In a recent online discussion where the idea of modern eugenics was brought up, many people were against it. Since eugenics bring up correlations with the Nazis it is easy for most people to discard such ideas as wrong or unethical. It is obvious that applying eugenics is wrong.
But all obvious things are very hard to prove.
In this case, someone simply asked “Why shouldn’t we engineer a baby not being sick?” and since then, this simple question has stuck into my mind. Sure, eugenics seems obviously wrong. But why? Why shouldn’t we make better babies? Only because we have bad memories of some people who at some point in time used similar techniques to do bad?
This sounds as stupid as fearing nuclear energy because at some point the US Air Force dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan. Surely it did happen, but one has nothing to do with the other.
So why is eugenics wrong?
Why shouldn’t we eradicate disease if we can?
The argument that “eugenics will not work and will cause probably more disease” is a plausible one, but yet it is not enough. For sure eugenics are currently not so advanced that it is error-free. Editing the genome of a person could result in numerous other mutations that could in turn result in more dreadful diseases than the ones we try to eradicate. But this argument does not answer the question at hand. It simply defers the answer. What if we had a way to have a working method for eugenics and for editing genome without problems? Would we then accept eugenics as something good?
Imagining this perfect scenario where we have mastered eugenics in such a way that it can produce perfect humans with no diseases whatsoever, is the key to the answer we seek. You see, the problem of technology as Heidegger put it, is not that it does not work, but that it does.
Humans without disease.
Humans not dying.
Humans perfect in any way.
This is our dream. But we have been into that dream for so long, that we have forgotten it is a nightmare. Humans not dying, means humans enslaved into the material world were we do not belong in the first place. A cosmos without disease and pain, means a world where there are no warning signs. We might all fear pain and death, but philosophy does strongly indicate that these might not be issues after all, in a cosmos which strongly suggests that the material aspect is insignificant in front of the spiritual one that engulfs it. A world with perfect humans, is not a dream of a rational man but the hubris of an irrational psychopath looking for perfection is a world which is nothing but. A world with people not dying is no different than a world full of zombies.
In simpler words: Yes, a car might get you faster where you go. But that does not say anything whether your destination is the right one.
Eugenics is a way to build on modern materialistic dogmatism and enhance it to new unprecedented heights.
But is materialism correct as a philosophy?
Is the cosmos made of matter only?
Do you breath only because your cells do?
Do you think because your brain does?
Do you love because of chemistry?
Do you cry because of molecular interactions?
Sorry to break the news, but if your answer to the above is “Yes”, then it doesn’t even matter if eugenics works or not.
Because you are already dead.