What is eugenics

What is eugenics?

The eugenics It is a concept of philosophy that determines the improvement of the human race through scientific and empirical practices designed and applied by the human being.

It is the search for the perfection of the human being considering and carrying out some actions in the name of an ideal. In this ideal, the human has the supremacy in terms of his health, intelligence, strength and adaptation skills to whatever environment he develops in.

As well It is the intention in which the idea of ​​having flawless humans prevails. The pioneers in eugenics were more focused on factors related to man’s intelligence, understanding man as a species and not as a gender.

The earliest forms of eugenics began with Charles Darwin, British naturalist who developed the theory of natural selection. This theory proposes that species are not immutable, they evolve over time and is what causes natural selection.

It is, then, about the survival of the fittest, or the best adapted, and that thanks to that, they have more opportunities to survive in the fight for resources that are limited, such as food and water, essential for survival.

A human being without genetic flaws

The origin of eugenics dates from the mid-19th century when the british scientist Francis Galton used this term for practices that sought to improve the genetic quality of the human species.

Basing In Darwin’s theories, Galton proposed that the growth of the offspring of the superior races would lead to the achievement of “men of a high class, without genetic flaws.”

However, the Darwinian theory is not a guarantee that the fittest will always survive, since in many aspects it has been shown that, without being physically and intellectually perfect, that is, even having defects, man has survived and has overcome and conquered spaces in which it has excelled.

Eugenics, a widely analyzed concept

The subject of eugenics has been studied by historians, doctors, philosophers, bioethicists, biologists and even by the church itself, as it is a fundamental aspect in which other controversial arguments intervene such as abortion, genocide, genetic manipulation , among others.

The concept of euthanasia strictu sensu encompasses the idea of ​​improving man as a human race, and the objective of introducing it as a science, which has also sparked controversy, especially among the scientific and bioethical community, continues to be the subject of discussion and debate.

This idea of ​​improving the human race has awakened movements in several countries, for and against, and has managed to get into the political decisions of countries that seek a certain supremacy in shaping their races.

Eugenics translates into the search for healthier, stronger and smarter people. It also seeks non-procreation between races and ethnic groups that do not have these conditions, to avoid the proliferation of weak and sick individuals, without sufficient capacities to survive, be independent and surpass their ancestors.

This “control” in the mixture of races and the assurance of having suitable and strong generations, would certify a social development and a saving in economic, medical, clinical and social resources of the countries.

Forms of eugenics

In the 19th and 20th centuries the forms of application of eugenics included the forced sterilization
produced in a person or group of people without their approval or medical recommendation, but as a contraceptive way to prevent their procreation.

A specific (and not unique) example of forced sterilization for eugenic purposes was the one that occurred in California, United States. In the middle of World War II, a group of Latin women who were part of the shipyard factories, were sterilized to prevent them from having offspring because they were considered unfit to reproduce.

Another form of application of eugenics is the genocide, whose best example is that carried out by Adolf Hitler, who gave his millions of murders, motivated by the origin and race of their victims, the justification of being an act of eugenics, both in the murders and in the sterilizations forced, a fact that was later defined as genocide.

From there, eugenics was branded as pseudoscience, since many of the traits it was trying to eliminate were not necessarily hereditary.

Eugenics in the 21st century

In the 21st century, eugenics is practiced through various medical interventions, some with the consent of patients, among which are:

  • Prenatal diagnosis, which consists of a series of examinations and tests with the intention of detecting or discovering during pregnancy a congenital defect in the fetus, or any abnormality related to the proportion, structure, function or molecular conformation.
  • While prenatal diagnosis allows abnormalities to be detected and treated early to avoid disabilities, it also creates a dilemma in the event that no treatment is available, and leads to eugenic abortion. This action would be focused on eliminating the birth of a disabled individual.
  • Genetic orientation it is another way of treating and determining actions on some people; It is about the communicational exchange between a specialist doctor and a person who seeks information about their own genetic risk for diseases such as cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. This information is often used in contexts such as work, which constitutes an illegal practice, since no one can discriminate on the basis of a person’s genetic risks and prevent their right to work. Regarding eugenics, genetic orientation can determine the parents’ decision to terminate a pregnancy for this reason, avoiding the birth of an individual who, in the long run, will be at high risk of suffering from one of these diseases.
  • The in vitro fertilization and its specialized practices to select the best embryos to be implanted, is also considered a modern form of eugenics, as it allows the survival of some embryos over others, according to their health conditions.
  • Genetic engineering as “control technology, study of genes and their transmission in the DNA from one organism to another”, it is another form of eugenics, since it allows to correct genetic defects.
  • In embryos, genetic engineering manipulates genes to cure pathologies or improve their characteristics.

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