Reply re Marta Russell and Doyle Saylor

Philip L Ferguson PLF13 at
Sun Sep 5 17:52:33 MDT 1999

Doyle writes:

> For example is it right to genetically test fetuses in order to abort
>every Down's syndrome baby?  Or every autistic child?  No but what is the
>Marxist understanding of what this means?  At least part of that is to
>attack rationalism at its core, the delusion of pure thought disembodied
>from the world.  Otherwise the purpose of variation in human babies is lost.
> The reality of mutation is lost.  The change and diversity in genetics is
>lost.  The playing out of contingent changes needed to approach each
>differing system is lost.  All in the name of super human perfection that
>the Lord Our God intended for his human progeny.

I'd look at it from a quite different view.  Namely, that of women's right
to abortion.  It isn't a question of some power-that-be genetically testing
all fetuses; it is a question of all women having the right to information
about the fetus they are carrying.  If a woman decides to abort a fetus
because it has a disability, so be it.  It's no-one else's business.

In terms of 'the purpose of variation in human babies', I cannot see that
there is any such thing.  There is no 'purpose' in babies having different
physical features, for instance.  Moreover, 'natural selection' and
'genetic mutation' doesn't apply in the human world; we left it behind in
the process of becoming human.  We are entirely distinct from the animal

Philip Ferguson

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