September 10, 2020 at 11:40 pm #206533
An interesting essay on the topic hereSeptember 11, 2020 at 2:13 am #206534
What a stupid attack on Dawkins. Dawkins wasn’t advocating eugenics ( as artificial selection to produce humans with particular characteristics) but merely pointing out that this is theoretically possible. Read again what Dawkins tweeted:
”It’s one thing to deplore eugenics on ideological, political, moral grounds. It’s quite another to conclude that it wouldn’t work in practice. Of course it would. It works for cows, horses, pigs, dogs & roses. Why on earth wouldn’t it work fo
rhumans? Facts ignore ideology.”
This is not saying that eugenics should be tried but that, if it were to be, it would in theory work. I don’t think that this can be denied. Whether or not it should be tried is a quite different matter.
The author’s bid to deny that artificial selection has worked with other animals and with plants is pathetic and is indeed based on ideology not fact. The results of artificial selection are all around us, not just in domesticated animals but also in the foods we eat. In fact Darwin got the idea of natural selection to explain the evolution of species from observing how pigeon fanciers bred different types of pigeons.
Of course it “works”. He does have a point that the technique is being misused to produce shows dogs and cats but that’s a different matter.
We have our bone to pick with Dawkins over his Selfish Gene book but he is not an advocate of eugenics nor a racist (nor an islamophobe) as claimed by those who have put him on their list of speakers to be banned and shouted down.September 11, 2020 at 3:13 am #206535L.B. NeillParticipant
Eugenics! The topic might as well focus on Darwin: the survival of the fittest (used to justify the potters grave).
It is the worst form of essentialism- the greatest justification for the weak dying out. Some Capital- Darwinists use this argument often. You only need to read the forward to Jordan Peterson in Archipelago to realise this:
Okay, not the best link, as the links are subject to a variance- but if you manage to download the forward, it will cast a light on this ideology.
Dawkins is an antipode to prosocial behaviour. So he might be… ? His attitudes to the Self and its primacy over the collective is concerning.
We are not a material mime of the Platonic taken for granted world- WE are social beings. We re not reflections of other species- fighting for recourses, killing one another to ensure our social line’s survival over the other.
There will always be ‘show dogs’ in this realm.
The facts and results of any study in that field will always depend on their constructs- and best served with caution.
Eugenics and social Darwinism are best left to the rantings of Nazis and mongers bent on reducing human experience into its sedimented form (a mirror only reflecting their own image).
I have no idea where my own rant came from- only a very concerning feeling (both rational and irrational) with any mention of Eugenics and its bastard brother, Darwin.
Forgive me that,
September 11, 2020 at 9:00 am #206537
- This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by L.B. Neill.
I don’t think Dawkins can be branded as a Social Darwinist (Darwin couldn’t be either) any more than as a eugenist and racist like that idiot Podur does.
The objection to him is that he gave credence to biological determinism as the view that human behaviour is to a large extent determined by human biology. The title of his book of “The Selfish Gene” does this as it gives the impression that there is a gene for selfishness. In fact he argued that the basic unit of biological evolution is the gene rather than, say, a group — an argument for experts in the field to settle for themselves on the basis of the facts. We can just note that in every book he published since that one Dawkins has backtracked on his original claim so as to take account of other influences on biological evolution.
In politics he is not a rabid rightwinger but a wishy-washy middle of the road liberal.
As for Darwin, the “survival of the fittest” does not mean the survival of the strongest in the day to day struggle to survive but the survival in the long run of those with biological characteristics that are the best for surviving in the environment that a group of life-forms finds itself in.
Social (or rather Anti-Social) “Darwinism” has nothing to do with Darwin but was an ideology concocted in the last decades of the 19th century to defend those capitalists who emerge the most successfully from the economic competition amongst them to make the most profits.September 11, 2020 at 9:41 am #206539
To clarify fuller he further tweets, two timesFor those determined to miss the point, I deplore the idea of a eugenic policy. I simply said deploring it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. Just as we breed cows to yield more milk, we could breed humans to run faster or jump higher. But heaven forbid that we should do it.A eugenic policy would be bad. I’m combating the illogical step from “X would be bad” to “So X is impossible”. It would work in the same sense as it works for cows. Let’s fight it on moral grounds. Deny obvious scientific facts & we lose – or at best derail – the argument.September 11, 2020 at 11:21 am #206542Bijou DrainsParticipant
Whilst Dawkins is technically correct, the difference between the “artificial” selection that humans have undertaken with plants and animals and doing the same thing with humans is the reproductive rate.
In plants reproduction is usually yearly, however the large number of seeds, tubers, etc produced each year means that one plant can reproduce potentially thousands of offspring in one year from which to select the most suitable, and it is quite quickly apparent which are the most suitable to select.
In animals cows usually start reproducing after 2 years and can have up to about 20 calves in their lifetime, but it’s usually about 7-10 produced over a 7-10 year period. In cats, dogs, etc. reproduction and maturity is much quicker. So in effect selection for particular characteristics can take place relatively quickly. However dogs and cattle have taken centuries of selective breeding to get to the point achieved today.
In humans, if we say that reproduction starts at about 16 and reproduction numbers are likely far fewer that cows, for example. Also it takes much longer for the characteristics (if you believe in this type of thing) to become apparent, so it would potentially take much longer, for instance at what age do you decide who the fastest runner is, some sprinters peak in their mid 20s, whilst middle distance and long distance runners peak much later, the same could be said for intelligence (again is you believe in such things)
So again to start to get any really differences emerging, you would probably have to wait at least 25 years and to confirm even a sight modification would take 50 years, with no guarantee. (For example Kenny Dalglish’s son Paul played for Newcastle for a few years. He looked like Kenny, he spoke like Kenny, he ran like Kenny, he even had his tongue hanging out of his mouth when playing, just like Kenny, however unlike Kenny, he was rubbish at football)September 11, 2020 at 9:54 pm #206547L.B. NeillParticipant
I understand. My last post was emotive. It formed a binary division into pro/anti social criterion. Too simplified- and humans are too messy to be dropped into such criteria.
Dawkins is not anti-social…
You see any talk of Eugenics can prompt emotive reactions. Best to be more considered (note to self!) in responding. 19th Century Social Darwinism is best challenged in its small ‘d’ Darwinism- otherwise I would run the risk of sounding anti-science.
Science, and it ethical usage is a complexity- complicated more so by political narratives regulating it… what a mind-field!
🙂September 12, 2020 at 8:25 am #206555
If we want to go down that road a much quicker way would be gene therapy in which a person’s genes are altered to remove some manifest defect. I know this raises ethical problems too eg over what is a “defect”. But I don’t think that anybody would deny, would they, that the genetically-inherited condition Huntington’s Disease, with the horrible fate that awaits those who are going to get it, is something that should be eliminated?September 14, 2020 at 11:10 pm #206589September 15, 2020 at 9:13 am #206594LBirdParticipant
There is no separation of ‘is’ and ‘ought’.
That belief, in a separation, is a part of bourgeois ideology, to buttress bourgeois ‘science’.
This applies to all ‘science’, and obviously ‘eugenics’. There is no ‘good’ (‘objective’) or ‘bad’ (‘morally objectionable’) eugenics. We humans determine.
Any ‘is’ is premised upon an ‘ought’ – that’s what Marx’s method of ‘theory and practice’ is all about.
To argue for an ‘is’, is to argue that there is an ‘unchangeable’ – which is the polar opposite of Marx’s social productionism.
If we don’t create our ‘ises’, based upon our ‘oughts’, someone else will – an elite, who claim to be the ‘educators’.September 15, 2020 at 2:49 pm #206596Bijou DrainsParticipant
I wonder if it is genetically possible to alter certain species of Birds?
😉September 15, 2020 at 3:00 pm #206597
It ought to be.September 15, 2020 at 4:19 pm #206598Matthew CulbertKeymaster
Is this bird a genetically ‘elite’ species?
There will be no elites, classes, scientific, bureaucratic or otherwise in socialism, as any specialist delegates will be subject to instant recall.
How could it be otherwise in the classless society?
But we will need specialist interrogation of the pros and antis of any scientific studies. Adam’s point about,
If we want to go down that road a much quicker way would be gene therapy in which a person’s genes are altered to remove some manifest defect. I know this raises ethical problems too eg over what is a “defect”. But I don’t think that anybody would deny, would they, that the genetically-inherited condition Huntington’s Disease, with the horrible fate that awaits those who are going to get it, is something that should be eliminated? (My emphasis)
As he says, it raises ‘ethical’ questions and these would be requiring society as a whole to make the decisions, as to whether such a thing should be implemented.
Birds are a different thing altogether, with their alarmist twittering hardwired, it is prudent to be heedful of them.September 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm #206599LBirdParticipant
Matthew Culbert wrote “As he says, it raises ‘ethical’ questions and these would be requiring society as a whole to make the decisions, as to whether such a thing should be implemented.”
Yes, as you argue, any ‘truth’ or ‘reality’ or ‘objectivity’ or ‘fact’ “raises ‘ethical’ questions and these would be requiring society as a whole to make the decisions, as to whether such a thing should be implemented”.
You seem to agree with Marx’s political analysis, Matthew, except for one slip of the typing finger, perhaps.
The ‘material’ can only be determined democratically. ‘Matter’ would be subject to a vote.
The 18th century ‘materialists’, like Lenin, are determined to divide society into two, an elite of ‘educators’ (who claim to already know the ‘material’, before it has been socially produced, and so can ‘educate’ the masses), and a mass of ‘educated’, who must obey the opinions of your ‘specialist interrogators’.
Only society as a whole employing democratic methods can determine ‘science’. Any ‘specialist interrogators’ will be elected, and if their opinions don’t fit with the opinions of the mass of society, they will be democratically replaced.
We cannot allow ‘specialist’ educators. Socialism is the self-education of the whole of society.September 16, 2020 at 8:34 pm #206616rodshawParticipant
“We cannot allow ‘specialist’ educators. Socialism is the self-education of the whole of society.”
Indeed, the more you know, the more sceptical you can be about other’s views or the information they give you. But we’re never all going to know the same things. We’re not telepathic. We can’t absorb information by osmosis. There would have to be ways for people with more knowledge in a certain field to be able to make it available to others. Of course, it would then be up to the others to decide whether they accepted it or not. But why wouldn’t they? And how would they know any different?
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