Eugenics – HISTORY


Eugenics is the practice or advocacyof improving the human species by selectively mating people with specific desirable hereditary traits. It aims to reduce human suffering by breeding out disease, disabilities and so-called undesirable characteristics from the human population. Early supporters of eugenics believed people inherited mental illness, criminal tendencies and even poverty, and that these conditions could be bred out of the gene pool.

Historically, eugenics encouraged people of so-called healthy, superior stock to reproduce and discouraged reproduction of the mentally challenged or anyone who fell outside the social norm. Eugenics was popular in America during much of the first half of the twentieth century, yet it earned its negative association mainly from Adolf Hitlers obsessive attempts to create a superior Aryan race.

Modern eugenics, more often called human genetic engineering, has come a long wayscientifically and ethicallyand offers hope for treating many devastating genetic illnesses. Even so, it remains controversial.

Eugenics literally means good creation. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato may have been the first person to promote the idea, although the term eugenics didnt come on the scene until British scholar Sir Francis Galton coined it in 1883 in his book, Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.

In one of Platos best-known literary works, The Republic, he wrote about creating a superior society by procreating high-class people together and discouraging coupling between the lower classes. He also suggested a variety of mating rules to help create an optimal society.

For instance, men should only have relations with a woman when arranged by their ruler, and incestuous relationships between parents and children were forbidden but not between brother and sister. While Platos ideas may be considered a form of ancient eugenics, he received little credit from Galton.

In the late 19th century, Galtonwhose cousin was Charles Darwinhoped to better humankind through the propagation of the British elite. His plan never really took hold in his own country, but in America it was more widely embraced.

Eugenics made its first official appearance in American history through marriage laws. In 1896, Connecticut made it illegal for people with epilepsy or who were feeble-minded to marry. In 1903, the American Breeders Association was created to study eugenics.

John Harvey Kellogg, of Kellogg cereal fame, organized the Race Betterment Foundation in 1911 and established a pedigree registry. The foundation hosted national conferences on eugenics in 1914, 1915 and 1928.

As the concept of eugenics took hold, prominent citizens, scientists and socialists championed the cause and established the Eugenics Record Office. The office tracked families and their genetic traits, claiming most people considered unfit were immigrants, minorities or poor.

The Eugenics Record Office also maintained there was clear evidence that supposed negative family traits were caused by bad genes, not racism, economics or the social views of the time.

Eugenics in America took a dark turn in the early 20th century, led by California. From 1909 to 1979, around 20,000 sterilizations occurred in California state mental institutions under the guise of protecting society from the offspring of people with mental illness.

Many sterilizations were forced and performed on minorities. Thirty-three states would eventually allow involuntary sterilization in whomever lawmakers deemed unworthy to procreate.

In 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that forced sterilization of the handicapped does not violate the U.S. Constitution. In the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, three generations of imbeciles are enough. In 1942, the ruling was overturned, but not before thousands of people underwent the procedure.

In the 1930s, the governor of Puerto Rico, Menendez Ramos, implemented sterilization programs for Puerto Rican women. Ramos claimed the action was needed to battle rampant poverty and economic strife; however, it may have also been a way to prevent the so-called superior Aryan gene pool from becoming tainted with Latino blood.

According to a 1976 Government Accountability Office investigation, between 25 and 50 percent of Native Americans were sterilized between 1970 and 1976. Its thought some sterilizations happened without consent during other surgical procedures such as an appendectomy.

In some cases, health care for living children was denied unless their mothers agreed to sterilization.

As horrific as forced sterilization in America was, nothing compared to Adolf Hitlers eugenic experiments leading up to and during World War II. And Hitler didnt come up with the concept of a superior Aryan race all on his own. In fact, he referred to American eugenics in his 1934 book, Mein Kampf.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler declares non-Aryan races such as Jews and gypsies as inferior. He believed Germans should do everything possible, including genocide, to make sure their gene pool stayed pure. And in 1933, the Nazis created the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring which resulted in thousands of forced sterilizations.

By 1940, Hitlers master-race mania took a terrible turn as Germans with mental or physical disabilities were euthanized by gas or lethal injection. Even the blind and deaf werent safe, and hundreds of thousands of people were killed.

During World War II, concentration camp prisoners endured horrific medical tests under the guise of helping Hitler create the perfect race. Josef Mengele, an SS doctor at Auschwitz, oversaw many experiments on both adult and child twins.

He used chemical eyedrops to try and create blue eyes, injected prisoners with devastating diseases and performed surgery without anesthesia. Many of his patients died or suffered permanent disability, and his gruesome experiments earned him the nickname, Angel of Death.

In all, its estimated eleven million people died during the Holocaust, most of them because they didnt fit Hitlers definition of a superior race.

Thanks to the unspeakable atrocities of Hitler and the Nazis, eugenics lost momentum in after World War II, although forced sterilizations still happened. But as medical technology advanced, a new form of eugenics came on the scene.

Modern eugenics, better known as human genetic engineering, changes or removes genes to prevent disease, cure disease or improve your body in some significant way. The potential health benefits of human gene therapy are staggering since many devastating or life-threatening illnesses could be cured.

But modern genetic engineering also comes with a potential cost. As technology advances, people could routinely weed-out what they consider undesirable traits in their offspring. Genetic testing already allows parents to identify some diseases in their child in utero which may cause them to terminate the pregnancy.

This is controversial since what exactly constitutes negative traits is open to interpretation, and many people feel that all humans have the right to be born regardless of disease, or that the laws of nature shouldnt be tampered with.

Much of Americas historical eugenics efforts such as forced sterilizations have gone unpunished, although some states offered reparations to victims or their survivors. For the most part, though, its a largely unknown stain on Americas history. And no amount of money can ever repair the devastation of Hitlers eugenics programs.

As scientists embark on a new eugenics frontier, past failings can serve as a warning to approach modern genetic research with care and compassion.

American Breeders Association. University of Missouri.Charles Davenport and the Eugenics Record Office. University of Missouri.Forced Sterilization of Native Americans: Late Twentieth Century Physician Cooperation with National Eugenic Policies. The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity.Greek Theories on Eugenics. Journal of Medical Ethics.Josef Mengele. Holocaust Encyclopedia.Latina Women: Forced Sterilization. University of Michigan.Modern Eugenics: Building a Better Person? Helix.Nazi Medical Experiments. Holocaust Encyclopedia.Plato. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.Unwanted Sterilization and Eugenics Programs in the United States. PBS.


Eugenics - HISTORY

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

Boris Johnson cares more about the economy than he does about human lives – The Canary

On Thursday 12 March, PM Boris Johnson made a statement about the governments planned response to the coronavirus outbreak. He said there were no plans as yet to close schools or advise against large public gatherings. The response, pretty much, seems to be to let the virus do its thing even if it means that lives will be lost.

Some have praised Johnson for following expert advice despite him openly saying many more families are going to lose loved ones. However, to anyone whos watched Shrek, Johnson might sound eerily similar to the infamous Lord Farquaad when he proclaims, Some of you may die, but its a sacrifice I am willing to make. The thought that Johnson can actually be compared to a cartoon villain would be laughable if we werent living through a pandemic.

While it sounds credible that the government response is based on expert opinion, theres more that we need to consider. Not least that there are many experts in any given field and therefore many expert opinions. Whats surprising is that Johnson is listening to his own advisors while ignoring successful responses in other countries, most notably South Korea. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of medical journal The Lancet, has described this as a major error:

The UK governmentMatt Hancock and Boris Johnsonclaim they are following the science. But that is not true. The evidence is clear. We need urgent implementation of social distancing and closure policies. The government is playing roulette with the public. This is a major error.

Financial Times journalist Tom Hancock has described the governments approach of building herd immunity as an unprecedented experiment. And then theres the fact that its possible catching the virus doesnt build immunity to it. Hancock went on to describe the scale of casualties a herd immunity approach could cause:

Moreover, the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter:

#COVID19 is a controllable pandemic. Countries that decide to give up on fundamental public health measures (like case finding and contact tracing) may end up with a larger problem, and a heavier burden on the health system that requires more severe measures to control.

This advice, combined with the South Korea example, would suggest that making testing more accessible and reducing contact through public gatherings is the obvious solution. So why are Johnson and his government doing the opposite? The answer might be more sinister than anyone wants to admit.

On 29 February, a Times article discussing the emergency response to the virus casually described how:

Ministers and officials are considering the trade-off betweenallowing an acute outbreak, from which the economy would rebound more quickly, and trying to save more lives by imposing restrictions on mass gatherings and transport.

Of course, restricting large gatherings and travel is going to slow down economic activity. People not leaving their homes to work, shop or socialise will impact service and retail industries. And the longer these measures last, the greater the impact. However, Chinas response of extensive testing, self-isolation and social distancing has effectively controlled the spread of the disease. And reducing the spread of the disease means reducing potential deaths.

But in order to protect economic interests, rather than attempting to reduce the number of cases and potential deaths, the governments plan is to stagger them over a longer period of time.

Johnson appeared on ITVs This Morning last week saying we could allow the virus to move through the population and take it on the chin. This line might be less indicative of a survival of the fittest attitude if Number 10 hadnt, just weeks before, refused to deny Johnsons belief in eugenics. And this is combined with the many issues Johnson didnt address in his speech chronic underfunding, understaffing, and a lack of bed spaces which will no doubt impact the NHSs ability to respond effectively. Plus the black hole in social care that already shows this governments disregard for elderly people. Suddenly Johnsons commitment to reduce the human cost of this epidemic starts to look increasingly questionable.

He claims that the government will be providing money and other forms of support to help people through this crisis. But given the Tories general aversion towards public spending, and Johnsons many lies in the past, his commitment to acting in the public interest during this pandemic remains doubtful.

Featured image via YouTube/Guardian News


Boris Johnson cares more about the economy than he does about human lives - The Canary

The World Changed Its Approach to Health After the 1918 Flu. Will It After The COVID-19 Outbreak? – TIME

As the world grapples with a global health emergency that is COVID-19, many are drawing parallels with a pandemic of another infectious disease influenza that took the world by storm just over 100 years ago. We should hope against hope that this one isnt as bad, but the 1918 flu had momentous long-term consequences not least for the way countries deliver healthcare. Could COVID-19 do the same?

The 1918 flu pandemic claimed at least 50 million lives, or 2.5 per cent of the global population, according to current estimates. It washed over the world in three waves. A relatively mild wave in the early months of 1918 was followed by a far more lethal second wave that erupted in late August. That receded towards the end of the year, only to be reprised in the early months of 1919 by a third and final wave that was intermediate in severity between the other two. The vast majority of the deaths occurred in the 13 weeks between mid-September and mid-December 1918. It was a veritable tidal wave of death the worst since the Black Death of the 14th-century and possibly in all of human history.

Flu and COVID-19 are different diseases, but they have certain things in common. They are both respiratory diseases, spread on the breath and hands as well as, to some extent, via surfaces. Both are caused by viruses, and both are highly contagious. COVID-19 kills a considerably higher proportion of those it infects, than seasonal flu, but its not yet clear how it measures up, in terms of lethality, to pandemic flu the kind that caused the 1918 disaster. Both are what are known as crowd diseases, spreading most easily when people are packed together at high densities in favelas, for example, or trenches. This is one reason historians agree that the 1918 pandemic hastened the end of the First World War, since both sides lost so many troops to the disease in the final months of the conflict a silver lining, of sorts.

Crowd diseases exacerbate human inequities. Though everyone is susceptible, more or less, those who live in crowded and sub-standard accommodation are more susceptible than most. Malnutrition, overwork and underlying conditions can compromise a persons immune deficiencies. If, on top of everything else, they dont have access to good-quality healthcare, they become even more susceptible. Today as in 1918, these disadvantages often coincide, meaning that the poor, the working classes and those living in less developed countries tend to suffer worst in an epidemic. To illustrate that, an estimated 18 million Indians died during the 1918 flu the highest death toll of any country, in absolute numbers, and the equivalent of the worldwide death toll of the First World War.

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In 1918, the explanation for these inequities was different. Eugenics was then a mainstream view, and privileged elites looked down on workers and the poor as inferior categories of human being, who lacked the drive to achieve a better standard of living. If they sickened and died from typhus, cholera and other crowd diseases, the reasons were inherent to them, rather than to be found in their often abysmal living conditions. In the context of an epidemic, public health generally referred to a suite of measures designed to protect those elites from the contaminating influence of the diseased underclasses. When bubonic plague broke out in India in 1896, for example, the British colonial authorities instigated a brutal public health campaign that involved disinfecting, fumigating and sometimes burning indigenous Indian homes to the ground. Initially, at least, they refused to believe that the disease was spread by rat fleas. If they had, they would have realized that a better strategy might have been to inspect imported merchandise rather than people, and to de-rat buildings rather than disinfect them.

Healthcare was much more fragmented then, too. In industrialized countries, most doctors either worked for themselves or were funded by charities or religious institutions, and many people had no access to them at all. Virus was a relatively new concept in 1918, and when the flu arrived medics were almost helpless. They had no reliable diagnostic test, no effective vaccine, no antiviral drugs and no antibiotics which might have treated the bacterial complications of the flu that killed most of its victims, in the form of pneumonia. Public health measures especially social distancing measures such as quarantine that were employing again today could be effective, but they were often implemented too late, because flu was not a reportable disease in 1918. This meant that doctors werent obliged to report cases to the authorities, which in turn meant that those authorities failed to see the pandemic coming.

The lesson that health authorities took away from the 1918 catastrophe was that it was no longer reasonable to blame individuals for catching an infectious disease, nor to treat them in isolation. The 1920s saw many governments embracing the concept of socialized medicine healthcare for all, free at the point of delivery. Russia was the first country to put in place a centralized public healthcare system, which it funded via a state-run insurance scheme, but Germany, France and the UK eventually followed suit. The U.S. took a different route, preferring employer-based insurance schemes which began to proliferate from the 1930s on but all of these nations took steps to consolidate healthcare, and to expand access to it, in the post-flu years.

Many countries also created or revamped health ministries in the 1920s. This was a direct result of the pandemic, during which public health leaders had been either left out of cabinet meetings entirely, or reduced to pleading for funds and powers from other departments. Countries also recognized the need to coordinate public health at the international level, since clearly, contagious diseases didnt respect borders. 1919 saw the opening, in Vienna, Austria, of an international bureau for fighting epidemics a forerunner, along with the health branch of the short-lived League of Nations, of todays World Health Organization (WHO).

A hundred years on from the 1918 flu, the WHO is offering a global response to a global threat. But the WHO is underfunded by its member nations, many of which have ignored its recommendations including the one not to close borders. COVID-19 has arrived at a time when European nations are debating whether their healthcare systems, now creaking under the strain of larger, aging populations, are still fit for purpose, and when the US is debating just how universal its system really is.

Depending on how bad this new pandemic gets, it may force a rethink in both regions. In the U.S., for example, we have already seen heated discussion of the costs and availability of COVID-19 testing, which could help revive the proposals to make healthcare more affordable, that President Obama put forward in his 2010 healthcare reform plan. In Europe, meanwhile, the outbreak could re-ignite a long-running debate over whether people should pay to use national health services (other than indirectly, through taxes or insurance schemes) for example through a monthly membership fee. Whether current outbreak generates real change remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: we are being reminded that pandemics are a social problem, not an individual one.

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The World Changed Its Approach to Health After the 1918 Flu. Will It After The COVID-19 Outbreak? - TIME

The Morality Of Eugenics – New University

World renowned biologist Richard Dawkins tweeted on Feb. 16 that eugenics could be implemented for humans on a practical level, if one disregarded the moral and ideological controversies that surround the idea.

Its one thing to deplore eugenics on ideological, political and moral grounds. Its quite another to conclude that it wouldnt work in practice. Of course it would. It works for cows, horses, pigs, dogs and roses. Why on earth wouldnt it work for humans? Facts ignore ideology, Dawkins said.

As expected, his tweet drew attention and criticism surrounding his definition of a working model of eugenics. Many argue that it is impossible for it to work when the idea of more desirable traits is embedded in morality itself; what makes one trait more desirable than another?

One user tweeted in response, Eugenics doesnt work with humans because of the moral dimension, a dimension which is largely missing when we breed dogs, horses, roses, etc. You cant separate morality from human eugenics.

Several other people cited the negative consequences that selective breeding has had on species such as dogs and horses. M.D. Eugene Gu said, We turned magnificent wolves into pure breed dogs with severe genetic defects causing joint and heart problems and cancer Eugenics does not create superior species We weaken the gene pool selecting for traits desirable for us but not for the subject.

These claims are not wrong. It is true that we have selectively bred many dogs into genetic disorders and disabilities simply for the aesthetics and other superficial human reasons. Even turkeys have been selectively bred so much that they are unable to reproduce on their own. The ethics of eugenics are more lenient when applied to species under us in the food and evolutionary chain. But its different when its within our own species.

CRISPR Technology is a gene editing technology that has been under fire for many years in the media, with many people concerned over the moral dilemmas it poses with choosing the genes we want to have or get rid of. As a result, the idea of a designer baby was cultivated; people would use CRISPR to choose their unborn babys hair color, eye color and possibly even influencing their height and weight. There are larger social problems that arise from this possibility, over privacy rights and class rights would a technology such as CRISPR enable a dystopian society where the rich are genetically advanced, and the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves?

In this instance, it is clear why eugenics for humans wouldnt be desirable. But that does not take away from the fact that it could morally work. CRISPR has been used to improve genetic defects, treat and prevent the spread of diseases and even improve crops. There are many benefits to having a technology that allows us to edit the genomes of living organisms and its being done.

What teeters on the edge of immorality and the argument that eugenics would not work for humans, is human nature. It is easy to say simply that eugenics practically works. But that is not practical in itself. Believing that humans will use eugenics to only cure genetic defects and disorders is an unrealistic position to take on. Humans will always have to consult the ethics of a practice if it is to be practical.

Alana Tse is an Opinion Staff Writer. She can be reached at alanat3@uci.edu.


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The Morality Of Eugenics - New University

Eugenics and Scientific Racism – Slugger O’Toole

In early January 2020, Dominic Cummings, the Prime Ministers chief Special Adviser, wrote a blog piece in which he advertised for advisers to work in No 10. One of the groupings was for weirdos and misfits. Andrew Sabisky was appointed. The media trawled through Sabiskys own blog for his thoughts, finding that hed said, for example:

There are excellent reasons to think the very real racial differences in intelligence are significantly even mostly genetic in origin

One way to get around the problems of unplanned pregnancies creating a permanent underclass would be to legally enforce universal uptake of long-term contraception at the onset of puberty.

Eugenics are about selecting for good things. Intelligence is largely inherited and it correlates with better incomes; physical health, income, lower mental illness. There is no downside to having IQ except short-sightedness.

The first of these three comments is an example of scientific racism, the second is an example of eugenics. The first comment is factually incorrect. Human eugenics is wholly discredited, both morally and scientifically. The third comment misunderstands what IQ is. Shortly after these and other, similar, comments became public knowledge, Sabisky resigned. What are the origins of such thinking?

Differences in skin pigmentation and facial structure have been obvious for millennia. The earliest form of racism seems to be anti-semitism. Jews have been stigmatised and persecuted from ancient times, even before Christianity when Jews could be held responsible for the death of Jesus. They lent money at interest, then called usury, when Christians were forbidden to do this, and were said to indulge in practices that sound more like black magic. The Jews were expelled from England in 1290, not returning until Cromwells time. They were expelled from Spain in 1492 when many found refuge in the tolerant Moslem Ottoman Empire.

More generally, the scientific study of race began during the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason. This was also the time of European colonisation and empire building, when the whites became more aware of other races. These classifiers were Western Europeans. The various human races were described in relation to skin colour, physiognomy (the science of judging peoples character from their facial appearance), and type of hair with an admixture of ignorance and prejudice. Linnaeus thought there were five types, Africans, Americans, Asians, Europeans and monsters. Johann Blumenbach described five races:

De Gobineau believed in three races, black, white and yellow. Blacks, he thought, were the strongest but incapable of intelligent thought; the yellows were physically and mentally mediocre, while whites (of course) were the best because they were capable of intelligent thought, could create beauty, and were the most beautiful. Overall, though, there was no settled agreement about the number of races. (Human facial beauty has subsequently been studied; most people prefer faces that are symmetrical. Faces with proportions in the Golden Ratio are considered beautiful. Early thinkers used Greek statues as a comparator; such statues are often the personification of beauty. And originally they were painted in bright colours to make them wear-resistant; they werent white.)

These classifications and other similar ones still find echoes today. I need hardly say that there is no biological, that is genetic, basis for such classifications, or for the attributes attached to them. The differences we can observe between different populations are a result of different cultures and environments. Race is a social construct.

Charles Darwin publishedOn the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selectionin 1859. His cousin, Francis Dalton, was intrigued and became convinced that all human characteristics and particularly intelligence were the result of inheritance.Thus, the ruling classes were the elite because of their genetic inheritance, and not because of wealth and privilege. Likewise, insanity and mental degeneracy were a result of genetic determinism. He collected data by measuring physical characteristics (anthropometrics), and mental abilities (psychometrics). He also made major developments in statistics, as did his successor Karl Pearson; it is for this that they are remembered today rather than their racism.

Convinced by such arguments, in the early 20thcentury, mental degenerates were rounded up in the UK, and kept in asylums. Programmes of forced, involuntary sterilisation were introduced in Sweden and in the US. In Germany, Nazi ideology encouraged extramarital breeding from racially pure and healthy parents to raise the birth rate of Aryans, a wholly specious race. Further, those whom the Nazis viewed as degenerate peoples, Jews, homosexuals, the Roma and others were not only segregated and sterilised, but murdered in what is now known as the Holocaust. Eugenics was (mostly) abandoned after World War II; eugenicists rebranded themselves as geneticists.

Its clear that artificial breeding works in plants, producing standardised, disease-resistant but heavy cropping varieties. In animals, selective breeding produces pedigree animals, ones that conform to what experts expect. But this comes at a cost; such animals are produced by inbreeding, and these animals are prone to hereditary defects. Inbreeding in humans is also associated with congenital diseases such as haemophilia.

Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, experimented with peas, and from this formulated his ideas of dominant and recessive genes. Although he published in the middle of the 19th century, his ideas werent widespread for half a century. Less well known is that he didnt use just any peas; he inbred peas, producing seven strains that bred pure for various characteristics; and it was from these that he experimented; his results would otherwise have been lost in the noise. No humans are purebred we are all mongrels.

Mongrels? A generation is conventionally taken to be 25 to 30 years, and the number of our ancestors doubles every generation. On this basis about 1000 years ago we have one trillion ancestors; this is clearly impossible, as the best estimate is that around 107 billion is the total number of people who have ever lived. Thegenetic isopoint is when the entire population are the ancestors of todays population. For Europe this was around 1400CE; for the world population, it was around 3400BCE. Every one of us is descended from all the global population then. There are genetic similarities within populations; but there are no sharp boundaries between populations, rather a gradual merging or blending of the two. And there are greater genetic differences within populations than between populations. Racial purity is an impossible fantasy. Sorry, Gaels and Planters; you arent pure and neither would you want to be because of recessive genetic disease.

Intelligence combines reason, problem-solving, abstract thought, learning capacity and the understanding of ideas. The first rigorous attempts at measuring and quantifying intelligence were by Binet just over a century ago, and was calculated by dividing the mental age by the chronological age, and multiplying by 100. This produced an intelligence quotient or IQ; the average for a population was 100. About two-thirds of people (one standard deviation) are in the range 85 115, and 95% (two standard deviations) lie between 70 and 130. Todays tests (attempt to) measure reason, mental processing speed, spatial awareness and knowledge.

IQ scores for populations have been found to be rising at about 3 points per decade; this is known as the Flynn effect. For example, the average IQ in Ireland was 85 in 1970 by comparison to the UK where it was 100; in Ireland today it is 100. This is far too short a time scale for a genetic effect. The generally accepted explanation relates to the environment including better nutrition and health, an increased standard of living and general socio-economic development. Does this accurately describe the changes in Ireland in the past half-century? Has Ireland gone from a poor, impoverished, even backward country to one which is wealthy, well educated and which has a vibrant economy?

While its difficult to assess accurately, todays best estimate is that genes account for 40% to 60% of a persons intelligence, with the environment, including nurture, accounting for the rest; crudely, about half nature and half nurture. Its clear that genetics does not account for all or even the great majority of intelligence. The short-sightedness associated with intelligence may be genetic, but its known that close study, such as reading, has a very significant effect. I was told that myopia is common in Jewish boys but not girls; only boys study the Talmud in exquisite detail.

Scientific racism is a pseudoscientific attempt to show that certain races, that is white races, are genetically superior to others. It uses comparisons of IQ in this venture. It does seem correct that peoples in sub-Saharan Africa have IQs 20 points less than those in the UK (taken as 100). Its also true that they are developing rather than developed countries. However, the highest IQ scores, again by comparison with the UK, are in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and China, where scores are in the range 105 108. There is a culture of study and learning in these countries. Characteristically, researchers in this field such as Richard Lynn, previously a Professor of Psychology at the Ulster University, are described as controversial.

Its surely clear that eugenics and scientific racism are thoroughly discredited, both morally and scientifically. The comments Mr Sabisky made are simply wrong in every detail; it is concerning that there does seem to be a recrudescence of such ideas today, and alarming to think that these ideas might be at the heart of government. Neither Dominic Cummings nor the Prime Ministers spokesman have distanced themselves from these comments.

Angela Saini and Adam Pearson presented a two-part documentary calledEugenics: Sciences Greatest Scandalon BBCTV last year. It is not available on iPlayer at present.

Angela Sainis bookSuperior: the Return of Race Science(2019) and Adam RutherfordsHow to Argue with a Racist(2020) are up to date accounts, and well worth reading.

There is a list of further reading here.

My thanks to SeaanUiNeill, Dr Madeleine Morris and Professor Sen Danaher for their comments.

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Eugenics and Scientific Racism - Slugger O'Toole

The history of time capsules has a dark side linked to eugenics. But their future is brighter – ABC News

Updated March 01, 2020 09:30:40

There's more to time capsules than fond childhood memories of burying hand-written notes.

University of Iowa history expert Nick Yablon has traced the origins of time capsules back to the late 1870s, and uncovered a murky history.

He says they were used in the early promotion of eugenics the idea of improving the human race through "scientific breeding".

In his observations of the early 1900s, he says, the link to eugenics "comes up in almost every time capsule I found".

The conception of the modern time capsule seemed innocent enough.

The term was first officially coined by George E Pendray, a PR consultant for Westinghouse Electric Company, to describe the company's exhibit for the New York World's Fair in 1939.

"He was going to call it the 'time bomb'," Dr Yablon tells ABC RN's Late Night Live.

"But in 1939 that probably wouldn't have gone down too well."

The Westinghouse capsule is bequeathed to Earth's inhabitants in 6939AD, so it will be a long time before anyone knows what's inside.

But a plaque on the capsule lists some of its contents: 22,000 pages of microfilm, 15 minutes of newsreel, an alarm clock, bifocals and believe it or not carrots.

Like the Westinghouse effort, time capsules were often created by people of influence, who had the money and means to construct and commission them.

Many seemed to be more about commemorating an individuals' own achievements than sending a meaningful message to the future.

And museums were just a little bit miffed about them.

"The time capsule was definitely a kind of riposte to the museum," Dr Yablon says.

"Museums were seen as inadequate memorialisations of the present. They tended to be full of relics of other civilisations or they were collections that were massed haphazardly without any sense of how they illuminated the present.

"So the time capsule would be a narrower selection for future audiences or future historians to view."

According to Dr Yablon, one of the first people to create a time vessel was Chicago photographer Charles Mosher, an early advocate of eugenics.

Mosher created a "Memorial Safe" time vessel for the American Centennial Exposition in 1876, celebrating 100 years since the country's signing of the Declaration of Independence.

In his book Remembrance of Things Present, Dr Yablon writes that Mosher appears to have had "fears about the contamination of Anglo-Saxon Protestant stock".

To memorialise that stock, Mosher filled a safe with some 10,000 portraits of notable Chicagoans and their wives, as well as literature on "progenerate" schools and colleges.

Mosher invoked eugenics pseudoscience in "vaguely expressed hopes that the 'healthy' could be encouraged to reproduce ... and the 'unfit' discouraged", Dr Yablon says.

He writes that Mosher "gave physical form to his racial visions, rendering his eugenicist utopia concrete through the vessel".

Time capsules attracted others like Mosher, who included eugenicist pamphlets in their vessels.

Dr Yablon says there's a more altruistic element to the tradition of time capsules that could be embraced as we face the global challenge of climate change.

At the turn of the 20th century, Louis Ehrich, a Jewish American from Colorado Springs, created a time capsule intended for today's citizens of his city.

According to Dr Yablon, Ehrich was concerned about environmental degradation and other developments in America, such as class conflict.

"He used the time capsule there to kind of create and instil a sense of duty to future generations," he says.

As students across the world protest for climate change action, Dr Yablon believes time capsules could help create a sense of responsibility to future generations and negotiate a way forward.

"We need more than just a philosophy or a ... legal theory of the rights of future generations," he says.

"We actually need to create a sense of emotional connection. Time capsules are a very powerful way of creating that."

Simply by existing, time capsules acknowledge future generations because what's the point of creating a time capsule, if it won't have an audience?

In that way, they connect the future with the present.

"The time capsule expanded our idea of how we communicated through time," Dr Yablon says.

Take Scottish artist Katie Paterson's Future Library, a time capsule reimagined.

Paterson's large-scale art project began in 2014, when a thousand spruce trees were planted in a forest just outside of Oslo.

The trees will be allowed to grow for a hundred years before they are cut down and turned into paper, which will be used to print 100 previously unseen manuscripts, by authors such as Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell and Karl Ove Knausgrd.

Dr Yablon says it's a project that is about more than just the books.

"It's that idea of exercising stewardship over the forest that will create the wood for the paper that will print these books," he says.

"The book is the lure, but the real message is the need to... cultivate those forests and preserve them, and preserve the larger environment."

And in so doing, maybe time capsules can counter their darker past, by helping to create a brighter future.


First posted March 01, 2020 07:00:00


The history of time capsules has a dark side linked to eugenics. But their future is brighter - ABC News

S. Craig Zahler and the Art of the Podcast – Filmmaker Magazine

We have a solution to Hollywoods development hell which I am pleased to share with everyone. This was how Dallas Sonnier, or at least his marketing department, announced the introduction of the original audiostate, the neologism Cinestate (Sonniers Dallas-based indie production company) coined to avoid the dread word podcast. Through marrying the grandiosity of Hollywood films with the intimacy of audio, the audiostate is meant transform that most beloved of objects, the unproduced screenplay, into multi-platform pitchable content. Since Sonniers 2017 statement, only one audiostate has been produced: the same years The Narrow Caves, a story of eldritch horror, eugenics and explicit fucking adapted by S. Craig Zahler from his own screenplay.

Zahlers recent career is deeply intertwined with Cinestate. As detailed by Scott Tobias, Sonnier made a personal bet on Zahlers first film Bone Tomahawk (2015), financing it partially through the mortgaging of his house. Tomahawk, which saw a motley band of Western stock characters plodding across a desert to rescue a couple of 19th Century normies from some metal AF subhuman cave dwellers, proved to be of enough interest, to both critics and gorehounds, to fund the creation of Cinestate, which Tobias aptly describes as a renegade outfit between the coasts. Since then, Cinestate has produced four other films, only one without a script by Zahler.

Previous to Tomahawk, Zahler had twenty-odd screenplays in various stages of Zenos Entertainment Complex Paradox, save for the Belgian Asylum Blackout (2011.) As the above Sonnier quote suggests, this is not an entirely unusual career for a screenwriter, although most professionals agree that said career type used to be more lucrative. Zahlers writing, however, is what certain producers might call tonally complex, and Zahler himself unenthusiastic to the notes process. As Zahler says of his films, Some people can get bored. And thats fine. But thats not what studios want to hear. Cinestate, however, has seen fit to leave Zahler, as writer and director, a relatively free hand, which has led to three films which are, to again quote Tobias, as challenging in their unusual longueurs as they are in their shocks.

The corrupt cop drama Dragged Across Concrete (2018) features a now semi-infamous scene in which Vince Vaughn does nothing but eat an egg salad sandwich for one minute and thirteen seconds. In Tomahawk, Richard Jenkins launches a digressive explanation about saloon musician economics. Zahler has stated the intent of such passages is to draw the audience into his characters world more fully, so that when the horror hits (and it always does), it smacks flesh harder. However, these films deliberation, duration, and pace, which isnt leisurely but instead has the rhythm of a lengthy march across enemy territory, differentiate Zahlers work tonally and formally from pulp forebears such as John Carpenter, Charles Willeford, and Don Siegel. As a director, Zahler is many things, but derivative only of himself.

Though Zahler asserts that his prose is clearly the prose of a novelist, his fiction is less successful. In a medium where the creator cannot control duration, only suggest it, pacing comes with voice. Zahlers voice marries laconic hard-boiled to the flourishing gothic, which often results in prose purpled like a much loved bruise. An early suicide in Mean Business on North Garrison Street (2014) is described thusly: W. Robert Fellburn swallowed the steel cylinder, thumbed the safety, and squeezed the trigger until his shame covered the ceiling in gray and red clumps. In A Congregation of Jackals (2010), a character speaks [i]n a quiet voice that begat a coiled serpent of smoke. Zahler the novelist also has a number of unfortunate tics, including race-baiting, gross-out spectacle and referencing characters by their descriptors. In Jackals, the bartender becomes the rapidly-aging drink slinger; later a rancher and his wife are referred to as bipedal intruders. In Mean Business, the protagonist introduces himself as Jules Bettinger, just before the authorial voice refers to him as the man from Arizona, two sentences after designating him the detective. Refusing to use pronouns is not a style, even if youre an Oulipian.

Despite their relative obscurity (Mean Business being the only title to have a mainstream publisher, Thomas Dunne), many of Zahlers novels have been optioned for film. Though none have yet made it to production, it makes sense to attempt the same outcome with a Zahler podcast. Adapting existing IP into pitch material, or reverse-engineering the process, is a strategy currently much in vogue. You prove the content has an audience, then you leverage it into a more lucrative medium. Podcasts seem to be the ideal form, as theyre (relatively) cheap, have a (seemingly) large potential market and have (limited) success making the long trudge towards television. However, narrative-fiction podcasts have a unique challenge. The vast majority of the living residents of overdeveloped nations have never experienced a time when narrative was not primarily consumed via the medium of the screen. Even those who read analogue books still take in their narrative visually. The eye of the podcast-listener is, thus, constantly restless, searching for content but finding only bare life.

This is why most successful podcasts are this historical periods talk radio, best experienced as background chatter, the ideologies of their hosts seeping into your unconscious. (As podcast-host Caroline Busta recently said of podcasts on the podcast New Models, as youre listening, youre not thinking as hard about exactly whats being said.) Vernacular rhythm, catch-phrases, vocal fry: these are the content that the podcast-listener comes to desire. Narrative-nonfiction podcasts (and Im thinking specifically of Serial and its spawn) often deal with this issue by returning to the same foundational scenes with new, previously-withheld facts or from divergent POVs, so that the listener who is browsing Instagram or doing kettle-bell reps will get multiple chances to be reminded of the narrative.

Many narrative-fiction podcasts mimic the tone, rhythm, and formal constraints of the narrative-nonfiction. BBCs H.P.-Lovecraft-is-now-public-domain series The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (2018) and The Whisper in the Darkness (2019) revel in this artifice, posing as narrative-nonfiction. The prehistory of the podcast includes, of course, Orson Welles oft-referenced War of the Worlds false flag/radio broadcast, so its not like theres no precedent for such formal fuckery. However, the continued built-in excuses for why the narrative in question has to be experienced solely through audio begins to feel like a pathological need on part of the creators to explain, if not apologize. The answer cant be, The meeting with Netflix didnt go so well.

This has led to audience exhaustion, which the more successful narrative-fiction podcasts tend to side-step. The Horror of Dolores Roach (2018) adapts a one-person show into a monologue with background noise and inserted dialogue. Monologue with extras is also the format episode-of-the-week The Magnus Archives (begun 2016) uses as a base. Homecoming (2016-2017) threw money at the problem, using a large celebrity cast, contextless conversation, and location recording to keep the frame TV wide. (Homecoming, of course, now is a TV show.)

Zahler, unsurprisingly, feels no need to apologize or explain. The Narrow Cavesform can be best described as elevated table reading. Wyatt Russell and Lili Simmons head up the small cast, doing good work (neither can, I think, be blamed for the excessive, embarrassing sex scenes, one of which involves stick-fucking), and national treasure Vincent DOnofrio is hellbent on out-deranging the material. Zahlers own sub-Carpenter score differentiates the soundtrack from the usual Casio noodling, while The Narrator (Will Patton) reads chunks of Action. If that sounds a bit dry, remember that this is Zahler.

The prose tics reappear immediately. Protagonists Walter (Russell) and Ruby (Simmons) are referred to as the lanky youth and the pale woman respectively, while Walters buddy Jason is referred to as, uh, the Asian fellow. However, the referents do extra work in this format, helping listeners keep in mind physical characteristics and becoming touchstones in the narration. Zahlers baroque sentences are chewier for their relative scarcity. Standouts include, Beer cans gleam like oblong stars along the weedy front lawn, and Several hungry partygoers pick at nachos which look like the remains of an exposed animal; others contend for the fried chicken, potato chips, and pretzels nearby. Later, the Narrator christens a certain class of subhuman Crawler without further description. This forces the listener to do the work of creating the salient attributes of the Crawler, aided only by squelching foley work. The whiplash between what is (over)described and what is left to the imagination proves productive, especially in comparison to the genre offerings of the film industrys mainstream, wherein everything must be backstoried, categorized and explained.

To his immense credit, Zahler is uninterested in world-building. Invented in the cloistered yet drafty halls of SF fandom, world-building managed to survive being staked through the heart by M. John Harrison to be recuperated into a beloved entertainment industry standard. Instead, The Narrow Caves presents its protagonist (I lied, its just Walter, not really Ruby at all) with a not-really-intractable problem: what if the reason why you are so violently drawn to your lover is because of the brutal logic of genetic programming? And what if visiting her ancestral homestead and creepy dad leads to the two of you being dragged underground by members of a subhuman race who have interbred with humanity? And what if you yourself are in fact the eventual product of such ancient, unspeakable mating? Zahler isnt interested in detailing an underground civilization and its intersection with human history, but rather with Walters refusal to succumb to his own eldritch genetic engineering. Zahlers heroes, corrupted as they often are (Walters not that bad compared to most of them, although hes a pseudo-intellectual whiney little manipulative dick), consistently find themselves faced with the necessity of cutting through the obscuring mists of amorality and seeing the eternal battle of good and evil. This evil is, in The Narrow Caves, an inescapable fact hidden in our blood, not accidental.

Arguing about whether S. Craig Zahlers work is racist or merely racist-adjacent has become fashionable in circles which must be described, unfortunately, as film twitter. (My favorite of these pieces is by K. Austin Collins.) I made my own determination when I read the authorial voice of Mean Business compare a characters height to that of a Chinese woman. The Narrow Caves ancient race that mated with human beings appears to besurviving across time, space and content platformsTomahawks aforementioned race of cave-dwellers who enjoy splitting people apart with rocks. Tomahawk clearly delineates these cave-dwellers from local indigenous peoples. This is a rather obvious attempt to dodge the consequences of deploying the racist trope of riding-out-to-save-white-folks-from-the-savages. There are symmetries here with Lovecrafts short story The Horror at Red Hook (1925), a centerpiece in the history of cosmic horror and often regarded as one of Lovecrafts most racist works. However, Red Hook has a far more complex internal dialogue with immigration than its reputation would suggest. Its protagonist is an immigrant himself, Irish (which at the time was a category still in the process of being subsumed into White), while its villain, or at least the human who acts as vortical point for unspeakable, squamish evil, is of a long-standing Dutch family. The carriers of the inhuman cult which the latter delves into are a very unusual colony of unclassified slant-eyed folk who used the Arabic alphabet but were eloquently repudiated by the great mass of Syrians in and around Atlantic Avenue.This is the Zahler two-step from Tomahawk, a century beforehand: the real subhumans are the ones I made up from out of nowhere. Not that Lovecraft was performing wokeness, he was metaphorically aligning evil with brown people pretty explicitly, and theres a lot of free-floating hate for generalized duskyforeigners later in the text.

Zahler, of course, isnt Lovecraft. Hes not the inventor of an elaborate pulp cosmos which metaphorizes positivism in the form of incoming species annihilation due to his despair over the decline of the white race; hes a nostalgic neo-pulp multi-platform content creator whose defense of his films obvious racism is that they dont even consistently line up withthemselves. This, dear reader, is what we like to refer to as horseshit. Just come out and have The Narrator say it, bro.

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S. Craig Zahler and the Art of the Podcast - Filmmaker Magazine

Prejudice against Downs Syndrome is a form of eugenics Brian Wilson – The Scotsman

NewsUK NewsThe law actively discriminates against unborn children with Downs Syndrome and other non-fatal disabilities, but a campaign aims to change that, writes Brian Wilson.

Saturday, 29th February 2020, 7:40 am

Those of us with a family interest in Downs Syndrome tend to notice positive stories about people with the condition.

The past few days have provided a good crop. Theres the girl in Boston who loves baking and, when nobody would give her a job, opened her own little bakery with help from her mother and sister.

The Boston Golden Goose Market placed a regular order. Publicity led to more business and they are now employing people with and without disabilities.

Then theres Arras in northern France where a young woman is about to become the countrys first local councillor with Downs Syndrome. The mayor said: She will be a councillor like no other but she will be a councillor in her own right.

Or how about the enterprising parents of little Odhran McLafferty in Easter Ross who have signed him up with a model agency. Odhran will also feature in a campaign called Nothing Down aiming to change pereceptions of Downs Syndrome.

These stories point to an important truth. The term Downs Syndrome covers a wide abilities range and as many personalities as there are individuals. Just like the rest of us.

Our own son, now aged 27, is not a baker, a prospective councillor or a model. Hes just a nice, gentle guy who enhances the lives of those he comes in contact with and costs the state very little.

So why is society so determined to get rid of all these people; to eliminate them en bloc? Why in some supposedly advanced, liberal European countries are they now on the point of succeeding?

These questions are brought into focus by the campaign supported by the actress Sally Phillips, herself a Downs parent, to amend the 1967 Abortion Act in order to equalise the treatment of all unborn children with non-fatal disabilities.

By far the biggest category of terminations beyond 24 weeks involve cases in which testing has taken place for Downs Syndrome. That is the product of a relentless campaign to persuade parents that the birth of a Downs child is a disaster which should, at all costs, be avoided.

Most astounding hypocrisy

For as long as our son has been alive, we have squirmed to read glowing reports of more accurate tests which identify Downs pregnancies for one purpose only. Nobody can question the campaigns success in the UK, more than 90 per cent of Downs births are pre-empted (along, inadvertently, with many non-Downs births).

Another Downs parent, happy with his lot, is the journalist Dominic Lawson. He made a valid point this week about justified outrage over a brief appearance in Downing Street of a bonkers special adviser with a record of eugenicist ravings.

Dominic wrote: Hidden in plain sight is the most astounding hypocrisy. Eugenics is practiced in this country, funded by the taxpayer... I am referring to the law governing the termination of pregnancy and the fact it actively discriminates against those unborn children who are likely to have subnormal IQs or physical disabilities.

If there is enough truth in that observation to give pause for thought in the UK, then consider what is happening in Scandinavia. Denmark and Iceland have official policies of eliminating Downs kids. At the last count, they are 98 and 100 per cent successful, respectively.

But why stop at Downs Syndrome? Are there not other troublesome conditions which might cost the state money and cause upset to perfect families? Once this form of eugenics is accepted and packaged as an undisputed advance for medical science, it is difficult to draw a line.

There is of course an alternative. It is to offer balanced information rather than eugenic prejudice to prospective parents. It is to create a climate of support and quality provision to help families adjust. It is to welcome diversity as an asset rather than a curse.

And if you disagree with any of that, just remember the baker, the councillor, the child model... Lumping a category of people together in order to get rid of them all is not a healthy trait in any society.

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Prejudice against Downs Syndrome is a form of eugenics Brian Wilson - The Scotsman

Dumbarton MP critical of Boris Johnson as he tells of brother who died from cerebral palsy – The Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter

Dumbarton and the Vales MP has paid tribute to his late brother Graham while criticising the Prime Minister over the views of one of his advisors.

Martin Docherty-Hughes questioned Boris Johnson on why Andrew Sabinsky was employed despite discriminatory comments on eugenics which is the science of controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics.

The local MP shared how his late brother Graham died aged 15 from cerebral palsy. He was unable to walk, talk or feed himself, but Mr Docherty-Hughes told his colleagues in the Commons how he brought love and joy to all who knew him.

He asked the Prime Minister: To advise the house on behalf of every disabled person on this island, why Andrew Sabinsky was put at the heart of his government and was not removed from his position immediately, when his abhorrent views became apparent?

The former Downing Street adviser resigned one day after being appointed, when it was revealed he believed forced long-term contraception would rid the country of its permanent underclass, or as early eugenicists termed it, the residuum.

In response, Mr Johnson said: I certainly dont share those views and neither does anyone else in this government. And that individual no longer works for this government.

Mr Docherty-Hughes told the Reporter: The majority of my constituents who value the contribution of people with disabilities will be appalled that the Prime Minister has once again failed to unequivocally condemn such discriminatory views.

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Dumbarton MP critical of Boris Johnson as he tells of brother who died from cerebral palsy - The Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter

Fakebook and the Big Data manipulators – Pressenza International Press Agency

When Facebook announced that it would not remove political advertising with inaccurate content (aka lies) very few people seemed to be surprised, or bothered.When it was reported that interference by Cambridge Analytica, may be with some help from Canadian AggregateIQwas most likely responsible for the success of Brexit, being used by Vote.leave, it created some interest but not enough to question the results of the referendum.

UKs Channel 4 TV conducted an undercover investigation during which Cambridge Analytica described in no uncertain terms they had the capacity to manipulate elections and they had done so in various countries around the world:

Revealed: Trumps election consultants filmed saying they use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians

An undercover investigation by Channel 4 News reveals how Cambridge Analytica secretly campaigns in elections across the world. Bosses were filmed talking about using bribes, ex-spies, fake IDs and sex workers

In the meetings, the executives boasted that Cambridge Analytica and its parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) had worked in more than two hundred elections across the world, including Nigeria, Kenya, the Czech Republic, India and Argentina.

The company is at the centre of a scandal over its role in the harvesting of more than 50 million Facebook profiles.

The companies and the people who carry out the studies of the Big Data being collected from our credit cards, supermarkets shopping habits, health records (which will inform US health care companies which bits of the NHS they should buy when the UK begins to negotiate the post Brexit deals) cookies, Facebook likes, etc, use sophisticated maths to elicit patterns to then use these for targeted advertising. Of any type, general consumerism, politics, whatever.

These number crunchers, algorithms wizards, work as hired guns for companies and politicians. If in the 80s and 90s political parties gave their campaigns to advertising agencies, in the new millennium the invisible hand of the Big Data manipulators will quietly tell us what to think and how to vote on a text message or WhatsApp, or targeted Facebook content.

After helping the most right wing faction of the Conservative Party win the Brexit referendum and the elections Dominic Cummings, one of these Big Data guys, is now sitting in the UKs government headquarters advising the Prime Minister on how to run the country. Are all these people right wing? Probably not but as hired guns they are likely to work for those who have the money, e.g., the most well off. He has expressed a desire to hire misfits and weirdos in order to shake up the civil service. So they brought in one whose racist views and support for eugenics forced him to resign after a big media scandal.

The poisonous spread of the alt-right ideology speaks of a system of massive subtle manipulation we cannot see unless we begin to pay attention to the drip drip of information (propaganda) that reaches us constantly on our most personal (which we believe private) objects (screens). Is there any chance to control how our data is used to manipulate us? Going back to paying all in cash? Hospitals getting rid of computers and writing all in paper records? Probably not. But we can remain vigilant about who are the spads, the special advisers in the political system and the proliferation of Cambridge Analytica-like companies, proposing firm international regulations to their political activities.

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Fakebook and the Big Data manipulators - Pressenza International Press Agency

Resignation of UK Government Adviser Sparks Controversy Over Link Between Race and IQ – The National Interest Online

An outrageous, racist and outdated belief in the innate intellectual inferiority of black people periodically re-enters public debate, usually masquerading as a bold initiative at the forefront of science; challenging convention and thinking the unthinkable.

A 27-year-old called Andrew Sabisky provides the latest example. In a matter of days, this Downing Street aide joined, then quit, the UK governments policy machine after a series of controversial past comments came to light. It is easy to misunderstand the significance of this. Sabiskys view that black people are genetically pre-determined to be less intelligent than whites was widely attacked in the media and politics. Yet the evidence suggests that his thinking about the nature of intelligence may not be entirely out of step with those in power in the UK.

Like Sabisky, they may claim that a focus on past statements and actions is unfair: tweeting about his departure Sabisky blamed selective quoting and media hysteria about my old stuff online. But the record is all we have on these matters.

At a press briefing shortly before Sabiskys departure, the prime ministers deputy spokesman refused more than 30 times to state Boris Johnsons views on eugenics and the supposed intellectual inferiority of black people. The press secretary repeatedly stated that the PMs views are well publicised and well documented.

I have been researching racism in education for more than 30 years and, at regular intervals, this means revisiting the question of supposed racial differences in intelligence a topic that refuses to die despite the wealth of evidence against it. Viewed from this perspective, there are some key takeaways from the Sabisky affair.

Much of the press coverage presented him as a maverick outsider; someone fitting Dominic Cummings search for misfits and weirdos to advance government thinking. But Sabiskys appointment highlights a view that is in line with earlier statements on intelligence by the prime minister and his chief advisor.

What sets Sabisky apart from some people in government is not his belief in intelligence as a fixed and measurable trait, but the way he expressed it. In 2013, for example, Boris Johnson sang the praises of the free market economy and the competition that it fosters when he said:

That violent economic centrifuge is operating on human beings who are already very far from equal in raw ability, if not spiritual worth. Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16% of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2% have an IQ above 130. The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.

There is, of course, no mention of supposed race differences in intelligence here; but there is a clear belief in IQ tests as a useful measure of innate ability. What the prime minster failed to mention (or understand?) is that IQ tests are periodically re-calibrated so that 100 always falls at the overall average, despite the fact that average performance has risen over time. There will always be a percentage of our species below 85 because that is the way the test is designed and maintained. The significance of any IQ score is always open to debate.

A few years ago I wrote a paper challenging many of the myths that surround IQ. I included analysis of Dominic Cummings 237-page essay, Some Thoughts on Education and Political Priorities. At the time, Cummings was special advisor to the then education secretary, Michael Gove.

His essay attacks policymakers failure to embrace what he calls the relevant science concerning evolutionary influences on intelligence. Those familiar with the debates will know that evolution is frequently invoked as a causal explanation for current race inequalities, for example, in the work of J Philippe Rushton, whose evolutionary theory of race and intelligence places Negroids at the lesser end of the spectrum.

I think most would read Cummings essay as inferring that evolution and genes shape IQ but he never offers an explicit position on the controversial issue of race and intelligence. A section entitled Genes, class and social mobility ends with a lengthy quotation from an MIT professor who speculates that, in the future, people might discover alleles [types of genes] for certain aspects of cognitive function and those alleles might vary between different ethnic groups:

Then for the first time there could be a racism which is based not on some kind of virulent ideology, not based on some kind of kooky versions of genetics.

Unfortunately, Cummings offers no commentary whatsoever on the ideas contained in this quoted text.

I have called this strategy racial inexplicitness a careful avoidance of clarity about race and education amid a long and winding discussion that prompts the reader to join the dots without ever stating clearly where he thinks the dots lead us.

Reviewing Cummings sources and influences is instructive. One of his heroes is the American psychologist Professor Robert Plomin. Plomin has made headlines in recent years for his increasingly exaggerated claims about the genetics of intelligence, including most recently, that DNA is a fortune teller giving us the power to predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses from birth. Cummings invited Plomin to visit the education department to explain the science of IQ and genetics to officials and ministers.

Plomin, like Cummings, is currently vague about his views on race and intelligence. But in the 1990s he supported the claims made famous in the book The Bell Curve, which stated that class and race inequities in society mostly reflect genetics. He was one of 52 people who signed a 1994 Wall Street Journal article that claimed mainstream science shows that intelligence tests are not culturally biased against American blacks or other native-born, English-speaking peoples. The article also stated that:

The bell curve for whites is centred roughly around IQ 100; the bell curve for American blacks roughly around 85; and those for different subgroups of hispanics roughly midway between those for whites and blacks.

These statements blithely ignore years of critique that has documented the misunderstandings and racist misuses of IQ tests. They are also remarkably similar to the racist blog post that came back to haunt Andrew Sabisky.

Asked, in 2015, whether he now regretted signing the Wall Street Journal statement, Professor Plomin replied, Well I regret it to the extent its a distraction to my research. But I think the basic facts are there erm, about heritability of intelligence.

It would be nice to think that Cummings and Plomin now reject such spurious views, but they have not explicitly stated their current position. If these documented views do reflect their current thinking then it would be the case that deeply racist and regressive beliefs about the nature of intelligence and education lie at the heart of the British government.

These views are bad news for many groups in society, especially those deemed less gifted. And its not so unlikely that we could see them entering policy. Despite the negative press coverage generated by Sabiskys beliefs, such dogma could conceivably be translated into a superficially acceptable policy brief. One way would be for education reforms to claim to apply scientific methods to identify the brightest and best and single them out for special attention. This would be presented as a meritocratic exercise, intended to fast-track clever children regardless of their social background.

The methods would include cognitive assessments (often a code for IQ tests) and the talk would be of social mobility and colour-blindness, whereby the approach treats everyone as an individual. No one in authority would worry about the fact that such assessments seem to always place a disproportionate number of black kids in the less-able bracket. Thats how institutional racism works.

David Gillborn, Professor of Critical Race Studies, University of Birmingham

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image: Reuters.

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Resignation of UK Government Adviser Sparks Controversy Over Link Between Race and IQ - The National Interest Online

A new view of eugenics shows its ties to the slavery era – Daily Northwestern


Professor Rana Hogarth gives a talk on her new research in the Hagstrum Room of University Hall on Monday. Her lecture argued that the eugenics movement was motivated by the views of the slavery era.

Jason Beeferman/The Daily Northwestern

Professor Rana Hogarth gives a talk on her new research in the Hagstrum Room of University Hall on Monday. Her lecture argued that the eugenics movement was motivated by the views of the slavery era.

Jason Beeferman/The Daily Northwestern

Jason Beeferman/The Daily Northwestern

Professor Rana Hogarth gives a talk on her new research in the Hagstrum Room of University Hall on Monday. Her lecture argued that the eugenics movement was motivated by the views of the slavery era.

University of Illinois Prof. Rana Hogarth discussed her new research into eugenicist movements in University Hall on Monday. Her talk argued that contrary to common views of American history eugenics is actually a continuation of the views of the slavery era, rather than a seperate movement.

Through her talk, Hogarth presented the idea that eugenics was used to affirm prexisting beliefs that originated in the slavery era.

Eugenic-era race crossing studies owed a lot of their creation to old ideas about race mixing from the era of slavery, Hogarth said. Most people think of eugenics as this forward, new genetic science, which it is, but they were actually taking old ideas and repackaging them with new science.

Hogarths research specifically focused on two early 20th century studies of Charles Davenport, a leader of the eugenics movement in the United States. The two studies examined mixed-race populations in the Caribbean.

The lecture, titled, Legacies of Slavery in the Era of Eugenics: Charles B. Davenports Race-Crossing Studies, was part of the Klopsteg Lecture Series, which aims to present popular understandings of science for the general public.

Hogarth discussed multiple aspects of Davenports experiments, including his reluctance to acknowledge the role of white men in the existence of people identifying as mixed-race in the first place. Davenport, for example, would describe his subjects as fair skinned babies from dark mothers, without ever mentioning the role of a white father.

Davenport attempted to craft a narrative that played into white perceptions about black female sexuality, that only suddenly subtly implicated white men, Hogarth said.

Ken Alder is the founding director of the Science in Human Culture program, which hosts the lecture series. Alder said the talk itself was fabulous.

This particular aspect of (eugenics) was a sort of scientific justification for something that Americans already wanted to do, Alder said.

Raina Bhagat is a first year PhD student in comparative literary studies who attended the lecture. Bhagat said she was especially intrigued by Hogarts discussion of how eugenicists sought to use hair as an indication of ancestry.

It felt like a very contemporary link of this research that centered at the beginning of the 20th century, to here in the 21st century (with) the idea that hair comes in different shapes and sizes, Bhagat said.

Bhagat was referring to a discovery Hogarth made while digging through the archives of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.

After asking for all the materials relating to Davenport, she found a tiny manila envelope listed under the category of Family Histories. When Hogarth opened the envelope, to her surprise, human samples of hair fell out.

Though the hair was unexpected, it was definitely fascinating, Hogarth said.

When I went to the archives, I was like, this is really gross, but this is totally going into my research, Hogarth said.

To Hogarth, the human hair samples were more than an unusual find.

To me, seeing something like a human article, a part of somebodys body in this archive tells me that this is about reading peoples bodies, Hogarth said. This is about science, what science can tell us about somebodys potential or about someones ancestry by literally studying something as minute your hair. That to me is very telling.

Email: jasonbeeferman2023@u.northwestern.edu

Related Stories:Brainstorm: Why does Social Darwinism still exist?Satoshi Kanazawa, whose work has been criticized as racist, is facing mounting backlash from the Northwestern community


A new view of eugenics shows its ties to the slavery era - Daily Northwestern

The Dangers In Nationalizing Health Care – Forbes

The history of government in medicine is not a pretty one.

By now it should be clear to everyone that Medicare for All doesnt really mean Medicare for all. In fact, it means getting rid of every health plan Americans know and are comfortable with and creating an entirely new, government-run health care system.

In the Bernie Sanders version, health care would be virtually free. Butgovernment would determine what care you get, when you can get it, where you can get it, and how you can get it.

By controlling physicians salaries, the government could make some services so unprofitable that no doctor would offer them. By controlling technology, the government might make some procedures impossible to obtain.

For example, in the private sector 24/7 access to a physician by phone and email is increasingly a reality for many patients, as are Uber-type house calls. Patients also are increasingly able to get medical consultations in their homes (instead of trips to doctors offices or emergency rooms) by means of a phone or laptop computer. Yet the current Medicare program doesnt allow any of this.

And because of global budgets, patients may experience long waits for care lasting months or even years as they do in Britain and Canada.

Why would the government deny people care? One reason is to save money. Whenever health care is made free, the potential demand for it tends to soar. To hold spending in check, governments control resources in order to keep spending in check. As I have written before, the way governments ration health care is not rational. Its dictated by politics.

But there is also another reason why things go wrong. Nobody cares about you more than you care about you. And that includes the government.

The history of government in medicine is not a pretty one. In the early part of the 20th century, forced sterilization of patients was one of themost popular reforms among political progressives. They believed that in order to protect the gene pool, it was necessary to sterilize all manner of patients including the feeble minded, epileptics, others with mental and physical disabilities and even people with proclivities toward alcoholism, drug abuse, crime and prostitution.

Although this was primarily a progressive movement reform, such conservative politicians as Winston Churchill also advocated it.

One case, Buck v. Bell, went all the way to the Supreme Court. In ruling in favor of sterilization, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes made the memorable statement that "Three generations ofimbecilesare enough." Only one justice dissented.

In all, an estimated 70,000 Americans were forcibly sterilized. The Lynchburg Story is a heart-breaking video with patient interviews that describes the human side of the tragedy. Many Americans associate the eugenics movement with Nazi Germany. If anything, the Nazi eugenics program was imported to Germany from the United States.

In an ironic twist of fate, government today intervenes in the opposite way. In general, Downs Syndrome children are not capable of making rational decisions about sex and procreation. So, to prevent unwanted pregnancies their parents often turn to sterilization. Yet in doing so, they face legal obstacles and many procedures are performed illegally.

But why must government be involved at all?

It wasnt until 1972 that the American news media discovered that for 40 years the United States Public Health Service had been conducting a medical experiment in Tuskegee, Alabama, involving several hundred black males with syphilis. The experiment? It consisted of observation without treatment, including withholding penicillin.

Although the general public didnt know about the exercise for four decades, the medical community as a whole was well aware of it. Through the years, the Tuskegee experiment led to numerous articles in medical journals. After public exposure, many doctors throughout the country came to the experiments defense.

Note: this was a federal government experiment, funded with our tax dollars.

The swine flu fiasco in the mid-1970s is another program some people would probably like to forget. Haunted by the specter of the 1918 flu pandemic, public health officials rushed into a mass vaccination program for an outbreak that never occurred. Gerald Ford even weighed in getting his vaccination in front of the national news media.

Unfortunately, there were dangerous side effects. They included the widespread occurrence of the Guillain-Barre Syndrome, whose progressive paralysis leads to death in 5 percent of the cases.

To get the drug companies to produce the vaccine, the government had to assume liability for all the risks associated with inadequate warnings. But even with that, the swine flu episode led to a major change in liability law. The result: sharp increases in the price of all vaccines and a reduction in their availability.

Governments make mistakes. The people who make those mistakes dont know you or your family. They probablywont shed many tears if the system doesnt work well for you.

Thats reason enough to not create a government monopoly over our health care system.

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The Dangers In Nationalizing Health Care - Forbes

It Was Never About Overpopulation – Psuvanguard.com

Solutions to climate change dont exist in a vacuum. Ideas have real world history, context and impact. Multiple speakers held a public talk at PSU to discuss how climate change intersects with issues of reproductive justice.

The first PSU Black History Month Lecture, hosted by the women, gender and sexuality studies department took place Feb. 5 at Smith Memorial Student Union. According to Lisa Weasel, chair of the WGSS department, PSU has recently experienced the loss of a significant number of Black faculty and staff, which is detrimental to student success and erodes the educational mission of our university. This lecture honors the valuable work of Black scholars, especially Black feminist scholars, to our department and community.

The guest speaker of the lecture was Dr. Jade Sasser. Sasser is an associate professor of gender and sexuality studies and a member of the core faculty of the sustainability studies major at the University of California at Riverside. The WGSS department hopes to make the Black History Month Lecture an annual event.

The lecture was titled, Can we have Reproductive Justice in a Climate Crisis? This was also the question Sasser asked at the beginning of her lecture. For a long time, the question of overpopulation contributing to climate change has been a very debated subject among scientists and reproductive justice advocates.

Overpopulation is just one of the many intersections between reproductive justice and climate change. In her book On Infertile Ground: Population Control and Womens Rights in the Era of Climate Change, Sasser explains how population control as a solution to environmental issues is not, and never was, the answer to solving the climate change crisis.

According to Sasser, climate crisis narratives are based on changing reproductive rights. This is reductive logic to Sasser. Ever since the argument of overpopulation causing climate change has been made, the destruction of female bodies through reproductive justice has seen an astounding increase. Efforts to sterilize women especially among poor communities and women of color have been seen time and time again in medical historiesor as Sasser said, herstories.

Women of color with a low income have been targeted for sterilization because of their inability to take care of their children and reliance on welfare. Sasser brought up the example of John Labruzzo, former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, who infamously suggested paying women on welfare to voluntarily sterilize in 2008.

In addition to political efforts being made to sterilize women, many medical institutions have considered sterilization to be academic training and have encouraged the practice for many years. Most of these sterilization procedures were conducted without the consent of the patient.

The climate crisis has also been put into a framework of a world war against the people, contributing to the push for population engineering. The term population engineering was coined by bioethicists at Georgetown in 2016 in an article published in Social Theory and Practice. Sasser equates population engineering to eugenics, which is when reproduction of individuals is selectively limited to produce better humans. Eugenics is a concept deeply intertwined with histories of racism and oppression.

The example that Sasser mentioned in her lecture was giving tax breaks to people without children vs. having higher fees in hospitals for giving birth. Eugenics is seen even in institutions that are supposed to be advocating for reproductive rights. For example, Sasser mentions the organization of Planned Parenthood has contributed to eugenics, such as sterilization and past reports of pushing for the use of cheap birth control.

Although reproductive justice advocacy has had a complicated past, there are some efforts being made to help regulate the misconceptions of overpopulation. For example, a collective by the name of Sister Song has made significant improvements for the reproductive rights of low-income women of color. Their aim is to advocate for the choice of the woman: either to have children or to not have children; and if there are children to raise, to make sure that the parents involved have enough support and resources to do so.

The main point of Sassers lecture was to critique the idea of overpopulation in relation to reproductive choices. The bottom line is the idea of overpopulation contributing to climate change is destructive to womens bodies. Sasser emphasized that climate change is a living phenomenon and is centered around human bodies and how we are related to and have a direct impact on our surroundings.

Sasser urged the audience to reject the notion of overpopulation and instead focus on our individual behaviors and choices as it relates to the environment. We can collectively make a difference in the climate change crisis, because after all, there is strength in numbers.

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It Was Never About Overpopulation - Psuvanguard.com

Universities must share their oppressive pasts – University World News


Through the first half of the 1900s, the eugenics movement had close ties to post-secondary institutions. For example, leaders at the University of Alberta also engaged in the eugenics movement and at the Alberta Eugenics Board. Two of the three founding colleges of the University of Guelph the Macdonald Institute and the Ontario Agricultural College officially taught eugenics between 1914 and 1948.

Once, eugenics spread the deeply damaging idea that it is possible, and even desirable, to improve the human race through selective breeding. It ultimately spawned policies aimed at eradicating those deemed unfit through institutional confinement, restrictive marriage, immigration laws and sterilisation. Eugenics was considered a science from the early 1900s until the 1930s, when its scientific reputation began to decline and shift.

Exhibiting eugenics

Canadian universities have restricted access to those archives that implicate their institutions in profiting from oppressive ideas and practices. Kathryn Harvey, the schools head archivist, made the University of Guelph archive available to us.

Using the archives, we developed a co-created, multimedia and multi-sensory exhibition at the Guelph Civic Museum called Into the Light: Eugenics and Education in Southern Ontario, which began in September 2019 and runs until March 2020. It is the first of its kind to bring to light the difficult history of Canadian university involvement in teaching eugenics.

Into the Light is co-created by Mona Stonefish (our project Elder), Peter Park, Dolleen Tisawiiashii Manning, Evadne Kelly, Seika Boye and Sky Stonefish, with key supports from Carla Rice (ReVision Centre), Dawn Owen (Guelph Civic Museum) and Sue Hutton (Respecting Rights, a project at ARCH Disability Law Centre). It brings together Indigenous and disabled people who carry personal histories of forced confinement and sterilisation.

The exhibition embraces disability and decolonising curatorial practices that disrupt and unsettle. By presenting artistic, sensory and material expressions of memory through different formats, it speaks the hard truths of colonialism as Ho-Chunk scholar Amy Lonetree writes. By showing more than 30 years of eugenics course documents (1914-48) from the Macdonald Institute and Ontario Agricultural College, it is thus a rare opportunity to consider how eugenics was taught and practised in Ontario.

Teaching eugenics

In Into the Light, the eugenics course documents are accompanied by multiple perspectives. Take, for example, one of the course slides, entitled Eugenical Classification of the Human Stock that was initially displayed at the Second International Eugenics Congress in 1921.

The slide includes a chart which shows the connection between eugenics and British colonialism. In it, Cecil Rhodes is classified as a superior person of genius. In 1921, Rhodes was celebrated for his forceful British colonial and white supremacist agenda. Today, Rhodes is recognised as an early architect of apartheid, a policy that involved the systematic dehumanisation of South Africas Black population from 1948 to 1994.

Also shown on the chart are the eugenic traits of those whom eugenicists deemed to be unfit, including people classified as feeble-minded, poor, criminal and epileptic. In the process of claiming the land and its peoples, Canadian colonial administrators, officers, physicians, educators and scientists framed First Peoples as impaired and mentally unfit in order to justify their actions.

As decolonising scholar Karen Stote writes in An Act of Genocide, this was a precursor to unethical sterilisation and forced institutionalisation.

Food was often used to perpetuate colonialism. In a section of the exhibit at the Guelph Civic Museum, there is a stack of potato sacks, created by the artists, which shows a stereotypical image of an Indian with Eugenics Brand written on the sacks. Bright light streams between the sacks.

The sacks reveal the forced domestic and agricultural labour imposed on those who were placed, sometimes violently, in Ontario residential institutions.

The sacks are accompanied by the smell of rotting potato to evoke the feeling of being denied comfort and nutrition.

The eugenics course suppressed independent thinking and experiential knowledges. But Into The Light centres once-marginalised survivor experiences and encourages viewers to think critically.

The effect of eugenics

The exhibition has had a jarring impact on university students, especially those in psychology, sociology, human development, political science and social work who are aiming for careers in the same professions that once supported eugenics.

One psychology graduate student, for example, spoke about how his relationship towards the University of Guelph transformed after visiting the exhibition. When he learned about the universitys role in teaching eugenics, his pride quickly turned to feelings of discomfort and disorientation. But he became open and eager to change when he realised that the university chose to expose and address its history instead of trying to cover it up.

For survivors and aggrieved groups, the display of archival documents has had an impact also. One survivor of the Mohawk Institute and the Training School for Girls said she felt relieved and validated after decades of being silenced, denied and disbelieved all of which compounded the crimes she experienced due to eugenics.

Dalhousie University and Ryerson University are two schools with close ties to 19th century figures who profited from oppression, enslavement and colonisation Lord Dalhousie and Egerton Ryerson, respectively.

Both schools are coming to terms with these histories. They are establishing scholarly panels and consultation processes with aggrieved groups, that can address colonial, racist and ableist attitudes, policies and practices.

University archivists, librarians, researchers and administrators across the country should work with communities to find meaningful ways of making their archives accessible to those targeted by destructive ideas and practices. Uncovering hidden stories of the past calls into question our ways of doing things in the present; for aggrieved and justice-seeking groups, an open past opens up more just possibilities for the future.

Evadne Kelly is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Guelph and Carla Rice is professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Guelph, Canada. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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Universities must share their oppressive pasts - University World News

Anti-Semitism preceded Auschwitz and outlived it – The Boston Globe

On Jan. 27, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, I will sit with thousands of people, including approximately 200 Holocaust survivors and delegations from 37 countries, astride the infamous train tracks leading into the camp. This concentration camp and killing center was part of Nazi Germanys effort to murder every Jew in Europe, resulting in the deaths of 6 million Jews. It will be a historic day and surely the last time the world will gather in the presence of so many survivors as we pledge to never forget. My thoughts are consumed with the unimaginable horrors those survivors endured deportation, starvation, torture, forced labor and the very troubled world they now inhabit.

Humanity might have assumed that, after 1945, Auschwitz and its unthinkable crimes would have contained anti-Semitism. Yet, with anti-Semitism on the rise in the lands of the Holocaust and even America, my thoughts turned to a radio show I heard last year after one of the anti-Semitic incidents in the United States. A young woman who called into the show knew about the Holocaust and about anti-Semitism, but never connected the two. This is clearly a failure of Holocaust education to teach not only that the Holocaust happened, but also how and why, and what made it possible.

Historians largely agree that three big events at the beginning of the 20th century made the Nazi rise to power possible: World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the Great Depression. But it was also big ideas dangerous ideas such as anti-Semitism and not just big events that made the Holocaust possible.

Hatred against Jews has been around since the dawn of Christianity resulting over the centuries in forced conversions, ghettoization, expulsions, and exclusion from Europes political, economic, and social life. With modern ideas came modern forms of hating Jews, confirming Jews status as a universal and enduring scapegoat. The word anti-Semitism was popularized in 1879 by German Wilhelm Marr, who believed Jews and Germans were different races locked in eternal existential struggle and therefore assimilation a dominant idea since the Enlightenment and French Revolution was not possible.

Ironically, several years later, Theodor Herzl, himself an assimilated Jew, was also articulating from a completely different perspective his view that assimilation in Europe was ultimately not viable: without a Jewish homeland, Jews could never really be safe and free. He recognized that Europes progress over the centuries did not prevent the extensive wave of organized massacres, known as pogroms, in Russia from 1881 to 1884, or the Dreyfus Affair, in which the French military wrongly convicted an innocent Jewish officer of treason, a scandal that gripped France for 12 years beginning in 1894, or the new approach of Marr and many other activists and intellectuals. Their racial anti-Semitism demanded new strategies. Segregation, conversion, assimilation were no longer workable solutions. It was no longer a matter of belief or behavior. It was a matter of biology. Therefore, removal was required.

During this period the mid- to late 19th century a combination of racial science, eugenics, and social Darwinism was used to justify and promote ideas about ethnic nationalism, identity, and colonialism. Now there was something innate about Frenchness, Germanness, and Jewishness. It was in this environment that Julius Langbehn, a German intellectual and anti-Semite said, A Jew can no more become a German than a plum can turn into an apple.

Four decades after Marr coined the term anti-Semitism, Hitler and other Nazi thinkers skillfully fused these existing ideas racial anti-Semitism, ultra-nationalism, and eugenics into a powerful ideology and an effective political movement. And eventually, into the vision and defining policy of a modern state. A genocidal state.

Hatred against Jews has a long and versatile history, easily adapting to new circumstances. Its effectiveness is such that it doesnt even require Jews. It thrives in all kinds of religious, political, and cultural arrangements, and especially at times of rapid change. Its so pervasive that even after the Holocaust, instead of receding, two new forms emerged: Holocaust denial attempts to deny or distort the established facts of the Holocaust and anti-Zionism prejudice against the Jewish movement for self-determination and the right to a homeland in Israel.

Long before social media became a powerful tool that amplifies hatred, Auschwitz-Birkenau has stood as a unique warning about the myth of progress when it comes to human nature. But so too is the long history of anti-Semitism that preceded Auschwitz and outlived it. That is something we must never forget on historic days such as this anniversary and every day.

Sara J. Bloomfield is the director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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Anti-Semitism preceded Auschwitz and outlived it - The Boston Globe

The Talented Mr. Epstein – The American Conservative

Questions about the late sex offender and his sidekick blackmailing and spying for the U.S. and Israel have gone unanswered. Why?

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attend a fundraiser on March 15, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Jeffrey Epstein was the talented Mr. Ripley of shadowy sexual predators.

With a mind-numbing contact list, from Henry Kissinger and Bill Clinton to Prince Andrew and Mohammad bin Salman, the leering billionaire financier and alleged eugenics enthusiast evaded real punishment for almost his entire life. One might say this continued even after he was finally apprehended and facing the music for his sexual abuse and extensive trafficking ring, when he was snuffed out like a cheap cigarette.

What becomes of the case now? Victim Courtney Wilds attempts to unseal records in court that would reveal co-conspirators and hold the government responsible is ongoing, but the case seems largely dead in the water, particularly as Epsteins procurer and occasional sex abuse co-participant Ghislaine Maxwell has disappeared from the scene. Maxwell has reportedly fled to Israel and is now shuttling between there and other unspecified countries where shes being protected by powerful contacts.

The media and Hollywooddespite Ricky Gervais recent remarks at the Golden Globesremain largely uninterested in this massive story. Epsteins Hollywood connections are numerous, including disgraced actor Kevin Spacey, who flew on Epsteins jet to his pedophile island various times, and Harvey Weinstein, whos currently on trial for his alleged sexual abuses. (Its hard to forget the 2006 photo in which Weinstein is standing with Epstein and Maxwell at Prince Andrews party.) What about #MeToo or #TimesUp? Do such movements not apply to a pedophile like Epstein who raped and psychologically tortured preteens for decades?

So many details of Epsteins abuses and sex trafficking operations remain unknown, as do numerous aspects of his close associates, potential connections with various intelligence agencies, and where and exactly how he obtained his copious amounts of money. The disturbing accounts of his victims and his years of being shepherded away from punishment indicate that Epstein was a man of limitless arrogancea man who knew he was protected at the highest levels. In fact, reports from the Virgin Islands allege that Epstein was trafficking 12-year-old girls to his private island of Little St. James as recently as 2018.

Epstein victim Virginia Guiffrewho has faced credible death threats for coming forward about her past abuse, allegedly at the hands of Prince Andrewput it this way as she was walking past Epsteins vacant Manhattan palace with a reporter: Being a kid I didnt even really realize what world I was being brought into. I was abused by people that I cant even mention here. Theres a lot of scars hidden behind those walls. It should be ripped down. It should be burned to the ground.

Maxwell and Epstein would often specifically target children in lower-income neighborhoods for grooming, offering kids a wonderful life serving Epstein with all the money, education, and adventures they could hope for. Epstein sexually molested numerous young girls and reportedly demanded sex three times a day from whoever was on hand. He also paid his victims a commission if they found more girls for him, with a premium placed on those who were a younger age.

Around half of Americans polled believe Epstein was murdered. But apart from that, who was Epstein? Who was he working for and why exactly? Epsteins Israel connections are extensive. He was reportedly tied to former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak who received millions from an Epstein-funded organization created to support Jewish and Israeli professional successes. Baraks services that led to the payoff are unknown and he wont say anything apart from claiming they were research-related (although Barak did threaten to sue media organizations that reported the story). After photos surfaced of Barak entering Epsteins house in 2016 with his face hidden, he scoffed at allegations of wrongdoing, saying he was there for lunch or a chat.

How did Epstein get rich? Money laundering via hedge funds and other methods? Spying for Israel, Saudi Arabia, and possibly certain American interests? Or direct funding from Victorias Secret billionaire Les Wexner?For his part, Trumps former labor secretary Alexander Acostawho says he was ordered by unspecified higher-ups to give Epstein a slap on the wrist while serving as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Floridaclaimed he was told at the time that Epstein belongs to intelligence, leave him alone. Journalist Vicky Ward said Epstein definitely trades in the knowledge he has over the rich and famous, and uses it for leverage. He also introduces rich and famous people, like Bill Clinton, like Donald Trump, to girls.

Epstein routinely bragged about his tight friendship with Jamal Khashoggi-chopping madman Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and had a wide circle of associates, many of whom are notable for their fondness or policy flexibility towards Israel and Israeli interests. Maxwells press baron father Robert was himself reportedly a spook. He died in 1991 on his Lady Ghislaine yacht near the Canary Islands, shortly after it was revealed that he was allegedly spying for Israel. Maxwell was given a state funeral befitting a national hero before being buried in Israel, with then-prime minister Yitzhak Shamir stating that Maxwell has done more for Israel than can today be said.

Incidentally, Shamirs spokesman at the time, Ehud Gol, dismissed claims that Maxwell had been with Mossad as leveled by Seymour Hersh as nonsense. Regardless of whether he was conducting espionage or not, Maxwell was one of the most important supporters Israel has ever had and was even key in Israel gaining air superiority among their hostile Arab neighbors by turning post-war Czech factories into production facilities for Israeli fighter jet parts.

Could these allegations, if true, help explain why Ghislaine Maxwell is reportedly being protected by Israel?

Was Epstein a Mossad honeypot to get blackmail kompromat on everyone from Bill Clinton to the Saudis or just a freelancer? Former business associate and scam partner in a massive Ponzi scheme Steven Hoffenberg has written a book claiming that Epstein was in fact a top Mossad spy and was taken out precisely because he was becoming too much of a liability. The claims that Epstein and Maxwell ran a Mossad honeypot are echoed in former Israeli spy Ari Ben Menashes book, which says the two blackmailed politicians for info on behalf of Mossad. He also claims that Epstein was introduced to working with Israel by Robert Maxwell prior to Epsteins meeting and partnership with Ghislaine Maxwell, and that Maxwell wanted to bring Epstein into the weapons dealing on the Iran Contra scheme (with which Ben Menashe was reportedly involved).

The Epstein case should be important to everyone who cares about the truth because it marks the dividing line between cynical resignation and uncovering the facts no matter how disgusting or who they might implicate. The Epstein case and the cast of depraved vampires surrounding it may involve espionage, blackmail, money laundering, and many other sick things that attended the trafficking of teenage girls, but it is also characterized by a brazen dismissal of the law. If those at the top are exempt from the rules, society will eventually collapse and vigilantism will become the norm. Elites engaging in abuse and exploitation is nothing new, from the ancient Mayans to the Romans to the European ruling class of medieval times. But in todays flagrantly self-righteous #MeToo environment, it is particularly important that the establishment and liberal culture faces up to the monsters it has in its midstand has arguably helped create by accepting their money and support.

Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for the BBC, Reuters, andForeign Policy, and contributed toThe Week, The Federalist, and others. You can follow him on Twitter@paulrbrianor visit his websitewww.paulrbrian.com.

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The Talented Mr. Epstein - The American Conservative

Genetic risk scores open a host of concerns and implications – The Daily Cardinal

A world where we can predict what traits and diseases that a baby will be born with is nearly upon us. With the expanding availability of genetic data, researchers in both universities and industry are trying to figure out the complicated relationship between our DNA and human health. For traits and diseases that reflect the interaction between many genetic and oftentimes environmental risk factors, these sorts of predictions are more difficult to make.

Scientists use genome-wide association studies with very large sample sizes to calculate polygenic scores, which correlate genetic factors with complex traits, like height or BMI, and risk for complex diseases, like heart disease or autism.

Almost everything you can think of is highly polygenic meaning [that] many, many, many genes or hundreds of thousands of genetic locations could be affecting [a complex trait], Jason Fletcher, a UW-Madison professor of public affairs studying some of the ethical, legal and social implications of genomic science, said.

Since an individuals genome generally does not change over the course of their lifetime, polygenic scores could offer an avenue for identifying individuals for specialized treatments or early interventions, Fletcher adds.

The positive case might be something like thinking about an instance where there is polygenic score for dyslexia and potentially being able to use a score like that very early in a child's life as a way of collecting individuals who might benefit from specific learning interventions, Fletcher said.

Intellectual disabilities and learning disabilities often go unnoticed for years, which can leave a child to struggle.

Lauren Schmitz, a UW-Madison assistant professor of public affairs, also notes that whereas for heart disease, preventative measures are viewed favorably, for intellectual disability the measures used to intervene would need to be carefully considered to avoid stigmatizing individuals.

Schmitz also stresses that although the science is moving fast, the predictive accuracy of these polygenic risk scores varies depending on the trait or disease in question. However, the for-profit, direct-to-consumer DNA testing industry is blurring the lines on what genomic science can say.

The way I see it, it's the next frontier in personalized things, Schmitz said. I think we're a culture that loves things that are personalized to us me and my experience and so I think the genome is the next marketing frontier.

For example, last November the biotech company Genomic Prediction claimed it could offer polygenic scores for traits including diabetes, heart disease and even IQ as an additional amenity for parents having children through in vitro fertilization. Currently, IVF clinics test fertilized embryos before they are implanted into a uterus to check for inherited genetic disease, like cystic fibrosis or Tays-Sachs disease, or for major chromosome abnormalities that can dramatically decrease the likelihood of a fetus being carried to term.

The announcement has been met with concern from scientists about the accuracy of these new preimplantation tests as well as the long-term effects of selecting on the basis of these traits.

There's all sorts of things where we don't even understand how these different mechanisms are operating and how they're correlated with other aspects of the genome, Schmitz said.

Measurements of intelligence like IQ tests are controversial, and as Angela Saini writes in Superior: The Return of Race Science, much of the work correlating educational attainment with genetics has direct ties to the vestiges of the eugenics movement in the early 20th century. Additionally, for many complex traits and diseases in combination with social and environmental factors at play, these polygenic scores are not necessarily an indication that the trait or disease will manifest.

We should be clear that the scores are not destiny, and there's an upper limit on how predictive it could be, Fletcher said.

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Genetic risk scores open a host of concerns and implications - The Daily Cardinal

Margaret Sanger Is a Hero to the Left. Here’s Her History of Ugly Views. – Daily Signal

Margaret Sanger, the womens rights activist and founder ofPlanned Parenthoodthe largest abortion provider in Americais a hero to themodern Left. And little wonder, given her outsized role in the founding andpromotion of the modern abortion industry.

But what few people realize is that Planned Parenthood isactually more extreme than its founder, at least when it comes to abortion. Infact, Sanger, as remarkable as it seems, looks positively tame next to themodern agenda.

Which raises the question: why would Planned Parenthood, whichhas gone so far beyond Sanger in its promotion of abortion, eugenics, andpopulation control, still hold her up as a leader of the movement? Isnt she abit behind the times?

The movement can thank prominent Progressive leaders of thelast decade for raising Sangers profile. Shes featured prominently in liberalspeeches and interviews, like when Hillary Clinton told supporters in 2009 thatshe was in awe of her. In 2014, Barack Obama became the first sittingpresident to address the abortion groups national conference, praisingSangers legacy as its core principle [that] has guided everything all of youdo.

Interestingly, Planned Parenthood, whose highest award still bears Sangers name, has moved so far to the left that its hero probably couldnt even get a job selling T-shirts for the radical abortion giant today. If they were consistent, modern leftists wouldcall Sanger a white supremacist or an extremist for her views on immigration, raceand yes, abortion.

Take, for example, Sangers desire to see Americas borderssealed to all unfit immigrants to protect what she considered a fragile gene pool.That sounds a lot like the caricature of pro-Trump conservatives conjured up inleft-wing fantasies.

Then there was her notorious speech before a branch of theNew Jersey Ku Klux Klan, a well-documented event despite the content beingnearly forgotten. In that speech, Sanger warned that America must keep thedoors of Immigration closed to genetic undesirables.

Then theres Sangers opinion of non-whites, which, if utterednow, would (rightly) cause a conniption among Americans. She consideredAustralias Aborigines compulsiverapists and the lowest known species of the human family, just a stephigher than the chimpanzee in brain development. Because he has no greatbrain development, Sanger wrote, police authority alone prevents [Aborigines]from obtaining sexual satisfaction on the streets.

But if Planned Parenthood was honest about its founder,Sangers most unforgivable sin would be her skepticism of abortion itself.

One of Sangers few criticisms of the Soviet Union when shevisited the communist state in 1934 was its outright insistence on encouragingabortion over contraception. Four hundred thousand abortions a year indicatewomen do not want to have so many children, a perplexed Sanger told a Sovietdoctor.

She thought that access to birth control was a human rightbutwas repulsed by abortion. In my opinion it is a cruel method of dealing withthe problem, Sanger wrote upon returning home, because abortion, no matterhow well done, is a terrific nervous strain and an exhausting physical hardship.

In fact, the founder of Planned Parenthood was deeplyconcerned about the tremendous number of abortions taking place in the SovietUnion, as historian Paul Kengor has documented.Legalization of abortion was one of the communist governments first acts followingthe 1917 Russian Revolutionnearly 60 years before Roe v. Wadeaccomplished the same thing in America. By1920, the Soviet Union was providing abortions free of charge to its citizens.

Sanger wrote that the number of abortions in Moscow was 100,000per year. By the 1970s, there were 78 millionabortions annually in the USSRa rate unmatched in human history, Kengorpoints out. Roe v. Wade only managed 1.5 million in 1973, the year the SupremeCourt legalized abortion.

By these metrics, Planned Parenthoods position on abortion in2020 is far closer to that of post-Revolutionary Soviet Union than their hero, MargaretSanger.

If Progressives held Sanger to their own standards, theydhave to denounce her antiquated viewsso why do they continue to applaud her?Because the Left believes that Sangers contributions to the pro-choicemovement outweigh her racist views. So Planned Parenthood sticks with itsdespicable founder, refusing to disavow her altogether, to its shame.

If leftists were honest, theyd renounce Margaret Sangerandthen reflect on what it means that theyve become even more radical than theeugenicist who started their anti-life movement.

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Margaret Sanger Is a Hero to the Left. Here's Her History of Ugly Views. - Daily Signal