The problem isn't the word. If you describe a policy that meets the official definition, but don't use the word people still hate the thing you're talking about and know it is called eugenics.

People actually call things that are less controversial than actual eugenics, "eugenics". E.g. Project Prevention.

The word isn't the whole problem, but this a case where not using the word would be painless and beneficial.

"Eugenics" is a problematic word because it's now associated with involuntary sterilization and Nazis. But for some reason, some supporters of voluntary human enhancement will go and use the term for things they support.

They can't control whether other people use "eugenics" to attack all kinds of things they don't like, but the least the former group could do is avoid actively aiding the latter group.

[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

by Apprentice 1 min read6th Jan 2014883 comments


A long blog post explains why the author, a feminist, is not comfortable with the rationalist community despite thinking it is "super cool and interesting". It's directed specifically at Yvain, but it's probably general enough to be of some interest here.

I'm not sure if I can summarize this fairly but the main thrust seems to be that we are overly willing to entertain offensive/taboo/hurtful ideas and this drives off many types of people. Here's a quote:

In other words, prizing discourse without limitations (I tried to find a convenient analogy for said limitations and failed. Fenders? Safety belts?) will result in an environment in which people are more comfortable speaking the more social privilege they hold.

The author perceives a link between LW type open discourse and danger to minority groups. I'm not sure whether that's true or not. Take race. Many LWers are willing to entertain ideas about the existence and possible importance of average group differences in psychological traits. So, maybe LWers are racists. But they're racists who continually obsess over optimizing their philanthropic contributions to African charities. So, maybe not racists in a dangerous way?

An overly rosy view, perhaps, and I don't want to deny the reality of the blogger's experience. Clearly, the person is intelligent and attracted to some aspects of LW discourse while turned off by other aspects.