Eugenics Is Alive and Well
Eugenics is Alive and Well
by Jerry Bergman, PhD
Steve Fuller is the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology at the University of Warwick . He appeared in the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed arguing for the scientific status of intelligent design. As Professor Fuller wrote in his new article at The Conversation, “Eugenics has been science’s toxic brand since the end of World War II.” He documents the fact that the claim ‘eugenics is dead’ is false. It just comes under a new label:
Historically, eugenics was primarily embraced as part of a “progressive” political agenda across the world – not only in regions under Western imperial rule. As the excellent Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics demonstrates, Mexico, Iran and China have been among the most enthusiastic eugenically oriented nations without any trace of white supremacist ideology.
Eugenics is now called by other names, such as “designer babies” or “gene editing,” although it is more accurately called selective abortion. The fact is, the ‘new genetics’ is now very popular in the West. The goal of this new genetics is to help mankind achieve human perfection, not by killing inferior races or people as the Nazis did, but by ‘de-selection,’ which translates into killing those persons judged inferior before they are even born.
For example, as a result of the rise of prenatal screening across Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased, but few countries have, as of yet, come as close to eradicating Down syndrome and other birth defects as Iceland. Since Iceland introduced prenatal screening tests in the early 2000s, close to 100 percent of women who received a positive test for Down syndrome have terminated their pregnancy. The United States is not very far behind. From 1995 to 2011 the termination rate by abortion for Down syndrome children was around 67 percent, and in 2015 in France it was 77 percent, and Denmark 98 percent. The problem is, most prenatal screening tests for Down syndrome are imperfect and a certain percent of those aborted, estimated at close to 20%, are normal. These figures most hospitals will not release for obvious reasons.
As someone who has worked with Down Syndrome children, I know they are, by and large, very delightful children and adults. A friend who has a Down Syndrome child told me this child has blessed her far more than her other three children. The others moved away and married, her husband, a Jew, died from injuries he sustained as a young child in the Holocaust. In contrast, her Down Syndrome child, who is developmentally about age 12, is still with her in her middle 90’s and is the joy of her life now, and has been for decades.
The Problem is Worse Now
Nearly 2,300 abortions of fetuses with mental and physical disabilities were carried out in the UK alone in 2010, showing it is far too easy to again be seduced down the Nazi route. The Nazi Holocaust began with killing children and adults, first those persons with severe deformities, then those with lesser deformities and, last, killing the healthy members of the so-called inferior races such as Jews, Slavs, and Romani.
Professor Graeme Donald wrote “Charles Darwin (1809-1882) could never have foreseen the long-term ramifications of his published works.” He added that, in the long term, the effects of Darwinism were devastating: “‘Survival of the fittest’, a phrase attributed to Darwin, was later used by tyrannical elements for justification of, among other oppressive policies, the new ‘science’ of eugenics.” This eugenics idea was based on Darwin’s work, and that of his cousin, Francis Galton (1822-1911). Galton openly used Darwin’s work as the basis for eugenics, a field he founded, which
advocated controlled breeding in an attempt to increase the chances of desirable characteristics in offspring. Like many intellectuals, Darwin spoke before considering the repercussions. In his The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1882) he mused on how medical and scientific advances had meant that the weaker and less productive of our species were artificially propped up to allow them to survive and breed; a harsher environment would naturally cull such parasites.
Professor Donald asks the most important question: “who will decide who lives and dies, and who will set the criteria? Those who believe they are qualified to make such decisions should first watch the footage of the Holocaust as they disposed of the millions they considered genetic trash.” Remember, Donald reminds us, their abhorrent crimes were carried out a mere seventy-five years ago on European soil in the most educated nation on earth then. The eugenicists had a very noble goal in mind, just as do their modern counterparts. They wanted a big government, and to turn science into a vehicle to make the state’s role not merely as a protector of the peace, but as a promoter of the people’s welfare. And what better way was there to do this than insure that every person in the land they ruled was mentally and physically healthy?
Professor Fuller ended his article by reminding us that we still must deal with “many of the great moral questions that have dogged the field, not least is what counts as ‘progressive’ and ‘regressive,’” such as is the risk level that “individuals should be allowed to bear, given the overall social impact of their decisions. But make no mistake, we are still very much within the general world-view that Galton first charted a century and a half ago.” History tends to repeat itself, and some feel, in spite of our good intentions, we are on the same road the Nazis were on a century ago.
 Graeme Donald. 2012. When the Earth Was Flat. All the Bits of Science We Got Wrong. London. Michael O’Mara Books. p. 57.
 Graeme. p. 57.
 Donald, p. 38.
 Donald, p. 38.
Dr Jerry Bergman, professor, author and speaker, is a frequent contributor to Creation-Evolution Headlines. See his Author Profile for his previous articles.