Mon. Jan 18th, 2021

The biologist Richard Dawkins has apparently sparked “controversy” by going on record saying eugenics (i.e. selecting breeding) would work on humans just as it does on, say, dogs. This was met with hundreds of outraged comments, on social media, so Dawkins tried to clarify with:

“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 for humans? Facts ignore ideology.”

“For 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.”

Here is a short selection of replies, from non-biologists with strong opinions on social engineering. All have over a hundred thousand followers, a blue check against their name and a better-than-high-school education.

@scottlynch78 “You absolute pin-headed simpleton. It doesn’t work in practice because too many of the goals turn out to be arbitrary fantasies, and too many of those fantasies are the pet projects of abusive bigots who fuck up any civilization they get their hands on. Are you new here? Christ.”

@faciliheirdo you really want to argue that eugenics would have positive effects by citing dogs, the creatures we’ve bred so poorly that some breeds can’t naturally give birth.

@drawandstrikeSo it’s time for SMART eugenics to be done by the right elites on the rest of society? The right kind of eugenics hasn’t been tried yet? Is this the discussion you’re attempting to start?

@eugenegu “While Richard Dawkins is a noted biologist, his science on eugenics is bad. We turned magnificent wolves into pure breed dogs with severe genetic defects causing joint and heart problems and cancer. In fact, many Cavalier spaniels develop mitral valve and neurological disorders.”

People spend a lot of time deriding the “ignorant” for their uneducated opinions and blame social media for providing an outlet for the “stupid” to be heard in public discourse; which has degraded the national conversation across the board. This may be misdirection on the part of better educated, intelligent people. The smart graduates may be using “look how social media has ruined high-level debate” as a stick to beat people whose contribution (whatever it may be) is unwanted as they haven’t gone through the years of gatekeeper training.

Most of the responses to Richard Dawkins’ comments on eugenics – from well-educated voices with large platforms – demonstrate a wilfully self-serving approach that seizes on opportunities for public virtue signalling. This is consistent with those same conceits we find driving an ongoing derision of social media and barely-concealed disdain for the proletariat’s presumption in trying to get involved in public debate.

What irritates me most, however, is the long-term impact of the educated class having degraded itself so often in these open forums. By allowing the petty side of human nature to run riot and make confluence with the flow of bad ideas like groupthink and mob justice and rabble rousing and self-aggrandizing by sacrificing others, these people are having a corrosive effect on progress across all of society.

Not only are the degraded educated selling out their own intellectual honesty, but inevitably they’re turning their spoiler tactics on any peer having the temerity to stand up – in public – for higher personal and professional standards. Tradition and individual expertise held to objective standards become equated with choosing the preeminence of knowledge and logic and learning; which runs contrary to lowest common denominator thinking. An attack on Dawkins is an attack on individual expertise. He’s has the right look of privilege to be an excellent choice for the public pillory and the responses quoted above are all taking advantage of the sacrificial offering to virtue-signal their own superior worth.

Trouble is, this is selling us all down the river and it’s precisely that sense of the degradation of society and science across the board that’s prompting Dawkins both to take correcting the responses seriously and stick with the hot button “eugenics” to hammer home the point he’s trying to make.

… Ah fuck it. What’s the point?

If these idiots aren’t bothering to read a 280 character tweet from a guy as eminent as Richard Dawkins, to understand the difference between him advocating eugenics and him saying that it’s possible to breed human beings same as it’s possible to have created all today’s breeds of dogs from the mere handful that existed a few hundred years ago, what’s the use writing in detail trying to pick out the underlying causes and effect of yet another depressing cultural downtrend?

They’re probably all bots anyway. Right?

  1. To anyone of even minimal intelligence, even a non-scientist, Richard Dawkins is obviously correct. Eugenics has a dirty name – voluntary eugenics might be just what we need. Were it possible to alter my DNA to rid myself of my lifelong depression I would gladly submit to the process. Of course i am talking more of cure for the present generation than selective breeding for the future. But if future generations could be wiser, more loving, no-violent, healthy….I’m damned if I can see what is not to like. See the philosopher David Pearce – my favourite philosopher and the Abolitionist project.

    The world is full of fools. My modest belief is that I am not one of them….

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