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Phyllis
post Jun 3 2009, 11:07 AM
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This is a spin-off of the ^>v thread, where I mentioned this article in response to Izzy saying that stupid people shouldn't be allowed to breed.

To sum up the article: a woman named Rachel in Nottingham has had her three year old daughter, K, taken away on the grounds that she is mentally incapable of raising her. K will be adopted by a new family and Rachel will not be allowed to see her again. Rachel has never been accused of abusing her daughter in any way. Her parents and 27 year old brother stepped forward and offered to help raise K, but both were denied. The parents were deemed too old, and the brother played truant when he was in school. When Rachel appealed the decision and got a solicitor, the court declared that she was also too dimwitted to instruct a lawyer. They appointed one for her, and he told the court that he agreed it was in Rachel's best interests to have her daughter adopted.

A psychiatrist who was asked to give a report on Rachel's case has said the following: "[Rachel has] demonstrated that she has more than an adequate knowledge of court proceedings. She has good literacy and numeracy and her general intellectual abilities appear to be within normal range. She has no previous history of learning disability or mental illness and did not receive special or remedial education. Rachel fully understands the nature of the current court proceedings, can retain them, weigh the information and can communicate both verbally and in writing."

Obviously we probably don't know all the details, but based on the information in the article, what do you think? Was the council justified in taking her daughter away? At what point should children be taken away from their parents? Should it only be in cases of outright abuse, or should they also be taken from parents who are maybe a little slow or don't have the funds to support their family? I'll be back to post my own thoughts later.


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froggle-rock
post Jun 3 2009, 12:20 PM
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I guess my first response is, well I'm sure the judge and whoever must of had their reasons, but what were they? Because that's quite a hard line to take. Esp. when there was no history of abuse.

What's the criteria for stupid? Should people get an aptitude test when they start puberty and then sterilised if they fail? What if a person becomes not stupid over time (as I think many of us do as well as becomes more stupid in some way. It's all perspective I think)? Are there parents who haven't acted stupidly at _some_ point in their life? Who decides stupid?

But, back to cand, I think I'd like to know more. What provoked this, as well as with what the psych said.


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Mata
post Jun 3 2009, 12:44 PM
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Having seen the legal system from the perspective of a juror, it looked like a lot of effort was being made to make the right decisions, and I veyr much doubt that this would have made lightly. It's very odd to have one message from a psychiatrist and a completely different one from judges. Then again psychiatry can be a pretty vague science... But even so, how lacking in ability must she be to be considered incapable of raising a child? It's also very odd to not let the family support her.

Looking at it from the other side, the court's brief will be to give the child the best life possible. If they sincerely believed that the child would be given a more stable and happier home by being placed with another family then that suggests the decision was based on the anticipated lifestyle of the biological mother and her family, not necessarily their current capacity to raise the child. That could then present difficulties if it's argued that many children would be happier or better cared for outside of their biological family.

Let's face it, the family of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt could probably offer a better lifestyle than almost any other family on earth, but it doesn't mean that they should have more children based with them. I guess the court was trying to estimate what the lowest level of acceptable care and facilities would be and decided that the mother would not be able to provide that (either immediately or in the long term).


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post Jun 3 2009, 01:31 PM
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QUOTE (candice @ Jun 3 2009, 12:07 PM) *
This is a spin-off of the ^>v thread, where I mentioned this article in response to Izzy saying that stupid people shouldn't be allowed to breed.

To sum up the article: a woman named Rachel in Nottingham has had her three year old daughter, K, taken away on the grounds that she is mentally incapable of raising her. K will be adopted by a new family and Rachel will not be allowed to see her again. Rachel has never been accused of abusing her daughter in any way. Her parents and 27 year old brother stepped forward and offered to help raise K, but both were denied. The parents were deemed too old, and the brother played truant when he was in school. When Rachel appealed the decision and got a solicitor, the court declared that she was also too dimwitted to instruct a lawyer. They appointed one for her, and he told the court that he agreed it was in Rachel's best interests to have her daughter adopted.

A psychiatrist who was asked to give a report on Rachel's case has said the following: "[Rachel has] demonstrated that she has more than an adequate knowledge of court proceedings. She has good literacy and numeracy and her general intellectual abilities appear to be within normal range. She has no previous history of learning disability or mental illness and did not receive special or remedial education. Rachel fully understands the nature of the current court proceedings, can retain them, weigh the information and can communicate both verbally and in writing."

Obviously we probably don't know all the details, but based on the information in the article, what do you think? Was the council justified in taking her daughter away? At what point should children be taken away from their parents? Should it only be in cases of outright abuse, or should they also be taken from parents who are maybe a little slow or don't have the funds to support their family? I'll be back to post my own thoughts later.

I'm not sure about this case in particular, the article is pretty vague and it's not like we can tell whether or not she is a capable parent just from reading it. I don't think there's enough information to be able to tell whether the judge was right in that regard. The psychiatrist's report is not the only thing relevant here, I guess if social workers are concerned then that should be taken into account too. While I do think there are other reasons besides abuse for taking the child away from their parents, this should be a last resort. Also, it seems very unreasonable that she would not be allowed any contact with her daughter at all.

QUOTE
What's the criteria for stupid? Should people get an aptitude test when they start puberty and then sterilised if they fail? What if a person becomes not stupid over time (as I think many of us do as well as becomes more stupid in some way. It's all perspective I think)? Are there parents who haven't acted stupidly at _some_ point in their life? Who decides stupid?
No, no and no. Stupid is not something measurable and has little to do with ability to be a good parent. The whole "too stupid" angle of the story seems, well, stupid. Intelligence or IQ should not be a criteria that should be taken into account at all, what matters is whether or not she can raise a child.


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Daria
post Jun 3 2009, 03:10 PM
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QUOTE (Mata @ Jun 3 2009, 01:44 PM) *
Having seen the legal system from the perspective of a juror, it looked like a lot of effort was being made to make the right decisions, and I veyr much doubt that this would have made lightly.

I think in this case, although correct me if I'm wrong, it was just a judge making a decision and no jury- so it would be one person making these decisions. I'm sure they made a lot of effort in making the "right" decision, however it doesn't mean it WAS the right one.

Something that really struck me was this:
QUOTE
Rachelís brother Andrew and their parents all offered their services but were rejected for reasons varying from being too old to having played truant from school.


These are utterly pathetic excuses. How does playing truant from school impair someone's ability to offer support to their family member in bringing up a child?

Interestingly, Wytu and I were flicking through tv channels yesterday and came across a made-for-tv-movie called Profoundly Normal. It was a pretty cheesy movie, but surprisingly well acted, about a mentally disabled couple who met at a children's home. More details about the film are here They get married, against the rules of Social Services, and have a baby. Originally the doctors suggest that she aborts the pregnancy because they are "mentally retarded" but they go through with it with the support of a social worker. Their son is "normal" and there's a part where he is interviewed and he says something about how if BOTH parents have brown hair, the child will have brown hair. If both parents are tall, the child will be tall. If both parents are mentally retarded, there is a one in ten chance that the child will have problems.
There are obviously many factors to take into consideration, and also the level of education encouragement the parents will give to the children- but just because a parent is deemed stupid does NOT mean that the level of care they give to their child will be any less than that of someone with a higher IQ. Just as a mother with post-natal depression needs the support and help of people to encourage the right level of care and interaction between her and the baby, the woman in the article Cand linked should also have a level of support from either social services or her family should be ALLOWED to help.

ARG. Angry. Also, I hate courts. Especially those which decide what is in the best interest for a child without knowing the backstory- or even just ignoring it.


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Phyllis
post Jun 3 2009, 03:31 PM
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QUOTE (funked)out_frog @ Jun 3 2009, 01:20 PM) *
Should people get an aptitude test when they start puberty and then sterilised if they fail?

Absolutely not. As I said in the other thread, I believe in reproductive rights, and that doesn't begin and end at abortion. Forced sterlisation is just so...I don't even know how to put it into words. In the not-too-distant past there were forced/coerced sterlisations in the US, and reading about them makes me feel a bit ill.
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In the 1960s and 1970s, a significant number of women in the U.S. (primarily low-income women, women of color, women receiving care from Indian Health Services and institutionalized women) were sterilized under coercive conditions. They were approached during childbirth by doctors who withheld information about the surgery’s permanence and/or falsely advised that sterilization was necessary. Some women were threatened by hospital staff that, unless they consented to be sterilized, their welfare benefits would be cut off or they would be forced to leave the hospital before giving birth. (Source)

I don't even want kids, but no one had better come at me with a scalpel or titanium coils unless I tell them I am good and ready. My body, my choice. Also, I have yet to hear of an aptitude test that isn't flawed in some way. IQ tests are racially biased, for example. Not to mention that IQ tests do not measure parenting ability in any way, shape, or form. According to Wikipedia (I sure do refer to that site a lot for as much as I bash it tongue.gif ), the average IQs in Nigeria and South Africa are 71 and 72. If an IQ test determined suitability to breed, then there would be a whole lot of sterlisations going on in those countries. Binet warned against misuse of intelligence tests when he came up with the first one, and that is exactly the type of thing he was talking about.

QUOTE (Mata @ Jun 3 2009, 01:44 PM) *
It's also very odd to not let the family support her.

That bothered me. Her brother is the same age as me, and my parents are 53 and 49. The two of them are absolutely still capable of looking after children. My grandmother was 44 when my mom was born, for goodness sake. Rachel's mother may well still be of childbearing age herself. If there isn't some other reason that the court is unwilling to allow her family to help her raise K (and there may well be, since we're only getting one side of the story), then I think they're being rather unreasonable.

QUOTE (crazymat @ Jun 3 2009, 02:31 PM) *
I'm not sure about this case in particular, the article is pretty vague and it's not like we can tell whether or not she is a capable parent just from reading it. I don't think there's enough information to be able to tell whether the judge was right in that regard. The psychiatrist's report is not the only thing relevant here, I guess if social workers are concerned then that should be taken into account too. While I do think there are other reasons besides abuse for taking the child away from their parents, this should be a last resort. Also, it seems very unreasonable that she would not be allowed any contact with her daughter at all.

It is annoyingly vague, I know. I also found it very odd that she wouldn't be allowed any future visits with her daughter when there was no history of abuse. I wonder what the reasoning was behind that decision.

Aha, I have just found more information on the case. So, apparently K was born prematurely. The court felt that Rachel couldn't deal with K's complex medical needs, so they placed K in foster care. Now K's health has improved to the point where she needs little to no medical care. Given that information, I really don't see why the grandparents and/or brother couldn't help out. Are they ALL mentally incapable of caring for a premie? I really don't see why Rachel was only allowed to see her daughter for 90 minutes every two weeks. How was she supposed to demonstrate that she's a capable parent when they weren't even allowed enough time to form a much of a bond, I wonder?

Anyway, now to answer my own questions! In this case, it's hard to say for sure. We're only getting one side of the story, and that's all we're going to get since it's being kept confidential. My initial knee-jerk reaction was to get upset. I don't know why, but the idea of someone having a child taken away unjustly makes me more emotional than my mother when she watches All Dogs Go To Heaven. Now that I've had time to calm down and re-read the article, I do have to wonder how much of this story is the media demonising the foster care/adoption system. On the other hand, it is a very imperfect system, and there are certainly plenty of children and families that it has failed.

Based on what is in the article and what I found out later, I have to wonder if parents' age and the brothers' past truancy are the only reasons that K wasn't placed with them. If those truly are the only reasons, then I don't think placing K into care was justified at all. I think that children should be placed with family members whenever possible, and foster care/adoption should be a very last resort (except in cases of abuse). If people are deemed mentally incapable of caring for children, there are a whole bunch of options aside from taking their kids away.


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Yannick
post Jun 3 2009, 07:05 PM
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It's hard to judge here because the article really doesn't provide that much information. However, this sounds like a fairly rare case (I've never heard of a kid being taken away because his/her parents are 'too stupid' before), so I think whatever the article ). The article seems a bit biased, and left out a lot (well, all) of the court's reasoning. The judge wants nothing more than the best for K, and I'm sure he made his decision as he saw fit.

I don't really know the best way to judge whether someone is stupid or not. IQ tests probably aren't the way to go. You know those people that you think are just about the biggest morons ever? When, in school, you were all "Oh man, how can this person be so dumb?" Those people. We don't need their kids, sorry.


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Phyllis
post Jun 3 2009, 08:37 PM
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QUOTE (Yannick @ Jun 3 2009, 08:05 PM) *
The article seems a bit biased, and left out a lot (well, all) of the court's reasoning.

I'm pretty sure that the case is confidential, so the judge isn't allowed to go public with his/her reasoning.

QUOTE (Yannick @ Jun 3 2009, 08:05 PM) *
You know those people that you think are just about the biggest morons ever? When, in school, you were all "Oh man, how can this person be so dumb?" Those people. We don't need their kids, sorry.

Having children is rarely (if ever) about whether the world "needs" your child. It's about an emotional need that most humans have all across the board. It doesn't matter if they're gay, straight, poor, rich, brilliant, or idiotic -- a lot of them want kids, and not in a way that you or I might want a car or a new TV. It is an incredibly strong biological desire. Overpopulation worries me, but I'd prefer to do my part to prevent it by not having children myself (in the interest of full disclosure, that isn't one of my reasons for not becoming a mother -- it's just an added benefit). I don't want to dictate anyone else's reproductive decisions, and I absolutely do not want anyone deciding who is and isn't clever/rich/beautiful/whatever enough to become a parent. Removing children from the home of their parents when there is abuse or neglect = sad, but necessary. Eugenics = bad.

If you want to build a master race of people who get high scores on meaningless Facebook IQ tests or something like that, please do so on another planet. I don't want it happening on mine. tongue.gif


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Daria
post Jun 3 2009, 09:19 PM
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QUOTE (Yannick @ Jun 3 2009, 08:05 PM) *
We don't need their kids, sorry.


As Cand mentioned, the biological want to have kids is incredibly strong with some people- and equally just as lacking in others. Personally, I feel that I have to have kids. It's part of who I am, who I will be and who I want to be. Monty and I are both (to blow our own trumpets) intelligent, hardworking, middle-class beings who lust after new knowledge and are currently studying towards degrees that hope to be masters that hope to be PhDs.
I have ovarian problems which will make the whole thing very hard, and a he has a disabling, dominant, genetic disease. I have thought it over a lot and for various reasons I don't feel that I could adopt children. I need the child to be part of me and part of my partner- I have a uterus, ovaries and a biological desire to reproduce. I am a woman. It's essentially what I am born to do- to pass on my genes and the genes of my partner to offspring.

Izzy, do you put those with physical disabilities in with "dumb" people? Should my boyfriend not be allowed to have children because they will have a huge possibility of having chronic fatigue, muscular and joint problems and tissue repair issues? They won't be dumb, but they will be held back by their physical means.


You, me, the government, the media or ANYone has no right to say who should and shouldn't have children. You can understand not wanting to pass on terminal illnesses, such as HIV or Alzheimer's - but I don't see a problem with passing on something that is manageable. Almost like being really short- it impairs your life to a degree, but you won't die from it and you learn to live with it. If your parent/s are of a low IQ, it doesn't mean you will be. There are SO many factors that make someone "dumb"- if it isn't because they are mentally handicapped, it is usually due to a lack of education thanks to personal issues. Either because of the area they were brought up in- remember, some families are poor and live in bad areas so their kids can only go to bad schools, lacking in funding and good teachers- or because they missed school thanks to lack of interest in education. A lack of interest could be thanks to peer pressure, mental illness, abuse, sexual abuse or even accidental- or intentional- pregnancy. There are SO many more reasons and it is utterly ignorant of you if you continue to see the world in such a black and white manner from your affluent American upbringing. Seriously.


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froggle-rock
post Jun 3 2009, 10:17 PM
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I personally think you are quite foolish Izzy, I think the next generation should be saved from you passing your foolishness on. Plz don't breed. kthxbye


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post Jun 3 2009, 10:23 PM
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I'm quite happy if fourteen-year-olds don't breed at all (and trust Izzy to keep her biological clock hushed up for a good few years, no?)

Poor woman, I have never quite understood separating parents from children except obviously in cases of abuse.


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Yannick
post Jun 3 2009, 11:44 PM
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QUOTE (Yannick @ Jun 3 2009, 03:05 PM) *
IQ tests probably aren't the way to go.

I'm not saying anything should be measured by IQ tests. They can be useful to get a general idea of where people stand, but by no means the ultimate deciding factor. Intelligence goes beyond the speed someone can learn something and their overall capacity to acquire and retain knowledge. If I was going to ban 'stupid' people from breeding, I'd define 'stupid' as the inability to learn and make good life choices. Everyone makes mistakes. If you're making the same mistakes over and over again, aren't very bright to begin with (really, the only good example I can think of are those kids that you have to explain the same thing to like five times until they begin to understand it), have no genes that are beneficial to humanity as a whole (like.. I dunno, immunity to HIV or something), well, why do we need your kids? It's weird, because my beliefs kind of clash here. I'm all for hedonistic values, but to do anything that will hurt humanity in the long run is dumb. The way I see it, we've already passed the earth's carrying capacity for everyone to live luxury lives (which, admittedly, aren't completely necessary), but if our population is going to continue to grow, it should be monitored. I think the (totally important) survival of the fittest concept has been destroyed, because what we have today has made it far too easy for the 'weak' to survive. Yeah, it's come down to random chance of birth. Sorry. But the life we have here was spontaneous (albeit not random) anyway, so it's not much of a loss.

Anyone here remember stuff from before they were born? No? If you had not been born, not knowing life, would you be missing out on anything? Nope.

About the biological want, well, evolution's fault. I think it exists because a loong time ago, the death rate was much higher, so to keep population up, you needed lots of people so your species wouldn't go extinct. We sooo don't need that anymore. (I don't actually know, but do any other species ostracize members because they think there's stuff wrong with them and want to protect themselves? If that's true, which meh it could be, why should this be different? I don't get the false principles of right and wrong behavior of human character. I mean, as jerky as it sounds, not everyone was born equal. Why is it so immoral to want the best species? A good analogy would be picking teams in sports. No one wants the sucky kids because they don't help, get in the way, and mess things up. In academic competitions, no one wants the dumb kids because you want a team that will actually win. We do this already, why can't it move to a larger scale?


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Witless
post Jun 4 2009, 12:03 AM
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The desire to breed comes from a simple fact that genes that make us want to breed get passed on a lot. It's fairly simple logic really. If genes exist that cause people to not want children, they tend not to get passed on as much and get represented much less in the next generation. It's only human big brains that let us overide our base instincts. But that doesn't mean our instincts go away. We just want other things more.

But I am confused why on the one hand you blame evolution for stupidly making everyone want to breed. But then take on a survival of the fittest stance later on your "want the best species" idea.

Humans have handy complex personalities that let us rise above just thinking like animals. There is a theory with a lot of weight behind it that we evolved to only really empathise with about 100 humans (what is believed to be the size of the average human settlement when we were still hunter gatherers). Outside that 100, we would happily stab, rape and pillage and not think anything of it.

It's due to a combination of living in much more densely packed civilisations and technology that makes us a lot more aware of all of the rest of humanity and allowed humans to empathise much more globally with people.

Speaking to Izzy in this thread. Your definition of moving forward seems to be physical fitness, and intelligence. I can't find where "happiness" fits into your little equation. If humans have become more empathetic with each other because the way our society has evolved and the nature of our environment has pulled us in that direction. I don't see how going against the grain of what humans have become would in anyway make the world a better place.


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elphaba2
post Jun 4 2009, 12:30 AM
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Empathy's not a new trait for us, either. I spent a fascinated hour in Barcelona with 500,000 year old hominid remains, including one young girl that scientists realize was completely unable to feed herself due to misaligned bones (they also suspect she was severely mentally lacking compared to others of the same species). Yet she lived until 11, and was well-fed and well-treated when she died (of natural causes, her degree of deformity would have drastically reduced an already short lifespan). Other species of hominids cared for their elderly well past the point to which it would have been beneficial to do so (ie: your best hunter has been bitten by a wildcat, so taking care of him ensures future prosperity of the group after a period of diminished hunting). We can follow this pattern through history--people simply tend to take care of their own, even when it's entirely illogical to do so.

Aside from the obvious dangers of eugenics, I believe that we need a dramatic amount of variety of human beings on this planet, including stupid, irritating and unhappy ones. Some of the most powerful expressions of human grace and creativity have been spurred on in reaction to these "unfits" (or performed by the "unfits" themselves). If we had evolved to be intelligent, physically fit automatons, clearly a eugenicist's point of view would be the appropriate one to take, yet the mere fact that there are dozens of people on this forum saying IZZY NO IT IS A BAD IDEA TO TRY AND APPLY SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST TO PEOPLE should be evidence to the importance of illogical, stupid and profoundly human decisions in our cultural and biological evolution.


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oxym0ronical
post Jun 4 2009, 05:31 AM
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Without the facts of the case, it's hard to say it was justified. Here, at least, we make every effort to place children with their family members. In fact, it's very difficult to take a child away from his or her parents. Sometimes it's frustrating because they should be taken away, but haven't been.

There was a woman here who has the mentality of a 9 year old. She'd been abused by her parents, then was emancipated and forced into marriage at 15 - to a guy who happened to be 30-something. She's now in her late 30s, but still has the mentality of a 9 year old. She has a 15 year old daughter who is delayed - probably more along the lines of a 12 year old. She has a 5 year old son who has the mentality of a very young toddler. Her husband, who is also abusive and is suspected to have molested her daughter, does nothing aside from his job. The daughter has to cook, clean, take care of her brother, and take care of her mom. And yet the children haven't been taken away.

I think I personally draw the line when the parent is completely unable to care for his/her children and does not have a family support system who can help. I'm all for giving parents a chance to actually be parents, as long as the children are well taken care of.

As far as "stupid"or "dumb" (or whatever else you want to call them) people not having kids - I have seen some of the lower functioning people be the best parents possible. I have also seen extremely intelligent people who have children and absolutely shouldn't. It's not about intelligence. It's about the capacity to love a person enough to do what is right for them - that's basically what it boils down to.

And, as an aside, I have a nephew who would be one Izzy would deem "stupid". He is a beautiful little boy who happens to have Down Syndrome. He is also very high functioning (though still delayed compared to "normal" people), and should he ever decide he wants to have kids.. more power to him.
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oxym0ronical
post Jun 4 2009, 05:37 AM
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QUOTE
Why is it so immoral to want the best species? A good analogy would be picking teams in sports. No one wants the sucky kids because they don't help, get in the way, and mess things up. In academic competitions, no one wants the dumb kids because you want a team that will actually win. We do this already, why can't it move to a larger scale?


I also wasn't going to comment on this, but I can't help myself. What's wrong with doing it on a larger scale can be summed up right here.
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Phyllis
post Jun 4 2009, 09:05 AM
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QUOTE (Yannick @ Jun 4 2009, 12:44 AM) *
If I was going to ban 'stupid' people from breeding, I'd define 'stupid' as the inability to learn and make good life choices. Everyone makes mistakes. If you're making the same mistakes over and over again, aren't very bright to begin with (really, the only good example I can think of are those kids that you have to explain the same thing to like five times until they begin to understand it), have no genes that are beneficial to humanity as a whole (like.. I dunno, immunity to HIV or something), well, why do we need your kids?

In your hypothetical totalitarian nightmare utopia, who is going to do the menial jobs?* We DO need people of all levels of intelligence. There are too many different roles for people to fill for us all to be cookie-cutter replicas of the best and the brightest among us. For example, my best friend when I was a kid was mentally challenged. He is never going to cure cancer, but he can do jobs that other people do not want to do, and he does them gladly. It makes him happy and gives him a sense of fulfillment to be independent and take care of himself. Yes, we do need highly educated people, but we also need people to do the thankless, undesirable jobs.

*I do not mean to imply in any way that people who do menial jobs are stupid. I don't believe that at all. I've worked too many thankless, minimum wage jobs myself to think that. Some are there because it is all they can do, like my friend, some are teenagers trying to save up for something, and others end up there due to a combination of unfortunate factors (maybe there were bad schools in their neighbourhood, maybe they came from a poor family who couldn't afford college, or maybe they went to college but couldn't find a job in their area of expertise, etc). It would be needlessly cruel to change the intelligence level of the population to the point that nearly everyone working a minimum wage job is in that third category.

QUOTE (Yannick @ Jun 4 2009, 12:44 AM) *
Anyone here remember stuff from before they were born? No? If you had not been born, not knowing life, would you be missing out on anything? Nope.

I wouldn't be missing out on anything, true. My mother, on the other hand...well. She is very much like Daria. She just always knew that she had to have children. My dad was always more like me -- fine with the idea if his partner wanted kids, but not that fussed about it if the partner didn't want kids. He would have been just fine without me (I'm not trying to imply that I'm the bestest thing evar to happen to my mother -- it's just that I am her child, and children are something she wanted out of life). My mom would have been profoundly unhappy if she hadn't been able to have children in some way. It's hard to know what would happen, obviously, since my sisters and I are very much here. Knowing her the way I do, though, I imagine that not being able to have children would have led her into a depression that could have destroyed her marriage. She has teh baby rabies big time.

So far in your scenario, there are two huge groups of people who would be incredibly unhappy: clever people stuck in menial jobs, and people who desperately want to have children but aren't allowed. I could very easily imagine the enormous number of people who would not be content with your vision banding together and starting a revolution. Oh, and if we want to reference earlier discussions, you could also add in those who have been banned from practicing their religion and/or passing it on to their children (those who were allowed to have kids, at any rate). Yeesh. Sounds like it'll be bloody.

QUOTE (Yannick @ Jun 4 2009, 12:44 AM) *
I don't actually know, but do any other species ostracize members because they think there's stuff wrong with them and want to protect themselves? If that's true, which meh it could be, why should this be different? I don't get the false principles of right and wrong behavior of human character. I mean, as jerky as it sounds, not everyone was born equal. Why is it so immoral to want the best species?

Normally I would quote Godwin's Law at Oxy up there, but Lordy. I think the comparison is actually valid for a change! It's immoral to strive for the best species because you cannot perfect humanity. Trying to do so only leads to needless suffering. It leads to extremists who use your rationale as a reason to commit genocide. It leads to groups of people claiming that their race is superior. For all you talk about religion causing wars, you sure did a great job of thinking up the perfect formula for a war in the name of survival of the fittest instead of God.

There is a lot of suffering on the planet already, and something does need to be done to address climate change and sustainability. But this is not it. I do not want to live in a world where every person is a replica of some idealised version of you. I don't want everyone to be smart, atheistic hedonists. I want to meet stupid Christians, average Buddhists, and every other possible combination out there. We need diversity not just because it's more interesting (though that's certainly true), but because we need a wide variety of people to do a wide variety of jobs. We need people of different opinions and levels of intelligence to inspire/participate in the arts and debates. We need to figure out how to save this planet, but I personally would rather we do so in the most humane way possible. There are so many more avenues we can explore before we get to the point of banning some "undesirable" people from reproducing.


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leopold
post Jun 4 2009, 03:25 PM
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Whoa blink.gif

In the original case, there would have to be a cast iron reason for the kid to be completely removed from the mother's care to go to the extent of using crap excuses to keep the child out of the family. Either that or there's a serious miscarriage of justice.

If we stop certain people from breeding then we're treading on very dangerous ground. Dangerous for me, anyway, as the last time I discussed genetics it didn't end very well. But in this case, Cand is right; if everyone is super intelligent, who's going to keep the sewers clean, or empty the dustbins, or serve you in the restaurant? I'd argue that these so-called "menial" jobs are actually the more important ones. Who cares if you're 80% of the way to curing cancer when everyone's dropping dead from cholera because the water supply is filthy? And what about when your house is overrun with rats because of the pile of rubbish that hasn't been collected, or the fact that you're stuck with them because nobody does pest control? And then, of course, you end up starving to death because, although there's a supermarket up the road, there's nobody to stock it up.

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Daria
post Jun 4 2009, 03:38 PM
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I'd like to point out that it's only due to our society that waitressing is regarded as a menial job. Places in continential Europe, such as France, consider it as a career. Being a GOOD waitress or a GOOD barrista takes a little more than turning knobs on a coffee machine and remembering a spoon wink.gif

So: on topic! Izzy, are you ever going to respond to any of our posts anymore, or just your own straw men?


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Yannick
post Jun 4 2009, 08:14 PM
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Witless, I'm not going against what we've become, I want to speed up what we should become. I think it's safe to say that in the future, granted we survive long enough, humans are going to be smarter and fitter anyway. Because we understand stuff enough, we have the power to control our species's progress, assuming people are willing. As for happiness, absolute happiness is an impossible state to reach. People are going to find a way to be somewhat happy anyway, because it's in our nature to do so. In sh*tty times, the little things will make you happy, like a pretty sunset or whatever. With my plan, people may be upset for a few generations, but the happiness will eventually return and be grander than before. Practically everyone will have an awesome life, because we'll have enough smart people contributing to different fields to cure, invent, produce, etc. almost anything. Empathy doesn't disappear completely.

Elphaba, exactly, entirely illogical to do so. It's tradition, kind of like a religion. Just because we've been doing/thinking something for a really long time doesn't mean it's right.

Diversity will still exist, this isn't a racial or discriminatory thing. I couldn't care less whether you were white, black, asian, hispanic, army person, rock star, creotard (well, different story, but they can still reproduce), etc. Personality variation will still exist. People will still annoy the hell out of each other, throw fits, and hurt each other. We'll still have all of that, we just don't need stupid people thrown in there with everything. Also, we're still evolving, probably getting smarter/fitter with every new generation. If survival of the fittest is a bad guideline to follow, you guys haven't done a very good job of convincing me.

Oxym0ronical, I was trying to find some statistics about whether smart or dumb people generally make better parents. True, intelligence has nothing to do with someone's capacity to love, but love isn't enough to sufficiently care for a person. You can totally hate a person and still do a better job of raising them than someone who loves them.

The difference between this and what Hitler did is the reasoning. He was a racist dude who wanted to preserve the Aryan gene pool and exterminate people because of total arbitrary details like race and sexuality, which in the end wouldn't make any conceivable difference in the world, other than making it muuuuch less diverse. I just want to get rid of people that are slowing us down for the ultimate prosperity.

Candice, you assume people would need to do all the jobs everyone else thinks they're too good for. I'm sure robots and other helper-thingers will be invented to do everything no one wants to. Not that I'm totally for a robotic revolution, but machines can work the farms and clean the sewers and whatever.

Hmm. What about genetic engineering? Maybe I shouldn't be trying to stop them from having kids, but telling them if they decide to have kids, they'll have to 'design' them to fit our standards? It's still your kid with your genes and everything, just all the good ones?

Mmm, the religious. No, I won't limit anyone's reproduction because of silly beliefs as long as they're smart/beneficial in other ways. I actually think this might be my most peaceful cure for idiotic dogma yet. Let people grow out of it.

Hah, just because we can't achieve something means we shouldn't bother? I'm never going to be the world's greatest rock legend, but that doesn't mean I should just quit, give up, and not bother. Why is trying to perfect a species immoral? Needless suffering, extremists, genocide, racism, et al exist anyway, a reason more or less for someone to be one will make little difference. (Racists are idiots, because race is mostly just a social construct anyway.)

Leo, ROBOTS!

Daria, yeah, I was going to respond. I was in school.


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I_am_the_best
post Jun 4 2009, 09:27 PM
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QUOTE (Yannick @ Jun 4 2009, 09:14 PM) *


Diversity will still exist, this isn't a racial or discriminatory thing. I couldn't care less whether you were white, black, asian, hispanic, army person, rock star, creotard (well, different story, but they can still reproduce), etc.

Also, we're still evolving, probably getting smarter/fitter with every new generation. If survival of the fittest is a bad guideline to follow, you guys haven't done a very good job of convincing me.

The difference between this and what Hitler did is the reasoning. He was a racist dude who wanted to preserve the Aryan gene pool and exterminate people because of total arbitrary details like race and sexuality, which in the end wouldn't make any conceivable difference in the world, other than making it muuuuch less diverse. I just want to get rid of people that are slowing us down for the ultimate prosperity.


Well firstly, it may not be racial discrimination, but no one can control their intelligence when they're born, in the same way they can't control their race. It's wrong to discriminate stupid people because it's not their fault. Also, people can learn! Some may have a significantly smaller capacity for learning and find it very hard, but no one is devoid of learning - life is one huge learning experience, you can't avoid it!

Secondly, no we are NOT getting smarter or fitter with every generation. It's the opposite. Everything is being made easier. We no longer need to know as much knowledge, but simply know where to find it. Before books where so easily distributed scholars would memorize entire books. Consider all of the great mathematical and scientific discoveries people made prior to the use of calculators - Euler and e for example! Of course the majority of people didn't have such a great education, being farmers and whatnot... And fitter? More like fatter...

What is our ultimate prosperity? Everyone with an IQ over 140? Do you genuinly think that someone who is mentally talented is going to want to spend their life being a dustbin man, when they could be out curing diseases or writing books? People with fewer life prospects are vital to our society.

It's also very hard to define 'stupid'. Where is the cut off point? It can't simply be judged by IQ - perhaps an interview too? But some people don't perform well in interviews. You can't know what anyone may do for the world in the future. Less intelligent people can be hugely caring, loving people...


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CrazyFooIAintGet...
post Jun 4 2009, 09:50 PM
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QUOTE (Yannick @ Jun 4 2009, 09:14 PM) *
Why is trying to perfect a species immoral?

Because you are proposing to take away people's basic human rights if they don't meet your arbitrary standards.

Even ignoring the ethical side of it I don't see how this could possibly benefit the species seeing as there isn't a gene for "stupid" which will be selected against...

Genetic engineering is pretty cool but designer babies is a terrible idea imo. Also I think having a less varied gene pool makes the species more vulnerable to diseases and stuff.

Cool as a robot controlled society would be, we are a long way off from robots being able to handle all the tasks humans can do so that's not really a viable solution.


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froggle-rock
post Jun 4 2009, 09:58 PM
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"creotard"

What is, Yannick?


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CrazyFooIAintGet...
post Jun 4 2009, 10:01 PM
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http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=creotard


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Phyllis
post Jun 4 2009, 10:26 PM
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Oh, of course. Robots will do it. rolleyes.gif And machines will put them together in the factory, I imagine? And those factories (and the robots themselves) will be powered by what, exactly? If you're thinking of using solar power, those panels are pretty dang expensive. Where will the funds come from? Who will gather the resources to build the robots? Where will they get those resources? I thought the goal was to reduce our impact on the planet. I'm no Al Gore, but I have a hunch that living in a very expensive version of a dystopian sci-fi novel isn't really conducive to reversing climate change.

I get the feeling that you are disguising your (frankly repugnant) views as concern for the environment in an attempt to make them seem less inhumane. It's not working. I really do try to keep an open mind in debates, but I'm just going to say it: you are completely wrong. If your ideas were (by some horrible mistake) actually implemented, it would lead to all-out war. The fact that genocide and racism already exist doesn't mean that you should do things to instigate them. What the hell kind of argument is that? "Well, the house was already burning down, so it doesn't matter that I got out a flamethrower instead of a fire extinguisher."

As I said before, trying to perfect humanity has never gone well, and it never will. And as crazymat said above, it would be taking away people's basic human rights. If you do not understand why attempting to create a master race to meet your own individual idea of what humanity should be is immoral, then I'm really not sure there is much else I can say to you on the subject.

And this:
QUOTE
You can totally hate a person and still do a better job of raising them than someone who loves them

is false. Kids need love -- that is Psych 101. Children who are raised in stable, loving environments stand a much better chance of growing into well-adjusted adults. Children who are raised without love grow up to have attachment disorders and all sorts of other personal problems. I have no idea where you got such an idea, but there isn't a reputable psychologist alive who would agree.


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