1. Felicific Forest
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    17 Feb '09 18:26
    NEW FRONTIERS OF GENETICS AND THE DANGERS OF EUGENICS

    VATICAN CITY, 17 FEB 2009 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, a press conference was held to present a forthcoming academic congress entitled: "New frontiers of genetics and the dangers of eugenics". The congress, promoted by the Pontifical Academy for Life for the occasion of its twenty-fifth general assembly, is due to take place in the Vatican's New Synod Hall on 20 and 21 February.

    Participating in today's presentation were Archbishop Rino Fisichella and Msgr. Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, respectively president and chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and Bruno Dallapiccola, professor of genetic medicine at Rome's "La Sapienza" University.

    "The congress will be attended", Archbishop Fisichella explained, "by scientists from a number of universities, who will examine the question from various points of view: from the strictly biomedical to the legal; from the philosophical and theological to the sociological".

    "Thanks to the great work undertaken over the last ten years, above all that of Francis Collins on the Human Genome Project, it is possible to map thousands of genes and thus achieve an understanding of various types of disease; this often offers a real possibility of overcoming heredity ailments".

    "The aim of this congress is to verify whether, in the field genetic experimentation, there are aspects that tend towards - or effectively implement - eugenic practices", said the archbishop. Such practices "find expression in various scientific, biological, medical, social and political projects, all of them more or less interrelated. These projects require an ethical judgement, especially when it is sought to suggest that eugenic practices are being undertaken in the name of a 'normality' of life to offer to individuals".

    "Such a mentality, which is certainly reductive but does exist, tends to consider that some people are less valuable than others, either because of the conditions in which they live, such as poverty or lack of education, or because of their physical state, for example the disabled, the mentally ill, people in a 'vegetative state', or the elderly who suffer serious disease".

    "Not always do the requirements of medical science meet with the approval philosophers or theologians", said the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. "If, on the one hand, certain people frequently succumb to the temptation to consider the body in purely material terms, on the other, a concern to ensure the fundamental unity of each individual ... is something that must not be marginalised or overlooked".

    "Of course research aimed at alleviating individual suffering must increase and develop", he concluded, "yet at the same time we are called to ensure the increase and development of an ethical conscience, without which all achievements would remain limited and incomplete".

    The Human Genome Project "is one of the great undertakings of the beginning of this new millennium", said Msgr. Carrasco in his remarks. "If for medicine, and not only for medicine, a knowledge of the human genome is absolutely essential, it is equally important to identify its ethical, legal and social consequences", he added.

    "Today", said the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life, "eugenics represents the principal discriminatory utilisation to which the discoveries of genetic science can be put. This is what the congress aims to examine. Obviously, the main objective is to call people's attention to the considerable benefits we may obtain from genetic research if, as seems correct and appropriate, it attracts the efforts of researchers and public and private investments, while overcoming any temptation to follow the deceptive shortcuts presented by eugenics".

    In his comments Professor Dallapiccola indicated that "the proliferation of genomic analyses is destined not only to make people's lives more dependent on medicine, but also to transform the role of doctors. ... The post-genome era risks producing a further involution of the figure of the doctor, who is perhaps destined to become a 'genomicist', in other words a specialist in interpreting the sophisticated data emerging from some highly-technological instrument".

    "We must", he concluded, "take a critical stance, both towards 'reductionists' who believe the sequence of the human genome is sufficient to clarify the meaning of human life, and towards 'determinists' who hold that they can predict people's biological destiny, simply be examining their DNA".

    OP/CONGRESS GENETICS EUGENICS/FISICHELLA VIS 090217 (710)
  2. Joined
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    17 Feb '09 20:51
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    NEW FRONTIERS OF GENETICS AND THE DANGERS OF EUGENICS

    VATICAN CITY, 17 FEB 2009 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, a press conference was held to present a forthcoming academic congress entitled: "New frontiers of genetics and the dangers of eugenics". The congress, promoted by the Pontifical Academy for Life for the occasion of its twent ...[text shortened]... ICS/FISICHELLA VIS 090217 (710)
    …."The aim of this congress is to verify whether, in the field genetic experimentation, there are aspects that tend towards - or effectively implement - eugenic practices", said the archbishop.
    .…


    I am curious to know why he thinks that this is even a credible possibility -I mean, for example, a typical genetic experiment may be to find out what protein a gene codes for in humans; how would that “tend towards - or effectively implement - eugenic practices”?

    ….Such practices "find expression in various scientific, biological, medical, social and political projects,
    ..…


    I would be curious to know what genetic experiments he thinks has lead to a political project in recent years (if he thinks this? ) -not saying there are none -although I am certainly not aware of any, I would like to know if he can give some examples of this.

    …These projects require an ethical judgement, especially when it is sought to suggest that eugenic practices are being undertaken in the name of a 'normality' of life to offer to individuals". .…

    I would be curious to know in what way he thinks “eugenic practices are being undertaken in the name of a 'normality' of life to offer to individuals” (if he thinks this? ) -I mean, could he give any examples of such eugenic practices that have occurred in recent years or at least are credibly threatening to be practiced?

    …Such a mentality, which is certainly reductive but DOES exist, tends to consider that some people are less valuable than others, either because of the conditions in which they live, such as poverty or lack of education, or because of their physical state, for example the disabled, the mentally ill, people in a 'vegetative state', or the elderly who suffer serious disease
    ..…
    (my emphasis)

    I would be curious to know WHERE he thinks that such a mentality generally exists? -I mean, does he, for example, believe that it generally exists in the scientific community? -if so, I am sure that the majority of scientists would say they do NOT “consider that some people are less valuable than others, either because of the conditions in which they live, such as poverty…etc” in fact, I bet even the vast majority of both the public and the politicians would also say this so I fail to understand his concern here.

    He then basically says that genetics is important to help prevent human suffering etc (which I, of course, agree with) but I don’t understand his apparent concern that, somehow , genetics would tend to naturally lead to eugenic practices (if that what he thinks? ) because there appears to be no good evidence (at least none that I have noticed) that this is generally happening (although I am sure a small minority of people will try and make this happen -but they would just be in the minority and I am sure wouldn’t get very far)

    …."We must", he concluded, "take a critical stance, both towards 'reductionists' who believe the sequence of the human genome is sufficient to clarify the MEANING of human life
    .…
    (my emphasis)

    The “MEANING of human life”? what on earth does he mean by “MEANING of human life” in this context?
    Well, I think I may be a 'reductionists' and yet I for one do not have such a peculiar and vague idea that the sequence of the human genome can tell us anything about “ MEANING of human life” ( whatever that is supposed to mean! ) and I am sure the vast majority of both 'reductionists' and scientists wouldn’t have such a strange and totally unscientific belief that is both ill defined and has no evidence/reasoning as its premise. If I looked at a DNA sequence, I, like almost any scientist I am sure (apart from a few cranks), would think that is ALL I am looking at -nothing more! -no vague notions about “MEANING of human life”! I just hope he understands this.
  3. Subscribersonhouse
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    18 Feb '09 04:39
    Isn't it obvious the stance they are taking? "Meaning of human life' means there can be none except in the light of their god. Evolutionists are now finding there is more to life than DNA. These dudes have just not woken up to the fact that evolutionists are questioning the work also. They, the Vaticanites, think THEY are the only ones qualified to make judgements about DNA and are in the forefront of such activity. In fact, evolutionists themselves are in the middle of a huge debate about the very nature of the idea of a 'tree of life', now finding the ancestor to ancestor links are not even close to having a common link. The actual amount of the 'tree of life' DNA is now only a very small minority of the actual DNA from modern to ancient species. It seems there is no tree of life, it's a thicket.
  4. Germany
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    18 Feb '09 09:471 edit
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Isn't it obvious the stance they are taking? "Meaning of human life' means there can be none except in the light of their god. Evolutionists are now finding there is more to life than DNA. These dudes have just not woken up to the fact that evolutionists are questioning the work also. They, the Vaticanites, think THEY are the only ones qualified to make jud l DNA from modern to ancient species. It seems there is no tree of life, it's a thicket.
    Yes, read about it. I think New Scientist (or some other magazine) had an article about it with a very suggestive title ("Darwin was wrong!" ). I guess they just want to sell more magazines, but it's irresponsible as article titles like this provide a lot more firewood for the flame of the creationists' ignorance.
  5. Cape Town
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    18 Feb '09 10:03
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    "We must", he concluded, "take a critical stance, both towards 'reductionists' who believe the sequence of the human genome is sufficient to clarify the meaning of human life, and towards 'determinists' who hold that they can predict people's biological destiny, simply be examining their DNA".
    I can't seem to see the connection between that and eugenics.
  6. Joined
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    20 Feb '09 04:03
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I can't seem to see the connection between that and eugenics.
    Once genetic flaws can be corrected by gene therapy I would expect genetic screening and gene therapy would become the norm. If a parent were to decline genetic testing it could be looked at as being incredibly irresponsible to risk missing the detection of genetic flaws that could affect your child's quality of life.

    If you accept this, it is inevitable that genetic modifications of people will become common because of moral reasons. Eugenics is inevitable in my opinion. Resistance is futile. All we can do is prepare for it by adopting certain standards.
  7. Subscribersonhouse
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    23 Feb '09 09:20
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I can't seem to see the connection between that and eugenics.
    Well, if we could weed out the gene for religion....
  8. Standard memberDeepThought
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    24 Feb '09 04:48
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Once genetic flaws can be corrected by gene therapy I would expect genetic screening and gene therapy would become the norm. If a parent were to decline genetic testing it could be looked at as being incredibly irresponsible to risk missing the detection of genetic flaws that could affect your child's quality of life.

    If you accept this, it is inevita ...[text shortened]... y opinion. Resistance is futile. All we can do is prepare for it by adopting certain standards.
    Eugenics normally means the forced sterilization of what the dominant political class regard as inferior rather than a parents right to choose whether to continue with the pregnancy of a child whose life chances and expectancy are severely diminished. There are issues surrounding timing, but I do not think that you can equate the free choice of a parent, who would like to bring the child into the world, but has to consider the difficulties and heartache both they and the child will inevitably face, and the callous policies of totalitarian regimes.
  9. Joined
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    02 Mar '09 02:34
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Eugenics normally means the forced sterilization of what the dominant political class regard as inferior rather than a parents right to choose whether to continue with the pregnancy of a child whose life chances and expectancy are severely diminished. There are issues surrounding timing, but I do not think that you can equate the free choice of a parent ...[text shortened]... both they and the child will inevitably face, and the callous policies of totalitarian regimes.
    Assuming you are right, eugenics will be made obsolete because of genetic modifications.
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