My eldest son and I were making the daily commute to school this past week, and we ended up on the discussion of extending human life to hundreds of years. He’d overheard a news article about slowing down the aging process, which got him thinking. Naturally, I’m somewhat against extending human aging. I think if we don’t die out in a reasonable time frame, society will stagnate. The younger generations keep human society always moving forward to bigger and better advancements. I was explaining this to my son, and he almost immediately realized another downside to extending one’s life span. What would be the cut off? And how would that be decided? Further than all that, I pointed out not only how would a limit to age be set, but is it really a good thing to live two hundred years? Does a longer life span mean one will find success and wealth? Or just an extra one hundred and fifty years of working in a gas station instead of forty? The realization that an individual with an extended life time could possibly spend three times longer in a dead-end job was staggering to my son.
But I wasn’t done with that thought. Surely, gaining an extra hundred years would mean that eventually, humans would be forced to re prioritize their life goals simply because they possess more time to work on them. Would we humans then take more time for education? Or would many of us continue to follow our instincts of creating families and working our extra time away? And we never jumped into how much more social program would be needed. Instead we moved on to other good subject matter involving PS4s and Steam games. After I dropped him off to his school, I went back to the social risks involved with the extension of human life. For a brief few seconds I found myself justifying selective extension if the individual was an asset to society. I’d fallen into the murky pit of eugenics. For those who aren’t familiar, eugenics is often defined as a controlled and purposeful evolution of human races by controlled breeding practices. In today’s day and age, this is being considered (and experimented upon) on the genetic level. World War II saw the horrors of eugenics gone wrong after hoping for a more perfect German race. Extermination of millions of Jews, homosexuals, and more, all in the name of advancing the German gene pool. But Germany didn’t get this idea on their own. In fact, they had a role model that was already doing another form of eugenics that later would eventually bring about Germany’s defeat.
There was a mandatory sterilization policy for the disabled here in the United States that started in the 1930’s, and lasted until the end of World War II. One could say that the Nazis took a page from the land of the free and went a whole step further, all thanks to our own eugenics programs we had already implemented. On top of these practices gone wrong, you can see a type of spiritual eugenics within many religious families, and even in biblical doctrine during this time, but it wasn’t dominating in society yet. I found it a rather disturbing realization that there is a weird belief of a family line being stronger through mutual religious faith. This started to really take hold after World War II when many churches began abandoning some of their support for sterilization and other .....Read more here at my new blog The Bluegrass Skeptic... http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/05/15/spiritual-eugenics-is-really-a-thing-2/.