Saturday, November 05, 2005

How to Keep the Demon of Eugenics at Bay.

Echoes of eugenics movement in stem cell debate:
"Burke said in an interview that the dark history of eugenics is worth more than a footnote. A look at the California eugenics movement, she said, adds some new dimensions to 'today's excitement about stem cell research.'

'Both are linked to a conviction that tampering with heredity or our genetic makeup can lead to solutions for a broad number of problems, both individual and social,' she said.

Behind the advocacy of stem cells, she said, 'is this dream of living in a disease-free future,' one of the early threads that made up Goethe's own worldview.

That's not to say that stem cell research advocates are closet eugenicists. But Burke said it's important to bring out the historical facts -- one way of 'coming to grips with the fact that California has been at the center of this history.'

'Thirty percent of the documented sterilizations in the United States were done in California,' she said. 'There was a broad and diverse network of individuals and organizations in this state, from the early 20th century through the end of the century, advocating the idea that altering the genetic material of our state would allow for the true realization of the California dream.

'Of course everyone wants to have healthy babies. But what is healthy? What is a life worth living?' "
As we continue to face the threat of our own Brave New World it is good to keep in mind the lessons from history concerning ideological errors which corrupted entire 'civilized' societies; i.e. eugenics' appeal to intellectual elites.

Two reality checks should help us resist this temptation, and both are intimately linked to Christian teaching. First, life on earth is not an end in itself but a preparation for eternity. Second, every human life is inherently precious in virtue of it being made in God's image.

That means that the intrinsic value of human life can never be altered relative to accidental ccircumsntances, like wealth, education, age, health, intelligence, race, etc.

The only way to improve humanity is to make it more and more godly, more and more according to its original image, which has been revelead and restored to us in Jesus Christ.

Embrace Christ, follow his teaching and commandments and the power of the Brave New World will fade as darkness is disspelled by the power of light.

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