Christianity and the New Eugenics: Should We Choose To Have Only Healthy Or Enhanced Children?

Christianity and the New Eugenics: Should We Choose To Have Only Healthy Or Enhanced Children?

by Calum MacKellar


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As the science of selection develops in the context of human reproduction, features such as the genetic improvement of health, athletic prowess or intelligence may become accepted grounds for choosing future children. Thus, the biological enhancement of the human race, so central to the discredited eugenic regimes of the twentieth century, may now be resurfacing under a new guise. Unnerving similarities between earlier eugenic selection programmes and those now being proposed in the context of twenty-first century human reproduction, with the development of procedures such as gene editing, suggest that a more ‘sanitised’ era of a new eugenics has dawned. There is, therefore, an urgent need to consider and evaluate both current and future selection practices from a Christian perspective based on Scripture. Calum MacKellar offers an accessible, inter-disciplinary analysis, blending science, history and Christian theology, enabling readers to develop an informed opinion about the topics encountered. To some degree, all members of society are affected by these new scientific developments in human reproduction, regardless of background, and will thus benefit from such a survey.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783599134
Publisher: IVP
Publication date: 07/21/2020
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.48(d)

About the Author

Director of Research of a medical charity in Scotland and a Visiting Lecturer in Bioethics at St Mary’s University in London, England. He is also a Fellow with the Centre for Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity International University, Chicago, USA. In 1998, he was ordained an elder of the Church of Scotland (the Reformed and Presbyterian national church in Scotland since 1560) and was a member of its Church and Society Council from 2005 to 2013. Previously, he had been a senior civil servant with the Bioethics Division of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1

Learning from the past 6

Looking to the present 8

2 Eugenics in its historical context 11

The history of eugenics in Germany 12

The history of eugenics in the UK 15

The history of eugenics in the USA 20

3 A Christian enquiry into the new eugenics 23

Creation and the image of God 26

Procreation, love and unconditional acceptance 44

The new eugenics and the equality of all 80

Other arguments relevant to the new eugenics 101

4 Presentation of different eugenic procedures 125

Reproductive eugenics through the selection of partners 125

Reproductive eugenics through selecting to have many, few or no children 128

Eugenics through selective adoption 129

Eugenics through sex selection 132

Eugenics through egg and sperm selection 134

Eugenics through prenatal genetic selection 139

Eugenics and embryonic selection 143

Eugenic selection through human cloning 148

Eugenic selection through infanticide 152

Eugenics through genome and germline modifications 156

5 Conclusion 177

God's creation of the child 180

Unconditional acceptance in procreation 181

The immeasurable worth and value of all individuals created in the same image of God 183

The ethics of the new eugenics 185

Risks of discrimination 187

The value and worth of life versus the quality of life 192

Further reading 198

Glossary 200

General index 208

Index of Scripture references 212

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