• intrapersona
    555
    Simply put, should we let evolution do what it does best which is filter out the weak?

    Have we reached an intellectual summit over the reigns of evolution by allowing severely disabled people to live prosperously with taxpayer supplied checks? Or are we fooling ourselves because we are too unagreed and cautious on the ethics pertain to giving life rights to those who will always be physically or mentally defected from birth (be it down syndrome, klinefelter's syndrome, muscular dystrophy etc.)
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    I wonder if considering disabled people as a separate group in society is helpful? I find myself wondering if we should not be considering instead how each member of society (able or disabled) can contribute to society? Maybe we should look at the (in)efficiency of not "allowing" disabled people the support they need to make their contributions? Stephen Hawking made a contribution. Others too, although they are less well-known. I am autistic, which is considered by many to be a disability. Do I have a place in society? I too made a contribution during my working life. If you live in the UK, you can't make a telephone call without using my work. But I'm 'disabled'. What is your point here? Must I be euthanised, or held in a secure institution? :chin:
  • intrapersona
    555
    Others too, although they are less well-known. I am autistic, which is considered by many to be a disability. Do I have a place in society?Pattern-chaser

    Sorry, i should of clarified. Disabilities of the kind that serve no positive influence. Mainly in the form of mental retardation. I only speak to physical disabilities insofar as they effect peoples mental/emotional wellbeing (as much as they enjoy their life and even want to live with what challenges they must face).

    I find myself wondering if we should not be considering instead how each member of society (able or disabled) can contribute to society?Pattern-chaser

    Which in the case of disabled people isn't much at all really is it? Are they not like a parasitic drain due to our ethical hesitation?
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    One of the reasons - perhaps the main reason - why we are so evolutionarily successful is that evolution has enabled us to relax the constraints that evolution itself lays upon us: we have evolved to loosen the bonds of evolution, as it were. If you're going to commit some horrible naturalist fallacy, at least recognize that in enabling the disabled to live the best lives they can, we are following our evolutionary imperatives literally better than any other creature on earth, and not the other way around.
  • intrapersona
    555


    exactly the type of comment i was looking for. It seems those restraints have only been loosened in the last few ages but the main point here is that evolution brought us to the point where we are able to relax its control over us. The fact it has enabled us to survive and thrive in itself means it is a system we should pay homage too, have respect for, for we owe it purely on the basis of it allowing our existence as we are currently.

    I agree with you, I am committing a naturalistic fallacy here (yet so does every carnivore). However it is not a naturalistic fallacy when the methods nature uses itself have proven outcomes (such as millions of years of the death of failed species and the survival of the strongest species). In that sense it isn't just because its "natural", it is because it has a system that is legitimate. Not only that but it is responsible for our existence and that in itself deserves credit does it not?

    Tell me how it is so though that by allowing the disabled to live the best lives they can, we are following our evolutionary imperatives literally better than any other creature on earth? You say it as if living to the best of their capabilities actually warrants any kind of enjoyable life. I used to be a carer and I can tell you first hand that most of their lives are spent in confusion (as to their circumstance) or seperation (from society) and warrants a higher intellect to stop such atrocities of human experience to take place.

    Lifelong suffering from disability can be prevented yet you want to argue we ought not to intervene with our superior intellects (much in the same way judges do) to do what is in the interest of further "potential sufferers" purely because it follows an evolutionary imperative of ours? What evolutionary imperative is that?
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    However it is not a naturalistic fallacy when the methods nature uses itself have proven outcomes (such as millions of years of the death of failed species and the survival of the strongest species). Iintrapersona

    But this betrays a basic misunderstanding of evolution. Evolutionary 'fitness' is only ever context-bound (to an environment), and the evolutionary record is paved with detritus of the millions upon millions of evolutionary 'failures' produced by evolution itself. There is no possible, coherent way of talking about evolution - in general - as a 'legitimate' system with 'proven methods'. The majority of evolutionary history is a history of miserable failure.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    Lifelong suffering from disability can be prevented yet you want to argue we ought not to intervene with our superior intellects (much in the same way judges do)...intrapersona

    This kind of thinking leads to mentions of things we're supposed to avoid on the internet. So I'll confine myself to shuddering with fright when I wonder which intellects are sufficiently "superior" to decide whether my own disability condemns me to euthanasia? Do you consider yourself up to this task? :chin: I'm afraid I don't. Sorry. :fear:
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    Which in the case of disabled people isn't much at all really is it? Are they not like a parasitic drain due to our ethical hesitation?intrapersona

    Yes, of course you're right. Stephen Hawking should've been drowned at birth, right? :fear: Because he was just a "parasitic drain" on society, right? :fear: Yeah, kill 'em all! :fear: :groan: :cry: :rage:
  • Baden
    6.6k


    Stephen Hawking was afflicted later in life, but he is an illustration nevertheless of how misleading the term "disabled" can be.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    Indeed he was. :up:
  • intrapersona
    555
    But this betrays a basic misunderstanding of evolution. Evolutionary 'fitness' is only ever context-bound (to an environment), and the evolutionary record is paved with detritus of the millions upon millions of evolutionary 'failures' produced by evolution itself. There is no possible, coherent way of talking about evolution as a 'legitimate' system with 'proven methods'. The majority of evolutionary history is a history of miserable failure.StreetlightX

    Yes, but it is the outcomes of those failures that are the "proven" successes (humans being one of them). The proven method I speak of here is natural selection, it is a self evident feature that is dependant on failures of other species. Indeed the majority is a failure but proportions aside, we still exist. I also fail to see how this breaks any context specific to evolution.

    However the real problem here lies in the gap between natural selection (letting all disabled people die from natural causes) and artificial selection (prohibiting their birth). Because it seems we really can't have any kind of natural selection going on without any human interaction (artificial selection) involved. But it would be close enough to the same outcomes of natural selection anyway so it is probably irrelevant (ie, all people with fully expressed muscular dystrophy in the jungle would die)
  • intrapersona
    555
    Stephen Hawking was afflicted later in life, but he is an illustration nevertheless of how misleading the term "disabled" can be.Baden

    Yes, of course you're right. Stephen Hawking should've been drowned at birth, right? :fear: Because he was just a "parasitic drain" on society, right? :fear: Yeah, kill 'em all! :fear: :groan: :cry: :rage:Pattern-chaser



    Your statement is irrelevant if you see the post above yours:

    Disabilities of the kind that serve no positive influence. Mainly in the form of mental retardation. I only speak to physical disabilities insofar as they effect peoples mental/emotional wellbeing (as much as they enjoy their life and even want to live with what challenges they must face).

    Oh and btw, keep your emotions out of this.
  • intrapersona
    555
    So I'll confine myself to shuddering with fright when I wonder which intellects are sufficiently "superior" to decide whether my own disability condemns me to euthanasia? Do you consider yourself up to this task? :chin: I'm afraid I don't. Sorry. :fear:Pattern-chaser

    It is readily apparent that a university professor is sufficiently superior than any given person with trisomy 21 (down syndrome). Need I say more?

    The basic principle is, if they are able to maintain a positive wellbeing and a benefit to society then existence is allowed. Low level autism is completely out of the question in this argument, that should be very obvious by now and the fact you bring it up is just another fallacious appeal to pity etc.
  • Baden
    6.6k
    Your statement is irrelevant if you see the post above yoursintrapersona

    Well, I was responding to @Pattern-chaser and making a general point rather than commenting on what you said. But your clarification is well-taken.
  • Baden
    6.6k
    It is readily apparent that a university professor is sufficiently superior than any given person with trisomy 21 (down syndrome). Need I say more?

    The basic principle is, if they are able to maintain a positive wellbeing and a benefit to society then existence is allowed.
    intrapersona

    Not every university professor can maintain a positive sense of well-being and/or is a benefit to society and certainly not every given person with trisomy 21 is unable to maintain a positive wellbeing and/or is of no benefit to society. So, even by your own criteria of whose existence is allowed, the argument isn't sound.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    Yes, but it is the outcomes of those failures that are the "proven" successesintrapersona

    But this is nothing but a tautology: all it says is that every evolutionary success is a success, and every evolutionary failure is a failure - right up until the point a failure becomes a success and vice versa. You can draw no conclusions from this, let alone the idea that successes are 'proven' - whatever that even means.

    Because it seems we really can't have any kind of natural selection going on without any human interaction involved.intrapersona

    Properly conceived, the capacity for artificial selection is just another evolutionary result of natural selection, and does not in any way conflict with latter. The idea that there are some kind of preordained 'outcomes' of natural selection which are then interfered with is just more conceptual confusion: what is 'natural' is simply what is, and this includes any so-called 'gap' between natural and artificial selection. Natural selection simply does not have ends or goals - not even 'fitness', which is an incidental outcome of a wholly indifferent process.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    Stephen Hawking was afflicted later in life, but he is an illustration nevertheless of how misleading the term "disabled" can be. — Baden


    Yes, of course you're right. Stephen Hawking should've been drowned at birth, right? :fear: Because he was just a "parasitic drain" on society, right? :fear: Yeah, kill 'em all! :fear: :groan: :cry: :rage: — Pattern-chaser
    intrapersona

    By placing these quotes after one another, you make it look like I was responding to @Baden, when my post clearly quoted you. You really should be more careful.
  • 0 thru 9
    672


    After reading this particular thread’s OP, and the arguments in favor of it, I do believe that these may be an excellent example of what you were describing in your Transcendental Stupidity thread.

    But I will propose that we start weeding out the weak, the sick, and the failures by deleting this thread. However, I am very firmly in favor of letting all who suffer from mental illness, even those with the apparent type of paranoid schizophrenia seemingly demonstrated in the OP live comfortably on government assistance.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    You're conflating a biological theory with an ethical principle - which it isn't. Besides, appealing to evolutionary fitness ss a basis for ethics is close to 'eugenics' which is 'the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Developed largely by Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, it fell into disfavor only after the perversion of its doctrines by the Nazis.'

    Evolutionary biology now is often slotted into a role formerly associated with religion - as an account of human origins - but it is a mistake to project conclusions about what amounts to 'successfulness' on that basis; when you do, it always will sound very like eugenics or the justification of 'dog eat dog' capitalism on the basis of 'survival of the fittest'.

    There are two OP's that I think are relevant - first by Richard Polt, a Heidegger scholar, and second by Antony Gottlieb, author of a popular history of philosophy called The Dream of Reason.

    Anything But Human

    It Ain't Necessarily So.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    I wish this rose to the level of transcendental stupidity - at least that would be a good excuse. Unfortunately this really is a case of just the facts gone haywire.
  • 0 thru 9
    672

    Ha! You’re too kind and gentle with the OP and thread! For it appears to be a theoretical question and philosophical proposition in roughly the same way that a tweed jacket, reading glasses, and a pipe placed on a fire hydrant appears to be a professor. Both are apt to be urinated on by passing dogs. I refute it thus: woof!
  • LD Saunders
    110
    This reminds me of the negative eugenics movement, which was a pseudoscience pretending to be scientifically based. For one thing, there is rarely genetic determinism when we are discussing people's intellectual abilities or character traits. Typically, we have hundreds of genes that impact any trait and they simply make things more or less likely, under certain environmental conditions. In other words, genotypes do not give rise to phenotypes, and this has been well established biology for years and years now. If Albert Einstein had been born to drug-addicts and lived in a gang infested neighborhood, how many of us would ever have heard of Albert Einstein the physicist, as opposed to Einstein, the gang-banger?

    Also, evolution does not work as well as the post claims, and mathematical game-theorists have pointed this out. What may be best for an individual, may be a poor outcome for the population as a whole. A simple example is assume that the best time for a population of birds to nest is, I'm just making up a date here, March 15th. Now, what happens is a bird in that population has a genetic trait to start nesting on March 10th instead? It will gain an advantage because it will be able to select the best nesting site. But, what happens to the population of birds as a hole if that trait spreads throughout the population? The birds shall then be nesting earlier, which is sub-optimum for them. We see the same thing with trees. Trees have to spend more energy to grow taller to reach the sunlight, but, if all trees remained shorter, this would be a more optimum state for them.


    This is one reason we see so many extinct species --- evolution does not always lead to optimum outcomes.


    Therefore, the argument here is based on a faulty premise.
  • BrianW
    153


    The significance of evolution is progress. Disabilities and other afflictions are ways in which our weaknesses/deficiencies are highlighted by nature. The end goal is that we should recognize them and deal with them appropriately. What the OP is suggesting is a distorted view of the idea of survival of the fittest. It fails to understand that humans without humanity or inhumane humans (who cannot express empathy, sympathy, compassion, etc.,) are 'diseased' or deficient in terms of human nature and it is through evolution that we have recognized the need to take care of the sick, disabled, etc. To suggest otherwise implies a retardation (perhaps, a disability).

    Simply put, should we let evolution do what it does best which is filter out the weak?intrapersona

    Evolution filters out weaknesses not lives. The increase in the number of disabled people in productive fields both physical and intellectual, implies that we can learn to overcome inability in disability. Initially, way back in 'em days, we considered the disabled as failed human types and, in our ignorance, caused them a lot of suffering but, fortunately, presently, we have arrived at the realisation of how primitive that designation is. By incorporating deliberately directed and well-filtered human interactions with the disabled, we help them overcome the major limitation and threat which disability poses - social ostracism, which in turn leads to a larger host of issues. Finding ways to involve the disabled in all human activities has served as a therapeutic measure which has helped to counter some discomfitures. There is no doubt that the way to the future is through more integration and the outlook promises further success. Such is the true path of human evolution.

    Isn't the statement, 'Disability is not inability!' a testament to our capacity to evolve?
  • Bitter Crank
    6.3k
    Have we reached an intellectual summit over the reigns of evolution by allowing severely disabled people to live prosperously with taxpayer supplied checks?intrapersona

    Is it the severely disabled continuing to live that bothers you, or is the "taxpayer supplied checks"?

    Paleontologists found a Neanderthal skeleton of an old adult who had skeletal deformities (severe osteoarthritis and molars missing, for instance) that would have prevented the individual from surviving anywhere close to as long as he did -- had it not been for the care of kin. This skeleton was from... roughly 45,000 years ago . As far as I know, this sort of discovery is very rare. The skeleton was part of what appears to be a deliberate burial rather than an accidental accumulation of bones. Plus, given where he was found, he was French.

    Apparently, behavior running counter to the best advice of evolutionary policy is not new.

    Evolution led us to be care-givers as well as perfect survivor specimens. Evolution doesn't have a plan. It just grinds along powered by random mutations. It's not heading anywhere. We are not the apex of creation, and evolution wasn't trying to get us there (unless you entertain some teleological ideas about the omega point, etc.).
  • Andrew4Handel
    604
    I do not think evolution is an entity that can make decisions rather it is posited to be a process of change. I think the idea that evolution weeds out the weak is very pernicious. There is no intent supposed to be involved in evolution.
    .
    Anything that fails to survive and reproduce is weak regardless of physical abilities

    I think there are some serious tautologies at work in some evolutionary paradigms. Fitness defined by survival is banal and vice versa unfitness. Also we are part of nature so anything we do is tautologously a part of nature. there are no natural laws for human behaviour that we have to follow humans are massively flexible and creative.
  • intrapersona
    555
    Not every university professor can maintain a positive sense of well-being and/or is a benefit to society and certainly not every given person with trisomy 21 is unable to maintain a positive wellbeing and/or is of no benefit to society. So, even by your own criteria of whose existence is allowed, the argument isn't sound.Baden

    What I was saying was relating to what constitutes a sufficiently superior intellect to decide, not whether down syndrome people can be happy and a benefit to society because that is true, they can, albeit with limited abilities that we have and i think that is a source of pain for them because they are outcasted (regardless of our opinions).
  • intrapersona
    555
    But this is nothing but a tautology: all it says is that every evolutionary success is a success, and every evolutionary failure is a failure - right up until the point a failure becomes a success and vice versa. You can draw no conclusions from this, let alone the idea that successes are 'proven' - whatever that even means.StreetlightX

    What is proven is the system whereby success arise and failures fail. What is dependable about it is the testability of it due to its nature of repeatability. It isn't some abstract notion that has no relation to the world, these are physical processes that are measured by biologists. The fact that there are success grants the praise of those successes.
  • bloodninja
    268
    But humans stopped evolving with the agricultural revolution. As a natural process there are certain natural conditions a species must be constrained by for "natural selection" to take place. Through agriculture, we have removed ourselves from these natural conditions. Therefore any talk of humans somehow evolving (post agriculture) can only be either stupid or metaphorical.

    There is only one possibility on the horizon for our species, devolution.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    The significance of evolution is progressBrianW

    Evolution is a theory about the origin of species. The 'idea of progress' is another matter altogether.
  • BrianW
    153
    Evolution is a theory about the origin of species.Wayfarer

    Not quite. We still don't know the origin of any life-form. What we have in the evolution theory is a guide as to how the first perceived, already present, life-form(s), origins unknown, provided the ingredients for the present known life-forms through a series of transformations based on adaptation and acclimatization to resources and circumstances. It's why I used the term progress since it's basically a theory of overcoming limitations and transcending events both favourable and unfavourable towards survival of life.
  • MindForged
    428
    Simply put, should we let evolution do what it does best which is filter out the weak?intrapersona

    Can I just point out this is a really stupid understanding of evolution? That's not what fitness is.
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