Thursday, March 17, 2011

"A man without ethics..." a wild beast loosed upon this world" so said Albert Camus. And although this Oxford doctor has the label of "ethicist", his ideas seem quite beastly to me. From The Christian Institute (H/T Catholic & Enjoying It!):

"Human embryos should be screened for their potential intelligence and only the smartest allowed to live, an Oxford University ethicist has argued.

In shocking remarks, Prof Julian Savulescu says embryos that do not pass the intelligence test should be destroyed for the good of society.

The Australian Professor is the Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and claims that it is our “moral obligation” to use IVF to choose the most intelligent embryos.
Prof Savulescu said: “There are other ethical principles which should govern reproduction, such as the public interest.
“Even if an individual might have a stunningly good life as a psychopath, there might be reasons based on the public interest not to bring that individual into existence.

“My own view is that the economic and social benefits of higher cognition are reasons in favour of selection, but secondary to the benefits to the individual.

...  Prof Neil Levy, Deputy Research Director of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, warned that investing in designer babies would be “an enormous waste of money”.

He added: “Why spend all that money when we could be doing so much with that money to increase the IQs and life spans of babies in sub-Saharan Africa?

“The pay-off in terms of raising quality of life for many people would be much greater than you’d get from concentrating on just a few.”

Sigh, designer babies, indeed. Pretty soon they'll want to screen to get rid of near-sightedness, as Erin commented once. Which is a shame, since I do believe glasses are so cute. 


Anonymous said...

Before you posted this, you might have checked the source. If you had, you would have found that the Christian Institute simply made up most of the claims it attributed to Savulescu. Did someone say ethics?

Alisha De Freitas said...

Wow, Anon, snarky much? Can you provide me a reputable source with rebuttal? I won't have a problem posting it... By the way, this is a blog, and I'm simply posting someone else's story. Now I took my share of journalism classes in college, but this isn't an AP news site and should not be viewed as such.

However I'd love for you to provide a link to a story you'd find more credible, since it would be nice to read different POVs.

Joseph Flemming said...

Anon, please provide a link, @Alisha, love the blog..don't let the haters get to you. =)

Marc Koellhoffer said...

This is especially appalling to me since the classes I teach just finished a unit on the Holocaust. Do we never learn?
On an unrelated note, high IQ does not equal a good person in society. That's the age old nature vs. nurture question. Heroes and villains are made, not born, in my humble opinion. God help us all if it ever comes to anything remotely resembling this.
~"Mr. K"

Mary said...

Until Anon substantiates their criticism, it remains mere opinion.

I agree with Marc. This is chillingly Third Reich and it's hubris to imagine that we can foresee who will or won't be a psychopath.

Alisha De Freitas said...

@Marc & Mary, yes, I thought immediately of Nazi Germany when I read this story. What's so troubling is the ever-growing acceptance of this philosophy. I honestly feel like I am experiencing a taste of this in my treatment by the hospital staff regarding Z. There are many who feel the most humane thing society can (and SHOULD) do for disabled or mentally challenged people is to ensure they are never born.

Jenny said...

Alisha, I agree with you about Anon. It probably just had a bad day. I do however have a question. Isn't it possible to have a less inteligent person have a child that is very inteligent. I'm just thinking of generations of children who would have been born, that will not be with this way of thinking. I'm disturbed by this.

Alisha De Freitas said...

Hi Jenny, yes, it's definitely possible for a person with a low IQ to have a child with a high one. If you read the entire Christian Institute story, you'll see dissenting views from other doctors: "Dr David Amor, Director of the Victorian Clinical Genetic Services in Australia, warned that the genetics associated with intelligence were still poorly understood.

He said: “It’s possible an embryo that appeared to have a perfect genetic make-up for intelligence might turn out to have less desirable attributes in other areas, such as health or personality. It might be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’.”

This is in line with what Marc & Mary were saying.

Anonymous said...

I'm the original anon. If you followed the links, you would have been led back the Christian Institute, which is what you accurate report. But there you would have found a link to the original newspaper story, and if you had read it you would have seen that the CI report was a distortion. I don't think your obligations only extend to repeating what others say: you should check to see whether what they say is a lie, especially when, as in this case, it is easy.

Alisha De Freitas said...

Hi Anon, what links are you referring to? Can you do me a fav and read the next post which I dedicated to you? I decided to take your advice... so go see whar I found. Then respond. Thanks.

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