Eugenics
A term describing the overall science of altering or breeding a living thing into a desired form. Eugenics fell out of favour after World War II (30 B.T. to 25 B.T.), but with the advent of genetic engineering techniques these began to be used for many of the goals originally intended for eugenics. Eugenics was also rejected in favour of genetic engineering as selective breeding is very slow (at least for long-lived entities such as humans) and is limited to the pool of genes available in the starting population. As part of this the concept of changing a species by means of anything other that genetic engineering (such as selective breeding) came to seem hopelessly primitive and outmoded. However, certain entities, the most prominent of whom is the S:2 entity Verschuer-Gosney, have revived the term, and it is now used to refer to the process of changing a species by selective breeding rather than more interventionist genetic engineering.

Verschuer-Gosney

A self-named (perhaps defiantly) S:2 entity known primarily for eir interest in the provolution and advancement of bionts, particularly sophonts, and specifically humans, though purely eugenic means. It is unknown whether this is a hobby or something more serious for em. What is known is that e has stated that e wishes to advance sophonts to transapient level entirely by eugenic means, and is the most prominent of several entities of differing toposophic levels who have or are attempting to do so. As part of this e is entirely responsible for creating the Mengelan clade of those e has eugenically engineered. Verschuer-Gosney (as well as the majority of the Mengelans) inhabits the Middle Regions system of Galtonia. In terms of personality Verschuer-Gosney seems to be an odd combination of Ludd and Neuropsychist, despite its S:2 status, and the fact that e emself appears to run on a distributed set of fairly standard non-biological computronium substrates. As far is known Verschuer-Gosney devotes most of its vast computing resources to the modelling of the eugenic processes that it then applies in the physical world. This apparently includes modelling the possible results of various breeding experiments in the entire population of Mengelans. As far it is known purely biological entities of S:1 or above require bodies of at least the size of a dinosaur or whale to support the kind of brain it requires for S:1 thought. Verschuer-Gosney appears to disagree with this assessment. Whether it is deluded or knows something that others do not is currently unknown, although the opinion of most of Terragens space leans towards the former. Verschuer-Gosney has a huge library of unmodified human DNA which e uses as part of the mix of types in eir eugenics project. It is known that e also seeks out more unmodified human DNA from all across Terragens space. There is some degree of speculation about Verschuer-Gosney. For example, is e's eugenics project really e's main preoccupation, or is it some kind of elaborate cover for something else? Other speculate that e is an S> with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Based on these speculations, different observers places Mengele-Gosney's true toposophic level at anything from S:1 with S:2 idiot-savant specialisation in eugenics, all the way up to S:4 or higher.

The Mengelans

A clade of various eugenically-modified posthuman sub-species created over the millennia by the work of the S:2 entity Verschuer-Gosney. As far as is known most of them are roughly equivalent to a normal neb hu (that is, considerably superior to an unmodified baseline hu), and some of them are at a similar level to a su, but none have yet achieved transapience by purely eugenic means. All are so far of the same species, and inter-fertile with one another. However, despite this there is a great deal of variation within the clade, much more so than among humans on Earth in first decades A.T. (and much more like dogs of the first century A.T.). Some of the traits possessed by the Mengelans are considered highly unfavourable (and which may be extinct) in mainstream Terragens society, but are retained among the Mengelans because Verschuer-Gosney considers them of potential use. This includes people with idiot savant abilities. The vast majority of Mengelans live in the habitats controlled by the Verschuer-Gosney entity in the Galtonia system, with a complex society spread all across the Galtonia system and a population estimated to be in the tens of billions. Though over the years many Mengelans, mostly the old, have left and joined the mainstream of Terragens society, most seem content to remain there, though there is widespread speculation that they are being memetically manipulated to do so. The Mengelans are also memetically manipulated to form societies in which their reproduction is entirely under the control of the state (which is, of course, a local representative of the Verschuer-Gosney entity). However, in most other respects they are very free, living at a level of technology roughly equivalent to that of the late Information Age.

Mengelan lifespans are generally the same as those of unmodified baseline humans, and they have no access to backups or other means of prolonging their lives. It is generally considered that this is because Verschuer-Gosney has no interest in keeping the transitional forms of its experiment alive after they are no longer useful. Although most Mengelans see their deaths as 'natural' and 'right', a significant minority of Mengelans emigrate as they near the end of their 'natural' life spans. Rather than try and prevent this, Verschuer-Gosney accepts and even encourages this, as, like death, it removes people from the gene pool. Emigration at the end of ones life is usually a permanent exile, given the position of Galtonia off the Wormhole Nexus and thus the need for them to use STL travel to leave. Loyalty, patriotism, and belief in Verschuer-Gosney's cause seem to be the main cultural traits that prevent large numbers of Mengelans from leaving under other circumstances than this.

The social class of Mengelans is based entirely on a meritocratic assessment of their abilities over the course of their lives, and not on their genetic fitness as determined at birth by Verschuer-Gosney. This latter is only used to determine their fitness to breed. As part of Verschuer-Gosney's control of reproduction, no pregnancy occurs among the Mengelans without the e's authorization, and because of the requirements of er breeding programme all kinds of inbreeding are entirely legal and considered entirely normal among the Mengelans. Although Mengelans marry and establish families much like baseline humans, artificial insemination and embryo transferral techniques are commonly used to give children to those not allowed to pass on their own genes, and to disseminate genes considered particularly favourable among the populace, so that in some cases the children in a family are partially or not at all genetically related to those raising them. All Mengelans are also required to provide egg and sperm samples for Verschuer-Gosney's records, and for possible later reintroduction to the gene pool should this be required.

Given how the culture of the Mengelans has been shaped by Verschuer-Gosny, some regard it as maltreatment under the Sentient Rights accords. This has not caused any interference as yet, but it is definitely considered a 'borderline case' and is observed by various interested parties. A number of attempts have been made to free the Mengelans from Verschuer-Gosney over the years, though most Mengelans seem perfectly happy with their lot. So far these have all failed, as the Mengelans see nothing wrong with their way of life, and Verschuer-Gosney is itself sufficiently powerful to have so far prevented all such attempts.

Galtonia

The Galtonia system is a young K-type orange star in a region of fairly low stellar density in the Middle Regions, and lies off the wormhole Nexus. There are no Earth-like planets in the system. Instead, its mass is divided between three gas giant planets, none of them larger than Uranus in the Solar System, but large enough to have suppressed the formation of any other worlds in the system, and a vast number of asteroids and other planetesimals. The eugenicist S:2 entity Verschuer-Gosney and the majority of the Mengelan clade inhabit the Galtonia system, in habitats and computing nodes spread far and wide across the system. As far as is known, Verschuer-Gosney's experiment began on the fleet of STL space arks that originally settled the Galtonia system, with Verschuer-Gosney being the controlling mind of that fleet. Some of the original space arks may still exist as habitats in the Galtonia system
 
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Development Notes
Text by Tony Jones

Initially published on 03 March 2006.

Page uploaded 3 March 2006, last modified 2 June 2007

See also the following link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

Verschuer is the name of a Nazi doctor;
{http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otmar_von_Verschuer};
Gosney is from E. S. Gosney, a prominent American eugenicist in the early 20th century; {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.S._Gosney}
. Galtonia is named after Sir Francis Galton, the first person to systematize ideas on eugenics {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics#Galton.27s_theory}.