I am curious as to what the higher than average enlightened readership of HN thinks on this?
Of course it is very taboo to say what I did as the medical industrial complex is on the side of causing this problem as they are then guaranteed not just one more customer, but a new lineage of customers.
I believe that just because someone is born with a disadvantage or have health issues does not mean they are defective. Everyone has as much a right to life as anyone else.
In support of your beliefs, I would be interested to know your responses to the following questions:
At what point does a person's suffering cause a sufficient decline in the global "average level of suffering" to imply they should not be allowed to reproduce or continue living? Should all sick people be left to die?
Should we serve the depressed arsenic instead of offering counselling and medication?
Should we just execute people of higher than average IQ, since ignorance is bliss?
We all have defects, should we all die to spare the planet?
How do you calculate average suffering? What is the unit of measure?
Does the momentary joy of seeing the birth of a child outweigh years of chronic pain?
Some of your questions appear to me to be purposely absurd in order to make the topic seem absurd. To answer your first question though, which is a reasonable one: It may not be a simple answer of some point is too defective, but the answer there must obviously be something other than the current idea that no level of defectiveness is too defective to be aided to breed more unfortunate burdened souls. My personal feeling is that the line has to be somewhere around being too defective to live without medical intervention beyond childhood or perhaps better is the point before one is otherwise able to have children and raise and support them to the age where they are self supportive.
Your pointing out that the issue is a complex one with no easy answer does not justify the continued destructive course that humanity is treading down.
Regardless of how hard an issue it is to solve, it must be recognized that the current setup of unlimited medical intervention to keep people alive and breeding, no mater how defective, in fact results in a degenerating gene pool, a downward spiral of suffering. This is the true reason why medicare costs keep increasing to the point now where it is the majority expenditure of any western nation (even in America, it is greater there than how much is spent on the military). Again you can see why the medical industrial complex is set on continuing this trend. If not for the limits of economics, this would eventually consume all resources of the world just to keep itself alive with medicine.
In some countries this has led to the talk of not providing medical intervention for some groups of people who need it to survive. Unfortunately the talk is always around not giving it to the old people in order to save money. While they may seem less important to save, it is actually the wrong group to withhold intervention from, as saving old people is not destructive to the gene pool. They need to start talking about withholding it from the opposite end of the age spectrum.
Your reasoning is absurd, and has been demonstrated as such by the questions asked of you. Such questioning is part of a valid form of argument known as reductio ad absurdum. It has the unfortunate (some would argue fortunate!) side effect of making the one putting forwarded the invalid argument look ridiculous.
Of course, sometimes reducing to the absurd occurs in reality. It wasn't that long ago that sterilisation of those deemed "defective" was being done in first world countries such as the U.S. Your ideas are a branch of eugenics, which has been widely discredited for some time now.
So before you tell the readership of HN that the idea should be taken seriously, I regret to inform you that not only have people done so, but the majority categorically reject it for extremely good reasons.
Your understanding of what is eugenics is flawed. What I am talking about is not eugenics. Eugenics is artificial selection for attempted good. What is happening is artificial selection that results in degeneration, which is bad. That is called dysgenics. I am against that, and thus you can only call my argument anti-dysgenic.
Anyways, it is your comment that is absurd, as demonstrated by the majority of it being an insult. Try to remain civil - it better facilitates enlightenment of all parties to the discussion.
I don't believe that comparing humanity with computer code is particularly wise. However, to use your analogy - if there is a bug in the code you fix it, and you correct any problems that the bug causes. That would be the ideal of modern science, but we aren't there yet.
To be able to implement your ideas of genetic purity (which is basically your argument!) we would need to either a. Stop those with genetic "defects" from breeding, or b. withdraw treatment from them and hope they die before they have offspring, or c. end the life of those people to take away strain from the medical system and prevent them from reproducing. Regardless, to know this there would need to be mandatory mass screening of the population to make these determinations. Go work out the moral objections and monetary costs that would result from THAT, if you will!
Furthermore, your original argument is that those with congenital defects cause excessive strain on health systems. Yet where do you get your figures from? I would be very interested.
Yet there is more that you haven't considered. Using your own argument - which I find to be so terribly wrong - you haven't considered that not assisting those with a genetic defect may remove positive genetic attributes from the gene pool. Now you have the problem of judging whether one aspect of their genetics should cause them to propagate their genes. But if you do let that propagate, then you are exhibiting anti-dysgenics, which you abhore.
What makes your argument particularly specious is that you never consider the intrinsic worth of the person receiving the treatment. On top of this, you think that it is moral to refuse treatment for those suffering from illnesses because they are defective. And yet they are not defective, they have a particular defect that is causing them medical problems.
In short, I consider your ideas cruel, inequitable, poorly reasoned and ill-considered. That's not an insult: it's a reasoned opinion.
Anyways, you are correct that we are not there yet with actually fixing the bugs in code. We are not even remotely close to that point unfortunately.
The ideas of not subsidizing excessive defectiveness are a far cry from anything to do with genetic purity. It seems that you are in clear bias with a motive to shut down any discussion on the topic by poisoning the well of these truths by injecting labels such as 'genetic purity' and 'eugenics'. Any enlightened reader can see that your only arguments are appeals to emotion and guilt by association. A fallacious association as I have proved.
My original argument is simply that subsidizing excessive defectiveness is increasing the amount of suffering in the world, not helping to reduce it as one might intuitively believe. You are correct however that it also causes an excessive burden. An ever increasing burden. Medicare costs are spiraling out of control in all nations with socialized medicine, that includes America (Medicare and Medicaid, de facto free emergency care, and so on). In fact, the American federal budget allocates more to socialized medicine than to the military. A military known for its expansive cost. It will only become worse with the new full blown explicit socialized medicare system recently affirmed by the supreme court. This dysgenic path humanity is taking is the primary reason for the ever increasing medicare costs of countries with socialist medicare. This is off-topic from my original point, however, I share it with you as you asked and said you were very interested.
Your next paragraph is flawed in saying that somehow being anti-dysgenic is being dysgenic. I am advocating the lack of action. You are saying that requires selection? There is no selection I am calling for. I am advocating to let nature do the selection. I am calling for less artificial intervention. Not more.
Your next point is also defective in saying that someone who has a defect is not defective. I refer you to my programming analogy from my previous comment. A system with such grave defects that it cannot operate without expensive workarounds is certainly worthy of being called defective.
To your conclusion: you may feel such emotions regarding the harsh realities of the problem at hand, but emotions are not logic, and do not a reasoned opinion make.
It is actually quite wise to consider DNA like any other programming language. It is a much more complicated language, being a spatial programming language, but it is a programming language none the less. Such a perspective provides great insight.
I said, actually, "I don't believe that comparing humanity with computer code is particularly wise". However, you haven't proven anything in your sentence - you have made an assertion, but you haven't explained why this is a great insight.
Indeed - to compare DNA to computer code, with computer code we can make changes to fix the problem. With DNA, we cannot do that as of yet.
The ideas of not subsidizing "excessive defectiveness" are not a far cry at all. By discriminating against those who have congenital defects when it comes to providing health care, you are essentially labelling them as not fit to be supported by society. Furthermore, you have not explained what is exactly meant by "excessive defectiveness".
For someone who doesn't like the term "genetic purity", you have a way of bandying about terms such as "excessive defectiveness" with abandon. This makes your protestations that I use appeals to emotion all the more interesting, given that you are currently doing this via ad hominem attacks (e.g. accusing me of poisoning the well of discourse and that my arguments are guilt by association, etc.).
Thank you for the attempt at information, but I haven't seen a single figure other than an assertion that medicine costs more than military spending in the U.S. Also, to put it finely, the United States does not equate to the entire world. You are, in fact, wrong when you say that medical costs are spiralling out of control in all nations with socialized medicine (what a wonderfully emotive term, by the way!). I live in Australia, which has a fantastic health system funded by the Federal and State Governments, with a parallel private health care system. Free health care for most medical conditions is given to all. Medical costs over here do indeed increase over time, but they have not been "spiralling out of control". In fact, costs have been increasing not because of congenital defects, but rather because of lifestyle issues such as overeating and lack of exercise.
Quoting only the American Federal budget when making an assertion that "all nations with socialized medicine" is not only showing a very distorted world view, but one that is very easy to disprove - which I did above!
I love the term "socialist medicare", incidentally. Well played - nothing quite like using a vague and emotive term that certain others find concerning.
In that case, I apologize as I misunderstood your original assertion which is even more absurd than that which I thought you were saying! Next time you are sick, or if your eyesight starts failing due to a family traight, or if you have a congenital heart condition I strongly advise you to follow through your convictions and don't attempt to go to hospital. In fact, this must be a substantial cost saving as you don't have to fork out money for health insurance. I suppose those are the upsides to doing nothing.
This point is defective in saying that someone with genetic strengths is not strong. I am, of course, being facetious. I would love to be a fly on the wall if you were to discuss your opinions with Steven Hawking. Though I'm not sure he would give you the time of day...
"excessive defectiveness", "you are in clear bias with a motive to shut down any discussion on the topic by poisoning the well of these truths", "an enlightened reader", "socialized medicine", "Medicare costs are spiraling out of control".
You are so sure of your argument that you have ignored all the opposing views and questions (I notice that you have not answered many of them) and do not even recognize your own emotive language!
America is a great example, as many people believe that their deficit problems are solely the cost of their wars. To open minded people it is usually an eye opener to see that they spend more on medicine. Australia has the same problem as every other western nation: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737420435. It is hard to argue that Australia's decades of health care spending growing at almost twice the rate of GDP growth to be anything other than spiraling out of control. You ultimately admit the trend I speak of, but then without evidence try to blame it on incidentals such as unhealthy eating and exercise.
It certainly is a far cry. Think about what you are claiming: That my ideas are of genetic purity. That is an extreme that is a far cry from simply not wanting excessive defectiveness - being the opposite extreme. By claiming my belief that one extreme is bad is somehow advocating for the other extreme is looking at it in black and white, completely ignoring the fact that there is a gradient of options and I am talking about some middle ground being better than either of the extremes.
As for appeals to emotion and the like, I see: You use them your whole argument up until now, but after I point out your tactic of relying on them, you try to claim it is instead I who have been relying on them, simply for calling a spade a spade. Socialized medicare is simply socialized medicare. There is perhaps no simpler term for it. Medical welfare? The government forcing you to divert your resources from your own offspring to subsidize others defective genetics at the barrel of a gun? What term would you prefer I use? If you really feel that ashamed of the fact your country has socialized medicare, that still does not make my assertion of you having it an intended insult or any kind of appeal to any emotion of such disgust.
I certainly have not used ad hominem attacks simply by pointing out your continued obvious attempts to inject labels such as 'genetic purity' and 'eugenics' into the discussion. Again, simply calling a spade a spade. You are doing better now, but it is undeniable that the meat of your earlier responses was to simply dismiss my argument because to you it sounds like 'eugenics' or 'ideas of genetic purity'.
I wish my stance were saving me money as you assume it does. But unfortunately my government takes my money at gun point to fund subsidized medicare. There are some defects that if I came down with I do truly feel in my heart that I would resist the natural urge of self preservation and accept my fate for the good of humanity. For example, cancer. So yes, I truly wish I could opt out of the injustice of socialized medicare. I also inherited the traits of being smart enough and having enough fortitude to save my money and thus I could afford to fix myself after almost anything like broken limbs and other accidents that are not my fault. However, if I tried to opt out of the dysgenic system, men with guns would come and take my wealth by force, and throw me in jail. Meanwhile, my government just announced they wouldn't fund the best (not even expensive) treatment for prostate cancer, whilst they continue to fund sex changes. Ah, the freedom of choice that socialism gives you.
Your using the Stephen Hawking argument is nothing more than an anecdote. It is the common argument: what if the person you save invented the cure for cancer. I always laughed at that one hearing it over my life. It essentially argues that the expense of spending unlimited resources to keep every possible soul alive is worth the off chance that one of the people you save will be worth it. Too bad it dooms future generations to more dependence and suffering than that one person is ever going to make up for.
That is the essential fact here. The current course of humanity is to do what we feel is good to do in this area, but it is entirely short sighted. In the medium and long term we are increasing the amount of inherent suffering, increasing the inherent dependence of man on medical intervention and thus the state and industry. We are becoming sicker, and less free. That cute little kid you saved by donating money to their medical procedure might make you feel good about yourself since you have lessened their immediate suffering, however, their lesser suffering does not offset the essentially unlimited suffering of the lineage of defectives that you have just created with your selfish desire to feel better about yourself. I do not intend that as an insult, as it is simply a vulnerability in human nature that the average person has which has been exploited to justify the dysgenic medical system by the medical industrial complex and those who have in their interest increasing the dependence of the people on the state. It is a human nature, and a system, that must be examined - instead of dismissed with emotive labels such as 'ideas of genetic purity'.
It's ok to cure people with defective genes as long as they do not breed.