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Cloning (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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Jun 302016
 

Strictly speaking, cloning is the creation of a genetic copy of a sequence of DNA or of the entire genome of an organism. In the latter sense, cloning occurs naturally in the birth of identical twins and other multiples. But cloning can also be done artificially in the laboratory via embryo twinning or splitting: an early embryo is split in vitro so that both parts, when transferred to a uterus, can develop into individual organisms genetically identical to each other. In the cloning debate, however, the term cloning typically refers to a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). SCNT involves transferring the nucleus of a somatic cell into an oocyte from which the nucleus and thus most of the DNA has been removed. (The mitochondrial DNA in the cytoplasm is still present). The manipulated oocyte is then treated with an electric current in order to stimulate cell division, resulting in the formation of an embryo. The embryo is (virtually) genetically identical to, and thus a clone of the somatic cell donor.

Dolly was the first mammal to be brought into the world using SCNT. Wilmut and his team at the Roslin Institute in Scotland replaced the nucleus from an oocyte taken from a Blackface ewe with the nucleus of a cell from the mammary gland of a six-year old Finn Dorset sheep (these sheep have a white face). They transferred the resulting embryo into the uterus of a surrogate ewe and approximately five months later Dolly was born. Dolly had a white face: she was genetically identical to the Finn Dorset ewe from which the somatic cell had been obtained.

Dolly, however, was not 100% genetically identical to the donor animal. Genetic material comes from two sources: the nucleus and the mitochondria of a cell. Mitochondria are organelles that serve as power sources to the cell. They contain short segments of DNA. In Dolly’s case, her nuclear DNA was the same as the donor animal; other of her genetic materials came from the mitochondria in the cytoplasm of the enucleated oocyte. For the clone and the donor animal to be exact genetic copies, the oocyte too would have to come from the donor animal (or from the same maternal line mitochondria are passed on by oocytes).

Dolly’s birth was a real breakthrough, for it proved that something that had been considered biologically impossible could indeed be done. Before Dolly, scientists thought that cell differentiation was irreversible: they believed that, once a cell has differentiated into a specialized body cell, such as a skin or liver cell, the process cannot be reversed. What Dolly demonstrated was that it is possible to take a differentiated cell, turn back its biological clock, and make the cell behave as though it was a recently fertilized egg.

Nuclear transfer can also be done using a donor cell from an embryo instead of from an organism after birth. Cloning mammals using embryonic cells has been successful since the mid-1980s (for a history of cloning, see Wilmut et al., 2001). Another technique to produce genetically identical offspring or clones is embryo twinning or embryo splitting, in which an early embryo is split in vitro so that both parts, when implanted in the uterus, can develop into individual organisms genetically identical to each other. This process occurs naturally with identical twins.

However, what many people find disturbing is the idea of creating a genetic duplicate of an existing person, or a person who has existed. That is why the potential application of SCNT in humans set off a storm of controversy. Another way to produce a genetic duplicate from an existing person is by cryopreserving one of two genetically identical embryos created in vitro for several years or decades before using it to generate a pregnancy. Lastly, reproductive cloning of humans could, in theory, also be achieved by combining the induced pluripotent stem cell technique with tetraploid complementation. Several research teams have succeeded in cloning mice this way (see, for example, Boland et al., 2009).

Dolly is a case of reproductive cloning, the aim of which is to create offspring. Reproductive cloning is to be distinguished from cloning for therapy and research, sometimes also referred to as therapeutic cloning. Both reproductive cloning and cloning for research and therapy involve SCNT, but their aims, as well as most of the ethical concerns they raise, differ. I will first discuss cloning for research and therapy and will then proceed to outline the ethical debate surrounding reproductive cloning.

Cloning for research and therapy involves the creation of an embryo via SCNT, but instead of transferring the cloned embryo to the uterus in order to generate a pregnancy, it is used to obtain pluripotent stem cells. It is thus not the intention to use the embryo for reproductive purposes. Embryonic stem cells offer powerful tools for developing therapies for currently incurable diseases and conditions, for important biomedical research, and for drug discovery and toxicity testing (Cervera & Stojkovic, 2007). For example, one therapeutic approach is to induce embryonic stem cells to differentiate into cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) to repair or replace damaged heart tissue, into insulin-producing cells to treat diabetes, or into neurons and their supporting tissues to repair spinal cord injuries.

A potential problem with embryonic stem cells is that they will normally not be genetically identical to the patient. Embryonic stem cells are typically derived from embryos donated for research after in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Because these stem cells would have a genetic identity different from that of the recipient the patient they may, when used in therapy, be rejected by her immune system. Immunorejection can occur when the recipient’s body does not recognize the transplanted cells, tissues or organs as its own and as a defense mechanism attempts to destroy the graft. Another type of immunorejection involves a condition called graft-versus-host disease, in which immune cells contaminating the graft recognize the new host the patient as foreign and attack the host’s tissues and organs. Both types of immunorejection can result in loss of the graft or death of the patient. It is one of the most serious problems faced in transplant surgery.

Cloning for research and therapy could offer a solution to this problem. An embryo produced via SNCT using the patient’s somatic cell as a donor cell would be virtually genetically identical to the patient. Stem cells obtained from that embryo would thus also be genetically identical to the patient, as would be their derivatives, and would be less likely to be rejected after transplantation. Though therapies using embryonic stem cells from SCNT embryos are not yet on the horizon for humans, scientists have provided proof of concept for these therapies in the mouse.

Embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos would also have significant advantages for biomedical research, and for drug discovery and toxicity testing. Embryonic stem cells genetically identical to the patient could provide valuable in vitro models to study disease, especially where animal models are not available, where the research cannot be done in patients themselves because it would be too invasive, or where there are too few patients to work with (as in the case of rare genetic diseases). Researchers could, for example, create large numbers of embryonic stem cells genetically identical to the patient and then experiment on these in order to understand the particular features of the disease in that person. The embryonic stem cells and their derivatives could also be used to test potential treatments. They could, for example, be used to test candidate drug therapies to predict their likely toxicity. This would avoid dangerous exposure of patients to sometimes highly experimental drugs.

Cloning for research and therapy is, however, still in its infancy stages. In 2011, a team of scientists from the New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory was the first to have succeeded in creating two embryonic stem cell lines from human embryos produced through SCNT (Noggle et al., 2011). Three years earlier, a small San Diego biotechnological company created human embryos (at the blastocyst stage) via SCNT but did not succeed in deriving embryonic stem cells from these cells (French et al., 2008). Cloning for research and therapy is thus not likely to bear fruition in the short term. Apart from unsolved technical difficulties, much more basic research in embryonic stem cell research is needed. The term therapeutic cloning has been criticized precisely for this reason. It suggests that therapy using embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos is already reality. In the phase before clinical trials, critics say, it is only reasonable to refer to research on nuclear transfer as research cloning or cloning for biomedical research (PCBE, 2002).

Cloning for research and therapy holds great potential for future research and therapeutic applications, but it also raises various concerns.

Much of the debate about the ethics of cloning for research and therapy turns on a basic disagreement about how we should treat early human embryos. As it is currently done, the isolation of embryonic stem cells involves the destruction of embryos at the blastocyst stage (day five after fertilization, when the embryo consists of 125225 cells). But cloning for research and therapy not only involves the destruction of embryos, it also involves the creation of embryos solely for the purpose of stem cell derivation. Views on whether and when it is permissible to create embryos solely to obtain stem cells differ profoundly.

Some believe that an embryo, from the moment of conception, has the same moral status, that is, the same set of basic moral rights, claims or interests as an ordinary adult human being. This view is sometimes expressed by saying that the early embryo is a person. On this view, creating and killing embryos for stem cells is a serious moral wrong. It is impermissible, even if it could save many lives (Deckers, 2007). Others believe that the early embryo is merely a cluster of cells or human tissue lacking any moral status. A common view among those who hold this view is that, given its promising potential, embryonic stem cell and cloning research is a moral imperative (Devolder & Savulescu, 2006). Many defend a view somewhere in between these opposing positions. They believe, for example, that the early embryo should be treated with respect because it has an intermediate moral status: a moral status lower than that of a person but higher than that of an ordinary body cell. A popular view amongst those who hold this position is that using embryos for research might sometimes be justified. Respect can be demonstrated, it is typically argued, by using embryos only for very important research that cannot be done using less controversial means, and by acknowledging the use of embryos for research with a sense of regret or loss (Robertson, 1995; Steinbock, 2001). One common view among those who hold the intermediate moral status view is that the use of discarded IVF embryos to obtain stem cells is compatible with the respect we owe to the embryo, whereas the creation and use of cloned embryos is not. An argument underlying this view is that, unlike IVF embryos, cloned embryos are created for instrumental use only; they are created and treated as a mere means, which some regard as incompatible with respectful treatment of the embryo (NBAC, 1999). Others (both proponents and opponents of embryo research) have denied that there is a significant moral difference between using discarded IVF embryos and cloned embryos as a source of stem cells. They have argued that if killing embryos for research is wrong, it is wrong regardless of the embryo’s origin (Doerflinger, 1999; Fitzpatrick, 2003; Devolder, 2005). Douglas and Savulescu (2009) have argued that it is permissible to destroy unwanted embryos in research, that is, embryos that no one wishes to use for reproductive purposes. Since both discarded IVF embryos and cloned embryos created for the purpose of stem cell derivation are unwanted embryos in that sense, it is, on their view, permissible to use both types of embryos for research.

A less common view holds that obtaining stem cells from cloned embryos poses fewer ethical problems than obtaining stem cells from discarded IVF embryos. Hansen (2002) has advanced this view, arguing that embryos resulting from SCNT do not have the same moral status we normally accord to other embryos: he calls the combination of a somatic nucleus and an enucleated egg a transnuclear egg, which, he says, is a mere artifact with no natural purpose or potential to evolve into an embryo and eventually a human being, and therefore falls outside the category of human beings. McHugh (2004) and Kiessling (2001) advance a similar argument. On their view, obtaining stem cells from cloned embryos is less morally problematic because embryos resulting from SCNT are better thought of as tissue culture, whereas IVF represents instrumental support for human reproduction. Since creating offspring is not the goal, they argue, it is misleading to use the term embryo or zygote to refer to the product of SCNT. They suggest to instead use the terms clonote (Mc Hugh) and ovasome (Kiessling).

Cloning for research and therapy requires a large number of donor oocytes. Ethical issues arise regarding how these oocytes could be obtained. Oocyte donation involves various risks and discomforts (for a review of the risks, see Committee on Assessing the Medical Risks of Human Oocyte Donation for Stem Cell Research, 2007). Among the most pressing ethical issues raised by participating in such donation is what model of informed consent should be applied. Unlike women who are considering IVF, non-medical oocyte donors are not clinical patients. They do not stand to derive any reproductive or medical benefit themselves from the donation (though Kalfoglou & Gittelsohn, 2000, argue that they may derive a psychological benefit). Magnus and Cho (2005) have argued that donating women should not be classified as research subjects since, unlike in other research, the risks to the donor do not lie in the research itself but in the procurement of the materials required for the research. They suggest that a new category named research donors be created for those who expose themselves to substantial risk only for the benefit of others (in this case unidentifiable people in the future) and where the risk is incurred not in the actual research but in the procurement of the materials for the research. Informed consent for altruistic organ donation by living donors to strangers has also been suggested as a model, since, in both cases, the benefits will be for strangers and not for the donor. Critics of this latter suggestion have pointed out, however, that there is a disanalogy between these two types of donation. The general ethical rule reflected in regulations concerning altruistic donation, namely that there must be a high chance of a good outcome for the patient, is violated in the case of oocyte donation for cloning research (George, 2007).

Given the risks to the donor, the absence of direct medical benefit for the donor, and the uncertain potential of cloning research, it is not surprising that the number of altruistic oocyte donations for such research is very low. Financial incentives might be needed to increase the supply of oocytes for cloning research. In some countries, including the US, selling and buying oocytes is legal. Some object to these practices because they consider oocytes as integral to the body and think they should be kept out of the market: on their view, the value of the human body and its parts should not be expressed in terms of money or other fungible goods. Some also worry that, through commercialization of oocytes, women themselves may become objects of instrumental use (Alpers &Lo, 1995). Many agree, however, that a concern for commodification does not justify a complete ban on payment of oocyte donors and that justice requires that they be financially compensated for the inconvenience, burden, and medical risk they endure, as is standard for other research subjects (Steinbock, 2004; Mertes &Pennings, 2007). A related concern is the effect of financial or other offers of compensation on the voluntariness of oocyte donation. Women, especially economically disadvantaged women from developing countries, might be unduly induced or even coerced into selling their oocytes (Dickinson, 2002). Baylis and McLeod (2007) have highlighted how difficult it is concomitantly to avoid both undue inducement and exploitation: a price that is too low risks exploitation; a price that avoids exploitation risks undue inducement.

Concerns about exploitation are not limited to concerns about payment, as became clear in the Hwang scandal (for a review, see Saunders & Savulescu, 2008). In 2004, Woo-Suk-Hwang, a leading Korean stem cell scientist, claimed to be the first to clone human embryos using SCNT and to extract stem cells from these embryos. In addition to finding that Hwang had fabricated many of his research results, Korea’s National Bioethics Committee also found that Hwang had pressured junior members of his lab to donate oocytes for his cloning experiments.

Some authors have argued that a regulated market in oocytes could minimize ethical concerns raised by the commercialization of oocytes and could be consistent with respect for women (Resnik 2001; Gruen, 2007). Researchers are also investigating the use of alternative sources of oocytes, including animal oocytes, fetal oocytes, oocytes from adult ovaries obtained post mortem or during operation, and stem cell-derived oocytes. Finally, another option is egg-sharing where couples who are undergoing IVF for reproductive purposes have the option to donate one or two of their oocytes in return for a reduced fee for their fertility treatment. The advantage of this system is that it avoids exposing women to extra risks these women were undergoing IVF in any case (Roberts & Throsby, 2008).

Personalized cloning therapies are likely to be labor intensive and expensive. This has raised social justice concerns. Perhaps cloning therapies will only be a realistic option for the very rich? Cloning therapies may, however, become cheaper, less labor intensive and more widely accessible after time. Moreover, cloning may cure diseases and not only treat symptoms. Regardless of the economic cost, it remains true of course that the cloning procedure is time consuming, rendering it inappropriate for certain clinical applications where urgent intervention is required (e.g., myocardial infarction, acute liver failure or traumatic or infectious spinal cord damage). If cloning for therapy became available, its application would thus likely be restricted to chronic conditions. Wilmut (1997), who cloned Dolly, has suggested that cloning treatments could be targeted to maximize benefit: an older person with heart disease could be treated with stem cells that are not a genetic match, take drugs to suppress her immune system for the rest of her life, and live with the side-effects; a younger person might benefit from stem cells from cloned embryos that match exactly. Devolder and Savulescu (2006) have argued that objections about economic cost are most forceful against cloning for self-transplantation than, for example, against cloning for developing cellular models of human disease. The latter will enable research into human diseases and may result in affordable therapies and cures for a variety of common diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, which afflict people all over the world. Finally, some have pointed out that it is not clear whether cloning research is necessarily more labor intensive than experiments on cells and tissues now done in animals.

Some are skeptical about the claimed benefits of cloning for research and therapy. They stress that for many diseases in which cloned embryonic stem cells might offer a therapy, there are alternative treatments and/or preventive measures in development, including gene therapy, pharmacogenomical solutions and treatments based on nanotechnology. It is often claimed that other types of stem cells such as adult stem cells and stem cells from the umbilical cord blood might enable us to achieve the same aims as cloning. Especially induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have raised the hope that cloning research is superfluous (Rao & Condic 2008). iPSCs are created through genetic manipulation of a body cell. iPSCs are similar to embryonic stem cells, and in particular to embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos. However,iPSC research could provide tissue- and patient-specific cells without relying on the need for human oocytes or the creation and destruction of embryos. iPSC research could thus avoid the ethical issues raised by cloning. This promise notwithstanding, scientists have warned that it would be premature to stop cloning research as iPSCs are not identical to embryonic stem cells. Cloning research may teach us things that iPSC research cannot teach us. Moreover, iPSC research has been said to fail to completely avoid the issue of embryo destruction (Brown, 2009).

Slippery slope arguments express the worry that permitting a certain practice may place us on a slippery slope to a dangerous or otherwise unacceptable outcome. Several commentators have argued that accepting or allowing cloning research is the first step that would place us on a slippery slope to reproductive cloning. As Leon Kass (1998, 702) has put it: once the genies put the cloned embryos into the bottles, who can strictly control where they go?

Others are more skeptical about slippery slope arguments against cloning and think that effective legislation can prevent us from sliding down the slope (Savulescu, 1999; Devolder & Savulescu 2006). If reproductive cloning is unacceptable, these critics say, it is reasonable to prohibit this specific technology rather than to ban non-reproductive applications of cloning. The UK and Belgium, for example, allow cloning research but prohibit the transfer of cloned embryos to the uterus.

Apart from the question of how slippery the slope might be, another question raised by such arguments concerns the feared development reproductive cloning and whether it is really ethically objectionable. Profound disagreement exists about the answer to this question.

The central argument in favor of reproductive cloning is expansion of opportunities for reproduction. Reproductive cloning could offer a new means for prospective parents to satisfy their reproductive goals or desires. Infertile individuals or couples could have a child that is genetically related to them. In addition, individuals, same sex couples, or couples who cannot together produce an embryo would no longer need donor gametes to reproduce if cloning were available (some might still need donor eggs for the cloning procedure, but these would be enucleated so that only the mitochondrial DNA remains). It would be possible then to avoid that one’s child shares half of her nuclear DNA with a gamete donor.

Using cloning to help infertile people to have a genetically related child, or a child that is only genetically related to them, has been defended on the grounds of human wellbeing, personal autonomy, and the satisfaction of the natural inclination to produce offspring (Hyry, 2003; Strong, 2008). Offering individuals or couples the possibility to reproduce using cloning technology has been said to be consistent with the right to reproductive freedom, which, according to some, implies the right to choose what kind of children we will have (Brock, 1998, 145).

According to some, the main benefit of reproductive cloning is that it would enable prospective parents to control what genome their children will be endowed with (Fletcher, 1988, Harris, 1997, 2004; Pence 1998, 1016; Tooley, 1998). Cloning would enable parents to have a child with a genome identical to that of a person with good health and/or other desirable characteristics.

Another possible use of reproductive cloning is to create a child that is a tissue match for a sick sibling. The stem cells from the umbilical cord blood or from the bone marrow of the cloned child could be used to treat the diseased sibling. Such saviour siblings, have already been created through sexual reproduction or, more efficiently, through a combination of IVF, preimplantation genetic diagnosis and HLA testing.

Many people, however, have expressed concerns about human reproductive cloning. For some these concerns are sufficient to reject human cloning. For others, these concerns should be weighed against reasons for reproductive cloning.

What follows is an outline of some of the main areas of concern and disagreement about human reproductive cloning.

Despite the successful creation of viable offspring via SCNT in various mammalian species, researchers still have limited understanding of how the technique works on the subcellular and molecular level. Although the overall efficiency and safety of reproductive cloning in mammals has significantly increased over the past fifteen years, it is not yet a safe process (Whitworth & Prather, 2010). For example, the rate of abortions, stillbirths and developmental abnormalities remains high. Another source of concern is the risk of premature ageing because of shortened telomeres. Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at the tip of chromosomes that get shorter as an animal gets older. When the telomeres of a cell get so short that they disappear, the cell dies. The concern is that cloned animals may inherit the shortened telomeres from their older progenitor, with possibly premature aging and a shortened lifespan as a result.

For many, the fact that reproductive cloning is unsafe provides a sufficient reason not to pursue it. It has been argued that it would simply be wrong to impose such significant health risks on humans. The strongest version of this argument states that it would be wrong now to produce a child using SCNT because it would constitute a case of wrongful procreation. Some adopt a consent-based objection and condemn cloning because the person conceived cannot consent to being exposed to significant risks involved in the procedure (Kass, 1998; PCBE, 2002). Against this, it has been argued that even if reproductive cloning is unsafe, it may still be permissible if there are no safer means to bring that very same child into existence so long as the child is expected to have a life worth living (Strong, 2005).

With the actual rate of advancement in cloning, one cannot exclude a future in which the safety and efficiency of SCNT will be comparable or superior to that of IVF or even sexual reproduction. A remaining question is, then, whether those who condemn cloning because of its experimental nature should continue to condemn it morally and legally. Some authors have reasoned that if, in the future, cloning becomes safer than sexual reproduction, we should even make it our reproductive method of choice (Fletcher, 1988; Harris 2004, Ch. 4).

Some fear that cloning threatens the identity and individuality of the clone, thus reducing her autonomy (Ramsey, 1966; Kitcher, 1997; Annas, 1998; Kass, 1998). This may be bad in itself, or bad because it might reduce the clone’s wellbeing. It may also be bad because it will severely restrict the array of life plans open to the clone, thus violating her right to an open future (a concept developed by Feinberg, 1980). In its report Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry, the US President’s Council on Bioethics (2002) wrote that being genetically unique is an emblem of independence and individuality and allows us to go forward with a relatively indeterminate future in front of us (Ch.5, Section c). Such concerns have formed the basis of strong opposition to cloning.

The concern that cloning threatens the clone’s identity and individuality has been criticized for relying on the mistaken belief that who and what we become is entirely determined by our genes. Such genetic determinism is clearly false. Though genes influence our personal development, so does the complex and irreproducible context in which our lives take place. We know this, among others, from studying monozygotic twins. Notwithstanding the fact that such twins are genetically identical to each other and, therefore, sometimes look very similar and often share many character traits, habits and preferences, they are different individuals, with different identities (Segal, 2000). Thus, it is argued, having a genetic duplicate does not threaten one’s individuality, or one’s distinct identity.

Brock (2002) has pointed out that one could nevertheless argue that even though individuals created through cloning would be unique individuals with a distinct identity, they might not experience it that way. What is threatened by cloning then is not the individual’s identity or individuality, but her sense of identity and individuality, and this may reduce her autonomy. So even if a clone has a unique identity, she may experience more difficulties in establishing her identity than if she had not been a clone.

But here too critics have relied on the comparison with monozygotic twins. Harris (1997, 2004) and Tooley (1998), for example, have pointed out that each twin not only has a distinct identity, but generally also views him or herself as having a distinct identity, as do their relatives and friends. Moreover, so they argue, an individual created through cloning would likely be of a different age than her progenitor. There may even be several generations between them. A clone would thus in essence be a delayed twin. Presumably this would make it even easier for the clone to view herself as distinct from the progenitor than if she had been genetically identical to someone her same age.

However, the reference to twins as a model to think about reproductive cloning has been criticized, for example, because it fails to reflect important aspects of the parent-child relationship that would incur if the child were a clone of one of the rearing parents (Jonas, 1974; Levick, 2004). Because of the dominance of the progenitor, the risk of reduced autonomy and confused identity may be greater in such a situation than in the case of ordinary twins. Moreover, just because the clone would be a delayed twin, she may have the feeling that her life has already been lived or that she is predetermined to do the same things as her progenitor (Levy & Lotz 2005). This problem may be exacerbated by others constantly comparing her life with that of the progenitor, and having problematic expectations based on these comparisons. The clone may feel under constant pressure to live up to these expectations (Kass, 1998; Levick, 2004, 101; Sandel, 2007, 5762), or may have the feeling she leads a life in the shadow of the progenitor (Holm, 1998; PCBE, 2002, Ch.5). This may especially be the case if the clone was created as a replacement for a deceased child. (Some private companies already offer to clone dead pets to create replacements pets.) The fear is that the ghost of the dead child will get more attention and devotion than the replacement child. Parents may expect the clone to be like the lost child, or some idealized image of it, which could hamper the development of her identity and adversely affect her self-esteem (Levick, 2004, 111132). Finally, another reason why the clone’s autonomy may be reduced is because she would be involuntarily informed about her genetic predispositions. A clone who knows that her genetic parent developed a severe single gene disease at the age of forty will realise it is very likely that she will undergo the same fate. Unlike individuals who choose to have themselves genetically tested, clones who know their genetic parent’s medical history will be involuntarily informed.

These concerns have been challenged on several grounds. Some believe that it is plausible that, through adequate information, we could largely correct mistaken beliefs about the link between genetic and personal identity, and thus reduce the risk of problematic expectations toward the clone (Harris, 1997, 2004; Tooley 1998, 845; Brock, 1998, Pence, 1998). Brock (1998) and Buchanan et al. (2000, 198) have argued that even if people persist in these mistaken beliefs and their attitudes or actions lead to cloned individuals believing they do not have an open future, this does not imply that the clone’s right to ignorance about one’s personal future or to an open future has actually been violated. Pence (1998, 138) has argued that having high expectations, even if based on false beliefs, is not necessarily a bad thing. Parents with high expectations often give their children the best chances to lead a happy and successful life. Brock (2002, 316) has argued that parents now also constantly restrict the array of available life plans open to their children, for example, by selecting their school or by raising them according to certain values. Though this may somewhat restrict the child’s autonomy, there will always be enough decisions to take for the child to be autonomous, and to realize this. According to Brock, it is not clear why this should be different in the case of cloning. He also points out that there may be advantages to being a delayed twin (154). For example, one may acquire knowledge about the progenitor’s medical history and use this knowledge to live longer, or to increase one’s autonomy. One could, for example, use the information to reduce the risk of getting the disease or condition, or to at least postpone its onset, by behavioral changes, an appropriate diet and/or preventive medication. This would not be possible, however, if the disease is untreatable (for example, Huntington’s Disease). Harris (2004, Ch.1) has stressed that information about one’s genetic predispositions for certain diseases would also allow one to take better informed reproductive decisions. Cloning would allow us to give our child a tried and tested genome, not one created by the genetic lottery of sexual reproduction and the random combination of chromosomes.

Cloning arouses people’s imagination about the clone, but also about those who will choose to have a child through cloning. Often dubious motives are ascribed to them: they would want a child that is just like so-and-so causing people to view them as objects or as commodities like a new car or a new house (Putnam, 1997, 78). They would want an attractive child (a clone of Scarlett Johansson) or a child with tennis talent (a clone of Victoria Azarenka) purely to show off. Dictators would want armies of clones to achieve their political goals. People would clone themselves out of vanity. Parents would clone their existing child so that the clone can serve as an organ bank for that child, or would clone their deceased child to have a replacement child. The conclusion is then that cloning is wrong because the clone will be used as a mere means to others’ ends. These critiques have also been expressed with regard to other forms of assisted reproduction; but some worry that individuals created through cloning may be more likely to be viewed as commodities because their total genetic blueprint would be chosen they would be fully made and not begotten (Ramsey, 1966; Kass 1998; PCBE 2002, 107).

Strong (2008) has argued that these concerns are based on a fallacious interference. It is one thing to desire genetically related children, and something else to believe that one owns one’s children or that one considers one’s children as objects, he writes. Other commentators, however, have pointed out that even if parents themselves will not commodify their children, cloning might still have an impact in society as a whole on people’s tendencies to do so (Levy & Lotz, 2005; Sandel 2007). A related concern expressed by Levick (2004, 1845) is that allowing cloning might result in a society where production on demand clones are sold for adoption to people who are seeking to have children with special abilities a clearer case of treating children as objects.

But suppose some people create a clone for instrumental reasons, for example, as a stem cell donor for a sick sibling. Does this imply that the clone will be treated merely as a means? Critics of this argument have pointed out that parents have children for all kinds of instrumental reasons, including the benefit for the husband-wife relationship, continuity of the family name, and the economic and psychological benefits children provide when their parents become old (Harris 2004, 412, Pence 1998). This is generally not considered problematic as long as the child is also valued in its own right. What is most important in a parent-child relationship is the love and care inherent in that relationship. They stress the fact that we judge people on their attitudes toward children, rather than on their motives for having them. They also deny that there is a strong link between one’s intention or motive to have a child, and the way one will treat the child.

Another concern is that clones may be the victims of unjustified discrimination and will not be respected as persons (Deech, 1999; Levick, 2004, 185187). Savulescu (2005, Other Internet Resources) has referred to such negative attitudes towards clones as clonism: a new form of discrimination against a group of humans who are different in a non-morally significant way. But does a fear for clonism constitute a good reason for rejecting cloning? Savulescu and others have argued that, if it is, then we must conclude that racist attitudes and discriminatory behavior towards people with a certain ethnicity provides a good reason for people with that ethnicity not to procreate. This, according to these critics, is a morally objectionable way to solve the problem of racism. Instead of limiting people’s procreative liberty we should combat existing prejudices and discrimination. Likewise, it is argued, instead of prohibiting cloning out of concern for clonism, we should combat possible prejudices and discrimination against clones (see also Pence, 1998, 46; Harris, 2004, 9293). Macintosh (2005, 11921) has warned that by expressing certain concerns about cloning one may actually reinforce certain prejudices and misguided stereotypes about clones. For example, saying that a clone would not have a personal identity prejudges the clone as inferior or fraudulent (the idea that originals are more valuable than their copies) or even less than human (as individuality is seen as an essential characteristic of human nature).

Another concern is that cloning threatens traditional family structures; a fear that has come up in debates about homosexuals adopting children, IVF and other assisted reproduction techniques. But in cloning the situation would be more complex as it may blur generational boundaries (McGee, 2000) and the clone would likely be confused about her kinship ties (Kass, 1998; O’Neil 2002, 6768). For example, a woman who has a child conceived through cloning would actually be the twin of her child and the woman’s mother would, genetically, be its mother, not grandmother. Some have argued against these concerns, replying that a cloned child would not necessarily be more confused about her family ties than other children. Many have four nurturing parents because of a divorce, never knew their genetic parents, have nurturing parents that are not their genetic parents, or think that their nurturing father is also their genetic father when in fact he is not. While these complex family relationships can be troubling for some children, they are not insurmountable, critics say. Harris (2004, 7778) argues that there are many aspects about the situation one is born and raised in that may be troublesome. As with all children, the most important thing is the relation with people who nurture and educate them, and children usually know very well who these people are. There is no reason to believe that with cloning, this will be any different. Onora O’Neil (2002, 678) argues that such responses are misplaced. While she acknowledges that there are already children now with confused family relationships, she argues that it is very different when prospective parents seek such potentially confused relationships for their children from the start.

Other concerns related to cloning focus on the potential harmful effects of cloning for others. Sometimes these concerns are related to those about the wellbeing of the clone. For example, McGee’s concern about confused family relationships not only bears on the clone but also on society as a whole. However, since I have already mentioned this concerns, I will, in the remainder of this entry, focus on other arguments

The strongest reason for why reproductive cloning should be permissible, if safe, is that it will allow infertile people to have a genetically related child. This position relies on the view that having genetically related children is morally significant and valuable. This is a controversial view. For example, Levy and Lotz (2005) have denied the importance of a genetic link between parents and their children. Moreover, they have argued that claiming that this link is important will give rise to bad consequences, such as reduced adoption rates and diminished resources for improving the life prospects of the disadvantaged, including those waiting to be adopted. Levick (2004, 185) and Ahlberg and Brighouse (2011) have also advanced this view. Since, according to these authors, these undesirable consequences would be magnified if we allowed human cloning, we have good reason to prohibit it. In response, Strong (2008) has argued that this effect is uncertain, and that there are other, probably more effective, ways to help such children or to prevent them from ending up in such a situation. Moreover, if cloning is banned, infertile couples may opt for embryo or gamete donation rather than adoption.

Another concern is that because cloning is an asexual way of reproducing it would decrease genetic variation among offspring and, in the long run, might even constitute a threat to the human race. The gene pool may narrow sufficiently to threaten humanity’s resistance to disease (AMA, 1999, 6). In response, it has been argued that if cloning becomes possible, the number of people who will choose it as their mode of reproduction will very likely be too low to constitute a threat to genetic diversity. It would be unlikely to be higher than the rate of natural twinning, which, occurring at a rate of 3.5/1000 children, does not seriously impact on genetic diversity. Further, even if millions of people would create children through cloning, the same genomes will not be cloned over and over: each person would have a genetic copy of his or her genome, which means the result will still be a high diversity of genomes. Others argue that, even if genetic diversity were not diminished by cloning, a society that supports reproductive cloning might be taken to express the view that variety is not important. Conveying such a message, these authors say, could have harmful consequences for a multicultural society.

Some see the increase in control of what kind of genome we want to pass on to our children as a positive development A major concern, however, is that this shift from chance to choice will lead to problematic eugenic practices.

One version of this concern states that cloning would, from the outset, constitute a problematic form of eugenics. However, critics have argued that this is implausible: the best explanations of what was wrong with immoral cases of eugenics, such as the Nazi eugenic programs, are that they involved coercion and were motivated by objectionable moral beliefs or false non-moral beliefs. This would not necessarily be the case were cloning to be implemented now (Agar, 2004; Buchanan, 2007). Unlike the coercive and state-directed eugenics of the past, new liberal eugenics defends values such as autonomy, reproductive freedom, beneficence, empathy and the avoidance of harm. Enthusiasts of so-called liberal eugenics are interested in helping individuals to prevent or diminish the suffering and increase the well-being of their children by endowing them with certain genes.

Another version of the eugenics concern points out the risk of a slippery slope: the claim is that cloning will lead to objectionable forms of eugenicsfor example, coercive eugenicsin the future. After all, historical cases of immoral eugenics often developed from earlier well intentioned and less problematic practices (for a history of eugenics as well as an analysis of philosophical and political issues raised by eugenics, see Kevles, 1985 and Paul, 1995). According to Sandel (2007, Ch.5), for example, liberal eugenics might imply more state compulsion than first appears: just as governments can force children to go to school, they could require people to use genetics to have better children.

A related concern expressed by Sandel (2007, 527) that cloning, and enhancement technologies in general, may result in a society in which parents will not accept their child for what it is, reinforcing an already existing trend of heavily managed, high-pressure child-rearing or hyper-parenting. Asch and Wasserman (2005, 202) have expressed a similar concern; arguing that having more control over what features a child has can pose an affront to an ideal of unconditioned devotion. Another concern, most often expressed by disability rights advocates, is that if cloning is used to have better children, it may create a more intolerant climate towards the disabled and the diseased, and that such practices can express negative judgments about people with disabilities. This argument has also been advanced in the debate about selective abortion, prenatal testing, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Disagreement exists about whether these effects are likely. For example, Buchanan et al. (2002, 278) have argued that one can devalue disability while valuing existing disabled people and that trying to help parents who want to avoid having a disabled child does not imply that society should make no efforts to increase accessibility for existing people with disabilities.

UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (1997) was the first international instrument to condemn human reproductive cloning as a practice against human dignity. Article 11 of this Declaration states: Practices which are contrary to human dignity, such as reproductive cloning of human beings, shall not be permitted This position is shared by the World Health Organization, the European Parliament and several other international instruments. Critics have pointed out that the reference to human dignity is problematic as it is rarely specified how human dignity is to be understood, whose dignity is at stake, and how dignity is relevant to the ethics of cloning (Harris 2004, Ch.2, Birnbacher 2005, McDougall 2008,). Some commentators state that it is the copying of a genome which violates human dignity (Kass 1998); others have pointed out that this interpretation could be experienced as an offence to genetically identical twins, and that we typically do not regard twins as a threat to human dignity (although some societies in the past did), nor do we prevent twins from coming into existence. On the contrary, IVF, which involves in increased risk to have twins, is a widely accepted fertility treatment.

Human dignity is most often related to Kant’s second formulation of the Categorical Imperative, namely the idea that we should never use a person merely as a means to an end. I have, however, already discussed this concern in section 4.2.2.

No unified religious perspective on human cloning exists; indeed, there are a diversity of opinions within each individual religious tradition. For an overview of the evaluation of cloning by the main religious groups see, for example, Cole-Turner (1997) and Walters (2004). For a specifically Jewish perspective on cloning, see, for example, Lipschutz (1999), for an Islamic perspective, Sadeghi (2007) and for a Catholic perspective, Doerflinger (1999).

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Cloning (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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The Enemy of Eugenics – Second Spring

 Eugenics  Comments Off on The Enemy of Eugenics – Second Spring
Jun 302016
 

There is increasing recognition that G. K. Chesterton was one of the greatest Christian apologists of the twentieth century. He was probably exceeded in this regard only by C. S. Lewis who was, of course, greatly influenced by the older man. Nevertheless, Chesterton, unlike Lewis, was busily engaged in political debate and public action for most of his life. It is here that his contribution has been almost forgotten, and yet a typical paradox it was in this area that his achievements were of the greatest public importance. This is true of Chesterton’s writings and campaigning for a sane economics under the banner of “Distributism,” but it is perhaps most true of his fight against eugenics. Whilst re-reading the main Chesterton biographies over the last couple of years, I was struck by the fact that all of them seem to skate over his battle against eugenics in a few lines, and this essay aims to redress the balance somewhat.

Eugenics was the belief that the human race needed to be protected from “degenerates,” the “unfit” or the “feebleminded.” Of course, this policy was most enthusiastically adopted by Nazi Germany. One of the first acts of the new Reich in 1933 was to pass a Eugenic Sterilisation Law, ordering doctors to sterilise any one suspected of suffering from hereditary diseases. “We want to prevent the poisoning of the entire bloodstream of the race” to quote Goering’s legal assistant. By 1939 some 250,000 “degenerates” had been forcibly sterilised, over half of whom were diagnosed as “feebleminded.” The Nazi regime took what it regarded as the logical next step in 1939, when it decreed euthanasia for all severely disabled or mentally ill people in German asylums. Any Jew in these asylums automatically qualified, irrespective of degree of handicap, and about 70,000 people were murdered. It can thus be said, without exaggeration, that eugenics was one policy which paved the way for the “Final Solution” of European Jewry, which itself did not start until the Wansee Conference of December, 1941.

Of course, it is easy to argue that Nazi Germany was a pariah state, to feel that such things could not “have happened here.” The whole idea of eugenics became discredited following the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945. Yet, in fact, eugenics was widely practised in the free world, and more and more evidence is coming to light which shows how prevalent it was. In August 1997, the Swedish government shamefacedly admitted the widespread eugenic sterilisation of “feeble-minded or racially inferior women.” It seems that 60,000 Swedes who were either mentally defective, or who merely regarded as lacking “Nordic” racial features, such as gypsies, were compulsorily sterilised in the period 1935-1970. Many others were locked up for years. Evidence is also appearing that this practice also occurred in many other European countries, including 15,000 mentally handicapped women forcibly sterilised in France. Most states in the United States had extensive eugenics laws, some still on the statute books as late as the 1970s.

The United Kingdom was one of the few major countries where eugenics was not effectively put into law. Yet people should not feel smug that it did not happen in Britain because it nearly did. The United Kingdom escaped eugenics laws by the skin of its teeth, as they were backed by some of the most powerful people in the land. As far as can be seen, only one public figure waged a vigorous, and ultimately successful, campaign against the proposed Mental Deficiency Bill in 1912. That man was G. K. Chesterton. The battle against eugenics is Chesterton’s great, unknown victory. To explore it properly, I have given a brief introduction to the subject, followed by an account of Chesterton’s battle against what he called the “feeble minded Bill.” An account of draconian eugenics laws in the United States, including forced sterilisation, shows what might have happened in Britain without his fight against it. Lastly, I have included some pieces from Chesterton’s 1922 book, Eugenics and Other Evils, which show, once again, what great prophetic insight he possessed.

The word “eugenics” (from the Greek for “of noble birth”) was in fact a British invention, the term being first used in 1883 by Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin. Born in 1822, Galton was one of those rich dilettante scientists who were quite common in the Victorian period. A highly neurotic individual, he dropped out of Cambridge University in 1842, but fortunately the inheritance in 1844 of a large fortune from his father prevented him from needing to work. From the 1850s onward he was dabbling in the nascent science of genetics, and in particular on the family trees of illustrious men. Thus he published a book in 1869 under the title of Hereditary Genius, which contained his eugenic ideas even if they had not yet found a name. From the beginning, they were based upon fears that lower races or social classes would outbreed the noble Anglo-Saxon upper classes who practised “restraint,” and it was therefore necessary: “to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable.”

Galton’s marriage was childless, and it has been noted that the more this fact became obvious, the more he aggressively lectured the Victorian middle classes on the need to propagate. Eugenics was first taken up by radicals in the United States. In 1869, John Humphrey Noyes, prompted by Galton, founded the first experimental programme of selective human breeding at his “free-love” Oneida community in upstate New York. In Britain, it was given widespread publicity by the magazine Biometrika, edited by the statistician Karl Pearson, a friend of Galton’s. Although employed as a mathematician by London University, from 1895 Pearson started giving lectures in eugenics there. In 1911, when Galton died he left his fortune to London University to endow a Professorial Chair in eugenics on condition that Pearson got the job.

There were a number of intertwined ideas in eugenic belief. Part of it was social Darwinism, the idea that Darwin’s idea of the survival of the fittest had to be applied to the human race, else false compassion would lead to the human race drowning in a sea of degenerates. Of course, for eugenists, who were overwhelmingly White, Protestant, and middle class, the fittest meant the rich, and the unfit meant the poor. Secondly, it was avowedly racist, particularly in the United States. The worry was that lesser, feckless, races, generally agreed to include Blacks, Jews, and other immigrants such as Irish Catholics, were breeding much faster than those of “Nordic” origin. Lastly, it was founded upon fears of a vast army of mentally handicapped people being born who would be a burden on the State. Much eugenics literature expanded on the alleged sexual licence of the poor, the mentally ill, and the lower races. At that time, sexual matters among the middle classes were regarded as too private to mention in public, and it may well be that sexual frustration lay behind part of the frequent tirades about the sex lives of the delinquent, and possibly even the fervent clamour for forced sterilisation.

Eugenics, like Galton’s own writings, was never a subject of great scientific precision. Its two main descriptive terms were often “feeble-minded,” referring to hereditary mental incapacity (not just mental illness, but anyone believed to be of low IQ), and “degenerate,” referring not just to physical disability, but also to alleged moral lapses such as alcoholism, crime, or sexual promiscuity. Indeed, in many cases the arguments were circular, as alcoholism or crime were argued to be evidence of “degeneracy” or “incapacity.” Yet on this flimsy intellectual basis two main policies were strenuously argued for: that the “feebleminded” should be compulsorily segregated away in asylums for life, in order to prevent them reproducing, and also that “degenerates,” should be forcibly sterilised for the same reason. As Chesterton pointed out in a late essay (“The Fallacy of Eugenics,” published in Avowals and Denials (London, 1934):

Eugenic ideas gained ground at the time of the Boer War (1899-1903), when it was found that many young men from slum backgrounds were unfit for military service. It was also noticed that healthy men from richer backgrounds also came from smaller families. The same fact was also observed in 1939 when it was discovered that the cause had nothing to do with hereditary factors but was simply the result of poor diet leading to the bone-deforming disease, rickets. In 1904, the Conservative government of Arthur Balfour established a Royal Commission “On the Care and Control of the Feebleminded,” which reported in 1908 to the new Liberal government. It recommended compulsory detention of the mentally inadequate, as well as sterilisation of the unfit. Up to this point mental asylums were used only for the criminally insane, judged to be a danger to themselves and others.

Eugenics became a widespread progressive cause promoted by the Fabian Society, and was closely allied with similar arguments for birth control. In 1903, H. G. Wells wrote: “the conclusion is that if we could prevent or discourage the inferior sort of people from having children, and if we could stimulate and encourage the superior sort to increase and multiply, we should raise the general standard of the race.” Dr. Saleeby, one of the most distinguished doctors of his day, advocated that people intending to marry should have “health books” proving that they had no congenital deformity. Other enthusiastic eugenists were Shaw, who put forward eugenic arguments in his play, Man and Superman, and the sex investigator Havelock Ellis. Ellis was a weird pervert worthy of his successor, Kinsey. Impotent himself, it never seems to have occurred to him whether he was a “degenerate” or “unfit.” The leaders of the radical Socialist Fabians were the husband and wife team of Beatrice and Sydney Webb. Fabian Tract No. 131, written by Sydney in 1907, states:

Yet it was not just the radical Left which promoted eugenics. One of its most vocal advocates in Britain was the Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral from 1911-1934, Dr. William Inge. Ex Officio one of the most senior members of the Church of England, he was known as the “Gloomy Dean” for his warnings about overpopulation. In an essay published in 1917 called simply Eugenics, he pointed out that all the males in his family had won scholarships at Eton, Oxford and Cambridge, but that: “Unfortunately the birth-rate of the feeble-minded is quite 50% higher than that of normal persons.” The answer was eugenics, beginning with “the compulsory segregation of mental defectives.”

Any regular reader of Chesterton’s essays will have come across the name of Dean Inge, so it may be appropriate here to explain who he was, and what he represented. Chesterton never had any enemies, but if he ever had a regular opponent, that man was Dean Inge. Inge seemed to have little interest in the traditional doctrines of Christianity, calling himself “a modern churchman.” He was however a convinced Erastian, that is, dedicated to maintaining the “established” position of the Church of England as a pillar of the British State. In a late essay called The Erastian on the Establishment (1934), Chesterton wrote: “A bitter and cynical man said, ‘The Church of England is our last bulwark against Christianity.’ This is quite unjust as a description of the Church of England. But it is not altogether unjust as a description of Dean Inge.” Inge was known as the “Gloomy Dean” for his Malthusian worries about the poor overbreeding. He also proclaimed, in thoroughly modern terms, that global competition meant that the British workers simply had to accept lower wages and poor working conditions, although somehow this never applied to the members of the Establishment itself. In “The New Theologian” (published in A Miscellany of Men, 1912) Chesterton takes him apart with wit and precision: “When next you hear the “liberal” Christian say we should take what is best in Oriental faiths, make quite sure what are the things that people like Dr. Inge call best. . . . You will find the levelling of creeds quite unexpectedly close to the lowering of wages.”

Eugenics fervour reached its peak in the United Kingdom in 1912, when the first International Eugenics Conference, with over 750 delegates, was held in London. It was addressed by the former Prime Minister Balfour, and attended by an enthusiast who had the power to make law in Great Britain the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill. He called for a “simple surgical operation (sterilisation) so the inferior could be permitted freely in the world without causing much inconvenience to others.” In 1910, on becoming Home Secretary, he had asked the civil service to investigate putting into practice the Indiana law (see below): “I am drawn to it in spite of many Party misgivings. . . . Of course it is bound to come some day.” Churchill was put off by the chief Medical Advisor of Prisons, Dr. Horatio Donkin, who wrote of the Indiana arguments for eugenics: “the outcome of an arrogation of scientific knowledge by those who had no claim to it. . . . It is a monument of ignorance and hopeless mental confusion.”

The International Conference on Eugenics led to great public pressure for Britain to adopt eugenics laws, something Churchill was only too pleased to see. As he wrote to Prime Minister Asquith: “I am convinced that the multiplication of the Feeble-Minded, which is proceeding now at an artificial rate, unchecked by any of the old restraints of nature, and actually fostered by civilised conditions, is a terrible danger to the race.” He was wary of the cost of forced segregation, preferring compulsory sterilisation instead. In 1912, the government introduced a draft proposal, the Mental Deficiency Bill, for the compulsory detention of the feeble-minded. Hundreds of petitions arrived in Parliament urging the government on.

Opposition seemed minimal. The Catholic Social Guild commissioned a pamphlet by Father Thomas Gerrard, which roundly condemned eugenics, but the influence of the Catholic Church was small in Britain in 1912. Indeed, Dean Inge complained that eugenics was so logical it was only opposed by “irrationalist prophets like Mr. Chesterton.” Chesterton’s response was a series of lectures, public talks and essays ridiculing what he called “the Feeble-Minded Bill.” Chesterton later compiled his arguments against eugenics into a book published in 1922 Eugenics and Other Evils. It begins:

In his book, Chesterton showed that eugenics was an unholy mixture of social Darwinism, coupled with mad Nietzsche’s dream of breeding the Superman. (It is one of ironies of history that Nietzsche, his brain destroyed by the wormholes of syphilis, should have been one of the inspirations of eugenics. He would have not lasted long when Germany really began to breed the Superman.) Chesterton also argued that the real target was not the mad, for which the Lunacy Laws were quite sufficient, but the poor, and he put his finger on the key weakness of eugenics its essential vagueness:

According to Chesterton, the real target was the poor, as the clause highlighted above rather gives the game away. He marshals compelling arguments that eugenics was one more logical progression in the tools used by the State to suppress the landless poor, initially needed in the factories, and now surplus to requirements. One more step in the road of the Exclusion Acts and Game Laws which had forced the poor from the common lands which had once belonged to them, one more step in the Poor Laws and the workhouse with its treadmills and flogging.

At this time, around 1910-1914, Chesterton wrote much about how the new Liberal Government, far from making things better for the poor, was actually making them worse. The Industrial Revolution and enclosure of the common lands had reduced the ordinary people to destitution; now these new Liberal reformers punished them for their destitution. Chesterton’s great work of social criticism, What’s Wrong with the World (1910), ends with the story of urchin children whose hair was cut off at school for fear of lice a treatment which was never handed out to children of the rich, only the poor:

Those great scissors of science that would snip off the curls of the poor little school children are ceaselessly snapping closer and closer to cut off all the corners and fringes of the arts and honours of the poor. Soon they will be twisting necks to suit clean collars, and hacking feet to fit new boots.

In Eugenics and Other Evils, he mentions the case of a farm labourer’s wife sent to prison for not having running water in her rural cottage, although her children were recognised as healthy and well-looked after. The full story is given in detail in the essay The Mad Official, 1912. The book also has the bizarre story of two tramps sent to prison for sleeping in a field, who would have committed no crime if they had done so with money in their pocket. Chesterton argues that eugenics was just one more logical step in this policy of:

Chesterton’s campaign was a success, as a normally supine Parliament began to question the new law. The Independent Member of Parliament, Josiah Wedgewood stressed the threat to civil liberties. Churchill had moved on to the Admiralty, so the measure had less support in the Home Office. After much criticism, the Mental Deficiency Act was passed in July, 1913 in a severely watered-down form. The attempt to prevent the pro-creation of the unfit was abandoned. Sterilisation was not even mentioned, nor was there compulsory segregation of the mentally deficient. The only real new power was to take the illegitimate children of paupers into care. In the 1930s, new eugenics bills were submitted to Parliament, but sentiment had so turned against the idea that they did not even make the first stage of becoming law. Chesterton always kept an eye on eugenics, and was one of the first to note their introduction in Germany once Hitler had come to power. As he wrote in 1934 in “The Fallacy of Eugenics”: “It is as well to repeat our unanswered answer to the creed behind such barbarous tricks; for they are not confined to the curious commonwealth of Mr. Hitler.”

The American experience shows how rapidly the enthusiasm for eugenics could sweep a civilised country and be turned into punitive law. The United Kingdom was rare and lucky to avoid what happened in most of Europe. Eugenic sterilisation laws were passed in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland, as well as being practised in France. Chesterton’s victory was great indeed. Eugenics became fashionable in the United States about the same time as in Britain. In 1904, the biologist, Charles Davenport, persuaded the Carnegie Foundation to give him a huge grant to establish a eugenics research facility on Long Island. Eugenics in America was always racially based, probably because immigration was running at such a high level, whereas it was almost negligible in Britain at that time. Davenport exclaimed: “New blood will make the American population darker in pigmentation, smaller in stature, more mercurial . . . more given to crimes of larceny, kidnapping, assault, murder, rape, and sex-immorality.” This from a supposedly objective scientist! In 1896 Connecticut was the first State to pass explicitly eugenic marriage laws, and by 1917, twenty States had such laws on the statute book. The 1905, Indiana law was typical: marriage was generally forbidden to the mentally deficient, to those with transmittable diseases, or to habitual drunkards. Both parties to a marriage had to present a certificate of medical soundness before the marriage could take place. Indiana then went further in 1907 with the first compulsory sterilisation law. By 1917, sterilisation laws had been approved by sixteen States, most of which prescribed such treatment for habitual criminals, rapists, epileptics, and idiots. Eugenics was a “progressive” cause, and was mostly taken up by States which believed themselves to be “advanced.” California was the lead of eugenic treatments being carried out, while eugenic laws were slow to pass in the “backward” Deep South. In the 1920s a number of legal challenges were made questioning whether such punishment was not “cruel and unusual,” and hence prohibited by the United States Constitution. From 1924-1927 a legal test case, Buck vs. Bell, was fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Despite the presence on the bench of such humane jurists as William Howard Taft and Louis Brandeis, the court voted 8:1 in favour of forced sterilisation of a young Virginia girl, Carrie Buck, whose only crime had been to have an illegitimate child. Only one judge, a Roman Catholic, voted against. Buck vs Bell opened the floodgates. By 1929, twenty-four States had eugenics laws. 9,000 forced sterilisations were carried out from 1909-1927, but the pace accelerated from Buck vs Bell, so that by 1939 the total had reached 30,000, 10,000 of them in California alone. Eugenics won another victory in 1924 when the Immigration Act severely restricted new immigration into the United States. President Calvin Coolidge stated: “America must be kept American. Biological laws show . . . that Nordics deteriorate when mixed with other races.”

Eugenics was also fashionable in Canada, being aggressively pushed by Helen MacMurchy, Head of the Division of Maternal and Child Welfare in the federal Department of Health from 1920-1934. In 1912, a Dr. Godrey presented a bill to the Ontario state legislature, a bill based on that of Indiana to segregate the unfit and compulsorily sterilise these, although the bill was not passed. Again there were strong racist overtones, with concern that the dominant Anglo-Saxon Canadian type was being outbred by French Canadians and immigrants.

Eugenics and Other Evils also illustrates Chesterton’s almost uncanny ability to foresee the distant future. Perhaps I may be permitted the luxury of quoting myself:

It is becoming increasingly accepted that the relativism of the late Twentieth Century has resulted in a collapse of moral discourse; Alasdair McIntyre’s After Virtue explores this in detail. Secondly that into this void has entered a strange doctrine known as political correctness, coupled with an extension of the powers of the State into areas that were formerly felt to be none of its business. Chesterton saw this coming in 1912. As he wrote in Eugenics and Other Evils:

White Slavery was the fear that English girls were being kidnapped in order to sell them into prostitution in the East. If we move forward to the late 1990s, and substitute “child abuse” or “wife battering” for “White Slavery”, we see how emotional slogans can engender draconian laws.

In his book, Chesterton also presciently identified eugenics with the German cult of the Superman. It had fallen out of fashion after 1914 because it was identified with Germany: “England went to war with the Superman in his native home. She went to war with that very land of scientific culture from which the very ideal of a Superman had come.” The German attempt to build a Nietzschean warrior-state had fallen in 1918, and with its fall eugenics in England became somewhat discredited. However Chesterton did fear that this project might revive in its German homeland:

In 1922 Hitler was an unknown agitator in the beer-halls of Munich, with no chance yet of putting the eugenic manifesto fully into practice.

RUSSELL SPARKES is the Editor of Prophet of Orthodoxy, a compilation of Chesterton’s religious writings, with a critical introduction, published by Harper Collins, and Chief Consultant on the Sane Economy Project of the Chesterton Institute. The present article was published in The Chesterton Review for February-May 1999.

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The Enemy of Eugenics – Second Spring

 Posted by at 3:29 am  Tagged with:

NATO, EU leaders pledge strong alliance to counter Brexit …

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO, EU leaders pledge strong alliance to counter Brexit …
Jun 302016
 

BRUSSELS NATO and the European Union promised closer defense ties at a summit on Tuesday to deter Russia and counter Islamic militants on Europe’s borders, seeking a show of unity days after Britain voted to leave the EU.

Unnerved by the departure of Europe’s biggest-spending military power, EU and NATO officials hope a new strategy to share information and work together from the Baltics to the Mediterranean will shore up defenses that have long relied on Britain to provide ships, troops and commanders.

“Cooperation between the European Union and NATO was important before the UK vote. It has become even more important now,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at the EU summit in Brussels.

“We have to work even harder,” he said, stressing that Britain remained committed to transatlantic security as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Britain makes up about a quarter of European military spending and pays for about 15 percent of EU-led missions. But it has also blocked deeper EU defense cooperation, fearing an EU army that would be an affront to its sovereignty.

In a call for unity after the EU referendum result left Britain in disarray, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Europe needed “to guarantee that this uncertainty, this chaos, is not extended to the other EU member states.”

Mogherini presented the EU’s new five-year global strategy to Stoltenberg and EU leaders including British Prime Minister David Cameron, which sets out how the European Union could act more independently of the United States if needed.

Britain, as a leading member of NATO, has pledged to work with the European Union and avoid any isolation stemming from its decision to leave the bloc.

Having failed to stabilize its neighborhood economically over the past decade, Europe now faces a myriad of threats on its borders, from a more assertive Russia following Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, to a migrant crisis stemming from strife in North Africa and the Middle East.

London is not expected to stand in the way of a formal EU-NATO cooperation pact set to be signed at an alliance summit in Warsaw in July, as the two pillars of Western security aim to overcome years of mutual distrust and competition despite often having similar goals.

The European Union’s focus is to reverse years of defense cuts and allow governments to develop new tanks and ships together without relying heavily on the United States, which has been Europe’s protector since the end of World War Two.

Mogherini’s five-year plan says EU governments need “all major equipment to respond to external crises and keep Europe safe. This means having full-spectrum land, air, space and maritime capabilities.”

(Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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NATO, EU leaders pledge strong alliance to counter Brexit …

Natural Disasters and Socio-Economic Collapse

 Socio-economic Collapse  Comments Off on Natural Disasters and Socio-Economic Collapse
Jun 282016
 

For millennia, people have considered what events might transpire at the end of the age. The ancient prophet Isaiah predicted, very explicitly, events at the end of human history, as we know it, when he wrote Isaiah 24:1-23. Most of that passage speaks of the eventual laying waste and devastation of the earth. God will not do this because He is cruel, ruthless, or evil. Rather, He will do this because of the following:

However, there always was one essential ingredient missing: a seven-year agreement, involving Israel. Encompassed within the final seven years of this age, also known as the 70th Week, will be the events that will alter human history as we know it. The prophecy, making a reference to this unique perioda week of seven yearswas given by the angel Gabriel to the Israeli prophet Daniel:

Never before, in history, has Israel engaged in a seven-year agreement with anyone, much less one that reinforced a previous accordthat is, until the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was established and funded in October 2006. Not only is the ENP scheduled to run specifically for seven years (2007 through 2013), but it confirms and strengthens a prior accord: the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EuroMed) of 1995, of which Israel also is a member.

Furthermore, included in the collection of ENP documents, involving Israel, is the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument: Israel. This document contains language affirming a goal, by the European Union (EU), to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians:

Now, if the ENP is the prophesied seven-year agreement, we would expect to see an increase in instability around the globe, not only in nature, but also socio-economically as well, during the first half of the seven years. Jesus referred to this time as the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:8).

Indeed, such things have been occurring, especially during 2008 and 2009. Besides record-breaking floods, droughts, and tornadoes in the USA, as well as a marked escalation in the frequency of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, famines, and plagues worldwide, there also has been a severe financial breakdown globally.

Today (March 1, 2009), the stock market dropped 299.64 points; it is down to a 12-year low of 6,763.29. There may be some short-term improvement; but, in the long run, there probably is no bottom in sight. As such, I look forward to the return of the Lord Jesus, at the end of the 70th Week, to rule and reign. Jesus, alone, is the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

So what is next? Well, according to the Daniel 9:27 prophecy, in the middle of the seven-year period, an end will be put to sacrifice and offering , and the abomination that causes desolation will be set up in the holy place (Matthew 24:15)in Jerusalem. On my proposed time scale, sacrifice and offering should cease during the first week of April 2010, which happens to be Passover Week 2010.

I feel that at the midpoint of the 70th Week, the Fourth Seal (Revelation 6:7,8) of the heavenly scroll will be opened. This will commence the darkest period of human history up to that point, the Great Tribulation, described by Jesus in Matthew 24:21. (In Jesus narrative, some Bible versions use the phrase great distress; other versions read great tribulation.)

This is how John described the events to take place at that time:

As such, if my time frame is correct, I anticipate the following things to take place after Passover Week of 2010:

To make things worse, I predict that there will be huge power outages, phone and internet service interruptions, food riots, bridge and building collapses, escalating unemployment and homelessness, bankruptcies, foreclosures, drug abuse, crime, murders, widespread civil unrest and revolts, declaration of martial law, and other related occurrences. The widespread denial that any of this is going to happen will make it be a great deal worse when it actually does happen.

Aside from an increase in catastrophic natural events, causing a great deal of death on the earth, there will be a global socio-economic and financial collapse, not to mention horrendous tax increases and skyrocketing hyperinflation. It may be that once the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 fails (see my Feb. 17, 2009 entry), President Obama will be forced to tell the American public that their problems, economic and otherwise, are insurmountable.

Possibly the North American Union (Canada, USA, Mexico) will be formed, with the Amero, worth a small fraction of the dollar, as the common currency. The NAU will be immersed in a much greater global crisis, and this will require global solutionsby a global leader. As such, it may be that Obama, identifying this leader as the only one who can help us, will become the False Prophet: the second beast of Revelation 13:11-17 (see Barack Obama: False Prophet?).

After entering the holy place in Jerusalem, and setting up the abomination that causes desolation inside, the first beast or Antichrist will set himself up in the temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2Thessalonians 2:4). He also will exercise his authority for 42 months [3 years] and blaspheme [the true] God (Revelation 13:5,6). Many people will be taken into captivity, and many will be killed (13:10). I also believe that during the final half (3 years) of the seven years, there will be escalating conflicts between the Antichrist and Gog (see Gog vs. Antichrist).

Once the Seventh Seal is opened, the earth and much of the life on it will be utterly devastated by the supernatural Trumpet Judgmentsthe initial wave of Gods wrath being blown out upon the earth. It is at this time that most of Isaiah 24:1-23 will come to pass. I place the opening of the Seventh Seal, most likely, in September 2012. (See an email question and response, If we have entered the 70th Week, do you see any special significance to the year 2012?)

With all of this great tribulation, suffering, and tremendous devastation of the earth to take place within less than a handful of years, what can people do to prepare for, or perhaps to avoid, most or even all of it? I am convinced that it is imperative to develop an intensely close and strong relationship with our Sovereign Lord and Master, Jehovah-Adonai. This is done mainly through prayer and obedience.

Learning as much as possible about God and Jesus (see Who Is God?, Was Jesus God?, and My Beliefs and Faith) will be critically important. For those who have not read the Bible from cover to cover, this would be a good time to do it, to understand whom God truly is and how He works (see Chronological Reading of the Bible in One Year). God does not change (Malachi 3:6). Just as He protected and delivered the ancient Israelites who loved and obeyed Him, He also will protect and deliver those believers, during the worst of times, who do the same.

A Rapture is an event in which believers (in Jesus/Yeshua as Lord and Messiah) will be caught up and away from the earth, prior to the worst destruction and desolation that is to take place. Most likely, there will be multiple Raptures events (see secondary rapture events), removing true believers, at successive times, who have developed a real and intimate relationship with God. However, those who have allowed themselves to embrace the notion of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, to take place prior to the beginning of the 70th Week, have set themselves up for a gigantic disillusionment. This view of the Rapture is a bogus, pie-in-the-sky fantasy, with no valid basis in Scripture.

Potentially, Matthew 25:1-13could be indicative of a Mid-Tribulation Rapture, to occur midway through the final seven years, since the Bridegroom (Jesus) is seen to come at midnight (25:6) for half of the waiting virgins (Perhaps these are the believers who will have acquired their oil by properly utilizing, rather than wasting, the gifts of the Holy Spirit that God has provided them.) On my proposed time scale, this would be during the first week of April 2010. Interestingly, the exact midpoint is April 4, 2010, which just happens to be Resurrection Day (Easter). I believe it is possible that as many as half of believers could be caught up and away at that time.

If so, the majority of remaining believers would have to wait for the Pre-Wrath Rapture event to take place, soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal, but prior to the opening of the Seventh Seal (initiating Gods wrath). In any case, anyone who is present on the earth during the Great Tribulation period might wish to read repentance, endurance, and overcoming in my Chronology of Revelation commentary.

I also recommend that, besides becoming spiritually prepared for the dark tunnel ahead, people also should become psychologically and emotionally prepared as well. The world, as we know it, is going to change radically and drastically. Many of our comforts of daily life, and many of the things that we take for granted, will be compromised, or even eliminated altogether. Prices of common necessities, such as food and gasoline, will skyrocket, due to scarcity and hyperinflation. Sadly, multitudes of people will not be able to cope; unfortunately, the rates of insanity and suicide will soar.

It is advisable to stock up on items on my Adversity Supplies Basic Check List. This will provide at least some buffer when massive shortages (scarcity) and enormous price increases (hyperinflation) occur. It also is a good idea to recommend to friends, neighbors, and other family members that they do the same. Otherwise, when shortages occur, these people may come to you for help, and you will not be able to supply everybody that you know.

Know always that the Lord God is in charge. Nothing is too difficult for God. He provided, miraculously, for the ancient Israelites, drifting through the desert for forty years. Likewise, He can provide for those who acknowledge Him as Lord and God and follow His commandments.

Those who take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-18) will be forever sorry that they have done so (14:9-11, 16:2). At the same time that satanic miracles will be abounding, to deceive those who are lost (2Thessalonians 2:9),Jehovah-Jireh will be performing miracles of provision and deliverance for those who have refused the mark and who willingly and faithfully pledge their allegiance and devotion to Him. And those believers who die during this horrific time in history will have the blessed assurance and comfort that they will be with their God for eternity.

So if my seven-year hypothesis is correct, here is a summary of the things that can be expected to take place, beginning a few months into 2010:

The rest is here:

Natural Disasters and Socio-Economic Collapse

Caribbean – New World Encyclopedia

 Caribbean  Comments Off on Caribbean – New World Encyclopedia
Jun 262016
 

The Caribbean (also known as the West Indies) is a region of the Americas consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands, and the surrounding coasts. The region is located southeast of North America, east of Central America, and to the northwest of South America. The islands of the Caribbean are sorted into three main island groups, The Bahamas, the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles. Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the area comprises more than seven thousand islands, islets, reefs, and cays. Geopolitically, the West Indies is usually regarded as a sub-region of North America and is organized into 28 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies.

The Caribbean is a favorite destination for vacationers because of its beautiful beaches and tropical climate, as well as the exceptionally diverse ecosystems, ranging from montane cloud forests to cactus scrublands.

History reveals the significant role these islands played in the colonial struggles of the European powers between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as in the twentieth century Cold War era. Most islands at some point were, or still are, colonies of European nations.

The name “Caribbean” is named after the Caribs, one of the dominant Amerindian groups in the region at the time of European contact during the late fifteenth century.

The term “West Indies” originates from Christopher Columbus’s idea that he had landed in the Indies (then meaning all of southeast Asia, particularly India) when he had actually reached the Americas.

The Spanish term Antillas was commonly assigned to the newly discovered lands; stemming from this, “Sea of the Antilles” is a common alternate name for the Caribbean Sea in various European languages.

In the English-speaking Caribbean, someone from the Caribbean is usually referred to as a “West Indian,” although the rather cumbersome phrase “Caribbean person” is sometimes used. The use of the words “Caribbean” and “Caribbeans” to refer to a West Indian or West Indians is largely known in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Spanish-speaking Caribbeans do not like to be called Hispanics or Latins due to the significant differences between the South and Central American countries. Spanish-speaking Caribbeans not only have different native origins but they also have different histories, (Spanish) dialects, cultures, traditions, food, and moral and religious beliefs. They relate more easily to fellow Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries, specifically Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba due to similar culture, history and Spanish dialect.

The islands of the Caribbean are sorted into three main island groups: The Bahamas, the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles. The Greater Antilles consists of Cuba, Jamaica, the island of Hispaniola (composed of Haiti on the west side and the Dominican Republic on the east side) and Puerto Rico. The Lesser Antilles consists of all the other islands in the Caribbean that are not a part of the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles or an island belonging to a continental nation. The Lesser Antilles are further grouped into the Windward and Leeward Islands.

The Leeward Islands are the northern portion of the Lesser Antilles and consist of The Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Martin, Saba (Netherlands Antilles), St. Eustatius (Netherlands Antilles), St. Barthlemy, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, and Dominica. The Windward Islands are the Southern portion of the Lesser Antilles and consist of Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The geography and climate in the Caribbean region varies from one place to another. Some islands in the region have relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. Such islands include Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, and Anguilla. Others possess rugged, towering mountain ranges like the islands of Cuba, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saba, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua, and Trinidad.

The climate of the region mainly ranges between sub-tropical to tropical and depends a great deal upon location in proximity to the tradewinds from the Atlantic. The Tradewinds blow towards the Eastern Caribbean Islands and head northwest up the chain of Windward Islands. There are no sharply marked changes between winter and summer in the West Indies. Average January temperatures range between 71F to 77F (22C to 25C), and average July temperatures range from 77F to 84F (25C to 29C). Climate can vary widely, especially on larger islands, where high mountains can give rise to variations from coastal weather patterns. The main difference between seasons is the amount of rainfall.

Hurricane season plays a large role in bringing rainfall to the Caribbean. However, on the larger islands the mountains have a strong effect on weather patterns and causes relief rainfall.

The Puerto Rico Trench located on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea just to the north of the island of Puerto Rico is said to be the deepest point in the entire Atlantic Ocean. In the waters of the Caribbean Sea, coral reef formations and large migratory schools of fish and turtles can be found.

The Caribbean Islands support exceptionally diverse ecosystems, ranging from montane cloud forests to cactus scrublands. These ecosystems have been devastated by deforestation and human encroachment. The hotspot has dozens of highly threatened species, including two species of solenodon (giant shrews) and the Cuban crocodile. The hotspot is also remarkable for the diminutive nature of much of its fauna.

The Caribbean is home to 6,550 native plants, 41 native mammals, 163 native birds, 469 native reptiles, 170 native amphibians and 65 native freshwater fish. Many islands are home to their own species of native plants and animals, particularly Cuba, which is home to more than half the region’s native plants.

The history of the Caribbean reveals the significant role the region played in the colonial struggles of the European powers between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the twentieth century the Caribbean was again important during World War II, in the decolonization wave in the post-war period, and in the tension between Communist Cuba and the United States. Genocide, slavery, immigration, and rivalry between world powers have given Caribbean history an impact disproportionate to the size of this small region.

The oldest evidence of humans in the Caribbean is in southern Trinidad at Banwari Trace, where remains have been found from seven thousand years ago. These pre-ceramic sites, which belong to the Archaic (pre-ceramic) age, have been termed Ortoiroid. The earliest archaeological evidence of human settlement in Hispaniola dates to about 3600 B.C.E., but the reliability of these finds is questioned. Consistent dates of 3100 B.C.E. appear in Cuba. The earliest dates in the Lesser Antilles are from 2000 B.C.E. in Antigua. A lack of pre-ceramic sites in the Windward Islands and differences in technology suggest that these Archaic settlers may have Central American origins. Whether an Ortoiroid colonization of the islands took place is uncertain, but there is little evidence of one.

Between 400 B.C.E. and 200 B.C.E. the first ceramic-using agriculturalists, the Saladoid culture, entered Trinidad from South America. They expanded up the Orinoco River to Trinidad, and then spread rapidly up the islands of the Caribbean. Some time after 250 C.E. another group, the Barancoid, entered Trinidad. The Barancoid society collapsed along the Orinoco around 650 C.E. and another group, the Arauquinoid, expanded into these areas and up the Caribbean chain. Around 1300 C.E. a new group, the Mayoid, entered Trinidad and remained the dominant culture until Spanish settlement.

At the time of the European discovery of most of the islands of the Caribbean, three major Amerindian indigenous peoples lived on the islands: the Tano in the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas and the Leeward Islands, the Island Caribs and Galibi in the Windward Islands, and the Ciboney in western Cuba. The Tanos are subdivided into Classic Tanos, who occupied Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, Western Tanos, who occupied Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamian archipelago, and the Eastern Tanos, who occupied the Leeward Islands. Trinidad was inhabited by both Carib speaking and Arawak-speaking groups.

Soon after Christopher Columbus came to the Caribbean, both Portuguese and Spanish explorers began claiming territories in Central and South America. These early colonies brought gold to Europe; most specifically England, the Netherlands, and France. These nations hoped to establish profitable colonies in the Caribbean. Colonial rivalries made the Caribbean a cockpit for European wars for centuries.

During the first voyage of the explorer Christopher Columbus (mandated by the Spanish crown), contact was made with the Lucayans in the Bahamas and the Tano in Cuba and the northern coast of Hispaniola, and a few of the native people were taken back to Spain. Small amounts of gold were found in their personal ornaments and other objects such as masks and belts. The Spanish, who came seeking wealth, enslaved the native population and rapidly drove them to near-extinction. To supplement the Amerindian labor, the Spanish later began bringing African slaves to their colonies. Although Spain claimed the entire Caribbean, they settled only the larger islands of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, and Trinidad.

After the Spanish Empire declined, in part due to the reduced native population of the area from diseases carried from Europe, to which the native peoples had no natural resistance, other European powers established a presence in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean region was war-torn throughout much of its colonial history, but the wars were often based in Europe, with only minor battles fought in the Caribbean. Some wars, however, were born of political turmoil in the Caribbean itself. The wars fought in the Caribbean included:

Haiti, the former French colony of St. Domingue on Hispaniola, was the first Caribbean nation to gain independence from European powers when, in 1791, a slave rebellion of the Black Jacobins led by Toussaint l’Ouverture started the Haitian Revolution, establishing Haiti as a free, black republic by 1804. Haiti became the world’s oldest black republic, and the second-oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere, after the United States. The remaining two-thirds of Hispaniola were conquered by Haitian forces in 1821. In 1844, the newly-formed Dominican Republic declared its independence from Haiti.

Some Caribbean nations gained independence from European powers in the nineteenth century. Some smaller states are still dependencies of European powers today. Cuba remained a Spanish colony until the Spanish American War.

Between 1958 and 1962 most of the British-controlled Caribbean became the West Indies Federation before they separated into many separate nations.

Since the Monroe Doctrine, the United States gained a major influence on most Caribbean nations. In the early part of the twentieth century this influence was extended by participation in The Banana Wars. Areas outside British or French control became known in Europe as “America’s tropical empire.”

Victory in the Spanish-American War and the signing of the Platt Amendment in 1901 ensured that the United States would have the right to interfere in Cuban political and economic affairs, militarily if necessary. After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, relations deteriorated rapidly leading to the Bay of Pigs venture, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and successive U.S. attempts to destabilize the island, based upon Cold War fears of the Soviet threat. The U.S. invaded and occupied Hispaniola for 19 years (19151934), subsequently dominating the Haitian economy through aid and loan repayments. The U.S. invaded Haiti again in 1994 and in 2004 were accused by CARICOM of arranging a coup d’tat to remove elected Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

In 1965 23,000 U.S. troops were sent to the Dominican Republic to quash a local uprising against military rule. President Lyndon Johnson had ordered the invasion to stem what he deemed to be a “Communist threat.” However, the mission appeared ambiguous and was roundly condemned throughout the hemisphere as a return to gunboat diplomacy. In 1983 the U.S. invaded Grenada to remove populist left-wing leader Maurice Bishop. The U.S. maintains a naval military base in Cuba at Guantanamo Bay. The base is one of five unified commands whose “area of responsibility” is Latin America and the Caribbean. The command is headquartered in Miami, Florida.

Most islands at some point were, or still are, colonies of European nations:

The British West Indies were formerly united by the United Kingdom into a West Indies Federation. The independent countries which were once a part of the British West Indies still have a unified composite cricket team that successfully competes in test matches and one-day internationals. The West Indian cricket team includes the South American nation of Guyana, the only former British colony on that continent.

In addition, these countries share the University of the West Indies as a regional entity. The university consists of three main campuses in Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago, a smaller campus in the Bahamas, and resident tutors in other contributing territories.

The nations of Belize and Guyana, although on the mainland of Central America and South America respectively, are former British colonies and maintain many cultural ties to the Caribbean and are members of CARICOM (Caribbean Community). Guyana participates in West Indies cricket tournaments and many players from Guyana have been in the West Indies Test cricket team. The Turneffe Islands (and many other islands and reefs) are part of Belize and lie in the Caribbean Sea. The nation of Suriname, on the mainland of South America, is a former Dutch colony and also a member of CARICOM.

Some of the bodies that several islands share in collaboration include:

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The rest is here:

Caribbean – New World Encyclopedia

Political correctness Archives | Human Stupidity …

 Political Correctness  Comments Off on Political correctness Archives | Human Stupidity …
Jun 262016
 

Google searches can be frustrating. You get all the boring main stream media lies, and you have to dig deep to get interesting alternative politically incorrect site links.

Your frustration is over.

(German version: Politisch inkorrekte Google Suche (pigs) at fluechtling.net/pigs )

You must try searches yourself to believe it. You will want to use this search instead of the normal Google Search.

Please help to improve the searches by posting blog rolls and link lists with politically incorrect sites, in English and in German. There is a lot more to add, especially in German.

If you search for “Blacks Lives Matter” you get this nice result

Female-led proposals to use the in-demand Hubble telescope are less likely to be selected.” Scientific American claims this in the midst of a huge section of Junk Diversity Science which has been utterly debunked elsewhere.

An internal Hubble study1 found that in each of the past 11 observation proposal cycles, applications led by male principal investigators had a higher success rate than those led by women. Women submit roughly 25% of proposals for Hubble telescope observing time. [SciAm]

This confounding of junk gender science with true natural science is very serious. This is why after years of study even we need serious deprogramming from the politically correct cultural Marxist lies that impressible children, adolescents and adults are constantly told by school books and biased un-scientific journals like Scientific American!

Scientific Americans mixing of real natural science with politically motivated unscientific falsified junk science like gender, domestic violence, race and iq issues aspires to permanently poison the minds of young and old with feminist and politically correct hate ideology.

The head of a science department of a major research University confirmed to us, in private, that female scientists generally less innovative and talented then their male counterparts [7]. Implicit quotas demand hiring and promoting women who dont meet the requirements men would be measured up to. Quotas guarantee that the rare woman with sufficient talent will be snatched away for an even more prestigious job, always rising to her level of incompetence. Aware of Larry Summers dismissal [8], our department head refuses to be identified.

“Scientific American used to be a great magazine but like any publishing venture headquartered in New York, it has gradually drifted into liberal never-never-land.” [UnScientific American]

Did Megan Urry control her statistics for yearly working hours, life time interest in science, years experience, work invested in the proposal, IQ, math talent of the applying scientists?

We wager a bet that the average male physics proposal writer, more so a Ivy League department chair, did not flunk their first physics exams in college, like Megan Urry herself and was interested in physics since tender age of 6, unlike Megan Urry [4] and other female applicants. Megan Urry (of course) ignores even the possibility that male and female applicants might be intrinsically different in some way. Larry Summers was a victim of telling such truth that there is a dearth of women in the top talent for science and math.

In spite of IQ tests having been manipulated to elevate female IQ to the same level as males [Wikipedia], there are twice as many men with IQ over 150: Men: either very clever or really stupid [Wikipedia] because of greater male variance on IQ and most other traits.

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter Not! Scientific American has been polluted by the same junk science that pervades our Universities politically correct cultural Marxist social science and humanities departments. Entire generations are being indoctrinated with falsehoods, in much more devious ways then communist Soviet Union and China were ever capable of.

From time to time we refer to five longitudinal studies which show that increasing gender diversity on boards leads to declines in corporate financial performance. The studies are referred to in a number of posts, and have been included in a number of our documents. But we thought it might be useful to prepare a short briefing paper with details of the five studies and their full Abstracts, its here. [7]

Campaign for Merit in Business, which was launched early in 2012, has made a remarkable impact in a relatively short time. Weve proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the glass ceiling is a baseless conspiracy theory. Through exposing as fantasies, lies, delusions and myths, the arguments which said that increasing gender diversity in the boardroom (GDITB) will improve corporate financial performance, weve destroyed the long-vaunted business case for GDITB. We continue to publicise five longitudinal studies, all of which show that GDITB leads to declines in corporate financial performance. What else would we expect when businesses arent free to select the best people for their boards, regardless of gender? Proponents are left with little other than misrepresenting correlation as causation in pursuit of their social engineering programmes.

The Conservative-led coalition no longer challenges our assertion that the impact of GDITB on UK plc will inevitably be a negative one. And yet it continues to actively pursue GDITB. [5]

Weve put in FoI requests seeking evidence for the governments previous claims that putting more women on boards will lead to performance improvement. None has ever been forthcoming. This hasnt stopped the government from continuing to threaten legislated gender quotas for FTSE100 boards if they havent achieved female representation on their boards by 2015. In fact, theyre going further. We know from a recent report that next in the firing line will be the FTSE350, and that gender parity on boards is the longer-term goal. 6

The Inclusion Equation

Global figures on diversity in the science and engineering workforce are hard to come by, but what we know is not flattering

Gender Gap

How women and men fare in doctoral studies around the world

In Pursuit of the Best Ideas

In a diverse team, the best ideas are more likely to rise to the top

Becoming Visible

To change the equation, start changing the perception

Particular Points of View

Gender and culture influence research on a fundamental level

Inviting Everyone In

There is no formula for bringing diversity to the workplace or classroom, but new research that deepens our understanding of how diversity operates suggests some modestly successful strategies

How Diversity Works

Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working

Science Exposed

Networked technology and social media are enabling outsiders to gather and crunch data

Taking It Personally

How a researchers background can determine her mission

The Iraq conflict spilled onto the streets of Herford in North Rhine-Westphalia on Wednesday evening as hundreds of members of the Yazidi faith clashed with supporters of Islamist terrorist group ISIS.

Diversity through immigration enriches Germany: The Iraqi war is fought right in their back yard. Germany imported and breeds radical Muslim fundamentalists, terrorists, Jihad fighters,

Around 300 Yazidi took to the streets in the early evening. They were demonstrating against the attacks on members of their faith in Syria and Iraq and a religiously-motivated attack against their community earlier that day, Herford police reported.

ISIS is committing ethnic cleansing and genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and even Shia Muslims, in Iraq. [4, 5]. Germany would be a boring place, if it were not enriched by such diversity.

The police decided to intervene after a large group of hooded people started attacking passers-by in the town centre, with at least one person injured. The police used pepper spray to control the mob, confiscating tools and one firearm, and took the details of 86 people involved.

Diversity is worth such expensive police action. In Berlin, African invaders of schools and public squares also cost millions to police.

Police reinforcements were called in from all over eastern Westphalia, including officers from Bochum and Dortmund, to keep the different groups apart. The police deployment lasted throughout the night and involved well over 100 officers, a Herford police spokesman told The Local.

A large portion of the 9.11 terrorists came from Germany. German residents and citizens (?) fight for ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Kurds, Yazidis, all warring parties are in Germany. Unlike Germans, “oppressed” Muslims have the right to be anti-Semitic and commit violence against Jews. Germany finally gets enriched by diversity. “Diversity is our strength”!

Hamas fired thousands of imprecise rockets with the clear and lone intent to hit civilians in Israeli cities. Hamas launches missiles in the midst of civilian crowds [5], uses Hospitals and Ambulances for Military Purposes.

Strangely, we dont see huge European demonstrations against Hamas endangering Israeli and Palestinian Civilians. Political Correctness doctrine defines the Palestinians and Hamas as disadvantaged group who has the right to use violence to avenge their grievances. Even Anti-Semitism becomes fashionable again in Europe, with special support by European immigrant Muslims.

Hamas devotes money and work on sophisticated tunnels. Money that could be spent on schools, underground shelters for civilians, hospitals, food. Nobody blames Hamas for wasting money on tunnels and missiles while Palestinians above the tunnels lack even basic food and health services.

Weakness is the PC (political correctness) weapon: If Israel bombs a school, Hamas wins points. So Hamas shoots rockets from schools, Israel shoots back, Hamas wins. Palestine civilians be damned, nobody blames Hamas for launching rockets in the midst of school children.

Applying these legal principles to the conflict, there is strong evidence of war crimes on both sides. Hamas rocket attacks are illegal because they either deliberately target civilians or are fired indiscriminately. They are indiscriminate either because Hamas does not aim them solely at military targets, or their technological inaccuracy makes them incapable of avoiding civilian areas.

Hamas actions are little different from when Allied and Axis aircraft indiscriminately fire-bombed European cities in the Second World War, or the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan. The temptation to place necessity above the law, and self-interest above humanity, is a terrible and common human failing.

Compare this to the Ukrainian Army, that had the license to attack with artillery and planes large cities in Europe, to rout secessionist that were simply hunkered down, did not lob any missiles at anyone. There was no immediate need for self defense, no negotiations were made to discuss justified grievances of the Russian speaking minority population that was suffering discrimination.

Strangely, Russian speaking minorities in Ukraine are not bestowed oppressed group status and thus are fair game for first strike non-retaliatory artillery attacks on cities. So Human-Stupiditys suggestion will not be heeded:

Hamas use of tunnels to launch surprise attacks on Israeli military forces is not illegal. Infiltrating enemy territory and surprising enemy forces is a permissible strategy in war, as is capturing enemy soldiers. The Age

Western journalists operating in Gaza have been threatened and harassed by Hamas for reporting instances of the terrorist groups use of human shields, according to a Times of Israel report. Israeli officials have noted that some reporters are intimidated by Hamas threats and have ceased documenting Hamas exploitation of civilians throughout the conflict.

The newspaper says it confirmed instances in which Hamas officials confiscated equipment and pictures from photographers exposing terrorists who were preparing to launch rockets from civilian structures and fighting in civilian garb. [5]

* Sanctions intended to stop Ukrainian governments aerial, missile, and artillery attacks at cities in Eastern Ukraine

Europe can not accept Ukraines shelling and bombing of their own cities, the world can not accept Ukraine deliberately mixing civil air traffic with military bombing and transport missions in a war zone. Who sent war planes on attack sorties into Eastern Ukraine and scheduled civil aviation onto the same path?

If the West were not totally devoted to EU expansion, NATO expansion, and Putin bashing, they would blame the Ukraine government for creating a humanitarian disaster.

The Ukrainian government started the hot violent large scale heavy weapons war, it can stop the war at any moment. The separatists were not attacking, they were hunkered down quietly and satisfied with their area.

Ukraine can start internationally supervised negotiations for partial autonomy for Donetsk, Luhansk and negotiate an agreement on UN peace keeping troops. The EU also ought to impose a no fly zone and threaten sanctions on Obama, so the US uses his influence to tell Ukraine to stop the attacks and cease fire.

The Guardian continues:

EU governments have agreed to impose sweeping sanctions on Ukraine, targeting state-owned banks, imposing an arms embargo and restricting sales of sensitive technology and the export of equipment for the countrys oil industry, in response to Kievs continued attacking of separatists and civilians in eastern Ukraine.

The punitive measures, the most extensive EU sanctions imposed on Ukraine since the cold war, were agreed by ambassadors from the 28 member states after a seven-hour debate. They decided that Ukraine had not fulfilled the conditions laid down by foreign ministers last week, to stop supply of arms to the rebels stop attacking cities of millions, towns and villages with tanks, artillery, and aerial bombardments [4], instead negotiate autonomy rights for the Russian minorities and provide full cooperation in the investigation into the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Human-Stupidity normally refrains from dabbling in world politics.

But here we are amazed at the brazen manipulation of world opinion and world politics, that favors heavy artillery war against large European cities, instead of negotiation and de-centralized government in Ukraine.

The same governments that defend the rights of recently arrived Mexicans, Salvadorians, and Hondurans in the US, that defend the rights of recently arrived Somalis, Syrians, Algerians in Europe; These minority friendly governments are complicit in the discrimination, political disenfranchisement, persecution, shelling and bombing of Russian minorities that have lived on Ukrainian soil for generations.

Further US sanctions were expected to follow during the night.

The president of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, and the head of the European Commission, Jos Manuel Barroso, issued a joint statement describing the EU measures as a strong warning that “Illegal annexation of territory and deliberate destabilisation of a neighbouring sovereign country violently overthrowing elected president Viktor Yanukovych, discriminating against the Russian minority, prohibiting their language, and prohibiting the communist party for defending the rights of the Russian minority [6] could not be accepted in 21st-century Europe. Europe takes diversity and minority rights very seriously.

Odessa massacre [14], Shelling and bombing of Donetsk all remain unpunished.

“Ukrainian government creates violence spirals out of control and leads to the killing thousands of innocent Ukrainian civilians [8] [10] [Reuters] and of almost 300 innocent civilians in their flight from the Netherlands to Malaysia, the situation requires urgent and determined response,” they said. Ukraines flying military ground attack planes and military transport planes and routing civilian air liners into the same war zone as human shields is planned murder, at least criminal negligence. “The European Union will fulfill its obligations to protect and ensure the security of its citizens. And the European Union will stand by its neighbouring Russian minorities and partners.”

Special thanks to Russian Russian president Putin for accepting over 100 000 asylum seekers, that fled Ukraine government violence. The asylum seekers did not flee into peaceful regions of Ukraine, well knowing that in Ukraine they would continue suffering government violence, discrimination and repression of their minority culture and language.

Adapted from The Guardian.

Hate speech laws started with the good intention to prevent inciting violence: “Kill Blacks, gays, ..”. Since then they went down a slippery slope, where a harmlessly uttered private opinion can ruin careers

Sadly, “privileged whites” heaping bananas on a black soccer players car is a much worse crime then “repressed Blacks expressing justified anger” throwing cobble stones or Molotov cocktails onto police and burning down neighborhoods of London, Paris, or Los Angeles.

“Underprivileged groups” have the privilege to use violence with impunity. “Privileged White heterosexuals” have no free speech rights and get imprisoned for non-violent speech. Our legal system is back to the middle ages. Of course, academic researchers like J. Philippe Rushton or Arthur Jensen also get threatened with impunity, and the New Black Panther party can publicly threaten the life innocent “white” Hispanic George Zimmerman.

See the article here:

Political correctness Archives | Human Stupidity …

Free social darwinism Essays and Papers – 123helpme

 Darwinism  Comments Off on Free social darwinism Essays and Papers – 123helpme
Jun 262016
 

Title Length Color Rating Thre Views of Social Darwinism – The concept of Social Darwinism was a widely accepted theory in the nineteenth-century. Various intellectual, and political figures from each side of the political spectrum grasped the theory and interpreted it in various ways. In this paper, we will discuss three different nineteenth-century thinkers and their conception of Social Darwinism. The conservative, Heinrich von Treitschke, and liberal Herbert Spencer both gave arguments on the usefulness of competition between people on a global scale…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 1702 words (4.9 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Social Darwinism and Race Superiority In The West – Social Darwinism was a set of theories developed by various people during the 19th century. It was the adaptation of Darwin theory of evolution applied to human social behavior and ability to survive compared to other human beings. 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Darwin’s ideas promoted a “superman” or “super-race” philosophy. The prime component of Darwin’s ideas revolves around the notion that life progresses by natural selection – the survival of the fittest. Couple this with the racist culture in the scientific world of his day and you have the reason to pursue any exploitive agenda…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 775 words (2.2 pages) Better Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection, Social Darwinism and Hitler – Social Darwinism was one of the most powerful movements in the nineteenth century Germany, believes professor Jerry Bergman. As the movement escalated, Jews became non-human to the Germans. That was one of the reasons the Nazis did not feel any remorse at the time, because they had deprived the Jews of every piece of humanity that they obtained. Social Darwinism was first brought up by British philosopher and sociologist, Herbert Spencer. Social Darwinism goes back to the earliest form, which is Darwinism…. 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Those who believe in Social Darwinism believe that the society is inferior to the needs of the individual. Often those who believe in Social Darwinism are racist and believe that the white origin is the superior race of society. Social Darwinism is the opposite of socialism. Socialists believe that society comes before the individual while those who follow Social Darwinism believe the individual comes before society…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 470 words (1.3 pages) FREE Essays [view] The Role of Social Darwinism in European Imperialism – Social Darwinism fueled imperialism by making imperialistic nations believe that their imperialistic ventures were a natural turn of events and not a cruel, opressionistic system of government. These imperialistic nations exploited other nations and cultures and their troops motivation was the glory of the nation and the eradication of the weaker races on earth. These soldiers believed in Social Darwinism. 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Bitcoin surges after Brexit sinks pound

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Bitcoin surges after Brexit sinks pound
Jun 262016
 

This May 1, 2014 photo taken in Washington, DC shows a bitcoin medal. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIERKAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(Photo: KAREN BLEIER, AFP/Getty Images)

Bitcoin prices surged Friday afternews the United Kingdom would leave the European Union sent investors out of stocks, commodities and theBritish pound, which dropped to a three-decade low.

The price of the digital currency spiked as high as $680.19 from a $625.50 late Thursday and recently traded up 5% at $656.83, according to CoinDesk.

The gain follows a turbulent two weeks for the currency, which is “mined” by solving complicated computer problems. Bitcoin fans say the digital currency trumpstraditional assets because of its security the unique codes that exist for every bitcoin transaction.

Prices hit a two-year high last week, then dove 21% earlier this week.

The latest gains can be chalked up to a flight to alternative currencies after U.K. voters shocked global markets by choosing to leave the European Union. After rallying Thursday, U.S. stocks had their worst day in 10 months, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing over 600 points to 17,400. The Euro Stoxx 600 dropped 7%.Gold, often viewed as safe haven amid risk, rallied.

Chris Burniske, Blockchain analyst at ARK Invest, said people are afraid of the fluctuations in capital markets and they are looking for assets that don’t have a correlation to capital markets. Bitcoin is this asset.

But with the possibility of high reward comes the possibility of high risk for investors. Mark Williams, professor of financial risk management at Boston University, said people need to be aware of the price risk that comes with investing in bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s moves canbe 10 timesgreater than the U.S. dollar on one day, according to Williams.

“This currency commodity has almost doubled in a year,” Williams said.”But what can move by almost 100%, can drop as dramatically.”

The second risk is liquidity, he says. Bitcoin must be sold through various exchanges, a process that cansometimestake hours.

However, Burniske feels as though the commodity that was once considered to be a, “fringe, darktechnology,” has proven it is here to stay.Although it has gone through major ups and downs,over a long-term Bitcoin’s volatility has gone down significantly.

“What you’re seeing now is the second coming of bitcoin in a waythat it’spresenting itself more to the mainstream,” Burniske said. “This shows to people theres a fundamental innovation going on andit is enjoying sustained strength and isnt going away.”

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Bitcoin surges after Brexit sinks pound

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gambling | Britannica.com

 Gambling  Comments Off on gambling | Britannica.com
Jun 242016
 

Alternative title: betting

Gambling, slot machinePcb21the betting or staking of something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event whose result may be determined by chance or accident or have an unexpected result by reason of the bettors miscalculation.

The outcomes of gambling games may be determined by chance alone, as in the purely random activity of a tossed pair of dice or of the ball on a roulette wheel, or by physical skill, training, or prowess in athletic contests, or by a combination of strategy and chance. The rules by which gambling games are played sometimes serve to confuse the relationship between the components of the game, which depend on skill and chance, so that some players may be able to manipulate the game to serve their own interests. Thus, knowledge of the game is useful for playing poker or betting on horse racing but is of very little use for purchasing lottery tickets or playing slot machines.

A gambler may participate in the game itself while betting on its outcome (card games, craps), or he may be prevented from any active participation in an event in which he has a stake (professional athletics, lotteries). Some games are dull or nearly meaningless without the accompanying betting activity and are rarely played unless wagering occurs (coin tossing, poker, dice games, lotteries). In other games betting is not intrinsically part of the game, and the association is merely conventional and not necessary to the performance of the game itself (horse racing, football pools). Commercial establishments such as casinos and racetracks may organize gambling when a portion of the money wagered by patrons can be easily acquired by participation as a favoured party in the game, by rental of space, or by withdrawing a portion of the betting pool. Some activities of very large scale (horse racing, lotteries) usually require commercial and professional organizations to present and maintain them efficiently.

A rough estimate of the amount of money legally wagered annually in the world is about $10 trillion (illegal gambling may exceed even this figure). In terms of total turnover, lotteries are the leading form of gambling worldwide. State-licensed or state-operated lotteries expanded rapidly in Europe and the United States during the late 20th century and are widely distributed throughout most of the world. Organized football (soccer) pools can be found in nearly all European countries, several South American countries, Australia, and a few African and Asian countries. Most of these countries also offer either state-organized or state-licensed wagering on other sporting events.

Betting on horse racing is a leading form of gambling in English-speaking countries and in France. It also exists in many other countries. Wherever horse racing is popular, it has usually become a major business, with its own newspapers and other periodicals, extensive statistical services, self-styled experts who sell advice on how to bet, and sophisticated communication networks that furnish information to betting centres, bookmakers and their employees, and workers involved with the care and breeding of horses. The same is true, to a smaller extent, of dog racing. The emergence of satellite broadcasting technology has led to the creation of so-called off-track betting facilities, in which bettors watch live telecasts at locations away from the racetrack.

Casinos or gambling houses have existed at least since the 17th century. In the 20th century they became commonplace and assumed almost a uniform character throughout the world. In Europe and South America they are permitted at many or most holiday resorts but not always in cities. In the United States casinos were for many years legal only in Nevada and New Jersey and, by special license, in Puerto Rico, but most other states now allow casino gambling, and betting facilities operate clandestinely throughout the country, often through corruption of political authorities. Roulette is one of the principal gambling games in casinos throughout France and Monaco and is popular throughout the world. Craps is the principal dice game at most American casinos. Slot and video poker machines are a mainstay of casinos in the United States and Europe and also are found in thousands of private clubs, restaurants, and other establishments; they are also common in Australia. Among the card games played at casinos, baccarat, in its popular form chemin de fer, has remained a principal gambling game in Great Britain and in the continental casinos most often patronized by the English at Deauville, Biarritz, and the Riviera resorts. Faro, at one time the principal gambling game in the United States, has become obsolete. Blackjack is the principal card game in American casinos. The French card game trente et quarante (or rouge et noir) is played at Monte-Carlo and a few other continental casinos. Many other games may also be found in some casinosfor example, sic bo, fan-tan, and pai-gow poker in Asia and local games such as boule, banca francesa, and kalooki in Europe.

At the start of the 21st century, poker exploded in popularity, principally through the high visibility of poker tournaments broadcast on television and the proliferation of Internet playing venues. Another growing form of Internet gambling is the so-called betting exchangesInternet Web sites on which players make wagers with one another, with the Web site taking a small cut of each wager in exchange for organizing and handling the transaction.

In a wide sense of the word, stock markets may also be considered a form of gambling, albeit one in which skill and knowledge on the part of the bettors play a considerable part. This also goes for insurance; paying the premium on ones life insurance is, in effect, a bet that one will die within a specified time. If one wins (dies), the win is paid out to ones relatives, and if one loses (survives the specified time), the wager (premium) is kept by the insurance company, which acts as a bookmaker and sets the odds (payout ratios) according to actuarial data. These two forms of gambling are considered beneficial to society, the former acquiring venture capital and the latter spreading statistical risks.

Events or outcomes that are equally probable have an equal chance of occurring in each instance. In games of pure chance, each instance is a completely independent one; that is, each play has the same probability as each of the others of producing a given outcome. Probability statements apply in practice to a long series of events but not to individual ones. The law of large numbers is an expression of the fact that the ratios predicted by probability statements are increasingly accurate as the number of events increases, but the absolute number of outcomes of a particular type departs from expectation with increasing frequency as the number of repetitions increases. It is the ratios that are accurately predictable, not the individual events or precise totals.

The probability of a favourable outcome among all possibilities can be expressed: probability (p) equals the total number of favourable outcomes (f) divided by the total number of possibilities (t), or p=f/t. But this holds only in situations governed by chance alone. In a game of tossing two dice, for example, the total number of possible outcomes is 36 (each of six sides of one die combined with each of six sides of the other), and the number of ways to make, say, a seven is six (made by throwing 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4, 4 and 3, 5 and 2, or 6 and 1); therefore, the probability of throwing a seven is 6/36, or 1/6.

In most gambling games it is customary to express the idea of probability in terms of odds against winning. This is simply the ratio of the unfavourable possibilities to the favourable ones. Because the probability of throwing a seven is 1/6, on average one throw in six would be favourable and five would not; the odds against throwing a seven are therefore 5 to 1. The probability of getting heads in a toss of a coin is 1/2; the odds are 1 to 1, called even. Care must be used in interpreting the phrase on average, which applies most accurately to a large number of cases and is not useful in individual instances. A common gamblers fallacy, called the doctrine of the maturity of the chances (or the Monte-Carlo fallacy), falsely assumes that each play in a game of chance is dependent on the others and that a series of outcomes of one sort should be balanced in the short run by the other possibilities. A number of systems have been invented by gamblers largely on the basis of this fallacy; casino operators are happy to encourage the use of such systems and to exploit any gamblers neglect of the strict rules of probability and independent plays. An interesting example of a game where each play is dependent on previous plays, however, is blackjack, where cards already dealt from the dealing shoe affect the composition of the remaining cards; for example, if all of the aces (worth 1 or 11 points) have been dealt, it is no longer possible to achieve a natural (a 21 with two cards). This fact forms the basis for some systems where it is possible to overcome the house advantage.

In some games an advantage may go to the dealer, the banker (the individual who collects and redistributes the stakes), or some other participant. Therefore, not all players have equal chances to win or equal payoffs. This inequality may be corrected by rotating the players among the positions in the game. Commercial gambling operators, however, usually make their profits by regularly occupying an advantaged position as the dealer, or they may charge money for the opportunity to play or subtract a proportion of money from the wagers on each play. In the dice game of crapswhich is among the major casino games offering the gambler the most favourable oddsthe casino returns to winners from 3/5 of 1 percent to 27 percent less than the fair odds, depending on the type of bet made. Depending on the bet, the house advantage (vigorish) for roulette in American casinos varies from about 5.26 to 7.89 percent, and in European casinos it varies from 1.35 to 2.7 percent. The house must always win in the long run. Some casinos also add rules that enhance their profits, especially rules that limit the amounts that may be staked under certain circumstances.

Many gambling games include elements of physical skill or strategy as well as of chance. The game of poker, like most other card games, is a mixture of chance and strategy that also involves a considerable amount of psychology. Betting on horse racing or athletic contests involves the assessment of a contestants physical capacity and the use of other evaluative skills. In order to ensure that chance is allowed to play a major role in determining the outcomes of such games, weights, handicaps, or other correctives may be introduced in certain cases to give the contestants approximately equal opportunities to win, and adjustments may be made in the payoffs so that the probabilities of success and the magnitudes of the payoffs are put in inverse proportion to each other. Pari-mutuel pools in horse-race betting, for example, reflect the chances of various horses to win as anticipated by the players. The individual payoffs are large for those bettors whose winning horses are backed by relatively few bettors and small if the winners are backed by a relatively large proportion of the bettors; the more popular the choice, the lower the individual payoff. The same holds true for betting with bookmakers on athletic contests (illegal in most of the United States but legal in England). Bookmakers ordinarily accept bets on the outcome of what is regarded as an uneven match by requiring the side more likely to win to score more than a simple majority of points; this procedure is known as setting a point spread. In a game of American or Canadian football, for example, the more highly regarded team would have to win by, say, more than 10 points to yield an even payoff to its backers.

Unhappily, these procedures for maintaining the influence of chance can be interfered with; cheating is possible and reasonably easy in most gambling games. Much of the stigma attached to gambling has resulted from the dishonesty of some of its promoters and players, and a large proportion of modern gambling legislation is written to control cheating. More laws have been oriented to efforts by governments to derive tax revenues from gambling than to control cheating, however.

Gambling is one of mankinds oldest activities, as evidenced by writings and equipment found in tombs and other places. It was regulated, which as a rule meant severely curtailed, in the laws of ancient China and Rome as well as in the Jewish Talmud and by Islam and Buddhism, and in ancient Egypt inveterate gamblers could be sentenced to forced labour in the quarries. The origin of gambling is considered to be divinatory: by casting marked sticks and other objects and interpreting the outcome, man sought knowledge of the future and the intentions of the gods. From this it was a very short step to betting on the outcome of the throws. The Bible contains many references to the casting of lots to divide property. One well-known instance is the casting of lots by Roman guards (which in all likelihood meant that they threw knucklebones) for the garment of Jesus during the Crucifixion. This is mentioned in all four of the Gospels and has been used for centuries as a warning example by antigambling crusaders. However, in ancient times casting lots was not considered to be gambling in the modern sense but instead was connected with inevitable destiny, or fate. Anthropologists have also pointed to the fact that gambling is more prevalent in societies where there is a widespread belief in gods and spirits whose benevolence may be sought. The casting of lots, not infrequently dice, has been used in many cultures to dispense justice and point out criminals at trialsin Sweden as late as 1803. The Greek word for justice, dike, comes from a word that means to throw, in the sense of throwing dice.

European history is riddled with edicts, decrees, and encyclicals banning and condemning gambling, which indirectly testify to its popularity in all strata of society. Organized gambling on a larger scale and sanctioned by governments and other authorities in order to raise money began in the 15th century with lotteriesand centuries earlier in China with keno. With the advent of legal gambling houses in the 17th century, mathematicians began to take a serious interest in games with randomizing equipment (such as dice and cards), out of which grew the field of probability theory.

Apart from forerunners in ancient Rome and Greece, organized sanctioned sports betting dates back to the late 18th century. About that time there began a gradual, albeit irregular, shift in the official attitude toward gambling, from considering it a sin to considering it a vice and a human weakness and, finally, to seeing it as a mostly harmless and even entertaining activity. Additionally, the Internet has made many forms of gambling accessible on an unheard-of scale. By the beginning of the 21st century, approximately four out of five people in Western nations gambled at least occasionally. The swelling number of gamblers in the 20th century highlighted the personal and social problem of pathological gambling, in which individuals are unable to control or limit their gambling. During the 1980s and 90s, pathological gambling was recognized by medical authorities in several countries as a cognitive disorder that afflicts slightly more than 1 percent of the population, and various treatment and therapy programs were developed to deal with the problem.

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Moral nihilism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Nihilism  Comments Off on Moral nihilism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 212016
 

This article is about the meta-ethical position. For a more general discussion of amoralism, see Amorality.

Moral nihilism (also known as ethical nihilism) is the meta-ethical view that nothing is intrinsically moral or immoral. For example, a moral nihilist would say that killing someone, for whatever reason, is neither inherently right nor inherently wrong. Moral nihilists consider morality to be constructed, a complex set of rules and recommendations that may give a psychological, social, or economical advantage to its adherents, but is otherwise without universal or even relative truth in any sense.[1]

Moral nihilism is distinct from moral relativism, which does allow for actions to be right or wrong relative to a particular culture or individual, and moral universalism, which holds actions to be right or wrong in the same way for everyone everywhere. Insofar as only true statements can be known, moral nihilism implies moral skepticism.

According to Sinnott-Armstrong (2006a), the basic thesis of moral nihilism is that “nothing is morally wrong” (3.4). There are, however, several forms that this thesis can take (see Sinnott-Armstrong, 2006b, pp.3237 and Russ Shafer-Landau, 2003, pp.813). There are two important forms of moral nihilism: error theory and expressivism[1] p.292.

One form of moral nihilism is expressivism. Expressivism denies the principle that our moral judgments try and fail to describe the moral features, because expressivists believe when someone says something is immoral they are not saying it is right or wrong. Expressivists are not trying to speak the truth when making moral judgments; they are simply trying to express their feelings. “We are not making an effort to describe the way the world is. We are not trying to report on the moral features possessed by various actions, motives, or policies. Instead, we are venting our emotions, commanding others to act in certain ways, or revealing a plan of action. When we condemn torture, for instance, we are expressing our opposition to it, indicating our disgust at it, publicizing our reluctance to perform it, and strongly encouraging others not to go in for it. We can do all of these things without trying to say anything that is true.”[1] p.293.

This makes expressivism a form of non-cognitivism. Non-cognitivism in ethics is the view that moral statements lack truth-value and do not assert genuine propositions. This involves a rejection of the cognitivist claim, shared by other moral philosophies, that moral statements seek to “describe some feature of the world” (Garner 1967, 219-220). This position on its own is logically compatible with realism about moral values themselves. That is, one could reasonably hold that there are objective moral values but that we cannot know them and that our moral language does not seek to refer to them. This would amount to an endorsement of a type of moral skepticism, rather than nihilism.

Typically, however, the rejection of the cognitivist thesis is combined with the thesis that there are, in fact, no moral facts (van Roojen, 2004). But if moral statements cannot be true, and if one cannot know something that is not true, non-cognitivism implies that moral knowledge is impossible (Garner 1967, 219-220).

Not all forms of non-cognitivism are forms of moral nihilism, however: notably, the universal prescriptivism of R.M. Hare is a non-cognitivist form of moral universalism, which holds that judgements about morality may be correct or not in a consistent, universal way, but do not attempt to describe features of reality and so are not, strictly speaking, truth-apt.

Error theory is built on three principles:

Thus, we always lapse into error when thinking in moral terms. We are trying to state the truth when we make moral judgments. But since there is no moral truth, all of our moral claims are mistaken. Hence the error. These three principles lead to the conclusion that there is no moral knowledge. Knowledge requires truth. If there is no moral truth, there can be no moral knowledge. Thus moral values are purely chimerical.[1]

Error theorists combine the cognitivist thesis that moral language consists of truth-apt statements with the nihilist thesis that there are no moral facts. Like moral nihilism itself, however, error theory comes in more than one form: Global falsity and Presupposition failure.

The first, which one might call the global falsity form of error theory, claims that moral beliefs and assertions are false in that they claim that certain moral facts exist that in fact do not exist. J. L. Mackie (1977) argues for this form of moral nihilism. Mackie argues that moral assertions are only true if there are moral properties that are intrinsically motivating, but there is good reason to believe that there are no such intrinsically motivating properties (see the argument from queerness and motivational internalism).

The second form, which one might call the presupposition failure form of error theory, claims that moral beliefs and assertions are not true because they are neither true nor false. This is not a form of non-cognitivism, for moral assertions are still thought to be truth-apt. Rather, this form of moral nihilism claims that moral beliefs and assertions presuppose the existence of moral facts that do not exist. This is analogous to presupposition failure in cases of non-moral assertions. Take, for example, the claim that the present king of France is bald. Some argue[who?] that this claim is truth-apt in that it has the logical form of an assertion, but it is neither true nor false because it presupposes that there is currently a king of France, but there is not. The claim suffers from “presupposition failure.” Richard Joyce (2001) argues for this form of moral nihilism under the name “fictionalism.”

The philosophy of Niccol Machiavelli is sometimes presented as a model of moral nihilism, but this is at best ambiguous. His book Il Principe (The Prince) praised many acts of violence and deception, which shocked a European tradition that throughout the Middle Ages had inculcated moral lessons in its political philosophies. Machiavelli does say that the Prince must override traditional moral rules in favor of power-maintaining reasons of State, but he also says, particularly in his other works, that the successful ruler should be guided by Pagan rather than Christian virtues. Hence, Machiavelli presents an alternative to the ethical theories of his day, rather than an all-out rejection of all morality.

Closer to being an example of moral nihilism is Thrasymachus, as portrayed in Plato’s Republic. Thrasymachus argues, for example, that rules of justice are structured to benefit those who are able to dominate political and social institutions. Thrasymachus can, however, be interpreted as offering a revisionary account of justice, rather than a total rejection of morality and normative discourse.

Glover has cited realist views of amoralism held by early Athenians, and in some ethical positions affirmed by Joseph Stalin.[2]

Criticisms of moral nihilism come primarily from moral realists,[citation needed] who argue that there are positive moral truths. Still, criticisms do arise out of the other anti-realist camps (i.e. subjectivists and relativists). Not only that, but each school of moral nihilism has its own criticisms of one another (e.g. the non-cognitivists’ critique of error theory for accepting the semantic thesis of moral realism).[citation needed]

Still other detractors deny that the basis of moral objectivity need be metaphysical. The moral naturalist, though a form of moral realist, agrees with the nihilists’ critique of metaphysical justifications for right and wrong. Moral naturalists prefer to define “morality” in terms of observables, some even appealing to a science of morality.[citation needed]

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Cloning = Cruelty | Compassion in World Farming

 Cloning  Comments Off on Cloning = Cruelty | Compassion in World Farming
Jun 192016
 

The case against cloning

The aim of cloning farm animals is to produce replicas of the animals with the highest economic value, for example the fastest-growing pigs or the highest-yielding dairy cows. However the process of cloning itself causes animal suffering and the animals with the highest economic value are prone to developing severe health problems pushed to their physical limits, they are condemned to a lifetime of suffering.

The Cloning = Cruelty campaign highlights the intrinsic animal welfare issues of selective breeding in animals for food i.e. meat and dairy. Research also shows that many cloned farm animals are born with deformed organs and live short and miserable lives.

The first cloned Boer goat of east China’s Anhui Province dies beside its mother. Xinhua News Agency

The cloning of farm animals can involve great suffering. A cloned embryo has to be implanted into a surrogate mother who carries it to birth. Cloned embryos tend to be large and can result in painful births that are often carried out by Caesarean section. Many clones die during pregnancy or birth. Of those that survive, a significant proportion die in the early days and weeks of life from problems such as heart, liver and kidney failure.

On 8th September MEPs will take a vote on whether to ban the cloning of farm animals in Europe. Please send a message to your MEPs to ask that they vote in support of a ban on cloning. The future of farm animals in Europe may depend on it.

Compassion will continue, with its European partners, to fight the introduction of cloning animals for food.

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Cloning = Cruelty | Compassion in World Farming

The War on Drugs (band) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 War On Drugs  Comments Off on The War on Drugs (band) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 172016
 

The War on Drugs

Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs is an American indie rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formed in 2005. The band consists of Adam Granduciel (vocals, guitar), David Hartley (bass), Robbie Bennett (keyboards), Charlie Hall (drums), Jon Natchez (saxophone, keyboards) and Anthony LaMarca (guitar).

Founded by close collaborators Granduciel and Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs released their debut studio album, Wagonwheel Blues, in 2008. Vile departed shortly after its release to focus on his solo career. The band’s second studio album Slave Ambient was released in 2011 to favorable reviews and extensive touring.

Written and recorded following extensive touring and a period of loneliness and depression for primary songwriter Granduciel, the band’s third album, Lost in the Dream, was released in 2014 to widespread critical acclaim and increased exposure. Previous collaborator Charlie Hall joined the band as its full-time drummer during the recording process, with saxophonist Jon Natchez and additional guitarist Anthony LaMarca accompanying the band for its world tour.

In 2003, frontman Adam Granduciel moved from Oakland, California to Philadelphia, where he met Kurt Vile, who had also recently moved back to Philadelphia after living in Boston for two years.[3] The duo subsequently began writing, recording and performing music together.[4] Vile stated, “Adam was the first dude I met when I moved back to Philadelphia in 2003. We saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things. I was obsessed with Bob Dylan at the time, and we totally geeked-out on that. We started playing together in the early days and he would be in my band, The Violators. Then, eventually I played in The War On Drugs.”[5]

Granduciel and Vile began playing as The War on Drugs in 2005. Regarding the band’s name, Granduciel noted, “My friend Julian and I came up with it a few years ago over a couple bottles of red wine and a few typewriters when we were living in Oakland. We were writing a lot back then, working on a dictionary, and it just came out and we were like “hey, good band name so eventually when I moved to Philadelphia and got a band together I used it. It was either that or The Rigatoni Danzas. I think we made the right choice. I always felt though that it was the kind of name I could record all sorts of different music under without any sort of predictability inherent in the name”[6]

While Vile and Granduciel formed the backbone of the band, they had a number of accompanists early in the group’s career, before finally settling on a lineup that added Charlie Hall as drummer/organist, Kyle Lloyd as drummer and Dave Hartley on bass.[7] Granduciel had previously toured and recorded with The Capitol Years, and Vile has several solo albums.[8] The group gave away its Barrel of Batteries EP for free early in 2008.[9] Their debut LP for Secretly Canadian, Wagonwheel Blues, was released in 2008.[10]

Following the album’s release, and subsequent European tour, Vile departed from the band to focus on his solo career, stating, “I only went on the first European tour when their album came out, and then I basically left the band. I knew if I stuck with that, it would be all my time and my goal was to have my own musical career.”[5] Fellow Kurt Vile & the Violators bandmate Mike Zanghi joined the band at this time, with Vile noting, “Mike was my drummer first and then when The War On Drugs’ first record came out I thought I was lending Mike to Adam for the European tour but then he just played with them all the time so I kind of had to like, while they were touring a lot, figure out my own thing.”[11]

The lineup underwent several changes, and by the end of 2008, Kurt Vile, Charlie Hall, and Kyle Lloyd had all exited the group. At that time Granduciel and Hartley were joined by drummer Mike Zanghi, whom Granduciel also played with in Kurt Vile’s backing band, the Violators.

After recording much of the band’s forthcoming studio album, Slave Ambient, Zanghi departed from the band in 2010. Drummer Steven Urgo subsequently joined the band, with keyboardist Robbie Bennett also joining at around this time. Regarding Zanghi’s exit, Granduciel noted: “I loved Mike, and I loved the sound of The Violators, but then he wasn’t really the sound of my band. But you have things like friendship, and he’s down to tour and he’s a great guy, but it wasn’t the sound of what this band was.”[12]

The band’s second studio album, Slave Ambient was released to favorable reviews in 2011.

In 2012, Patrick Berkery replaced Urgo as the band’s drummer.[13]

On 4 December 2013 the band announced the upcoming release of its third studio album, Lost in the Dream (March 18, 2014). The band streamed the album in its entirety on NPR’s First Listen site for a week before its release.[14]

Lost in the Dream was featured as the Vinyl Me, Please record of the month in August 2014. The pressing was a limited edition pressing on mint green colored vinyl.

In June 2015, The War on Drugs signed with Atlantic Records for a two-album deal.[15]

Adam Granduciel and Mike Zanghi are both former members of founding guitarist Kurt Vile’s backing band The Violators, with Granduciel noting, “There was never, despite what lazy journalists have assumed, any sort of falling out, or resentment”[16] following Vile’s departure from The War on Drugs. In 2011, Vile stated, “When my record came out, I assumed Adam would want to focus on The War On Drugs but he came with us in The Violators when we toured the States. The Violators became a unit, and although the cast does rotate, weve developed an even tighter unity and sound. Adam is an incredible guitar player these days and there is a certain feeling [between us] that nobody else can tap into. We dont really have to tell each other what to play, it just happens.”

Both David Hartley and Adam Granduciel contributed to singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten’s fourth studio album, Are We There (2014). Hartley performs bass guitar on the entire album, with Granduciel contributing guitar on two tracks.

Adam Granduciel is currently producing the new Sore Eros album. They have been recording it in Philadelphia and Los Angeles on and off for the past several years.[5]

Current members

Former members

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The War on Drugs (band) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Euthanasia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Euthanasia  Comments Off on Euthanasia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 172016
 

This article is about euthanasia of humans. For mercy killings performed on other animals, see Animal euthanasia.

Euthanasia (from Greek: ; “good death”: , eu; “well” or “good” , thanatos; “death”) is the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering.[1]

There are different euthanasia laws in each country. The British House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics defines euthanasia as “a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering”.[2] In the Netherlands and Flanders, euthanasia is understood as “termination of life by a doctor at the request of a patient”.[3]

Euthanasia is categorized in different ways, which include voluntary, non-voluntary, or involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia is legal in some countries. Non-voluntary euthanasia (patient’s consent unavailable) is illegal in all countries. Involuntary euthanasia (without asking consent or against the patient’s will) is also illegal in all countries and is usually considered murder.[4] As of 2006, euthanasia is the most active area of research in contemporary bioethics.[5]

In some countries there is a divisive public controversy over the moral, ethical, and legal issues of euthanasia. Those who are against euthanasia may argue for the sanctity of life, while proponents of euthanasia rights emphasize alleviating suffering, and preserving bodily integrity, self-determination, and personal autonomy.[6] Jurisdictions where euthanasia is legal include the Netherlands, Canada,[7]Colombia, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

Like other terms borrowed from history, “euthanasia” has had different meanings depending on usage. The first apparent usage of the term “euthanasia” belongs to the historian Suetonius, who described how the Emperor Augustus, “dying quickly and without suffering in the arms of his wife, Livia, experienced the ‘euthanasia’ he had wished for.”[8] The word “euthanasia” was first used in a medical context by Francis Bacon in the 17th century, to refer to an easy, painless, happy death, during which it was a “physician’s responsibility to alleviate the ‘physical sufferings’ of the body.” Bacon referred to an “outward euthanasia”the term “outward” he used to distinguish from a spiritual conceptthe euthanasia “which regards the preparation of the soul.”[9]

In current usage, euthanasia has been defined as the “painless inducement of a quick death”.[10] However, it is argued that this approach fails to properly define euthanasia, as it leaves open a number of possible actions which would meet the requirements of the definition, but would not be seen as euthanasia. In particular, these include situations where a person kills another, painlessly, but for no reason beyond that of personal gain; or accidental deaths that are quick and painless, but not intentional.[11][12]

Another approach incorporates the notion of suffering into the definition.[11] The definition offered by the Oxford English Dictionary incorporates suffering as a necessary condition, with “the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma”,[13] This approach is included in Marvin Khol and Paul Kurtz’s definition of it as “a mode or act of inducing or permitting death painlessly as a relief from suffering”.[14] Counterexamples can be given: such definitions may encompass killing a person suffering from an incurable disease for personal gain (such as to claim an inheritance), and commentators such as Tom Beauchamp and Arnold Davidson have argued that doing so would constitute “murder simpliciter” rather than euthanasia.[11]

The third element incorporated into many definitions is that of intentionality the death must be intended, rather than being accidental, and the intent of the action must be a “merciful death”.[11] Michael Wreen argued that “the principal thing that distinguishes euthanasia from intentional killing simpliciter is the agent’s motive: it must be a good motive insofar as the good of the person killed is concerned.”[15] Similarly, Heather Draper speaks to the importance of motive, arguing that “the motive forms a crucial part of arguments for euthanasia, because it must be in the best interests of the person on the receiving end.”[12] Definitions such as that offered by the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics take this path, where euthanasia is defined as “a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering.”[2] Beauchamp and Davidson also highlight Baruch Brody’s “an act of euthanasia is one in which one person… (A) kills another person (B) for the benefit of the second person, who actually does benefit from being killed”.[16]

Draper argued that any definition of euthanasia must incorporate four elements: an agent and a subject; an intention; a causal proximity, such that the actions of the agent lead to the outcome; and an outcome. Based on this, she offered a definition incorporating those elements, stating that euthanasia “must be defined as death that results from the intention of one person to kill another person, using the most gentle and painless means possible, that is motivated solely by the best interests of the person who dies.”[17] Prior to Draper, Beauchamp and Davidson had also offered a definition that includes these elements. Their definition specifically discounts fetuses in order to distinguish between abortions and euthanasia:[18]

“In summary, we have argued… that the death of a human being, A, is an instance of euthanasia if and only if (1) A’s death is intended by at least one other human being, B, where B is either the cause of death or a causally relevant feature of the event resulting in death (whether by action or by omission); (2) there is either sufficient current evidence for B to believe that A is acutely suffering or irreversibly comatose, or there is sufficient current evidence related to A’s present condition such that one or more known causal laws supports B’s belief that A will be in a condition of acute suffering or irreversible comatoseness; (3) (a) B’s primary reason for intending A’s death is cessation of A’s (actual or predicted future) suffering or irreversible comatoseness, where B does not intend A’s death for a different primary reason, though there may be other relevant reasons, and (b) there is sufficient current evidence for either A or B that causal means to A’s death will not produce any more suffering than would be produced for A if B were not to intervene; (4) the causal means to the event of A’s death are chosen by A or B to be as painless as possible, unless either A or B has an overriding reason for a more painful causal means, where the reason for choosing the latter causal means does not conflict with the evidence in 3b; (5) A is a nonfetal organism.”[19]

Wreen, in part responding to Beauchamp and Davidson, offered a six-part definition:

“Person A committed an act of euthanasia if and only if (1) A killed B or let her die; (2) A intended to kill B; (3) the intention specified in (2) was at least partial cause of the action specified in (1); (4) the causal journey from the intention specified in (2) to the action specified in (1) is more or less in accordance with A’s plan of action; (5) A’s killing of B is a voluntary action; (6) the motive for the action specified in (1), the motive standing behind the intention specified in (2), is the good of the person killed.”[20]

Wreen also considered a seventh requirement: “(7) The good specified in (6) is, or at least includes, the avoidance of evil”, although as Wreen noted in the paper, he was not convinced that the restriction was required.[21]

In discussing his definition, Wreen noted the difficulty of justifying euthanasia when faced with the notion of the subject’s “right to life”. In response, Wreen argued that euthanasia has to be voluntary, and that “involuntary euthanasia is, as such, a great wrong”.[21] Other commentators incorporate consent more directly into their definitions. For example, in a discussion of euthanasia presented in 2003 by the European Association of Palliative Care (EPAC) Ethics Task Force, the authors offered: “Medicalized killing of a person without the person’s consent, whether nonvoluntary (where the person in unable to consent) or involuntary (against the person’s will) is not euthanasia: it is murder. Hence, euthanasia can be voluntary only.”[22] Although the EPAC Ethics Task Force argued that both non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia could not be included in the definition of euthanasia, there is discussion in the literature about excluding one but not the other.[21]

Euthanasia may be classified according to whether a person gives informed consent into three types: voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary.[23][24]

There is a debate within the medical and bioethics literature about whether or not the non-voluntary (and by extension, involuntary) killing of patients can be regarded as euthanasia, irrespective of intent or the patient’s circumstances. In the definitions offered by Beauchamp and Davidson and, later, by Wreen, consent on the part of the patient was not considered as one of their criteria, although it may have been required to justify euthanasia.[11][25] However, others see consent as essential.

Euthanasia conducted with the consent of the patient is termed voluntary euthanasia. Active voluntary euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Passive voluntary euthanasia is legal throughout the U.S. per Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health. When the patient brings about his or her own death with the assistance of a physician, the term assisted suicide is often used instead. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland and the U.S. states of California, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont.

Euthanasia conducted when the consent of the patient is unavailable is termed non-voluntary euthanasia. Examples include child euthanasia, which is illegal worldwide but decriminalised under certain specific circumstances in the Netherlands under the Groningen Protocol.

Euthanasia conducted against the will of the patient is termed involuntary euthanasia.

Voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia can all be further divided into passive or active variants.[26] Passive euthanasia entails the withholding of common treatments, such as antibiotics, necessary for the continuance of life.[2] Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces, such as administering a lethal injection, to kill and is the most controversial means. A number of authors consider these terms to be misleading and unhelpful.[2]

According to the historian N. D. A. Kemp, the origin of the contemporary debate on euthanasia started in 1870.[27] Euthanasia is known to have been debated and practiced long before that date. Euthanasia was practiced in Ancient Greece and Rome: for example, hemlock was employed as a means of hastening death on the island of Kea, a technique also employed in Marseilles. Euthanasia, in the sense of the deliberate hastening of a person’s death, was supported by Socrates, Plato and Seneca the Elder in the ancient world, although Hippocrates appears to have spoken against the practice, writing “I will not prescribe a deadly drug to please someone, nor give advice that may cause his death” (noting there is some debate in the literature about whether or not this was intended to encompass euthanasia).[28][29][30]

The term “euthanasia” in the earlier sense of supporting someone as they died was used for the first time by Francis Bacon (1561-1626). In his work, Euthanasia medica, he chose this ancient Greek word and, in doing so, distinguished between euthanasia interior, the preparation of the soul for death, and euthanasia exterior, which was intended to make the end of life easier and painless, in exceptional circumstances by shortening life. That the ancient meaning of an easy death came to the fore again in the early modern period can be seen from its definition in the 18th century Zedlers Universallexikon:

The concept of euthanasia in the sense of alleviating the process of death goes back to the medical historian, Karl Friedrich Heinrich Marx, who drew on Bacon’s philosophical ideas. According to Marx, a doctor had a moral duty to ease the suffering of death through encouragement, support and mitigation using medication. Such an “alleviation of death” reflected the contemporary Zeitgeist, but was brought into the medical canon of responsibility for the first time by Marx. Marx also stressed the distinction between the theological care of the soul of sick people from the physical care and medical treatment by doctors.[32][33]

Euthanasia in its modern sense has always been strongly opposed in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Thomas Aquinas opposed both and argued that the practice of euthanasia contradicted our natural human instincts of survival,[34] as did Francois Ranchin (15651641), a French physician and professor of medicine, and Michael Boudewijns (16011681), a physician and teacher.[29]:208[35] Other voices argued for euthanasia, such as John Donne in 1624,[36] and euthanasia continued to be practised. In 1678, the publication of Caspar Questel’s De pulvinari morientibus non subtrahend, (“On the pillow of which the dying should not be deprived”), initiated debate on the topic. Questel described various customs which were employed at the time to hasten the death of the dying, (including the sudden removal of a pillow, which was believed to accelerate death), and argued against their use, as doing so was “against the laws of God and Nature”.[29]:209211 This view was shared by many who followed, including Philipp Jakob Spener, Veit Riedlin and Johann Georg Krnitz.[29]:211 Despite opposition, euthanasia continued to be practised, involving techniques such as bleeding, suffocation, and removing people from their beds to be placed on the cold ground.[29]:211214

Suicide and euthanasia became more accepted during the Age of Enlightenment.[35]Thomas More wrote of euthanasia in Utopia, although it is not clear if More was intending to endorse the practice.[29]:208209 Other cultures have taken different approaches: for example, in Japan suicide has not traditionally been viewed as a sin, as it is used in cases of honor, and accordingly, the perceptions of euthanasia are different from those in other parts of the world.[37]

In the mid-1800s, the use of morphine to treat “the pains of death” emerged, with John Warren recommending its use in 1848. A similar use of chloroform was revealed by Joseph Bullar in 1866. However, in neither case was it recommended that the use should be to hasten death. In 1870 Samuel Williams, a schoolteacher, initiated the contemporary euthanasia debate through a speech given at the Birmingham Speculative Club in England, which was subsequently published in a one-off publication entitled Essays of the Birmingham Speculative Club, the collected works of a number of members of an amateur philosophical society.[38]:794 Williams’ proposal was to use chloroform to deliberately hasten the death of terminally ill patients:

That in all cases of hopeless and painful illness, it should be the recognized duty of the medical attendant, whenever so desired by the patient, to administer choloroform or such other anaesthetic as may by-and-bye supersede chloroform so as to destroy consciousness at once, and put the sufferer to a quick and painless death; all needful precautions being adopted to prevent any possible abuse of such duty; and means being taken to establish, beyond the possibility of doubt or question, that the remedy was applied at the express wish of the patient.

The essay was favourably reviewed in The Saturday Review, but an editorial against the essay appeared in The Spectator.[27] From there it proved to be influential, and other writers came out in support of such views: Lionel Tollemache wrote in favour of euthanasia, as did Annie Besant, the essayist and reformer who later became involved with the National Secular Society, considering it a duty to society to “die voluntarily and painlessly” when one reaches the point of becoming a ‘burden’.[27][39]Popular Science analyzed the issue in May 1873, assessing both sides of the argument.[40] Kemp notes that at the time, medical doctors did not participate in the discussion; it was “essentially a philosophical enterprise… tied inextricably to a number of objections to the Christian doctrine of the sanctity of human life”.[27]

The rise of the euthanasia movement in the United States coincided with the so-called Gilded Age, a time of social and technological change that encompassed an “individualistic conservatism that praised laissez-faire economics, scientific method, and rationalism”, along with major depressions, industrialisation and conflict between corporations and labour unions.[38]:794 It was also the period in which the modern hospital system was developed, which has been seen as a factor in the emergence of the euthanasia debate.[41]

Robert Ingersoll argued for euthanasia, stating in 1894 that where someone is suffering from a terminal illness, such as terminal cancer, they should have a right to end their pain through suicide. Felix Adler offered a similar approach, although, unlike Ingersoll, Adler did not reject religion. In fact, he argued from an Ethical Culture framework. In 1891, Alder argued that those suffering from overwhelming pain should have the right to commit suicide, and, furthermore, that it should be permissible for a doctor to assist thus making Adler the first “prominent American” to argue for suicide in cases where people were suffering from chronic illness.[42] Both Ingersoll and Adler argued for voluntary euthanasia of adults suffering from terminal ailments.[42] Dowbiggin argues that by breaking down prior moral objections to euthanasia and suicide, Ingersoll and Adler enabled others to stretch the definition of euthanasia.[43]

The first attempt to legalise euthanasia took place in the United States, when Henry Hunt introduced legislation into the General Assembly of Ohio in 1906.[44]:614 Hunt did so at the behest of Anna Hall, a wealthy heiress who was a major figure in the euthanasia movement during the early 20th century in the United States. Hall had watched her mother die after an extended battle with liver cancer, and had dedicated herself to ensuring that others would not have to endure the same suffering. Towards this end she engaged in an extensive letter writing campaign, recruited Lurana Sheldon and Maud Ballington Booth, and organised a debate on euthanasia at the annual meeting of the American Humane Association in 1905 described by Jacob Appel as the first significant public debate on the topic in the 20th century.[44]:614616

Hunt’s bill called for the administration of an anesthetic to bring about a patient’s death, so long as the person is of lawful age and sound mind, and was suffering from a fatal injury, an irrevocable illness, or great physical pain. It also required that the case be heard by a physician, required informed consent in front of three witnesses, and required the attendance of three physicians who had to agree that the patient’s recovery was impossible. A motion to reject the bill outright was voted down, but the bill failed to pass, 79 to 23.[38]:796[44]:618619

Along with the Ohio euthanasia proposal, in 1906 Assemblyman Ross Gregory introduced a proposal to permit euthanasia to the Iowa legislature. However, the Iowa legislation was far broader in scope than that offered in Ohio. It allowed for the death of any person of at least ten years of age who suffered from an ailment that would prove fatal and cause extreme pain, should they be of sound mind and express a desire to artificially hasten their death. In addition, it allowed for infants to be euthanised if they were sufficiently deformed, and permitted guardians to request euthanasia on behalf of their wards. The proposed legislation also imposed penalties on physicians who refused to perform euthanasia when requested: a 612 month prison term and a fine of between $200 and $1000. The proposal proved to be controversial.[44]:619621 It engendered considerable debate and failed to pass, having been withdrawn from consideration after being passed to the Committee on Public Health.[44]:623

After 1906 the euthanasia debate reduced in intensity, resurfacing periodically but not returning to the same level of debate until the 1930s in the United Kingdom.[38]:796

The Voluntary Euthanasia Legalisation Society was founded in 1935 by Charles Killick Millard (now called Dignity in Dying). The movement campaigned for the legalisation of euthanasia in Great Britain.

In January 1936, King George V was given a fatal dose of morphine and cocaine in order to hasten his death. At the time he was suffering from cardio-respiratory failure, and the decision to end his life was made by his physician, Lord Dawson.[45] Although this event was kept a secret for over 50 years, the death of George V coincided with proposed legislation in the House of Lords to legalise euthanasia. The legislation came through the British Volunteer Euthanasia Legalisation Society.[46]

Euthanasia opponent Ian Dowbiggin argues that the early membership of the Euthanasia Society of America (ESA) reflected how many perceived euthanasia at the time, often seeing it as a eugenics matter rather than an issue concerning individual rights.[42] Dowbiggin argues that not every eugenist joined the ESA “solely for eugenic reasons”, but he postulates that there were clear ideological connections between the eugenics and euthanasia movements.[42]

A 24 July 1939 killing of a severely disabled infant in Nazi Germany was described in a BBC “Genocide Under the Nazis Timeline” as the first “state-sponsored euthanasia”.[47] Parties that consented to the killing included Hitler’s office, the parents, and the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Serious and Congenitally Based Illnesses.[47]The Telegraph noted that the killing of the disabled infantwhose name was Gerhard Kretschmar, born blind, with missing limbs, subject to convulsions, and reportedly “an idiot” provided “the rationale for a secret Nazi decree that led to ‘mercy killings’ of almost 300,000 mentally and physically handicapped people”.[48] While Kretchmar’s killing received parental consent, most of the 5,000 to 8,000 children killed afterwards were forcibly taken from their parents.[47][48]

The “euthanasia campaign” of mass murder gathered momentum on 14 January 1940 when the “handicapped” were killed with gas vans and killing centres, eventually leading to the deaths of 70,000 adult Germans.[49] Professor Robert Jay Lifton, author of The Nazi Doctors and a leading authority on the T4 program, contrasts this program with what he considers to be a genuine euthanasia. He explains that the Nazi version of “euthanasia” was based on the work of Adolf Jost, who published The Right to Death (Das Recht auf den Tod) in 1895. Lifton writes: “Jost argued that control over the death of the individual must ultimately belong to the social organism, the state. This concept is in direct opposition to the Anglo-American concept of euthanasia, which emphasizes the individual’s ‘right to die’ or ‘right to death’ or ‘right to his or her own death,’ as the ultimate human claim. In contrast, Jost was pointing to the state’s right to kill…. Ultimately the argument was biological: ‘The rights to death [are] the key to the fitness of life.’ The state must own deathmust killin order to keep the social organism alive and healthy.”[50]

In modern terms, the use of “euthanasia” in the context of Action T4 is seen to be a euphemism to disguise a program of genocide, in which people were killed on the grounds of “disabilities, religious beliefs, and discordant individual values”.[51] Compared to the discussions of euthanasia that emerged post-war, the Nazi program may have been worded in terms that appear similar to the modern use of “euthanasia”, but there was no “mercy” and the patients were not necessarily terminally ill.[51] Despite these differences, historian and euthanasia opponent Ian Dowbiggin writes that “the origins of Nazi euthanasia, like those of the American euthanasia movement, predate the Third Reich and were intertwined with the history of eugenics and Social Darwinism, and with efforts to discredit traditional morality and ethics.”[42]:65

On January 6, 1949, the Euthanasia Society of America presented to the New York State Legislature a petition to legalize euthanasia, signed by 379 leading Protestant and Jewish ministers, the largest group of religious leaders ever to have taken this stance. A similar petition had been sent to the New York State Legislature in 1947, signed by approximately 1,000 New York physicians. Catholic religious leaders criticized the petition, saying that such a bill would “legalize a suicide-murder pact” and a “rationalization of the fifth commandment of God, ‘Though Shalt Not Kill.'”[52] The Right Reverend Robert E. McCormick stated that

“The ultimate object of the Euthanasia Society is based on the Totalitarian principle that the state is supreme and that the individual does not have the right to live if his continuance in life is a burden or hindrance to the state. The Nazis followed this principle and compulsory Euthanasia was practiced as a part of their program during the recent war. We American citizens of New York State must ask ourselves this question: ‘Are we going to finish Hitler’s job?'”[52]

The petition brought tensions between the American Euthanasia Society and the Catholic Church to a head that contributed to a climate of anti-Catholic sentiment generally regarding issues such as birth control, eugenics, and population control.[42]

The petition did not lead to a law.

Historically, the euthanasia debate has tended to focus on a number of key concerns. According to euthanasia opponent Ezekiel Emanuel, proponents of euthanasia have presented four main arguments: a) that people have a right to self-determination, and thus should be allowed to choose their own fate; b) assisting a subject to die might be a better choice than requiring that they continue to suffer; c) the distinction between passive euthanasia, which is often permitted, and active euthanasia, which is not substantive (or that the underlying principlethe doctrine of double effectis unreasonable or unsound); and d) permitting euthanasia will not necessarily lead to unacceptable consequences. Pro-euthanasia activists often point to countries like the Netherlands and Belgium, and states like Oregon, where euthanasia has been legalized, to argue that it is mostly unproblematic.

Similarly, Emanuel argues that there are four major arguments presented by opponents of euthanasia: a) not all deaths are painful; b) alternatives, such as cessation of active treatment, combined with the use of effective pain relief, are available; c) the distinction between active and passive euthanasia is morally significant; and d) legalising euthanasia will place society on a slippery slope,[53] which will lead to unacceptable consequences.[38]:7978 In fact, in Oregon, in 2013, pain wasn’t one of the top five reasons people sought euthanasia. Top reasons were a loss of dignity, and a fear of burdening others.[54]

In the United States in 2013, 47% nationwide supported doctor-assisted suicide. This included 32% of Latinos, 29% of African-Americans, and almost nobody with disabilities.[54]

West’s Encyclopedia of American Law states that “a ‘mercy killing’ or euthanasia is generally considered to be a criminal homicide”[55] and is normally used as a synonym of homicide committed at a request made by the patient.[56]

The judicial sense of the term “homicide” includes any intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, even to relieve intractable suffering.[56][57][58] Not all homicide is unlawful.[59] Two designations of homicide that carry no criminal punishment are justifiable and excusable homicide.[59] In most countries this is not the status of euthanasia. The term “euthanasia” is usually confined to the active variety; the University of Washington website states that “euthanasia generally means that the physician would act directly, for instance by giving a lethal injection, to end the patient’s life”.[60]Physician-assisted suicide is thus not classified as euthanasia by the US State of Oregon, where it is legal under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, and despite its name, it is not legally classified as suicide either.[61] Unlike physician-assisted suicide, withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments with patient consent (voluntary) is almost unanimously considered, at least in the United States, to be legal.[62] The use of pain medication in order to relieve suffering, even if it hastens death, has been held as legal in several court decisions.[60]

Some governments around the world have legalized voluntary euthanasia but most commonly it is still considered to be criminal homicide. In the Netherlands and Belgium, where euthanasia has been legalized, it still remains homicide although it is not prosecuted and not punishable if the perpetrator (the doctor) meets certain legal conditions.[63][64][65][66]

A survey in the United States of more than 10,000 physicians came to the result that approximately 16% of physicians would ever consider halting life-sustaining therapy because the family demands it, even if they believed that it was premature. Approximately 55% would not, and for the remaining 29%, it would depend on circumstances.[67]

This study also stated that approximately 46% of physicians agree that physician-assisted suicide should be allowed in some cases; 41% do not, and the remaining 14% think it depends.[67]

In the United Kingdom, the pro-assisted dying group Dignity in Dying cite conflicting research on attitudes by doctors to assisted dying: with a 2009 Palliative Medicine-published survey showing 64% support (to 34% oppose) for assisted dying in cases where a patient has an incurable and painful disease, while 49% of doctors in a study published in BMC Medical Ethics oppose changing the law on assisted dying to 39% in favour.[68]

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Cloning – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In biology, cloning is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments (molecular cloning), cells (cell cloning), or organisms. The term also refers to the production of multiple copies of a product such as digital media or software.

The term clone, invented by J. B. S. Haldane, is derived from the Ancient Greek word kln, “twig”, referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig. In horticulture, the spelling clon was used until the twentieth century; the final e came into use to indicate the vowel is a “long o” instead of a “short o”.[1][2] Since the term entered the popular lexicon in a more general context, the spelling clone has been used exclusively.

In botany, the term lusus was traditionally used.[3]:21, 43

Cloning is a natural form of reproduction that has allowed life forms to spread for more than 50 thousand years. It is the reproduction method used by plants, fungi, and bacteria, and is also the way that clonal colonies reproduce themselves.[4][5] Examples of these organisms include blueberry plants, hazel trees, the Pando trees,[6][7] the Kentucky coffeetree, Myricas, and the American sweetgum.

Molecular cloning refers to the process of making multiple molecules. Cloning is commonly used to amplify DNA fragments containing whole genes, but it can also be used to amplify any DNA sequence such as promoters, non-coding sequences and randomly fragmented DNA. It is used in a wide array of biological experiments and practical applications ranging from genetic fingerprinting to large scale protein production. Occasionally, the term cloning is misleadingly used to refer to the identification of the chromosomal location of a gene associated with a particular phenotype of interest, such as in positional cloning. In practice, localization of the gene to a chromosome or genomic region does not necessarily enable one to isolate or amplify the relevant genomic sequence. To amplify any DNA sequence in a living organism, that sequence must be linked to an origin of replication, which is a sequence of DNA capable of directing the propagation of itself and any linked sequence. However, a number of other features are needed, and a variety of specialised cloning vectors (small piece of DNA into which a foreign DNA fragment can be inserted) exist that allow protein production, affinity tagging, single stranded RNA or DNA production and a host of other molecular biology tools.

Cloning of any DNA fragment essentially involves four steps[8]

Although these steps are invariable among cloning procedures a number of alternative routes can be selected; these are summarized as a cloning strategy.

Initially, the DNA of interest needs to be isolated to provide a DNA segment of suitable size. Subsequently, a ligation procedure is used where the amplified fragment is inserted into a vector (piece of DNA). The vector (which is frequently circular) is linearised using restriction enzymes, and incubated with the fragment of interest under appropriate conditions with an enzyme called DNA ligase. Following ligation the vector with the insert of interest is transfected into cells. A number of alternative techniques are available, such as chemical sensitivation of cells, electroporation, optical injection and biolistics. Finally, the transfected cells are cultured. As the aforementioned procedures are of particularly low efficiency, there is a need to identify the cells that have been successfully transfected with the vector construct containing the desired insertion sequence in the required orientation. Modern cloning vectors include selectable antibiotic resistance markers, which allow only cells in which the vector has been transfected, to grow. Additionally, the cloning vectors may contain colour selection markers, which provide blue/white screening (alpha-factor complementation) on X-gal medium. Nevertheless, these selection steps do not absolutely guarantee that the DNA insert is present in the cells obtained. Further investigation of the resulting colonies must be required to confirm that cloning was successful. This may be accomplished by means of PCR, restriction fragment analysis and/or DNA sequencing.

Cloning a cell means to derive a population of cells from a single cell. In the case of unicellular organisms such as bacteria and yeast, this process is remarkably simple and essentially only requires the inoculation of the appropriate medium. However, in the case of cell cultures from multi-cellular organisms, cell cloning is an arduous task as these cells will not readily grow in standard media.

A useful tissue culture technique used to clone distinct lineages of cell lines involves the use of cloning rings (cylinders).[9] In this technique a single-cell suspension of cells that have been exposed to a mutagenic agent or drug used to drive selection is plated at high dilution to create isolated colonies, each arising from a single and potentially clonal distinct cell. At an early growth stage when colonies consist of only a few cells, sterile polystyrene rings (cloning rings), which have been dipped in grease, are placed over an individual colony and a small amount of trypsin is added. Cloned cells are collected from inside the ring and transferred to a new vessel for further growth.

Somatic-cell nuclear transfer, known as SCNT, can also be used to create embryos for research or therapeutic purposes. The most likely purpose for this is to produce embryos for use in stem cell research. This process is also called “research cloning” or “therapeutic cloning.” The goal is not to create cloned human beings (called “reproductive cloning”), but rather to harvest stem cells that can be used to study human development and to potentially treat disease. While a clonal human blastocyst has been created, stem cell lines are yet to be isolated from a clonal source.[10]

Therapeutic cloning is achieved by creating embryonic stem cells in the hopes of treating diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s. The process begins by removing the nucleus (containing the DNA) from an egg cell and inserting a nucleus from the adult cell to be cloned.[11] In the case of someone with Alzheimer’s disease, the nucleus from a skin cell of that patient is placed into an empty egg. The reprogrammed cell begins to develop into an embryo because the egg reacts with the transferred nucleus. The embryo will become genetically identical to the patient.[11] The embryo will then form a blastocyst which has the potential to form/become any cell in the body.[12]

The reason why SCNT is used for cloning is because somatic cells can be easily acquired and cultured in the lab. This process can either add or delete specific genomes of farm animals. A key point to remember is that cloning is achieved when the oocyte maintains its normal functions and instead of using sperm and egg genomes to replicate, the oocyte is inserted into the donors somatic cell nucleus.[13] The oocyte will react on the somatic cell nucleus, the same way it would on sperm cells.[13]

The process of cloning a particular farm animal using SCNT is relatively the same for all animals. The first step is to collect the somatic cells from the animal that will be cloned. The somatic cells could be used immediately or stored in the laboratory for later use.[13] The hardest part of SCNT is removing maternal DNA from an oocyte at metaphase II. Once this has been done, the somatic nucleus can be inserted into an egg cytoplasm.[13] This creates a one-cell embryo. The grouped somatic cell and egg cytoplasm are then introduced to an electrical current.[13] This energy will hopefully allow the cloned embryo to begin development. The successfully developed embryos are then placed in surrogate recipients, such as a cow or sheep in the case of farm animals.[13]

SCNT is seen as a good method for producing agriculture animals for food consumption. It successfully cloned sheep, cattle, goats, and pigs. Another benefit is SCNT is seen as a solution to clone endangered species that are on the verge of going extinct.[13] However, stresses placed on both the egg cell and the introduced nucleus can be enormous, which led to a high loss in resulting cells in early research. For example, the cloned sheep Dolly was born after 277 eggs were used for SCNT, which created 29 viable embryos. Only three of these embryos survived until birth, and only one survived to adulthood.[14] As the procedure could not be automated, and had to be performed manually under a microscope, SCNT was very resource intensive. The biochemistry involved in reprogramming the differentiated somatic cell nucleus and activating the recipient egg was also far from being well-understood. However, by 2014 researchers were reporting cloning success rates of seven to eight out of ten[15] and in 2016, a Korean Company Sooam Biotech was reported to be producing 500 cloned embryos per day.[16]

In SCNT, not all of the donor cell’s genetic information is transferred, as the donor cell’s mitochondria that contain their own mitochondrial DNA are left behind. The resulting hybrid cells retain those mitochondrial structures which originally belonged to the egg. As a consequence, clones such as Dolly that are born from SCNT are not perfect copies of the donor of the nucleus.

Organism cloning (also called reproductive cloning) refers to the procedure of creating a new multicellular organism, genetically identical to another. In essence this form of cloning is an asexual method of reproduction, where fertilization or inter-gamete contact does not take place. Asexual reproduction is a naturally occurring phenomenon in many species, including most plants (see vegetative reproduction) and some insects. Scientists have made some major achievements with cloning, including the asexual reproduction of sheep and cows. There is a lot of ethical debate over whether or not cloning should be used. However, cloning, or asexual propagation,[17] has been common practice in the horticultural world for hundreds of years.

The term clone is used in horticulture to refer to descendants of a single plant which were produced by vegetative reproduction or apomixis. Many horticultural plant cultivars are clones, having been derived from a single individual, multiplied by some process other than sexual reproduction.[18] As an example, some European cultivars of grapes represent clones that have been propagated for over two millennia. Other examples are potato and banana.[19]Grafting can be regarded as cloning, since all the shoots and branches coming from the graft are genetically a clone of a single individual, but this particular kind of cloning has not come under ethical scrutiny and is generally treated as an entirely different kind of operation.

Many trees, shrubs, vines, ferns and other herbaceous perennials form clonal colonies naturally. Parts of an individual plant may become detached by fragmentation and grow on to become separate clonal individuals. A common example is in the vegetative reproduction of moss and liverwort gametophyte clones by means of gemmae. Some vascular plants e.g. dandelion and certain viviparous grasses also form seeds asexually, termed apomixis, resulting in clonal populations of genetically identical individuals.

Clonal derivation exists in nature in some animal species and is referred to as parthenogenesis (reproduction of an organism by itself without a mate). This is an asexual form of reproduction that is only found in females of some insects, crustaceans, nematodes,[20] fish (for example the hammerhead shark[21]), the Komodo dragon[21] and lizards. The growth and development occurs without fertilization by a male. In plants, parthenogenesis means the development of an embryo from an unfertilized egg cell, and is a component process of apomixis. In species that use the XY sex-determination system, the offspring will always be female. An example is the little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata), which is native to Central and South America but has spread throughout many tropical environments.

Artificial cloning of organisms may also be called reproductive cloning.

Hans Spemann, a German embryologist was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1935 for his discovery of the effect now known as embryonic induction, exercised by various parts of the embryo, that directs the development of groups of cells into particular tissues and organs. In 1928 he and his student, Hilde Mangold, were the first to perform somatic-cell nuclear transfer using amphibian embryos one of the first moves towards cloning.[22]

Reproductive cloning generally uses “somatic cell nuclear transfer” (SCNT) to create animals that are genetically identical. This process entails the transfer of a nucleus from a donor adult cell (somatic cell) to an egg from which the nucleus has been removed, or to a cell from a blastocyst from which the nucleus has been removed.[23] If the egg begins to divide normally it is transferred into the uterus of the surrogate mother. Such clones are not strictly identical since the somatic cells may contain mutations in their nuclear DNA. Additionally, the mitochondria in the cytoplasm also contains DNA and during SCNT this mitochondrial DNA is wholly from the cytoplasmic donor’s egg, thus the mitochondrial genome is not the same as that of the nucleus donor cell from which it was produced. This may have important implications for cross-species nuclear transfer in which nuclear-mitochondrial incompatibilities may lead to death.

Artificial embryo splitting or embryo twinning, a technique that creates monozygotic twins from a single embryo, is not considered in the same fashion as other methods of cloning. During that procedure, an donor embryo is split in two distinct embryos, that can then be transferred via embryo transfer. It is optimally performed at the 6- to 8-cell stage, where it can be used as an expansion of IVF to increase the number of available embryos.[24] If both embryos are successful, it gives rise to monozygotic (identical) twins.

Dolly, a Finn-Dorset ewe, was the first mammal to have been successfully cloned from an adult somatic cell. Dolly was formed by taking a cell from the udder of her 6-year old biological mother.[25] Dolly’s embryo was created by taking the cell and inserting it into a sheep ovum. It took 434 attempts before an embryo was successful.[26] The embryo was then placed inside a female sheep that went through a normal pregnancy.[27] She was cloned at the Roslin Institute in Scotland and lived there from her birth in 1996 until her death in 2003 when she was six. She was born on 5 July 1996 but not announced to the world until 22 February 1997.[28] Her stuffed remains were placed at Edinburgh’s Royal Museum, part of the National Museums of Scotland.[29]

Dolly was publicly significant because the effort showed that genetic material from a specific adult cell, programmed to express only a distinct subset of its genes, can be reprogrammed to grow an entirely new organism. Before this demonstration, it had been shown by John Gurdon that nuclei from differentiated cells could give rise to an entire organism after transplantation into an enucleated egg.[30] However, this concept was not yet demonstrated in a mammalian system.

The first mammalian cloning (resulting in Dolly the sheep) had a success rate of 29 embryos per 277 fertilized eggs, which produced three lambs at birth, one of which lived. In a bovine experiment involving 70 cloned calves, one-third of the calves died young. The first successfully cloned horse, Prometea, took 814 attempts. Notably, although the first[clarification needed] clones were frogs, no adult cloned frog has yet been produced from a somatic adult nucleus donor cell.

There were early claims that Dolly the sheep had pathologies resembling accelerated aging. Scientists speculated that Dolly’s death in 2003 was related to the shortening of telomeres, DNA-protein complexes that protect the end of linear chromosomes. However, other researchers, including Ian Wilmut who led the team that successfully cloned Dolly, argue that Dolly’s early death due to respiratory infection was unrelated to deficiencies with the cloning process. This idea that the nuclei have not irreversibly aged was shown in 2013 to be true for mice.[31]

Dolly was named after performer Dolly Parton because the cells cloned to make her were from a mammary gland cell, and Parton is known for her ample cleavage.[32]

The modern cloning techniques involving nuclear transfer have been successfully performed on several species. Notable experiments include:

Human cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. The term is generally used to refer to artificial human cloning, which is the reproduction of human cells and tissues. It does not refer to the natural conception and delivery of identical twins. The possibility of human cloning has raised controversies. These ethical concerns have prompted several nations to pass legislature regarding human cloning and its legality.

Two commonly discussed types of theoretical human cloning are therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. Therapeutic cloning would involve cloning cells from a human for use in medicine and transplants, and is an active area of research, but is not in medical practice anywhere in the world, as of 2014. Two common methods of therapeutic cloning that are being researched are somatic-cell nuclear transfer and, more recently, pluripotent stem cell induction. Reproductive cloning would involve making an entire cloned human, instead of just specific cells or tissues.[57]

There are a variety of ethical positions regarding the possibilities of cloning, especially human cloning. While many of these views are religious in origin, the questions raised by cloning are faced by secular perspectives as well. Perspectives on human cloning are theoretical, as human therapeutic and reproductive cloning are not commercially used; animals are currently cloned in laboratories and in livestock production.

Advocates support development of therapeutic cloning in order to generate tissues and whole organs to treat patients who otherwise cannot obtain transplants,[58] to avoid the need for immunosuppressive drugs,[57] and to stave off the effects of aging.[59] Advocates for reproductive cloning believe that parents who cannot otherwise procreate should have access to the technology.[60]

Opponents of cloning have concerns that technology is not yet developed enough to be safe[61] and that it could be prone to abuse (leading to the generation of humans from whom organs and tissues would be harvested),[62][63] as well as concerns about how cloned individuals could integrate with families and with society at large.[64][65]

Religious groups are divided, with some opposing the technology as usurping “God’s place” and, to the extent embryos are used, destroying a human life; others support therapeutic cloning’s potential life-saving benefits.[66][67]

Cloning of animals is opposed by animal-groups due to the number of cloned animals that suffer from malformations before they die,[68][69] and while food from cloned animals has been approved by the US FDA,[70][71] its use is opposed by groups concerned about food safety.[72][73][74]

Cloning, or more precisely, the reconstruction of functional DNA from extinct species has, for decades, been a dream. Possible implications of this were dramatized in the 1984 novel Carnosaur and the 1990 novel Jurassic Park.[75][76] The best current cloning techniques have an average success rate of 9.4 percent[77] (and as high as 25 percent[31]) when working with familiar species such as mice,[note 1] while cloning wild animals is usually less than 1 percent successful.[80] Several tissue banks have come into existence, including the “Frozen Zoo” at the San Diego Zoo, to store frozen tissue from the world’s rarest and most endangered species.[75][81][82]

In 2001, a cow named Bessie gave birth to a cloned Asian gaur, an endangered species, but the calf died after two days. In 2003, a banteng was successfully cloned, followed by three African wildcats from a thawed frozen embryo. These successes provided hope that similar techniques (using surrogate mothers of another species) might be used to clone extinct species. Anticipating this possibility, tissue samples from the last bucardo (Pyrenean ibex) were frozen in liquid nitrogen immediately after it died in 2000. Researchers are also considering cloning endangered species such as the giant panda and cheetah.

In 2002, geneticists at the Australian Museum announced that they had replicated DNA of the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), at the time extinct for about 65 years, using polymerase chain reaction.[83] However, on 15 February 2005 the museum announced that it was stopping the project after tests showed the specimens’ DNA had been too badly degraded by the (ethanol) preservative. On 15 May 2005 it was announced that the thylacine project would be revived, with new participation from researchers in New South Wales and Victoria.

In January 2009, for the first time, an extinct animal, the Pyrenean ibex mentioned above was cloned, at the Centre of Food Technology and Research of Aragon, using the preserved frozen cell nucleus of the skin samples from 2001 and domestic goat egg-cells. The ibex died shortly after birth due to physical defects in its lungs.[84]

One of the most anticipated targets for cloning was once the woolly mammoth, but attempts to extract DNA from frozen mammoths have been unsuccessful, though a joint Russo-Japanese team is currently working toward this goal. In January 2011, it was reported by Yomiuri Shimbun that a team of scientists headed by Akira Iritani of Kyoto University had built upon research by Dr. Wakayama, saying that they will extract DNA from a mammoth carcass that had been preserved in a Russian laboratory and insert it into the egg cells of an African elephant in hopes of producing a mammoth embryo. The researchers said they hoped to produce a baby mammoth within six years.[85][86] It was noted, however that the result, if possible, would be an elephant-mammoth hybrid rather than a true mammoth.[87] Another problem is the survival of the reconstructed mammoth: ruminants rely on a symbiosis with specific microbiota in their stomachs for digestion.[87]

Scientists at the University of Newcastle and University of New South Wales announced in March 2013 that the very recently extinct gastric-brooding frog would be the subject of a cloning attempt to resurrect the species.[88]

Many such “de-extinction” projects are described in the Long Now Foundation’s Revive and Restore Project.[89]

After an eight-year project involving the use of a pioneering cloning technique, Japanese researchers created 25 generations of healthy cloned mice with normal lifespans, demonstrating that clones are not intrinsically shorter-lived than naturally born animals.[31][90]

In an article in the 8 November 1993 article of Time, cloning was portrayed in a negative way, modifying Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam to depict Adam with five identical hands. Newsweek’s 10 March 1997 issue also critiqued the ethics of human cloning, and included a graphic depicting identical babies in beakers.

Cloning is a recurring theme in a wide variety of contemporary science fiction, ranging from action films such as Jurassic Park (1993), The 6th Day (2000), Resident Evil (2002), Star Wars (2002) and The Island (2005), to comedies such as Woody Allen’s 1973 film Sleeper.[91]

Science fiction has used cloning, most commonly and specifically human cloning, due to the fact that it brings up controversial questions of identity.[92][93]A Number is a 2002 play by English playwright Caryl Churchill which addresses the subject of human cloning and identity, especially nature and nurture. The story, set in the near future, is structured around the conflict between a father (Salter) and his sons (Bernard 1, Bernard 2, and Michael Black) two of whom are clones of the first one. A Number was adapted by Caryl Churchill for television, in a co-production between the BBC and HBO Films.[94]

A recurring sub-theme of cloning fiction is the use of clones as a supply of organs for transplantation. The 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro novel Never Let Me Go and the 2010 film adaption[95] are set in an alternate history in which cloned humans are created for the sole purpose of providing organ donations to naturally born humans, despite the fact that they are fully sentient and self-aware. The 2005 film The Island[96] revolves around a similar plot, with the exception that the clones are unaware of the reason for their existence.

The use of human cloning for military purposes has also been explored in several works. Star Wars portrays human cloning in Clone Wars.[97]

The exploitation of human clones for dangerous and undesirable work was examined in the 2009 British science fiction film Moon.[98] In the futuristic novel Cloud Atlas and subsequent film, one of the story lines focuses on a genetically-engineered fabricant clone named Sonmi~451 who is one of millions raised in an artificial “wombtank,” destined to serve from birth. She is one of thousands of clones created for manual and emotional labor; Sonmi herself works as a server in a restaurant. She later discovers that the sole source of food for clones, called ‘Soap’, is manufactured from the clones themselves.[99]

Cloning has been used in fiction as a way of recreating historical figures. In the 1976 Ira Levin novel The Boys from Brazil and its 1978 film adaptation, Josef Mengele uses cloning to create copies of Adolf Hitler.[100]

In 2012, a Japanese television show named “Bunshin” was created. The story’s main character, Mariko, is a woman studying child welfare in Hokkaido. She grew up always doubtful about the love from her mother, who looked nothing like her and who died nine years before. One day, she finds some of her mother’s belongings at a relative’s house, and heads to Tokyo to seek out the truth behind her birth. She later discovered that she was a clone.[101]

In the 2013 television show Orphan Black, cloning is used as a scientific study on the behavioral adaptation of the clones.[102] In a similar vein, the book The Double by Nobel Prize winner Jos Saramago explores the emotional experience of a man who discovers that he is a clone.[103]

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Social Darwinism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jun 172016
 

Social Darwinism is a name given to various theories of society which emerged in the United Kingdom, North America, and Western Europe in the 1870s, and which claim to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology and politics.[1][2] According to their critics, at least, social Darwinists argue that the strong should see their wealth and power increase while the weak should see their wealth and power decrease. Different social-Darwinist groups have differing views about which groups of people are considered to be the strong and which groups of people are considered to be the weak, and they also hold different opinions about the precise mechanisms that should be used to reward strength and punish weakness. Many such views stress competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism, while others are claimed[by whom?] to have motivated ideas of authoritarianism, eugenics, racism, imperialism,[3]fascism, Nazism, and struggle between national or racial groups.[4][5]

The term Social Darwinism gained widespread currency when used after 1944 by opponents of these earlier concepts. The majority of those who have been categorised as social Darwinists did not identify themselves by such a label.[6]

Creationists have often maintained that social Darwinismleading to policies designed to reward the most competitiveis a logical consequence of “Darwinism” (the theory of natural selection in biology).[7] Biologists and historians have stated that this is a fallacy of appeal to nature, since the theory of natural selection is merely intended as a description of a biological phenomenon and should not be taken to imply that this phenomenon is good or that it ought to be used as a moral guide in human society.[citation needed] While most scholars recognize some historical links between the popularisation of Darwin’s theory and forms of social Darwinism, they also maintain that social Darwinism is not a necessary consequence of the principles of biological evolution.

Scholars debate the extent to which the various social Darwinist ideologies reflect Charles Darwin’s own views on human social and economic issues. His writings have passages that can be interpreted as opposing aggressive individualism, while other passages appear to promote it.[8] Some scholars argue that Darwin’s view gradually changed and came to incorporate views from other theorists such as Herbert Spencer.[9] Spencer published[10] his Lamarckian evolutionary ideas about society before Darwin first published his theory in 1859, and both Spencer and Darwin promoted their own conceptions of moral values. Spencer supported laissez-faire capitalism on the basis of his Lamarckian belief that struggle for survival spurred self-improvement which could be inherited.[11]

The term first appeared in Europe in 1877,[12] and around this time it was used by sociologists opposed to the concept.[13] The term was popularized in the United States in 1944 by the American historian Richard Hofstadter who used it in the ideological war effort against fascism to denote a reactionary creed which promoted competitive strife, racism and chauvinism. Hofstadter later also recognized (what he saw as) the influence of Darwinist and other evolutionary ideas upon those with collectivist views, enough to devise a term for the phenomenon, “Darwinist collectivism”.[3] Before Hofstadter’s work the use of the term “social Darwinism” in English academic journals was quite rare.[14] In fact,

… there is considerable evidence that the entire concept of “social Darwinism” as we know it today was virtually invented by Richard Hofstadter. Eric Foner, in an introduction to a then-new edition of Hofstadter’s book published in the early 1990s, declines to go quite that far. “Hofstadter did not invent the term Social Darwinism”, Foner writes, “which originated in Europe in the 1860s and crossed the Atlantic in the early twentieth century. But before he wrote, it was used only on rare occasions; he made it a standard shorthand for a complex of late-nineteenth-century ideas, a familiar part of the lexicon of social thought.”

The term “social Darwinism” has rarely been used by advocates of the supposed ideologies or ideas; instead it has almost always been used pejoratively by its opponents.[6] The term draws upon the common use of the term Darwinism, which has been used to describe a range of evolutionary views, but in the late 19th century was applied more specifically to natural selection as first advanced by Charles Darwin to explain speciation in populations of organisms. The process includes competition between individuals for limited resources, popularly but inaccurately described by the phrase “survival of the fittest”, a term coined by sociologist Herbert Spencer.

While the term has been applied to the claim that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection can be used to understand the social endurance of a nation or country, social Darwinism commonly refers to ideas that predate Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species. Others whose ideas are given the label include the 18th century clergyman Thomas Malthus, and Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton who founded eugenics towards the end of the 19th century.

The term Darwinism had been coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in his April 1860 review of “On the Origin of Species”,[15] and by the 1870s it was used to describe a range of concepts of evolutionism or development, without any specific commitment to Charles Darwin’s own theory.[16]

The first use of the phrase “social Darwinism” was in Joseph Fisher’s 1877 article on The History of Landholding in Ireland which was published in the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society.[12] Fisher was commenting on how a system for borrowing livestock which had been called “tenure” had led to the false impression that the early Irish had already evolved or developed land tenure;[17]

These arrangements did not in any way affect that which we understand by the word ” tenure”, that is, a man’s farm, but they related solely to cattle, which we consider a chattel. It has appeared necessary to devote some space to this subject, inasmuch as that usually acute writer Sir Henry Maine has accepted the word ” tenure ” in its modern interpretation, and has built up a theory under which the Irish chief ” developed ” into a feudal baron. I can find nothing in the Brehon laws to warrant this theory of social Darwinism, and believe further study will show that the Cain Saerrath and the Cain Aigillue relate solely to what we now call chattels, and did not in any way affect what we now call the freehold, the possession of the land.

Despite the fact that social Darwinism bears Charles Darwin’s name, it is also linked today with others, notably Herbert Spencer, Thomas Malthus, and Francis Galton, the founder of eugenics. In fact, Spencer was not described as a social Darwinist until the 1930s, long after his death.[18]

Darwin himself gave serious consideration to Galton’s work, but considered the ideas of “hereditary improvement” impractical. Aware of weaknesses in his own family, Darwin was sure that families would naturally refuse such selection and wreck the scheme. He thought that even if compulsory registration was the only way to improve the human race, this illiberal idea would be unacceptable, and it would be better to publicize the “principle of inheritance” and let people decide for themselves.[19]

In The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex of 1882 Darwin described how medical advances meant that the weaker were able to survive and have families, and as he commented on the effects of this, he cautioned that hard reason should not override sympathy and considered how other factors might reduce the effect:

Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil. … We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely that the weaker and inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage, though this is more to be hoped for than expected.[20]

Herbert Spencer’s ideas, like those of evolutionary progressivism, stemmed from his reading of Thomas Malthus, and his later theories were influenced by those of Darwin. However, Spencer’s major work, Progress: Its Law and Cause (1857), was released two years before the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and First Principles was printed in 1860.

In The Social Organism (1860), Spencer compares society to a living organism and argues that, just as biological organisms evolve through natural selection, society evolves and increases in complexity through analogous processes.[21]

In many ways, Spencer’s theory of cosmic evolution has much more in common with the works of Lamarck and Auguste Comte’s positivism than with Darwin’s.

Jeff Riggenbach argues that Spencer’s view was that culture and education made a sort of Lamarckism possible[1] and notes that Herbert Spencer was a proponent of private charity.[1]

Spencer’s work also served to renew interest in the work of Malthus. While Malthus’s work does not itself qualify as social Darwinism, his 1798 work An Essay on the Principle of Population, was incredibly popular and widely read by social Darwinists. In that book, for example, the author argued that as an increasing population would normally outgrow its food supply, this would result in the starvation of the weakest and a Malthusian catastrophe.

According to Michael Ruse, Darwin read Malthus’ famous Essay on a Principle of Population in 1838, four years after Malthus’ death. Malthus himself anticipated the social Darwinists in suggesting that charity could exacerbate social problems.

Another of these social interpretations of Darwin’s biological views, later known as eugenics, was put forth by Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, in 1865 and 1869. Galton argued that just as physical traits were clearly inherited among generations of people, the same could be said for mental qualities (genius and talent). Galton argued that social morals needed to change so that heredity was a conscious decision in order to avoid both the over-breeding by less fit members of society and the under-breeding of the more fit ones.

In Galton’s view, social institutions such as welfare and insane asylums were allowing inferior humans to survive and reproduce at levels faster than the more “superior” humans in respectable society, and if corrections were not soon taken, society would be awash with “inferiors”. Darwin read his cousin’s work with interest, and devoted sections of Descent of Man to discussion of Galton’s theories. Neither Galton nor Darwin, though, advocated any eugenic policies restricting reproduction, due to their Whiggish distrust of government.[22]

Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy addressed the question of artificial selection, yet Nietzsche’s principles did not concur with Darwinian theories of natural selection. Nietzsche’s point of view on sickness and health, in particular, opposed him to the concept of biological adaptation as forged by Spencer’s “fitness”. Nietzsche criticized Haeckel, Spencer, and Darwin, sometimes under the same banner by maintaining that in specific cases, sickness was necessary and even helpful.[23] Thus, he wrote:

Wherever progress is to ensue, deviating natures are of greatest importance. Every progress of the whole must be preceded by a partial weakening. The strongest natures retain the type, the weaker ones help to advance it. Something similar also happens in the individual. There is rarely a degeneration, a truncation, or even a vice or any physical or moral loss without an advantage somewhere else. In a warlike and restless clan, for example, the sicklier man may have occasion to be alone, and may therefore become quieter and wiser; the one-eyed man will have one eye the stronger; the blind man will see deeper inwardly, and certainly hear better. To this extent, the famous theory of the survival of the fittest does not seem to me to be the only viewpoint from which to explain the progress of strengthening of a man or of a race.[24]

Ernst Haeckel’s recapitulation theory was not Darwinism, but rather attempted to combine the ideas of Goethe, Lamarck and Darwin. It was adopted by emerging social sciences to support the concept that non-European societies were “primitive” in an early stage of development towards the European ideal, but since then it has been heavily refuted on many fronts[25] Haeckel’s works led to the formation of the Monist League in 1904 with many prominent citizens among its members, including the Nobel Prize winner Wilhelm Ostwald.

The simpler aspects of social Darwinism followed the earlier Malthusian ideas that humans, especially males, require competition in their lives in order to survive in the future. Further, the poor should have to provide for themselves and not be given any aid. However, amidst this climate, most social Darwinists of the early twentieth century actually supported better working conditions and salaries. Such measures would grant the poor a better chance to provide for themselves yet still distinguish those who are capable of succeeding from those who are poor out of laziness, weakness, or inferiority.

“Social Darwinism” was first described by Oscar Schmidt of the University of Strasbourg, reporting at a scientific and medical conference held in Munich in 1877. He noted how socialists, although opponents of Darwin’s theory, used it to add force to their political arguments. Schmidt’s essay first appeared in English in Popular Science in March 1879.[26] There followed an anarchist tract published in Paris in 1880 entitled “Le darwinisme social” by mile Gautier. However, the use of the term was very rareat least in the English-speaking world (Hodgson, 2004)[27]until the American historian Richard Hofstadter published his influential Social Darwinism in American Thought (1944) during World War II.

Hypotheses of social evolution and cultural evolution were common in Europe. The Enlightenment thinkers who preceded Darwin, such as Hegel, often argued that societies progressed through stages of increasing development. Earlier thinkers also emphasized conflict as an inherent feature of social life. Thomas Hobbes’s 17th century portrayal of the state of nature seems analogous to the competition for natural resources described by Darwin. Social Darwinism is distinct from other theories of social change because of the way it draws Darwin’s distinctive ideas from the field of biology into social studies.

Darwin, unlike Hobbes, believed that this struggle for natural resources allowed individuals with certain physical and mental traits to succeed more frequently than others, and that these traits accumulated in the population over time, which under certain conditions could lead to the descendants being so different that they would be defined as a new species.

However, Darwin felt that “social instincts” such as “sympathy” and “moral sentiments” also evolved through natural selection, and that these resulted in the strengthening of societies in which they occurred, so much so that he wrote about it in Descent of Man:

The following proposition seems to me in a high degree probablenamely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, the parental and filial affections being here included, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well, or nearly as well developed, as in man. For, firstly, the social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them.[28]

Spencer proved to be a popular figure in the 1880s primarily because his application of evolution to areas of human endeavor promoted an optimistic view of the future as inevitably becoming better. In the United States, writers and thinkers of the gilded age such as Edward L. Youmans, William Graham Sumner, John Fiske, John W. Burgess, and others developed theories of social evolution as a result of their exposure to the works of Darwin and Spencer.

In 1883, Sumner published a highly influential pamphlet entitled “What Social Classes Owe to Each Other”, in which he insisted that the social classes owe each other nothing, synthesizing Darwin’s findings with free enterprise Capitalism for his justification.[citation needed] According to Sumner, those who feel an obligation to provide assistance to those unequipped or under-equipped to compete for resources, will lead to a country in which the weak and inferior are encouraged to breed more like them, eventually dragging the country down. Sumner also believed that the best equipped to win the struggle for existence was the American businessman, and concluded that taxes and regulations serve as dangers to his survival. This pamphlet makes no mention of Darwinism, and only refers to Darwin in a statement on the meaning of liberty, that “There never has been any man, from the primitive barbarian up to a Humboldt or a Darwin, who could do as he had a mind to.”[29]

Sumner never fully embraced Darwinian ideas, and some contemporary historians do not believe that Sumner ever actually believed in social Darwinism.[30] The great majority of American businessmen rejected the anti-philanthropic implications of the theory. Instead they gave millions to build schools, colleges, hospitals, art institutes, parks and many other institutions. Andrew Carnegie, who admired Spencer, was the leading philanthropist in the world (18901920), and a major leader against imperialism and warfare.[31]

H. G. Wells was heavily influenced by Darwinist thoughts, and novelist Jack London wrote stories of survival that incorporated his views on social Darwinism.[32]Film director Stanley Kubrick has been quoted to have held social Darwinist opinions.[33]

Social Darwinism has influenced political, public health and social movements in Japan since the late 19th and early 20th century. Social Darwinism was originally brought to Japan through the works of Francis Galton and Ernst Haeckel as well as United States, British and French Lamarkian eugenic written studies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[34] Eugenism as a science was hotly debated at the beginning of the 20th century, in Jinsei-Der Mensch, the first eugenics journal in the empire. As Japan sought to close ranks with the west, this practice was adopted wholesale along with colonialism and its justifications.

Social Darwinism was formally introduced to China through the translation by Yan Fu of Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics, in the course of an extensive series of translations of influential Western thought.[35] Yan’s translation strongly impacted Chinese scholars because he added national elements not found in the original. He understood Spencer’s sociology as “not merely analytical and descriptive, but prescriptive as well”, and saw Spencer building on Darwin, whom Yan summarized thus:

By the 1920s, social Darwinism found expression in the promotion of eugenics by the Chinese sociologist Pan Guangdan. When Chiang Kai-shek started the New Life movement in 1934, he

Nazi Germany’s justification for its aggression was regularly promoted in Nazi propaganda films depicting scenes such as beetles fighting in a lab setting to demonstrate the principles of “survival of the fittest” as depicted in Alles Leben ist Kampf (English translation: All Life is Struggle). Hitler often refused to intervene in the promotion of officers and staff members, preferring instead to have them fight amongst themselves to force the “stronger” person to prevail”strength” referring to those social forces void of virtue or principle.[38] Key proponents were Alfred Rosenberg, who was hanged later at Nuremberg. Such ideas also helped to advance euthanasia in Germany, especially Action T4, which led to the murder of mentally ill and disabled people in Germany.

The argument that Nazi ideology was strongly influenced by social Darwinist ideas is often found in historical and social science literature.[39] For example, the philosopher and historian Hannah Arendt analysed the historical development from a politically indifferent scientific Darwinism via social Darwinist ethics to racist ideology.[40]

By 1985, creationists were taking up the argument that Nazi ideology was directly influenced by Darwinian evolutionary theory.[41] Such claims have been presented by creationists such as Jonathan Sarfati.[42][43][undue weight? discuss]Intelligent design creationism supporters have promoted this position as well. For example, it is a theme in the work of Richard Weikart, who is a historian at California State University, Stanislaus, and a senior fellow for the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute.[44] It is also a main argument in the 2008 intelligent-design/creationist movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. These claims are widely criticized.[45][46][47][48][49][50] The Anti-Defamation League has rejected such attempts to link Darwin’s ideas with Nazi atrocities, and has stated that “Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry.”[51]

Similar criticisms are sometimes applied (or misapplied) to other political or scientific theories that resemble social Darwinism, for example criticisms leveled at evolutionary psychology. For example, a critical reviewer of Weikart’s book writes that “(h)is historicization of the moral framework of evolutionary theory poses key issues for those in sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, not to mention bioethicists, who have recycled many of the suppositions that Weikart has traced.”[48]

Another example is recent scholarship that portrays Ernst Haeckel’s Monist League as a mystical progenitor of the Vlkisch movement and, ultimately, of the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler. Scholars opposed to this interpretation, however, have pointed out that the Monists were freethinkers who opposed all forms of mysticism, and that their organizations were immediately banned following the Nazi takeover in 1933 because of their association with a wide variety of causes including feminism, pacifism, human rights, and early gay rights movements.[52]

Social Darwinism has many definitions, and some of them are incompatible with each other. As such, social Darwinism has been criticized for being an inconsistent philosophy, which does not lead to any clear political conclusions. For example, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics states:

Part of the difficulty in establishing sensible and consistent usage is that commitment to the biology of natural selection and to ‘survival of the fittest’ entailed nothing uniform either for sociological method or for political doctrine. A ‘social Darwinist’ could just as well be a defender of laissez-faire as a defender of state socialism, just as much an imperialist as a domestic eugenist.[53]

Social Darwinism was predominantly found in laissez-faire societies where the prevailing view was that of an individualist order to society. As such, social Darwinism supposed that human progress would generally favor the most individualistic races, which were those perceived as stronger. A different form of social Darwinism was part of the ideological foundations of Nazism and other fascist movements. This form did not envision survival of the fittest within an individualist order of society, but rather advocated a type of racial and national struggle where the state directed human breeding through eugenics.[54] Names such as “Darwinian collectivism” or “Reform Darwinism” have been suggested to describe these views, in order to differentiate them from the individualist type of social Darwinism.[3]

Some pre-twentieth century doctrines subsequently described as social Darwinism appear to anticipate state imposed eugenics[3] and the race doctrines of Nazism. Critics have frequently linked evolution, Charles Darwin and social Darwinism with racialism, nationalism, imperialism and eugenics, contending that social Darwinism became one of the pillars of fascism and Nazi ideology, and that the consequences of the application of policies of “survival of the fittest” by Nazi Germany eventually created a very strong backlash against the theory.[51][44]

As mentioned above, social Darwinism has often been linked to nationalism and imperialism.[55] During the age of New Imperialism, the concepts of evolution justified the exploitation of “lesser breeds without the law” by “superior races”.[55] To elitists, strong nations were composed of white people who were successful at expanding their empires, and as such, these strong nations would survive in the struggle for dominance.[55] With this attitude, Europeans, except for Christian missionaries, seldom adopted the customs and languages of local people under their empires.[55]

Peter Kropotkin argued in his 1902 book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution that Darwin did not define the fittest as the strongest, or most clever, but recognized that the fittest could be those who cooperated with each other. In many animal societies, “struggle is replaced by co-operation”.

It may be that at the outset Darwin himself was not fully aware of the generality of the factor which he first invoked for explaining one series only of facts relative to the accumulation of individual variations in incipient species. But he foresaw that the term [evolution] which he was introducing into science would lose its philosophical and its only true meaning if it were to be used in its narrow sense onlythat of a struggle between separate individuals for the sheer means of existence. And at the very beginning of his memorable work he insisted upon the term being taken in its “large and metaphorical sense including dependence of one being on another, and including (which is more important) not only the life of the individual, but success in leaving progeny.” [Quoting Origin of Species, chap. iii, p. 62 of first edition.]

While he himself was chiefly using the term in its narrow sense for his own special purpose, he warned his followers against committing the error (which he seems once to have committed himself) of overrating its narrow meaning. In The Descent of Man he gave some powerful pages to illustrate its proper, wide sense. He pointed out how, in numberless animal societies, the struggle between separate individuals for the means of existence disappears, how struggle is replaced by co-operation, and how that substitution results in the development of intellectual and moral faculties which secure to the species the best conditions for survival. He intimated that in such cases the fittest are not the physically strongest, nor the cunningest, but those who learn to combine so as mutually to support each other, strong and weak alike, for the welfare of the community. “Those communities”, he wrote, “which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members would flourish best, and rear the greatest number of offspring” (2nd edit., p. 163). The term, which originated from the narrow Malthusian conception of competition between each and all, thus lost its narrowness in the mind of one who knew Nature.[56]

Noam Chomsky discussed briefly Kropotkin’s views in a July 8, 2011 YouTube video from Renegade Economist, in which he said Kropotkin argued

… the exact opposite [of Social Darwinism]. He argued that on Darwinian grounds, you would expect cooperation and mutual aid to develop leading towards community, workers’ control and so on. Well, you know, he didn’t prove his point. It’s at least as well argued as Herbert Spencer is …[57]

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Social Darwinism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What is Social Darwinism – AllAboutScience.org

 Darwinism  Comments Off on What is Social Darwinism – AllAboutScience.org
Jun 172016
 

QUESTION: What is Social Darwinism?

ANSWER:

Herbert Spencer, a 19th century philosopher, promoted the idea of Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism is an application of the theory of natural selection to social, political, and economic issues. In its simplest form, Social Darwinism follows the mantra of “the strong survive,” including human issues. This theory was used to promote the idea that the white European race was superior to others, and therefore, destined to rule over them.

At the time that Spencer began to promote Social Darwinism, the technology, economy, and government of the “White European” was advanced in comparison to that of other cultures. Looking at this apparent advantage, as well as the economic and military structures, some argued that natural selection was playing out, and that the race more suited to survival was winning. Some even extended this philosophy into a micro-economic issue, claiming that social welfare programs that helped the poor and disadvantaged were contrary to nature itself. Those who reject any and all forms of charity or governmental welfare often use arguments rooted in Social Darwinism.

At its worst, the implications of Social Darwinism were used as scientific justification for the Holocaust. The Nazis claimed that the murder of Jews in World War II was an example of cleaning out the inferior genetics. Many philosophers noted evolutionary echoes in Hitler’s march to exterminate an entire race of people. Various other dictators and criminals have claimed the cause of Social Darwinism in carrying out their acts. Even without such actions, Social Darwinism has proven to be a false and dangerous philosophy.

Scientists and evolutionists maintain that this interpretation is only loosely based on Darwin’s theory of natural selection. They will admit to an obvious parallel between Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection and Spencer’s beliefs. In nature, the strong survive and those best suited to survival will out-live the weak. According to Social Darwinism, those with strength (economic, physical, technological) flourish and those without are destined for extinction.

It is important to note that Darwin did not extend his theories to a social or economic level, nor are any credible evolutionists subscribing to the theories of Social Darwinism. Herbert Spencer’s philosophy is only loosely based on the premises of Darwin’s work.

However, according to evolutionary theory, nature is a “kill-or-be-killed” system. Those that cannot keep up are either left behind or cut off. If evolution, through chance, is solely responsible for life as we now know it, why should that process be countered? If “survival of the fittest” or “kill or be killed” cannot apply in what we define as “decent society,” then, which is wrong, society or evolution? If neither, then how do we explain morality, charity, and compassion? Why drain resources from the strong to support the weak? Certainly, we should be charitable and help those in need.

Though Darwin did not promote Social Darwinism, basic evolutionary theory raises some nagging questions.

What is your response?

Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus

Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus

I still have questions

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What is Social Darwinism – AllAboutScience.org

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Cystic fibrosis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Cf  Comments Off on Cystic fibrosis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 152016
 

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestine.[1][2] Long-term issues include difficulty breathing and coughing up mucus as a result of frequent lung infections. Other signs and symptoms include sinus infections, poor growth, fatty stool, clubbing of the fingers and toes, and infertility in males, among others. Different people may have different degrees of symptoms.[1]

CF is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. It is caused by the presence of mutations in both copies of the gene for the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein.[1] Those with a single working copy are carriers and otherwise mostly normal.[3] CFTR is involved in production of sweat, digestive fluids, and mucus.[4] When CFTR is not functional, secretions which are usually thin instead become thick.[5] The condition is diagnosed by a sweat test and genetic testing.[1] Screening of infants at birth takes place in some areas of the world.[1]

There is no cure for cystic fibrosis.[3] Lung infections are treated with antibiotics which may be given intravenously, inhaled, or by mouth. Sometimes the antibiotic azithromycin is used long term. Inhaled hypertonic saline and salbutamol may also be useful. Lung transplantation may be an option if lung function continues to worsen. Pancreatic enzyme replacement and fat-soluble vitamin supplementation are important, especially in the young. While not well supported by evidence, many people use airway clearance techniques such as chest physiotherapy.[1] The average life expectancy is between 42 and 50 years in the developed world.[6][7] Lung problems are responsible for death in 80% of people with cystic fibrosis.[1]

CF is most common among people of Northern European ancestry and affects about one out of every 3,000 newborns.[1] About one in 25 people are carriers.[3] It is least common in Africans and Asians.[1] It was first recognized as a specific disease by Dorothy Andersen in 1938, with descriptions that fit the condition occurring at least as far back as 1595.[2] The name cystic fibrosis refers to the characteristic fibrosis and cysts that form within the pancreas.[2][8]

The main signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis are salty-tasting skin,[9] poor growth, and poor weight gain despite normal food intake,[10] accumulation of thick, sticky mucus,[11] frequent chest infections, and coughing or shortness of breath.[12] Males can be infertile due to congenital absence of the vas deferens.[13] Symptoms often appear in infancy and childhood, such as bowel obstruction due to meconium ileus in newborn babies.[14] As the children grow, they exercise to release mucus in the alveoli.[15]Ciliated epithelial cells in the person have a mutated protein that leads to abnormally viscous mucus production.[11] The poor growth in children typically presents as an inability to gain weight or height at the same rate as their peers and is occasionally not diagnosed until investigation is initiated for poor growth. The causes of growth failure are multifactorial and include chronic lung infection, poor absorption of nutrients through the gastrointestinal tract, and increased metabolic demand due to chronic illness.[10]

In rare cases, cystic fibrosis can manifest itself as a coagulation disorder. Vitamin K is normally absorbed from breast milk, formula, and later, solid foods. This absorption is impaired in some cystic fibrosis patients. Young children are especially sensitive to vitamin K malabsorptive disorders because only a very small amount of vitamin K crosses the placenta, leaving the child with very low reserves and limited ability to absorb vitamin K from dietary sources after birth. Because factors II, VII, IX, and X (clotting factors) are vitamin Kdependent, low levels of vitamin K can result in coagulation problems. Consequently, when a child presents with unexplained bruising, a coagulation evaluation may be warranted to determine whether there is an underlying disease.[16]

Lung disease results from clogging of the airways due to mucus build-up, decreased mucociliary clearance, and resulting inflammation.[17][18] Inflammation and infection cause injury and structural changes to the lungs, leading to a variety of symptoms. In the early stages, incessant coughing, copious phlegm production, and decreased ability to exercise are common. Many of these symptoms occur when bacteria that normally inhabit the thick mucus grow out of control and cause pneumonia. In later stages, changes in the architecture of the lung, such as pathology in the major airways (bronchiectasis), further exacerbate difficulties in breathing. Other signs include coughing up blood (hemoptysis), high blood pressure in the lung (pulmonary hypertension), heart failure, difficulties getting enough oxygen to the body (hypoxia), and respiratory failure requiring support with breathing masks, such as bilevel positive airway pressure machines or ventilators.[19]Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are the three most common organisms causing lung infections in CF patients.[18] In addition to typical bacterial infections, people with CF more commonly develop other types of lung disease. Among these is allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, in which the body’s response to the common fungus Aspergillus fumigatus causes worsening of breathing problems. Another is infection with Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), a group of bacteria related to tuberculosis, which can cause a lot of lung damage and does not respond to common antibiotics.[20]

Mucus in the paranasal sinuses is equally thick and may also cause blockage of the sinus passages, leading to infection. This may cause facial pain, fever, nasal drainage, and headaches. Individuals with CF may develop overgrowth of the nasal tissue (nasal polyps) due to inflammation from chronic sinus infections.[21] Recurrent sinonasal polyps can occur in as many as 10% to 25% of CF patients.[18] These polyps can block the nasal passages and increase breathing difficulties.[22][23]

Cardiorespiratory complications are the most common cause of death (~80%) in patients at most CF centers in the United States.[18]

Prior to prenatal and newborn screening, cystic fibrosis was often diagnosed when a newborn infant failed to pass feces (meconium). Meconium may completely block the intestines and cause serious illness. This condition, called meconium ileus, occurs in 510%[18][24] of newborns with CF. In addition, protrusion of internal rectal membranes (rectal prolapse) is more common, occurring in as many as 10% of children with CF,[18] and it is caused by increased fecal volume, malnutrition, and increased intraabdominal pressure due to coughing.[25]

The thick mucus seen in the lungs has a counterpart in thickened secretions from the pancreas, an organ responsible for providing digestive juices that help break down food. These secretions block the exocrine movement of the digestive enzymes into the duodenum and result in irreversible damage to the pancreas, often with painful inflammation (pancreatitis).[26] The pancreatic ducts are totally plugged in more advanced cases, usually seen in older children or adolescents.[18] This causes atrophy of the exocrine glands and progressive fibrosis.[18]

The lack of digestive enzymes leads to difficulty absorbing nutrients with their subsequent excretion in the feces, a disorder known as malabsorption. Malabsorption leads to malnutrition and poor growth and development because of calorie loss. Resultant hypoproteinemia may be severe enough to cause generalized edema.[18] Individuals with CF also have difficulties absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

In addition to the pancreas problems, people with cystic fibrosis experience more heartburn, intestinal blockage by intussusception, and constipation.[27] Older individuals with CF may develop distal intestinal obstruction syndrome when thickened feces cause intestinal blockage.[28]

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency occurs in the majority (85% to 90%) of patients with CF.[18] It is mainly associated with “severe” CFTR mutations, where both alleles are completely nonfunctional (e.g. F508/F508).[18] It occurs in 10% to 15% of patients with one “severe” and one “mild” CFTR mutation where there still is a little CFTR activity, or where there are two “mild” CFTR mutations.[18] In these milder cases, there is still sufficient pancreatic exocrine function so that enzyme supplementation is not required.[18] There are usually no other GI complications in pancreas-sufficient phenotypes, and in general, such individuals usually have excellent growth and development.[18] Despite this, idiopathic chronic pancreatitis can occur in a subset of pancreas-sufficient individuals with CF, and is associated with recurrent abdominal pain and life-threatening complications.[18]

Thickened secretions also may cause liver problems in patients with CF. Bile secreted by the liver to aid in digestion may block the bile ducts, leading to liver damage. Over time, this can lead to scarring and nodularity (cirrhosis). The liver fails to rid the blood of toxins and does not make important proteins, such as those responsible for blood clotting.[29][30] Liver disease is the third most common cause of death associated with CF.[18]

The pancreas contains the islets of Langerhans, which are responsible for making insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood glucose. Damage of the pancreas can lead to loss of the islet cells, leading to a type of diabetes that is unique to those with the disease.[31] This cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) shares characteristics that can be found in type 1 and type 2 diabetics, and is one of the principal nonpulmonary complications of CF.[32]Vitamin D is involved in calcium and phosphate regulation. Poor uptake of vitamin D from the diet because of malabsorption can lead to the bone disease osteoporosis in which weakened bones are more susceptible to fractures.[33] In addition, people with CF often develop clubbing of their fingers and toes due to the effects of chronic illness and low oxygen in their tissues.[34][35]

Infertility affects both men and women. At least 97% of men with cystic fibrosis are infertile, but not sterile and can have children with assisted reproductive techniques.[36] The main cause of infertility in men with cystic fibrosis is congenital absence of the vas deferens (which normally connects the testes to the ejaculatory ducts of the penis), but potentially also by other mechanisms such as causing no sperm, teratospermia, and few sperm with poor motility.[37] Many men found to have congenital absence of the vas deferens during evaluation for infertility have a mild, previously undiagnosed form of CF.[38] Approximately 20% of women with CF have fertility difficulties due to thickened cervical mucus or malnutrition. In severe cases, malnutrition disrupts ovulation and causes a lack of menstruation.[39]

CF is caused by a mutation in the gene cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The most common mutation, F508, is a deletion ( signifying deletion) of three nucleotides[40] that results in a loss of the amino acid phenylalanine (F) at the 508th position on the protein. This mutation accounts for two-thirds (6670%[18]) of CF cases worldwide and 90% of cases in the United States; however, there are over 1500 other mutations that can produce CF.[41] Although most people have two working copies (alleles) of the CFTR gene, only one is needed to prevent cystic fibrosis. CF develops when neither allele can produce a functional CFTR protein. Thus, CF is considered an autosomal recessive disease.

The CFTR gene, found at the q31.2 locus of chromosome 7, is 230,000 base pairs long, and creates a protein that is 1,480 amino acids long. More specifically the location is between base pair 117,120,016 to 117,308,718 on the long arm of chromosome 7, region 3, band 1, sub-band 2, represented as 7q31.2. Structurally, CFTR is a type of gene known as an ABC gene. The product of this gene (the CFTR) is a chloride ion channel important in creating sweat, digestive juices and mucus. This protein possesses two ATP-hydrolyzing domains, which allows the protein to use energy in the form of ATP. It also contains two domains comprising 6 alpha helices apiece, which allow the protein to cross the cell membrane. A regulatory binding site on the protein allows activation by phosphorylation, mainly by cAMP-dependent protein kinase.[19] The carboxyl terminal of the protein is anchored to the cytoskeleton by a PDZ domain interaction.[42]

In addition, there is increasing evidence that genetic modifiers besides CFTR modulate the frequency and severity of the disease. One example is mannan-binding lectin, which is involved in innate immunity by facilitating phagocytosis of microorganisms. Polymorphisms in one or both mannan-binding lectin alleles that result in lower circulating levels of the protein are associated with a threefold higher risk of end-stage lung disease, as well as an increased burden of chronic bacterial infections.[18]

There are several mutations in the CFTR gene, and different mutations cause different defects in the CFTR protein, sometimes causing a milder or more severe disease. These protein defects are also targets for drugs which can sometimes restore their function. F508-CFTR, which occurs in >90% of patients in the U.S., creates a protein that does not fold normally and is not appropriately transported to the cell membrane, resulting in its degradation. Other mutations result in proteins that are too short (truncated) because production is ended prematurely. Other mutations produce proteins that: do not use energy normally, do not allow chloride, iodide, and thiocyanate to cross the membrane appropriately,[43] degrade at a faster rate than normal. Mutations may also lead to fewer copies of the CFTR protein being produced.[19]

The protein created by this gene is anchored to the outer membrane of cells in the sweat glands, lungs, pancreas, and all other remaining exocrine glands in the body. The protein spans this membrane and acts as a channel connecting the inner part of the cell (cytoplasm) to the surrounding fluid. This channel is primarily responsible for controlling the movement of halogens from inside to outside of the cell; however, in the sweat ducts it facilitates the movement of chloride from the sweat duct into the cytoplasm. When the CFTR protein does not resorb ions in sweat ducts, chloride and thiocyanate[44] released from sweat glands are trapped inside the ducts and pumped to the skin. Additionally hypothiocyanite, OSCN, cannot be produced by the immune defense system.[45][46] Because chloride is negatively charged, this modifies the electrical potential inside and outside the cell that normally causes cations to cross into the cell. Sodium is the most common cation in the extracellular space. The excess chloride within sweat ducts prevents sodium resorption by epithelial sodium channels and the combination of sodium and chloride creates the salt, which is lost in high amounts in the sweat of individuals with CF. This lost salt forms the basis for the sweat test.[19]

Most of the damage in CF is due to blockage of the narrow passages of affected organs with thickened secretions. These blockages lead to remodeling and infection in the lung, damage by accumulated digestive enzymes in the pancreas, blockage of the intestines by thick faeces, etc. There are several theories on how the defects in the protein and cellular function cause the clinical effects. The most current theory suggests that defective ion transport leads to dehydration in the airway epithelia, thickening mucus. In airway epithelial cells, the cilia exist in between the cell’s apical surface and mucus in a layer known as Airway Surface Liquid (ASL). The flow of ions from the cell and into this layer is determined by ion channels like CFTR. CFTR not only allows Chloride ions to be drawn from the cell and into the ASL, but it also regulates another channel called ENac. ENac allows sodium ions to leave the ASL and enter the respiratory epithelium. CFTR normally inhibits this channel, but if the CFTR is defective, then sodium will flow freely from the ASL and into the cell. As water follows sodium, the depth of ASL will be depleted and the cilia will be left in the mucous layer.[47] As cilia cannot effectively move in a thick viscous environment, there is deficient mucociliary clearance and a buildup of mucous, clogging small airways.[48] The accumulation of more viscous, nutrient-rich mucus in the lungs allows bacteria to hide from the body’s immune system, causing repeated respiratory infections. The presence of the same CFTR proteins in pancreatic duct and skin cells are what cause symptoms in these systems.

The lungs of individuals with cystic fibrosis are colonized and infected by bacteria from an early age. These bacteria, which often spread among individuals with CF, thrive in the altered mucus, which collects in the small airways of the lungs. This mucus leads to the formation of bacterial microenvironments known as biofilms that are difficult for immune cells and antibiotics to penetrate. Viscous secretions and persistent respiratory infections repeatedly damage the lung by gradually remodeling the airways, which makes infection even more difficult to eradicate.[49]

Over time, both the types of bacteria and their individual characteristics change in individuals with CF. In the initial stage, common bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae colonize and infect the lungs.[18] Eventually, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (and sometimes Burkholderia cepacia) dominates. By 18 years of age, 80% of patients with classic CF harbor P. aeruginosa, and 3.5% harbor B. cepacia.[18] Once within the lungs, these bacteria adapt to the environment and develop resistance to commonly used antibiotics. Pseudomonas can develop special characteristics that allow the formation of large colonies, known as “mucoid” Pseudomonas, which are rarely seen in people that do not have CF.[49]

One way infection spreads is by passing between different individuals with CF.[50] In the past, people with CF often participated in summer “CF Camps” and other recreational gatherings.[51][52] Hospitals grouped patients with CF into common areas and routine equipment (such as nebulizers)[53] was not sterilized between individual patients.[54] This led to transmission of more dangerous strains of bacteria among groups of patients. As a result, individuals with CF are now routinely isolated from one another in the healthcare setting, and healthcare providers are encouraged to wear gowns and gloves when examining patients with CF to limit the spread of virulent bacterial strains.[55]

CF patients may also have their airways chronically colonized by filamentous fungi (such as Aspergillus fumigatus, Scedosporium apiospermum, Aspergillus terreus) and/or yeasts (such as Candida albicans); other filamentous fungi less commonly isolated include Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus nidulans (occur transiently in CF respiratory secretions) and Exophiala dermatitidis and Scedosporium prolificans (chronic airway-colonizers); some filamentous fungi like Penicillium emersonii and Acrophialophora fusispora are encountered in patients almost exclusively in the context of CF.[56] Defective mucociliary clearance characterizing CF is associated with local immunological disorders. In addition, the prolonged therapy with antibiotics and the use of corticosteroid treatments may also facilitate fungal growth. Although the clinical relevance of the fungal airway colonization is still a matter of debate, filamentous fungi may contribute to the local inflammatory response and therefore to the progressive deterioration of the lung function, as often happens with allergic broncho-pulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) the most common fungal disease in the context of CF, involving a Th2-driven immune response to Aspergillus.[56][57]

Cystic fibrosis may be diagnosed by many different methods including newborn screening, sweat testing, and genetic testing.[58] As of 2006 in the United States, 10 percent of cases are diagnosed shortly after birth as part of newborn screening programs. The newborn screen initially measures for raised blood concentration of immunoreactive trypsinogen.[59] Infants with an abnormal newborn screen need a sweat test to confirm the CF diagnosis. In many cases, a parent makes the diagnosis because the infant tastes salty.[18]Trypsinogen levels can be increased in individuals who have a single mutated copy of the CFTR gene (carriers) or, in rare instances, in individuals with two normal copies of the CFTR gene. Due to these false positives, CF screening in newborns can be controversial.[60][61] Most states and countries do not screen for CF routinely at birth. Therefore, most individuals are diagnosed after symptoms (e.g. sinopulmonary disease and GI manifestations[18]) prompt an evaluation for cystic fibrosis. The most commonly used form of testing is the sweat test. Sweat-testing involves application of a medication that stimulates sweating (pilocarpine). To deliver the medication through the skin, iontophoresis is used to, whereby one electrode is placed onto the applied medication and an electric current is passed to a separate electrode on the skin. The resultant sweat is then collected on filter paper or in a capillary tube and analyzed for abnormal amounts of sodium and chloride. People with CF have increased amounts of sodium and chloride in their sweat. In contrast, people with CF have less thiocyanate and hypothiocyanite in their saliva[62] and mucus (Banfi et al.). CF can also be diagnosed by identification of mutations in the CFTR gene.[63]

People with CF may be listed in a disease registry that allows researchers and doctors to track health results and identify candidates for clinical trials.[64]

Couples who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy can have themselves tested for the CFTR gene mutations to determine the risk that their child will be born with cystic fibrosis. Testing is typically performed first on one or both parents and, if the risk of CF is high, testing on the fetus is performed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends testing for couples who have a personal or close family history of CF, and they recommend that carrier testing be offered to all Caucasian couples and be made available to couples of other ethnic backgrounds.[65]

Because development of CF in the fetus requires each parent to pass on a mutated copy of the CFTR gene and because CF testing is expensive, testing is often performed initially on one parent. If testing shows that parent is a CFTR gene mutation carrier, the other parent is tested to calculate the risk that their children will have CF. CF can result from more than a thousand different mutations, and as of 2006 it is not possible to test for each one. Testing analyzes the blood for the most common mutations such as F508most commercially available tests look for 32 or fewer different mutations. If a family has a known uncommon mutation, specific screening for that mutation can be performed. Because not all known mutations are found on current tests, a negative screen does not guarantee that a child will not have CF.[66]

During pregnancy, testing can be performed on the placenta (chorionic villus sampling) or the fluid around the fetus (amniocentesis). However, chorionic villus sampling has a risk of fetal death of 1 in 100 and amniocentesis of 1 in 200;[67] a recent study has indicated this may be much lower, approximately 1 in 1,600.[68]

Economically, for carrier couples of cystic fibrosis, when comparing preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) with natural conception (NC) followed by prenatal testing and abortion of affected pregnancies, PGD provides net economic benefits up to a maternal age of approximately 40 years, after which NC, prenatal testing and abortion has higher economic benefit.[69]

While there are no cures for cystic fibrosis, there are several treatment methods. The management of cystic fibrosis has improved significantly over the past 70 years. While infants born with cystic fibrosis 70 years ago would have been unlikely to live beyond their first year, infants today are likely to live well into adulthood. Recent advances in the treatment of cystic fibrosis have meant that an individual with cystic fibrosis can live a fuller life less encumbered by their condition. The cornerstones of management are proactive treatment of airway infection, and encouragement of good nutrition and an active lifestyle. Pulmonary rehabilitation as a management of cystic fibrosis continues throughout a person’s life, and is aimed at maximizing organ function, and therefore quality of life. At best, current treatments delay the decline in organ function. Because of the wide variation in disease symptoms, treatment typically occurs at specialist multidisciplinary centers, and is tailored to the individual. Targets for therapy are the lungs, gastrointestinal tract (including pancreatic enzyme supplements), the reproductive organs (including assisted reproductive technology (ART)) and psychological support.[59]

The most consistent aspect of therapy in cystic fibrosis is limiting and treating the lung damage caused by thick mucus and infection, with the goal of maintaining quality of life. Intravenous, inhaled, and oral antibiotics are used to treat chronic and acute infections. Mechanical devices and inhalation medications are used to alter and clear the thickened mucus. These therapies, while effective, can be extremely time-consuming.

Many people with CF are on one or more antibiotics at all times, even when healthy, to prophylactically suppress infection. Antibiotics are absolutely necessary whenever pneumonia is suspected or there has been a noticeable decline in lung function, and are usually chosen based on the results of a sputum analysis and the person’s past response. This prolonged therapy often necessitates hospitalization and insertion of a more permanent IV such as a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC line) or Port-a-Cath. Inhaled therapy with antibiotics such as tobramycin, colistin, and aztreonam is often given for months at a time to improve lung function by impeding the growth of colonized bacteria.[70][71][72] Inhaled antibiotic therapy helps lung function by fighting infection, but also has significant drawbacks like development of antibiotic resistance, tinnitus and changes in the voice.[73] Oral antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin or azithromycin are given to help prevent infection or to control ongoing infection.[74] The aminoglycoside antibiotics (e.g. tobramycin) used can cause hearing loss, damage to the balance system in the inner ear or kidney problems with long-term use.[75] To prevent these side-effects, the amount of antibiotics in the blood is routinely measured and adjusted accordingly.

Several mechanical techniques are used to dislodge sputum and encourage its expectoration. In the hospital setting, chest physiotherapy (CPT) is utilized; a respiratory therapist percusses an individual’s chest with his or her hands several times a day, to loosen up secretions. Devices that recreate this percussive therapy include the ThAIRapy Vest and the intrapulmonary percussive ventilator (IPV). Newer methods such as Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation, and associated clearance mode available in such devices, integrate a cough assistance phase, as well as a vibration phase for dislodging secretions. These are portable and adapted for home use.[76]

Ivacaftor is an oral medication for the treatment of cystic fibrosis due to a number of specific mutations.[77][78] It improves lung function by about 10%; however, as of 2014 is expensive.[77]

Aerosolized medications that help loosen secretions include dornase alfa and hypertonic saline.[79] Dornase is a recombinant human deoxyribonuclease, which breaks down DNA in the sputum, thus decreasing its viscosity.[80]Denufosol is an investigational drug that opens an alternative chloride channel, helping to liquefy mucus.[81] It is unclear if inhaled corticosteroids are useful.[82]

As lung disease worsens, mechanical breathing support may become necessary. Individuals with CF may need to wear special masks at night that help push air into their lungs. These machines, known as bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) ventilators, help prevent low blood oxygen levels during sleep. BiPAP may also be used during physical therapy to improve sputum clearance.[83] During severe illness, a tube may be placed in the throat (a procedure known as a tracheostomy) to enable breathing supported by a ventilator.

For children, preliminary studies show massage therapy may help people and their families quality of life.[84] It is unclear what effect pneumococcal vaccination has as it has not been studied as of 2014.[85]

Lung transplantation often becomes necessary for individuals with cystic fibrosis as lung function and exercise tolerance decline. Although single lung transplantation is possible in other diseases, individuals with CF must have both lungs replaced because the remaining lung might contain bacteria that could infect the transplanted lung. A pancreatic or liver transplant may be performed at the same time in order to alleviate liver disease and/or diabetes.[86] Lung transplantation is considered when lung function declines to the point where assistance from mechanical devices is required or someone’s survival is threatened.[87]

Newborns with intestinal obstruction typically require surgery, whereas adults with distal intestinal obstruction syndrome typically do not. Treatment of pancreatic insufficiency by replacement of missing digestive enzymes allows the duodenum to properly absorb nutrients and vitamins that would otherwise be lost in the feces. However, the best dosage and form of pancreatic enzyme replacement is unclear, as are the risks and long-term effectiveness of this treatment.[88]

So far, no large-scale research involving the incidence of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease in adults with cystic fibrosis has been conducted. This is likely due to the fact that the vast majority of people with cystic fibrosis do not live long enough to develop clinically significant atherosclerosis or coronary heart disease.

Diabetes is the most common non-pulmonary complication of CF. It mixes features of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and is recognized as a distinct entity, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD).[32][89] While oral anti-diabetic drugs are sometimes used, the only recommended treatment is the use of insulin injections or an insulin pump,[90] and, unlike in type 1 and 2 diabetes, dietary restrictions are not recommended.[32]

Development of osteoporosis can be prevented by increased intake of vitamin D and calcium, and can be treated by bisphosphonates, although adverse effects can be an issue.[91] Poor growth may be avoided by insertion of a feeding tube for increasing calories through supplemental feeds or by administration of injected growth hormone.[92]

Sinus infections are treated by prolonged courses of antibiotics. The development of nasal polyps or other chronic changes within the nasal passages may severely limit airflow through the nose, and over time reduce the person’s sense of smell. Sinus surgery is often used to alleviate nasal obstruction and to limit further infections. Nasal steroids such as fluticasone are used to decrease nasal inflammation.[93]

Female infertility may be overcome by assisted reproduction technology, particularly embryo transfer techniques. Male infertility caused by absence of the vas deferens may be overcome with testicular sperm extraction (TESE), collecting sperm cells directly from the testicles. If the collected sample contains too few sperm cells to likely have a spontaneous fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection can be performed.[94]Third party reproduction is also a possibility for women with CF. It is unclear if taking antioxidants affects outcomes.[95]

The prognosis for cystic fibrosis has improved due to earlier diagnosis through screening, better treatment and access to health care. In 1959, the median age of survival of children with cystic fibrosis in the United States was six months.[96] In 2010, survival is estimated to be 37 years for women and 40 for men.[97] In Canada, median survival increased from 24 years in 1982 to 47.7 in 2007.[98]

Of those with cystic fibrosis who are more than 18 years old as of 2009, 92% had graduated from high school, 67% had at least some college education, 15% were disabled and 9% were unemployed, 56% were single and 39% were married or living with a partner.[99]

Chronic illnesses can be very difficult to manage. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a chronic illness that affects the “digestive and respiratory tracts resulting in generalized malnutrition and chronic respiratory infections”.[100] The thick secretions clog the airways in the lungs, which often cause inflammation and severe lung infections.[101][102] If it is compromised, it affects the quality of life of someone with CF and their ability to complete such tasks as everyday chores. It is important for CF patients to understand the detrimental relationship that chronic illnesses place on the quality of life. According to Schmitz and Goldbeck (2006), the fact that cystic fibrosis significantly increases emotional stress on both the individual and the family, “and the necessary time-consuming daily treatment routine may have further negative effects on quality of life (QOL)”.[103] However, Havermans and colleagues (2006) have shown that young outpatients with CF who have participated in the CFQ-R (Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire-Revised) “rated some QOL domains higher than did their parents”.[104] Consequently, outpatients with CF have a more positive outlook for themselves. Furthermore, there are many ways to improve the QOL in CF patients. Exercise is promoted to increase lung function. Integrating an exercise regimen into the CF patients daily routine can significantly improve the quality of life.[105] There is no definitive cure for cystic fibrosis. However, there are diverse medications used, such as mucolytics, bronchodilators, steroids, and antibiotics, that have the purpose of loosening mucus, expanding airways, decreasing inflammation, and fighting lung infections.[106]

Cystic fibrosis is the most common life-limiting autosomal recessive disease among people of European heritage.[108] In the United States, approximately 30,000 individuals have CF; most are diagnosed by six months of age. In Canada, there are approximately 4,000 people with CF.[109] Approximately 1 in 25 people of European descent, and one in 30 of Caucasian Americans,[110] is a carrier of a cystic fibrosis mutation. Although CF is less common in these groups, approximately 1 in 46 Hispanics, 1 in 65 Africans and 1 in 90 Asians carry at least one abnormal CFTR gene.[111][112] Ireland has the world’s highest prevalence of cystic fibrosis, at 1:1353.[113]

Although technically a rare disease, cystic fibrosis is ranked as one of the most widespread life-shortening genetic diseases. It is most common among nations in the Western world. An exception is Finland, where only one in 80 people carry a CF mutation.[114] The World Health Organization states that “In the European Union, 1 in 20003000 newborns is found to be affected by CF”.[115] In the United States, 1 in 3,500 children are born with CF.[116] In 1997, about 1 in 3,300 caucasian children in the United States was born with cystic fibrosis. In contrast, only 1 in 15,000 African American children suffered from cystic fibrosis, and in Asian Americans the rate was even lower at 1 in 32,000.[117]

Cystic fibrosis is diagnosed in males and females equally. For reasons that remain unclear, data has shown that males tend to have a longer life expectancy than females,[118][119] however recent studies suggest this gender gap may no longer exist perhaps due to improvements in health care facilities,[120][121] while a recent study from Ireland identified a link between the female hormone estrogen and worse outcomes in CF.[122]

The distribution of CF alleles varies among populations. The frequency of F508 carriers has been estimated at 1:200 in northern Sweden, 1:143 in Lithuanians, and 1:38 in Denmark. No F508 carriers were found among 171 Finns and 151 Saami people.[123] F508 does occur in Finland, but it is a minority allele there. Cystic fibrosis is known to occur in only 20 families (pedigrees) in Finland.[124]

The F508 mutation is estimated to be up to 52,000 years old.[125] Numerous hypotheses have been advanced as to why such a lethal mutation has persisted and spread in the human population. Other common autosomal recessive diseases such as sickle-cell anemia have been found to protect carriers from other diseases, a concept known as heterozygote advantage. Resistance to the following have all been proposed as possible sources of heterozygote advantage:

It is supposed that CF appeared about 3,000 BC because of migration of peoples, gene mutations, and new conditions in nourishment.[134] Although the entire clinical spectrum of CF was not recognized until the 1930s, certain aspects of CF were identified much earlier. Indeed, literature from Germany and Switzerland in the 18th century warned “Wehe dem Kind, das beim Ku auf die Stirn salzig schmekt, er ist verhext und muss bald sterbe” or “Woe to the child who tastes salty from a kiss on the brow, for he is cursed and soon must die,” recognizing the association between the salt loss in CF and illness.[134]

In the 19th century, Carl von Rokitansky described a case of fetal death with meconium peritonitis, a complication of meconium ileus associated with cystic fibrosis. Meconium ileus was first described in 1905 by Karl Landsteiner.[134] In 1936, Guido Fanconi published a paper describing a connection between celiac disease, cystic fibrosis of the pancreas, and bronchiectasis.[135]

In 1938 Dorothy Hansine Andersen published an article, “Cystic Fibrosis of the Pancreas and Its Relation to Celiac Disease: a Clinical and Pathological Study,” in the American Journal of Diseases of Children. She was the first to describe the characteristic cystic fibrosis of the pancreas and to correlate it with the lung and intestinal disease prominent in CF.[8] She also first hypothesized that CF was a recessive disease and first used pancreatic enzyme replacement to treat affected children. In 1952 Paul di SantAgnese discovered abnormalities in sweat electrolytes; a sweat test was developed and improved over the next decade.[136]

The first linkage between CF and another marker (Paroxonase) was found in 1985 by Hans Eiberg, indicating that only one locus exists for CF. In 1988 the first mutation for CF, F508 was discovered by Francis Collins, Lap-Chee Tsui and John R. Riordan on the seventh chromosome. Subsequent research has found over 1,000 different mutations that cause CF.

Because mutations in the CFTR gene are typically small, classical genetics techniques had been unable to accurately pinpoint the mutated gene.[137] Using protein markers, gene-linkage studies were able to map the mutation to chromosome 7. Chromosome-walking and -jumping techniques were then used to identify and sequence the gene.[138] In 1989 Lap-Chee Tsui led a team of researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto that discovered the gene responsible for CF. Cystic fibrosis represents a classic example of how a human genetic disorder was elucidated strictly by the process of forward genetics.

Gene therapy has been explored as a potential cure for cystic fibrosis. Results from trials have shown limited success as of 2013.[139] A small study published in 2015 found a small benefit.[140]

The focus of much cystic fibrosis gene therapy research is aimed at trying to place a normal copy of the CFTR gene into affected cells. Transferring the normal CFTR gene into the affected epithelium cells would result in the production of functional CFTR in all target cells, without adverse reactions or an inflammation response. Studies have shown that to prevent the lung manifestations of cystic fibrosis, only 510% the normal amount of CFTR gene expression is needed.[141] Multiple approaches have been tested for gene transfer, such as liposomes and viral vectors in animal models and clinical trials. However, both methods were found to be relatively inefficient treatment options.[142] The main reason is that very few cells take up the vector and express the gene, so the treatment has little effect. Additionally, problems have been noted in cDNA recombination, such that the gene introduced by the treatment is rendered unusable.[143] There has been a functional repair in culture of CFTR by CRISPR/Cas9 in intestinal stem cell organoids of cystic fibrosis patients.[144]

A number of small molecules that aim at compensating various mutations of the CFTR gene are under development. One approach is to develop drugs that get the ribosome to overcome the stop codon and synthesize a full-length CFTR protein. About 10% of CF result from a premature stop codon in the DNA, leading to early termination of protein synthesis and truncated proteins. These drugs target nonsense mutations such as G542X, which consists of the amino acid glycine in position 542 being replaced by a stop codon. Aminoglycoside antibiotics interfere with protein synthesis and error-correction. In some cases, they can cause the cell to overcome a premature stop codon by inserting a random amino acid, thereby allowing expression of a full-length protein.[145] The aminoglycoside gentamicin has been used to treat lung cells from CF patients in the laboratory to induce the cells to grow full-length proteins.[146] Another drug targeting nonsense mutations is ataluren, which is undergoing Phase III clinical trials as of October 2011[update].[147]

It is unclear as of 2014 if ursodeoxycholic acid is useful for those with cystic fibrosis-related liver disease.[148]

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Principality of Sealand – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Sealand  Comments Off on Principality of Sealand – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 132016
 

For more information about the structure claimed by Sealand see HM Fort Roughs

The Principality of Sealand is an unrecognised micronation that claims Roughs Tower, an offshore platform located in the North Sea approximately 12 kilometres (7.5mi) off the coast of Suffolk, England, as its territory. Roughs Tower is a disused Maunsell Sea Fort, originally called HM Fort Roughs, built as an anti-aircraft defensive gun platform by the British during World War II.[3][4]

Since 1967, the decommissioned HM Fort Roughs has been occupied by family and associates of Paddy Roy Bates, who claim that it is an independent sovereign state.[3] Bates seized it from a group of pirate radio broadcasters in 1967 with the intention of setting up his own station at the site.[5] He attempted to establish Sealand as a nation-state in 1975 with the writing of a national constitution and establishment of other national symbols.[3]

While it has been described as the world’s smallest country[6] or nation,[7] Sealand is not officially recognised by any established sovereign state in spite of Sealand’s government’s claim that it has been de facto recognised by the United Kingdom[3] and Germany.[8] The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in force since 1994 states “Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf”.[9] Sealand was not grandfathered, and sits in British waters.

Bates moved to the mainland when he became elderly, naming his son Michael regent. Bates died in October 2012 at the age of 91.[10] Michael lives in England.[11]

In 1943, during World War II, HM Fort Roughs (sometimes called Roughs Tower) was constructed by the United Kingdom as one of the Maunsell Forts,[12] primarily to defend the vital shipping lanes in nearby estuaries against German Navy mine-laying aircraft. It consisted of a floating pontoon base with a superstructure of two hollow towers joined by a deck upon which other structures could be added. The fort was towed to a position above the Rough Sands sandbar, where its base was deliberately flooded to sink it on its final resting place. This is approximately 7 nautical miles (13km) from the coast of Suffolk, outside the then 3nmi (6km) claim of the United Kingdom and, therefore, in international waters.[12] The facility was occupied by 150300 Royal Navy personnel throughout World War II; the last full-time personnel left in 1956.[12]

Roughs Tower was occupied in February and August 1965 by Jack Moore and his daughter Jane, squatting on behalf of the pirate station Wonderful Radio London.

On 2 September 1967, the fort was occupied by Major Paddy Roy Bates, a British subject and pirate radio broadcaster, who ejected a competing group of pirate broadcasters.[5] Bates intended to broadcast his pirate radio station called Radio Essex from the platform.[13] Despite having the necessary equipment, he never began broadcasting.[14] Bates declared the independence of Roughs Tower and deemed it the Principality of Sealand.[5]

In 1968, British workmen entered what Bates claimed to be his territorial waters in order to service a navigational buoy near the platform. Michael Bates (son of Paddy Roy Bates) tried to scare the workmen off by firing warning shots from the former fort. As Bates was a British subject at the time, he was summoned to court in England on firearms charges following the incident.[15] But as the court ruled that the platform (which Bates was now calling “Sealand”) was outside British territorial limits, being beyond the then 3-nautical-mile (6km) limit of the country’s waters, the case could not proceed.[16]

In 1975, Bates introduced a constitution for Sealand, followed by a national flag, a national anthem, a currency and passports.[3]

In August 1978, Alexander Achenbach, who describes himself as the Prime Minister of Sealand, hired several German and Dutch mercenaries to spearhead an attack on Sealand while Bates and his wife were in England.[8] They stormed the platform with speedboats, jet skis and helicopters, and took Bates’ son Michael hostage. Michael was able to retake Sealand and capture Achenbach and the mercenaries using weapons stashed on the platform. Achenbach, a German lawyer who held a Sealand passport, was charged with treason against Sealand[8] and was held unless he paid DM75,000 (more than US$35,000 or 23,000).[17] The governments of the Netherlands, Austria and Germany petitioned the British government for his release, but the United Kingdom disavowed his imprisonment, citing the 1968 court decision.[3] Germany then sent a diplomat from its London embassy to Sealand to negotiate for Achenbach’s release. Roy Bates relented after several weeks of negotiations and subsequently claimed that the diplomat’s visit constituted de facto recognition of Sealand by Germany.[8]

Following the former’s repatriation, Achenbach and Gernot Ptz established a government in exile, sometimes known as the Sealand Rebel Government or Sealandic Rebel Government, in Germany.[8] Achenbach’s appointed successor, Johannes Seiger, continues to claim via his website that he is Sealand’s legitimate ruling authority.[18]

The claim that Sealand is an independent sovereign state is based on an interpretation of a 1968 decision of an English court, in which it was held that Roughs Tower was in international waters and thus outside the jurisdiction of the domestic courts.[3]

In international law, the most common schools of thought for the creation of statehood are the constitutive and declaratory theories of state creation. The constitutive theory is the standard nineteenth-century model of statehood, and the declaratory theory was developed in the twentieth century to address shortcomings of the constitutive theory. In the constitutive theory, a state exists exclusively via recognition by other states. The theory splits on whether this recognition requires ‘diplomatic recognition’ or merely ‘recognition of existence’. No other state grants Sealand official recognition, but it has been argued by Bates that negotiations carried out by Germany following a brief hostage incident constituted ‘recognition of existence’ (and, since the German government reportedly sent an ambassador to the tower, diplomatic recognition). In the declaratory theory of statehood, an entity becomes a state as soon as it meets the minimal criteria for statehood. Therefore, recognition by other states is purely ‘declaratory’.[33]

In 1987, the UK extended its territorial waters from 3 to 12 nautical miles (6 to 22km). Sealand now sits inside British waters.[34] The United Kingdom is one of 165 parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (in force since 1994), which states in Part V, Article 60, that: ‘Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf’.[9] In the opinion of law academic John Gibson, there is little chance that Sealand would be recognised as a nation because it is a man-made structure.[34]

Irrespective of its legal status, Sealand is managed by the Bates family as if it were a recognised sovereign entity and they are its hereditary royal rulers. Roy Bates styled himself as ‘Prince Roy’ and his widow ‘Princess Joan’. Their son is known as ‘His Royal Highness Prince Michael’ and has been referred to as the ‘Prince Regent’ by the Bates family since 1999.[35] In this role, he apparently serves as Sealand’s acting ‘Head of State’ and also its ‘Head of Government’.[36] At a micronations conference hosted by the University of Sunderland in 2004, Sealand was represented by Michael Bates’ son James. The facility is now occupied by one or more caretakers representing Michael Bates, who himself resides in Essex, England.[35]

Sealand’s constitution was instituted in 1974. It consists of a preamble and seven articles.[37] The preamble asserts Sealand’s independence, while the articles variously deal with Sealand’s status as a constitutional monarchy, the empowerment of government bureaux, the role of an appointed, advisory senate, the functions of an appointed, advisory legal tribunal, a proscription against the bearing of arms except by members of a designated ‘Sealand Guard’, the exclusive right of the sovereign to formulate foreign policy and alter the constitution, and the hereditary patrilinear succession of the monarchy.[38] Sealand’s legal system is claimed to follow British common law, and statutes take the form of decrees enacted by the sovereign.[39] Sealand has issued “fantasy passports” (as termed by the Council of the European Union), which are not valid for international travel,[40] and holds the Guinness World Record for ‘the smallest area to lay claim to nation status’.[41] Sealand’s motto is E Mare Libertas (From the Sea, Freedom). It appears on Sealandic items such as stamps, passports and coins and is the title of the Sealandic anthem. The anthem was composed by Londoner Basil Simonenko;[42] being an instrumental anthem, it does not have lyrics. In 2005, the anthem was recorded by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra and released on their CD National Anthems of the World, Vol. 7: Qatar Syria.

Sealand has been involved in several commercial operations, including the issuing of coins and postage stamps and the establishment of an offshore Internet hosting facility, or ‘data haven’.[43][44] Sealand also has an official website and publishes an online newspaper, Sealand News.[45] In addition, a number of amateur athletes ‘represent’ Sealand in sporting events, including unconventional events like the egg throwing world championship, which the Sealand team won in 2008.[46]

Several dozen different Sealand coins have been minted since 1972. In the early 1990s, Achenbach’s German group also produced a coin, featuring a likeness of ‘Prime Minister Seiger’.[47] Sealand’s coins and postage stamps are denominated in ‘Sealand dollars’, which it deems to be at parity with the U.S. dollar.[48] Sealand first issued postage stamps in 1969, and issues through 1977. No further stamps were produced until 2010. Sealand is not a member of the Universal Postal Union, therefore its inward address is a PO Box in the United Kingdom.[49] Once it is mailed to Sealand’s tourist and government office, it will then be brought to Sealand. Sealand only has one street address, The Row.[50]

A Sealand mailing address looks like this:[50]

Bureau of Internal Affairs 5, The Row SEALAND 1001 (c/o Sealand Post Bag, IP11 9SZ, UK)

Sealand also sells titles of individual nobility including Lord, Baron, Count and those titles’ distaff equivalents. Following Roy Bates’ 2012 death, Sealand also began publicly offering knighthoods.[51][52]

In 2000, worldwide publicity was created about Sealand following the establishment of a new entity called HavenCo, a data haven, which effectively took control of Roughs Tower itself; however, Ryan Lackey, HavenCo’s founder, later quit and claimed that Bates had lied to him by keeping the 19901991 court case[clarification needed] from him and that, as a result, he had lost the money he had invested in the venture.[53] In November 2008, operations of HavenCo ceased without explanation.[54]

Sealand is not recognized by any major international sporting body, and its population is insufficient to maintain a team composed entirely of Sealanders in any team sport. However, Sealand claims to have official national athletes, including non-Sealanders. These athletes take part in various sports, such as curling, mini-golf, football, fencing, ultimate frisbee, table football and athletics, although all its teams compete out of the country.[55] The Sealand National Football Association is an associate member of the Nouvelle Fdration-Board, a football sanctioning body for non-recognised states and states not members of FIFA. It administers the Sealand national football team. In 2004 the national team played its first international game against land Islands national football team, drawing 22.[56]

Sealand claims that its first official athlete was Darren Blackburn of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, who was appointed in 2003. Blackburn has represented Sealand at a number of local sporting events, including marathons and off-trail races.[57] In 2004, mountaineer Slader Oviatt carried the Sealandic flag to the top of Muztagh Ata.[58] Also in 2007, Michael Martelle represented the Principality of Sealand in the World Cup of Kung Fu, held in Quebec City, Canada; bearing the designation of Athleta Principalitas Bellatorius (Principal Martial Arts Athlete and Champion), Martelle won two silver medals, becoming the first-ever Sealand athlete to appear on a world championship podium.[59]

In 2008, Sealand hosted a skateboarding event with Church and East sponsored by Red Bull.[60][61][62] Sealand’s fencing team is located in the United States, affiliated with the University of California, Irvine.

In 2009, Sealand announced the revival of the Football Association and their intention to compete in a future Viva World Cup. Scottish author Neil Forsyth was appointed as President of the Sealand Football Association.[63] Sealand played the second game in their history against Chagos Islands on 5 May 2012, losing 31. The team included actor Ralf Little and former Bolton Wanderers defender Simon Charlton.[64]

In 2009 and 2010, Sealand sent teams to play in various ultimate frisbee club tournaments in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands. They placed 11th at UK nationals in 2010.[65]

From early summer of 2012 Sealand has been represented in the flat track variant of roller derby, by a team principally composed of skaters from the South Wales area.[66]

Sealand played a friendly match in aid of charity against an “All Stars” team from Fulham F.C. on 18 May 2013, losing 57.[67][68]

On 22 May 2013, the mountaineer Kenton Cool placed a Sealand flag at the summit of Mount Everest.[69]

Coordinates: 515342.6N 12849.8E / 51.895167N 1.480500E / 51.895167; 1.480500

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Oceania – New World Encyclopedia

 Oceania  Comments Off on Oceania – New World Encyclopedia
Jun 132016
 

Oceania is a geographical (and geopolitical) region consisting of numerous countries and territoriesmostly islandsin the Pacific Ocean. The exact scope of Oceania variessome descriptions include East Timor, Australia, and New Zealand; other versions exclude them. The primary use of the term “Oceania” is to describe a continental region (like Europe or Africa) that lies between Asia and the Americas, with Australia as the major land mass. The name “Oceania” is used, rather than “Australia,” because unlike the other continental groupings, it is the ocean rather than the continent that links the nations together.

Oceania is the smallest continental grouping in land area and the second smallest, after Antarctica, in population.

Oceania was divided into Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia by the French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville in 1831. This subdivision is no longer recognized as correct by most geographers and scientists, who prefer to divide Oceania into Near Oceania and Remote Oceania; it is still the most popular subdivision, though.

Most of Oceania consists of small island nations. Australia is the only continental country, and Papua New Guinea and East Timor are the only countries with land borders, both with Indonesia.

The nations of Oceania have varying degrees of independence from their colonial powers and have negotiated a wide range of constitutional arrangements to suit their circumstances. The following list contains the countries and territories that are classified as part of Oceania by UNESCO; other countries are sometimes considered part of Oceania (see Other Interpretations below).

Australia

Melanesia

Micronesia

Polynesia

Australia is sometimes not included in Oceania, although a term like the “Pacific Islands” would normally be used to describe Oceania without Australia. Hawaii and the United States territories with no indigenous population in the North Pacific are sometimes included, but are normally grouped with the United States in North America. Hawaiians are a Polynesian race. Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the eastern Pacific Ocean, part of the territory of Chile, and is sometimes included in Oceania. On rare occasions, the term may be stretched even further to include other Pacific Ocean island groups such as the Aleutian Islands.

Oceania is one of eight terrestrial ecozones, which constitute the major ecological regions of the planet. The Oceania ecozone includes all of Micronesia, Fiji, and all of Polynesia except New Zealand. New Zealand, along with New Guinea and nearby islands, Australia, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia constitute the separate Australasia ecozone.

Oceania is the smallest in area of any of the ecozones, and the youngest, geologically. Other ecozones include old continental land masses or fragments of continents, but Oceania is composed mostly of island groups that arose from the sea, as a result of hotspot volcanism, or as island arcs pushed upward by the collision and subduction of tectonic plates. The islands range from tiny coral atolls to large mountainous islands, like Hawaii and Fiji.

The climate of Oceania’s islands is tropical or subtropical, and ranges from humid to seasonally dry. Wetter parts of the islands are covered by tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, while the drier parts of the islands, including the leeward sides of the islands and many of the low coral islands, are covered by tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests and tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands. Hawaii’s high volcanoes, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, are home to some rare tropical montane grasslands and shrublands.

Since the islands of Oceania were never connected by land to a continent, the flora and fauna of the islands originally reached them from across the ocean. Once they reached the islands, the ancestors of Oceania’s present flora and fauna adapted to life on the islands. Larger islands with diverse ecological niches encouraged floral and faunal adaptive radiation, whereby multiple species evolved from a common ancestor, each species adapted to a different ecological niche; the various species of Hawaiian honeycreepers (family Drepanididae) are a classic example. Other adaptations to island ecologies include giantism, dwarfism, and, among birds, loss of flight. Oceania has a number of endemic species; Hawaii, in particular, is considered a global center of endemism, with its forest ecoregions having one of the highest percentages of endemic plants in the world.

Land plants dispersed by several different means. Many plants, mostly ferns and mosses but also some flowering plants, disperse on the wind, relying on tiny spores or feathery seeds that can remain airborne over long distances. Other plants, notably coconut palms and mangroves, produce seeds that can float in saltwater over long distances, eventually washing up on distant beaches. Birds are also an important means of dispersal; some plants produce sticky seeds that are carried on the feet or feathers of birds, and many plants produce fruits filled with seeds that can pass through the digestive tracts of birds. Botanists generally agree that much of the flora of Oceania is derived from the Malesian Flora of the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Guinea, with some plants from Australasia and a few from the Americas, particularly in Hawaii. Metrosideros, Pandanus, and Coco are tree genera with a fairly ubiquitous distribution across Oceania.

Dispersal across the ocean is difficult for most land animals, and Oceania has relatively few indigenous land animals compared to other ecozones. Certain types of animals that are ecologically important on the continental ecozones, like large land predators and grazing mammals, were entirely absent from the islands of Oceania until humans brought them. Birds are relatively common, including many sea birds and some species of land birds whose ancestors may have been blown out to sea by storms. Some birds evolved into flightless species after their ancestors arrived, including several species of rails. A number of islands have indigenous lizards, including geckoes and skinks, whose ancestors probably arrived on floating rafts of vegetation washed out to sea by storms. With the exception of bats, which live on most of the island groups, there are few if any indigenous mammal species in Oceania. Several species, however, have been introduced by humans: the first Malayo-Polynesian settlers brought pigs, dogs, and, inadvertently, rats to the islands. European settlers brought other animals, including cats, mongooses, sheep, goats, and the Norway rat.

These and other introduced species, in addition to overhunting and deforestation, have dramatically altered the ecology of many of Oceania’s islands, pushing many species to extinction or near-extinction. The absence of predator species caused many bird species to become nave, losing the instinct to flee from predators, and to lay their eggs on the ground, which makes them vulnerable to introduced predators like cats, dogs, mongooses, and rats. The arrival of humans on these island groups often resulted in disruption of the indigenous ecosystems and waves of species extinctions. Easter Island, the easternmost island in Polynesia, shows evidence of a human-caused ecosystem collapse several hundred years ago, which then caused the human population to implode. The island, once lushly forested, is now mostly windswept grasslands. More recently, Guam’s native bird and lizard species were decimated by the introduction of the brown snake, Boiga irregularis, in the 1940s.

The economy of Oceania is comprised of more than 14 separate countries and their associated economies. The region has approximately 35,834,670 inhabitants who are spread among 30,000 islands in the South Pacific bordered by Asia and the Americas. Oceania has a diverse mix of economies from the highly developed and globally competitive financial markets of Australia (1st) and New Zealand (2nd), boasting parity with much of Western Europe, to the much less developed economies that belong to many of their island neighbors.

Many of the smaller Pacific nations rely on trade with Australia, New Zealand, and the United States for exporting goods and for accessing other products.

Australia and New Zealand’s trading arrangements are known as Closer Economic Relations. Australia and New Zealand, along with other countries, are members of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the East Asia Summit (EAS), which may become trade blocs in the future, particularly the EAS.

The overwhelming majority of people in the Pacific (not including Australia and New Zealand) work in the primary sector. Many nations are still quintessentially agricultural; for example, 80 percent of the population of Vanuatu and 70 percent of the population of Fiji work in agriculture. The main produce from the Pacific is copra or coconut, but timber, beef, palm oil, cocoa, sugar, and ginger are also commonly grown across the tropics of the Pacific. Old growth logging is exploited on larger islands, including the Solomons and Papua New Guinea.

Fishing provides a major industry for many of the smaller nations in the Pacific, and the sale of fishing licenses can bring considerable income. However, many fishing areas are exploited by other larger countries, namely Japan.

Natural resources, such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold, are mined across the west of the region, in the Solomon Islands and Australia. The manufacturing of clothing is a major industry in some parts of the Pacific, especially Fiji, although this is decreasing. Very little of the economy is in the area of investing and banking, save in the larger countries of Australia and New Zealand.

Recently, tourism has become a large source of income for many in the Pacific; tourists come from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Fiji currently draws almost half a million tourists each year; more than a quarter from Australia. This contributes US$300 million to Fiji’s economy.

Aside from tourism, many places in the Pacific still rely on foreign aid for development. In the Solomon Islands, 50 percent of government spending is paid for by international donors; namely Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, Japan, and the Republic of China (Taiwan).

As the world’s regions become increasingly interlinked to form trade blocs, Oceania’s future could entail either increased unity or separatism. The outcome or resolutions to issues such as global warming, the Kyoto Agreement, and the subsequent potential of carbon trading could increase the region’s viability and lead it to become more centralized. Greater unity, and therefore sustained prosperity, among Oceanian countries could be achieved through increased cooperation between the nation states economically, politically, and socially. The implementation of these factors could provide the region with a similar framework to the European Union in its most fundamental form. The formation of a common currency in the South Pacific, similar to that in Europe, may be the first step in this direction.

The demographic table below shows the subregions and countries of geopolitical Oceania, categorized according to the scheme for geographic subregions used by the United Nations.[1]

All links retrieved February 11, 2015.

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Oceania – New World Encyclopedia

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