The historical contingency of bioethics
Kevles DJ. California Institute of Technology, USA
Princet J Bioeth. 2000 Spring;3(1):51-8.


The principles of bioethics have been historically contingent, a product of social values, circumstances, and experience. During the early twentieth century, they rested on a doctor-knows-best autonomy that permitted physicians to perform research on human subjects with a minimum degree, if any, of informed consent. The eugenics movement of the period embraced an implicit bioethics by presuming to sterilize individuals for the sake of a larger social benefit, a practice and doctrine that helped lead to the Nazi medical experiments and death camps. After World War II, the promulgation of the Nuremberg Code failed to halt eugenic sterilization and risky human experimentation without informed consent either in civilian or military venues. However, beginning in the 1960s, these practices came under mounting critical scrutiny, partly because of the increasing attention given to individual rights. By now, it is widely understood that concern for individual rights rather than an appeal to some national good belongs at the heart of bioethics.
Private eugenics
'Designer babies'
Personal genomics
Genetic enhancement
Ashkenazi intelligence
Eugenics before Galton
Scandanavian eugenics
The literature of eugenics
Human self-domestication
Germline genetic engineering
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
A life without pain? Hedonists take note'
Francis Galton and contemporary eugenics
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
5-HTT and AP-2beta gene polymorphism/spirituality

and further reading

BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World