Tag Archives: disease

The Future of Modifying our Genes to Improve our Health

I agree with Christine Rosen’s 2005 op-ed that the stem-cell debate and the eugenics debate are parrallel issues. Of course, I disagree with Rosen about the conslusions of this. In the debate between health and sentimentalities, and support the former. She goes for the latter.

Christine Rosen on Eugenics and Stem-Cell Research on National Review Online
Praise for the forward march of science; progressive and liberal leaders championing new scientific techniques that promise to cure disease, eradicate illness and suffering, and advance the progress of the human race; elite institutions of higher education embarking on their own initiatives, training students, and supporting researchers in the new science; California’s self-described progressive citizenry passing a law granting state funding and support to the cause, with other states preparing to follow suit; the intellectual elite of the country decrying the obstructionist, anti-modern views of the people who oppose or publicly challenge the underlying ethical rationale of the new science.

   This might sound like our contemporary debate over embryonic stem cells, but it’s actually an apt description of the eugenics movement in the United States in the early 20th century. Eugenics, a term coined by British scientist Francis Galton in 1883, was the movement to “improve the human race through better breeding,” and in the first few decades of the early 20th century in the United States it found a ready and eager audience. California and many other states passed compulsory eugenic sterilization laws that led to the sterilization of tens of thousands of Americans. Congress passed an Immigration Restriction Act in 1924 based on the testimony of eugenicists and fears about the fitness of new immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. And the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1927, upheld the sterilization of a supposedly “feebleminded” woman as constitutional, with progressive Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. declaring, “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Underwritten by the wealth of some of the country’s most prestigious families, such as the Carnegies and the Harrimans, eugenics was something every enlightened American believed in, since the movement promised to end needless suffering, increase economic prospects by alleviating the burden placed on the state by the feebleminded and their many illnesses, and generally improve health and well-being for all citizens. Eugenics was the future.

Although there are vast differences between the eugenics movement of the past and the stem-cell research of the present, there is an eerie similarity to their rhetoric and tactics. Like eugenics, promoters of embryonic-stem-cell research talk of its endless promise, declaring it the scientific “path to the future,” as two state senators from Massachusetts wrote in a recent opinion piece. Embryonic-stem-cell promoters claim that their science will lead to cures for a range of diseases and the alleviation of much human suffering. And they denounce those who question the ethics of their pursuit as backward or blindly religious. But as we continue to debate the ethics of embryonic-stem-cell research, it is worth recalling that movements waged in the name of scientific progress often leave a troubled legacy.

Three recent stories can be connected, I think, to look ahead a few years to the future…

Imagine if we could knock out genes that regulate the body in such a way that it would reduce a criminal’s propensity to rape, murder, theft, burglary, financial embezzlement, or other anti-social behaviors. It would be merciful, and (if such therapy was heritable) would pay off for future generations, as well.

Thankfully, our current President is doing more to usher in an age of eugenetical therapies than any other American, in at least a century.

HIV AIDS Case by Exposure Category, SD & USA

South Dakota HIV/AIDS: Mid Year Surveillance Report,” South Dakota Department of Health, July 2005, pg 3.

Internet, meth double HIV rate in S. Dakota,” by Corrine Olson, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 16 July 2005, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050716/NEWS/507160318/1001.
HIV is increasing in South Dakota, the Internet?

 

 

Intravenous use of methamphetamine and people hooking up with anonymous sex partners on the Internet have doubled the HIV rate in South Dakota, worrying health officials.

 

 

If the Argus is blaming an electronic communication medium, why they don’t blame roads, a physical communication medium, is beyond me.

 

 

Kightlinger said some people also view the disease as one that infects only gay people. Since 2002 in South Dakota, 37 percent of cases have been from heterosexual contact, primarily women exposed by a partner.

Cheryl O’Brien, the Sioux Falls School District’s coordinator for high school curriculum, said the district is trying to educate young people about the dangers of the virus and how to avoid contracting HIV and AIDS.

 

 

Well, as homosexualism and illegal needle drugs together account for 65% of HIV/AIDS cases in South Dakota, and 75% naturally, avoiding just two activities would cause the infection rate to plunge…

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We can effectively end injection drug use as a vector for HIV / AIDS by ending the drug war.

 

Anyway, just remember: there are no innocent victims of homosexualism

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