Posts Tagged With: eugenics

Be Sure Not to “Follow the Science” Over the Cliff

If any one age really attains, by eugenics and scientific education, the power to make its descendants what it pleases, all men who live after it are the patients of that power. [They will be] weaker, not stronger…a few hundreds of men [ruling] over billions upon billions of men. The final stage is come when Man…has obtained full control over himself. Human nature will be the last part of Nature to surrender to Man. – C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man , 1947

C.S. Lewis, best known for Narnia and books like Mere Christianity, was nearly prophetic in his warnings on what the abuse of science could become. Even the horrors of World War II and not cured people of turning science into a religion, or of the belief that humans could be altered and improved to the point of creating a new species. Here, in our own day, eugenics and transhumanism threaten once again to cross from helping humanity, to replacing us.

The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society is a collection of essays on C.S. Lewis’ thoughts and writings which are all more relevant today. They are warnings we should not ignore. Some of his works best expressing his insight not only include The Abolition of Man, but his sci-fi trilogy, collectively (and uncreatively) known as the Space Trilogy

Warnings from seventy-four years ago, about the abuse of science, its replacement by scientism or scientific materialism, as contemporary as if they were written today. Will our ignorance of the past, and distraction from the present, deliver us right over the edge?

Unfortunately, history often repeats itself. Because we let it.

Categories: Books, Critical Thinking | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future of Humanity

“It takes more than developing and deploying human enhancement technology to alleviate pain and suffering…We need the wisdom to know how to properly implement these technologies so humanity truly benefits…the wisdom we need must emerge out of a robust ethical framework that provides motivation to spur on advances…[while guarding] against injustices and human exploitation.” – Fazale Rana and Kenneth Samples

Emerging biotech such as gene editing and stem cell therapies show a lot of promise to alleviate and eliminate many medical conditions. As with all technologies, there can be a dark side, particularly when people with power take control.

A movement known as transhumanism wants to go beyond simply helping humanity, and seeks to transform us into a new species entirely. The road to such a future is paved with potholes such as eugenics and countless ethical issues.

No longer is any of this science-fiction. Nor can we look on in passive agreement at endless futuristic films that fail to deeply examine what they portray as an inevitable future.

The new book Humans 2.0 is a needed deep, intellectual discussion on this emerging reality of bioengineering and transhumanism. You will get a crash course on state-of-the-art molecular biology, and then authors look at the various philosophical streams vying to be the foundation of our bioethics: Which lead to a world where the value of human life is upheld, and which can lead to a reemergence to eugenics?

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Equality and Diversity of Humans…and Elves?

Fantasy tales are often populated with a wide array of beings. Elves, humans and dwarves are a common trio, along with trolls, orcs and countless other variations. Not all authors have filled their stories with these fantastic races to purposely tell stories of diversity or race-relations.  However, long before terms like diversity were buzzing in everyone’s minds, two masters of fantasy had made a statement on equality among people. Joseph Loconte writes in A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and a Great War:

[J.R.R.] Tolkien and [C.S.] Lewis encountered the horrific progeny of [eugenics] in the trenches and barbed wire and mortars of the Great War [World War I] — and it gave them great pause about human potentiality…the characters in their novels possess a great nobility, creatures endowed with a unique capacity for virtue, courage, and love. Indeed, a vital theme throughout is the sacred worth of the individual soul in Middle-Earth and Narnia, every life is of immense consequence.

The “races” of Narnia and Middle-Earth are very much like us, always at odds with each other: Elves hate dwarves; elves look down on humans; hobbits are obviously different from their larger human cousins; orcs once were elves.  And yet the fellowship of the ring throws together polar opposite, feuding races in a quest to the save the world.

Against all odds, they succeeded.  A powerful message among the many in these stories.

Tolkien and Lewis began writing during a time when eugenics was on the rise. This misuse of science and philosophies pretending to be science was rationale to cleanse humanity of undesirable races, beliefs or attributes. People remember the result of this horror in World War II under the Nazis, yet don’t know that this thinking had been promoted among the “elite” thinkers and governments across the world for decades.

While many many post-WWI writers saw hopelessness, and others turned to Progress as a god to right humanity, Tolkien and Lewis saw the importance of every life. They wrote of evil that couldn’t be reasoned away — and could be hidden behind “science” and “progress.” The equality of peoples doesn’t automatically equate to the equality of ideas and actions. Even Tolkien’s “dreadful orcs are presented as rational beings” — but being rational isn’t the same as being on the side of virtue.

Middle-Earth and Narnia showed how mankind, even with its capacity for wrong, has innate qualities that can defeat the most terrible of evils; qualities that transcend superficial differences among people, and show that we are much more than a result of randomness and fate.

Categories: Books, fantasy, History | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Warnings From the Third Reich

During the 1990s, as 50th year anniversaries of World War II began to come around, accounts of the war filled bookstores, television and film. Veterans who had said little for decades were now telling their stories. Some have wondered why in the years since so much attention has focused on studying Hitler. His motivations. His past. Attempt after attempt to figure out why and how he rose to power. Some think the attention is overdone.

The focus on Hitler isn’t entirely about him. It is also very much about the place. In 1945, as the Germans looked around them at their destroyed nation, more than one had to ask, “How did it come to this?”

Indeed, that is why Hitler and his Reich are studied so much. It all unfolded in nation made up of people very much like us.

Sure World War I, social chaos and the wild economies of the 1930s set the stage for Hitler’s rise. But Germany wasn’t a backwater, tribal nation ripe for a dictator. Germany was a sophisticated western nation with a deep history and a society of technology, intellect and culture.

Yet Hitler still led them down a path of ruin where tens of millions would die. He led a Reich that excelled in horror, destruction and death.

This is why the story of Hitler must be studied and remembered. Evil just doesn’t rise in nations of radicals and extremists. Do yourself a favor and check out the course, History of Hitler’s Empire or this classic volume.

And here look at the philosophies that gave rise to the Reich, which are growing again in our world:

More on those troubling times can be read here. Be vigilant, because wherever you live in this world, do not think evil cannot arise there and take hold. Make sure you don’t ever find yourself in the position to ask, “How did it come to this?”

Categories: History, Modern History | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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