Yesterday, a really interesting video ended up in my Suggested List on Youtube. A girl wearing a blue wig explains to the camera that she is upset that a friend of hers was disowned by his family for coming out. I immediately assumed that this was some sort of anime fan role-playing video, which was the reason for the cosplay-looking wig and costume, which seemed juvenile at first, but the video hit on serious points nonetheless.
I'm not sure how old the poster of this video was, but by her lack of information and eloquence coupled with her passion and conviction for the subject, I'm assuming she's in her early high school years. Gonna go out out on a limb and say she's 15.
Anyway, I wanted to make sure that, if she was going to voice her opinions and try to inform others, she should provide her listeners with good science and correct information. Here was my response to her.
The Dalai Lama’s call for morality to regulate science is a backwards. He argues that our ability to use technology in a corrupt manner must be prevented, and calls upon us to “check our motivation and ensure its foundation is compassion.” What the Dalai Lama fails to acknowledge is that even science with a history of corruption can be a factor in the ultimate good of humanity. He paints science in an almost evil light, questioning its morality while only briefly stating the benefits of such technologies. The idea of preventative procreative science is the basis of eugenics, a study that has been linked to Nazism, ethnocentricity, and the “New World Order.” Nevertheless, procreative laws and could help rid the world of genetic disease and inherent poverty. Its positive implementation would mean extending more human rights to children. The use of preventative procreative laws will provide all children with the basic human right to live free of genetic disorders.
The Dalai Lama, indeed most humanitarians would argue “all human beings have an equal value and an equal potential for goodness.” I do not disagree. However, I find it troubling that this value is not fully extended to children. Children have no choice in how they are raised, whom they are raised by, what they are taught, or what resources will be at their disposal during the most critical period of their lives. These decisions are solely left to the parents, be they fit to raise children or otherwise. The children are property of the family and the regard in which their human rights are held is completely up to the parents. When a husband does this to his wife, we call it misogyny. When a parent does this to a child, we call it parenting. Why are children barred from their own rights as human beings?
I am not saying that all parents do a poor job raising their children. Some parents do their best to give their children as many resources as possible, the best education they can afford, and the love and attention needed for molding a healthy human being. However, according to Hearts and Minds, an online activism resource, “everyday 2,660 children are born into poverty; 27 die because of it.” Some of these children are born HIV positive. Had the parents taken preventative precautions this suffering could have been prevented.
The potential for using preventative birth control, the backbone of eugenics, would not only make an impact on children born into poverty, but it could potentially eliminate heritable diseases. Assuming that genetic mapping is a common medical procedure of the future, human beings will soon have their charted alleles in their medical records. Imagine that by studying this chart you find that you and your partner both carry a heterozygous recessive gene for cystic fibrosis. It would be unethical to bring children into the world, certain they will die at a young age from their parent’s bad genes. The ethical decision would be to bar these parents from procreating, allowing them to adopt instead. If you apply this rule to all parents with the genes for cystic fibrosis, you could wipe out the disease in a couple generations. The Dalai Lama calls for the “recognition for the preciousness of life.” Ensuring future children a world free of genetic diseases would do just that.
So how do we regulate procreation? The process is simple, and in many ways already being implemented. First, a complete and comprehensive understanding of contraceptive use should be taught to all children without exception. The spread of HIV and other STIs demands children are taught contraceptive use as soon as they are capable of understanding. Barring children from these lessons is nothing short of child abuse and should be treated the same barring your child from proper medical resources. Parenting and procreative licenses would have to be renewed regularly or suspended at first offense. This ensures that fit parents are encouraged to be fit parents, and ill-suited parents are motivated to improve their circumstances before starting a family. The resources a parent can devote to his/her child can be calculated by government tax records, and their genetic mapping would be included in a medical report. Upon filing for a marriage or partnership licenses, the government can then look at the couple’s resources and if they are currently suitable for rearing children. Individuals and families, regardless of rejection or acceptance, should be able to reapply for these licenses regularly. Clearly financial situations and resources are constantly changing, and we should never take away the right for citizens to apply for the right to have kids.
These are radical ideas. This is not a system that could be put into effect tomorrow. However, we must take gradual steps to implementing this form of regulation. It is the assurance for a healthy future, both medically and economically. However, greater contraception education needs to go into effect as soon as possible. Licensing will follow as our genetic mapping capabilities evolve and are included as part of our medical history. Until then, we must educate the public of the benefits of preventative procreation.
David Quammen should never again narrate his own audio books. I appreciate the man's work, and I enjoy reading his books. However, I think I'd rather listen to Stephen Hawking self-narrate a book, to be honest.
Pizza pizza. Pizza pizza. Pizza pizza. Sorry, that button sticks.
A good friend of mine and fellow skeptic, Corey Farach, has started his own blog about reason, science, and metal. What could be better, right? Seriously. Check it out.
Just a little caricature I did of myself for the blog. I really need to get motivated into updating this blog the way I used to. Hopefully with these new classes this semester, I'll feel more productive. Sexuality and Gender plus Evolution of Animal Behavior! I should have a lot to feel inspired about!