eugenics | Description, History, & Modern Eugenics …

Eugenics, the selection of desired heritable characteristics in order to improve future generations, typically in reference to humans. The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and natural scientist Francis Galton, who, influenced by Charles Darwins theory of natural selection, advocated a system that would allow the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable. Social Darwinism, the popular theory in the late 19th century that life for humans in society was ruled by survival of the fittest, helped advance eugenics into serious scientific study in the early 1900s. By World War I, many scientific authorities and political leaders supported eugenics. However, it ultimately failed as a science in the 1930s and 40s, when the assumptions of eugenicists became heavily criticized and the Nazis used eugenics to support the extermination of entire races.

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biological determinism: The eugenics movement

One of the most prominent movements to apply genetics to understanding social and personality traits was the eugenics movement, which originated in the late 19th century. Eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and naturalist Francis Galton, who was influenced by the

Although eugenics as understood today dates from the late 19th century, efforts to select matings in order to secure offspring with desirable traits date from ancient times. Platos Republic (c. 378 bce) depicts a society where efforts are undertaken to improve human beings through selective breeding. Later, Italian philosopher and poet Tommaso Campanella, in City of the Sun (1623), described a utopian community in which only the socially elite are allowed to procreate. Galton, in Hereditary Genius (1869), proposed that a system of arranged marriages between men of distinction and women of wealth would eventually produce a gifted race. In 1865, the basic laws of heredity were discovered by the father of modern genetics, Gregor Mendel. His experiments with peas demonstrated that each physical trait was the result of a combination of two units (now known as genes) and could be passed from one generation to another. However, his work was largely ignored until its rediscovery in 1900. This fundamental knowledge of heredity provided eugenicistsincluding Galton, who influenced his cousin Charles Darwinwith scientific evidence to support the improvement of humans through selective breeding.

The advancement of eugenics was concurrent with an increasing appreciation of Charles Darwins account for change or evolution within societywhat contemporaries referred to as Social Darwinism. Darwin had concluded his explanations of evolution by arguing that the greatest step humans could make in their own history would occur when they realized that they were not completely guided by instinct. Rather, humans, through selective reproduction, had the ability to control their own future evolution. A language pertaining to reproduction and eugenics developed, leading to terms such as positive eugenics, defined as promoting the proliferation of good stock, and negative eugenics, defined as prohibiting marriage and breeding between defective stock. For eugenicists, nature was far more contributory than nurture in shaping humanity.

During the early 1900s, eugenics became a serious scientific study pursued by both biologists and social scientists. They sought to determine the extent to which human characteristics of social importance were inherited. Among their greatest concerns were the predictability of intelligence and certain deviant behaviours. Eugenics, however, was not confined to scientific laboratories and academic institutions. It began to pervade cultural thought around the globe, including the Scandinavian countries, most other European countries, North America, Latin America, Japan, China, and Russia. In the United States, the eugenics movement began during the Progressive Era and remained active through 1940. It gained considerable support from leading scientific authorities such as zoologist Charles B. Davenport, plant geneticist Edward M. East, and geneticist and Nobel Prize laureate Hermann J. Muller. Political leaders in favour of eugenics included U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, Secretary of State Elihu Root, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall Harlan. Internationally, there were many individuals whose work supported eugenic aims, including British scientists J.B.S. Haldane and Julian Huxley and Russian scientists Nikolay K. Koltsov and Yury A. Filipchenko.

Galton had endowed a research fellowship in eugenics in 1904 and, in his will, provided funds for a chair of eugenics at University College, London. The fellowship and later the chair were occupied by Karl Pearson, a brilliant mathematician who helped to create the science of biometry, the statistical aspects of biology. Pearson was a controversial figure who believed that environment had little to do with the development of mental or emotional qualities. He felt that the high birth rate of the poor was a threat to civilization and that the higher races must supplant the lower. His views gave countenance to those who believed in racial and class superiority. Thus, Pearson shares the blame for the discredit later brought on eugenics.

In the United States, the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was opened at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, N.Y., in 1910 with financial support from the legacy of railroad magnate Edward Henry Harriman. Whereas ERO efforts were officially overseen by Charles B. Davenport, director of the Station for Experimental Study of Evolution (one of the biology research stations at Cold Spring Harbor), ERO activities were directly superintended by Harry H. Laughlin, a professor from Kirksville, Mo. The ERO was organized around a series of missions. These missions included serving as the national repository and clearinghouse for eugenics information, compiling an index of traits in American families, training field-workers to gather data throughout the United States, supporting investigations into the inheritance patterns of particular human traits and diseases, advising on the eugenic fitness of proposed marriages, and communicating all eugenic findings through a series of publications. To accomplish these goals, further funding was secured from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the Battle Creek Race Betterment Foundation, and the Human Betterment Foundation.

Prior to the founding of the ERO, eugenics work in the United States was overseen by a standing committee of the American Breeders Association (eugenics section established in 1906), chaired by ichthyologist and Stanford University president David Starr Jordan. Research from around the globe was featured at three international congresses, held in 1912, 1921, and 1932. In addition, eugenics education was monitored in Britain by the English Eugenics Society (founded by Galton in 1907 as the Eugenics Education Society) and in the United States by the American Eugenics Society.

Following World War I, the United States gained status as a world power. A concomitant fear arose that if the healthy stock of the American people became diluted with socially undesirable traits, the countrys political and economic strength would begin to crumble. The maintenance of world peace by fostering democracy, capitalism, and, at times, eugenics-based schemes was central to the activities of the Internationalists, a group of prominent American leaders in business, education, publishing, and government. One core member of this group, the New York lawyer Madison Grant, aroused considerable pro-eugenic interest through his best-selling book The Passing of the Great Race (1916). Beginning in 1920, a series of congressional hearings was held to identify problems that immigrants were causing the United States. As the countrys eugenics expert, Harry Laughlin provided tabulations showing that certain immigrants, particularly those from Italy, Greece, and Eastern Europe, were significantly overrepresented in American prisons and institutions for the feebleminded. Further data were construed to suggest that these groups were contributing too many genetically and socially inferior people. Laughlins classification of these individuals included the feebleminded, the insane, the criminalistic, the epileptic, the inebriate, the diseasedincluding those with tuberculosis, leprosy, and syphilisthe blind, the deaf, the deformed, the dependent, chronic recipients of charity, paupers, and neer-do-wells. Racial overtones also pervaded much of the British and American eugenics literature. In 1923, Laughlin was sent by the U.S. secretary of labour as an immigration agent to Europe to investigate the chief emigrant-exporting nations. Laughlin sought to determine the feasibility of a plan whereby every prospective immigrant would be interviewed before embarking to the United States. He provided testimony before Congress that ultimately led to a new immigration law in 1924 that severely restricted the annual immigration of individuals from countries previously claimed to have contributed excessively to the dilution of American good stock.

Immigration control was but one method to control eugenically the reproductive stock of a country. Laughlin appeared at the centre of other U.S. efforts to provide eugenicists greater reproductive control over the nation. He approached state legislators with a model law to control the reproduction of institutionalized populations. By 1920, two years before the publication of Laughlins influential Eugenical Sterilization in the United States (1922), 3,200 individuals across the country were reported to have been involuntarily sterilized. That number tripled by 1929, and by 1938 more than 30,000 people were claimed to have met this fate. More than half of the states adopted Laughlins law, with California, Virginia, and Michigan leading the sterilization campaign. Laughlins efforts secured staunch judicial support in 1927. In the precedent-setting case of Buck v. Bell, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., upheld the Virginia statute and claimed, It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.

During the 1930s, eugenics gained considerable popular support across the United States. Hygiene courses in public schools and eugenics courses in colleges spread eugenic-minded values to many. A eugenics exhibit titled Pedigree-Study in Man was featured at the Chicago Worlds Fair in 193334. Consistent with the fairs Century of Progress theme, stations were organized around efforts to show how favourable traits in the human population could best be perpetuated. Contrasts were drawn between the emulative, presidential Roosevelt family and the degenerate Ishmael family (one of several pseudonymous family names used, the rationale for which was not given). By studying the passage of ancestral traits, fairgoers were urged to adopt the progressive view that responsible individuals should pursue marriage ever mindful of eugenics principles. Booths were set up at county and state fairs promoting fitter families contests, and medals were awarded to eugenically sound families. Drawing again upon long-standing eugenic practices in agriculture, popular eugenic advertisements claimed it was about time that humans received the same attention in the breeding of better babies that had been given to livestock and crops for centuries.

Antieugenics sentiment began to appear after 1910 and intensified during the 1930s. Most commonly it was based on religious grounds. For example, the 1930 papal encyclical Casti connubii condemned reproductive sterilization, though it did not specifically prohibit positive eugenic attempts to amplify the inheritance of beneficial traits. Many Protestant writings sought to reconcile age-old Christian warnings about the heritable sins of the father to pro-eugenic ideals. Indeed, most of the religion-based popular writings of the period supported positive means of improving the physical and moral makeup of humanity.

In the early 1930s, Nazi Germany adopted American measures to identify and selectively reduce the presence of those deemed to be socially inferior through involuntary sterilization. A rhetoric of positive eugenics in the building of a master race pervaded Rassenhygiene (racial hygiene) movements. When Germany extended its practices far beyond sterilization in efforts to eliminate the Jewish and other non-Aryan populations, the United States became increasingly concerned over its own support of eugenics. Many scientists, physicians, and political leaders began to denounce the work of the ERO publicly. After considerable reflection, the Carnegie Institution formally closed the ERO at the end of 1939.

During the aftermath of World War II, eugenics became stigmatized such that many individuals who had once hailed it as a science now spoke disparagingly of it as a failed pseudoscience. Eugenics was dropped from organization and publication names. In 1954, Britains Annals of Eugenics was renamed Annals of Human Genetics. In 1972, the American Eugenics Society adopted the less-offensive name Society for the Study of Social Biology. Its publication, once popularly known as the Eugenics Quarterly, had already been renamed Social Biology in 1969.

U.S. Senate hearings in 1973, chaired by Edward Kennedy, revealed that thousands of U.S. citizens had been sterilized under federally supported programs. The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare proposed guidelines encouraging each state to repeal their respective sterilization laws. Other countries, most notably China, continue to support eugenics-directed programs openly in order to ensure the genetic makeup of their future.

Despite the dropping of the term eugenics, eugenic ideas remain prevalent in many issues surrounding human reproduction. Medical genetics, a post-World War II medical specialty, encompasses a wide range of health concerns, from genetic screening and counseling to fetal gene manipulation and the treatment of adults suffering from hereditary disorders. Because certain diseases (e.g., hemophilia and Tay-Sachs disease) are now known to be genetically transmitted, many couples choose to undergo genetic screening, in which they learn the chances that their offspring have of being affected by some combination of their hereditary backgrounds. Couples at risk of passing on genetic defects may opt to remain childless or to adopt children. Furthermore, it is now possible to diagnose certain genetic defects in the unborn. Many couples choose to terminate a pregnancy that involves a genetically disabled offspring. These developments have reinforced the eugenic aim of identifying and eliminating undesirable genetic material.

Counterbalancing this trend, however, has been medical progress that enables victims of many genetic diseases to live fairly normal lives. Direct manipulation of harmful genes is also being studied. If perfected, it could obviate eugenic arguments for restricting reproduction among those who carry harmful genes. Such conflicting innovations have complicated the controversy surrounding what many call the new eugenics. Moreover, suggestions for expanding eugenics programs, which range from the creation of sperm banks for the genetically superior to the potential cloning of human beings, have met with vigorous resistance from the public, which often views such programs as unwarranted interference with nature or as opportunities for abuse by authoritarian regimes.

Applications of the Human Genome Project are often referred to as Brave New World genetics or the new eugenics, in part because they have helped to dramatically increase knowledge of human genetics. In addition, 21st-century technologies such as gene editing, which can potentially be used to treat disease or to alter traits, have further renewed concerns. However, the ethical, legal, and social implications of such tools are monitored much more closely than were early 20th-century eugenics programs. Applications also generally are more focused on the reduction of genetic diseases than on improving intelligence.

Still, with or without the use of the term, many eugenics-related concerns are reemerging as a new group of individuals decide how to regulate the application of genetics science and technology. This gene-directed activity, in attempting to improve upon nature, may not be that distant from what Galton implied in 1909 when he described eugenics as the study of agencies, under social control, which may improve or impair future generations.

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eugenics | Description, History, & Modern Eugenics …

Introduction to Eugenics – Genetics Generation

Introduction to Eugenics

Eugenics is a movement that is aimed at improving the genetic composition of the human race. Historically, eugenicists advocated selective breeding to achieve these goals. Today we have technologies that make it possible to more directly alter the genetic composition of an individual. However, people differ in their views on how to best (and ethically) use this technology.

History of Eugenics

Logo of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, 1921. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In 1883, Sir Francis Galton, a respected British scholar and cousin of Charles Darwin,first used the term eugenics, meaning well-born. Galton believed that the human race could help direct its future by selectively breeding individuals who have desired traits. This idea was based on Galtons study of upper class Britain. Following these studies, Galton concluded that an elite position in society was due to a good genetic makeup. While Galtons plans to improve the human race through selective breeding never came to fruition in Britain, they eventually took sinister turns in other countries.

The eugenics movement began in the U.S. in the late 19th century. However, unlike in Britain, eugenicists in the U.S. focused on efforts to stop the transmission of negative or undesirable traits from generation to generation. In response to these ideas, some US leaders, private citizens, and corporations started funding eugenical studies. This lead to the 1911 establishment of The Eugenics Records Office (ERO) in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. The ERO spent time tracking family histories and concluded that people deemed to be unfit more often came from families that were poor, low in social standing, immigrant, and/or minority. Further, ERO researchers demonstrated that the undesirable traits in these families, such as pauperism, were due to genetics, and not lack of resources.

Committees were convened to offer solutions to the problem of the growing number of undesirables in the U.S. population. Stricter immigration rules were enacted, but the most ominous resolution was a plan to sterilize unfit individuals to prevent them from passing on their negative traits. During the 20th century, a total of 33 states had sterilization programs in place. While at first sterilization efforts targeted mentally ill people exclusively, later the traits deemed serious enough to warrant sterilization included alcoholism, criminality chronic poverty, blindness, deafness, feeble-mindedness, and promiscuity. It was also not uncommon for African American women to be sterilized during other medical procedures without consent. Most people subjected to these sterilizations had no choice, and because the program was run by the government, they had little chance of escaping the procedure. It is thought that around 65,000 Americans were sterilized during this time period.

The eugenics movement in the U.S. slowly lost favor over time and was waning by the start of World War II. When the horrors of Nazi Germany became apparent, as well as Hitlers use of eugenic principles to justify the atrocities, eugenics lost all credibility as a field of study or even an ideal that should be pursued.

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Introduction to Eugenics – Genetics Generation

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"Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope and Aims" by Francis Galton

Francis Galton

THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGYVolume X; July, 1904; Number 1

Read before the Sociological Society at a meeting in the School of Economies (London University), on May 16, 1904. Professor Karl Pearson, F.R.S., in the chair.

EUGENICS is the science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race; also with those that develop them to the utmost advantage. The improvement of the inborn qualities, or stock, of some one human population will alone be discussed here.

What is meant by improvement ? What by the syllable eu in “eugenics,” whose English equivalent is “good”? There is considerable difference between goodness in the several qualities and in that of the character as a whole. The character depends largely on the proportion between qualities, whose balance may be much influenced by education. We must therefore leave morals as far as possible out of the discussion, not entangling ourselves with the almost hopeless difficulties they raise as to whether a character as a whole is good or bad. Moreover, the goodness or badness of character is not absolute, but relative to the current form of civilization. A fable will best explain what is meant. Let the scene be the zoological gardens in the quiet hours of the night, and suppose that, as in old fables, the animals are able to converse, and that some very wise creature who had easy access to all the cages, say a philosophic sparrow or rat, was engaged in collecting the opinions of all sorts of animals with a view of elaborating a system of absolute morality. It is needless to enlarge on the contrariety of ideals between the beasts that prey and those they prey upon, between those of the animals that have to work hard for their food and the sedentary parasites that cling to their bodies and suck their blood, and so forth. A large number of suffrages in favor of maternal affection would be obtained, but most species of fish would repudiate it, while among the voices of birds would be heard the musical protest of the cuckoo. Though no agreement could be reached as to absolute morality, the essentials of eugenics may be easily defined. All creatures would agree that it was better to be healthy than sick, vigorous than weak, well-fitted than ill-fitted for their part in life; in short, that it was better to be good rather than bad specimens of their kind, whatever that kind might be. So with men. There are a vast number of conflicting ideals, of alternative characters, of incompatible civilizations; but they are wanted to give fullness and interest to life. Society would be very dull if every man resembled the highly estimable Marcus Aurelius or Adam Bede. The aim of eugenics is to represent each class or sect by its best specimens; that done, to leave them to work out their common civilization in their own way.

A considerable list of qualities can easily be compiled that nearly everyone except “cranks” would take into account when picking out the best specimens of his class. It would include health, energy, ability, manliness, and courteous disposition. Recollect that the natural differences between dogs are highly marked in all these respects., and that men are quite as variable by nature as other animals of like species. Special aptitudes would be assessed highly by those who possessed them, as the artistic faculties by artists, fearlessness of inquiry and veracity by scientists, religious absorption by mystics, and so on. There would be self-sacrificers, self-tormentors, and other exceptional idealists; but the representatives of these would be better members of a community than the body of their electors. They would have more of those qualities that are needed in a state–more vigor, more ability, and more consistency of purpose. The community might be trusted to refuse representatives of criminals, and of others whom it rates as undesirable.

Let us for a moment suppose that the practice of eugenics should hereafter raise the average quality of our nation to that of its better moiety at the present day, and consider the gain. The general tone of domestic, social, and political life would be higher. The race as a whole would be less foolish, less frivolous, less excitable, and politically more provident than now. Its demagogues who “played to the gallery” would play to a more sensible gallery than at present. We should be better fitted to fulfil our vast imperial opportunities. Lastly, men of an order of ability which is now very rare would become more frequent, because, the level out of which they rose would itself have risen.

The aim of eugenics is to bring as many influences as can be reasonably employed, to cause the useful classes in the community to contribute more than their proportion to the next generation. The course of procedure that lies within the functions of a learned and active society, such as the sociological may become, would be somewhat as follows:

1. Dissemination of a knowledge of the laws of heredity, so far as they are surely known, and promotion of their further study. Few seem to be aware how greatly the knowledge of what may be termed the actuarial side of heredity has advanced in recent years. The average closeness of kinship in each degree now admits of exact definition and of being treated mathematically, like birth- and death-rates, and the other topics with which actuaries are concerned.

2. Historical inquiry into the rates with which the various classes of society (classified according to civic usefulness.) have contributed to the population at various times, in ancient and modern nations. There is strong reason for believing that national rise and decline is closely connected with this influence. It seems to be the tendency of high civilization to check fertility in the upper classes,- through numerous causes, some of which are well. known, others are inferred, and others again are wholly obscure. The latter class are apparently analogous to those which bar the fertility of most species of wild animals in zoological gardens. Out of the hundreds and thousands of species that have been tamed, very few indeed are fertile when their liberty is restricted and their struggles for livelihood are abolished; those which are so, and are otherwise useful to man, becoming domesticated. There is perhaps some connection between this obscure action and the disappearance of most savage races when brought into contact with high civilization, though there are other and well-known concomitant causes. But while most barbarous races disappear, some, like the negro, do not. It may therefore be expected that types of our race will be found to exist which can be highly civilized without losing fertility; nay, they may become more fertile under artificial conditions, as is the case with many domestic animals.

3- Systematic collection of facts showing the circumstances under which large and thriving families have most frequently originated; in other words, the conditions of eugenics. The definition of a thriving family, that will pass muster for the moment at least, is one in which the children have gained distinctly superior positions to those who were their classmates in early life. Families may be considered “large” that contain not less than three adult male children. It would be no great burden to a society including many members who had eugenics at heart, to initiate and to preserve a large collection of such records for the use of statistical students. The committee charged with the task would have to consider very carefully the form of their circular and the persons intrusted to distribute it. They should ask only for as much useful information as could be easily, and would be readily, supplied by any member of the family appealed to. The point to be ascertained is the status of the two parents at the time of their marriage, whence its more or less eugenic character might have been predicted, if the larger knowledge that we now hope to obtain had then existed. Some account would be wanted of their race, profession, and residence; also of their own respective parentages, and of their brothers and sisters. Finally the reasons would be required, why the children deserved to be entitled a “thriving” family. This manuscript collection might hereafter develop into a “golden book” of thriving families. The Chinese, whose customs have often much sound sense, make their honors retrospective. We might learn from them to show that respect to the parents of noteworthy children which the contributors of such valuable assets to the national wealth richly deserve. The act of systematically collecting records of thriving families would have the further advantage of familiarizing the public with the fact that eugenics had at length become a subject of serious scientific study by an energetic society.

4. Influences affecting marriage. The remarks of Lord Bacon in his essay on Death may appropriately be quoted here. He says with the view of minimizing its terrors: “There is no passion in the mind of men so weak but it mates and masters the fear of death ….. Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honour aspireth to it; grief flyeth to it; fear pre-occupateth it.” Exactly the same kind of considerations apply to marriage. The passion of love seems so overpowering that it may be thought folly to try to direct its course. But plain facts do not confirm this view. Social influences of all kinds have immense power in the end, and they are very various. If unsuitable marriages from the eugenic point of view were banned socially, or even regarded with the unreasonable disfavor which some attach to cousin-marriages, very few would be made. The multitude of marriage restrictions that have proved prohibitive among uncivilized people would require a volume to describe.

5. Persistence in setting forth the national importance of eugenics. There are three stages to be passed through: (I) It must be made familiar as an academic question, until its exact importance has been understood and accepted as a fact. (2) It must be recognized as a subject whose practical development deserves serious consideration. (3) It must be introduced into the national conscience, like a new religion. It has, indeed, strong claims to become an orthodox religious, tenet of the future, for eugenics co-operate with the workings of nature by securing that humanity shall be represented by the fittest races. What nature does blindly, slowly, and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly. As it lies within his power, so it becomes his duty to work in that direction. The improvement of our stock seems to me one of the highest objects that we can reasonably attempt. We are ignorant of the ultimate destinies of humanity, but feel perfectly sure that it is as noble a work to raise its level, in the sense already explained, as it would be disgraceful to abase it. I see no impossibility in eugenics becoming a religious dogma among mankind, but its details must first be worked out sedulously in the study. Overzeal leading to hasty action would do harm, by holding out expectations of a near golden age, which will certainly be falsified and cause the science to be discredited. The first and main point is to secure the general intellectual acceptance of eugenics as a hopeful and most important study. Then let its principles work into the heart of the nation, which will gradually give practical effect to them in ways that we may not wholly foresee.

FRANCIS GALTON. LONDON.

APPENDIX.

Works by the author bearing on eugenics.

Hereditary Genius ,(Macmillan), i869; 2d ed., r892. See especially from p. 340

in the former edition to the end, and from p. 329 in the latter.

Human Faculty (Macmillan), 1883 (out of print). See especially p. 305 to end.

Natural Inheritance (Macmillan), 1889. This bears on inheritance generally, not particularly on eugenics.

Huxley Lecture of the Anthropological Institute on “The Possible Improvement of the Human Breed under the Existing Conditions of Law and Sentiment,” Nature, 1901, p. 659; “Smithsonian Report,” Washington, 1901 p. 523.

DISCUSSION.

BY PROFESSOR KARL PEARSON.

My position here this afternoon requires possibly some explanation. I am not a member of the Sociological Society, and I must confess myself skeptical as to its power to do effective work. Frankly, I do not believe in groups of men and women who have each and all their allotted daily task creating a new branch of science. I believe it must be done by some one man who by force of knowledge, of method, and of enthusiasm hews out, in rough outline it may be, but decisively, a new block and creates a school to carve out its details. I think yon will find on inquiry that this is the history of each great branch of science. The initiative has been given by some one great thinker–a Descartes, a Newton, a Virchow, a Darwin, or a Pasteur. A sociological society, until we have found a great sociologist, is a herd without a leader—there is no authority to set bounds to your science or to prescribe its functions.

This, you must realize, is the view of that poor creature, the doubting man, in media vitae; it is a view which cannot stand for a moment against the youthful energy of your secretary, or the boyish hopefulness of Mr. Galton, who mentally is about half my age. Hence for a time I am carried away by their enthusiasm, and appear where I never anticipated being seen–in the chair at a meeting of the Sociological Society. If this society thrives, and lives to do yeoman work in science–which, skeptic as I am, I sincerely hope it may do–then I believe its members in the distant future will look back on this occasion as perhaps the one of greatest historical interest in its babyhood. To those of us who have worked in fields adjacent to Mr. Galton’s, he appears to us as something more than the discoverer of a new method of inquiry; we feel for him something more than we may do for the distinguished scientists in whose laboratories we have chanced to work. There is an indescribable atmosphere which spreads from him and which must influence all those who have come within reach of it. We realize it in his perpetual youth; in the instinct with which he reaches a great truth, where many of us plod on, groping through endless analysis; in his absolute unselfishness; and in his continual receptivity for new ideas. I have often wondered if Mr. Galton ever quarreled with anybody. And to the mind of one who is ever in controversy, it is one of the miracles associated with Mr. Galton that I know of no controversy, scientific or literary, in which he has been engaged. Those who look up to him, as we do, as to a master and scientific leader, feel for him as did the scholars for the grammarian:

“Our low life was the level’s, and the night’s;He’s for the morning.”

It seems to me that it is precisely in this spirit that he attacks the gravest problem which lies before the Caucasian races “in the morning.” Are we to make the whole doctrine of descent, of inheritance, and of selection of the fitter, part of our everyday life, of our social customs, and of conduct? It is the question of the study now, but tomorrow it will be the question of the marketplace, of morality, and of politics. If I wanted to know how to put a saddle on a camel’s back without chafing him, I should go to Francis Galton; if I wanted to know how to manage the women of a treacherous African tribe, I should go to Francis Galton; if I wanted an instrument for measuring a snail, or an arc of latitude, I should appeal to Francis Galton; if I wanted advice on any mechanical, of any geographical, or any sociological problem, I should consult Francis Galton. In all these matters, and many others, I feel confident he would throw light on my difficulties, and I am firmly convinced that, with his eternal youth, his elasticity of mind, and his keen insight, he can aid us in seeking an answer to one of the most vital of our national problems: How is the next generation of Englishmen to be mentally and physically equal to the past generation which has provided us with the great Victorian statesmen, writers, and men of science–most of whom are now no more–but which has not entirely ceased to be as long as we can see Francis Galton in the flesh ?

BY DR. MAUDSLEY.

The subject is difficult, not only from the complexity of the matter, but also from the subtleties of the forces that we have to deal with. In considering the question of hereditary influences, as I have done for some long period of my life, one met with the difficulty, which must have occurred to everyone here, that in any family of which you take cognizance you may find one member, a son, like his mother or father, or like a mixture of the two. or more like his mother, or that he harks back to some distant ancestor; and then again you will find one not in the least like father or mother or any relatives, so far as you know. There is a variation, or whatever you may call it, of which in our present knowledge you cannot give the least explanation. Take, as a supreme instance, Shakespeare. He was born of parents not distinguished from their ‘neighbors. He had five brothers living, one of whom came to London and acted with him at Blackfriars’ Theater, and afterward died. Yet, while Shakespeare rose to the extraordinary eminence that he did, none of his brothers distinguished themselves in any way. And so it is in other families. From my long experience as a physician I could give instances in every department–in science, in literature, in art–in which one member of the family has risen to extraordinary prominence, almost genius perhaps, and another has suffered from mental disorder.

8 Now, how can we account for these facts on any of the known data on which we have at present to rely ? In my opinion, we shall have to go far deeper down than we have been able to go by any present means of observation–to the corpuscles, atoms, electrons, or whatever else there may be; and we shall find these subjected to subtle influences of mind and body during their formations and combinations, of which we hardly realize the importance. I believe that in these potent factors the solution of the problem may be found why one member of a family rises above others, and others do not rise above the ordinary level, but perhaps sink below it. To me it seems, when I consider this matter in regard to these difficulties, that in making a comparison with the improvement of breeding of animal stock we may be apt to be misled. We are all organic machines, so to speak; at the same time, when we come to the human being there are complexities which arise from the mental state and its moods and passions which entirely disturb our conclusions, which we should be able to form in regard to the comparatively simple machines which animals are.

In view of these difficulties of the subject, it has always seemed to me that we must not be hasty in coming to conclusions and laying down any rules for the breeding of humans and the development of a eugenic conscience. In fact, we must be on our guard against the overzeal, which Dr. Galton has very properly cautioned us against. For, after all, there is the passion of love and the forces referred to in his quotation from Bacon; and I am not sure but that nature, in its own blind impulsive way, does not manage things’ better than we can by any light of reason, or by any rules which we can at present lay down. I am inclined to think that, as in the past, so in the future, it may be, as Shakespeare said:

“You may as well try to kindle snow by fire”As quench the fire of love by words.”

BY DR. MERCIER.

Mr. Galton speaks of the laws of heredity, and dissemination of a knowledge of the laws of heredity in so far as we know them, and the qualification is very necessary. For, in so far as we know the laws, they are so obscure and complex that to us they work out as chance. We cannot detect any practical difference in the working of the laws of heredity and the way in which dice may be taken out of a lucky bag. It is quite impossible to predict from the constitution of the parents what the constitution of the offspring is going to be, even in the remotest degree. I lay that down as emphatically as I can, and I think that much widely prevailing erroneous doctrine on this head is due to the writings of Zola. I believe these writings are founded on a totally false conception as to what the laws of heredity are, and as to how they work out in the human race. He supposes that, since the parents have certain mental and moral peculiarities, the children will reproduce them with variations. It is not so. Look around among your acquaintance: look around among the people that you know; notice the intellectual and moral character of the parents and children; and, as my distinguished predecessor, Dr. Maudsley, has said, you wilt find that in the same family there are antithetic extremes. It is doubtful if moral traits are hereditary.

Then there is the tendency of a high civilization to reduce the fertility of its worthier members. It does seem as if there were some such tendency. Undoubtedly, in any particular race of organisms, as in organisms in general, the lower order multiplies more freely than the highly organized. Undoubtedly, we see that insects and bacteria increase and multiply exceedingly until they become as the sands on the seashore. But the elephant produces only once in thirty years. And so it is with human beings of different grades of organization. Undoubtedly, those more highly organized are less fertile than those lowly organized. But that is not the whole history of the thing. I think we have to regard a civilized community somewhat in the light of a lamp burning away at the top, replenished from the bottom. It is true that the highest strata waste and do not reproduce themselves; and it is of necessity so, because the production of very high types of human nature is always sporadic. It never occurs in races; it always occurs in individual cases.

I know I am speaking heresy in the presence of Dr. Galton. Some of these doctrines I am enunciating ought to be qualified. But, broadly and generally, and in practice, it is so, that we cannot predict from the parentage what the offspring is going to be, and we cannot go back from the offspring and say what the parentage was. [f we follow the custom of the Chinese and ennoble the parents for the achievements of their children, are we to hang the parents when the offspring commit murder ?

And, finally, I would say one word about suitable and unsuitable marriages. Most of what I have to say has already been said by Dr. Galton. What are suitable and unsuitable marriages? How are we to decide? In the light of our knowledge–I had better say ignorance, I think–he would be a very bold man who would undertake the duties that were intrusted to the family council among those wise and virtuous people of whom Dean Swift has given us a description, and who should determine who should be the father and who the mother, and make marriages without consulting the individuals most concerned. I think, if that were done, it is doubtful if the result would be any better than it is at present.

BY PROFESSOR WELDON.

There are two sets of objections which have been used against the points made by Dr. Galton: One set criticises the statistical method on the ground that it cannot account for a number of phenomena. In the presence of the author of the Grammar of Science, I venture to say it is no proper part of statistics to account for anything, but it is the triumph of statistics that it can describe, and with a very fair degree of accuracy, a large number of phenomena. And, as I conceive the matter, the essential object of eugenics is not to put forward any theory of causation of hereditary phenomena; it is to diffuse the knowledge of what these phenomena really are. We may not be able to account for the formation of a Shakespeare, but we may be able to tabulate a scheme of inheritance which will indicate with very fair accuracy, the percentage of cases in which children of exceptional ability result from a particular type of marriage. If we can do that alone, we shall have made a very great advance in knowledge. And my view of Mr. Galton’s object is that he wishes to point out to us the way in which that knowledge may be attained. Well, that is the answer I would give to all objections to the statistical method, based on its inability to account for phenomena. It ought not to try to account for them, but to describe them. If Dr. Mercier would consult the studies on inheritance that result from Mr. Galton’s labor, he would find that they describe distribution of character in the children of parents of particular kinds in regard to a very large number of characters, mental and physical. You, yourself, Mr. Chairman, have given such a comprehensive summary of those results, most of them achieved in your own laboratory., that I need not trouble this meeting by saying any more about them.

Then there is another class of objectors, whose attitude is summarized in the most interesting series of remarks by Mr. Bateson. Because a large number of apparently simple results have been attained in experimental breeding establishments, and especially by the Austrian abbot, Gregory Mendel, it has been too lightly assumed that these phenomena have henceforward superseded the actuarial method, and that the only reliable method is experiment on simple characters, such as those initiated by Mr. Mendel and carried out by Mr. Bateson in England, in Holland by Professor Defries, and by an increasing number of men all over Europe. But the statistical method is itself necessary in order to test the results of the experiments which are supposed to supersede it. The question whether there is really an agreement between experience and hypothesis is in nearly every case hard to answer, and can be achieved only by the use of this actuarial method which Mr. Galton has taught us to apply to biological problems.

The second answer to objections of that type seems to me to be this, that while it is perfectly true that by sound actuarial methods you may deduce a justifiable result, yet from a laboratory experiment you have not arrived at the formulation of a eugenic maxim. You must look at your facts in their relation to an enormous mass of other matter, and in order to do that you must treat large masses of your race in successive generations,and you must see whether the behavior of these large masses is such as you would expect from your limited experiment. If the two things agree, you have realized as much of the truth as would serve as a basis for generalization. But if you find there is a contradiction resulting from the facts–from the large masses and limited laboratory experiments-then there is no doubt whatever that, from the point of view of human eugenics, and from the theory of evolution, the more important data are those from the larger series of material; the less important are those from laboratory experiment.

BY MR. H. G. WELLS.

We can do nothing but congratulate ourselves upon the presence of one of the great founders of sociology here today, and upon the admirable address he has given us. If there is any quality of that paper more than another upon which I would especially congratulate Dr. Galton and ourselves, it is upon its living and contemporary tone. One does not feel that it is the utterance of one who has retired from active participation in life, but of one who remains in contact with and contributing to the main current of thought. One remarks that ever since his Huxley Lecture in 1901, Dr. Galton has expanded and improved his propositions.

This is particularly the case in regard to his recognition of different types in the community, and of the need of a separate system of breeding in relation to each type. The Huxley Lecture had no recognition of that, and its admission does most profoundly modify the whole of this question of eugenics. So long as the consideration of types is not raised, the eugenic proposition is very simple: superior persons must mate with superior persons, inferior persons must not have offspring at all, and the only thing needful is some test that will infallibly detect superiority. Dr. Galton has resorted in the past to the device of inquiring how many judges and bishops and such-like eminent persons a family can boast; but that test has not gone without challenge in various quarters. Dr. Galton’s inquiries in this direction in the past have always seemed to me to ignore the consideration of social advantage, of what Americans call the “pull” that follows any striking success. The fact that the sons and nephews of a distinguished judge or great scientific man are themselves eminent judges or successful scientific men may after all, be far more due to a special knowledge of the channels of professional advancement than-to any distinctive family gift. I must confess that much of Dr. Galton’s classical work in this direction seems to me to be premature. I have been impressed by the idea–and even now I remain under the sway of the idea–that our analysis of human faculties is entirely inadequate for the purpose of tracing hereditary influence. I think we want a much more elaborate analysis to give us the elements of heredity–an analysis of which we have at present only the first beginnings in the valuable work of the Abbe Loisy that Mr. Bateson has recently revived.

Even the generous recognition of types that Dr. Galton has now made does not altogether satisfy my inquiring mind. I believe there still remain further depths of concession for him. At the risk of being called a “crank,” I must object that even’ that considerable list of qualities Dr. Galton tells us that everyone would take into account does not altogether satisfy me. Take health, for example. Are there not types of health? The mating of two quite healthy persons may result in disease. I am told it does so in the case of the interbreeding of healthy white men and healthy black women about the Tanganyka region; the half-breed children are ugly, sickly, and rarely live. On the other hand, two not very healthy persons may have mutually corrective qualities, and may beget sound offspring. Then what right have we to assume that energy and ability are simply qualities ? I am not even satisfied by the suggestion Dr. Galton

seems to make that criminals should not breed. I am inclined to believe that a large proportion of our present-day criminals are the brightest and boldestmembers of families living under impossible conditions, and that in many desirable qualities the average criminal is above the average of the law-abiding poor and probably of the average respectable person. Many eminent criminals appear to me to be persons superior in many respects–in intelligence, initiative, originality—to the average judge. I will confess I have never known either.

Let me suggest that Dr. Galton’s concession to the fact that there are differences of type to consider is only the beginning of a very big descent of concession, that may finally carry him very deep indeed. Eugenics, which is really only a new word for the popular American term “stirpiculture,” seems to me to be a term that is not without its misleading implications. It has in it something of that same lack of a fine appreciation of facts that enabled Herbert Spencer to coin those two most unfortunate terms, “evolution” and “the survival of the fittest.” The implication is that the best reproduces and survives. Now really it is’ the better that survives, and not the best. The real fact of the case is that in the all-around result the inferior usually perish, and the average of the species rises, but not that any exceptionally favorable variations get together and reproduce. I believe that now and always the conscious selection of the best for reproduction will be impossible; that to propose it is to display a fundamental misunderstanding of what individuality implies. The way of nature has always been to slay the hindmost, and there is still no other way, unless we can prevent those who would become the hindmost being born. It is in the sterilization of failures, and not in the selection of successes for breeding, that the possibility of an improvement of the human stock lies.

BY DR. ROBERT HUTCHISON.

My only claim to address a meeting on this subject is that not only, in common with all physicians, am I acquainted with the factors that make for physical deterioration, but I have devoted special attention to certain factors which t believe play a large part in the production of human types. I refer to feeding. I believe we have, in treating this subject, to consider two lines in which a society like this might work. It has to consider, first, the raw material of the race–and that I believe to be the view which commends itself especially to Dr. Galton — and, second, the conditions under which that raw material grows up. I believe, speaking as a physician, and judging from the raw material one sees, for example, in the children’s hospitals, that it is not so necessary to improve the raw material, which is not so very bad after all, as it is to improve the environment in which the raw material is brought up. I Of all the factors in that environment, that which is of the greatest importance in promoting bad physical and bad mental development, is, I believe, the food factor. If you would give me a free hand in feeding, during infancy and from ten to eighteen years of age, the raw material that is being produced, I would guarantee to give you quite a satisfactory race as the result. And I think we should do more wisely in concentrating our attention on things such as those, than in losing ourselves in a mass of scientific questions relating to heredity, about which, it must be admitted, in regard to the human race, we are still profoundly in ignorance.

BY DR. WARNER.

When I had the pleasure of reading the proof of Mr. Galton’s paper, I devoted what time I could to thinking carefully over what might be expected to be the practical outcome of what I had understood from that paper, if I had. read it aright. And a careful reading of Mr. Galton’s paper shows that he purposely deals with only a portion of the means of developing a good nation, and that portion is marriage selection. I also gather that the tendency of the paper is to advocate the marriage between those who are most highly evolved in their respective families. But there is a point in this connection which I think is apt to be overlooked, and that is the examples we have of dangers from intermarriage between highly evolved members of two families. A considerable number of degenerates come under my observation and come to me professionally. They are mostly children; and, as far as possible, I get what knowledge I can of their families both on the paternal and the maternal side. It happens in a very considerable proportion that the father and mother are the best of the families from which they themselves have proceeded. Where a man has evolved from a humble class to a high form of mental work, and his life has attracted the feeling or affection of a lady who has evolved rather higher mental faculties than the rest of her family, there is danger. It happens very often that the parents of degenerate children are the best of their respective families. I do not go into any details, but I could give you a string of cases, straight off, to show how frequent it is among the families of men who have risen, that the first of all, if he is a male, is feeble-minded, or degenerate. There is also the great question of the girls, as well as the boys, in their personal evolution. It has been constantly said that one reason why apparently the girls’ capacity is less than the boys’ capacity for many sorts of .work is that their mothers have not been educated. Now, I should like to ask Mr. Galton whether the girls inherit through the mother or through the father. For myself, I extremely doubt the general view.

BY MR. ELDERTON.

An important item in the study of heredity is the heredity of disease; and, if so, life-insurance offices might be of use with certain statistics. Certificates of death are given to them which are put away with the original proposal papers, filled up when the insurance was taken out, which state the cause of death of parents, brothers, and ‘sisters, and their ages at death; also their ages when the person effected the insurance, if they were still living. Locked up in that sort of information are many data for the study of heredity in relation to disease. From this source also might be thrown light on a question of great importance–the correlation between specific diseases and fertility.

One point in conclusion: Dr. Hutchison spoke of the greater importance of environment, but in that he would hardly get actuaries to agree with him. Their observation, based on life-insurance data, would seem to show that environment operates as a mere modificatory factor after heredity has done its work.

BY BENJAMIN KIDD.

It is, I am sure, a peculiar satisfaction to have from Mr. Galton this important and’ interesting paper. No man of science in England has done more to encourage the study of human faculty by exact methods, and I hope the Sociological Society will endeavor to follow the example he has set us. The only item of criticism I would offer would be to say that we must not, perhaps, be sanguine in expecting too much at present from eugenics founded on statistical and actuarial methods in the study of society. We must have a real science of society before the science of eugenics can hope to gain authority. The point of Mr. Galton’s paper is, I think, that, however we may differ as to other standards, we are, at .all events, all agreed as to what constitutes the fittest and most perfect individual. I am not quite convinced of this. Much obscurity at present exists in sociological studies from confusing two entirely different things, namely, individual efficiency and social efficiency. Mr. Galton’s fable of the animals will help me to make my meaning clear. It will be observed that he has considered the animals as individuals. If, however, we took a social type like the social insects, a contradiction which, I think, possibly underlies his example, might be visible. For instance, it is well known that all the qualities of the bees are devoted to attaining the highest possible efficiency of their societies. Yet these qualities are by no means the qualities which we would consider as contributing to a perfect individual. If the bees at some earlier stage of evolution understood eugenics, as we now understand the subject, what peculiar condemnation, for instance, would they have visited on the queen bee, who devotes her life solely to breeding? I am afraid, too, that the interesting habits of the drones would have received special condemnation from the unctuous rectitude of the time. What would have been thought even of the workers as perfect individuals with their undeveloped bodies and aborted instincts? And yet all these things have contributed in a high degree to social efficiency, and have undoubtedly made the type a winning one in evolution.

The example will apply to human society. Statistical and actuarial methods alone in the study of individual faculty often carry us to very incomplete conclusions, if not corrected by larger and more scientific conceptions of the social good. I remember our chairman, in his earlier social essays, once depicted an ideally perfect state of society. I have a distinct recollection of my own sense of relief that my birth had occurred in the earlier ages of comparative barbarism. For Mr. Pearson, I think, proposed to give the kind of people who now scribble on our railway carriages no more than a short shrift and the nearest lamp-post. I hope we shall not seriously carry this spirit into eugenics. It might renew, in the name of science, tyrannies that it took long ages of social evolution to emerge from. Judging from what one sometimes reads, many of our ardent reformers would often be willing to put us into lethal chambers, if our minds and bodies did not conform to certain standards. We are apt to forget in these matters that that sense of responsibility to life which distinguishes the higher societies is itself an asset painfully acquired by the race–a social asset of such importance that the more immediate gain aimed at would count by the side of it as no more than dust in the balance. Our methods of knowledge are as yet admittedly very imperfect. Mr. Galton himself, I remember, as the result of his earlier researches into human faculty, put the intellectual caliber of what are called the lower races many degrees below that of the European races. I ventured to point out some years ago that this assumption appeared to be premature, and the data upon which it was founded insufficient. So much is now generally admitted. Yet it would have been awkward had we proceeded to draw any large practical conclusion from it at the time. The deficiency of what have been called the lower races is now seen to be, not so much an intellectual deficiency, as a deficiency in social qualities and social history, and therefore in social inheritance.

Many examples of a similar kind might be given. It may be remembered, for instance, how a generation or two ago Malthusianism was urged upon us in the name of science and almost with the zeal of a religion. We have lived to see the opposite view now beginning to be urged with much the same zeal and emphasis. A nation or a race cannot afford to make practical mistakes on a large scale in these matters.

I trust and believe that much that Mr. Galton anticipates will be realized. But I think we must go slowly with our science of eugenics, and that we must take care, above all things, that it advances with, and does not precede, a real science of our social evolution. We must come to the work in a humble spirit. Even the highest representatives of the various social sciences must realize that in the specialized study of sociology as a whole they are scarcely more than distinguished amateurs. Otherwise, in few other departments of study would there be so much danger of incomplete knowledge, and even of downright quackery, clothing itself with the mantle and authority of science.

BY MRS. DR, DRYSDALE VICKERY.

The speech which has interested me most is that of Dr. Hutch{son. Important as is the quality of hereditary stock, yet at the present juncture I would say that of still greater importance is this, that we have such a vast number of our population growing up under bad conditions. The result is an artificial, a merely economic, multiplication of inferior stocks. The question I wish to raise is this: Are we producing, in this country and in all civilized countries, a greater proportion of new individuals than can be favorably absorbed? In a country like Russia the surplus of births over deaths amounts to two millions in the year; in Germany the surplus is a million; in Britain, not quite half a million. Can we, in an old state of society, absorb that amount of new individuals and give them fair conditions of existence ? I think not.

Dr. Warner spoke of the importance of our teaching of girls. I hold very strongly that the question of heredity, as we study it at present, is very much a question of masculine heredity only, and that heredity with feminine aspects is very much left out of account. Mr. Galton told us that a certain number of burgesses’ names had absolutely disappeared; but what about the names of their wives, and how would that consideration affect his conclusion? In the future, the question of population will, I hope, be considered very much from the feminine point of view; and if we wish to produce a well-developed race, we must treat our womankind a little better than we do at present. We must give them something more like the natural position which they should hold in society. Women’s specialized powers must be utilized for the intellectual advancement of the race.

BY LADY WELBY.

The science of eugenics as not only dealing with “all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race,” but also “with those that develop them to the utmost advantage,” must have the most pressing interest for women. And one of the first things to do–pending regulative reform–is to prepare the minds of women to take a truer view of their dominant natural impulse toward service and self-sacrifice. They need to realize more clearly the significance of their mission to conceive, to develop, to cherish, and to train–in short, in all senses to mother–the next and through that the succeeding generations of man.

As things are they have almost entirely missed the very point both of their special function and of their strongest yearnings. They have lost that discerning guidance of eugenic instinct and that inerrancy of eugenic preference which, broadly speaking, in both sexes have given us the highest types of man yet developed. The refined and educated woman of this day is brought up to countenance, and to see moral and religious authority countenance, social standards which practically take no account of the destinies and the welfare of the race. It is thus hardly wonderful that she should be failing more and more to fulfil her true mission, should indeed too often be unfaithful to it, spending her instinct of devotion in unworthy, or at least barren, directions. Yet, once she realizes what the results will be that she can help to bring about, she will be even more ready than the man to give herself, not for that vague empty abstraction, the “future,” but for the coming generations among which her own descendants may be reckoned. For her natural devotion to her babe–the representative of the generations yet to come–is even more complete than that of her husband, which indeed is biologically, though she knows it not, her recognition in him of the means to a supreme end.

But it is not only thus that women are concerned with the profound obligation to the race which the founder of the science of eugenics is bringing home to the social conscience. At present, anyhow, a large proportion of civilized women find themselves from one or another cause debarred from this social service in the direct sense.

There is another kind of race-motherhood open to, and calling for the intelligent recognition and intelligent fulfillment by, all women. There are kinds of natural and instinctive knowledge of the highest value which the artificial social conditions of civilization tend to efface. There are powers of swift insight and penetration–powers also of unerring judgment– which are actually atrophied by the ease and safety secured in highly organized communities. These, indeed, are often found in humble forms, which might be called in-sense and fore-sense.

While I would lay stress on the common heritage of humanity which gives the man a certain motherhood and the woman a certain fatherhood in outlook, perhaps also in intellectual function, we are here mainly concerned with the specialized mental activities of women as distinguished from those of men. It has long been a commonplace that women have, as a rule, a larger share of so-called “intuition” than men. But the reasons for this, its true nature and its true work and worth, have never, so far as I know, been brought forward. It is obvious that these reasons cannot be properly dealt with–indeed, can but barely be indicated–in these few words. They involve a reference to all the facts which anthropology, archaeology, history, psychology, .and physiology, as well as philology, have so far brought to our knowledge. They mean a review of these facts in a new light–that which, in many cases, the woman who has preserved or recovered her earlier, more primitive racial prerogative can alone throw upon them.

I will only here mention such acts as the part primitively borne by women in the evolution of crafts and arts, including the important one of healing; and point out the absolute necessity, since an original parity of muscular development in the animal world was lost, of their meeting physical coercion by the help of keen, penetrative, resourceful wits, and the “conning” which (from the temptation of weakness to serve by deception) became what we now mean by “cunning.” To these I think we may add the woman’s leading part in the evolution of language. While her husband was the “man of action,” and in the heat of the chase and of battle, or the labor of building huts, making stockades, weapons, etc., the “man of few words,” she was necessarily the talker, necessarily the provider or suggester of symbolic sounds, and with them of pictorial signs, by which to describe the ever-growing products of human energy, intelligence, and constructiveness, and the ever-growing needs and interests of the race; in short, the ever-widening range of social experience.

We are all, men and women, apt to be satisfied now–as we have just been told, for instance, in the Faraday Lecture–with things as they are. But that is just what we all came into the world to be dissatisfied with. And while it may now be said that women are more conservative than men, they still tend to be more adaptive. If the fear of losing by violent change what has been gained [or the children were removed, women would be found, as of old, in the van or all social advance.

Lastly I would ask attention to the fact that throughout history, and I believe in every part of the world, we find the elderly woman credited with wisdom and acting as the trusted adviser of the man. It is only in very recent times and in highly artificial societies that we have begun to describe the dense, even the imbecile, man as an “old woman.” Here we have a notable evidence indeed of the disastrous atrophy of the intellectual heritage of woman, of the partial paralysis of that racial motherhood out of which she naturally speaks! Of course, as in all such eases, the inherited wisdom became associated with magic and wonder-working and sybilline gifts of all kinds. The always shrewd and often really originative, predictive, and wide-reaching qualities of the woman’s mind (especially after the climacteric had been passed) were mistaken for the uncanny and devil-derived powers of the sorceress and the witch. Like the thinker, the moralist, and the healer, she was tempted to have recourse to the short-cut of the “black arts,” and appeal to the supernatural and miraculous, as science would now define these. We still see, alas, that the special insight and intelligence of women tends to spend itself at best on such absurd misrepresentations of her own instincts and powers as “Christian Science;” or worse, on clairvoyance and fortune-telling and the like. Then, it may be, elaborate theories of personality–mostly wide of the mark, and constructed upon phenomena which we could learn to analyze and interpret on strictly scientific and really philosophical principles, and thus to utilize at every point. We are, in short, failing to enlist for true social service a natural reserve of intelligence which mostly lying unrecognized and unused in any healthy form, forces its way out in morbid ones. And let us here remember that we are not merely considering a question of sex. No mental function is entirely unrepresented on either side.

The question then arises: How is civilized man to avail himself fully of this reserve of power ? The provisional answer seems to be: By making the most of it through the training of all girls for the resumption of a lost power of race-motherhood which shall make for their own happiness and well-being, in using these for the benefit of humanity; in short, by making the most of it through truer methods in education than any which have yet, except in rare cases, been applied. Certainly until we do this many social problems of the highest importance will needlessly continue to baffle and defeat us.

BY MR. HOBHOUSE.

I feel a good deal of difficulty in intervening in this extremely interesting discussion at this stage. I, like many of you, am only a listener to what thc biologists have to tell us in this matter. Until we have very definite information as to what heredity can do, I think those of us who are only students of sociology, and who cannot lay any claim whatever to be biologists, ought to keep silence. We have this afternoon had extremely divergent views put before us as to the actual and probable operation of heredity, and it seems quite clear that before we begin to tackle this question, which deals with one of the most powerful of human passions, with a view to regulate it, we must have highly perfected knowledge. We must have the chart properly mapped out before we do anything that might lead us into greater danger than we at present incur.

As to the two factors, stock and environment, no one can doubt that both are of fundamental importance in relation to the welfare of society; and no one can doubt that, if the kind of precise knowledge which I desiderate could be laid before us by the biologist, it would have considerable influence on our views of what is not only ethically right, but what could be legislatively enforced. Of these two factors, stock and environment, which can we modify with the greater ease and certainty of not doing harm ? It is fairly obvious that we can affect the environment of mankind in certain definite ways. We have the accumulation of considerable tradition as to the way a given act will affect the social environment. When we come to bring stock into consideration, we are still dealing with that which is very largely unknown. At the same time, we owe a great deal of thanks to Mr. Galton for raising this subject. On the one hand, it seems to me that the bare conception of a conscious selection as a way in which educated society would deal with stock is infinitely higher than natural selection with which biologists have confronted every proposal of sociology. If we are to take the problem of stock into consideration at all, it ought to be in the way of intelligently handling the blind forces of nature. But until we have far more knowledge and agreement as to criteria of conscious selection, I fear we cannot, as sociologists, expect to do much for our society on these lines.

BY G. A. ARCHDALL REID, M.D.

I think it would be impossible to imagine a subject of greater importance, or to name one of which the public is more ignorant. At the root of every moral and social question lies the problem of heredity. Until a knowledge of the laws of heredity is more widely diffused, the public will grope in, the dark in its endeavors to solve many pressing difficulties.

How shall we bring about a “wide dissemination of a knowledge of the laws of heredity, so far as they are surely known, and the promotion of their further study” ? We shall not be able to reach the public until we are able to influence the education of a body of men whose studies naturally bring them into relation with the subject, and who, when united, are numerous enough and powerful enough to sway public opinion. Only one such body of men exists- the medical profession. When the study of heredity forms as regular a part of the medical curriculum as anatomy and physiology, then, and not till then, will the laws of heredity be brought to bear on the solution of social problems. At present a specialist like Mr. Galton has a very limited audience. In effect, it is composed of specialists like himself. Until among medical men a systematic knowledge of heredity is substituted for a bundle of prejudices, and close and clear reasoning for wild guesswork, the influence of men of Mr. Galton’s type most unhappily is not likely to extend much beyond the limits of a few learned societies.

The first essential is a clear grasp of the distinction which exists between what are known as inborn traits and what are known as acquired traits. Inborn traits are those with which the individual is “born,” which come to him by nature, which form his natural inheritance from his parents. Acquired traits are alterations produced in inborn traits by influences to which they are exposed during the life of the individual. Thus a man’s limbs are inborn traits, but the changes produced in his limbs by exercise, injury, and so forth are acquired traits. All men know that the individual tends to transmit his inborn traits to his offspring. But it is now almost universally denied by students of heredity that he tends to transmit his acquired traits. The real, the burning question among students of heredity is whether changes in an individual caused by the action of the environment on him tend in any way to affect the offspring subsequently born to him. Thus, for example, does good health in an individual tend to benefit his offspring? Does his ill-health tend to enfeeble them ?

It is generally assumed that changes in the parents do tend to influence the inborn traits of offspring. Thus we have heard much of the degeneracy which it is alleged is befalling our race owing to the bad hygienic conditions under which it dwells in our great growing cities. The assumption is made that the race is being so injured by the bad conditions that the descendant of a line of slum-dwellers, if removed during infancy to the country, would, on the average, be inferior physically to the descendant of a line o{ rustics; whereas, contrariwise, the descendant of a line of rustics, if removed during infancy to the slums would be superior physically to the majority of the children he would meet there.

I believe this assumption to be a totally unwarrantable one. It is founded on a confusion between inborn and acquired traits. Of course, the influences which act on a slum-bred child tend to injure him personally. But there is no certain evidence that the descendant of a line of slum-dwellers is on the average inferior to the descendant of a line of rustics whose parents migrated to the slums just after his birth. I believe in fact, that while a life in the slums deteriorates the individual, it does not effect directly the hereditary tendencies of the race in the least. A vast mass of evidence may be adduced in support of this contention. Slums are not a creation of yesterday. They have existed in many countries from very ancient times. Races that have been most exposed to slum life cannot be shown to he inferior physically and mentally to those that have been less or not at all exposed. The Chinese, for example, who have been more exposed, and for a longer time, to such influences than any other people, are physically and mentally a very fine race, and certainly not inferior to the Dyacks of Borneo, for example.

There is also a mass of collateral evidence. Thus Africans and other races have been literally soaked in the extremely virulent and abundant poison of malaria for thousands of years. We know how greatly malaria damages the individual. But Africans have not deteriorated. Like the Chinese, physically, at any rate, they are a very fine race. Practically speaking, every negro child suffers from malaria, and may perish of it. But while the sufferings of the negroes from malaria have produced no effect on the race, the deaths of negroes from malaria have produced an immense effect. The continual weeding out, during many generations, of the unfittest has rendered the race pre-eminently resistant to malaria; so that negroes can now flourish in countries which we, who have suffered very little from malaria, find it impossible to colonize. Similarly, the inhabitants of northern Europe have suffered greatly for thousands of years from consumption, especially in places where the population has been dense–where there have been many cities and towns, and therefore slums. They also have not deteriorated; they have merely grown pre-eminently strong against consumption. They are able to live, for example, in English cities, in which consumption is very rife, and which individuals of races which have been less exposed to the disease find as dangerous as Englishmen find the west coast of Africa.

During the last four hundred years consumption has spread very widely, and now no race is able to dwell in cities and towns, especially in cold and temperate climates, that has not undergone evolution against it. In other words, no race is capable of civilization that has not undergone evolution against consumption, as well as against other diseases and influences, deteriorating to the individual, which civilization brings in its train. Many biologists and most medical men believe that influences acting on parents tend directly to alter the hereditary tendencies of offspring. In technical terms, they believe that variations are caused by action of the environment. How they contrive to do so in the face of the massive and conclusive evidence afforded by the natural history of human races in relation to disease is beyond my comprehension. How could a race undergo evolution against malaria (for example), if parental disease altered and injured the hereditary tendencies of the offspring. How could natural selection select, if all the variations presented for selection were unfavorable. The observations on disease and injury published by Brown-Sequard, Cossar Ewart, and many medical men are capable of an interpretation different to that which they have given.

Mr. Galton speaks as if the causes which have brought about the disappearance of most savage races when brought in contact with high civilization were obscure. I can assure him, however, that they have been worked out precisely and statistically by many medical observers on the spot. Apart from extermination by war, the only savage races which are disappearing are those of the New World, and in every instance they are perishing from the enormous mortality caused among them by introduced diseases against which their races have undergone no evolution. He will find these precise statistics in the tables of mortality issued by all the public health departments that exist in America, Polynesia, and Australasia. He will find also many accounts in the journals of travelers. If he will read the records of visits of parties of aborigines from the New World to the cities of Europe, he will find that their mortality, especially from consumption, was invariably high. There is nothing more mysterious about the disappearance of these races than there is about the disappearance of the dodo and the bison. They are perishing, not because, as Froude poetically puts it, they are like “caged eagles,” incapable of domestication, but simply and solely because they are weak against certain diseases. If malaria instead of consumption were prevalent in cities, the English would be incapable of civilization, whereas the negroes and the wild tribes about the Amazon, and in New Guinea and Borneo, would be particularly capable of it. Indeed, it may be taken as a general rule, to which there is no exception, that every race throughout the world is resistant to every disease precisely in proportion to its past experience of it, and that only those races are capable of civilization which are resistant to the diseases of dense populations.

Before the voyage of Columbus, hardly a zymotic disease, with the exception of malaria, was known in the New World. The inhabitants of the Old World had slowly evolved against the diseases of civilized life under gradually worsening conditions, caused by the gradual increase of population, and therefore of disease. They introduced these maladies to the natives of the New World under the worst conditions then known. They built cities and towns, the natural breeding-places of all zymotic diseases, except those of the malarial type. They gave the natives clothes, which are the best vehicle for the transport of microbes. They endeavored to Christianize and civilize the natives, and so drew them into buildings where they were infected. They forced them to labor on plantations and in mines. In fact, they forced on them every facility for “catching” disease. As a result, they exterminated or almost exterminated them. The natives of the Gilbert Islands lately petitioned our government not to permit missionaries to settle among them, as they feared destruction. They were perfectly right. Clothes and churches and schoolrooms are fatal to such people. The Tasmanians, before they were quite exterminated, had a saying that good people–that is, people who went frequently to church–died young. They also were perfectly right–that is, as regards their own race.

It is a highly significant fact that, whereas every white man’s city in Asia or Africa has its native quarter, no white man’s city in the New World has a native quarter. To find the pure aborigines of the New World we must go to parts remote from cities and towns. They cannot accomplish in a few generations an evolution which the natives of the Old World accomplished only after hundreds, perhaps thousands, of generations, and at the cost of millions of lives. The negroes, who were introduced into America to fill the void created by the disappearing aborigines, have perhaps persisted, but they had already undergone some evolution against consumption–the chief disease of civilization–and much evolution against measles and other diseases. Yet even the negroes would not have persisted had they not been introduced under special conditions. They were taken to the warmer parts of America at a time when consumption was little rife as compared to its prevalence in the cities of Europe, and they were employed mainly in agricultural occupations. They had a special start, and were placed under conditions that worsened only slowly. As a result they underwent evolution, and are now able to persist in America. But African negroes, as compared to the natives of the densely populated parts of Europe and Asia, have undergone little evolution against consumption. As a consequence, no African colony has ever succeeded in Europe or Asia. For instance, the Dutch and English imported about twelve thousand negroes into Ceylon a century ago. Within twenty years all had perished, mainly of consumption, and that in a country where the disease is not nearly so prevalent as in northern Europe, or the more settled parts of northern Asia.

There can be little doubt that the sterility of the New World races when brought into contact with civilization is due mainly to ill-health. The sterility of our upper classes is mainly voluntary. It is due to the possession of special knowledge. The growing sterility of the lower classes is due to the spread of that knowledge; hence the general and continuous fall in the birth-rate. Until we are able to estimate the part played by this knowledge it would be vain to collect statistics of comparative sterility.

We have frequently been told that no city family can persist for four generations unless fortified by country blood. That, I believe, is a complete error. Country blood does not strengthen city blood. It weakens it, for country blood has been less thoroughly purged of weak elements. It is true, owing to the large mortality in cities and the great immigration from the country, it is difficult to find a city family which has had no infusion of country blood for four generations. But to suppose on that account that country blood strengthens city blood against the special conditions of city life is to confuse post hoc with propter hoc.

Slum life and the other evil influences of civilization, including bad and insufficient food, vitiated air, and zymotic diseases, injure the individual. They make him acquire a bad set of traits. But they do not injure the hereditary tendencies of the race. Had they done so, civilization would have been impossible. Civilized man would have become extinct. On the contrary, by weeding out the unfittest, they make the race strong against those influences.

If, then, we wish to raise the standard of our race, we must do it in two ways. In the first place, we must improve the conditions under which the individual develops, and so make him a finer animal. In the second place, we must endeavor to restrict, as much as possible, the marriage of the physically and mentally unfit. In other words, we must attend both to the acquired characters and to inborn characters. By merely improving the conditions under which people live we shall improve the individual, but not the race. The same measures will not achieve both objects. Medical men have done a good deal for the improvement of the acquired characters of the individual by improving sanitation. They have attempted nothing toward the second object, the improvement of the inborn traits of the race. Nor will they attempt anything until they have acquired a precise knowledge of heredity from biologists. On the other hand, before biologists are able to influence medical men they must bring to bear their exact methods of thought on the great changes produced in various races by their experience, during thousands of years, of disease. I am sure our knowledge of heredity will gain in precision and breadth by a consideration of these tremendous, long-continued, and drastic experiments conducted by nature. No experiments conducted by man can compare with them in magnitude and completeness. And, as I have already intimated, the precise statistical information on which our conclusions may be based is already collected and tabulated. I am quite sure it is good neither for medicine nor biology that medical men and biologists should live as it were in separate and closed compartments, each body ignoring the splendid mass of data collected by the other. Much of medicine should be a part of biology, and much of biology a part of medicine.

BY W. LESLIE MACKENZIE, M.A., M.D.

It is to me a great privilege to be permitted to say something in any discussion where Dr. Francis Galton is leader; because from early in my student days until now I have felt that his method of handling sociological facts has always been at once scientific and practical. Whether the ideas he represents have had some subconscious effect in driving me into the public-health service, I cannot tell; but since I entered that service fourteen years ago, I have been in a multitude of minor ways impressed with two things: first, that in every Scottish community, rural and urban, a hygienic renascence is in progress; second, that in the many forms it assumes, it has no explicit basis in scientific theory. In attempting, some time ago, to penetrate to the root-idea of the public-health movement, I concluded that, rightly or wrongly, we have all taken for granted certain postulates. The hygienic renascence is the objective side of a movement whose ethical basis is the set effort after a richer, cleaner, intenser, life in a highly organized society. The postulates of hygienics — whose administrative form constitutes the public-health service- are such as these: that society or the social group is essentially organic; that the social organism, being as yet but little integrated, is capable of rapid and easy modification, that is, of variations secured by selection; that disease is a name for certain maladaptations of the social organism or of its organic units; that diseases are thus, in greater or lesser degrees, preventable; that the prevention of disease promotes social evolution; that, by the organization of representative agencies–county councils, town councils, district councils, parish councils, and the like–the processes of natural selection may be indefinitely aided by artificial selections; that thus, by continuous modification of social organism, of its organic units, and of the compound environment of both, it is possible to further the production of better citizens–more energetic, more alert, more versatile, more individuated. Provisionally, public health may be defined as the systematic application of scientific ideas to the extirpation of diseases and thereby to the direct or indirect establishment of beneficial variations both in the social organism and in its organic units. In more concrete form, it is an organized effort of the collective social energy to heighten the physiological normal of civilized living.

A science of hygienics might thus be regarded as almost equivalent to the science of eugenics; character is presupposed in both. The fundamental assumption of hygienics is that the human organism is capable of greater things than on the average it has anywhere shown, and that its potentialities can be elicited by the systematic improvement of the environment. From the practical side, hygienics aims at “preparing a place” for the highest average of faculty to develop in.

Take heredity–one of Dr. Galton’s points. The modern movement for the extirpation of tubercular phthisis began with the definite proof that the disease is due to a bacillus. But the movement did not become world-wide until the belief in the heredity of tuberculosis had been sapped. So long as the tubercular person was weighted by the superstition that tubercular parents must necessarily produce tubercular children, and that the parents of tubercular children must themselves have been tubercular, he had little motive to seek for cure, the fatalism being here supported by the alleged inheritance of disease. Now that he knows how to resist the invasion of a germ, he is proceeding in his multitudes to fortify himself. What is true of tuberculosis is true of many other infections. Consequently, every hygienist will agree with Dr. Galton that the dissemination of a true theory of heredity is of the first practical importance. Nor is the evil of a wrong theory of heredity confined to infectious disease. If the official “nomenclature of diseases” be carefully scrutinized, it will be found that the vast majority of diseases are due either to the attacks of infective or parasitic organisms, or to the functional stress of environment, which for this purpose is better named “nurture.” This has recently been borne in upon me by the examination of school children. The conclusion inevitably arising out of the facts is that inherited capacities are in every class of society so masked by the effects of nurture, good or bad, that we have as yet no means of determining, in any individual case, how much is due to inheritance and how much to nurture. There is here an unlimited field for detailed study.

Next, fertility. It is, I suppose, on the whole, true that the less opulent classes are more fertile than the more opulent. But I am not prepared to accept the assumption that the economically “upper classes” coincide with the biologically “upper classes.” May it not be that the relatively infertile “upper classes” (economical) are only the biological limit of the “lower classes,” from which the “upper” are continually recruited? Until the economically “lower classes” are analyzed in such detail as will enable us to eliminate what is due to bad environment, we cannot come to final conclusions on the relative fertility or infertility of “upper” or “lower.” Until such an analysis is made, we cannot well assume that the difference in fertility is in any degree due to fundamental biological differences or modifications. Dr. Noel Paton has recently shown that starved mothers produce starved offspring and that well-fed mothers produce well-fed offspring. In his particular experiment with guinea pigs the numbers of offspring were unaffected. If this experiment should be verified on the large scale, it would form some ground for doubting whether the mere increase of comfort directly produces biological infertility. The capacity to reproduce may remain; but reproduction may be limited by a different ethic. The universal fall in the birth-rate has been too rapid to justify simpliciter the conclusion that biological capacity has altered.

When the public-health organizations have succeeded in extirpating the grosser evils of environment, they will, it is hoped, proceed to deal more intimately with the individual. In the present movement for the medical examination and supervision of school children we have an indication of great developments. If to the relatively coarse methods of practical hygienics we could now add the precision of anthropometry, we should find ready to hand in the schools an unlimited quantity of raw material. We might even hope to add some pages to the “golden book” of “thriving families.” Incidentally, one might suggest a minor inquiry: Of the large thriving families, do the older or the middle or the younger members show, on the average, the greater ultimate capacity for civic life ? My impression is that, in our present social conditions, the middle children are likely to show the highest percentage of total capacity. This is a mere impression, but it is worth putting to the test of facts.

To the worker in the fighting line, as the public-health officer must always regard himself, Dr. Galton’s suggestions come with inspiration and light.

BY G. BERNARD SHAW

I agree with the paper, and go so far as to say that there is now no reasonable excuse for refusing to face the fact that nothing but a eugenic religion can save our civilization from the fate that has overtaken all previous civilizations.

It is worth pointing out that we never hesitate to carry out the negative side of eugenics with considerable zest, both on the scaffold and on the battlefield. We have never deliberately called a human being into existence for the sake of civilization; but we have wiped out millions. We kill a Tibetan regardless of expense, and in defiance of our religion, to clear the way to Lhassa for the Englishman; but we take no really scientific steps to secure that the Englishman when he gets there, will be able to live up to our assumption of his superiority.

Excerpt from:

"Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope and Aims" by Francis Galton

Eugenics – Wikipedia

Eugenics (; from Greek eugenes ‘well-born’ from eu, ‘good, well’ and genos, ‘race, stock, kin’)[2][3] is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a human population.[4][5] The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined by Francis Galton in 1883. The concept predates this coinage, with Plato suggesting applying the principles of selective breeding to humans around 400BCE.

Frederick Osborn’s 1937 journal article “Development of a Eugenic Philosophy”[6] framed it as a social philosophythat is, a philosophy with implications for social order. That definition is not universally accepted. Osborn advocated for higher rates of sexual reproduction among people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics).

Alternatively, gene selection rather than “people selection” has recently been made possible through advances in genome editing,[7] leading to what is sometimes called new eugenics, also known as neo-eugenics, consumer eugenics, or liberal eugenics.

While eugenic principles have been practiced as far back in world history as ancient Greece, the modern history of eugenics began in the early 20th century when a popular eugenics movement emerged in the United Kingdom[8] and spread to many countries including the United States, Canada[9] and most European countries. In this period, eugenic ideas were espoused across the political spectrum. Consequently, many countries adopted eugenic policies with the intent to improve the quality of their populations’ genetic stock. Such programs included both “positive” measures, such as encouraging individuals deemed particularly “fit” to reproduce, and “negative” measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization of people deemed unfit for reproduction. People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups. The eugenics movement became negatively associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust when many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the U.S. eugenics programs.[10] In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually began to abandon eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them the United States and Sweden, continued to carry out forced sterilizations.

Since the 1980s and 1990s, when new assisted reproductive technology procedures became available such as gestational surrogacy (available since 1985), preimplantation genetic diagnosis (available since 1989), and cytoplasmic transfer (first performed in 1996), fear about a possible revival of eugenics and widening of the gap between the rich and the poor has emerged.

A major criticism of eugenics policies is that, regardless of whether “negative” or “positive” policies are used, they are susceptible to abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in political power at the time. Furthermore, negative eugenics in particular is considered by many to be a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduction. Another criticism is that eugenic policies eventually lead to a loss of genetic diversity, resulting in inbreeding depression due to lower genetic variation.

The concept of positive eugenics to produce better human beings has existed at least since Plato suggested selective mating to produce a guardian class.[12]

The first formal negative eugenics, that is a legal provision against birth of inferior human beings, was promulgated in Western European culture by the Christian Council of Agde in 506, which forbade marriage between cousins.[13]

This idea was also promoted by William Goodell (18291894) who advocated the castration and spaying of the insane.[14][15]

The idea of a modern project of improving the human population through a statistical understanding of heredity used to encourage good breeding was originally developed by Francis Galton and, initially, was closely linked to Darwinism and his theory of natural selection.[16] Galton had read his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which sought to explain the development of plant and animal species, and desired to apply it to humans. Based on his biographical studies, Galton believed that desirable human qualities were hereditary traits, though Darwin strongly disagreed with this elaboration of his theory.[17] In 1883, one year after Darwin’s death, Galton gave his research a name: eugenics.[18] With the introduction of genetics, eugenics became associated with genetic determinism, the belief that human character is entirely or in the majority caused by genes, unaffected by education or living conditions. Many of the early geneticists were not Darwinians, and evolution theory was not needed for eugenics policies based on genetic determinism.[16] Throughout its recent history, eugenics has remained controversial.

Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities and received funding from many sources.[20] Organizations were formed to win public support and sway opinion towards responsible eugenic values in parenthood, including the British Eugenics Education Society of 1907 and the American Eugenics Society of 1921. Both sought support from leading clergymen and modified their message to meet religious ideals.[21] In 1909 the Anglican clergymen William Inge and James Peile both wrote for the British Eugenics Education Society. Inge was an invited speaker at the 1921 International Eugenics Conference, which was also endorsed by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York Patrick Joseph Hayes.[21]

Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York City. Eugenic policies were first implemented in the early 1900s in the United States.[22] It also took root in France, Germany, and Great Britain.[23] Later, in the 1920s and 1930s, the eugenic policy of sterilizing certain mental patients was implemented in other countries including Belgium,[24] Brazil,[25] Canada,[26] Japan and Sweden.

In addition to being practiced in a number of countries, eugenics was internationally organized through the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations. Its scientific aspects were carried on through research bodies such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, the Cold Spring Harbour Carnegie Institution for Experimental Evolution, and the Eugenics Record Office. Politically, the movement advocated measures such as sterilization laws. In its moral dimension, eugenics rejected the doctrine that all human beings are born equal and redefined moral worth purely in terms of genetic fitness. Its racist elements included pursuit of a pure “Nordic race” or “Aryan” genetic pool and the eventual elimination of “unfit” races.

Early critics of the philosophy of eugenics included the American sociologist Lester Frank Ward,[35] the English writer G. K. Chesterton, the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas, who argued that advocates of eugenics greatly over-estimate the influence of biology,[36] and Scottish tuberculosis pioneer and author Halliday Sutherland. Ward’s 1913 article “Eugenics, Euthenics, and Eudemics”, Chesterton’s 1917 book Eugenics and Other Evils, and Boas’ 1916 article “Eugenics” (published in The Scientific Monthly) were all harshly critical of the rapidly growing movement. Sutherland identified eugenists as a major obstacle to the eradication and cure of tuberculosis in his 1917 address “Consumption: Its Cause and Cure”,[37] and criticism of eugenists and Neo-Malthusians in his 1921 book Birth Control led to a writ for libel from the eugenist Marie Stopes. Several biologists were also antagonistic to the eugenics movement, including Lancelot Hogben.[38] Other biologists such as J. B. S. Haldane and R. A. Fisher expressed skepticism in the belief that sterilization of “defectives” would lead to the disappearance of undesirable genetic traits.[39]

Among institutions, the Catholic Church was an opponent of state-enforced sterilizations.[40] Attempts by the Eugenics Education Society to persuade the British government to legalize voluntary sterilization were opposed by Catholics and by the Labour Party.[41] The American Eugenics Society initially gained some Catholic supporters, but Catholic support declined following the 1930 papal encyclical Casti connubii.[21] In this, Pope Pius XI explicitly condemned sterilization laws: “Public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects; therefore, where no crime has taken place and there is no cause present for grave punishment, they can never directly harm, or tamper with the integrity of the body, either for the reasons of eugenics or for any other reason.”[42]

As a social movement, eugenics reached its greatest popularity in the early decades of the 20th century, when it was practiced around the world and promoted by governments, institutions, and influential individuals. Many countries enacted[43] various eugenics policies, including: genetic screenings, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and sequestering the mentally ill), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies, ultimately culminating in genocide.

The scientific reputation of eugenics started to decline in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler had praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf in 1925 and emulated eugenic legislation for the sterilization of “defectives” that had been pioneered in the United States once he took power. Some common early 20th century eugenics methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as “degenerate” or “unfit”, and therefore led to segregation, institutionalization, sterilization, euthanasia, and even mass murder. The Nazi practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.

By the end of World War II, many discriminatory eugenics laws were abandoned, having become associated with Nazi Germany.[46] H. G. Wells, who had called for “the sterilization of failures” in 1904,[47] stated in his 1940 book The Rights of Man: Or What are we fighting for? that among the human rights, which he believed should be available to all people, was “a prohibition on mutilation, sterilization, torture, and any bodily punishment”.[48] After World War II, the practice of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a national, ethnical, racial or religious] group” fell within the definition of the new international crime of genocide, set out in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[49] The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also proclaims “the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at selection of persons”.[50] In spite of the decline in discriminatory eugenics laws, some government mandated sterilizations continued into the 21st century. During the ten years President Alberto Fujimori led Peru from 1990 to 2000, 2,000 persons were allegedly involuntarily sterilized.[51] China maintained its one-child policy until 2015 as well as a suite of other eugenics based legislation to reduce population size and manage fertility rates of different populations.[52][53][54] In 2007 the United Nations reported coercive sterilizations and hysterectomies in Uzbekistan.[55] During the years 2005 to 2013, nearly one-third of the 144 California prison inmates who were sterilized did not give lawful consent to the operation.[56]

Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century are raising numerous questions regarding the ethical status of eugenics, effectively creating a resurgence of interest in the subject. Some, such as UC Berkeley sociologist Troy Duster, claim that modern genetics is a back door to eugenics.[57] This view is shared by White House Assistant Director for Forensic Sciences, Tania Simoncelli, who stated in a 2003 publication by the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College that advances in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are moving society to a “new era of eugenics”, and that, unlike the Nazi eugenics, modern eugenics is consumer driven and market based, “where children are increasingly regarded as made-to-order consumer products”.[58] In a 2006 newspaper article, Richard Dawkins said that discussion regarding eugenics was inhibited by the shadow of Nazi misuse, to the extent that some scientists would not admit that breeding humans for certain abilities is at all possible. He believes that it is not physically different from breeding domestic animals for traits such as speed or herding skill. Dawkins felt that enough time had elapsed to at least ask just what the ethical differences were between breeding for ability versus training athletes or forcing children to take music lessons, though he could think of persuasive reasons to draw the distinction.[59]

Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Father of Singapore, started promoting eugenics as early as 1983.[60][61]

In October 2015, the United Nations’ International Bioethics Committee wrote that the ethical problems of human genetic engineering should not be confused with the ethical problems of the 20th century eugenics movements. However, it is still problematic because it challenges the idea of human equality and opens up new forms of discrimination and stigmatization for those who do not want, or cannot afford, the technology.[62]

Transhumanism is often associated with eugenics, although most transhumanists holding similar views nonetheless distance themselves from the term “eugenics” (preferring “germinal choice” or “reprogenetics”)[63] to avoid having their position confused with the discredited theories and practices of early-20th-century eugenic movements.

Prenatal screening can be considered a form of contemporary eugenics because it may lead to abortions of children with undesirable traits.[64]

The term eugenics and its modern field of study were first formulated by Francis Galton in 1883,[65] drawing on the recent work of his half-cousin Charles Darwin.[66][67] Galton published his observations and conclusions in his book Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.

The origins of the concept began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance and the theories of August Weismann. The word eugenics is derived from the Greek word eu (“good” or “well”) and the suffix -gens (“born”), and was coined by Galton in 1883 to replace the word “stirpiculture”, which he had used previously but which had come to be mocked due to its perceived sexual overtones.[69] Galton defined eugenics as “the study of all agencies under human control which can improve or impair the racial quality of future generations”.[70]

Historically, the term eugenics has referred to everything from prenatal care for mothers to forced sterilization and euthanasia.[71] To population geneticists, the term has included the avoidance of inbreeding without altering allele frequencies; for example, J. B. S. Haldane wrote that “the motor bus, by breaking up inbred village communities, was a powerful eugenic agent.”[72] Debate as to what exactly counts as eugenics continues today.[73]

Edwin Black, journalist and author of War Against the Weak, claims eugenics is often deemed a pseudoscience because what is defined as a genetic improvement of a desired trait is often deemed a cultural choice rather than a matter that can be determined through objective scientific inquiry.[74] The most disputed aspect of eugenics has been the definition of “improvement” of the human gene pool, such as what is a beneficial characteristic and what is a defect. Historically, this aspect of eugenics was tainted with scientific racism and pseudoscience.[75][76][77]

Early eugenists were mostly concerned with factors of perceived intelligence that often correlated strongly with social class. Some of these early eugenists include Karl Pearson and Walter Weldon, who worked on this at the University College London.[17]

Eugenics also had a place in medicine. In his lecture “Darwinism, Medical Progress and Eugenics”, Karl Pearson said that everything concerning eugenics fell into the field of medicine. He basically placed the two words as equivalents. He was supported in part by the fact that Francis Galton, the father of eugenics, also had medical training.[78]

Eugenic policies have been conceptually divided into two categories.[71] Positive eugenics is aimed at encouraging reproduction among the genetically advantaged; for example, the reproduction of the intelligent, the healthy, and the successful. Possible approaches include financial and political stimuli, targeted demographic analyses, in vitro fertilization, egg transplants, and cloning.[79] The movie Gattaca provides a fictional example of a dystopian society that uses eugenics to decided what you are capable of and your place in the world. Negative eugenics aimed to eliminate, through sterilization or segregation, those deemed physically, mentally, or morally “undesirable”. This includes abortions, sterilization, and other methods of family planning.[79] Both positive and negative eugenics can be coercive; abortion for fit women, for example, was illegal in Nazi Germany.[80]

Jon Entine claims that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution”.[81]

According to Richard Lynn, eugenics may be divided into two main categories based on the ways in which the methods of eugenics can be applied.[82]

The first major challenge to conventional eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was made in 1915 by Thomas Hunt Morgan. He demonstrated the event of genetic mutation occurring outside of inheritance involving the discovery of the hatching of a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) with white eyes from a family with red-eyes. Morgan claimed that this demonstrated that major genetic changes occurred outside of inheritance and that the concept of eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was not completely scientifically accurate. Additionally, Morgan criticized the view that subjective traits, such as intelligence and criminality, were caused by heredity because he believed that the definitions of these traits varied and that accurate work in genetics could only be done when the traits being studied were accurately defined.[119] Despite Morgan’s public rejection of eugenics, much of his genetic research was absorbed by eugenics.[120][121]

The heterozygote test is used for the early detection of recessive hereditary diseases, allowing for couples to determine if they are at risk of passing genetic defects to a future child.[122] The goal of the test is to estimate the likelihood of passing the hereditary disease to future descendants.[122]

Recessive traits can be severely reduced, but never eliminated unless the complete genetic makeup of all members of the pool was known, as aforementioned. As only very few undesirable traits, such as Huntington’s disease, are dominant, it could be argued[by whom?] from certain perspectives that the practicality of “eliminating” traits is quite low.[citation needed]

There are examples of eugenic acts that managed to lower the prevalence of recessive diseases, although not influencing the prevalence of heterozygote carriers of those diseases. The elevated prevalence of certain genetically transmitted diseases among the Ashkenazi Jewish population (TaySachs, cystic fibrosis, Canavan’s disease, and Gaucher’s disease), has been decreased in current populations by the application of genetic screening.[123]

Pleiotropy occurs when one gene influences multiple, seemingly unrelated phenotypic traits, an example being phenylketonuria, which is a human disease that affects multiple systems but is caused by one gene defect.[124] Andrzej Pkalski, from the University of Wrocaw, argues that eugenics can cause harmful loss of genetic diversity if a eugenics program selects a pleiotropic gene that could possibly be associated with a positive trait. Pekalski uses the example of a coercive government eugenics program that prohibits people with myopia from breeding but has the unintended consequence of also selecting against high intelligence since the two go together.[125]

Eugenic policies could also lead to loss of genetic diversity, in which case a culturally accepted “improvement” of the gene pool could very likelyas evidenced in numerous instances in isolated island populations result in extinction due to increased vulnerability to disease, reduced ability to adapt to environmental change, and other factors both known and unknown. A long-term, species-wide eugenics plan might lead to a scenario similar to this because the elimination of traits deemed undesirable would reduce genetic diversity by definition.[126]

Edward M. Miller claims that, in any one generation, any realistic program should make only minor changes in a fraction of the gene pool, giving plenty of time to reverse direction if unintended consequences emerge, reducing the likelihood of the elimination of desirable genes.[127] Miller also argues that any appreciable reduction in diversity is so far in the future that little concern is needed for now.[127]

While the science of genetics has increasingly provided means by which certain characteristics and conditions can be identified and understood, given the complexity of human genetics, culture, and psychology, at this point no agreed objective means of determining which traits might be ultimately desirable or undesirable. Some diseases such as sickle-cell disease and cystic fibrosis respectively confer immunity to malaria and resistance to cholera when a single copy of the recessive allele is contained within the genotype of the individual. Reducing the instance of sickle-cell disease genes in Africa where malaria is a common and deadly disease could indeed have extremely negative net consequences.

However, some genetic diseases cause people to consider some elements of eugenics.

Societal and political consequences of eugenics call for a place in the discussion on the ethics behind the eugenics movement.[128] Many of the ethical concerns regarding eugenics arise from its controversial past, prompting a discussion on what place, if any, it should have in the future. Advances in science have changed eugenics. In the past, eugenics had more to do with sterilization and enforced reproduction laws.[129] Now, in the age of a progressively mapped genome, embryos can be tested for susceptibility to disease, gender, and genetic defects, and alternative methods of reproduction such as in vitro fertilization are becoming more common.[130] Therefore, eugenics is no longer ex post facto regulation of the living but instead preemptive action on the unborn.[131]

With this change, however, there are ethical concerns which lack adequate attention, and which must be addressed before eugenic policies can be properly implemented in the future. Sterilized individuals, for example, could volunteer for the procedure, albeit under incentive or duress, or at least voice their opinion. The unborn fetus on which these new eugenic procedures are performed cannot speak out, as the fetus lacks the voice to consent or to express his or her opinion.[132] Philosophers disagree about the proper framework for reasoning about such actions, which change the very identity and existence of future persons.[133]

A common criticism of eugenics is that “it inevitably leads to measures that are unethical”.[134] Some fear future “eugenics wars” as the worst-case scenario: the return of coercive state-sponsored genetic discrimination and human rights violations such as compulsory sterilization of persons with genetic defects, the killing of the institutionalized and, specifically, segregation and genocide of races perceived as inferior.[135] Health law professor George Annas and technology law professor Lori Andrews are prominent advocates of the position that the use of these technologies could lead to such human-posthuman caste warfare.[136][137]

In his 2003 book Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, environmental ethicist Bill McKibben argued at length against germinal choice technology and other advanced biotechnological strategies for human enhancement. He writes that it would be morally wrong for humans to tamper with fundamental aspects of themselves (or their children) in an attempt to overcome universal human limitations, such as vulnerability to aging, maximum life span and biological constraints on physical and cognitive ability. Attempts to “improve” themselves through such manipulation would remove limitations that provide a necessary context for the experience of meaningful human choice. He claims that human lives would no longer seem meaningful in a world where such limitations could be overcome with technology. Even the goal of using germinal choice technology for clearly therapeutic purposes should be relinquished, since it would inevitably produce temptations to tamper with such things as cognitive capacities. He argues that it is possible for societies to benefit from renouncing particular technologies, using as examples Ming China, Tokugawa Japan and the contemporary Amish.[138]

Some, for example Nathaniel C. Comfort from Johns Hopkins University, claim that the change from state-led reproductive-genetic decision-making to individual choice has moderated the worst abuses of eugenics by transferring the decision-making from the state to the patient and their family.[139] Comfort suggests that “the eugenic impulse drives us to eliminate disease, live longer and healthier, with greater intelligence, and a better adjustment to the conditions of society; and the health benefits, the intellectual thrill and the profits of genetic bio-medicine are too great for us to do otherwise.”[140] Others, such as bioethicist Stephen Wilkinson of Keele University and Honorary Research Fellow Eve Garrard at the University of Manchester, claim that some aspects of modern genetics can be classified as eugenics, but that this classification does not inherently make modern genetics immoral. In a co-authored publication by Keele University, they stated that “[e]ugenics doesn’t seem always to be immoral, and so the fact that PGD, and other forms of selective reproduction, might sometimes technically be eugenic, isn’t sufficient to show that they’re wrong.”[141]

In their book published in 2000, From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice, bioethicists Allen Buchanan, Dan Brock, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler argued that liberal societies have an obligation to encourage as wide an adoption of eugenic enhancement technologies as possible (so long as such policies do not infringe on individuals’ reproductive rights or exert undue pressures on prospective parents to use these technologies) in order to maximize public health and minimize the inequalities that may result from both natural genetic endowments and unequal access to genetic enhancements.[142]

Original position, a hypothetical situation developed by American philosopher John Rawls, has been used as an argument for negative eugenics.[143][144]

Notes

Bibliography

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Eugenics – Wikipedia

Introduction to Eugenics – Genetics Generation

Introduction to Eugenics

Eugenics is a movement that is aimed at improving the genetic composition of the human race. Historically, eugenicists advocated selective breeding to achieve these goals. Today we have technologies that make it possible to more directly alter the genetic composition of an individual. However, people differ in their views on how to best (and ethically) use this technology.

History of Eugenics

Logo of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, 1921. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In 1883, Sir Francis Galton, a respected British scholar and cousin of Charles Darwin,first used the term eugenics, meaning well-born. Galton believed that the human race could help direct its future by selectively breeding individuals who have desired traits. This idea was based on Galtons study of upper class Britain. Following these studies, Galton concluded that an elite position in society was due to a good genetic makeup. While Galtons plans to improve the human race through selective breeding never came to fruition in Britain, they eventually took sinister turns in other countries.

The eugenics movement began in the U.S. in the late 19th century. However, unlike in Britain, eugenicists in the U.S. focused on efforts to stop the transmission of negative or undesirable traits from generation to generation. In response to these ideas, some US leaders, private citizens, and corporations started funding eugenical studies. This lead to the 1911 establishment of The Eugenics Records Office (ERO) in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. The ERO spent time tracking family histories and concluded that people deemed to be unfit more often came from families that were poor, low in social standing, immigrant, and/or minority. Further, ERO researchers demonstrated that the undesirable traits in these families, such as pauperism, were due to genetics, and not lack of resources.

Committees were convened to offer solutions to the problem of the growing number of undesirables in the U.S. population. Stricter immigration rules were enacted, but the most ominous resolution was a plan to sterilize unfit individuals to prevent them from passing on their negative traits. During the 20th century, a total of 33 states had sterilization programs in place. While at first sterilization efforts targeted mentally ill people exclusively, later the traits deemed serious enough to warrant sterilization included alcoholism, criminality chronic poverty, blindness, deafness, feeble-mindedness, and promiscuity. It was also not uncommon for African American women to be sterilized during other medical procedures without consent. Most people subjected to these sterilizations had no choice, and because the program was run by the government, they had little chance of escaping the procedure. It is thought that around 65,000 Americans were sterilized during this time period.

The eugenics movement in the U.S. slowly lost favor over time and was waning by the start of World War II. When the horrors of Nazi Germany became apparent, as well as Hitlers use of eugenic principles to justify the atrocities, eugenics lost all credibility as a field of study or even an ideal that should be pursued.

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Introduction to Eugenics – Genetics Generation

eugenics | Description, History, & Modern Eugenics …

Eugenics, the selection of desired heritable characteristics in order to improve future generations, typically in reference to humans. The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and natural scientist Francis Galton, who, influenced by Charles Darwins theory of natural selection, advocated a system that would allow the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable. Social Darwinism, the popular theory in the late 19th century that life for humans in society was ruled by survival of the fittest, helped advance eugenics into serious scientific study in the early 1900s. By World War I, many scientific authorities and political leaders supported eugenics. However, it ultimately failed as a science in the 1930s and 40s, when the assumptions of eugenicists became heavily criticized and the Nazis used eugenics to support the extermination of entire races.

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biological determinism: The eugenics movement

One of the most prominent movements to apply genetics to understanding social and personality traits was the eugenics movement, which originated in the late 19th century. Eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and naturalist Francis Galton, who was influenced by the

Although eugenics as understood today dates from the late 19th century, efforts to select matings in order to secure offspring with desirable traits date from ancient times. Platos Republic (c. 378 bce) depicts a society where efforts are undertaken to improve human beings through selective breeding. Later, Italian philosopher and poet Tommaso Campanella, in City of the Sun (1623), described a utopian community in which only the socially elite are allowed to procreate. Galton, in Hereditary Genius (1869), proposed that a system of arranged marriages between men of distinction and women of wealth would eventually produce a gifted race. In 1865, the basic laws of heredity were discovered by the father of modern genetics, Gregor Mendel. His experiments with peas demonstrated that each physical trait was the result of a combination of two units (now known as genes) and could be passed from one generation to another. However, his work was largely ignored until its rediscovery in 1900. This fundamental knowledge of heredity provided eugenicistsincluding Galton, who influenced his cousin Charles Darwinwith scientific evidence to support the improvement of humans through selective breeding.

The advancement of eugenics was concurrent with an increasing appreciation of Charles Darwins account for change or evolution within societywhat contemporaries referred to as Social Darwinism. Darwin had concluded his explanations of evolution by arguing that the greatest step humans could make in their own history would occur when they realized that they were not completely guided by instinct. Rather, humans, through selective reproduction, had the ability to control their own future evolution. A language pertaining to reproduction and eugenics developed, leading to terms such as positive eugenics, defined as promoting the proliferation of good stock, and negative eugenics, defined as prohibiting marriage and breeding between defective stock. For eugenicists, nature was far more contributory than nurture in shaping humanity.

During the early 1900s, eugenics became a serious scientific study pursued by both biologists and social scientists. They sought to determine the extent to which human characteristics of social importance were inherited. Among their greatest concerns were the predictability of intelligence and certain deviant behaviours. Eugenics, however, was not confined to scientific laboratories and academic institutions. It began to pervade cultural thought around the globe, including the Scandinavian countries, most other European countries, North America, Latin America, Japan, China, and Russia. In the United States, the eugenics movement began during the Progressive Era and remained active through 1940. It gained considerable support from leading scientific authorities such as zoologist Charles B. Davenport, plant geneticist Edward M. East, and geneticist and Nobel Prize laureate Hermann J. Muller. Political leaders in favour of eugenics included U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, Secretary of State Elihu Root, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall Harlan. Internationally, there were many individuals whose work supported eugenic aims, including British scientists J.B.S. Haldane and Julian Huxley and Russian scientists Nikolay K. Koltsov and Yury A. Filipchenko.

Galton had endowed a research fellowship in eugenics in 1904 and, in his will, provided funds for a chair of eugenics at University College, London. The fellowship and later the chair were occupied by Karl Pearson, a brilliant mathematician who helped to create the science of biometry, the statistical aspects of biology. Pearson was a controversial figure who believed that environment had little to do with the development of mental or emotional qualities. He felt that the high birth rate of the poor was a threat to civilization and that the higher races must supplant the lower. His views gave countenance to those who believed in racial and class superiority. Thus, Pearson shares the blame for the discredit later brought on eugenics.

In the United States, the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was opened at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, N.Y., in 1910 with financial support from the legacy of railroad magnate Edward Henry Harriman. Whereas ERO efforts were officially overseen by Charles B. Davenport, director of the Station for Experimental Study of Evolution (one of the biology research stations at Cold Spring Harbor), ERO activities were directly superintended by Harry H. Laughlin, a professor from Kirksville, Mo. The ERO was organized around a series of missions. These missions included serving as the national repository and clearinghouse for eugenics information, compiling an index of traits in American families, training field-workers to gather data throughout the United States, supporting investigations into the inheritance patterns of particular human traits and diseases, advising on the eugenic fitness of proposed marriages, and communicating all eugenic findings through a series of publications. To accomplish these goals, further funding was secured from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the Battle Creek Race Betterment Foundation, and the Human Betterment Foundation.

Prior to the founding of the ERO, eugenics work in the United States was overseen by a standing committee of the American Breeders Association (eugenics section established in 1906), chaired by ichthyologist and Stanford University president David Starr Jordan. Research from around the globe was featured at three international congresses, held in 1912, 1921, and 1932. In addition, eugenics education was monitored in Britain by the English Eugenics Society (founded by Galton in 1907 as the Eugenics Education Society) and in the United States by the American Eugenics Society.

Following World War I, the United States gained status as a world power. A concomitant fear arose that if the healthy stock of the American people became diluted with socially undesirable traits, the countrys political and economic strength would begin to crumble. The maintenance of world peace by fostering democracy, capitalism, and, at times, eugenics-based schemes was central to the activities of the Internationalists, a group of prominent American leaders in business, education, publishing, and government. One core member of this group, the New York lawyer Madison Grant, aroused considerable pro-eugenic interest through his best-selling book The Passing of the Great Race (1916). Beginning in 1920, a series of congressional hearings was held to identify problems that immigrants were causing the United States. As the countrys eugenics expert, Harry Laughlin provided tabulations showing that certain immigrants, particularly those from Italy, Greece, and Eastern Europe, were significantly overrepresented in American prisons and institutions for the feebleminded. Further data were construed to suggest that these groups were contributing too many genetically and socially inferior people. Laughlins classification of these individuals included the feebleminded, the insane, the criminalistic, the epileptic, the inebriate, the diseasedincluding those with tuberculosis, leprosy, and syphilisthe blind, the deaf, the deformed, the dependent, chronic recipients of charity, paupers, and neer-do-wells. Racial overtones also pervaded much of the British and American eugenics literature. In 1923, Laughlin was sent by the U.S. secretary of labour as an immigration agent to Europe to investigate the chief emigrant-exporting nations. Laughlin sought to determine the feasibility of a plan whereby every prospective immigrant would be interviewed before embarking to the United States. He provided testimony before Congress that ultimately led to a new immigration law in 1924 that severely restricted the annual immigration of individuals from countries previously claimed to have contributed excessively to the dilution of American good stock.

Immigration control was but one method to control eugenically the reproductive stock of a country. Laughlin appeared at the centre of other U.S. efforts to provide eugenicists greater reproductive control over the nation. He approached state legislators with a model law to control the reproduction of institutionalized populations. By 1920, two years before the publication of Laughlins influential Eugenical Sterilization in the United States (1922), 3,200 individuals across the country were reported to have been involuntarily sterilized. That number tripled by 1929, and by 1938 more than 30,000 people were claimed to have met this fate. More than half of the states adopted Laughlins law, with California, Virginia, and Michigan leading the sterilization campaign. Laughlins efforts secured staunch judicial support in 1927. In the precedent-setting case of Buck v. Bell, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., upheld the Virginia statute and claimed, It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.

During the 1930s, eugenics gained considerable popular support across the United States. Hygiene courses in public schools and eugenics courses in colleges spread eugenic-minded values to many. A eugenics exhibit titled Pedigree-Study in Man was featured at the Chicago Worlds Fair in 193334. Consistent with the fairs Century of Progress theme, stations were organized around efforts to show how favourable traits in the human population could best be perpetuated. Contrasts were drawn between the emulative, presidential Roosevelt family and the degenerate Ishmael family (one of several pseudonymous family names used, the rationale for which was not given). By studying the passage of ancestral traits, fairgoers were urged to adopt the progressive view that responsible individuals should pursue marriage ever mindful of eugenics principles. Booths were set up at county and state fairs promoting fitter families contests, and medals were awarded to eugenically sound families. Drawing again upon long-standing eugenic practices in agriculture, popular eugenic advertisements claimed it was about time that humans received the same attention in the breeding of better babies that had been given to livestock and crops for centuries.

Antieugenics sentiment began to appear after 1910 and intensified during the 1930s. Most commonly it was based on religious grounds. For example, the 1930 papal encyclical Casti connubii condemned reproductive sterilization, though it did not specifically prohibit positive eugenic attempts to amplify the inheritance of beneficial traits. Many Protestant writings sought to reconcile age-old Christian warnings about the heritable sins of the father to pro-eugenic ideals. Indeed, most of the religion-based popular writings of the period supported positive means of improving the physical and moral makeup of humanity.

In the early 1930s, Nazi Germany adopted American measures to identify and selectively reduce the presence of those deemed to be socially inferior through involuntary sterilization. A rhetoric of positive eugenics in the building of a master race pervaded Rassenhygiene (racial hygiene) movements. When Germany extended its practices far beyond sterilization in efforts to eliminate the Jewish and other non-Aryan populations, the United States became increasingly concerned over its own support of eugenics. Many scientists, physicians, and political leaders began to denounce the work of the ERO publicly. After considerable reflection, the Carnegie Institution formally closed the ERO at the end of 1939.

During the aftermath of World War II, eugenics became stigmatized such that many individuals who had once hailed it as a science now spoke disparagingly of it as a failed pseudoscience. Eugenics was dropped from organization and publication names. In 1954, Britains Annals of Eugenics was renamed Annals of Human Genetics. In 1972, the American Eugenics Society adopted the less-offensive name Society for the Study of Social Biology. Its publication, once popularly known as the Eugenics Quarterly, had already been renamed Social Biology in 1969.

U.S. Senate hearings in 1973, chaired by Edward Kennedy, revealed that thousands of U.S. citizens had been sterilized under federally supported programs. The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare proposed guidelines encouraging each state to repeal their respective sterilization laws. Other countries, most notably China, continue to support eugenics-directed programs openly in order to ensure the genetic makeup of their future.

Despite the dropping of the term eugenics, eugenic ideas remain prevalent in many issues surrounding human reproduction. Medical genetics, a post-World War II medical specialty, encompasses a wide range of health concerns, from genetic screening and counseling to fetal gene manipulation and the treatment of adults suffering from hereditary disorders. Because certain diseases (e.g., hemophilia and Tay-Sachs disease) are now known to be genetically transmitted, many couples choose to undergo genetic screening, in which they learn the chances that their offspring have of being affected by some combination of their hereditary backgrounds. Couples at risk of passing on genetic defects may opt to remain childless or to adopt children. Furthermore, it is now possible to diagnose certain genetic defects in the unborn. Many couples choose to terminate a pregnancy that involves a genetically disabled offspring. These developments have reinforced the eugenic aim of identifying and eliminating undesirable genetic material.

Counterbalancing this trend, however, has been medical progress that enables victims of many genetic diseases to live fairly normal lives. Direct manipulation of harmful genes is also being studied. If perfected, it could obviate eugenic arguments for restricting reproduction among those who carry harmful genes. Such conflicting innovations have complicated the controversy surrounding what many call the new eugenics. Moreover, suggestions for expanding eugenics programs, which range from the creation of sperm banks for the genetically superior to the potential cloning of human beings, have met with vigorous resistance from the public, which often views such programs as unwarranted interference with nature or as opportunities for abuse by authoritarian regimes.

Applications of the Human Genome Project are often referred to as Brave New World genetics or the new eugenics, in part because they have helped to dramatically increase knowledge of human genetics. In addition, 21st-century technologies such as gene editing, which can potentially be used to treat disease or to alter traits, have further renewed concerns. However, the ethical, legal, and social implications of such tools are monitored much more closely than were early 20th-century eugenics programs. Applications also generally are more focused on the reduction of genetic diseases than on improving intelligence.

Still, with or without the use of the term, many eugenics-related concerns are reemerging as a new group of individuals decide how to regulate the application of genetics science and technology. This gene-directed activity, in attempting to improve upon nature, may not be that distant from what Galton implied in 1909 when he described eugenics as the study of agencies, under social control, which may improve or impair future generations.

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eugenics | Description, History, & Modern Eugenics …

Eugenics movement – The Free Dictionary

(redirected from Eugenics movement)Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.eugenics (yoo-jnks)n. (used with a sing. verb)

The study or practice of attempting to improve the human gene pool by encouraging the reproduction of people considered to have desirable traits and discouraging or preventing the reproduction of people considered to have undesirable traits.

eugenic adj.

eugenically adv.

(Genetics) (functioning as singular) the study of methods of improving the quality of the human race, esp by selective breeding

[C19: from Greek eugens well-born, from eu- + -gens born; see -gen]

eugenic, eugenical adj

eugenically adv

eugenicist, eugenecist n

eugenist n, adj

n. (used with a sing. v.)

a science concerned with improving a species, esp. the human species, by such means as influencing or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have desirable genetic traits.

[188085]

eugenicist (- sst) n.

the science of improving a breed or species through the careful selection of parents. eugenicist, n. eugenic, adj.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:

Translations

n. eugenesia, ciencia que estudia el mejoramiento de la especie humana de acuerdo con las leyes biolgicas de la herencia.

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Eugenics movement – The Free Dictionary

Eugenics – Wikipedia

Eugenics (; from Greek eugenes ‘well-born’ from eu, ‘good, well’ and genos, ‘race, stock, kin’)[2][3] is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a human population.[4][5] The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined by Francis Galton in 1883. The concept predates this coinage, with Plato suggesting applying the principles of selective breeding to humans around 400BCE.

Frederick Osborn’s 1937 journal article “Development of a Eugenic Philosophy”[6] framed it as a social philosophythat is, a philosophy with implications for social order. That definition is not universally accepted. Osborn advocated for higher rates of sexual reproduction among people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics).

Alternatively, gene selection rather than “people selection” has recently been made possible through advances in genome editing,[7] leading to what is sometimes called new eugenics, also known as neo-eugenics, consumer eugenics, or liberal eugenics.

While eugenic principles have been practiced as far back in world history as ancient Greece, the modern history of eugenics began in the early 20th century when a popular eugenics movement emerged in the United Kingdom[8] and spread to many countries including the United States, Canada[9] and most European countries. In this period, eugenic ideas were espoused across the political spectrum. Consequently, many countries adopted eugenic policies with the intent to improve the quality of their populations’ genetic stock. Such programs included both “positive” measures, such as encouraging individuals deemed particularly “fit” to reproduce, and “negative” measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization of people deemed unfit for reproduction. People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups. The eugenics movement became negatively associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust when many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the U.S. eugenics programs.[10] In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually began to abandon eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them the United States and Sweden, continued to carry out forced sterilizations.

Since the 1980s and 1990s, when new assisted reproductive technology procedures became available such as gestational surrogacy (available since 1985), preimplantation genetic diagnosis (available since 1989), and cytoplasmic transfer (first performed in 1996), fear about a possible revival of eugenics and widening of the gap between the rich and the poor has emerged.

A major criticism of eugenics policies is that, regardless of whether “negative” or “positive” policies are used, they are susceptible to abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in political power at the time. Furthermore, negative eugenics in particular is considered by many to be a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduction. Another criticism is that eugenic policies eventually lead to a loss of genetic diversity, resulting in inbreeding depression due to lower genetic variation.

The concept of positive eugenics to produce better human beings has existed at least since Plato suggested selective mating to produce a guardian class.[12]

The first formal negative eugenics, that is a legal provision against birth of inferior human beings, was promulgated in Western European culture by the Christian Council of Agde in 506, which forbade marriage between cousins.[13]

This idea was also promoted by William Goodell (18291894) who advocated the castration and spaying of the insane.[14][15]

The idea of a modern project of improving the human population through a statistical understanding of heredity used to encourage good breeding was originally developed by Francis Galton and, initially, was closely linked to Darwinism and his theory of natural selection.[16] Galton had read his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which sought to explain the development of plant and animal species, and desired to apply it to humans. Based on his biographical studies, Galton believed that desirable human qualities were hereditary traits, though Darwin strongly disagreed with this elaboration of his theory.[17] In 1883, one year after Darwin’s death, Galton gave his research a name: eugenics.[18] With the introduction of genetics, eugenics became associated with genetic determinism, the belief that human character is entirely or in the majority caused by genes, unaffected by education or living conditions. Many of the early geneticists were not Darwinians, and evolution theory was not needed for eugenics policies based on genetic determinism.[16] Throughout its recent history, eugenics has remained controversial.

Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities and received funding from many sources.[20] Organizations were formed to win public support and sway opinion towards responsible eugenic values in parenthood, including the British Eugenics Education Society of 1907 and the American Eugenics Society of 1921. Both sought support from leading clergymen and modified their message to meet religious ideals.[21] In 1909 the Anglican clergymen William Inge and James Peile both wrote for the British Eugenics Education Society. Inge was an invited speaker at the 1921 International Eugenics Conference, which was also endorsed by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York Patrick Joseph Hayes.[21]

Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York City. Eugenic policies were first implemented in the early 1900s in the United States.[22] It also took root in France, Germany, and Great Britain.[23] Later, in the 1920s and 1930s, the eugenic policy of sterilizing certain mental patients was implemented in other countries including Belgium,[24] Brazil,[25] Canada,[26] Japan and Sweden.

In addition to being practiced in a number of countries, eugenics was internationally organized through the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations. Its scientific aspects were carried on through research bodies such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, the Cold Spring Harbour Carnegie Institution for Experimental Evolution, and the Eugenics Record Office. Politically, the movement advocated measures such as sterilization laws. In its moral dimension, eugenics rejected the doctrine that all human beings are born equal and redefined moral worth purely in terms of genetic fitness. Its racist elements included pursuit of a pure “Nordic race” or “Aryan” genetic pool and the eventual elimination of “unfit” races.

Early critics of the philosophy of eugenics included the American sociologist Lester Frank Ward,[35] the English writer G. K. Chesterton, the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas, who argued that advocates of eugenics greatly over-estimate the influence of biology,[36] and Scottish tuberculosis pioneer and author Halliday Sutherland. Ward’s 1913 article “Eugenics, Euthenics, and Eudemics”, Chesterton’s 1917 book Eugenics and Other Evils, and Boas’ 1916 article “Eugenics” (published in The Scientific Monthly) were all harshly critical of the rapidly growing movement. Sutherland identified eugenists as a major obstacle to the eradication and cure of tuberculosis in his 1917 address “Consumption: Its Cause and Cure”,[37] and criticism of eugenists and Neo-Malthusians in his 1921 book Birth Control led to a writ for libel from the eugenist Marie Stopes. Several biologists were also antagonistic to the eugenics movement, including Lancelot Hogben.[38] Other biologists such as J. B. S. Haldane and R. A. Fisher expressed skepticism in the belief that sterilization of “defectives” would lead to the disappearance of undesirable genetic traits.[39]

Among institutions, the Catholic Church was an opponent of state-enforced sterilizations.[40] Attempts by the Eugenics Education Society to persuade the British government to legalize voluntary sterilization were opposed by Catholics and by the Labour Party.[41] The American Eugenics Society initially gained some Catholic supporters, but Catholic support declined following the 1930 papal encyclical Casti connubii.[21] In this, Pope Pius XI explicitly condemned sterilization laws: “Public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects; therefore, where no crime has taken place and there is no cause present for grave punishment, they can never directly harm, or tamper with the integrity of the body, either for the reasons of eugenics or for any other reason.”[42]

As a social movement, eugenics reached its greatest popularity in the early decades of the 20th century, when it was practiced around the world and promoted by governments, institutions, and influential individuals. Many countries enacted[43] various eugenics policies, including: genetic screenings, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and sequestering the mentally ill), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies, ultimately culminating in genocide.

The scientific reputation of eugenics started to decline in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler had praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf in 1925 and emulated eugenic legislation for the sterilization of “defectives” that had been pioneered in the United States once he took power. Some common early 20th century eugenics methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as “degenerate” or “unfit”, and therefore led to segregation, institutionalization, sterilization, euthanasia, and even mass murder. The Nazi practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.

By the end of World War II, many discriminatory eugenics laws were abandoned, having become associated with Nazi Germany.[46] H. G. Wells, who had called for “the sterilization of failures” in 1904,[47] stated in his 1940 book The Rights of Man: Or What are we fighting for? that among the human rights, which he believed should be available to all people, was “a prohibition on mutilation, sterilization, torture, and any bodily punishment”.[48] After World War II, the practice of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a national, ethnical, racial or religious] group” fell within the definition of the new international crime of genocide, set out in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[49] The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also proclaims “the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at selection of persons”.[50] In spite of the decline in discriminatory eugenics laws, some government mandated sterilizations continued into the 21st century. During the ten years President Alberto Fujimori led Peru from 1990 to 2000, 2,000 persons were allegedly involuntarily sterilized.[51] China maintained its one-child policy until 2015 as well as a suite of other eugenics based legislation to reduce population size and manage fertility rates of different populations.[52][53][54] In 2007 the United Nations reported coercive sterilizations and hysterectomies in Uzbekistan.[55] During the years 2005 to 2013, nearly one-third of the 144 California prison inmates who were sterilized did not give lawful consent to the operation.[56]

Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century are raising numerous questions regarding the ethical status of eugenics, effectively creating a resurgence of interest in the subject. Some, such as UC Berkeley sociologist Troy Duster, claim that modern genetics is a back door to eugenics.[57] This view is shared by White House Assistant Director for Forensic Sciences, Tania Simoncelli, who stated in a 2003 publication by the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College that advances in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are moving society to a “new era of eugenics”, and that, unlike the Nazi eugenics, modern eugenics is consumer driven and market based, “where children are increasingly regarded as made-to-order consumer products”.[58] In a 2006 newspaper article, Richard Dawkins said that discussion regarding eugenics was inhibited by the shadow of Nazi misuse, to the extent that some scientists would not admit that breeding humans for certain abilities is at all possible. He believes that it is not physically different from breeding domestic animals for traits such as speed or herding skill. Dawkins felt that enough time had elapsed to at least ask just what the ethical differences were between breeding for ability versus training athletes or forcing children to take music lessons, though he could think of persuasive reasons to draw the distinction.[59]

Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Father of Singapore, started promoting eugenics as early as 1983.[60][61]

In October 2015, the United Nations’ International Bioethics Committee wrote that the ethical problems of human genetic engineering should not be confused with the ethical problems of the 20th century eugenics movements. However, it is still problematic because it challenges the idea of human equality and opens up new forms of discrimination and stigmatization for those who do not want, or cannot afford, the technology.[62]

Transhumanism is often associated with eugenics, although most transhumanists holding similar views nonetheless distance themselves from the term “eugenics” (preferring “germinal choice” or “reprogenetics”)[63] to avoid having their position confused with the discredited theories and practices of early-20th-century eugenic movements.

Prenatal screening can be considered a form of contemporary eugenics because it may lead to abortions of children with undesirable traits.[64]

The term eugenics and its modern field of study were first formulated by Francis Galton in 1883,[65] drawing on the recent work of his half-cousin Charles Darwin.[66][67] Galton published his observations and conclusions in his book Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.

The origins of the concept began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance and the theories of August Weismann. The word eugenics is derived from the Greek word eu (“good” or “well”) and the suffix -gens (“born”), and was coined by Galton in 1883 to replace the word “stirpiculture”, which he had used previously but which had come to be mocked due to its perceived sexual overtones.[69] Galton defined eugenics as “the study of all agencies under human control which can improve or impair the racial quality of future generations”.[70]

Historically, the term eugenics has referred to everything from prenatal care for mothers to forced sterilization and euthanasia.[71] To population geneticists, the term has included the avoidance of inbreeding without altering allele frequencies; for example, J. B. S. Haldane wrote that “the motor bus, by breaking up inbred village communities, was a powerful eugenic agent.”[72] Debate as to what exactly counts as eugenics continues today.[73]

Edwin Black, journalist and author of War Against the Weak, claims eugenics is often deemed a pseudoscience because what is defined as a genetic improvement of a desired trait is often deemed a cultural choice rather than a matter that can be determined through objective scientific inquiry.[74] The most disputed aspect of eugenics has been the definition of “improvement” of the human gene pool, such as what is a beneficial characteristic and what is a defect. Historically, this aspect of eugenics was tainted with scientific racism and pseudoscience.[75][76][77]

Early eugenists were mostly concerned with factors of perceived intelligence that often correlated strongly with social class. Some of these early eugenists include Karl Pearson and Walter Weldon, who worked on this at the University College London.[17]

Eugenics also had a place in medicine. In his lecture “Darwinism, Medical Progress and Eugenics”, Karl Pearson said that everything concerning eugenics fell into the field of medicine. He basically placed the two words as equivalents. He was supported in part by the fact that Francis Galton, the father of eugenics, also had medical training.[78]

Eugenic policies have been conceptually divided into two categories.[71] Positive eugenics is aimed at encouraging reproduction among the genetically advantaged; for example, the reproduction of the intelligent, the healthy, and the successful. Possible approaches include financial and political stimuli, targeted demographic analyses, in vitro fertilization, egg transplants, and cloning.[79] The movie Gattaca provides a fictional example of a dystopian society that uses eugenics to decided what you are capable of and your place in the world. Negative eugenics aimed to eliminate, through sterilization or segregation, those deemed physically, mentally, or morally “undesirable”. This includes abortions, sterilization, and other methods of family planning.[79] Both positive and negative eugenics can be coercive; abortion for fit women, for example, was illegal in Nazi Germany.[80]

Jon Entine claims that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution”.[81]

According to Richard Lynn, eugenics may be divided into two main categories based on the ways in which the methods of eugenics can be applied.[82]

The first major challenge to conventional eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was made in 1915 by Thomas Hunt Morgan. He demonstrated the event of genetic mutation occurring outside of inheritance involving the discovery of the hatching of a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) with white eyes from a family with red-eyes. Morgan claimed that this demonstrated that major genetic changes occurred outside of inheritance and that the concept of eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was not completely scientifically accurate. Additionally, Morgan criticized the view that subjective traits, such as intelligence and criminality, were caused by heredity because he believed that the definitions of these traits varied and that accurate work in genetics could only be done when the traits being studied were accurately defined.[119] Despite Morgan’s public rejection of eugenics, much of his genetic research was absorbed by eugenics.[120][121]

The heterozygote test is used for the early detection of recessive hereditary diseases, allowing for couples to determine if they are at risk of passing genetic defects to a future child.[122] The goal of the test is to estimate the likelihood of passing the hereditary disease to future descendants.[122]

Recessive traits can be severely reduced, but never eliminated unless the complete genetic makeup of all members of the pool was known, as aforementioned. As only very few undesirable traits, such as Huntington’s disease, are dominant, it could be argued[by whom?] from certain perspectives that the practicality of “eliminating” traits is quite low.[citation needed]

There are examples of eugenic acts that managed to lower the prevalence of recessive diseases, although not influencing the prevalence of heterozygote carriers of those diseases. The elevated prevalence of certain genetically transmitted diseases among the Ashkenazi Jewish population (TaySachs, cystic fibrosis, Canavan’s disease, and Gaucher’s disease), has been decreased in current populations by the application of genetic screening.[123]

Pleiotropy occurs when one gene influences multiple, seemingly unrelated phenotypic traits, an example being phenylketonuria, which is a human disease that affects multiple systems but is caused by one gene defect.[124] Andrzej Pkalski, from the University of Wrocaw, argues that eugenics can cause harmful loss of genetic diversity if a eugenics program selects a pleiotropic gene that could possibly be associated with a positive trait. Pekalski uses the example of a coercive government eugenics program that prohibits people with myopia from breeding but has the unintended consequence of also selecting against high intelligence since the two go together.[125]

Eugenic policies could also lead to loss of genetic diversity, in which case a culturally accepted “improvement” of the gene pool could very likelyas evidenced in numerous instances in isolated island populations result in extinction due to increased vulnerability to disease, reduced ability to adapt to environmental change, and other factors both known and unknown. A long-term, species-wide eugenics plan might lead to a scenario similar to this because the elimination of traits deemed undesirable would reduce genetic diversity by definition.[126]

Edward M. Miller claims that, in any one generation, any realistic program should make only minor changes in a fraction of the gene pool, giving plenty of time to reverse direction if unintended consequences emerge, reducing the likelihood of the elimination of desirable genes.[127] Miller also argues that any appreciable reduction in diversity is so far in the future that little concern is needed for now.[127]

While the science of genetics has increasingly provided means by which certain characteristics and conditions can be identified and understood, given the complexity of human genetics, culture, and psychology, at this point no agreed objective means of determining which traits might be ultimately desirable or undesirable. Some diseases such as sickle-cell disease and cystic fibrosis respectively confer immunity to malaria and resistance to cholera when a single copy of the recessive allele is contained within the genotype of the individual. Reducing the instance of sickle-cell disease genes in Africa where malaria is a common and deadly disease could indeed have extremely negative net consequences.

However, some genetic diseases cause people to consider some elements of eugenics.

Societal and political consequences of eugenics call for a place in the discussion on the ethics behind the eugenics movement.[128] Many of the ethical concerns regarding eugenics arise from its controversial past, prompting a discussion on what place, if any, it should have in the future. Advances in science have changed eugenics. In the past, eugenics had more to do with sterilization and enforced reproduction laws.[129] Now, in the age of a progressively mapped genome, embryos can be tested for susceptibility to disease, gender, and genetic defects, and alternative methods of reproduction such as in vitro fertilization are becoming more common.[130] Therefore, eugenics is no longer ex post facto regulation of the living but instead preemptive action on the unborn.[131]

With this change, however, there are ethical concerns which lack adequate attention, and which must be addressed before eugenic policies can be properly implemented in the future. Sterilized individuals, for example, could volunteer for the procedure, albeit under incentive or duress, or at least voice their opinion. The unborn fetus on which these new eugenic procedures are performed cannot speak out, as the fetus lacks the voice to consent or to express his or her opinion.[132] Philosophers disagree about the proper framework for reasoning about such actions, which change the very identity and existence of future persons.[133]

A common criticism of eugenics is that “it inevitably leads to measures that are unethical”.[134] Some fear future “eugenics wars” as the worst-case scenario: the return of coercive state-sponsored genetic discrimination and human rights violations such as compulsory sterilization of persons with genetic defects, the killing of the institutionalized and, specifically, segregation and genocide of races perceived as inferior.[135] Health law professor George Annas and technology law professor Lori Andrews are prominent advocates of the position that the use of these technologies could lead to such human-posthuman caste warfare.[136][137]

In his 2003 book Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, environmental ethicist Bill McKibben argued at length against germinal choice technology and other advanced biotechnological strategies for human enhancement. He writes that it would be morally wrong for humans to tamper with fundamental aspects of themselves (or their children) in an attempt to overcome universal human limitations, such as vulnerability to aging, maximum life span and biological constraints on physical and cognitive ability. Attempts to “improve” themselves through such manipulation would remove limitations that provide a necessary context for the experience of meaningful human choice. He claims that human lives would no longer seem meaningful in a world where such limitations could be overcome with technology. Even the goal of using germinal choice technology for clearly therapeutic purposes should be relinquished, since it would inevitably produce temptations to tamper with such things as cognitive capacities. He argues that it is possible for societies to benefit from renouncing particular technologies, using as examples Ming China, Tokugawa Japan and the contemporary Amish.[138]

Some, for example Nathaniel C. Comfort from Johns Hopkins University, claim that the change from state-led reproductive-genetic decision-making to individual choice has moderated the worst abuses of eugenics by transferring the decision-making from the state to the patient and their family.[139] Comfort suggests that “the eugenic impulse drives us to eliminate disease, live longer and healthier, with greater intelligence, and a better adjustment to the conditions of society; and the health benefits, the intellectual thrill and the profits of genetic bio-medicine are too great for us to do otherwise.”[140] Others, such as bioethicist Stephen Wilkinson of Keele University and Honorary Research Fellow Eve Garrard at the University of Manchester, claim that some aspects of modern genetics can be classified as eugenics, but that this classification does not inherently make modern genetics immoral. In a co-authored publication by Keele University, they stated that “[e]ugenics doesn’t seem always to be immoral, and so the fact that PGD, and other forms of selective reproduction, might sometimes technically be eugenic, isn’t sufficient to show that they’re wrong.”[141]

In their book published in 2000, From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice, bioethicists Allen Buchanan, Dan Brock, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler argued that liberal societies have an obligation to encourage as wide an adoption of eugenic enhancement technologies as possible (so long as such policies do not infringe on individuals’ reproductive rights or exert undue pressures on prospective parents to use these technologies) in order to maximize public health and minimize the inequalities that may result from both natural genetic endowments and unequal access to genetic enhancements.[142]

Original position, a hypothetical situation developed by American philosopher John Rawls, has been used as an argument for negative eugenics.[143][144]

Notes

Bibliography

The rest is here:

Eugenics – Wikipedia

Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia

Eugenics, the set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population,[2][3] played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States prior to its involvement in World War II.[4]

Eugenics was practiced in the United States many years before eugenics programs in Nazi Germany,[5] which were largely inspired by the previous American work.[6][7][8] Stefan Khl has documented the consensus between Nazi race policies and those of eugenicists in other countries, including the United States, and points out that eugenicists understood Nazi policies and measures as the realization of their goals and demands.[9]

During the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th century, eugenics was considered a method of preserving and improving the dominant groups in the population; it is now generally associated with racist and nativist elements, as the movement was to some extent a reaction to a change in emigration from Europe, rather than scientific genetics.[10]

The American eugenics movement was rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton, which originated in the 1880s. Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup.[11] Early proponents of eugenics believed that, through selective breeding, the human species should direct its own evolution. They tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples; supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws; and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and “immoral”.[12] Eugenics was also supported by African Americans intellectuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Thomas Wyatt Turner, and many academics at Tuskegee University, Howard University, and Hampton University; however, they believed the best blacks were as good as the best whites and “The Talented Tenth” of all races should mix.[13] W. E. B. Du Bois believed “only fit blacks should procreate to eradicate the race’s heritage of moral iniquity.”[13][14]

The American eugenics movement received extensive funding from various corporate foundations including the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman railroad fortune.[7] In 1906 J.H. Kellogg provided funding to help found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.[11] The Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was founded in Cold Spring Harbor, New York in 1911 by the renowned biologist Charles B. Davenport, using money from both the Harriman railroad fortune and the Carnegie Institution. As late as the 1920s, the ERO was one of the leading organizations in the American eugenics movement.[11][15] In years to come, the ERO collected a mass of family pedigrees and concluded that those who were unfit came from economically and socially poor backgrounds. Eugenicists such as Davenport, the psychologist Henry H. Goddard, Harry H. Laughlin, and the conservationist Madison Grant (all well respected in their time) began to lobby for various solutions to the problem of the “unfit”. Davenport favored immigration restriction and sterilization as primary methods; Goddard favored segregation in his The Kallikak Family; Grant favored all of the above and more, even entertaining the idea of extermination.[16] The Eugenics Record Office later became the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Eugenics was widely accepted in the U.S. academic community.[7] By 1928, there were 376 separate university courses in some of the United States’ leading schools, enrolling more than 20,000 students, which included eugenics in the curriculum.[17] It did, however, have scientific detractors (notably, Thomas Hunt Morgan, one of the few Mendelians to explicitly criticize eugenics), though most of these focused more on what they considered the crude methodology of eugenicists, and the characterization of almost every human characteristic as being hereditary, rather than the idea of eugenics itself.[18]

By 1910, there was a large and dynamic network of scientists, reformers, and professionals engaged in national eugenics projects and actively promoting eugenic legislation. The American Breeder’s Association was the first eugenic body in the U.S., established in 1906 under the direction of biologist Charles B. Davenport. The ABA was formed specifically to “investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood.” Membership included Alexander Graham Bell, Stanford president David Starr Jordan and Luther Burbank.[19][20] The American Association for the Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality was one of the first organizations to begin investigating infant mortality rates in terms of eugenics.[21] They promoted government intervention in attempts to promote the health of future citizens.[22][verification needed]

Several feminist reformers advocated an agenda of eugenic legal reform. The National Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among the variety of state and local feminist organization that at some point lobbied for eugenic reforms.[23]

One of the most prominent feminists to champion the eugenic agenda was Margaret Sanger, the leader of the American birth control movement. Margaret Sanger saw birth control as a means to prevent unwanted children from being born into a disadvantaged life, and incorporated the language of eugenics to advance the movement.[24][25] Sanger also sought to discourage the reproduction of persons who, it was believed, would pass on mental disease or serious physical defects. She advocated sterilization in cases where the subject was unable to use birth control.[24] She rejected euthanasia.[26] For Sanger, it was individual women and not the state who should determine whether or not to have a child.[27][28]

In the Deep South, women’s associations played an important role in rallying support for eugenic legal reform. Eugenicists recognized the political and social influence of southern clubwomen in their communities, and used them to help implement eugenics across the region.[29] Between 1915 and 1920, federated women’s clubs in every state of the Deep South had a critical role in establishing public eugenic institutions that were segregated by sex.[30] For example, the Legislative Committee of the Florida State Federation of Women’s Clubs successfully lobbied to institute a eugenic institution for the mentally retarded that was segregated by sex.[31] Their aim was to separate mentally retarded men and women to prevent them from breeding more “feebleminded” individuals.

Public acceptance in the U.S. was the reason eugenic legislation was passed. Almost 19 million people attended the PanamaPacific International Exposition in San Francisco, open for 10 months from 20 February to 4 December 1915.[32][33] The PPIE was a fair devoted to extolling the virtues of a rapidly progressing nation, featuring new developments in science, agriculture, manufacturing and technology. A subject that received a large amount of time and space was that of the developments concerning health and disease, particularly the areas of tropical medicine and race betterment (tropical medicine being the combined study of bacteriology, parasitology and entomology while racial betterment being the promotion of eugenic studies). Having these areas so closely intertwined, it seemed that they were both categorized in the main theme of the fair, the advancement of civilization. Thus in the public eye, the seemingly contradictory[clarification needed] areas of study were both represented under progressive banners of improvement and were made to seem like plausible courses of action to better American society.[34][verification needed]

Beginning with Connecticut in 1896, many states enacted marriage laws with eugenic criteria, prohibiting anyone who was “epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded”[35] from marrying.[36]

The first state to introduce a compulsory sterilization bill was Michigan, in 1897 but the proposed law failed to garner enough votes by legislators to be adopted. Eight years later Pennsylvania’s state legislators passed a sterilization bill that was vetoed by the governor. Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907,[37] followed closely by Washington and California in 1909. Sterilization rates across the country were relatively low (California being the sole exception) until the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell which legitimized the forced sterilization of patients at a Virginia home for the mentally retarded. The number of sterilizations performed per year increased until another Supreme Court case, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 1942, complicated the legal situation by ruling against sterilization of criminals if the equal protection clause of the constitution was violated. That is, if sterilization was to be performed, then it could not exempt white-collar criminals.[38] The state of California was at the vanguard of the American eugenics movement, performing about 20,000 sterilizations or one third of the 60,000 nationwide from 1909 up until the 1960s.[39]

While California had the highest number of sterilizations, North Carolina’s eugenics program which operated from 1933 to 1977, was the most aggressive of the 32 states that had eugenics programs.[40] An IQ of 70 or lower meant sterilization was appropriate in North Carolina.[41] The North Carolina Eugenics Board almost always approved proposals brought before them by local welfare boards.[41] Of all states, only North Carolina gave social workers the power to designate people for sterilization.[40] “Here, at last, was a method of preventing unwanted pregnancies by an acceptable, practical, and inexpensive method,” wrote Wallace Kuralt in the March 1967 journal of the N.C. Board of Public Welfare. “The poor readily adopted the new techniques for birth control.”[41]

The Immigration Restriction League was the first American entity associated officially with eugenics. Founded in 1894 by three recent Harvard University graduates, the League sought to bar what it considered inferior races from entering America and diluting what it saw as the superior American racial stock (upper class Northerners of Anglo-Saxon heritage). They felt that social and sexual involvement with these less-evolved and less-civilized races would pose a biological threat to the American population. The League lobbied for a literacy test for immigrants, based on the belief that literacy rates were low among “inferior races”. Literacy test bills were vetoed by Presidents in 1897, 1913 and 1915; eventually, President Wilson’s second veto was overruled by Congress in 1917. Membership in the League included: A. Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard, William DeWitt Hyde, president of Bowdoin College, James T. Young, director of Wharton School and David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford University.[42]

The League allied themselves with the American Breeder’s Association to gain influence and further its goals and in 1909 established a Committee on Eugenics chaired by David Starr Jordan with members Charles Davenport, Alexander Graham Bell, Vernon Kellogg, Luther Burbank, William Ernest Castle, Adolf Meyer, H. J. Webber and Friedrich Woods. The ABA’s immigration legislation committee, formed in 1911 and headed by League’s founder Prescott F. Hall, formalized the committee’s already strong relationship with the Immigration Restriction League. They also founded the Eugenics Record Office, which was headed by Harry H. Laughlin.[43] In their mission statement, they wrote:

Society must protect itself; as it claims the right to deprive the murderer of his life so it may also annihilate the hideous serpent of hopelessly vicious protoplasm. Here is where appropriate legislation will aid in eugenics and creating a healthier, saner society in the future.”[43]

Money from the Harriman railroad fortune was also given to local charities, in order to find immigrants from specific ethnic groups and deport, confine, or forcibly sterilize them.[7]

With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played an important role in the Congressional debate as expert advisers on the threat of “inferior stock” from eastern and southern Europe.[44][verification needed] The new act, inspired by the eugenic belief in the racial superiority of “old stock” white Americans as members of the “Nordic race” (a form of white supremacy), strengthened the position of existing laws prohibiting race-mixing.[45] Eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many anti-miscegenation laws.[46]

Stephen Jay Gould asserted that restrictions on immigration passed in the United States during the 1920s (and overhauled in 1965 with the Immigration and Nationality Act) were motivated by the goals of eugenics. During the early 20th century, the United States and Canada began to receive far higher numbers of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. Influential eugenicists like Lothrop Stoddard and Harry Laughlin (who was appointed as an expert witness for the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1920) presented arguments they would pollute the national gene pool if their numbers went unrestricted.[47][48] It has been argued that this stirred both Canada and the United States into passing laws creating a hierarchy of nationalities, rating them from the most desirable Anglo-Saxon and Nordic peoples to the Chinese and Japanese immigrants, who were almost completely banned from entering the country.[45][49]

Both class and race factored into eugenic definitions of “fit” and “unfit.” By using intelligence testing, American eugenicists asserted that social mobility was indicative of one’s genetic fitness.[50] This reaffirmed the existing class and racial hierarchies and explained why the upper-to-middle class was predominantly white. Middle-to-upper class status was a marker of “superior strains.”[31] In contrast, eugenicists believed poverty to be a characteristic of genetic inferiority, which meant that those deemed “unfit” were predominantly of the lower classes.[31]

Because class status designated some more fit than others, eugenicists treated upper and lower class women differently. Positive eugenicists, who promoted procreation among the fittest in society, encouraged middle class women to bear more children. Between 1900 and 1960, Eugenicists appealed to middle class white women to become more “family minded,” and to help better the race.[51] To this end, eugenicists often denied middle and upper class women sterilization and birth control.[52]

Since poverty was associated with prostitution and “mental idiocy,” women of the lower classes were the first to be deemed “unfit” and “promiscuous.”[31]

In 1907, Indiana passed the first eugenics-based compulsory sterilization law in the world. Thirty U.S. states would soon follow their lead.[53][54] Although the law was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court in 1921,[55] the U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell, upheld the constitutionality of the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924, allowing for the compulsory sterilization of patients of state mental institutions in 1927.[56]

Some states sterilized “imbeciles” for much of the 20th century. Although compulsory sterilization is now considered an abuse of human rights, Buck v. Bell was never overturned, and Virginia did not repeal its sterilization law until 1974.[57] The most significant era of eugenic sterilization was between 1907 and 1963, when over 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under eugenic legislation in the United States.[58] Beginning around 1930, there was a steady increase in the percentage of women sterilized, and in a few states only young women were sterilized. From 1930 to the 1960s, sterilizations were performed on many more institutionalized women than men.[31] By 1961, 61 percent of the 62,162 total eugenic sterilizations in the United States were performed on women.[31] A favorable report on the results of sterilization in California, the state with the most sterilizations by far, was published in book form by the biologist Paul Popenoe and was widely cited by the Nazi government as evidence that wide-reaching sterilization programs were feasible and humane.[59][60]

Men and women were compulsorily sterilized for different reasons. Men were sterilized to treat their aggression and to eliminate their criminal behavior, while women were sterilized to control the results of their sexuality.[31] Since women bore children, eugenicists held women more accountable than men for the reproduction of the less “desirable” members of society.[31] Eugenicists therefore predominantly targeted women in their efforts to regulate the birth rate, to “protect” white racial health, and weed out the “defectives” of society.[31]

A 1937 Fortune magazine poll found that 2/3 of respondents supported eugenic sterilization of “mental defectives”, 63% supported sterilization of criminals, and only 15% opposed both.[61][62]

In the 1970s, several activists and women’s rights groups discovered several physicians to be performing coerced sterilizations of specific ethnic groups of society. All were abuses of poor, nonwhite, or mentally retarded women, while no abuses against white or middle-class women were recorded.[63] Several court cases such as Madrigal v. Quilligan, a class action suit regarding forced or coerced postpartum sterilization of Latina women following cesarean sections, and Relf v. Weinberger,[64] the sterilization of two young black girls by tricking their illiterate mother into signing a waiver, helped bring to light some of the widespread abuses of sterilization supported by federal funds.[65][66]

In 1972, United States Senate committee testimony brought to light that at least 2,000 involuntary sterilizations had been performed on poor black women without their consent or knowledge.[67] An investigation revealed that the surgeries were all performed in the South, and were all performed on black welfare mothers with multiple children.[67] Testimony revealed that many of these women were threatened with an end to their welfare benefits until they consented to sterilization.[67] These surgeries were instances of sterilization abuse, a term applied to any sterilization performed without the consent or knowledge of the recipient, or in which the recipient is pressured into accepting the surgery. Because the funds used to carry out the surgeries came from the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, the sterilization abuse raised older suspicions, especially amongst the black community, that “federal programs were underwriting eugenicists who wanted to impose their views about population quality on minorities and poor women.”[31]

Native American women were also victims of sterilization abuse up into the 1970s.[68] The organization WARN (Women of All Red Nations) publicized that Native American women were threatened that, if they had more children, they would be denied welfare benefits. The Indian Health Service also repeatedly refused to deliver Native American babies until their mothers, in labor, consented to sterilization. Many Native American women unknowingly gave consent, since directions were not given in their native language. According to the General Accounting Office, an estimate of 3,406 Indian women were sterilized.[68] The General Accounting Office stated that the Indian Health Service had not followed the necessary regulations, and that the “informed consent forms did not adhere to the standards set by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).”[69]

In 2013, it was reported that 148 female prisoners in two California prisons were sterilized between 2006 and 2010 in a supposedly voluntary program, but it was determined that the prisoners did not give consent to the procedures.[70] In September 2014, California enacted Bill SB1135 that bans sterilization in correctional facilities, unless the procedure is required to save an inmate’s life.[71]

Edwin Black wrote that one of the methods that was suggested to get rid of “defective germ-plasm in the human population” was euthanasia.[7] A 1911 Carnegie Institute report explored eighteen methods for removing defective genetic attributes, and method number eight was euthanasia.[7] The most commonly suggested method of euthanasia was to set up local gas chambers.[7] However, many in the eugenics movement did not believe that Americans were ready to implement a large-scale euthanasia program, so many doctors had to find clever ways of subtly implementing eugenic euthanasia in various medical institutions.[7] For example, a mental institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk infected with tuberculosis (reasoning that genetically fit individuals would be resistant), resulting in 3040% annual death rates.[7] Other doctors practiced euthanasia through various forms of lethal neglect.[7]

In the 1930s, there was a wave of portrayals of eugenic “mercy killings” in American film, newspapers, and magazines. In 1931, the Illinois Homeopathic Medicine Association began lobbying for the right to euthanize “imbeciles” and other defectives.[72] The Euthanasia Society of America was founded in 1938.[73]

Overall, however, euthanasia was marginalized in the U.S., motivating people to turn to forced segregation and sterilization programs as a means for keeping the “unfit” from reproducing.[7]

Mary deGormo, a former teacher, was the first person to combine ideas about health and intelligence standards with competitions at state fairs, in the form of baby contests. She developed the first such contest, the “Scientific Baby Contest” for the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport, in 1908. She saw these contests as a contribution to the “social efficiency” movement, which was advocating for the standardization of all aspects of American life as a means of increasing efficiency.[21] DeGarmo was assisted by Doctor Jacob Bodenheimer, a pediatrician who helped her develop grading sheets for contestants, which combined physical measurements with standardized measurements of intelligence.[74]

The contest spread to other U.S. states in the early twentieth century. In Indiana, for example, Ada Estelle Schweitzer, a eugenics advocate and director of the Indiana State Board of Health’s Division of Child and Infant Hygiene, organized and supervised the state’s Better Baby contests at the Indiana State Fair from 1920 to 1932. It was among the fair’s most popular events. During the contest’s first year at the fair, a total of 78 babies were examined; in 1925 the total reached 885. Contestants peaked at 1,301 infants in 1930, and the following year the number of entrants was capped at 1,200. Although the specific impact of the contests was difficult to assess, statistics helped to support Schweitzer’s claims that the contests helped reduce infant morality.[75]

The intent of the contest was to educate the public about raising healthier children; however, its exclusionary practices reinforced social class and racial discrimination. In Indiana, for example, the contestants were limited to white infants; African American and immigrant children were barred from the competition for ribbons and cash prizes. In addition, the scoring was biased toward white, middle-class babies.[76][77] The contest procedure included recording each child’s health history, as well as evaluations of each contestant’s physical and mental health and overall development using medical professionals. Using a process similar to the one introduced at the Louisiana State Fair, and contest guidelines that the AMA and U.S. Childrens Bureau recommended, scoring for each contestant began with 1,000 points. Deductions were made for defects, including a child’s measurements below a designated average. The contestant with the most points (and the fewest defections) was declared the winner.[78][79][80]

Standardization through scientific judgment was a topic that was very serious in the eyes of the scientific community, but has often been downplayed as just a popular fad or trend. Nevertheless, a lot of time, effort, and money was put into these contests and their scientific backing, which would influence cultural ideas as well as local and state government practices.[81][verification needed]

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People promoted eugenics by hosting “Better Baby” contests and the proceeds would go to its anti-lynching campaign.[13]

First appearing in 1920 at the Kansas Free Fair, Fitter Family competitions, continued all the way up to World War II. Mary T. Watts and Dr. Florence Brown Sherbon,[82][83] both initiators of the Better Baby Contests in Iowa, took the idea of positive eugenics for babies and combined it with a determinist concept of biology to come up with fitter family competitions.[84]

There were several different categories that families were judged in: Size of the family, overall attractiveness, and health of the family, all of which helped to determine the likelihood of having healthy children. These competitions were simply a continuation of the Better Baby contests that promoted certain physical and mental qualities.[85] At the time, it was believed that certain behavioral qualities were inherited from one’s parents. This led to the addition of several judging categories including: generosity, self-sacrificing, and quality of familial bonds. Additionally, there were negative features that were judged: selfishness, jealousy, suspiciousness, high-temperedness, and cruelty. Feeblemindedness, alcoholism, and paralysis were few among other traits that were included as physical traits to be judged when looking at family lineage.[86]

Doctors and specialists from the community would offer their time to judge these competitions, which were originally sponsored by the Red Cross.[86] The winners of these competitions were given a Bronze Medal as well as champion cups called “Capper Medals.” The cups were named after then Governor and Senator, Arthur Capper and he would present them to “Grade A individuals”.[87]

The perks of entering into the contests were that the competitions provided a way for families to get a free health check up by a doctor as well as some of the pride and prestige that came from winning the competitions.[86]

By 1925 the Eugenics Records Office was distributing standardized forms for judging eugenically fit families, which were used in contests in several U.S. states.[88]

Concerns about eugenics arose in the African American community after the implementation of the Negro Project of 1939, which was proposed by Margaret Sanger who was the founder of Planned Parenthood.[89] In this plan, Sanger offered birth control to Black families in the United States to give them the chance to have a better life than what the group had been experiencing in the United States.[90] She also noted that the project was proposed to empower women. The Project often sought after prominent African American leaders to spread knowledge regarding birth control and the perceived positive effects it would have on the African American community, such as poverty and the lack of education.[91] Because of this, Sanger believed that African American ministers in the South would be useful to gain the trust of people within disadvantaged, African American communities as the Church was a pillar within the community.[91] Also, political leaders such as W.E.B. Dubois were quoted in the Project proposal criticizing Black people in the United States for having many children and for being less intelligent than their white counterparts:

the mass of ignorant Negroes still breed carelessly and disastrously, so that the increase among Negroes, even more than the increase among Whites, is from that part of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly.” [90]

Even though The Negro Project received a lot of praise from white leaders and eugenicists of the time, it is important to note that Margaret Sanger wanted to clear concerns that this was not a project to terminate African Americans.[91] To add to the clarification, she received support from prominent African American leaders such as Mary McLeod Bethune and Adam Clayton Powell Jr.[90] These leaders and many more would later serve on the Negro National Advisory Council of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

Still, many modern activists criticize Margaret Sanger for practicing eugenics on the African American community. Angela Davis, a leader who is associated with the Black Panther Party, made claims of Margaret Sanger targeting the African American community to reduce the population:

Calling for the recruitment of Black ministers to lead local birth control committees, the Federations proposal suggested that Black people should be rendered as vulnerable as possible to their birth control propaganda.[92]

After the eugenics movement was well established in the United States, it spread to Germany. California eugenicists began producing literature promoting eugenics and sterilization and sending it overseas to German scientists and medical professionals.[7] By 1933, California had subjected more people to forceful sterilization than all other U.S. states combined. The forced sterilization program engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California’s.[8]

The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs,[93] including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.[7]

Upon returning from Germany in 1934, where more than 5,000 people per month were being forcibly sterilized, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe bragged to a colleague:

You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.[7]

Eugenics researcher Harry H. Laughlin often bragged that his Model Eugenic Sterilization laws had been implemented in the 1935 Nuremberg racial hygiene laws.[94] In 1936, Laughlin was invited to an award ceremony at Heidelberg University in Germany (scheduled on the anniversary of Hitler’s 1934 purge of Jews from the Heidelberg faculty), to receive an honorary doctorate for his work on the “science of racial cleansing”. Due to financial limitations, Laughlin was unable to attend the ceremony and had to pick it up from the Rockefeller Institute. Afterwards, he proudly shared the award with his colleagues, remarking that he felt that it symbolized the “common understanding of German and American scientists of the nature of eugenics.”[95]

Henry Friedlander wrote that although the German and American eugenics movements were similar, the US did not follow the same slippery slope as Nazi eugenics because American “federalism and political heterogeneity encouraged diversity even with a single movement.” In contrast, the German eugenics movement was more centralized and had fewer diverse ideas.[96] Unlike the American movement, one publication and one society, the German Society for Racial Hygiene, represented all German eugenicists in the early 20th century.[96][97]

After 1945, however, historians began to try to portray the US eugenics movement as distinct and distant from Nazi eugenics.[98] Jon Entine wrote that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution.”[99]

The 1978 Federal Sterilization Regulations, created by the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare or HEW, (now the United States Department of Health and Human Services) outline a variety of prohibited sterilization practices that were often used previously to coerce or force women into sterilization.[100] These were intended to prevent such eugenics and neo-eugenics as resulted in the involuntary sterilization of large groups of poor and minority women. Such practices include: not conveying to patients that sterilization is permanent and irreversible, in their own language (including the option to end the process or procedure at any time without conceding any future medical attention or federal benefits, the ability to ask any and all questions about the procedure and its ramifications, the requirement that the consent seeker describes the procedure fully including any and all possible discomforts and/or side-effects and any and all benefits of sterilization); failing to provide alternative information about methods of contraception, family planning, or pregnancy termination that are nonpermanent and/or irreversible (this includes abortion); conditioning receiving welfare and/or Medicaid benefits by the individual or his/her children on the individuals “consenting” to permanent sterilization; tying elected abortion to compulsory sterilization (cannot receive a sought out abortion without “consenting” to sterilization); using hysterectomy as sterilization; and subjecting minors and the mentally incompetent to sterilization.[100][65][101] The regulations also include an extension of the informed consent waiting period from 72 hours to 30 days (with a maximum of 180 days between informed consent and the sterilization procedure).[65][100][101]

However, several studies have indicated that the forms are often dense and complex and beyond the literacy aptitude of the average American, and those seeking publicly funded sterilization are more likely to possess below-average literacy skills.[102] High levels of misinformation concerning sterilization still exist among individuals who have already undergone sterilization procedures, with permanence being one of the most common gray factors.[102][103] Additionally, federal enforcement of the requirements of the 1978 Federal Sterilization Regulation is inconsistent and some of the prohibited abuses continue to be pervasive, particularly in underfunded hospitals and lower income patient hospitals and care centers.[65][101]

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Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia

eugenics | Description, History, & Modern Eugenics …

Eugenics, the selection of desired heritable characteristics in order to improve future generations, typically in reference to humans. The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and natural scientist Francis Galton, who, influenced by Charles Darwins theory of natural selection, advocated a system that would allow the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable. Social Darwinism, the popular theory in the late 19th century that life for humans in society was ruled by survival of the fittest, helped advance eugenics into serious scientific study in the early 1900s. By World War I, many scientific authorities and political leaders supported eugenics. However, it ultimately failed as a science in the 1930s and 40s, when the assumptions of eugenicists became heavily criticized and the Nazis used eugenics to support the extermination of entire races.

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biological determinism: The eugenics movement

One of the most prominent movements to apply genetics to understanding social and personality traits was the eugenics movement, which originated in the late 19th century. Eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and naturalist Francis Galton, who was influenced by the

Although eugenics as understood today dates from the late 19th century, efforts to select matings in order to secure offspring with desirable traits date from ancient times. Platos Republic (c. 378 bce) depicts a society where efforts are undertaken to improve human beings through selective breeding. Later, Italian philosopher and poet Tommaso Campanella, in City of the Sun (1623), described a utopian community in which only the socially elite are allowed to procreate. Galton, in Hereditary Genius (1869), proposed that a system of arranged marriages between men of distinction and women of wealth would eventually produce a gifted race. In 1865, the basic laws of heredity were discovered by the father of modern genetics, Gregor Mendel. His experiments with peas demonstrated that each physical trait was the result of a combination of two units (now known as genes) and could be passed from one generation to another. However, his work was largely ignored until its rediscovery in 1900. This fundamental knowledge of heredity provided eugenicistsincluding Galton, who influenced his cousin Charles Darwinwith scientific evidence to support the improvement of humans through selective breeding.

The advancement of eugenics was concurrent with an increasing appreciation of Charles Darwins account for change or evolution within societywhat contemporaries referred to as Social Darwinism. Darwin had concluded his explanations of evolution by arguing that the greatest step humans could make in their own history would occur when they realized that they were not completely guided by instinct. Rather, humans, through selective reproduction, had the ability to control their own future evolution. A language pertaining to reproduction and eugenics developed, leading to terms such as positive eugenics, defined as promoting the proliferation of good stock, and negative eugenics, defined as prohibiting marriage and breeding between defective stock. For eugenicists, nature was far more contributory than nurture in shaping humanity.

During the early 1900s, eugenics became a serious scientific study pursued by both biologists and social scientists. They sought to determine the extent to which human characteristics of social importance were inherited. Among their greatest concerns were the predictability of intelligence and certain deviant behaviours. Eugenics, however, was not confined to scientific laboratories and academic institutions. It began to pervade cultural thought around the globe, including the Scandinavian countries, most other European countries, North America, Latin America, Japan, China, and Russia. In the United States, the eugenics movement began during the Progressive Era and remained active through 1940. It gained considerable support from leading scientific authorities such as zoologist Charles B. Davenport, plant geneticist Edward M. East, and geneticist and Nobel Prize laureate Hermann J. Muller. Political leaders in favour of eugenics included U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, Secretary of State Elihu Root, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall Harlan. Internationally, there were many individuals whose work supported eugenic aims, including British scientists J.B.S. Haldane and Julian Huxley and Russian scientists Nikolay K. Koltsov and Yury A. Filipchenko.

Galton had endowed a research fellowship in eugenics in 1904 and, in his will, provided funds for a chair of eugenics at University College, London. The fellowship and later the chair were occupied by Karl Pearson, a brilliant mathematician who helped to create the science of biometry, the statistical aspects of biology. Pearson was a controversial figure who believed that environment had little to do with the development of mental or emotional qualities. He felt that the high birth rate of the poor was a threat to civilization and that the higher races must supplant the lower. His views gave countenance to those who believed in racial and class superiority. Thus, Pearson shares the blame for the discredit later brought on eugenics.

In the United States, the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was opened at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, N.Y., in 1910 with financial support from the legacy of railroad magnate Edward Henry Harriman. Whereas ERO efforts were officially overseen by Charles B. Davenport, director of the Station for Experimental Study of Evolution (one of the biology research stations at Cold Spring Harbor), ERO activities were directly superintended by Harry H. Laughlin, a professor from Kirksville, Mo. The ERO was organized around a series of missions. These missions included serving as the national repository and clearinghouse for eugenics information, compiling an index of traits in American families, training field-workers to gather data throughout the United States, supporting investigations into the inheritance patterns of particular human traits and diseases, advising on the eugenic fitness of proposed marriages, and communicating all eugenic findings through a series of publications. To accomplish these goals, further funding was secured from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the Battle Creek Race Betterment Foundation, and the Human Betterment Foundation.

Prior to the founding of the ERO, eugenics work in the United States was overseen by a standing committee of the American Breeders Association (eugenics section established in 1906), chaired by ichthyologist and Stanford University president David Starr Jordan. Research from around the globe was featured at three international congresses, held in 1912, 1921, and 1932. In addition, eugenics education was monitored in Britain by the English Eugenics Society (founded by Galton in 1907 as the Eugenics Education Society) and in the United States by the American Eugenics Society.

Following World War I, the United States gained status as a world power. A concomitant fear arose that if the healthy stock of the American people became diluted with socially undesirable traits, the countrys political and economic strength would begin to crumble. The maintenance of world peace by fostering democracy, capitalism, and, at times, eugenics-based schemes was central to the activities of the Internationalists, a group of prominent American leaders in business, education, publishing, and government. One core member of this group, the New York lawyer Madison Grant, aroused considerable pro-eugenic interest through his best-selling book The Passing of the Great Race (1916). Beginning in 1920, a series of congressional hearings was held to identify problems that immigrants were causing the United States. As the countrys eugenics expert, Harry Laughlin provided tabulations showing that certain immigrants, particularly those from Italy, Greece, and Eastern Europe, were significantly overrepresented in American prisons and institutions for the feebleminded. Further data were construed to suggest that these groups were contributing too many genetically and socially inferior people. Laughlins classification of these individuals included the feebleminded, the insane, the criminalistic, the epileptic, the inebriate, the diseasedincluding those with tuberculosis, leprosy, and syphilisthe blind, the deaf, the deformed, the dependent, chronic recipients of charity, paupers, and neer-do-wells. Racial overtones also pervaded much of the British and American eugenics literature. In 1923, Laughlin was sent by the U.S. secretary of labour as an immigration agent to Europe to investigate the chief emigrant-exporting nations. Laughlin sought to determine the feasibility of a plan whereby every prospective immigrant would be interviewed before embarking to the United States. He provided testimony before Congress that ultimately led to a new immigration law in 1924 that severely restricted the annual immigration of individuals from countries previously claimed to have contributed excessively to the dilution of American good stock.

Immigration control was but one method to control eugenically the reproductive stock of a country. Laughlin appeared at the centre of other U.S. efforts to provide eugenicists greater reproductive control over the nation. He approached state legislators with a model law to control the reproduction of institutionalized populations. By 1920, two years before the publication of Laughlins influential Eugenical Sterilization in the United States (1922), 3,200 individuals across the country were reported to have been involuntarily sterilized. That number tripled by 1929, and by 1938 more than 30,000 people were claimed to have met this fate. More than half of the states adopted Laughlins law, with California, Virginia, and Michigan leading the sterilization campaign. Laughlins efforts secured staunch judicial support in 1927. In the precedent-setting case of Buck v. Bell, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., upheld the Virginia statute and claimed, It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.

During the 1930s, eugenics gained considerable popular support across the United States. Hygiene courses in public schools and eugenics courses in colleges spread eugenic-minded values to many. A eugenics exhibit titled Pedigree-Study in Man was featured at the Chicago Worlds Fair in 193334. Consistent with the fairs Century of Progress theme, stations were organized around efforts to show how favourable traits in the human population could best be perpetuated. Contrasts were drawn between the emulative, presidential Roosevelt family and the degenerate Ishmael family (one of several pseudonymous family names used, the rationale for which was not given). By studying the passage of ancestral traits, fairgoers were urged to adopt the progressive view that responsible individuals should pursue marriage ever mindful of eugenics principles. Booths were set up at county and state fairs promoting fitter families contests, and medals were awarded to eugenically sound families. Drawing again upon long-standing eugenic practices in agriculture, popular eugenic advertisements claimed it was about time that humans received the same attention in the breeding of better babies that had been given to livestock and crops for centuries.

Antieugenics sentiment began to appear after 1910 and intensified during the 1930s. Most commonly it was based on religious grounds. For example, the 1930 papal encyclical Casti connubii condemned reproductive sterilization, though it did not specifically prohibit positive eugenic attempts to amplify the inheritance of beneficial traits. Many Protestant writings sought to reconcile age-old Christian warnings about the heritable sins of the father to pro-eugenic ideals. Indeed, most of the religion-based popular writings of the period supported positive means of improving the physical and moral makeup of humanity.

In the early 1930s, Nazi Germany adopted American measures to identify and selectively reduce the presence of those deemed to be socially inferior through involuntary sterilization. A rhetoric of positive eugenics in the building of a master race pervaded Rassenhygiene (racial hygiene) movements. When Germany extended its practices far beyond sterilization in efforts to eliminate the Jewish and other non-Aryan populations, the United States became increasingly concerned over its own support of eugenics. Many scientists, physicians, and political leaders began to denounce the work of the ERO publicly. After considerable reflection, the Carnegie Institution formally closed the ERO at the end of 1939.

During the aftermath of World War II, eugenics became stigmatized such that many individuals who had once hailed it as a science now spoke disparagingly of it as a failed pseudoscience. Eugenics was dropped from organization and publication names. In 1954, Britains Annals of Eugenics was renamed Annals of Human Genetics. In 1972, the American Eugenics Society adopted the less-offensive name Society for the Study of Social Biology. Its publication, once popularly known as the Eugenics Quarterly, had already been renamed Social Biology in 1969.

U.S. Senate hearings in 1973, chaired by Edward Kennedy, revealed that thousands of U.S. citizens had been sterilized under federally supported programs. The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare proposed guidelines encouraging each state to repeal their respective sterilization laws. Other countries, most notably China, continue to support eugenics-directed programs openly in order to ensure the genetic makeup of their future.

Despite the dropping of the term eugenics, eugenic ideas remain prevalent in many issues surrounding human reproduction. Medical genetics, a post-World War II medical specialty, encompasses a wide range of health concerns, from genetic screening and counseling to fetal gene manipulation and the treatment of adults suffering from hereditary disorders. Because certain diseases (e.g., hemophilia and Tay-Sachs disease) are now known to be genetically transmitted, many couples choose to undergo genetic screening, in which they learn the chances that their offspring have of being affected by some combination of their hereditary backgrounds. Couples at risk of passing on genetic defects may opt to remain childless or to adopt children. Furthermore, it is now possible to diagnose certain genetic defects in the unborn. Many couples choose to terminate a pregnancy that involves a genetically disabled offspring. These developments have reinforced the eugenic aim of identifying and eliminating undesirable genetic material.

Counterbalancing this trend, however, has been medical progress that enables victims of many genetic diseases to live fairly normal lives. Direct manipulation of harmful genes is also being studied. If perfected, it could obviate eugenic arguments for restricting reproduction among those who carry harmful genes. Such conflicting innovations have complicated the controversy surrounding what many call the new eugenics. Moreover, suggestions for expanding eugenics programs, which range from the creation of sperm banks for the genetically superior to the potential cloning of human beings, have met with vigorous resistance from the public, which often views such programs as unwarranted interference with nature or as opportunities for abuse by authoritarian regimes.

Applications of the Human Genome Project are often referred to as Brave New World genetics or the new eugenics, in part because they have helped to dramatically increase knowledge of human genetics. In addition, 21st-century technologies such as gene editing, which can potentially be used to treat disease or to alter traits, have further renewed concerns. However, the ethical, legal, and social implications of such tools are monitored much more closely than were early 20th-century eugenics programs. Applications also generally are more focused on the reduction of genetic diseases than on improving intelligence.

Still, with or without the use of the term, many eugenics-related concerns are reemerging as a new group of individuals decide how to regulate the application of genetics science and technology. This gene-directed activity, in attempting to improve upon nature, may not be that distant from what Galton implied in 1909 when he described eugenics as the study of agencies, under social control, which may improve or impair future generations.

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eugenics | Description, History, & Modern Eugenics …

Introduction to Eugenics – Genetics Generation

Introduction to Eugenics

Eugenics is a movement that is aimed at improving the genetic composition of the human race. Historically, eugenicists advocated selective breeding to achieve these goals. Today we have technologies that make it possible to more directly alter the genetic composition of an individual. However, people differ in their views on how to best (and ethically) use this technology.

History of Eugenics

Logo of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, 1921. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In 1883, Sir Francis Galton, a respected British scholar and cousin of Charles Darwin,first used the term eugenics, meaning well-born. Galton believed that the human race could help direct its future by selectively breeding individuals who have desired traits. This idea was based on Galtons study of upper class Britain. Following these studies, Galton concluded that an elite position in society was due to a good genetic makeup. While Galtons plans to improve the human race through selective breeding never came to fruition in Britain, they eventually took sinister turns in other countries.

The eugenics movement began in the U.S. in the late 19th century. However, unlike in Britain, eugenicists in the U.S. focused on efforts to stop the transmission of negative or undesirable traits from generation to generation. In response to these ideas, some US leaders, private citizens, and corporations started funding eugenical studies. This lead to the 1911 establishment of The Eugenics Records Office (ERO) in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. The ERO spent time tracking family histories and concluded that people deemed to be unfit more often came from families that were poor, low in social standing, immigrant, and/or minority. Further, ERO researchers demonstrated that the undesirable traits in these families, such as pauperism, were due to genetics, and not lack of resources.

Committees were convened to offer solutions to the problem of the growing number of undesirables in the U.S. population. Stricter immigration rules were enacted, but the most ominous resolution was a plan to sterilize unfit individuals to prevent them from passing on their negative traits. During the 20th century, a total of 33 states had sterilization programs in place. While at first sterilization efforts targeted mentally ill people exclusively, later the traits deemed serious enough to warrant sterilization included alcoholism, criminality chronic poverty, blindness, deafness, feeble-mindedness, and promiscuity. It was also not uncommon for African American women to be sterilized during other medical procedures without consent. Most people subjected to these sterilizations had no choice, and because the program was run by the government, they had little chance of escaping the procedure. It is thought that around 65,000 Americans were sterilized during this time period.

The eugenics movement in the U.S. slowly lost favor over time and was waning by the start of World War II. When the horrors of Nazi Germany became apparent, as well as Hitlers use of eugenic principles to justify the atrocities, eugenics lost all credibility as a field of study or even an ideal that should be pursued.

CLICK HERE to learn more about eugenics in modern times

Excerpt from:

Introduction to Eugenics – Genetics Generation

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They were stolen from their homes, locked in chains and taken across an ocean. And for more than 200 years, their blood and sweat would help to build the richest and most powerful nation the world has ever known. But when slavery ended, their welcome was over. America’s wealthy elite had decided it was time for them to disappear and they were not particular about how it might be done. What you are about to see is that the plan these people set in motion 150 years ago is still being carried out today. So don’t think that this is history. It is not. It is happening right here, and it’s happening right now.

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"Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope and Aims" by Francis Galton

Francis Galton

THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGYVolume X; July, 1904; Number 1

Read before the Sociological Society at a meeting in the School of Economies (London University), on May 16, 1904. Professor Karl Pearson, F.R.S., in the chair.

EUGENICS is the science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race; also with those that develop them to the utmost advantage. The improvement of the inborn qualities, or stock, of some one human population will alone be discussed here.

What is meant by improvement ? What by the syllable eu in “eugenics,” whose English equivalent is “good”? There is considerable difference between goodness in the several qualities and in that of the character as a whole. The character depends largely on the proportion between qualities, whose balance may be much influenced by education. We must therefore leave morals as far as possible out of the discussion, not entangling ourselves with the almost hopeless difficulties they raise as to whether a character as a whole is good or bad. Moreover, the goodness or badness of character is not absolute, but relative to the current form of civilization. A fable will best explain what is meant. Let the scene be the zoological gardens in the quiet hours of the night, and suppose that, as in old fables, the animals are able to converse, and that some very wise creature who had easy access to all the cages, say a philosophic sparrow or rat, was engaged in collecting the opinions of all sorts of animals with a view of elaborating a system of absolute morality. It is needless to enlarge on the contrariety of ideals between the beasts that prey and those they prey upon, between those of the animals that have to work hard for their food and the sedentary parasites that cling to their bodies and suck their blood, and so forth. A large number of suffrages in favor of maternal affection would be obtained, but most species of fish would repudiate it, while among the voices of birds would be heard the musical protest of the cuckoo. Though no agreement could be reached as to absolute morality, the essentials of eugenics may be easily defined. All creatures would agree that it was better to be healthy than sick, vigorous than weak, well-fitted than ill-fitted for their part in life; in short, that it was better to be good rather than bad specimens of their kind, whatever that kind might be. So with men. There are a vast number of conflicting ideals, of alternative characters, of incompatible civilizations; but they are wanted to give fullness and interest to life. Society would be very dull if every man resembled the highly estimable Marcus Aurelius or Adam Bede. The aim of eugenics is to represent each class or sect by its best specimens; that done, to leave them to work out their common civilization in their own way.

A considerable list of qualities can easily be compiled that nearly everyone except “cranks” would take into account when picking out the best specimens of his class. It would include health, energy, ability, manliness, and courteous disposition. Recollect that the natural differences between dogs are highly marked in all these respects., and that men are quite as variable by nature as other animals of like species. Special aptitudes would be assessed highly by those who possessed them, as the artistic faculties by artists, fearlessness of inquiry and veracity by scientists, religious absorption by mystics, and so on. There would be self-sacrificers, self-tormentors, and other exceptional idealists; but the representatives of these would be better members of a community than the body of their electors. They would have more of those qualities that are needed in a state–more vigor, more ability, and more consistency of purpose. The community might be trusted to refuse representatives of criminals, and of others whom it rates as undesirable.

Let us for a moment suppose that the practice of eugenics should hereafter raise the average quality of our nation to that of its better moiety at the present day, and consider the gain. The general tone of domestic, social, and political life would be higher. The race as a whole would be less foolish, less frivolous, less excitable, and politically more provident than now. Its demagogues who “played to the gallery” would play to a more sensible gallery than at present. We should be better fitted to fulfil our vast imperial opportunities. Lastly, men of an order of ability which is now very rare would become more frequent, because, the level out of which they rose would itself have risen.

The aim of eugenics is to bring as many influences as can be reasonably employed, to cause the useful classes in the community to contribute more than their proportion to the next generation. The course of procedure that lies within the functions of a learned and active society, such as the sociological may become, would be somewhat as follows:

1. Dissemination of a knowledge of the laws of heredity, so far as they are surely known, and promotion of their further study. Few seem to be aware how greatly the knowledge of what may be termed the actuarial side of heredity has advanced in recent years. The average closeness of kinship in each degree now admits of exact definition and of being treated mathematically, like birth- and death-rates, and the other topics with which actuaries are concerned.

2. Historical inquiry into the rates with which the various classes of society (classified according to civic usefulness.) have contributed to the population at various times, in ancient and modern nations. There is strong reason for believing that national rise and decline is closely connected with this influence. It seems to be the tendency of high civilization to check fertility in the upper classes,- through numerous causes, some of which are well. known, others are inferred, and others again are wholly obscure. The latter class are apparently analogous to those which bar the fertility of most species of wild animals in zoological gardens. Out of the hundreds and thousands of species that have been tamed, very few indeed are fertile when their liberty is restricted and their struggles for livelihood are abolished; those which are so, and are otherwise useful to man, becoming domesticated. There is perhaps some connection between this obscure action and the disappearance of most savage races when brought into contact with high civilization, though there are other and well-known concomitant causes. But while most barbarous races disappear, some, like the negro, do not. It may therefore be expected that types of our race will be found to exist which can be highly civilized without losing fertility; nay, they may become more fertile under artificial conditions, as is the case with many domestic animals.

3- Systematic collection of facts showing the circumstances under which large and thriving families have most frequently originated; in other words, the conditions of eugenics. The definition of a thriving family, that will pass muster for the moment at least, is one in which the children have gained distinctly superior positions to those who were their classmates in early life. Families may be considered “large” that contain not less than three adult male children. It would be no great burden to a society including many members who had eugenics at heart, to initiate and to preserve a large collection of such records for the use of statistical students. The committee charged with the task would have to consider very carefully the form of their circular and the persons intrusted to distribute it. They should ask only for as much useful information as could be easily, and would be readily, supplied by any member of the family appealed to. The point to be ascertained is the status of the two parents at the time of their marriage, whence its more or less eugenic character might have been predicted, if the larger knowledge that we now hope to obtain had then existed. Some account would be wanted of their race, profession, and residence; also of their own respective parentages, and of their brothers and sisters. Finally the reasons would be required, why the children deserved to be entitled a “thriving” family. This manuscript collection might hereafter develop into a “golden book” of thriving families. The Chinese, whose customs have often much sound sense, make their honors retrospective. We might learn from them to show that respect to the parents of noteworthy children which the contributors of such valuable assets to the national wealth richly deserve. The act of systematically collecting records of thriving families would have the further advantage of familiarizing the public with the fact that eugenics had at length become a subject of serious scientific study by an energetic society.

4. Influences affecting marriage. The remarks of Lord Bacon in his essay on Death may appropriately be quoted here. He says with the view of minimizing its terrors: “There is no passion in the mind of men so weak but it mates and masters the fear of death ….. Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honour aspireth to it; grief flyeth to it; fear pre-occupateth it.” Exactly the same kind of considerations apply to marriage. The passion of love seems so overpowering that it may be thought folly to try to direct its course. But plain facts do not confirm this view. Social influences of all kinds have immense power in the end, and they are very various. If unsuitable marriages from the eugenic point of view were banned socially, or even regarded with the unreasonable disfavor which some attach to cousin-marriages, very few would be made. The multitude of marriage restrictions that have proved prohibitive among uncivilized people would require a volume to describe.

5. Persistence in setting forth the national importance of eugenics. There are three stages to be passed through: (I) It must be made familiar as an academic question, until its exact importance has been understood and accepted as a fact. (2) It must be recognized as a subject whose practical development deserves serious consideration. (3) It must be introduced into the national conscience, like a new religion. It has, indeed, strong claims to become an orthodox religious, tenet of the future, for eugenics co-operate with the workings of nature by securing that humanity shall be represented by the fittest races. What nature does blindly, slowly, and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly. As it lies within his power, so it becomes his duty to work in that direction. The improvement of our stock seems to me one of the highest objects that we can reasonably attempt. We are ignorant of the ultimate destinies of humanity, but feel perfectly sure that it is as noble a work to raise its level, in the sense already explained, as it would be disgraceful to abase it. I see no impossibility in eugenics becoming a religious dogma among mankind, but its details must first be worked out sedulously in the study. Overzeal leading to hasty action would do harm, by holding out expectations of a near golden age, which will certainly be falsified and cause the science to be discredited. The first and main point is to secure the general intellectual acceptance of eugenics as a hopeful and most important study. Then let its principles work into the heart of the nation, which will gradually give practical effect to them in ways that we may not wholly foresee.

FRANCIS GALTON. LONDON.

APPENDIX.

Works by the author bearing on eugenics.

Hereditary Genius ,(Macmillan), i869; 2d ed., r892. See especially from p. 340

in the former edition to the end, and from p. 329 in the latter.

Human Faculty (Macmillan), 1883 (out of print). See especially p. 305 to end.

Natural Inheritance (Macmillan), 1889. This bears on inheritance generally, not particularly on eugenics.

Huxley Lecture of the Anthropological Institute on “The Possible Improvement of the Human Breed under the Existing Conditions of Law and Sentiment,” Nature, 1901, p. 659; “Smithsonian Report,” Washington, 1901 p. 523.

DISCUSSION.

BY PROFESSOR KARL PEARSON.

My position here this afternoon requires possibly some explanation. I am not a member of the Sociological Society, and I must confess myself skeptical as to its power to do effective work. Frankly, I do not believe in groups of men and women who have each and all their allotted daily task creating a new branch of science. I believe it must be done by some one man who by force of knowledge, of method, and of enthusiasm hews out, in rough outline it may be, but decisively, a new block and creates a school to carve out its details. I think yon will find on inquiry that this is the history of each great branch of science. The initiative has been given by some one great thinker–a Descartes, a Newton, a Virchow, a Darwin, or a Pasteur. A sociological society, until we have found a great sociologist, is a herd without a leader—there is no authority to set bounds to your science or to prescribe its functions.

This, you must realize, is the view of that poor creature, the doubting man, in media vitae; it is a view which cannot stand for a moment against the youthful energy of your secretary, or the boyish hopefulness of Mr. Galton, who mentally is about half my age. Hence for a time I am carried away by their enthusiasm, and appear where I never anticipated being seen–in the chair at a meeting of the Sociological Society. If this society thrives, and lives to do yeoman work in science–which, skeptic as I am, I sincerely hope it may do–then I believe its members in the distant future will look back on this occasion as perhaps the one of greatest historical interest in its babyhood. To those of us who have worked in fields adjacent to Mr. Galton’s, he appears to us as something more than the discoverer of a new method of inquiry; we feel for him something more than we may do for the distinguished scientists in whose laboratories we have chanced to work. There is an indescribable atmosphere which spreads from him and which must influence all those who have come within reach of it. We realize it in his perpetual youth; in the instinct with which he reaches a great truth, where many of us plod on, groping through endless analysis; in his absolute unselfishness; and in his continual receptivity for new ideas. I have often wondered if Mr. Galton ever quarreled with anybody. And to the mind of one who is ever in controversy, it is one of the miracles associated with Mr. Galton that I know of no controversy, scientific or literary, in which he has been engaged. Those who look up to him, as we do, as to a master and scientific leader, feel for him as did the scholars for the grammarian:

“Our low life was the level’s, and the night’s;He’s for the morning.”

It seems to me that it is precisely in this spirit that he attacks the gravest problem which lies before the Caucasian races “in the morning.” Are we to make the whole doctrine of descent, of inheritance, and of selection of the fitter, part of our everyday life, of our social customs, and of conduct? It is the question of the study now, but tomorrow it will be the question of the marketplace, of morality, and of politics. If I wanted to know how to put a saddle on a camel’s back without chafing him, I should go to Francis Galton; if I wanted to know how to manage the women of a treacherous African tribe, I should go to Francis Galton; if I wanted an instrument for measuring a snail, or an arc of latitude, I should appeal to Francis Galton; if I wanted advice on any mechanical, of any geographical, or any sociological problem, I should consult Francis Galton. In all these matters, and many others, I feel confident he would throw light on my difficulties, and I am firmly convinced that, with his eternal youth, his elasticity of mind, and his keen insight, he can aid us in seeking an answer to one of the most vital of our national problems: How is the next generation of Englishmen to be mentally and physically equal to the past generation which has provided us with the great Victorian statesmen, writers, and men of science–most of whom are now no more–but which has not entirely ceased to be as long as we can see Francis Galton in the flesh ?

BY DR. MAUDSLEY.

The subject is difficult, not only from the complexity of the matter, but also from the subtleties of the forces that we have to deal with. In considering the question of hereditary influences, as I have done for some long period of my life, one met with the difficulty, which must have occurred to everyone here, that in any family of which you take cognizance you may find one member, a son, like his mother or father, or like a mixture of the two. or more like his mother, or that he harks back to some distant ancestor; and then again you will find one not in the least like father or mother or any relatives, so far as you know. There is a variation, or whatever you may call it, of which in our present knowledge you cannot give the least explanation. Take, as a supreme instance, Shakespeare. He was born of parents not distinguished from their ‘neighbors. He had five brothers living, one of whom came to London and acted with him at Blackfriars’ Theater, and afterward died. Yet, while Shakespeare rose to the extraordinary eminence that he did, none of his brothers distinguished themselves in any way. And so it is in other families. From my long experience as a physician I could give instances in every department–in science, in literature, in art–in which one member of the family has risen to extraordinary prominence, almost genius perhaps, and another has suffered from mental disorder.

8 Now, how can we account for these facts on any of the known data on which we have at present to rely ? In my opinion, we shall have to go far deeper down than we have been able to go by any present means of observation–to the corpuscles, atoms, electrons, or whatever else there may be; and we shall find these subjected to subtle influences of mind and body during their formations and combinations, of which we hardly realize the importance. I believe that in these potent factors the solution of the problem may be found why one member of a family rises above others, and others do not rise above the ordinary level, but perhaps sink below it. To me it seems, when I consider this matter in regard to these difficulties, that in making a comparison with the improvement of breeding of animal stock we may be apt to be misled. We are all organic machines, so to speak; at the same time, when we come to the human being there are complexities which arise from the mental state and its moods and passions which entirely disturb our conclusions, which we should be able to form in regard to the comparatively simple machines which animals are.

In view of these difficulties of the subject, it has always seemed to me that we must not be hasty in coming to conclusions and laying down any rules for the breeding of humans and the development of a eugenic conscience. In fact, we must be on our guard against the overzeal, which Dr. Galton has very properly cautioned us against. For, after all, there is the passion of love and the forces referred to in his quotation from Bacon; and I am not sure but that nature, in its own blind impulsive way, does not manage things’ better than we can by any light of reason, or by any rules which we can at present lay down. I am inclined to think that, as in the past, so in the future, it may be, as Shakespeare said:

“You may as well try to kindle snow by fire”As quench the fire of love by words.”

BY DR. MERCIER.

Mr. Galton speaks of the laws of heredity, and dissemination of a knowledge of the laws of heredity in so far as we know them, and the qualification is very necessary. For, in so far as we know the laws, they are so obscure and complex that to us they work out as chance. We cannot detect any practical difference in the working of the laws of heredity and the way in which dice may be taken out of a lucky bag. It is quite impossible to predict from the constitution of the parents what the constitution of the offspring is going to be, even in the remotest degree. I lay that down as emphatically as I can, and I think that much widely prevailing erroneous doctrine on this head is due to the writings of Zola. I believe these writings are founded on a totally false conception as to what the laws of heredity are, and as to how they work out in the human race. He supposes that, since the parents have certain mental and moral peculiarities, the children will reproduce them with variations. It is not so. Look around among your acquaintance: look around among the people that you know; notice the intellectual and moral character of the parents and children; and, as my distinguished predecessor, Dr. Maudsley, has said, you wilt find that in the same family there are antithetic extremes. It is doubtful if moral traits are hereditary.

Then there is the tendency of a high civilization to reduce the fertility of its worthier members. It does seem as if there were some such tendency. Undoubtedly, in any particular race of organisms, as in organisms in general, the lower order multiplies more freely than the highly organized. Undoubtedly, we see that insects and bacteria increase and multiply exceedingly until they become as the sands on the seashore. But the elephant produces only once in thirty years. And so it is with human beings of different grades of organization. Undoubtedly, those more highly organized are less fertile than those lowly organized. But that is not the whole history of the thing. I think we have to regard a civilized community somewhat in the light of a lamp burning away at the top, replenished from the bottom. It is true that the highest strata waste and do not reproduce themselves; and it is of necessity so, because the production of very high types of human nature is always sporadic. It never occurs in races; it always occurs in individual cases.

I know I am speaking heresy in the presence of Dr. Galton. Some of these doctrines I am enunciating ought to be qualified. But, broadly and generally, and in practice, it is so, that we cannot predict from the parentage what the offspring is going to be, and we cannot go back from the offspring and say what the parentage was. [f we follow the custom of the Chinese and ennoble the parents for the achievements of their children, are we to hang the parents when the offspring commit murder ?

And, finally, I would say one word about suitable and unsuitable marriages. Most of what I have to say has already been said by Dr. Galton. What are suitable and unsuitable marriages? How are we to decide? In the light of our knowledge–I had better say ignorance, I think–he would be a very bold man who would undertake the duties that were intrusted to the family council among those wise and virtuous people of whom Dean Swift has given us a description, and who should determine who should be the father and who the mother, and make marriages without consulting the individuals most concerned. I think, if that were done, it is doubtful if the result would be any better than it is at present.

BY PROFESSOR WELDON.

There are two sets of objections which have been used against the points made by Dr. Galton: One set criticises the statistical method on the ground that it cannot account for a number of phenomena. In the presence of the author of the Grammar of Science, I venture to say it is no proper part of statistics to account for anything, but it is the triumph of statistics that it can describe, and with a very fair degree of accuracy, a large number of phenomena. And, as I conceive the matter, the essential object of eugenics is not to put forward any theory of causation of hereditary phenomena; it is to diffuse the knowledge of what these phenomena really are. We may not be able to account for the formation of a Shakespeare, but we may be able to tabulate a scheme of inheritance which will indicate with very fair accuracy, the percentage of cases in which children of exceptional ability result from a particular type of marriage. If we can do that alone, we shall have made a very great advance in knowledge. And my view of Mr. Galton’s object is that he wishes to point out to us the way in which that knowledge may be attained. Well, that is the answer I would give to all objections to the statistical method, based on its inability to account for phenomena. It ought not to try to account for them, but to describe them. If Dr. Mercier would consult the studies on inheritance that result from Mr. Galton’s labor, he would find that they describe distribution of character in the children of parents of particular kinds in regard to a very large number of characters, mental and physical. You, yourself, Mr. Chairman, have given such a comprehensive summary of those results, most of them achieved in your own laboratory., that I need not trouble this meeting by saying any more about them.

Then there is another class of objectors, whose attitude is summarized in the most interesting series of remarks by Mr. Bateson. Because a large number of apparently simple results have been attained in experimental breeding establishments, and especially by the Austrian abbot, Gregory Mendel, it has been too lightly assumed that these phenomena have henceforward superseded the actuarial method, and that the only reliable method is experiment on simple characters, such as those initiated by Mr. Mendel and carried out by Mr. Bateson in England, in Holland by Professor Defries, and by an increasing number of men all over Europe. But the statistical method is itself necessary in order to test the results of the experiments which are supposed to supersede it. The question whether there is really an agreement between experience and hypothesis is in nearly every case hard to answer, and can be achieved only by the use of this actuarial method which Mr. Galton has taught us to apply to biological problems.

The second answer to objections of that type seems to me to be this, that while it is perfectly true that by sound actuarial methods you may deduce a justifiable result, yet from a laboratory experiment you have not arrived at the formulation of a eugenic maxim. You must look at your facts in their relation to an enormous mass of other matter, and in order to do that you must treat large masses of your race in successive generations,and you must see whether the behavior of these large masses is such as you would expect from your limited experiment. If the two things agree, you have realized as much of the truth as would serve as a basis for generalization. But if you find there is a contradiction resulting from the facts–from the large masses and limited laboratory experiments-then there is no doubt whatever that, from the point of view of human eugenics, and from the theory of evolution, the more important data are those from the larger series of material; the less important are those from laboratory experiment.

BY MR. H. G. WELLS.

We can do nothing but congratulate ourselves upon the presence of one of the great founders of sociology here today, and upon the admirable address he has given us. If there is any quality of that paper more than another upon which I would especially congratulate Dr. Galton and ourselves, it is upon its living and contemporary tone. One does not feel that it is the utterance of one who has retired from active participation in life, but of one who remains in contact with and contributing to the main current of thought. One remarks that ever since his Huxley Lecture in 1901, Dr. Galton has expanded and improved his propositions.

This is particularly the case in regard to his recognition of different types in the community, and of the need of a separate system of breeding in relation to each type. The Huxley Lecture had no recognition of that, and its admission does most profoundly modify the whole of this question of eugenics. So long as the consideration of types is not raised, the eugenic proposition is very simple: superior persons must mate with superior persons, inferior persons must not have offspring at all, and the only thing needful is some test that will infallibly detect superiority. Dr. Galton has resorted in the past to the device of inquiring how many judges and bishops and such-like eminent persons a family can boast; but that test has not gone without challenge in various quarters. Dr. Galton’s inquiries in this direction in the past have always seemed to me to ignore the consideration of social advantage, of what Americans call the “pull” that follows any striking success. The fact that the sons and nephews of a distinguished judge or great scientific man are themselves eminent judges or successful scientific men may after all, be far more due to a special knowledge of the channels of professional advancement than-to any distinctive family gift. I must confess that much of Dr. Galton’s classical work in this direction seems to me to be premature. I have been impressed by the idea–and even now I remain under the sway of the idea–that our analysis of human faculties is entirely inadequate for the purpose of tracing hereditary influence. I think we want a much more elaborate analysis to give us the elements of heredity–an analysis of which we have at present only the first beginnings in the valuable work of the Abbe Loisy that Mr. Bateson has recently revived.

Even the generous recognition of types that Dr. Galton has now made does not altogether satisfy my inquiring mind. I believe there still remain further depths of concession for him. At the risk of being called a “crank,” I must object that even’ that considerable list of qualities Dr. Galton tells us that everyone would take into account does not altogether satisfy me. Take health, for example. Are there not types of health? The mating of two quite healthy persons may result in disease. I am told it does so in the case of the interbreeding of healthy white men and healthy black women about the Tanganyka region; the half-breed children are ugly, sickly, and rarely live. On the other hand, two not very healthy persons may have mutually corrective qualities, and may beget sound offspring. Then what right have we to assume that energy and ability are simply qualities ? I am not even satisfied by the suggestion Dr. Galton

seems to make that criminals should not breed. I am inclined to believe that a large proportion of our present-day criminals are the brightest and boldestmembers of families living under impossible conditions, and that in many desirable qualities the average criminal is above the average of the law-abiding poor and probably of the average respectable person. Many eminent criminals appear to me to be persons superior in many respects–in intelligence, initiative, originality—to the average judge. I will confess I have never known either.

Let me suggest that Dr. Galton’s concession to the fact that there are differences of type to consider is only the beginning of a very big descent of concession, that may finally carry him very deep indeed. Eugenics, which is really only a new word for the popular American term “stirpiculture,” seems to me to be a term that is not without its misleading implications. It has in it something of that same lack of a fine appreciation of facts that enabled Herbert Spencer to coin those two most unfortunate terms, “evolution” and “the survival of the fittest.” The implication is that the best reproduces and survives. Now really it is’ the better that survives, and not the best. The real fact of the case is that in the all-around result the inferior usually perish, and the average of the species rises, but not that any exceptionally favorable variations get together and reproduce. I believe that now and always the conscious selection of the best for reproduction will be impossible; that to propose it is to display a fundamental misunderstanding of what individuality implies. The way of nature has always been to slay the hindmost, and there is still no other way, unless we can prevent those who would become the hindmost being born. It is in the sterilization of failures, and not in the selection of successes for breeding, that the possibility of an improvement of the human stock lies.

BY DR. ROBERT HUTCHISON.

My only claim to address a meeting on this subject is that not only, in common with all physicians, am I acquainted with the factors that make for physical deterioration, but I have devoted special attention to certain factors which t believe play a large part in the production of human types. I refer to feeding. I believe we have, in treating this subject, to consider two lines in which a society like this might work. It has to consider, first, the raw material of the race–and that I believe to be the view which commends itself especially to Dr. Galton — and, second, the conditions under which that raw material grows up. I believe, speaking as a physician, and judging from the raw material one sees, for example, in the children’s hospitals, that it is not so necessary to improve the raw material, which is not so very bad after all, as it is to improve the environment in which the raw material is brought up. I Of all the factors in that environment, that which is of the greatest importance in promoting bad physical and bad mental development, is, I believe, the food factor. If you would give me a free hand in feeding, during infancy and from ten to eighteen years of age, the raw material that is being produced, I would guarantee to give you quite a satisfactory race as the result. And I think we should do more wisely in concentrating our attention on things such as those, than in losing ourselves in a mass of scientific questions relating to heredity, about which, it must be admitted, in regard to the human race, we are still profoundly in ignorance.

BY DR. WARNER.

When I had the pleasure of reading the proof of Mr. Galton’s paper, I devoted what time I could to thinking carefully over what might be expected to be the practical outcome of what I had understood from that paper, if I had. read it aright. And a careful reading of Mr. Galton’s paper shows that he purposely deals with only a portion of the means of developing a good nation, and that portion is marriage selection. I also gather that the tendency of the paper is to advocate the marriage between those who are most highly evolved in their respective families. But there is a point in this connection which I think is apt to be overlooked, and that is the examples we have of dangers from intermarriage between highly evolved members of two families. A considerable number of degenerates come under my observation and come to me professionally. They are mostly children; and, as far as possible, I get what knowledge I can of their families both on the paternal and the maternal side. It happens in a very considerable proportion that the father and mother are the best of the families from which they themselves have proceeded. Where a man has evolved from a humble class to a high form of mental work, and his life has attracted the feeling or affection of a lady who has evolved rather higher mental faculties than the rest of her family, there is danger. It happens very often that the parents of degenerate children are the best of their respective families. I do not go into any details, but I could give you a string of cases, straight off, to show how frequent it is among the families of men who have risen, that the first of all, if he is a male, is feeble-minded, or degenerate. There is also the great question of the girls, as well as the boys, in their personal evolution. It has been constantly said that one reason why apparently the girls’ capacity is less than the boys’ capacity for many sorts of .work is that their mothers have not been educated. Now, I should like to ask Mr. Galton whether the girls inherit through the mother or through the father. For myself, I extremely doubt the general view.

BY MR. ELDERTON.

An important item in the study of heredity is the heredity of disease; and, if so, life-insurance offices might be of use with certain statistics. Certificates of death are given to them which are put away with the original proposal papers, filled up when the insurance was taken out, which state the cause of death of parents, brothers, and ‘sisters, and their ages at death; also their ages when the person effected the insurance, if they were still living. Locked up in that sort of information are many data for the study of heredity in relation to disease. From this source also might be thrown light on a question of great importance–the correlation between specific diseases and fertility.

One point in conclusion: Dr. Hutchison spoke of the greater importance of environment, but in that he would hardly get actuaries to agree with him. Their observation, based on life-insurance data, would seem to show that environment operates as a mere modificatory factor after heredity has done its work.

BY BENJAMIN KIDD.

It is, I am sure, a peculiar satisfaction to have from Mr. Galton this important and’ interesting paper. No man of science in England has done more to encourage the study of human faculty by exact methods, and I hope the Sociological Society will endeavor to follow the example he has set us. The only item of criticism I would offer would be to say that we must not, perhaps, be sanguine in expecting too much at present from eugenics founded on statistical and actuarial methods in the study of society. We must have a real science of society before the science of eugenics can hope to gain authority. The point of Mr. Galton’s paper is, I think, that, however we may differ as to other standards, we are, at .all events, all agreed as to what constitutes the fittest and most perfect individual. I am not quite convinced of this. Much obscurity at present exists in sociological studies from confusing two entirely different things, namely, individual efficiency and social efficiency. Mr. Galton’s fable of the animals will help me to make my meaning clear. It will be observed that he has considered the animals as individuals. If, however, we took a social type like the social insects, a contradiction which, I think, possibly underlies his example, might be visible. For instance, it is well known that all the qualities of the bees are devoted to attaining the highest possible efficiency of their societies. Yet these qualities are by no means the qualities which we would consider as contributing to a perfect individual. If the bees at some earlier stage of evolution understood eugenics, as we now understand the subject, what peculiar condemnation, for instance, would they have visited on the queen bee, who devotes her life solely to breeding? I am afraid, too, that the interesting habits of the drones would have received special condemnation from the unctuous rectitude of the time. What would have been thought even of the workers as perfect individuals with their undeveloped bodies and aborted instincts? And yet all these things have contributed in a high degree to social efficiency, and have undoubtedly made the type a winning one in evolution.

The example will apply to human society. Statistical and actuarial methods alone in the study of individual faculty often carry us to very incomplete conclusions, if not corrected by larger and more scientific conceptions of the social good. I remember our chairman, in his earlier social essays, once depicted an ideally perfect state of society. I have a distinct recollection of my own sense of relief that my birth had occurred in the earlier ages of comparative barbarism. For Mr. Pearson, I think, proposed to give the kind of people who now scribble on our railway carriages no more than a short shrift and the nearest lamp-post. I hope we shall not seriously carry this spirit into eugenics. It might renew, in the name of science, tyrannies that it took long ages of social evolution to emerge from. Judging from what one sometimes reads, many of our ardent reformers would often be willing to put us into lethal chambers, if our minds and bodies did not conform to certain standards. We are apt to forget in these matters that that sense of responsibility to life which distinguishes the higher societies is itself an asset painfully acquired by the race–a social asset of such importance that the more immediate gain aimed at would count by the side of it as no more than dust in the balance. Our methods of knowledge are as yet admittedly very imperfect. Mr. Galton himself, I remember, as the result of his earlier researches into human faculty, put the intellectual caliber of what are called the lower races many degrees below that of the European races. I ventured to point out some years ago that this assumption appeared to be premature, and the data upon which it was founded insufficient. So much is now generally admitted. Yet it would have been awkward had we proceeded to draw any large practical conclusion from it at the time. The deficiency of what have been called the lower races is now seen to be, not so much an intellectual deficiency, as a deficiency in social qualities and social history, and therefore in social inheritance.

Many examples of a similar kind might be given. It may be remembered, for instance, how a generation or two ago Malthusianism was urged upon us in the name of science and almost with the zeal of a religion. We have lived to see the opposite view now beginning to be urged with much the same zeal and emphasis. A nation or a race cannot afford to make practical mistakes on a large scale in these matters.

I trust and believe that much that Mr. Galton anticipates will be realized. But I think we must go slowly with our science of eugenics, and that we must take care, above all things, that it advances with, and does not precede, a real science of our social evolution. We must come to the work in a humble spirit. Even the highest representatives of the various social sciences must realize that in the specialized study of sociology as a whole they are scarcely more than distinguished amateurs. Otherwise, in few other departments of study would there be so much danger of incomplete knowledge, and even of downright quackery, clothing itself with the mantle and authority of science.

BY MRS. DR, DRYSDALE VICKERY.

The speech which has interested me most is that of Dr. Hutch{son. Important as is the quality of hereditary stock, yet at the present juncture I would say that of still greater importance is this, that we have such a vast number of our population growing up under bad conditions. The result is an artificial, a merely economic, multiplication of inferior stocks. The question I wish to raise is this: Are we producing, in this country and in all civilized countries, a greater proportion of new individuals than can be favorably absorbed? In a country like Russia the surplus of births over deaths amounts to two millions in the year; in Germany the surplus is a million; in Britain, not quite half a million. Can we, in an old state of society, absorb that amount of new individuals and give them fair conditions of existence ? I think not.

Dr. Warner spoke of the importance of our teaching of girls. I hold very strongly that the question of heredity, as we study it at present, is very much a question of masculine heredity only, and that heredity with feminine aspects is very much left out of account. Mr. Galton told us that a certain number of burgesses’ names had absolutely disappeared; but what about the names of their wives, and how would that consideration affect his conclusion? In the future, the question of population will, I hope, be considered very much from the feminine point of view; and if we wish to produce a well-developed race, we must treat our womankind a little better than we do at present. We must give them something more like the natural position which they should hold in society. Women’s specialized powers must be utilized for the intellectual advancement of the race.

BY LADY WELBY.

The science of eugenics as not only dealing with “all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race,” but also “with those that develop them to the utmost advantage,” must have the most pressing interest for women. And one of the first things to do–pending regulative reform–is to prepare the minds of women to take a truer view of their dominant natural impulse toward service and self-sacrifice. They need to realize more clearly the significance of their mission to conceive, to develop, to cherish, and to train–in short, in all senses to mother–the next and through that the succeeding generations of man.

As things are they have almost entirely missed the very point both of their special function and of their strongest yearnings. They have lost that discerning guidance of eugenic instinct and that inerrancy of eugenic preference which, broadly speaking, in both sexes have given us the highest types of man yet developed. The refined and educated woman of this day is brought up to countenance, and to see moral and religious authority countenance, social standards which practically take no account of the destinies and the welfare of the race. It is thus hardly wonderful that she should be failing more and more to fulfil her true mission, should indeed too often be unfaithful to it, spending her instinct of devotion in unworthy, or at least barren, directions. Yet, once she realizes what the results will be that she can help to bring about, she will be even more ready than the man to give herself, not for that vague empty abstraction, the “future,” but for the coming generations among which her own descendants may be reckoned. For her natural devotion to her babe–the representative of the generations yet to come–is even more complete than that of her husband, which indeed is biologically, though she knows it not, her recognition in him of the means to a supreme end.

But it is not only thus that women are concerned with the profound obligation to the race which the founder of the science of eugenics is bringing home to the social conscience. At present, anyhow, a large proportion of civilized women find themselves from one or another cause debarred from this social service in the direct sense.

There is another kind of race-motherhood open to, and calling for the intelligent recognition and intelligent fulfillment by, all women. There are kinds of natural and instinctive knowledge of the highest value which the artificial social conditions of civilization tend to efface. There are powers of swift insight and penetration–powers also of unerring judgment– which are actually atrophied by the ease and safety secured in highly organized communities. These, indeed, are often found in humble forms, which might be called in-sense and fore-sense.

While I would lay stress on the common heritage of humanity which gives the man a certain motherhood and the woman a certain fatherhood in outlook, perhaps also in intellectual function, we are here mainly concerned with the specialized mental activities of women as distinguished from those of men. It has long been a commonplace that women have, as a rule, a larger share of so-called “intuition” than men. But the reasons for this, its true nature and its true work and worth, have never, so far as I know, been brought forward. It is obvious that these reasons cannot be properly dealt with–indeed, can but barely be indicated–in these few words. They involve a reference to all the facts which anthropology, archaeology, history, psychology, .and physiology, as well as philology, have so far brought to our knowledge. They mean a review of these facts in a new light–that which, in many cases, the woman who has preserved or recovered her earlier, more primitive racial prerogative can alone throw upon them.

I will only here mention such acts as the part primitively borne by women in the evolution of crafts and arts, including the important one of healing; and point out the absolute necessity, since an original parity of muscular development in the animal world was lost, of their meeting physical coercion by the help of keen, penetrative, resourceful wits, and the “conning” which (from the temptation of weakness to serve by deception) became what we now mean by “cunning.” To these I think we may add the woman’s leading part in the evolution of language. While her husband was the “man of action,” and in the heat of the chase and of battle, or the labor of building huts, making stockades, weapons, etc., the “man of few words,” she was necessarily the talker, necessarily the provider or suggester of symbolic sounds, and with them of pictorial signs, by which to describe the ever-growing products of human energy, intelligence, and constructiveness, and the ever-growing needs and interests of the race; in short, the ever-widening range of social experience.

We are all, men and women, apt to be satisfied now–as we have just been told, for instance, in the Faraday Lecture–with things as they are. But that is just what we all came into the world to be dissatisfied with. And while it may now be said that women are more conservative than men, they still tend to be more adaptive. If the fear of losing by violent change what has been gained [or the children were removed, women would be found, as of old, in the van or all social advance.

Lastly I would ask attention to the fact that throughout history, and I believe in every part of the world, we find the elderly woman credited with wisdom and acting as the trusted adviser of the man. It is only in very recent times and in highly artificial societies that we have begun to describe the dense, even the imbecile, man as an “old woman.” Here we have a notable evidence indeed of the disastrous atrophy of the intellectual heritage of woman, of the partial paralysis of that racial motherhood out of which she naturally speaks! Of course, as in all such eases, the inherited wisdom became associated with magic and wonder-working and sybilline gifts of all kinds. The always shrewd and often really originative, predictive, and wide-reaching qualities of the woman’s mind (especially after the climacteric had been passed) were mistaken for the uncanny and devil-derived powers of the sorceress and the witch. Like the thinker, the moralist, and the healer, she was tempted to have recourse to the short-cut of the “black arts,” and appeal to the supernatural and miraculous, as science would now define these. We still see, alas, that the special insight and intelligence of women tends to spend itself at best on such absurd misrepresentations of her own instincts and powers as “Christian Science;” or worse, on clairvoyance and fortune-telling and the like. Then, it may be, elaborate theories of personality–mostly wide of the mark, and constructed upon phenomena which we could learn to analyze and interpret on strictly scientific and really philosophical principles, and thus to utilize at every point. We are, in short, failing to enlist for true social service a natural reserve of intelligence which mostly lying unrecognized and unused in any healthy form, forces its way out in morbid ones. And let us here remember that we are not merely considering a question of sex. No mental function is entirely unrepresented on either side.

The question then arises: How is civilized man to avail himself fully of this reserve of power ? The provisional answer seems to be: By making the most of it through the training of all girls for the resumption of a lost power of race-motherhood which shall make for their own happiness and well-being, in using these for the benefit of humanity; in short, by making the most of it through truer methods in education than any which have yet, except in rare cases, been applied. Certainly until we do this many social problems of the highest importance will needlessly continue to baffle and defeat us.

BY MR. HOBHOUSE.

I feel a good deal of difficulty in intervening in this extremely interesting discussion at this stage. I, like many of you, am only a listener to what thc biologists have to tell us in this matter. Until we have very definite information as to what heredity can do, I think those of us who are only students of sociology, and who cannot lay any claim whatever to be biologists, ought to keep silence. We have this afternoon had extremely divergent views put before us as to the actual and probable operation of heredity, and it seems quite clear that before we begin to tackle this question, which deals with one of the most powerful of human passions, with a view to regulate it, we must have highly perfected knowledge. We must have the chart properly mapped out before we do anything that might lead us into greater danger than we at present incur.

As to the two factors, stock and environment, no one can doubt that both are of fundamental importance in relation to the welfare of society; and no one can doubt that, if the kind of precise knowledge which I desiderate could be laid before us by the biologist, it would have considerable influence on our views of what is not only ethically right, but what could be legislatively enforced. Of these two factors, stock and environment, which can we modify with the greater ease and certainty of not doing harm ? It is fairly obvious that we can affect the environment of mankind in certain definite ways. We have the accumulation of considerable tradition as to the way a given act will affect the social environment. When we come to bring stock into consideration, we are still dealing with that which is very largely unknown. At the same time, we owe a great deal of thanks to Mr. Galton for raising this subject. On the one hand, it seems to me that the bare conception of a conscious selection as a way in which educated society would deal with stock is infinitely higher than natural selection with which biologists have confronted every proposal of sociology. If we are to take the problem of stock into consideration at all, it ought to be in the way of intelligently handling the blind forces of nature. But until we have far more knowledge and agreement as to criteria of conscious selection, I fear we cannot, as sociologists, expect to do much for our society on these lines.

BY G. A. ARCHDALL REID, M.D.

I think it would be impossible to imagine a subject of greater importance, or to name one of which the public is more ignorant. At the root of every moral and social question lies the problem of heredity. Until a knowledge of the laws of heredity is more widely diffused, the public will grope in, the dark in its endeavors to solve many pressing difficulties.

How shall we bring about a “wide dissemination of a knowledge of the laws of heredity, so far as they are surely known, and the promotion of their further study” ? We shall not be able to reach the public until we are able to influence the education of a body of men whose studies naturally bring them into relation with the subject, and who, when united, are numerous enough and powerful enough to sway public opinion. Only one such body of men exists- the medical profession. When the study of heredity forms as regular a part of the medical curriculum as anatomy and physiology, then, and not till then, will the laws of heredity be brought to bear on the solution of social problems. At present a specialist like Mr. Galton has a very limited audience. In effect, it is composed of specialists like himself. Until among medical men a systematic knowledge of heredity is substituted for a bundle of prejudices, and close and clear reasoning for wild guesswork, the influence of men of Mr. Galton’s type most unhappily is not likely to extend much beyond the limits of a few learned societies.

The first essential is a clear grasp of the distinction which exists between what are known as inborn traits and what are known as acquired traits. Inborn traits are those with which the individual is “born,” which come to him by nature, which form his natural inheritance from his parents. Acquired traits are alterations produced in inborn traits by influences to which they are exposed during the life of the individual. Thus a man’s limbs are inborn traits, but the changes produced in his limbs by exercise, injury, and so forth are acquired traits. All men know that the individual tends to transmit his inborn traits to his offspring. But it is now almost universally denied by students of heredity that he tends to transmit his acquired traits. The real, the burning question among students of heredity is whether changes in an individual caused by the action of the environment on him tend in any way to affect the offspring subsequently born to him. Thus, for example, does good health in an individual tend to benefit his offspring? Does his ill-health tend to enfeeble them ?

It is generally assumed that changes in the parents do tend to influence the inborn traits of offspring. Thus we have heard much of the degeneracy which it is alleged is befalling our race owing to the bad hygienic conditions under which it dwells in our great growing cities. The assumption is made that the race is being so injured by the bad conditions that the descendant of a line of slum-dwellers, if removed during infancy to the country, would, on the average, be inferior physically to the descendant of a line o{ rustics; whereas, contrariwise, the descendant of a line of rustics, if removed during infancy to the slums would be superior physically to the majority of the children he would meet there.

I believe this assumption to be a totally unwarrantable one. It is founded on a confusion between inborn and acquired traits. Of course, the influences which act on a slum-bred child tend to injure him personally. But there is no certain evidence that the descendant of a line of slum-dwellers is on the average inferior to the descendant of a line of rustics whose parents migrated to the slums just after his birth. I believe in fact, that while a life in the slums deteriorates the individual, it does not effect directly the hereditary tendencies of the race in the least. A vast mass of evidence may be adduced in support of this contention. Slums are not a creation of yesterday. They have existed in many countries from very ancient times. Races that have been most exposed to slum life cannot be shown to he inferior physically and mentally to those that have been less or not at all exposed. The Chinese, for example, who have been more exposed, and for a longer time, to such influences than any other people, are physically and mentally a very fine race, and certainly not inferior to the Dyacks of Borneo, for example.

There is also a mass of collateral evidence. Thus Africans and other races have been literally soaked in the extremely virulent and abundant poison of malaria for thousands of years. We know how greatly malaria damages the individual. But Africans have not deteriorated. Like the Chinese, physically, at any rate, they are a very fine race. Practically speaking, every negro child suffers from malaria, and may perish of it. But while the sufferings of the negroes from malaria have produced no effect on the race, the deaths of negroes from malaria have produced an immense effect. The continual weeding out, during many generations, of the unfittest has rendered the race pre-eminently resistant to malaria; so that negroes can now flourish in countries which we, who have suffered very little from malaria, find it impossible to colonize. Similarly, the inhabitants of northern Europe have suffered greatly for thousands of years from consumption, especially in places where the population has been dense–where there have been many cities and towns, and therefore slums. They also have not deteriorated; they have merely grown pre-eminently strong against consumption. They are able to live, for example, in English cities, in which consumption is very rife, and which individuals of races which have been less exposed to the disease find as dangerous as Englishmen find the west coast of Africa.

During the last four hundred years consumption has spread very widely, and now no race is able to dwell in cities and towns, especially in cold and temperate climates, that has not undergone evolution against it. In other words, no race is capable of civilization that has not undergone evolution against consumption, as well as against other diseases and influences, deteriorating to the individual, which civilization brings in its train. Many biologists and most medical men believe that influences acting on parents tend directly to alter the hereditary tendencies of offspring. In technical terms, they believe that variations are caused by action of the environment. How they contrive to do so in the face of the massive and conclusive evidence afforded by the natural history of human races in relation to disease is beyond my comprehension. How could a race undergo evolution against malaria (for example), if parental disease altered and injured the hereditary tendencies of the offspring. How could natural selection select, if all the variations presented for selection were unfavorable. The observations on disease and injury published by Brown-Sequard, Cossar Ewart, and many medical men are capable of an interpretation different to that which they have given.

Mr. Galton speaks as if the causes which have brought about the disappearance of most savage races when brought in contact with high civilization were obscure. I can assure him, however, that they have been worked out precisely and statistically by many medical observers on the spot. Apart from extermination by war, the only savage races which are disappearing are those of the New World, and in every instance they are perishing from the enormous mortality caused among them by introduced diseases against which their races have undergone no evolution. He will find these precise statistics in the tables of mortality issued by all the public health departments that exist in America, Polynesia, and Australasia. He will find also many accounts in the journals of travelers. If he will read the records of visits of parties of aborigines from the New World to the cities of Europe, he will find that their mortality, especially from consumption, was invariably high. There is nothing more mysterious about the disappearance of these races than there is about the disappearance of the dodo and the bison. They are perishing, not because, as Froude poetically puts it, they are like “caged eagles,” incapable of domestication, but simply and solely because they are weak against certain diseases. If malaria instead of consumption were prevalent in cities, the English would be incapable of civilization, whereas the negroes and the wild tribes about the Amazon, and in New Guinea and Borneo, would be particularly capable of it. Indeed, it may be taken as a general rule, to which there is no exception, that every race throughout the world is resistant to every disease precisely in proportion to its past experience of it, and that only those races are capable of civilization which are resistant to the diseases of dense populations.

Before the voyage of Columbus, hardly a zymotic disease, with the exception of malaria, was known in the New World. The inhabitants of the Old World had slowly evolved against the diseases of civilized life under gradually worsening conditions, caused by the gradual increase of population, and therefore of disease. They introduced these maladies to the natives of the New World under the worst conditions then known. They built cities and towns, the natural breeding-places of all zymotic diseases, except those of the malarial type. They gave the natives clothes, which are the best vehicle for the transport of microbes. They endeavored to Christianize and civilize the natives, and so drew them into buildings where they were infected. They forced them to labor on plantations and in mines. In fact, they forced on them every facility for “catching” disease. As a result, they exterminated or almost exterminated them. The natives of the Gilbert Islands lately petitioned our government not to permit missionaries to settle among them, as they feared destruction. They were perfectly right. Clothes and churches and schoolrooms are fatal to such people. The Tasmanians, before they were quite exterminated, had a saying that good people–that is, people who went frequently to church–died young. They also were perfectly right–that is, as regards their own race.

It is a highly significant fact that, whereas every white man’s city in Asia or Africa has its native quarter, no white man’s city in the New World has a native quarter. To find the pure aborigines of the New World we must go to parts remote from cities and towns. They cannot accomplish in a few generations an evolution which the natives of the Old World accomplished only after hundreds, perhaps thousands, of generations, and at the cost of millions of lives. The negroes, who were introduced into America to fill the void created by the disappearing aborigines, have perhaps persisted, but they had already undergone some evolution against consumption–the chief disease of civilization–and much evolution against measles and other diseases. Yet even the negroes would not have persisted had they not been introduced under special conditions. They were taken to the warmer parts of America at a time when consumption was little rife as compared to its prevalence in the cities of Europe, and they were employed mainly in agricultural occupations. They had a special start, and were placed under conditions that worsened only slowly. As a result they underwent evolution, and are now able to persist in America. But African negroes, as compared to the natives of the densely populated parts of Europe and Asia, have undergone little evolution against consumption. As a consequence, no African colony has ever succeeded in Europe or Asia. For instance, the Dutch and English imported about twelve thousand negroes into Ceylon a century ago. Within twenty years all had perished, mainly of consumption, and that in a country where the disease is not nearly so prevalent as in northern Europe, or the more settled parts of northern Asia.

There can be little doubt that the sterility of the New World races when brought into contact with civilization is due mainly to ill-health. The sterility of our upper classes is mainly voluntary. It is due to the possession of special knowledge. The growing sterility of the lower classes is due to the spread of that knowledge; hence the general and continuous fall in the birth-rate. Until we are able to estimate the part played by this knowledge it would be vain to collect statistics of comparative sterility.

We have frequently been told that no city family can persist for four generations unless fortified by country blood. That, I believe, is a complete error. Country blood does not strengthen city blood. It weakens it, for country blood has been less thoroughly purged of weak elements. It is true, owing to the large mortality in cities and the great immigration from the country, it is difficult to find a city family which has had no infusion of country blood for four generations. But to suppose on that account that country blood strengthens city blood against the special conditions of city life is to confuse post hoc with propter hoc.

Slum life and the other evil influences of civilization, including bad and insufficient food, vitiated air, and zymotic diseases, injure the individual. They make him acquire a bad set of traits. But they do not injure the hereditary tendencies of the race. Had they done so, civilization would have been impossible. Civilized man would have become extinct. On the contrary, by weeding out the unfittest, they make the race strong against those influences.

If, then, we wish to raise the standard of our race, we must do it in two ways. In the first place, we must improve the conditions under which the individual develops, and so make him a finer animal. In the second place, we must endeavor to restrict, as much as possible, the marriage of the physically and mentally unfit. In other words, we must attend both to the acquired characters and to inborn characters. By merely improving the conditions under which people live we shall improve the individual, but not the race. The same measures will not achieve both objects. Medical men have done a good deal for the improvement of the acquired characters of the individual by improving sanitation. They have attempted nothing toward the second object, the improvement of the inborn traits of the race. Nor will they attempt anything until they have acquired a precise knowledge of heredity from biologists. On the other hand, before biologists are able to influence medical men they must bring to bear their exact methods of thought on the great changes produced in various races by their experience, during thousands of years, of disease. I am sure our knowledge of heredity will gain in precision and breadth by a consideration of these tremendous, long-continued, and drastic experiments conducted by nature. No experiments conducted by man can compare with them in magnitude and completeness. And, as I have already intimated, the precise statistical information on which our conclusions may be based is already collected and tabulated. I am quite sure it is good neither for medicine nor biology that medical men and biologists should live as it were in separate and closed compartments, each body ignoring the splendid mass of data collected by the other. Much of medicine should be a part of biology, and much of biology a part of medicine.

BY W. LESLIE MACKENZIE, M.A., M.D.

It is to me a great privilege to be permitted to say something in any discussion where Dr. Francis Galton is leader; because from early in my student days until now I have felt that his method of handling sociological facts has always been at once scientific and practical. Whether the ideas he represents have had some subconscious effect in driving me into the public-health service, I cannot tell; but since I entered that service fourteen years ago, I have been in a multitude of minor ways impressed with two things: first, that in every Scottish community, rural and urban, a hygienic renascence is in progress; second, that in the many forms it assumes, it has no explicit basis in scientific theory. In attempting, some time ago, to penetrate to the root-idea of the public-health movement, I concluded that, rightly or wrongly, we have all taken for granted certain postulates. The hygienic renascence is the objective side of a movement whose ethical basis is the set effort after a richer, cleaner, intenser, life in a highly organized society. The postulates of hygienics — whose administrative form constitutes the public-health service- are such as these: that society or the social group is essentially organic; that the social organism, being as yet but little integrated, is capable of rapid and easy modification, that is, of variations secured by selection; that disease is a name for certain maladaptations of the social organism or of its organic units; that diseases are thus, in greater or lesser degrees, preventable; that the prevention of disease promotes social evolution; that, by the organization of representative agencies–county councils, town councils, district councils, parish councils, and the like–the processes of natural selection may be indefinitely aided by artificial selections; that thus, by continuous modification of social organism, of its organic units, and of the compound environment of both, it is possible to further the production of better citizens–more energetic, more alert, more versatile, more individuated. Provisionally, public health may be defined as the systematic application of scientific ideas to the extirpation of diseases and thereby to the direct or indirect establishment of beneficial variations both in the social organism and in its organic units. In more concrete form, it is an organized effort of the collective social energy to heighten the physiological normal of civilized living.

A science of hygienics might thus be regarded as almost equivalent to the science of eugenics; character is presupposed in both. The fundamental assumption of hygienics is that the human organism is capable of greater things than on the average it has anywhere shown, and that its potentialities can be elicited by the systematic improvement of the environment. From the practical side, hygienics aims at “preparing a place” for the highest average of faculty to develop in.

Take heredity–one of Dr. Galton’s points. The modern movement for the extirpation of tubercular phthisis began with the definite proof that the disease is due to a bacillus. But the movement did not become world-wide until the belief in the heredity of tuberculosis had been sapped. So long as the tubercular person was weighted by the superstition that tubercular parents must necessarily produce tubercular children, and that the parents of tubercular children must themselves have been tubercular, he had little motive to seek for cure, the fatalism being here supported by the alleged inheritance of disease. Now that he knows how to resist the invasion of a germ, he is proceeding in his multitudes to fortify himself. What is true of tuberculosis is true of many other infections. Consequently, every hygienist will agree with Dr. Galton that the dissemination of a true theory of heredity is of the first practical importance. Nor is the evil of a wrong theory of heredity confined to infectious disease. If the official “nomenclature of diseases” be carefully scrutinized, it will be found that the vast majority of diseases are due either to the attacks of infective or parasitic organisms, or to the functional stress of environment, which for this purpose is better named “nurture.” This has recently been borne in upon me by the examination of school children. The conclusion inevitably arising out of the facts is that inherited capacities are in every class of society so masked by the effects of nurture, good or bad, that we have as yet no means of determining, in any individual case, how much is due to inheritance and how much to nurture. There is here an unlimited field for detailed study.

Next, fertility. It is, I suppose, on the whole, true that the less opulent classes are more fertile than the more opulent. But I am not prepared to accept the assumption that the economically “upper classes” coincide with the biologically “upper classes.” May it not be that the relatively infertile “upper classes” (economical) are only the biological limit of the “lower classes,” from which the “upper” are continually recruited? Until the economically “lower classes” are analyzed in such detail as will enable us to eliminate what is due to bad environment, we cannot come to final conclusions on the relative fertility or infertility of “upper” or “lower.” Until such an analysis is made, we cannot well assume that the difference in fertility is in any degree due to fundamental biological differences or modifications. Dr. Noel Paton has recently shown that starved mothers produce starved offspring and that well-fed mothers produce well-fed offspring. In his particular experiment with guinea pigs the numbers of offspring were unaffected. If this experiment should be verified on the large scale, it would form some ground for doubting whether the mere increase of comfort directly produces biological infertility. The capacity to reproduce may remain; but reproduction may be limited by a different ethic. The universal fall in the birth-rate has been too rapid to justify simpliciter the conclusion that biological capacity has altered.

When the public-health organizations have succeeded in extirpating the grosser evils of environment, they will, it is hoped, proceed to deal more intimately with the individual. In the present movement for the medical examination and supervision of school children we have an indication of great developments. If to the relatively coarse methods of practical hygienics we could now add the precision of anthropometry, we should find ready to hand in the schools an unlimited quantity of raw material. We might even hope to add some pages to the “golden book” of “thriving families.” Incidentally, one might suggest a minor inquiry: Of the large thriving families, do the older or the middle or the younger members show, on the average, the greater ultimate capacity for civic life ? My impression is that, in our present social conditions, the middle children are likely to show the highest percentage of total capacity. This is a mere impression, but it is worth putting to the test of facts.

To the worker in the fighting line, as the public-health officer must always regard himself, Dr. Galton’s suggestions come with inspiration and light.

BY G. BERNARD SHAW

I agree with the paper, and go so far as to say that there is now no reasonable excuse for refusing to face the fact that nothing but a eugenic religion can save our civilization from the fate that has overtaken all previous civilizations.

It is worth pointing out that we never hesitate to carry out the negative side of eugenics with considerable zest, both on the scaffold and on the battlefield. We have never deliberately called a human being into existence for the sake of civilization; but we have wiped out millions. We kill a Tibetan regardless of expense, and in defiance of our religion, to clear the way to Lhassa for the Englishman; but we take no really scientific steps to secure that the Englishman when he gets there, will be able to live up to our assumption of his superiority.

Originally posted here:

"Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope and Aims" by Francis Galton

Eugenics – Wikipedia

Eugenics (; from Greek eugenes ‘well-born’ from eu, ‘good, well’ and genos, ‘race, stock, kin’)[2][3] is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a human population.[4][5] The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined by Francis Galton in 1883. The concept predates this coinage, with Plato suggesting applying the principles of selective breeding to humans around 400BCE.

Frederick Osborn’s 1937 journal article “Development of a Eugenic Philosophy”[6] framed it as a social philosophythat is, a philosophy with implications for social order. That definition is not universally accepted. Osborn advocated for higher rates of sexual reproduction among people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics).

Alternatively, gene selection rather than “people selection” has recently been made possible through advances in genome editing,[7] leading to what is sometimes called new eugenics, also known as neo-eugenics, consumer eugenics, or liberal eugenics.

While eugenic principles have been practiced as far back in world history as ancient Greece, the modern history of eugenics began in the early 20th century when a popular eugenics movement emerged in the United Kingdom[8] and spread to many countries including the United States, Canada[9] and most European countries. In this period, eugenic ideas were espoused across the political spectrum. Consequently, many countries adopted eugenic policies with the intent to improve the quality of their populations’ genetic stock. Such programs included both “positive” measures, such as encouraging individuals deemed particularly “fit” to reproduce, and “negative” measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization of people deemed unfit for reproduction. People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups. The eugenics movement became negatively associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust when many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the U.S. eugenics programs.[10] In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually began to abandon eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them the United States and Sweden, continued to carry out forced sterilizations.

Since the 1980s and 1990s, when new assisted reproductive technology procedures became available such as gestational surrogacy (available since 1985), preimplantation genetic diagnosis (available since 1989), and cytoplasmic transfer (first performed in 1996), fear about a possible revival of eugenics and widening of the gap between the rich and the poor has emerged.

A major criticism of eugenics policies is that, regardless of whether “negative” or “positive” policies are used, they are susceptible to abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in political power at the time. Furthermore, negative eugenics in particular is considered by many to be a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduction. Another criticism is that eugenic policies eventually lead to a loss of genetic diversity, resulting in inbreeding depression due to lower genetic variation.

The concept of positive eugenics to produce better human beings has existed at least since Plato suggested selective mating to produce a guardian class.[12]

The first formal negative eugenics, that is a legal provision against birth of inferior human beings, was promulgated in Western European culture by the Christian Council of Agde in 506, which forbade marriage between cousins.[13]

This idea was also promoted by William Goodell (18291894) who advocated the castration and spaying of the insane.[14][15]

The idea of a modern project of improving the human population through a statistical understanding of heredity used to encourage good breeding was originally developed by Francis Galton and, initially, was closely linked to Darwinism and his theory of natural selection.[16] Galton had read his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which sought to explain the development of plant and animal species, and desired to apply it to humans. Based on his biographical studies, Galton believed that desirable human qualities were hereditary traits, though Darwin strongly disagreed with this elaboration of his theory.[17] In 1883, one year after Darwin’s death, Galton gave his research a name: eugenics.[18] With the introduction of genetics, eugenics became associated with genetic determinism, the belief that human character is entirely or in the majority caused by genes, unaffected by education or living conditions. Many of the early geneticists were not Darwinians, and evolution theory was not needed for eugenics policies based on genetic determinism.[16] Throughout its recent history, eugenics has remained controversial.

Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities and received funding from many sources.[20] Organizations were formed to win public support and sway opinion towards responsible eugenic values in parenthood, including the British Eugenics Education Society of 1907 and the American Eugenics Society of 1921. Both sought support from leading clergymen and modified their message to meet religious ideals.[21] In 1909 the Anglican clergymen William Inge and James Peile both wrote for the British Eugenics Education Society. Inge was an invited speaker at the 1921 International Eugenics Conference, which was also endorsed by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York Patrick Joseph Hayes.[21]

Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York City. Eugenic policies were first implemented in the early 1900s in the United States.[22] It also took root in France, Germany, and Great Britain.[23] Later, in the 1920s and 1930s, the eugenic policy of sterilizing certain mental patients was implemented in other countries including Belgium,[24] Brazil,[25] Canada,[26] Japan and Sweden.

In addition to being practiced in a number of countries, eugenics was internationally organized through the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations. Its scientific aspects were carried on through research bodies such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, the Cold Spring Harbour Carnegie Institution for Experimental Evolution, and the Eugenics Record Office. Politically, the movement advocated measures such as sterilization laws. In its moral dimension, eugenics rejected the doctrine that all human beings are born equal and redefined moral worth purely in terms of genetic fitness. Its racist elements included pursuit of a pure “Nordic race” or “Aryan” genetic pool and the eventual elimination of “unfit” races.

Early critics of the philosophy of eugenics included the American sociologist Lester Frank Ward,[35] the English writer G. K. Chesterton, the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas, who argued that advocates of eugenics greatly over-estimate the influence of biology,[36] and Scottish tuberculosis pioneer and author Halliday Sutherland. Ward’s 1913 article “Eugenics, Euthenics, and Eudemics”, Chesterton’s 1917 book Eugenics and Other Evils, and Boas’ 1916 article “Eugenics” (published in The Scientific Monthly) were all harshly critical of the rapidly growing movement. Sutherland identified eugenists as a major obstacle to the eradication and cure of tuberculosis in his 1917 address “Consumption: Its Cause and Cure”,[37] and criticism of eugenists and Neo-Malthusians in his 1921 book Birth Control led to a writ for libel from the eugenist Marie Stopes. Several biologists were also antagonistic to the eugenics movement, including Lancelot Hogben.[38] Other biologists such as J. B. S. Haldane and R. A. Fisher expressed skepticism in the belief that sterilization of “defectives” would lead to the disappearance of undesirable genetic traits.[39]

Among institutions, the Catholic Church was an opponent of state-enforced sterilizations.[40] Attempts by the Eugenics Education Society to persuade the British government to legalize voluntary sterilization were opposed by Catholics and by the Labour Party.[41] The American Eugenics Society initially gained some Catholic supporters, but Catholic support declined following the 1930 papal encyclical Casti connubii.[21] In this, Pope Pius XI explicitly condemned sterilization laws: “Public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects; therefore, where no crime has taken place and there is no cause present for grave punishment, they can never directly harm, or tamper with the integrity of the body, either for the reasons of eugenics or for any other reason.”[42]

As a social movement, eugenics reached its greatest popularity in the early decades of the 20th century, when it was practiced around the world and promoted by governments, institutions, and influential individuals. Many countries enacted[43] various eugenics policies, including: genetic screenings, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and sequestering the mentally ill), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies, ultimately culminating in genocide.

The scientific reputation of eugenics started to decline in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler had praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf in 1925 and emulated eugenic legislation for the sterilization of “defectives” that had been pioneered in the United States once he took power. Some common early 20th century eugenics methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as “degenerate” or “unfit”, and therefore led to segregation, institutionalization, sterilization, euthanasia, and even mass murder. The Nazi practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.

By the end of World War II, many discriminatory eugenics laws were abandoned, having become associated with Nazi Germany.[46] H. G. Wells, who had called for “the sterilization of failures” in 1904,[47] stated in his 1940 book The Rights of Man: Or What are we fighting for? that among the human rights, which he believed should be available to all people, was “a prohibition on mutilation, sterilization, torture, and any bodily punishment”.[48] After World War II, the practice of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a national, ethnical, racial or religious] group” fell within the definition of the new international crime of genocide, set out in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[49] The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also proclaims “the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at selection of persons”.[50] In spite of the decline in discriminatory eugenics laws, some government mandated sterilizations continued into the 21st century. During the ten years President Alberto Fujimori led Peru from 1990 to 2000, 2,000 persons were allegedly involuntarily sterilized.[51] China maintained its one-child policy until 2015 as well as a suite of other eugenics based legislation to reduce population size and manage fertility rates of different populations.[52][53][54] In 2007 the United Nations reported coercive sterilizations and hysterectomies in Uzbekistan.[55] During the years 2005 to 2013, nearly one-third of the 144 California prison inmates who were sterilized did not give lawful consent to the operation.[56]

Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century are raising numerous questions regarding the ethical status of eugenics, effectively creating a resurgence of interest in the subject. Some, such as UC Berkeley sociologist Troy Duster, claim that modern genetics is a back door to eugenics.[57] This view is shared by White House Assistant Director for Forensic Sciences, Tania Simoncelli, who stated in a 2003 publication by the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College that advances in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are moving society to a “new era of eugenics”, and that, unlike the Nazi eugenics, modern eugenics is consumer driven and market based, “where children are increasingly regarded as made-to-order consumer products”.[58] In a 2006 newspaper article, Richard Dawkins said that discussion regarding eugenics was inhibited by the shadow of Nazi misuse, to the extent that some scientists would not admit that breeding humans for certain abilities is at all possible. He believes that it is not physically different from breeding domestic animals for traits such as speed or herding skill. Dawkins felt that enough time had elapsed to at least ask just what the ethical differences were between breeding for ability versus training athletes or forcing children to take music lessons, though he could think of persuasive reasons to draw the distinction.[59]

Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Father of Singapore, started promoting eugenics as early as 1983.[60][61]

In October 2015, the United Nations’ International Bioethics Committee wrote that the ethical problems of human genetic engineering should not be confused with the ethical problems of the 20th century eugenics movements. However, it is still problematic because it challenges the idea of human equality and opens up new forms of discrimination and stigmatization for those who do not want, or cannot afford, the technology.[62]

Transhumanism is often associated with eugenics, although most transhumanists holding similar views nonetheless distance themselves from the term “eugenics” (preferring “germinal choice” or “reprogenetics”)[63] to avoid having their position confused with the discredited theories and practices of early-20th-century eugenic movements.

Prenatal screening can be considered a form of contemporary eugenics because it may lead to abortions of children with undesirable traits.[64]

The term eugenics and its modern field of study were first formulated by Francis Galton in 1883,[65] drawing on the recent work of his half-cousin Charles Darwin.[66][67] Galton published his observations and conclusions in his book Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.

The origins of the concept began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance and the theories of August Weismann. The word eugenics is derived from the Greek word eu (“good” or “well”) and the suffix -gens (“born”), and was coined by Galton in 1883 to replace the word “stirpiculture”, which he had used previously but which had come to be mocked due to its perceived sexual overtones.[69] Galton defined eugenics as “the study of all agencies under human control which can improve or impair the racial quality of future generations”.[70]

Historically, the term eugenics has referred to everything from prenatal care for mothers to forced sterilization and euthanasia.[71] To population geneticists, the term has included the avoidance of inbreeding without altering allele frequencies; for example, J. B. S. Haldane wrote that “the motor bus, by breaking up inbred village communities, was a powerful eugenic agent.”[72] Debate as to what exactly counts as eugenics continues today.[73]

Edwin Black, journalist and author of War Against the Weak, claims eugenics is often deemed a pseudoscience because what is defined as a genetic improvement of a desired trait is often deemed a cultural choice rather than a matter that can be determined through objective scientific inquiry.[74] The most disputed aspect of eugenics has been the definition of “improvement” of the human gene pool, such as what is a beneficial characteristic and what is a defect. Historically, this aspect of eugenics was tainted with scientific racism and pseudoscience.[75][76][77]

Early eugenists were mostly concerned with factors of perceived intelligence that often correlated strongly with social class. Some of these early eugenists include Karl Pearson and Walter Weldon, who worked on this at the University College London.[17]

Eugenics also had a place in medicine. In his lecture “Darwinism, Medical Progress and Eugenics”, Karl Pearson said that everything concerning eugenics fell into the field of medicine. He basically placed the two words as equivalents. He was supported in part by the fact that Francis Galton, the father of eugenics, also had medical training.[78]

Eugenic policies have been conceptually divided into two categories.[71] Positive eugenics is aimed at encouraging reproduction among the genetically advantaged; for example, the reproduction of the intelligent, the healthy, and the successful. Possible approaches include financial and political stimuli, targeted demographic analyses, in vitro fertilization, egg transplants, and cloning.[79] The movie Gattaca provides a fictional example of a dystopian society that uses eugenics to decided what you are capable of and your place in the world. Negative eugenics aimed to eliminate, through sterilization or segregation, those deemed physically, mentally, or morally “undesirable”. This includes abortions, sterilization, and other methods of family planning.[79] Both positive and negative eugenics can be coercive; abortion for fit women, for example, was illegal in Nazi Germany.[80]

Jon Entine claims that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution”.[81]

According to Richard Lynn, eugenics may be divided into two main categories based on the ways in which the methods of eugenics can be applied.[82]

The first major challenge to conventional eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was made in 1915 by Thomas Hunt Morgan. He demonstrated the event of genetic mutation occurring outside of inheritance involving the discovery of the hatching of a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) with white eyes from a family with red-eyes. Morgan claimed that this demonstrated that major genetic changes occurred outside of inheritance and that the concept of eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was not completely scientifically accurate. Additionally, Morgan criticized the view that subjective traits, such as intelligence and criminality, were caused by heredity because he believed that the definitions of these traits varied and that accurate work in genetics could only be done when the traits being studied were accurately defined.[119] Despite Morgan’s public rejection of eugenics, much of his genetic research was absorbed by eugenics.[120][121]

The heterozygote test is used for the early detection of recessive hereditary diseases, allowing for couples to determine if they are at risk of passing genetic defects to a future child.[122] The goal of the test is to estimate the likelihood of passing the hereditary disease to future descendants.[122]

Recessive traits can be severely reduced, but never eliminated unless the complete genetic makeup of all members of the pool was known, as aforementioned. As only very few undesirable traits, such as Huntington’s disease, are dominant, it could be argued[by whom?] from certain perspectives that the practicality of “eliminating” traits is quite low.[citation needed]

There are examples of eugenic acts that managed to lower the prevalence of recessive diseases, although not influencing the prevalence of heterozygote carriers of those diseases. The elevated prevalence of certain genetically transmitted diseases among the Ashkenazi Jewish population (TaySachs, cystic fibrosis, Canavan’s disease, and Gaucher’s disease), has been decreased in current populations by the application of genetic screening.[123]

Pleiotropy occurs when one gene influences multiple, seemingly unrelated phenotypic traits, an example being phenylketonuria, which is a human disease that affects multiple systems but is caused by one gene defect.[124] Andrzej Pkalski, from the University of Wrocaw, argues that eugenics can cause harmful loss of genetic diversity if a eugenics program selects a pleiotropic gene that could possibly be associated with a positive trait. Pekalski uses the example of a coercive government eugenics program that prohibits people with myopia from breeding but has the unintended consequence of also selecting against high intelligence since the two go together.[125]

Eugenic policies could also lead to loss of genetic diversity, in which case a culturally accepted “improvement” of the gene pool could very likelyas evidenced in numerous instances in isolated island populations result in extinction due to increased vulnerability to disease, reduced ability to adapt to environmental change, and other factors both known and unknown. A long-term, species-wide eugenics plan might lead to a scenario similar to this because the elimination of traits deemed undesirable would reduce genetic diversity by definition.[126]

Edward M. Miller claims that, in any one generation, any realistic program should make only minor changes in a fraction of the gene pool, giving plenty of time to reverse direction if unintended consequences emerge, reducing the likelihood of the elimination of desirable genes.[127] Miller also argues that any appreciable reduction in diversity is so far in the future that little concern is needed for now.[127]

While the science of genetics has increasingly provided means by which certain characteristics and conditions can be identified and understood, given the complexity of human genetics, culture, and psychology, at this point no agreed objective means of determining which traits might be ultimately desirable or undesirable. Some diseases such as sickle-cell disease and cystic fibrosis respectively confer immunity to malaria and resistance to cholera when a single copy of the recessive allele is contained within the genotype of the individual. Reducing the instance of sickle-cell disease genes in Africa where malaria is a common and deadly disease could indeed have extremely negative net consequences.

However, some genetic diseases cause people to consider some elements of eugenics.

Societal and political consequences of eugenics call for a place in the discussion on the ethics behind the eugenics movement.[128] Many of the ethical concerns regarding eugenics arise from its controversial past, prompting a discussion on what place, if any, it should have in the future. Advances in science have changed eugenics. In the past, eugenics had more to do with sterilization and enforced reproduction laws.[129] Now, in the age of a progressively mapped genome, embryos can be tested for susceptibility to disease, gender, and genetic defects, and alternative methods of reproduction such as in vitro fertilization are becoming more common.[130] Therefore, eugenics is no longer ex post facto regulation of the living but instead preemptive action on the unborn.[131]

With this change, however, there are ethical concerns which lack adequate attention, and which must be addressed before eugenic policies can be properly implemented in the future. Sterilized individuals, for example, could volunteer for the procedure, albeit under incentive or duress, or at least voice their opinion. The unborn fetus on which these new eugenic procedures are performed cannot speak out, as the fetus lacks the voice to consent or to express his or her opinion.[132] Philosophers disagree about the proper framework for reasoning about such actions, which change the very identity and existence of future persons.[133]

A common criticism of eugenics is that “it inevitably leads to measures that are unethical”.[134] Some fear future “eugenics wars” as the worst-case scenario: the return of coercive state-sponsored genetic discrimination and human rights violations such as compulsory sterilization of persons with genetic defects, the killing of the institutionalized and, specifically, segregation and genocide of races perceived as inferior.[135] Health law professor George Annas and technology law professor Lori Andrews are prominent advocates of the position that the use of these technologies could lead to such human-posthuman caste warfare.[136][137]

In his 2003 book Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, environmental ethicist Bill McKibben argued at length against germinal choice technology and other advanced biotechnological strategies for human enhancement. He writes that it would be morally wrong for humans to tamper with fundamental aspects of themselves (or their children) in an attempt to overcome universal human limitations, such as vulnerability to aging, maximum life span and biological constraints on physical and cognitive ability. Attempts to “improve” themselves through such manipulation would remove limitations that provide a necessary context for the experience of meaningful human choice. He claims that human lives would no longer seem meaningful in a world where such limitations could be overcome with technology. Even the goal of using germinal choice technology for clearly therapeutic purposes should be relinquished, since it would inevitably produce temptations to tamper with such things as cognitive capacities. He argues that it is possible for societies to benefit from renouncing particular technologies, using as examples Ming China, Tokugawa Japan and the contemporary Amish.[138]

Some, for example Nathaniel C. Comfort from Johns Hopkins University, claim that the change from state-led reproductive-genetic decision-making to individual choice has moderated the worst abuses of eugenics by transferring the decision-making from the state to the patient and their family.[139] Comfort suggests that “the eugenic impulse drives us to eliminate disease, live longer and healthier, with greater intelligence, and a better adjustment to the conditions of society; and the health benefits, the intellectual thrill and the profits of genetic bio-medicine are too great for us to do otherwise.”[140] Others, such as bioethicist Stephen Wilkinson of Keele University and Honorary Research Fellow Eve Garrard at the University of Manchester, claim that some aspects of modern genetics can be classified as eugenics, but that this classification does not inherently make modern genetics immoral. In a co-authored publication by Keele University, they stated that “[e]ugenics doesn’t seem always to be immoral, and so the fact that PGD, and other forms of selective reproduction, might sometimes technically be eugenic, isn’t sufficient to show that they’re wrong.”[141]

In their book published in 2000, From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice, bioethicists Allen Buchanan, Dan Brock, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler argued that liberal societies have an obligation to encourage as wide an adoption of eugenic enhancement technologies as possible (so long as such policies do not infringe on individuals’ reproductive rights or exert undue pressures on prospective parents to use these technologies) in order to maximize public health and minimize the inequalities that may result from both natural genetic endowments and unequal access to genetic enhancements.[142]

Original position, a hypothetical situation developed by American philosopher John Rawls, has been used as an argument for negative eugenics.[143][144]

Notes

Bibliography

Further reading

Originally posted here:

Eugenics – Wikipedia

Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia

Eugenics, the set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population,[2][3] played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States prior to its involvement in World War II.[4]

Eugenics was practiced in the United States many years before eugenics programs in Nazi Germany,[5] which were largely inspired by the previous American work.[6][7][8] Stefan Khl has documented the consensus between Nazi race policies and those of eugenicists in other countries, including the United States, and points out that eugenicists understood Nazi policies and measures as the realization of their goals and demands.[9]

During the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th century, eugenics was considered a method of preserving and improving the dominant groups in the population; it is now generally associated with racist and nativist elements, as the movement was to some extent a reaction to a change in emigration from Europe, rather than scientific genetics.[10]

The American eugenics movement was rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton, which originated in the 1880s. Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup.[11] Early proponents of eugenics believed that, through selective breeding, the human species should direct its own evolution. They tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples; supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws; and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and “immoral”.[12] Eugenics was also supported by African Americans intellectuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Thomas Wyatt Turner, and many academics at Tuskegee University, Howard University, and Hampton University; however, they believed the best blacks were as good as the best whites and “The Talented Tenth” of all races should mix.[13] W. E. B. Du Bois believed “only fit blacks should procreate to eradicate the race’s heritage of moral iniquity.”[13][14]

The American eugenics movement received extensive funding from various corporate foundations including the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman railroad fortune.[7] In 1906 J.H. Kellogg provided funding to help found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.[11] The Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was founded in Cold Spring Harbor, New York in 1911 by the renowned biologist Charles B. Davenport, using money from both the Harriman railroad fortune and the Carnegie Institution. As late as the 1920s, the ERO was one of the leading organizations in the American eugenics movement.[11][15] In years to come, the ERO collected a mass of family pedigrees and concluded that those who were unfit came from economically and socially poor backgrounds. Eugenicists such as Davenport, the psychologist Henry H. Goddard, Harry H. Laughlin, and the conservationist Madison Grant (all well respected in their time) began to lobby for various solutions to the problem of the “unfit”. Davenport favored immigration restriction and sterilization as primary methods; Goddard favored segregation in his The Kallikak Family; Grant favored all of the above and more, even entertaining the idea of extermination.[16] The Eugenics Record Office later became the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Eugenics was widely accepted in the U.S. academic community.[7] By 1928, there were 376 separate university courses in some of the United States’ leading schools, enrolling more than 20,000 students, which included eugenics in the curriculum.[17] It did, however, have scientific detractors (notably, Thomas Hunt Morgan, one of the few Mendelians to explicitly criticize eugenics), though most of these focused more on what they considered the crude methodology of eugenicists, and the characterization of almost every human characteristic as being hereditary, rather than the idea of eugenics itself.[18]

By 1910, there was a large and dynamic network of scientists, reformers, and professionals engaged in national eugenics projects and actively promoting eugenic legislation. The American Breeder’s Association was the first eugenic body in the U.S., established in 1906 under the direction of biologist Charles B. Davenport. The ABA was formed specifically to “investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood.” Membership included Alexander Graham Bell, Stanford president David Starr Jordan and Luther Burbank.[19][20] The American Association for the Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality was one of the first organizations to begin investigating infant mortality rates in terms of eugenics.[21] They promoted government intervention in attempts to promote the health of future citizens.[22][verification needed]

Several feminist reformers advocated an agenda of eugenic legal reform. The National Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among the variety of state and local feminist organization that at some point lobbied for eugenic reforms.[23]

One of the most prominent feminists to champion the eugenic agenda was Margaret Sanger, the leader of the American birth control movement. Margaret Sanger saw birth control as a means to prevent unwanted children from being born into a disadvantaged life, and incorporated the language of eugenics to advance the movement.[24][25] Sanger also sought to discourage the reproduction of persons who, it was believed, would pass on mental disease or serious physical defects. She advocated sterilization in cases where the subject was unable to use birth control.[24] She rejected euthanasia.[26] For Sanger, it was individual women and not the state who should determine whether or not to have a child.[27][28]

In the Deep South, women’s associations played an important role in rallying support for eugenic legal reform. Eugenicists recognized the political and social influence of southern clubwomen in their communities, and used them to help implement eugenics across the region.[29] Between 1915 and 1920, federated women’s clubs in every state of the Deep South had a critical role in establishing public eugenic institutions that were segregated by sex.[30] For example, the Legislative Committee of the Florida State Federation of Women’s Clubs successfully lobbied to institute a eugenic institution for the mentally retarded that was segregated by sex.[31] Their aim was to separate mentally retarded men and women to prevent them from breeding more “feebleminded” individuals.

Public acceptance in the U.S. was the reason eugenic legislation was passed. Almost 19 million people attended the PanamaPacific International Exposition in San Francisco, open for 10 months from 20 February to 4 December 1915.[32][33] The PPIE was a fair devoted to extolling the virtues of a rapidly progressing nation, featuring new developments in science, agriculture, manufacturing and technology. A subject that received a large amount of time and space was that of the developments concerning health and disease, particularly the areas of tropical medicine and race betterment (tropical medicine being the combined study of bacteriology, parasitology and entomology while racial betterment being the promotion of eugenic studies). Having these areas so closely intertwined, it seemed that they were both categorized in the main theme of the fair, the advancement of civilization. Thus in the public eye, the seemingly contradictory[clarification needed] areas of study were both represented under progressive banners of improvement and were made to seem like plausible courses of action to better American society.[34][verification needed]

Beginning with Connecticut in 1896, many states enacted marriage laws with eugenic criteria, prohibiting anyone who was “epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded”[35] from marrying.[36]

The first state to introduce a compulsory sterilization bill was Michigan, in 1897 but the proposed law failed to garner enough votes by legislators to be adopted. Eight years later Pennsylvania’s state legislators passed a sterilization bill that was vetoed by the governor. Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907,[37] followed closely by Washington and California in 1909. Sterilization rates across the country were relatively low (California being the sole exception) until the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell which legitimized the forced sterilization of patients at a Virginia home for the mentally retarded. The number of sterilizations performed per year increased until another Supreme Court case, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 1942, complicated the legal situation by ruling against sterilization of criminals if the equal protection clause of the constitution was violated. That is, if sterilization was to be performed, then it could not exempt white-collar criminals.[38] The state of California was at the vanguard of the American eugenics movement, performing about 20,000 sterilizations or one third of the 60,000 nationwide from 1909 up until the 1960s.[39]

While California had the highest number of sterilizations, North Carolina’s eugenics program which operated from 1933 to 1977, was the most aggressive of the 32 states that had eugenics programs.[40] An IQ of 70 or lower meant sterilization was appropriate in North Carolina.[41] The North Carolina Eugenics Board almost always approved proposals brought before them by local welfare boards.[41] Of all states, only North Carolina gave social workers the power to designate people for sterilization.[40] “Here, at last, was a method of preventing unwanted pregnancies by an acceptable, practical, and inexpensive method,” wrote Wallace Kuralt in the March 1967 journal of the N.C. Board of Public Welfare. “The poor readily adopted the new techniques for birth control.”[41]

The Immigration Restriction League was the first American entity associated officially with eugenics. Founded in 1894 by three recent Harvard University graduates, the League sought to bar what it considered inferior races from entering America and diluting what it saw as the superior American racial stock (upper class Northerners of Anglo-Saxon heritage). They felt that social and sexual involvement with these less-evolved and less-civilized races would pose a biological threat to the American population. The League lobbied for a literacy test for immigrants, based on the belief that literacy rates were low among “inferior races”. Literacy test bills were vetoed by Presidents in 1897, 1913 and 1915; eventually, President Wilson’s second veto was overruled by Congress in 1917. Membership in the League included: A. Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard, William DeWitt Hyde, president of Bowdoin College, James T. Young, director of Wharton School and David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford University.[42]

The League allied themselves with the American Breeder’s Association to gain influence and further its goals and in 1909 established a Committee on Eugenics chaired by David Starr Jordan with members Charles Davenport, Alexander Graham Bell, Vernon Kellogg, Luther Burbank, William Ernest Castle, Adolf Meyer, H. J. Webber and Friedrich Woods. The ABA’s immigration legislation committee, formed in 1911 and headed by League’s founder Prescott F. Hall, formalized the committee’s already strong relationship with the Immigration Restriction League. They also founded the Eugenics Record Office, which was headed by Harry H. Laughlin.[43] In their mission statement, they wrote:

Society must protect itself; as it claims the right to deprive the murderer of his life so it may also annihilate the hideous serpent of hopelessly vicious protoplasm. Here is where appropriate legislation will aid in eugenics and creating a healthier, saner society in the future.”[43]

Money from the Harriman railroad fortune was also given to local charities, in order to find immigrants from specific ethnic groups and deport, confine, or forcibly sterilize them.[7]

With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played an important role in the Congressional debate as expert advisers on the threat of “inferior stock” from eastern and southern Europe.[44][verification needed] The new act, inspired by the eugenic belief in the racial superiority of “old stock” white Americans as members of the “Nordic race” (a form of white supremacy), strengthened the position of existing laws prohibiting race-mixing.[45] Eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many anti-miscegenation laws.[46]

Stephen Jay Gould asserted that restrictions on immigration passed in the United States during the 1920s (and overhauled in 1965 with the Immigration and Nationality Act) were motivated by the goals of eugenics. During the early 20th century, the United States and Canada began to receive far higher numbers of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. Influential eugenicists like Lothrop Stoddard and Harry Laughlin (who was appointed as an expert witness for the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1920) presented arguments they would pollute the national gene pool if their numbers went unrestricted.[47][48] It has been argued that this stirred both Canada and the United States into passing laws creating a hierarchy of nationalities, rating them from the most desirable Anglo-Saxon and Nordic peoples to the Chinese and Japanese immigrants, who were almost completely banned from entering the country.[45][49]

Both class and race factored into eugenic definitions of “fit” and “unfit.” By using intelligence testing, American eugenicists asserted that social mobility was indicative of one’s genetic fitness.[50] This reaffirmed the existing class and racial hierarchies and explained why the upper-to-middle class was predominantly white. Middle-to-upper class status was a marker of “superior strains.”[31] In contrast, eugenicists believed poverty to be a characteristic of genetic inferiority, which meant that those deemed “unfit” were predominantly of the lower classes.[31]

Because class status designated some more fit than others, eugenicists treated upper and lower class women differently. Positive eugenicists, who promoted procreation among the fittest in society, encouraged middle class women to bear more children. Between 1900 and 1960, Eugenicists appealed to middle class white women to become more “family minded,” and to help better the race.[51] To this end, eugenicists often denied middle and upper class women sterilization and birth control.[52]

Since poverty was associated with prostitution and “mental idiocy,” women of the lower classes were the first to be deemed “unfit” and “promiscuous.”[31]

In 1907, Indiana passed the first eugenics-based compulsory sterilization law in the world. Thirty U.S. states would soon follow their lead.[53][54] Although the law was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court in 1921,[55] the U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell, upheld the constitutionality of the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924, allowing for the compulsory sterilization of patients of state mental institutions in 1927.[56]

Some states sterilized “imbeciles” for much of the 20th century. Although compulsory sterilization is now considered an abuse of human rights, Buck v. Bell was never overturned, and Virginia did not repeal its sterilization law until 1974.[57] The most significant era of eugenic sterilization was between 1907 and 1963, when over 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under eugenic legislation in the United States.[58] Beginning around 1930, there was a steady increase in the percentage of women sterilized, and in a few states only young women were sterilized. From 1930 to the 1960s, sterilizations were performed on many more institutionalized women than men.[31] By 1961, 61 percent of the 62,162 total eugenic sterilizations in the United States were performed on women.[31] A favorable report on the results of sterilization in California, the state with the most sterilizations by far, was published in book form by the biologist Paul Popenoe and was widely cited by the Nazi government as evidence that wide-reaching sterilization programs were feasible and humane.[59][60]

Men and women were compulsorily sterilized for different reasons. Men were sterilized to treat their aggression and to eliminate their criminal behavior, while women were sterilized to control the results of their sexuality.[31] Since women bore children, eugenicists held women more accountable than men for the reproduction of the less “desirable” members of society.[31] Eugenicists therefore predominantly targeted women in their efforts to regulate the birth rate, to “protect” white racial health, and weed out the “defectives” of society.[31]

A 1937 Fortune magazine poll found that 2/3 of respondents supported eugenic sterilization of “mental defectives”, 63% supported sterilization of criminals, and only 15% opposed both.[61][62]

In the 1970s, several activists and women’s rights groups discovered several physicians to be performing coerced sterilizations of specific ethnic groups of society. All were abuses of poor, nonwhite, or mentally retarded women, while no abuses against white or middle-class women were recorded.[63] Several court cases such as Madrigal v. Quilligan, a class action suit regarding forced or coerced postpartum sterilization of Latina women following cesarean sections, and Relf v. Weinberger,[64] the sterilization of two young black girls by tricking their illiterate mother into signing a waiver, helped bring to light some of the widespread abuses of sterilization supported by federal funds.[65][66]

In 1972, United States Senate committee testimony brought to light that at least 2,000 involuntary sterilizations had been performed on poor black women without their consent or knowledge.[67] An investigation revealed that the surgeries were all performed in the South, and were all performed on black welfare mothers with multiple children.[67] Testimony revealed that many of these women were threatened with an end to their welfare benefits until they consented to sterilization.[67] These surgeries were instances of sterilization abuse, a term applied to any sterilization performed without the consent or knowledge of the recipient, or in which the recipient is pressured into accepting the surgery. Because the funds used to carry out the surgeries came from the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, the sterilization abuse raised older suspicions, especially amongst the black community, that “federal programs were underwriting eugenicists who wanted to impose their views about population quality on minorities and poor women.”[31]

Native American women were also victims of sterilization abuse up into the 1970s.[68] The organization WARN (Women of All Red Nations) publicized that Native American women were threatened that, if they had more children, they would be denied welfare benefits. The Indian Health Service also repeatedly refused to deliver Native American babies until their mothers, in labor, consented to sterilization. Many Native American women unknowingly gave consent, since directions were not given in their native language. According to the General Accounting Office, an estimate of 3,406 Indian women were sterilized.[68] The General Accounting Office stated that the Indian Health Service had not followed the necessary regulations, and that the “informed consent forms did not adhere to the standards set by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).”[69]

In 2013, it was reported that 148 female prisoners in two California prisons were sterilized between 2006 and 2010 in a supposedly voluntary program, but it was determined that the prisoners did not give consent to the procedures.[70] In September 2014, California enacted Bill SB1135 that bans sterilization in correctional facilities, unless the procedure is required to save an inmate’s life.[71]

Edwin Black wrote that one of the methods that was suggested to get rid of “defective germ-plasm in the human population” was euthanasia.[7] A 1911 Carnegie Institute report explored eighteen methods for removing defective genetic attributes, and method number eight was euthanasia.[7] The most commonly suggested method of euthanasia was to set up local gas chambers.[7] However, many in the eugenics movement did not believe that Americans were ready to implement a large-scale euthanasia program, so many doctors had to find clever ways of subtly implementing eugenic euthanasia in various medical institutions.[7] For example, a mental institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk infected with tuberculosis (reasoning that genetically fit individuals would be resistant), resulting in 3040% annual death rates.[7] Other doctors practiced euthanasia through various forms of lethal neglect.[7]

In the 1930s, there was a wave of portrayals of eugenic “mercy killings” in American film, newspapers, and magazines. In 1931, the Illinois Homeopathic Medicine Association began lobbying for the right to euthanize “imbeciles” and other defectives.[72] The Euthanasia Society of America was founded in 1938.[73]

Overall, however, euthanasia was marginalized in the U.S., motivating people to turn to forced segregation and sterilization programs as a means for keeping the “unfit” from reproducing.[7]

Mary deGormo, a former teacher, was the first person to combine ideas about health and intelligence standards with competitions at state fairs, in the form of baby contests. She developed the first such contest, the “Scientific Baby Contest” for the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport, in 1908. She saw these contests as a contribution to the “social efficiency” movement, which was advocating for the standardization of all aspects of American life as a means of increasing efficiency.[21] DeGarmo was assisted by Doctor Jacob Bodenheimer, a pediatrician who helped her develop grading sheets for contestants, which combined physical measurements with standardized measurements of intelligence.[74]

The contest spread to other U.S. states in the early twentieth century. In Indiana, for example, Ada Estelle Schweitzer, a eugenics advocate and director of the Indiana State Board of Health’s Division of Child and Infant Hygiene, organized and supervised the state’s Better Baby contests at the Indiana State Fair from 1920 to 1932. It was among the fair’s most popular events. During the contest’s first year at the fair, a total of 78 babies were examined; in 1925 the total reached 885. Contestants peaked at 1,301 infants in 1930, and the following year the number of entrants was capped at 1,200. Although the specific impact of the contests was difficult to assess, statistics helped to support Schweitzer’s claims that the contests helped reduce infant morality.[75]

The intent of the contest was to educate the public about raising healthier children; however, its exclusionary practices reinforced social class and racial discrimination. In Indiana, for example, the contestants were limited to white infants; African American and immigrant children were barred from the competition for ribbons and cash prizes. In addition, the scoring was biased toward white, middle-class babies.[76][77] The contest procedure included recording each child’s health history, as well as evaluations of each contestant’s physical and mental health and overall development using medical professionals. Using a process similar to the one introduced at the Louisiana State Fair, and contest guidelines that the AMA and U.S. Childrens Bureau recommended, scoring for each contestant began with 1,000 points. Deductions were made for defects, including a child’s measurements below a designated average. The contestant with the most points (and the fewest defections) was declared the winner.[78][79][80]

Standardization through scientific judgment was a topic that was very serious in the eyes of the scientific community, but has often been downplayed as just a popular fad or trend. Nevertheless, a lot of time, effort, and money was put into these contests and their scientific backing, which would influence cultural ideas as well as local and state government practices.[81][verification needed]

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People promoted eugenics by hosting “Better Baby” contests and the proceeds would go to its anti-lynching campaign.[13]

First appearing in 1920 at the Kansas Free Fair, Fitter Family competitions, continued all the way up to World War II. Mary T. Watts and Dr. Florence Brown Sherbon,[82][83] both initiators of the Better Baby Contests in Iowa, took the idea of positive eugenics for babies and combined it with a determinist concept of biology to come up with fitter family competitions.[84]

There were several different categories that families were judged in: Size of the family, overall attractiveness, and health of the family, all of which helped to determine the likelihood of having healthy children. These competitions were simply a continuation of the Better Baby contests that promoted certain physical and mental qualities.[85] At the time, it was believed that certain behavioral qualities were inherited from one’s parents. This led to the addition of several judging categories including: generosity, self-sacrificing, and quality of familial bonds. Additionally, there were negative features that were judged: selfishness, jealousy, suspiciousness, high-temperedness, and cruelty. Feeblemindedness, alcoholism, and paralysis were few among other traits that were included as physical traits to be judged when looking at family lineage.[86]

Doctors and specialists from the community would offer their time to judge these competitions, which were originally sponsored by the Red Cross.[86] The winners of these competitions were given a Bronze Medal as well as champion cups called “Capper Medals.” The cups were named after then Governor and Senator, Arthur Capper and he would present them to “Grade A individuals”.[87]

The perks of entering into the contests were that the competitions provided a way for families to get a free health check up by a doctor as well as some of the pride and prestige that came from winning the competitions.[86]

By 1925 the Eugenics Records Office was distributing standardized forms for judging eugenically fit families, which were used in contests in several U.S. states.[88]

Concerns about eugenics arose in the African American community after the implementation of the Negro Project of 1939, which was proposed by Margaret Sanger who was the founder of Planned Parenthood.[89] In this plan, Sanger offered birth control to Black families in the United States to give them the chance to have a better life than what the group had been experiencing in the United States.[90] She also noted that the project was proposed to empower women. The Project often sought after prominent African American leaders to spread knowledge regarding birth control and the perceived positive effects it would have on the African American community, such as poverty and the lack of education.[91] Because of this, Sanger believed that African American ministers in the South would be useful to gain the trust of people within disadvantaged, African American communities as the Church was a pillar within the community.[91] Also, political leaders such as W.E.B. Dubois were quoted in the Project proposal criticizing Black people in the United States for having many children and for being less intelligent than their white counterparts:

the mass of ignorant Negroes still breed carelessly and disastrously, so that the increase among Negroes, even more than the increase among Whites, is from that part of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly.” [90]

Even though The Negro Project received a lot of praise from white leaders and eugenicists of the time, it is important to note that Margaret Sanger wanted to clear concerns that this was not a project to terminate African Americans.[91] To add to the clarification, she received support from prominent African American leaders such as Mary McLeod Bethune and Adam Clayton Powell Jr.[90] These leaders and many more would later serve on the Negro National Advisory Council of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

Still, many modern activists criticize Margaret Sanger for practicing eugenics on the African American community. Angela Davis, a leader who is associated with the Black Panther Party, made claims of Margaret Sanger targeting the African American community to reduce the population:

Calling for the recruitment of Black ministers to lead local birth control committees, the Federations proposal suggested that Black people should be rendered as vulnerable as possible to their birth control propaganda.[92]

After the eugenics movement was well established in the United States, it spread to Germany. California eugenicists began producing literature promoting eugenics and sterilization and sending it overseas to German scientists and medical professionals.[7] By 1933, California had subjected more people to forceful sterilization than all other U.S. states combined. The forced sterilization program engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California’s.[8]

The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs,[93] including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.[7]

Upon returning from Germany in 1934, where more than 5,000 people per month were being forcibly sterilized, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe bragged to a colleague:

You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.[7]

Eugenics researcher Harry H. Laughlin often bragged that his Model Eugenic Sterilization laws had been implemented in the 1935 Nuremberg racial hygiene laws.[94] In 1936, Laughlin was invited to an award ceremony at Heidelberg University in Germany (scheduled on the anniversary of Hitler’s 1934 purge of Jews from the Heidelberg faculty), to receive an honorary doctorate for his work on the “science of racial cleansing”. Due to financial limitations, Laughlin was unable to attend the ceremony and had to pick it up from the Rockefeller Institute. Afterwards, he proudly shared the award with his colleagues, remarking that he felt that it symbolized the “common understanding of German and American scientists of the nature of eugenics.”[95]

Henry Friedlander wrote that although the German and American eugenics movements were similar, the US did not follow the same slippery slope as Nazi eugenics because American “federalism and political heterogeneity encouraged diversity even with a single movement.” In contrast, the German eugenics movement was more centralized and had fewer diverse ideas.[96] Unlike the American movement, one publication and one society, the German Society for Racial Hygiene, represented all German eugenicists in the early 20th century.[96][97]

After 1945, however, historians began to try to portray the US eugenics movement as distinct and distant from Nazi eugenics.[98] Jon Entine wrote that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution.”[99]

The 1978 Federal Sterilization Regulations, created by the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare or HEW, (now the United States Department of Health and Human Services) outline a variety of prohibited sterilization practices that were often used previously to coerce or force women into sterilization.[100] These were intended to prevent such eugenics and neo-eugenics as resulted in the involuntary sterilization of large groups of poor and minority women. Such practices include: not conveying to patients that sterilization is permanent and irreversible, in their own language (including the option to end the process or procedure at any time without conceding any future medical attention or federal benefits, the ability to ask any and all questions about the procedure and its ramifications, the requirement that the consent seeker describes the procedure fully including any and all possible discomforts and/or side-effects and any and all benefits of sterilization); failing to provide alternative information about methods of contraception, family planning, or pregnancy termination that are nonpermanent and/or irreversible (this includes abortion); conditioning receiving welfare and/or Medicaid benefits by the individual or his/her children on the individuals “consenting” to permanent sterilization; tying elected abortion to compulsory sterilization (cannot receive a sought out abortion without “consenting” to sterilization); using hysterectomy as sterilization; and subjecting minors and the mentally incompetent to sterilization.[100][65][101] The regulations also include an extension of the informed consent waiting period from 72 hours to 30 days (with a maximum of 180 days between informed consent and the sterilization procedure).[65][100][101]

However, several studies have indicated that the forms are often dense and complex and beyond the literacy aptitude of the average American, and those seeking publicly funded sterilization are more likely to possess below-average literacy skills.[102] High levels of misinformation concerning sterilization still exist among individuals who have already undergone sterilization procedures, with permanence being one of the most common gray factors.[102][103] Additionally, federal enforcement of the requirements of the 1978 Federal Sterilization Regulation is inconsistent and some of the prohibited abuses continue to be pervasive, particularly in underfunded hospitals and lower income patient hospitals and care centers.[65][101]

Link:

Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia

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They were stolen from their homes, locked in chains and taken across an ocean. And for more than 200 years, their blood and sweat would help to build the richest and most powerful nation the world has ever known. But when slavery ended, their welcome was over. America’s wealthy elite had decided it was time for them to disappear and they were not particular about how it might be done. What you are about to see is that the plan these people set in motion 150 years ago is still being carried out today. So don’t think that this is history. It is not. It is happening right here, and it’s happening right now.

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Introduction to Eugenics – Genetics Generation

Introduction to Eugenics

Eugenics is a movement that is aimed at improving the genetic composition of the human race. Historically, eugenicists advocated selective breeding to achieve these goals. Today we have technologies that make it possible to more directly alter the genetic composition of an individual. However, people differ in their views on how to best (and ethically) use this technology.

History of Eugenics

Logo of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, 1921. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In 1883, Sir Francis Galton, a respected British scholar and cousin of Charles Darwin,first used the term eugenics, meaning well-born. Galton believed that the human race could help direct its future by selectively breeding individuals who have desired traits. This idea was based on Galtons study of upper class Britain. Following these studies, Galton concluded that an elite position in society was due to a good genetic makeup. While Galtons plans to improve the human race through selective breeding never came to fruition in Britain, they eventually took sinister turns in other countries.

The eugenics movement began in the U.S. in the late 19th century. However, unlike in Britain, eugenicists in the U.S. focused on efforts to stop the transmission of negative or undesirable traits from generation to generation. In response to these ideas, some US leaders, private citizens, and corporations started funding eugenical studies. This lead to the 1911 establishment of The Eugenics Records Office (ERO) in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. The ERO spent time tracking family histories and concluded that people deemed to be unfit more often came from families that were poor, low in social standing, immigrant, and/or minority. Further, ERO researchers demonstrated that the undesirable traits in these families, such as pauperism, were due to genetics, and not lack of resources.

Committees were convened to offer solutions to the problem of the growing number of undesirables in the U.S. population. Stricter immigration rules were enacted, but the most ominous resolution was a plan to sterilize unfit individuals to prevent them from passing on their negative traits. During the 20th century, a total of 33 states had sterilization programs in place. While at first sterilization efforts targeted mentally ill people exclusively, later the traits deemed serious enough to warrant sterilization included alcoholism, criminality chronic poverty, blindness, deafness, feeble-mindedness, and promiscuity. It was also not uncommon for African American women to be sterilized during other medical procedures without consent. Most people subjected to these sterilizations had no choice, and because the program was run by the government, they had little chance of escaping the procedure. It is thought that around 65,000 Americans were sterilized during this time period.

The eugenics movement in the U.S. slowly lost favor over time and was waning by the start of World War II. When the horrors of Nazi Germany became apparent, as well as Hitlers use of eugenic principles to justify the atrocities, eugenics lost all credibility as a field of study or even an ideal that should be pursued.

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Introduction to Eugenics – Genetics Generation

Eugenics – Wikipedia

Eugenics (; from Greek eugenes ‘well-born’ from eu, ‘good, well’ and genos, ‘race, stock, kin’)[2][3] is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a human population.[4][5] The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined by Francis Galton in 1883. The concept predates this coinage, with Plato suggesting applying the principles of selective breeding to humans around 400BCE.

Frederick Osborn’s 1937 journal article “Development of a Eugenic Philosophy”[6] framed it as a social philosophythat is, a philosophy with implications for social order. That definition is not universally accepted. Osborn advocated for higher rates of sexual reproduction among people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics).

Alternatively, gene selection rather than “people selection” has recently been made possible through advances in genome editing,[7] leading to what is sometimes called new eugenics, also known as neo-eugenics, consumer eugenics, or liberal eugenics.

While eugenic principles have been practiced as far back in world history as ancient Greece, the modern history of eugenics began in the early 20th century when a popular eugenics movement emerged in the United Kingdom[8] and spread to many countries including the United States, Canada[9] and most European countries. In this period, eugenic ideas were espoused across the political spectrum. Consequently, many countries adopted eugenic policies with the intent to improve the quality of their populations’ genetic stock. Such programs included both “positive” measures, such as encouraging individuals deemed particularly “fit” to reproduce, and “negative” measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization of people deemed unfit for reproduction. People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups. The eugenics movement became negatively associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust when many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the U.S. eugenics programs.[10] In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually began to abandon eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them the United States and Sweden, continued to carry out forced sterilizations.

Since the 1980s and 1990s, when new assisted reproductive technology procedures became available such as gestational surrogacy (available since 1985), preimplantation genetic diagnosis (available since 1989), and cytoplasmic transfer (first performed in 1996), fear about a possible revival of eugenics and widening of the gap between the rich and the poor has emerged.

A major criticism of eugenics policies is that, regardless of whether “negative” or “positive” policies are used, they are susceptible to abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in political power at the time. Furthermore, negative eugenics in particular is considered by many to be a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduction. Another criticism is that eugenic policies eventually lead to a loss of genetic diversity, resulting in inbreeding depression due to lower genetic variation.

The concept of positive eugenics to produce better human beings has existed at least since Plato suggested selective mating to produce a guardian class.[12]

The first formal negative eugenics, that is a legal provision against birth of inferior human beings, was promulgated in Western European culture by the Christian Council of Agde in 506, which forbade marriage between cousins.[13]

This idea was also promoted by William Goodell (18291894) who advocated the castration and spaying of the insane.[14][15]

The idea of a modern project of improving the human population through a statistical understanding of heredity used to encourage good breeding was originally developed by Francis Galton and, initially, was closely linked to Darwinism and his theory of natural selection.[16] Galton had read his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which sought to explain the development of plant and animal species, and desired to apply it to humans. Based on his biographical studies, Galton believed that desirable human qualities were hereditary traits, though Darwin strongly disagreed with this elaboration of his theory.[17] In 1883, one year after Darwin’s death, Galton gave his research a name: eugenics.[18] With the introduction of genetics, eugenics became associated with genetic determinism, the belief that human character is entirely or in the majority caused by genes, unaffected by education or living conditions. Many of the early geneticists were not Darwinians, and evolution theory was not needed for eugenics policies based on genetic determinism.[16] Throughout its recent history, eugenics has remained controversial.

Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities and received funding from many sources.[20] Organizations were formed to win public support and sway opinion towards responsible eugenic values in parenthood, including the British Eugenics Education Society of 1907 and the American Eugenics Society of 1921. Both sought support from leading clergymen and modified their message to meet religious ideals.[21] In 1909 the Anglican clergymen William Inge and James Peile both wrote for the British Eugenics Education Society. Inge was an invited speaker at the 1921 International Eugenics Conference, which was also endorsed by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York Patrick Joseph Hayes.[21]

Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York City. Eugenic policies were first implemented in the early 1900s in the United States.[22] It also took root in France, Germany, and Great Britain.[23] Later, in the 1920s and 1930s, the eugenic policy of sterilizing certain mental patients was implemented in other countries including Belgium,[24] Brazil,[25] Canada,[26] Japan and Sweden.

In addition to being practiced in a number of countries, eugenics was internationally organized through the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations. Its scientific aspects were carried on through research bodies such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, the Cold Spring Harbour Carnegie Institution for Experimental Evolution, and the Eugenics Record Office. Politically, the movement advocated measures such as sterilization laws. In its moral dimension, eugenics rejected the doctrine that all human beings are born equal and redefined moral worth purely in terms of genetic fitness. Its racist elements included pursuit of a pure “Nordic race” or “Aryan” genetic pool and the eventual elimination of “unfit” races.

Early critics of the philosophy of eugenics included the American sociologist Lester Frank Ward,[35] the English writer G. K. Chesterton, the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas, who argued that advocates of eugenics greatly over-estimate the influence of biology,[36] and Scottish tuberculosis pioneer and author Halliday Sutherland. Ward’s 1913 article “Eugenics, Euthenics, and Eudemics”, Chesterton’s 1917 book Eugenics and Other Evils, and Boas’ 1916 article “Eugenics” (published in The Scientific Monthly) were all harshly critical of the rapidly growing movement. Sutherland identified eugenists as a major obstacle to the eradication and cure of tuberculosis in his 1917 address “Consumption: Its Cause and Cure”,[37] and criticism of eugenists and Neo-Malthusians in his 1921 book Birth Control led to a writ for libel from the eugenist Marie Stopes. Several biologists were also antagonistic to the eugenics movement, including Lancelot Hogben.[38] Other biologists such as J. B. S. Haldane and R. A. Fisher expressed skepticism in the belief that sterilization of “defectives” would lead to the disappearance of undesirable genetic traits.[39]

Among institutions, the Catholic Church was an opponent of state-enforced sterilizations.[40] Attempts by the Eugenics Education Society to persuade the British government to legalize voluntary sterilization were opposed by Catholics and by the Labour Party.[41] The American Eugenics Society initially gained some Catholic supporters, but Catholic support declined following the 1930 papal encyclical Casti connubii.[21] In this, Pope Pius XI explicitly condemned sterilization laws: “Public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects; therefore, where no crime has taken place and there is no cause present for grave punishment, they can never directly harm, or tamper with the integrity of the body, either for the reasons of eugenics or for any other reason.”[42]

As a social movement, eugenics reached its greatest popularity in the early decades of the 20th century, when it was practiced around the world and promoted by governments, institutions, and influential individuals. Many countries enacted[43] various eugenics policies, including: genetic screenings, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and sequestering the mentally ill), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies, ultimately culminating in genocide.

The scientific reputation of eugenics started to decline in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler had praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf in 1925 and emulated eugenic legislation for the sterilization of “defectives” that had been pioneered in the United States once he took power. Some common early 20th century eugenics methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as “degenerate” or “unfit”, and therefore led to segregation, institutionalization, sterilization, euthanasia, and even mass murder. The Nazi practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.

By the end of World War II, many discriminatory eugenics laws were abandoned, having become associated with Nazi Germany.[46] H. G. Wells, who had called for “the sterilization of failures” in 1904,[47] stated in his 1940 book The Rights of Man: Or What are we fighting for? that among the human rights, which he believed should be available to all people, was “a prohibition on mutilation, sterilization, torture, and any bodily punishment”.[48] After World War II, the practice of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a national, ethnical, racial or religious] group” fell within the definition of the new international crime of genocide, set out in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[49] The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also proclaims “the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at selection of persons”.[50] In spite of the decline in discriminatory eugenics laws, some government mandated sterilizations continued into the 21st century. During the ten years President Alberto Fujimori led Peru from 1990 to 2000, 2,000 persons were allegedly involuntarily sterilized.[51] China maintained its one-child policy until 2015 as well as a suite of other eugenics based legislation to reduce population size and manage fertility rates of different populations.[52][53][54] In 2007 the United Nations reported coercive sterilizations and hysterectomies in Uzbekistan.[55] During the years 2005 to 2013, nearly one-third of the 144 California prison inmates who were sterilized did not give lawful consent to the operation.[56]

Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century are raising numerous questions regarding the ethical status of eugenics, effectively creating a resurgence of interest in the subject. Some, such as UC Berkeley sociologist Troy Duster, claim that modern genetics is a back door to eugenics.[57] This view is shared by White House Assistant Director for Forensic Sciences, Tania Simoncelli, who stated in a 2003 publication by the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College that advances in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are moving society to a “new era of eugenics”, and that, unlike the Nazi eugenics, modern eugenics is consumer driven and market based, “where children are increasingly regarded as made-to-order consumer products”.[58] In a 2006 newspaper article, Richard Dawkins said that discussion regarding eugenics was inhibited by the shadow of Nazi misuse, to the extent that some scientists would not admit that breeding humans for certain abilities is at all possible. He believes that it is not physically different from breeding domestic animals for traits such as speed or herding skill. Dawkins felt that enough time had elapsed to at least ask just what the ethical differences were between breeding for ability versus training athletes or forcing children to take music lessons, though he could think of persuasive reasons to draw the distinction.[59]

Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Father of Singapore, started promoting eugenics as early as 1983.[60][61]

In October 2015, the United Nations’ International Bioethics Committee wrote that the ethical problems of human genetic engineering should not be confused with the ethical problems of the 20th century eugenics movements. However, it is still problematic because it challenges the idea of human equality and opens up new forms of discrimination and stigmatization for those who do not want, or cannot afford, the technology.[62]

Transhumanism is often associated with eugenics, although most transhumanists holding similar views nonetheless distance themselves from the term “eugenics” (preferring “germinal choice” or “reprogenetics”)[63] to avoid having their position confused with the discredited theories and practices of early-20th-century eugenic movements.

Prenatal screening can be considered a form of contemporary eugenics because it may lead to abortions of children with undesirable traits.[64]

The term eugenics and its modern field of study were first formulated by Francis Galton in 1883,[65] drawing on the recent work of his half-cousin Charles Darwin.[66][67] Galton published his observations and conclusions in his book Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.

The origins of the concept began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance and the theories of August Weismann. The word eugenics is derived from the Greek word eu (“good” or “well”) and the suffix -gens (“born”), and was coined by Galton in 1883 to replace the word “stirpiculture”, which he had used previously but which had come to be mocked due to its perceived sexual overtones.[69] Galton defined eugenics as “the study of all agencies under human control which can improve or impair the racial quality of future generations”.[70]

Historically, the term eugenics has referred to everything from prenatal care for mothers to forced sterilization and euthanasia.[71] To population geneticists, the term has included the avoidance of inbreeding without altering allele frequencies; for example, J. B. S. Haldane wrote that “the motor bus, by breaking up inbred village communities, was a powerful eugenic agent.”[72] Debate as to what exactly counts as eugenics continues today.[73]

Edwin Black, journalist and author of War Against the Weak, claims eugenics is often deemed a pseudoscience because what is defined as a genetic improvement of a desired trait is often deemed a cultural choice rather than a matter that can be determined through objective scientific inquiry.[74] The most disputed aspect of eugenics has been the definition of “improvement” of the human gene pool, such as what is a beneficial characteristic and what is a defect. Historically, this aspect of eugenics was tainted with scientific racism and pseudoscience.[75][76][77]

Early eugenists were mostly concerned with factors of perceived intelligence that often correlated strongly with social class. Some of these early eugenists include Karl Pearson and Walter Weldon, who worked on this at the University College London.[17]

Eugenics also had a place in medicine. In his lecture “Darwinism, Medical Progress and Eugenics”, Karl Pearson said that everything concerning eugenics fell into the field of medicine. He basically placed the two words as equivalents. He was supported in part by the fact that Francis Galton, the father of eugenics, also had medical training.[78]

Eugenic policies have been conceptually divided into two categories.[71] Positive eugenics is aimed at encouraging reproduction among the genetically advantaged; for example, the reproduction of the intelligent, the healthy, and the successful. Possible approaches include financial and political stimuli, targeted demographic analyses, in vitro fertilization, egg transplants, and cloning.[79] The movie Gattaca provides a fictional example of a dystopian society that uses eugenics to decided what you are capable of and your place in the world. Negative eugenics aimed to eliminate, through sterilization or segregation, those deemed physically, mentally, or morally “undesirable”. This includes abortions, sterilization, and other methods of family planning.[79] Both positive and negative eugenics can be coercive; abortion for fit women, for example, was illegal in Nazi Germany.[80]

Jon Entine claims that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution”.[81]

According to Richard Lynn, eugenics may be divided into two main categories based on the ways in which the methods of eugenics can be applied.[82]

The first major challenge to conventional eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was made in 1915 by Thomas Hunt Morgan. He demonstrated the event of genetic mutation occurring outside of inheritance involving the discovery of the hatching of a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) with white eyes from a family with red-eyes. Morgan claimed that this demonstrated that major genetic changes occurred outside of inheritance and that the concept of eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was not completely scientifically accurate. Additionally, Morgan criticized the view that subjective traits, such as intelligence and criminality, were caused by heredity because he believed that the definitions of these traits varied and that accurate work in genetics could only be done when the traits being studied were accurately defined.[119] Despite Morgan’s public rejection of eugenics, much of his genetic research was absorbed by eugenics.[120][121]

The heterozygote test is used for the early detection of recessive hereditary diseases, allowing for couples to determine if they are at risk of passing genetic defects to a future child.[122] The goal of the test is to estimate the likelihood of passing the hereditary disease to future descendants.[122]

Recessive traits can be severely reduced, but never eliminated unless the complete genetic makeup of all members of the pool was known, as aforementioned. As only very few undesirable traits, such as Huntington’s disease, are dominant, it could be argued[by whom?] from certain perspectives that the practicality of “eliminating” traits is quite low.[citation needed]

There are examples of eugenic acts that managed to lower the prevalence of recessive diseases, although not influencing the prevalence of heterozygote carriers of those diseases. The elevated prevalence of certain genetically transmitted diseases among the Ashkenazi Jewish population (TaySachs, cystic fibrosis, Canavan’s disease, and Gaucher’s disease), has been decreased in current populations by the application of genetic screening.[123]

Pleiotropy occurs when one gene influences multiple, seemingly unrelated phenotypic traits, an example being phenylketonuria, which is a human disease that affects multiple systems but is caused by one gene defect.[124] Andrzej Pkalski, from the University of Wrocaw, argues that eugenics can cause harmful loss of genetic diversity if a eugenics program selects a pleiotropic gene that could possibly be associated with a positive trait. Pekalski uses the example of a coercive government eugenics program that prohibits people with myopia from breeding but has the unintended consequence of also selecting against high intelligence since the two go together.[125]

Eugenic policies could also lead to loss of genetic diversity, in which case a culturally accepted “improvement” of the gene pool could very likelyas evidenced in numerous instances in isolated island populations result in extinction due to increased vulnerability to disease, reduced ability to adapt to environmental change, and other factors both known and unknown. A long-term, species-wide eugenics plan might lead to a scenario similar to this because the elimination of traits deemed undesirable would reduce genetic diversity by definition.[126]

Edward M. Miller claims that, in any one generation, any realistic program should make only minor changes in a fraction of the gene pool, giving plenty of time to reverse direction if unintended consequences emerge, reducing the likelihood of the elimination of desirable genes.[127] Miller also argues that any appreciable reduction in diversity is so far in the future that little concern is needed for now.[127]

While the science of genetics has increasingly provided means by which certain characteristics and conditions can be identified and understood, given the complexity of human genetics, culture, and psychology, at this point no agreed objective means of determining which traits might be ultimately desirable or undesirable. Some diseases such as sickle-cell disease and cystic fibrosis respectively confer immunity to malaria and resistance to cholera when a single copy of the recessive allele is contained within the genotype of the individual. Reducing the instance of sickle-cell disease genes in Africa where malaria is a common and deadly disease could indeed have extremely negative net consequences.

However, some genetic diseases cause people to consider some elements of eugenics.

Societal and political consequences of eugenics call for a place in the discussion on the ethics behind the eugenics movement.[128] Many of the ethical concerns regarding eugenics arise from its controversial past, prompting a discussion on what place, if any, it should have in the future. Advances in science have changed eugenics. In the past, eugenics had more to do with sterilization and enforced reproduction laws.[129] Now, in the age of a progressively mapped genome, embryos can be tested for susceptibility to disease, gender, and genetic defects, and alternative methods of reproduction such as in vitro fertilization are becoming more common.[130] Therefore, eugenics is no longer ex post facto regulation of the living but instead preemptive action on the unborn.[131]

With this change, however, there are ethical concerns which lack adequate attention, and which must be addressed before eugenic policies can be properly implemented in the future. Sterilized individuals, for example, could volunteer for the procedure, albeit under incentive or duress, or at least voice their opinion. The unborn fetus on which these new eugenic procedures are performed cannot speak out, as the fetus lacks the voice to consent or to express his or her opinion.[132] Philosophers disagree about the proper framework for reasoning about such actions, which change the very identity and existence of future persons.[133]

A common criticism of eugenics is that “it inevitably leads to measures that are unethical”.[134] Some fear future “eugenics wars” as the worst-case scenario: the return of coercive state-sponsored genetic discrimination and human rights violations such as compulsory sterilization of persons with genetic defects, the killing of the institutionalized and, specifically, segregation and genocide of races perceived as inferior.[135] Health law professor George Annas and technology law professor Lori Andrews are prominent advocates of the position that the use of these technologies could lead to such human-posthuman caste warfare.[136][137]

In his 2003 book Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, environmental ethicist Bill McKibben argued at length against germinal choice technology and other advanced biotechnological strategies for human enhancement. He writes that it would be morally wrong for humans to tamper with fundamental aspects of themselves (or their children) in an attempt to overcome universal human limitations, such as vulnerability to aging, maximum life span and biological constraints on physical and cognitive ability. Attempts to “improve” themselves through such manipulation would remove limitations that provide a necessary context for the experience of meaningful human choice. He claims that human lives would no longer seem meaningful in a world where such limitations could be overcome with technology. Even the goal of using germinal choice technology for clearly therapeutic purposes should be relinquished, since it would inevitably produce temptations to tamper with such things as cognitive capacities. He argues that it is possible for societies to benefit from renouncing particular technologies, using as examples Ming China, Tokugawa Japan and the contemporary Amish.[138]

Some, for example Nathaniel C. Comfort from Johns Hopkins University, claim that the change from state-led reproductive-genetic decision-making to individual choice has moderated the worst abuses of eugenics by transferring the decision-making from the state to the patient and their family.[139] Comfort suggests that “the eugenic impulse drives us to eliminate disease, live longer and healthier, with greater intelligence, and a better adjustment to the conditions of society; and the health benefits, the intellectual thrill and the profits of genetic bio-medicine are too great for us to do otherwise.”[140] Others, such as bioethicist Stephen Wilkinson of Keele University and Honorary Research Fellow Eve Garrard at the University of Manchester, claim that some aspects of modern genetics can be classified as eugenics, but that this classification does not inherently make modern genetics immoral. In a co-authored publication by Keele University, they stated that “[e]ugenics doesn’t seem always to be immoral, and so the fact that PGD, and other forms of selective reproduction, might sometimes technically be eugenic, isn’t sufficient to show that they’re wrong.”[141]

In their book published in 2000, From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice, bioethicists Allen Buchanan, Dan Brock, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler argued that liberal societies have an obligation to encourage as wide an adoption of eugenic enhancement technologies as possible (so long as such policies do not infringe on individuals’ reproductive rights or exert undue pressures on prospective parents to use these technologies) in order to maximize public health and minimize the inequalities that may result from both natural genetic endowments and unequal access to genetic enhancements.[142]

Original position, a hypothetical situation developed by American philosopher John Rawls, has been used as an argument for negative eugenics.[143][144]

Notes

Bibliography

Further reading

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Eugenics – Wikipedia

Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia

Eugenics, the set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population,[2][3] played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States prior to its involvement in World War II.[4]

Eugenics was practiced in the United States many years before eugenics programs in Nazi Germany,[5] which were largely inspired by the previous American work.[6][7][8] Stefan Khl has documented the consensus between Nazi race policies and those of eugenicists in other countries, including the United States, and points out that eugenicists understood Nazi policies and measures as the realization of their goals and demands.[9]

During the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th century, eugenics was considered a method of preserving and improving the dominant groups in the population; it is now generally associated with racist and nativist elements, as the movement was to some extent a reaction to a change in emigration from Europe, rather than scientific genetics.[10]

The American eugenics movement was rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton, which originated in the 1880s. Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup.[11] Early proponents of eugenics believed that, through selective breeding, the human species should direct its own evolution. They tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples; supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws; and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and “immoral”.[12] Eugenics was also supported by African Americans intellectuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Thomas Wyatt Turner, and many academics at Tuskegee University, Howard University, and Hampton University; however, they believed the best blacks were as good as the best whites and “The Talented Tenth” of all races should mix.[13] W. E. B. Du Bois believed “only fit blacks should procreate to eradicate the race’s heritage of moral iniquity.”[13][14]

The American eugenics movement received extensive funding from various corporate foundations including the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman railroad fortune.[7] In 1906 J.H. Kellogg provided funding to help found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.[11] The Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was founded in Cold Spring Harbor, New York in 1911 by the renowned biologist Charles B. Davenport, using money from both the Harriman railroad fortune and the Carnegie Institution. As late as the 1920s, the ERO was one of the leading organizations in the American eugenics movement.[11][15] In years to come, the ERO collected a mass of family pedigrees and concluded that those who were unfit came from economically and socially poor backgrounds. Eugenicists such as Davenport, the psychologist Henry H. Goddard, Harry H. Laughlin, and the conservationist Madison Grant (all well respected in their time) began to lobby for various solutions to the problem of the “unfit”. Davenport favored immigration restriction and sterilization as primary methods; Goddard favored segregation in his The Kallikak Family; Grant favored all of the above and more, even entertaining the idea of extermination.[16] The Eugenics Record Office later became the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Eugenics was widely accepted in the U.S. academic community.[7] By 1928, there were 376 separate university courses in some of the United States’ leading schools, enrolling more than 20,000 students, which included eugenics in the curriculum.[17] It did, however, have scientific detractors (notably, Thomas Hunt Morgan, one of the few Mendelians to explicitly criticize eugenics), though most of these focused more on what they considered the crude methodology of eugenicists, and the characterization of almost every human characteristic as being hereditary, rather than the idea of eugenics itself.[18]

By 1910, there was a large and dynamic network of scientists, reformers, and professionals engaged in national eugenics projects and actively promoting eugenic legislation. The American Breeder’s Association was the first eugenic body in the U.S., established in 1906 under the direction of biologist Charles B. Davenport. The ABA was formed specifically to “investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood.” Membership included Alexander Graham Bell, Stanford president David Starr Jordan and Luther Burbank.[19][20] The American Association for the Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality was one of the first organizations to begin investigating infant mortality rates in terms of eugenics.[21] They promoted government intervention in attempts to promote the health of future citizens.[22][verification needed]

Several feminist reformers advocated an agenda of eugenic legal reform. The National Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among the variety of state and local feminist organization that at some point lobbied for eugenic reforms.[23]

One of the most prominent feminists to champion the eugenic agenda was Margaret Sanger, the leader of the American birth control movement. Margaret Sanger saw birth control as a means to prevent unwanted children from being born into a disadvantaged life, and incorporated the language of eugenics to advance the movement.[24][25] Sanger also sought to discourage the reproduction of persons who, it was believed, would pass on mental disease or serious physical defects. She advocated sterilization in cases where the subject was unable to use birth control.[24] She rejected euthanasia.[26] For Sanger, it was individual women and not the state who should determine whether or not to have a child.[27][28]

In the Deep South, women’s associations played an important role in rallying support for eugenic legal reform. Eugenicists recognized the political and social influence of southern clubwomen in their communities, and used them to help implement eugenics across the region.[29] Between 1915 and 1920, federated women’s clubs in every state of the Deep South had a critical role in establishing public eugenic institutions that were segregated by sex.[30] For example, the Legislative Committee of the Florida State Federation of Women’s Clubs successfully lobbied to institute a eugenic institution for the mentally retarded that was segregated by sex.[31] Their aim was to separate mentally retarded men and women to prevent them from breeding more “feebleminded” individuals.

Public acceptance in the U.S. was the reason eugenic legislation was passed. Almost 19 million people attended the PanamaPacific International Exposition in San Francisco, open for 10 months from 20 February to 4 December 1915.[32][33] The PPIE was a fair devoted to extolling the virtues of a rapidly progressing nation, featuring new developments in science, agriculture, manufacturing and technology. A subject that received a large amount of time and space was that of the developments concerning health and disease, particularly the areas of tropical medicine and race betterment (tropical medicine being the combined study of bacteriology, parasitology and entomology while racial betterment being the promotion of eugenic studies). Having these areas so closely intertwined, it seemed that they were both categorized in the main theme of the fair, the advancement of civilization. Thus in the public eye, the seemingly contradictory[clarification needed] areas of study were both represented under progressive banners of improvement and were made to seem like plausible courses of action to better American society.[34][verification needed]

Beginning with Connecticut in 1896, many states enacted marriage laws with eugenic criteria, prohibiting anyone who was “epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded”[35] from marrying.[36]

The first state to introduce a compulsory sterilization bill was Michigan, in 1897 but the proposed law failed to garner enough votes by legislators to be adopted. Eight years later Pennsylvania’s state legislators passed a sterilization bill that was vetoed by the governor. Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907,[37] followed closely by Washington and California in 1909. Sterilization rates across the country were relatively low (California being the sole exception) until the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell which legitimized the forced sterilization of patients at a Virginia home for the mentally retarded. The number of sterilizations performed per year increased until another Supreme Court case, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 1942, complicated the legal situation by ruling against sterilization of criminals if the equal protection clause of the constitution was violated. That is, if sterilization was to be performed, then it could not exempt white-collar criminals.[38] The state of California was at the vanguard of the American eugenics movement, performing about 20,000 sterilizations or one third of the 60,000 nationwide from 1909 up until the 1960s.[39]

While California had the highest number of sterilizations, North Carolina’s eugenics program which operated from 1933 to 1977, was the most aggressive of the 32 states that had eugenics programs.[40] An IQ of 70 or lower meant sterilization was appropriate in North Carolina.[41] The North Carolina Eugenics Board almost always approved proposals brought before them by local welfare boards.[41] Of all states, only North Carolina gave social workers the power to designate people for sterilization.[40] “Here, at last, was a method of preventing unwanted pregnancies by an acceptable, practical, and inexpensive method,” wrote Wallace Kuralt in the March 1967 journal of the N.C. Board of Public Welfare. “The poor readily adopted the new techniques for birth control.”[41]

The Immigration Restriction League was the first American entity associated officially with eugenics. Founded in 1894 by three recent Harvard University graduates, the League sought to bar what it considered inferior races from entering America and diluting what it saw as the superior American racial stock (upper class Northerners of Anglo-Saxon heritage). They felt that social and sexual involvement with these less-evolved and less-civilized races would pose a biological threat to the American population. The League lobbied for a literacy test for immigrants, based on the belief that literacy rates were low among “inferior races”. Literacy test bills were vetoed by Presidents in 1897, 1913 and 1915; eventually, President Wilson’s second veto was overruled by Congress in 1917. Membership in the League included: A. Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard, William DeWitt Hyde, president of Bowdoin College, James T. Young, director of Wharton School and David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford University.[42]

The League allied themselves with the American Breeder’s Association to gain influence and further its goals and in 1909 established a Committee on Eugenics chaired by David Starr Jordan with members Charles Davenport, Alexander Graham Bell, Vernon Kellogg, Luther Burbank, William Ernest Castle, Adolf Meyer, H. J. Webber and Friedrich Woods. The ABA’s immigration legislation committee, formed in 1911 and headed by League’s founder Prescott F. Hall, formalized the committee’s already strong relationship with the Immigration Restriction League. They also founded the Eugenics Record Office, which was headed by Harry H. Laughlin.[43] In their mission statement, they wrote:

Society must protect itself; as it claims the right to deprive the murderer of his life so it may also annihilate the hideous serpent of hopelessly vicious protoplasm. Here is where appropriate legislation will aid in eugenics and creating a healthier, saner society in the future.”[43]

Money from the Harriman railroad fortune was also given to local charities, in order to find immigrants from specific ethnic groups and deport, confine, or forcibly sterilize them.[7]

With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played an important role in the Congressional debate as expert advisers on the threat of “inferior stock” from eastern and southern Europe.[44][verification needed] The new act, inspired by the eugenic belief in the racial superiority of “old stock” white Americans as members of the “Nordic race” (a form of white supremacy), strengthened the position of existing laws prohibiting race-mixing.[45] Eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many anti-miscegenation laws.[46]

Stephen Jay Gould asserted that restrictions on immigration passed in the United States during the 1920s (and overhauled in 1965 with the Immigration and Nationality Act) were motivated by the goals of eugenics. During the early 20th century, the United States and Canada began to receive far higher numbers of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. Influential eugenicists like Lothrop Stoddard and Harry Laughlin (who was appointed as an expert witness for the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1920) presented arguments they would pollute the national gene pool if their numbers went unrestricted.[47][48] It has been argued that this stirred both Canada and the United States into passing laws creating a hierarchy of nationalities, rating them from the most desirable Anglo-Saxon and Nordic peoples to the Chinese and Japanese immigrants, who were almost completely banned from entering the country.[45][49]

Both class and race factored into eugenic definitions of “fit” and “unfit.” By using intelligence testing, American eugenicists asserted that social mobility was indicative of one’s genetic fitness.[50] This reaffirmed the existing class and racial hierarchies and explained why the upper-to-middle class was predominantly white. Middle-to-upper class status was a marker of “superior strains.”[31] In contrast, eugenicists believed poverty to be a characteristic of genetic inferiority, which meant that those deemed “unfit” were predominantly of the lower classes.[31]

Because class status designated some more fit than others, eugenicists treated upper and lower class women differently. Positive eugenicists, who promoted procreation among the fittest in society, encouraged middle class women to bear more children. Between 1900 and 1960, Eugenicists appealed to middle class white women to become more “family minded,” and to help better the race.[51] To this end, eugenicists often denied middle and upper class women sterilization and birth control.[52]

Since poverty was associated with prostitution and “mental idiocy,” women of the lower classes were the first to be deemed “unfit” and “promiscuous.”[31]

In 1907, Indiana passed the first eugenics-based compulsory sterilization law in the world. Thirty U.S. states would soon follow their lead.[53][54] Although the law was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court in 1921,[55] the U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell, upheld the constitutionality of the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924, allowing for the compulsory sterilization of patients of state mental institutions in 1927.[56]

Some states sterilized “imbeciles” for much of the 20th century. Although compulsory sterilization is now considered an abuse of human rights, Buck v. Bell was never overturned, and Virginia did not repeal its sterilization law until 1974.[57] The most significant era of eugenic sterilization was between 1907 and 1963, when over 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under eugenic legislation in the United States.[58] Beginning around 1930, there was a steady increase in the percentage of women sterilized, and in a few states only young women were sterilized. From 1930 to the 1960s, sterilizations were performed on many more institutionalized women than men.[31] By 1961, 61 percent of the 62,162 total eugenic sterilizations in the United States were performed on women.[31] A favorable report on the results of sterilization in California, the state with the most sterilizations by far, was published in book form by the biologist Paul Popenoe and was widely cited by the Nazi government as evidence that wide-reaching sterilization programs were feasible and humane.[59][60]

Men and women were compulsorily sterilized for different reasons. Men were sterilized to treat their aggression and to eliminate their criminal behavior, while women were sterilized to control the results of their sexuality.[31] Since women bore children, eugenicists held women more accountable than men for the reproduction of the less “desirable” members of society.[31] Eugenicists therefore predominantly targeted women in their efforts to regulate the birth rate, to “protect” white racial health, and weed out the “defectives” of society.[31]

A 1937 Fortune magazine poll found that 2/3 of respondents supported eugenic sterilization of “mental defectives”, 63% supported sterilization of criminals, and only 15% opposed both.[61][62]

In the 1970s, several activists and women’s rights groups discovered several physicians to be performing coerced sterilizations of specific ethnic groups of society. All were abuses of poor, nonwhite, or mentally retarded women, while no abuses against white or middle-class women were recorded.[63] Several court cases such as Madrigal v. Quilligan, a class action suit regarding forced or coerced postpartum sterilization of Latina women following cesarean sections, and Relf v. Weinberger,[64] the sterilization of two young black girls by tricking their illiterate mother into signing a waiver, helped bring to light some of the widespread abuses of sterilization supported by federal funds.[65][66]

In 1972, United States Senate committee testimony brought to light that at least 2,000 involuntary sterilizations had been performed on poor black women without their consent or knowledge.[67] An investigation revealed that the surgeries were all performed in the South, and were all performed on black welfare mothers with multiple children.[67] Testimony revealed that many of these women were threatened with an end to their welfare benefits until they consented to sterilization.[67] These surgeries were instances of sterilization abuse, a term applied to any sterilization performed without the consent or knowledge of the recipient, or in which the recipient is pressured into accepting the surgery. Because the funds used to carry out the surgeries came from the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, the sterilization abuse raised older suspicions, especially amongst the black community, that “federal programs were underwriting eugenicists who wanted to impose their views about population quality on minorities and poor women.”[31]

Native American women were also victims of sterilization abuse up into the 1970s.[68] The organization WARN (Women of All Red Nations) publicized that Native American women were threatened that, if they had more children, they would be denied welfare benefits. The Indian Health Service also repeatedly refused to deliver Native American babies until their mothers, in labor, consented to sterilization. Many Native American women unknowingly gave consent, since directions were not given in their native language. According to the General Accounting Office, an estimate of 3,406 Indian women were sterilized.[68] The General Accounting Office stated that the Indian Health Service had not followed the necessary regulations, and that the “informed consent forms did not adhere to the standards set by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).”[69]

In 2013, it was reported that 148 female prisoners in two California prisons were sterilized between 2006 and 2010 in a supposedly voluntary program, but it was determined that the prisoners did not give consent to the procedures.[70] In September 2014, California enacted Bill SB1135 that bans sterilization in correctional facilities, unless the procedure is required to save an inmate’s life.[71]

Edwin Black wrote that one of the methods that was suggested to get rid of “defective germ-plasm in the human population” was euthanasia.[7] A 1911 Carnegie Institute report explored eighteen methods for removing defective genetic attributes, and method number eight was euthanasia.[7] The most commonly suggested method of euthanasia was to set up local gas chambers.[7] However, many in the eugenics movement did not believe that Americans were ready to implement a large-scale euthanasia program, so many doctors had to find clever ways of subtly implementing eugenic euthanasia in various medical institutions.[7] For example, a mental institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk infected with tuberculosis (reasoning that genetically fit individuals would be resistant), resulting in 3040% annual death rates.[7] Other doctors practiced euthanasia through various forms of lethal neglect.[7]

In the 1930s, there was a wave of portrayals of eugenic “mercy killings” in American film, newspapers, and magazines. In 1931, the Illinois Homeopathic Medicine Association began lobbying for the right to euthanize “imbeciles” and other defectives.[72] The Euthanasia Society of America was founded in 1938.[73]

Overall, however, euthanasia was marginalized in the U.S., motivating people to turn to forced segregation and sterilization programs as a means for keeping the “unfit” from reproducing.[7]

Mary deGormo, a former teacher, was the first person to combine ideas about health and intelligence standards with competitions at state fairs, in the form of “better baby” contests. She developed the first such contest, the “Scientific Baby Contest” for the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport, in 1908. She saw these contests as a contribution to the “social efficiency” movement, which was advocating for the standardization of all aspects of American life as a means of increasing efficiency.[21] deGarmo was assisted by the pediatrician Dr. Jacob Bodenheimer, who helped her develop grading sheets for contestants, which combined physical measurements with standardized measurements of intelligence.[74] Scoring was based on a deduction system, in that every child started at 1000 points and then was docked points for having measurements that were below a designated average. The child with the most points (and the least defections) was ideal.[75][verification needed]

The topic of standardization through scientific judgment was a topic that was very serious in the eyes of the scientific community, but has often been downplayed as just a popular fad or trend. Nevertheless, a lot of time, effort, and money was put into these contests and their scientific backing, which would influence cultural ideas as well as local and state government practices.[76][verification needed]

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People promoted eugenics by hosting “Better Baby” contests and the proceeds would go to its anti-lynching campaign.[13]

First appearing in 1920 at the Kansas Free Fair, Fitter Family competitions, continued all the way up to World War II. Mary T. Watts and Dr. Florence Brown Sherbon,[77][78] both initiators of the Better Baby Contests in Iowa, took the idea of positive eugenics for babies and combined it with a determinist concept of biology to come up with fitter family competitions.[79]

There were several different categories that families were judged in: Size of the family, overall attractiveness, and health of the family, all of which helped to determine the likelihood of having healthy children. These competitions were simply a continuation of the Better Baby contests that promoted certain physical and mental qualities.[80] At the time, it was believed that certain behavioral qualities were inherited from one’s parents. This led to the addition of several judging categories including: generosity, self-sacrificing, and quality of familial bonds. Additionally, there were negative features that were judged: selfishness, jealousy, suspiciousness, high-temperedness, and cruelty. Feeblemindedness, alcoholism, and paralysis were few among other traits that were included as physical traits to be judged when looking at family lineage.[81]

Doctors and specialists from the community would offer their time to judge these competitions, which were originally sponsored by the Red Cross.[81] The winners of these competitions were given a Bronze Medal as well as champion cups called “Capper Medals.” The cups were named after then Governor and Senator, Arthur Capper and he would present them to “Grade A individuals”.[82]

The perks of entering into the contests were that the competitions provided a way for families to get a free health check up by a doctor as well as some of the pride and prestige that came from winning the competitions.[81]

By 1925 the Eugenics Records Office was distributing standardized forms for judging eugenically fit families, which were used in contests in several U.S. states.[83]

Concerns about eugenics arose in the African American community after the implementation of the Negro Project of 1939, which was proposed by Margaret Sanger who was the founder of Planned Parenthood.[84] In this plan, Sanger offered birth control to Black families in the United States to give them the chance to have a better life than what the group had been experiencing in the United States.[85] She also noted that the project was proposed to empower women. The Project often sought after prominent African American leaders to spread knowledge regarding birth control and the perceived positive effects it would have on the African American community, such as poverty and the lack of education.[86] Because of this, Sanger believed that African American ministers in the South would be useful to gain the trust of people within disadvantaged, African American communities as the Church was a pillar within the community.[86] Also, political leaders such as W.E.B. Dubois were quoted in the Project proposal criticizing Black people in the United States for having many children and for being less intelligent than their white counterparts:

the mass of ignorant Negroes still breed carelessly and disastrously, so that the increase among Negroes, even more than the increase among Whites, is from that part of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly.” [85]

Even though The Negro Project received a lot of praise from white leaders and eugenicists of the time, it is important to note that Margaret Sanger wanted to clear concerns that this was not a project to terminate African Americans.[86] To add to the clarification, she received support from prominent African American leaders such as Mary McLeod Bethune and Adam Clayton Powell Jr.[85] These leaders and many more would later serve on the Negro National Advisory Council of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

Still, many modern activists criticize Margaret Sanger for practicing eugenics on the African American community. Angela Davis, a leader who is associated with the Black Panther Party, made claims of Margaret Sanger targeting the African American community to reduce the population:

Calling for the recruitment of Black ministers to lead local birth control committees, the Federations proposal suggested that Black people should be rendered as vulnerable as possible to their birth control propaganda.[87]

After the eugenics movement was well established in the United States, it spread to Germany. California eugenicists began producing literature promoting eugenics and sterilization and sending it overseas to German scientists and medical professionals.[7] By 1933, California had subjected more people to forceful sterilization than all other U.S. states combined. The forced sterilization program engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California’s.[8]

The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs,[88] including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.[7]

Upon returning from Germany in 1934, where more than 5,000 people per month were being forcibly sterilized, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe bragged to a colleague:

You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.[7]

Eugenics researcher Harry H. Laughlin often bragged that his Model Eugenic Sterilization laws had been implemented in the 1935 Nuremberg racial hygiene laws.[89] In 1936, Laughlin was invited to an award ceremony at Heidelberg University in Germany (scheduled on the anniversary of Hitler’s 1934 purge of Jews from the Heidelberg faculty), to receive an honorary doctorate for his work on the “science of racial cleansing”. Due to financial limitations, Laughlin was unable to attend the ceremony and had to pick it up from the Rockefeller Institute. Afterwards, he proudly shared the award with his colleagues, remarking that he felt that it symbolized the “common understanding of German and American scientists of the nature of eugenics.”[90]

Henry Friedlander wrote that although the German and American eugenics movements were similar, the US did not follow the same slippery slope as Nazi eugenics because American “federalism and political heterogeneity encouraged diversity even with a single movement.” In contrast, the German eugenics movement was more centralized and had fewer diverse ideas.[91] Unlike the American movement, one publication and one society, the German Society for Racial Hygiene, represented all German eugenicists in the early 20th century.[91][92]

After 1945, however, historians began to try to portray the US eugenics movement as distinct and distant from Nazi eugenics.[93] Jon Entine wrote that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution.”[94]

The 1978 Federal Sterilization Regulations, created by the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare or HEW, (now the United States Department of Health and Human Services) outline a variety of prohibited sterilization practices that were often used previously to coerce or force women into sterilization.[95] These were intended to prevent such eugenics and neo-eugenics as resulted in the involuntary sterilization of large groups of poor and minority women. Such practices include: not conveying to patients that sterilization is permanent and irreversible, in their own language (including the option to end the process or procedure at any time without conceding any future medical attention or federal benefits, the ability to ask any and all questions about the procedure and its ramifications, the requirement that the consent seeker describes the procedure fully including any and all possible discomforts and/or side-effects and any and all benefits of sterilization); failing to provide alternative information about methods of contraception, family planning, or pregnancy termination that are nonpermanent and/or irreversible (this includes abortion); conditioning receiving welfare and/or Medicaid benefits by the individual or his/her children on the individuals “consenting” to permanent sterilization; tying elected abortion to compulsory sterilization (cannot receive a sought out abortion without “consenting” to sterilization); using hysterectomy as sterilization; and subjecting minors and the mentally incompetent to sterilization.[95][65][96] The regulations also include an extension of the informed consent waiting period from 72 hours to 30 days (with a maximum of 180 days between informed consent and the sterilization procedure).[65][95][96]

However, several studies have indicated that the forms are often dense and complex and beyond the literacy aptitude of the average American, and those seeking publicly funded sterilization are more likely to possess below-average literacy skills.[97] High levels of misinformation concerning sterilization still exist among individuals who have already undergone sterilization procedures, with permanence being one of the most common gray factors.[97][98] Additionally, federal enforcement of the requirements of the 1978 Federal Sterilization Regulation is inconsistent and some of the prohibited abuses continue to be pervasive, particularly in underfunded hospitals and lower income patient hospitals and care centers.[65][96]

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Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia