Read the Preface

My book, The Science of Human Perfection, will be coming out with Yale University Press  later this year. In the meantime, they have given me permission to post the Preface. Enjoy!

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5 thoughts on “Read the Preface

  1. Pingback: Eugenics, past and future | Genotopia

  2. Pingback: Life imitates satire–and scholarship | Genotopia

  3. Kiki Kishk

    I have to disagree with a lot of your tenets. Medicine has been going genetic? I can’t get any of my doctors or my husbands to look at genetic information about us that has a direct impact on our health. I’ve been self navigating with good results and very few people to help that have a medical degree.

    Eugenic impulse timeless? Less human engineering than the fact that the stuff we’re doing now are going to screw up future generations. Case in point, the use of estrogen containing birth-control will impact the genetic mutations of future generations of females. Who knows what it will do to males.

    You state that contemporary genetic medicine cannot exist outside of social and cultural context. Clearly you’ve never searched for solutions to incurable problems or diseases by using your own Genome. I’m using contemporary genetic medicine for my own personal Use and have no social or cultural agenda.

    Physicians are actively importing genetics with increasing vigor? You have to be kidding me. I could tell you 10 different ways that genetic’s would improve the outcomes of transplant patients with hepatitis C, but when I mentioned any of them to highly respected physicians at one of the best centers in the US, it either gets little attention or I get completely berated. The information is too new, it wasn’t taught to them in medical school 20 years ago, and it’s not backed by big Pharma because a lot of the solutions are over-the-counter which doesn’t make money for either doctors or big pharma.

    Eugenics the lifeblood of medical genetics? You have got to be kidding me again. Have you not run your genome through Prometheus? That’s all you need to do so you can get the good news on yourself and the bad news on yourself and then explore all the research on your various genetic nutation. It’s very interesting and you’ll see that there is genetic research on everything from the efficacy of certain drugs to the efficacy of certain treatments to whether or not you are more likely to sleep an hour later than the average guy. Genetic research is going on about everything from the likelihood you’re going to have asthma to the likelihood you going to have autism to male pattern baldness. I’ve traipsed through my genetic information and read hundreds of related studies, and I didn’t see a single thing related to eugenics. All of it was related to Discovering the causes of certain conditions in order to improve the human condition here on earth for individual people like me.

    Reply
    1. genotopia Post author

      Thanks for your comments. I’m happy that you took the time to read the preface and respond. However, I will point out that you only read the preface, where I lay out what my arguments are. Don’t mistake that for the full argument. For that, you need to read the book. There are a few problems with your reasoning, though, which I can address.
      First, you commit the basic fallacy of claiming to disprove a generalization with your own personal experience. None of the claims you cite are disproved by a single counter-example. The fact that you have personal experience with physicians who don’t know much about genetics is not a disproof of the claim that physicians are importing genetics with increasing vigor. I never said, “Every single physician is well-versed in genetics” or anything of the sort. And the fact that
      Second, your own experiences contradict your first criticism. You claim that it’s false to say medicine is going genetic and then provide your own examples of how genetics is everywhere in medicine and in fact say that you yourself are using genetic medicine as a patient. Case in point.
      Third, with all respect, of course you have an agenda. Everyone does. But my point is larger than that. It is that culture influences science. I’m arguing against the science cheerleaders who believe that the current understanding of science is Truth. Because 20 years ago, they thought the same thing, even though much of what we thought 20 years ago is now considered wrong. And the same 20 years before that, and 20 years before that, ad infinitum. Twenty years from now, we’ll look back and marvel at how ignorant we were in 2015. Science doesn’t find The Truth. Science erases what was formerly true. It’s the truest thing we know at the moment, but it’s naive and dangerous to think scientific knowledge is eternal–that makes science into a kind of religion.
      If you doubt my argument about the eugenic thread that runs through all medical genetics, read my book. It’s all laid out, with documents and references. I’m not saying I have the Ultimate Truth either. But I have good evidence. Check it out–it’s a good read! :)

      Reply
  4. Kiki Kish

    I appreciate your comments. I think you misunderstood something. In my experience, neither mainstream or specialized medicine is not going genetic. Until specialists are using info that I can find and use from patients’ genomes to solve SIMPLE conditions, then medicine is really not going genetic. I see some use of it to tailor chemo treatments or predict what meds would be best for some mental illnesses, but that’s about all I see.

    Regarding eugenics, the biggest eugenic experiment that will ever exist will be WWII. Right now, some people can pay $15,000 in order to pick from embryos that have had pregenetic testing diagnosis in order to prevent some serious disease that runs in their families. The Ashkenazi Jews are using similar services to try to prevent diseases common to them as well. This is not really eugenics. And while today it is very expensive and only a privileged few can take advantage of such services, true it may not be sotomorrow, but it’s hardly likely that the scenario from Hitler’s Germany will repeat itself.

    I do believe that advances in genetic medicine will make us live longer precisely by preventing diseases before they start, and and permit the individualization of medicine at some point in the future. Health insurance companies would save billions of dollars if they would pay attention to just a few common genetic mutations that cause or contribute to all kinds of diseases, so eventually, I think that will push the use of genetics. And while I may be naive today to say that genetics will not be used to produce a superior race, at present, except for the fact that it’s being ignored by the majority of physicians, I can only see it being used for good in the future. I will read your book once I finish the four I have in queue before yours that I must digest in order to cure an incurable disease by using knowledge gleaned in addition to my beloved patient’s genome. I anticipate to finish that task in about 2 more months. 😀

    Reply

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