call their principle "Procreative Altruism."

Douglas and Devolder give the example of Liza and Paul. As embryos, Liza and Paul have been been given the genetic work up that their parents are "morally obligated" to perform. (Gattaca anyone?) Paul has been found to be a "free-rider," a person "more likely than average to violate socially beneficial norms of cooperation whenever doing so is to their own advantage." Liza is not.

Being a "free-rider" is better for Paul since he will more easily engage in unethical behavior that benefits himself. Savulescu's "procreative beneficence" would dictate that parents choose him. But Liza is a better choice for the rest of society and so "procreative altruism" dictates that the parents choose her. The authors explain:
Since Liza’s existence can be expected to contribute more to the well-being of others than Paul’s, Procreative Altruism will imply that parents have significant moral reason to select Liza rather than Paul.
Yes, of course. How could we not have seen this before? It is more moral to give Liza a chance to finish her life and toss Paul in the trash than vice versa. How could we knuckle-draggers have been so ignorant?

The authors conclude:
If couples (or single reproducers) have decided to have a child, and selection is possible, they have significant moral reason to select a child whose existence can be expected to contribute more to (or detract less from) the well-being of others than any alternative child they could have.
This qualifies as ethics these days: advocate creating batches of embryos, pretend these are only "potential" offspring not actual living human organisms, then tell parents it is "moral" to pick the genetic best and toss the rest. All to better society.

Wait...I think I have heard this before, just less high-tech. Yes, I remember. Lebensborn. Lebensborn was a program started by Nazi mastermind Heinrich Himmler to create and foster genetically pure German children for the betterment of German society. Lebensborn is purported to mean “fountain of life" or some such. Himmler may have liked "procreative altruism" better if he had thought of it.

I wonder if academics like Savulescu, Douglas and Devolder can actually hear what they sound like. Do they know they are channeling some of the most insidious voices in history?

I actually believe they do know. They just think this time eugenics can be different, better. They think they can control it from their Ivory Towers. It is up to the rest of us knuckle-draggers to know better.

Rebecca Taylor blogs at Mary Meets Dolly

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14 comments:

Steve T. said...

In other words, they want to breed a race of willing slaves.

Steve T. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jericho said...

The Nazis actually on the war. It just took until now.

Sadly, there are no allies left to fight them.

Sherry Antonetti said...

Knuckle draggers are better in a fight. Just saying...

Anneg said...

Ethicists! The Church was the only reliable source of medical ethics, one of the things that led me to Her. It will take 2 generations to defeat this.

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Hiya folks. I'm glad Mrs. Taylor decided to mention this.

I think they're quite close to being able to do these things--I would say, if they are not stopped, it will probably happen within a decade.

I posted some links here on why:
http://catholicscience.com/deepsoftime/2013/07/18/neptunes-newest-moon/#comment-1495

You can also read this 2008 post by someone who is a *skeptic* of how important this will be, who gives ten to fifteen years as his time frame to "imagine" it happening. That means now, the time frame is five to ten years.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/10/which-baby-do-you-want-a-dilemma-for-21st-century-parents-to-be/

I think he's wrong to downplay how commonly this might be used. People pay thousands to send their kids to the best colleges, so why wouldn't they pay thousands to boost their IQ if that is available?

But this can be stopped now, I think: the key is to make such a racket that the scientists decide to shut down studies linking IQ to genetics. Without that information no one can do embryo selection to improve it.

If we fail to at stopping these studies, then many IVF clinics will soon be able to select embryos. The only way to stop it would probably be to ban all IVF. And that is pretty hard.

As a first step, I think concerned people should contact every one of the authors of this study here:

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/340/6139/1467.abstract

We should ask them to stop publishing dangerous research. Since there are, I don't know, a hundred authors, even that is a pretty tall order. Definitely beyond my individual ability. But I will be contacting at least a few of them and posting something about it on my blog sometime this year. I would also be very interested if anybody wants to coordinate on this. I can be reached via my blog:

http://humanpetition.blogspot.it/

Nick D said...

This reminds me of what Krypton was doing in Man of Steel (the new Superman movie.) They were artificially crafting new Kryptonians designed for a specific job in thei society. Superman (as we know him) was very scandalous in tha he was the first "natural" child in a looooong time. And you know wha happened to their planet? It was destroyed. Don't let fiction become reality!

Donna M said...

This ideology has "never" gone away! There has always been a self centered, self serving, and self absorbed, elitist mentality class of people. Notice that these people that promote this, never apply the same standards to themselves. It never applies to them and their cohorts. They claim a fictional, irrational exemption.
Let me bring these people down to earth. They always forget one standard that truly applies "equally" to all members of the human race. The inevitability of one's own death. Can't tell how many have finally met it, so unprepared, up to the end in denial, not believing it is happening. Way beyond pathetic!

Jason Trommetter said...

Huxley wasn't too far off when he predicted things like this would happen.

Mary De Voe said...

Thomas Douglas and Katrien Devolder argue that parents should consider not just choosing the child that has the possibility of the "best life," but also the one that will be genetically better for the rest of society. They call their principle "Procreative Altruism." Every begotten human person is “procreative Altruism”. The newly begotten brings perfect legal and moral innocence and virginity into the community. Their innocence is the standard of Justice, the virtue of Justice. Douglas and Devolder profess that community may be had without Justice or the virtue of Justice and this is simply untrue.
When man and woman consummate the marital act, their bodies produce happiness hormones, joy juice, vital vitamins. These profound changes in the bodies of both the father and the mother cause the sperm and the egg to want to unite, bring forth new life and grow. Douglas and Devolder do not profess the acknowledgment of God, the Creator of the rational, immortal human soul, nor do they profess that the human soul is the form of the body, intellect and genius. Instead, Douglas and Devolder, promise to bring forth genius without acknowledging the human being’s rational soul. Genius, abstract thought, intellect and free will are the working of the rational human soul. Douglas and Devolder are the antithesis of any progress in procreating genius. Any stillborn, miscarried or deformed individual human persons are the parents’ fault and will be discarded. This from Oxford at England where Stephen Hawkings’ genius is purveying the universe. So many miscarried, stillborn and deformed calves caused the cattlemen to abandon this venue for producing super cows. Nope, no super IQs in Douglas and Devolder. I personally have found that bringing the unborn and new born to Mass has indeed increased the children’s ability to think abstractly in the metaphysical realm of which Douglas and Devolder deny. Besides if anyone is dumb enough to believe that they can bring forth altruism without sacrifice I have a bridge in Brooklyn they need to buy.

Marcy said...

I just find this whole topic extremely frightening for our children and society. Our culture has devalued human life already to the point where people can hardly see how horrible this really is. Recently I was reading Al Kresta's "Dangers to Faith" http://j.mp/OSVKrestaDTF which is about what our culture teaches that damages the faith of Catholics. One of those things is the "belief" that science can explain everything and that faith in God is a fallacy. In this case, science not just trumps God, but it puts our society and our children in danger with this "Procreative Altruism." It is common sense that when "pure bred" dogs aren't as healthy as "mutts," and that a variety of people make life interesting, adaptable and joyfilled, that "purifying" our offspring is not good for society. It is my hope that "regular people" will break out of the fog they are in and recognize that this is just plain wrong, unlike the "ethicists" who are willing to murder the young who don't "fit" the profile of a quality person. The elites will continue to push eugenics, like they did in the 1920's & 1930's, and apparently kept the "faith" secretly for decades. If all this comes to pass our only hope is that the awfulness will come out, like what happened in Germany in WWII. But apparently there will always be people who think they are superior and want to stamp out the "unfit."

Mary De Voe said...

The male seed is forced into the human egg. There is no warmth and interplay as in natural fertilization. There is only force, manipulation and utilitarian genetic engineering. The sovereign person’s first experience of human life as a living human being is in a cold test tube, being forced to generate, to come into being. Without the love and care of a warm womb, happy hormones, the joy of life and commitment through a consummated marital act, this individual will have known only utilitarian manipulation and force, violent force. Yes. The newly engineered being will become a slave master, for this is all he has known. Douglas and Devolder will produce a slave race, US.

Gail Finke said...

All moral questions aside, this is stupid biologically. No one ever knows what genes will make a particular person successful in his/her particular life and circumstances, much less what genes are generally needed in the gene pool. Genetic variety helps human beings to flourish, the eugenics people never see that simple fact.

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