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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Eugenic Concepts
Posted: February 12, 2021 at 12:30 pm
Eugenics, Questions and Answers
Eugenics Q&A: Some Old, Some New,
Some Surprisingly Encouraging by Marian Van Court
Posted: at 12:30 pm
QUOTES WE JUST HAPPEN TO LIKE
|“The Truth Shall Make You Free” (John 8:32)|
|Think Noble This Day
Think noble this day
For it is life
The life of life.
All is there
In its brief moment
All the reality
All the truth of existence
The joy of growth
The splendor of action
The glory of strength . . . .
For yesterday he is but a dream
From Idylls from the Sanskrit
|Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong – these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.
"Giving birth and nourishing,
- Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
“Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs.”
Roger Ebert, Life Itself
The result of not being involved in politics is being governed by one's inferiors.
Such as it is, the press has become the greatest power within the Western World, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and judiciary.
One would like to ask: by whom has it been elected, and to whom is it responsible?
The real advantage which truth has, consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it, until some one of its reappearances falls on a time when from favorable circumstances it escapes persecution until it has made such head as to withstand all subsequent attempts to suppress it.
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)
How many ideas have there been in the history of mankind which were unthinkable ten years before and which, when their mysterious hour struck suddenly appeared, and spread all over the earth?
When motherhood becomes the fruit of a deep yearning, not the result of ignorance or accident, its children will become a new race.
Margaret Sanger (1883-1966)
What nature does blindly, slowly and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly. As it lies within his power, so it becomes his duty to work in that direction.
Sir Francis Galton (1905)
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
"General impressions are never to be trusted. Unfortunately when they are of long standing they become fixed rules of life, and presume a prescriptive right not to be questioned. Consequently, those who are not accustomed to original inquiry entertain hatred and a horror of statistics. They cannot endure the idea of submitting their sacred impressions to cold-blooded verification."
Sir Francis Galton
"Where the government fears the people there is liberty; where the people fear the government, there is tyranny."
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
"There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents."
"Reason and free inquiry are the effectual agents against error. They are the natural enemies of error and error only."
All truth passes through three stages.
Ram, ass, and horse, my Kyrnos, we look over
Theognis of Megara on eugenics and dysgenics, circa 520 B.C.
If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
(Examples: eugenics, racist, anti-Semite, hater.)
Nature is the art of God.
The dangerous things ain't what we know that is so,
(Author unknown, but frequently attributed to Mark Twain.)
'In his celebrated book, 'On Liberty', the English philosopher John Stuart Mill argued that silencing an opinion is "a peculiar evil." If the opinion is right, we are robbed of the "opportunity of exchanging error for truth"; and if it's wrong, we are deprived of a deeper understanding of the truth in its "collision with error." If we know only our own side of the argument, we hardly know even that: it becomes stale, soon learned by rote, untested, a pallid and lifeless truth.'
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World:
Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.
"Naturam non vinces nisi parendo."
The greatest threats to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal -- well-meaning but without understanding.
US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, 1928
You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.
Robert Darwin, to his son Charles
If you sit by the river long enough, the bodies
Goodie-goodies are the thieves of virtue.
When cosmic energy became life a new dimension was added to the drama of time and space. For the first time in forever, there would be pain and pleasure. For the first time in forever, there could be hope, faith, and love. Forever would never be the same again.
from "The Human Factor," by R.L. Hart
The heresy of heresies is common sense.
At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas of which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is "not done" to say it... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the high-brow periodicals.
George Orwell, 1945, Introduction to Animal Farm
Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments . . . and of being bored and repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.
Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I've got to hold up for a moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw
I have pledged upon the altar of God Almighty eternal hostility to tyranny over the minds of men.
If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
Evolution is the development of the energy of the universe in such a way that it has an increasing ability to consciously control itself and the universe around it. It is a progressive change from the unconscious to the conscious. We are the universe trying to comprehend itself. Man is the corporeal manifestation of the universe trying to control its own destiny. Man is God in the process of coming into existence.
The fact itself, of causing the existence of a human being, is one of the most responsible actions in the range of human life. To undertake the responsibility--to bestow a life which my be either a curse or a blessing--unless the being on whom it is bestowed will have at least the ordinary chances of a desirable existence, is a crime against that being.
John Stuart Mill, essay On Liberty
There is no permanent status quo in nature; all is the process of adjustment and readjustment, or else eventual failure. But man is the first being yet evolved on earth which has the power to note this changefulness, and, if he will, to turn it to his own advantage, to work out genetic methods, eugenic ideas, yes, to invent new characteristics, organs, and biological systems that will work out to further the interests, the happiness, the glory of the God-like being whose meager foreshadowings we the present ailing creatures are.
Herrman J. Muller, 1935
To know [how a civilization comes into being] you must be aware of two prerequisites . . . namely leadership and problem-solving ability on the part of the general public. They are necessary not only as preludes to a civilization but as a continuing requirement for its survival.
Where whole segments of population, either geographic segments or classes within an area, are bungling their problems, the chances are not only that the leaders are inadequate as leaders, but that the masses are mostly composed of far-down specimens of humanity, biologically incapable of producing wise leaders. Essential to wise leadership are high quality brains. The only source of brains is heredity . . .
Problem-makers reproduce in greater percentage than problem-solvers, and in so doing cause the decline of civilization.
Since civilization is an accumulation it must necessarily lag behind the concentration of brain power on which it depends . . . [Since] the manifestations of a civilization, its visible structures, are an accumulation, they may linger on for decades after the average intellect, the inherited brain power, has declined below the level that would have been necessary to initiate it.
In short, if capable, intelligent people had most babies, society would see its problems and solve them.
Elmer Pendell, from Sex Versus Civilization, 1967
Man is gifted with pity and other kindly feelings; he has also the power of preventing many ki
It has now become a serious necessity to better the breed of the human race. The average citizen is too base for the everyday work of a modern civilization. Civilized man has become possessed of vaster powers than in old times for good or ill, but has made no corresponding advance in wits and goodness to enable him to direct his conduct rightly.
[Man has] already furthered evolution very considerably, half unconsciously and for his own personal advantages, but he has not yet risen to the conviction that it is his religious duty to do so deliberately and systematically. . . . The chief result of these Inquiries has been to elicit the religious significance of the doctrine of evolution. It suggests an alteration in our mental attitude, and imposes a new moral duty. The new mental attitude is one of a greater sense of moral freedom, responsibility, and opportunity; the new duty which is supposed to be exercised concurrently with, and not in opposition to the old ones upon which the social fabric depends, is an endeavour to further evolution, especially that of the human race.
Those who enjoy a sense of communion with God can dwell on the undoubted fact that there exists a solidarity between themselves and what surrounds them, through the endless reaction of physical laws among which the hereditary influences are to be included. They know that they are descended from an endless past, that they have a brotherhood with all that is, and have each his own share of responsibility in parentage of an endless future.
Francis Galton (quoted in C.P. Blackeras Eugenics: Galton and After, 1952)
The process of change is like a children's slide. One climbs laboriously to the top, but once over the edge, the downward movement is quick, abrupt, inevitable, and complete.
A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through...all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Eugenics and evolutionary ethics involves much more than merely the mechanics of selective breeding like we human beings were merely a new breed of cattle or a new strain of wheat. Evolutionary ethics is an entirely new understanding of man and his relationship to the universe.
Good and evil are not myths, although many myths have been written about them: they are biological laws no more arbitrary or subjective than any of the laws of mathematics or chemistry. Morality is not some superstitious fairy tale: it is the mathematics of survival.
Man is the real miracle, the real God, and he has proven it for a thousand generations. All that is science or religion comes from him and is less than him. The purpose of life is the evolution of man toward perfection.
Our fathers endured starvation, glaciers, jungles, monsters through the struggles of eons of evolution so that we might be veritable Gods today. If you do not have the courage to carry on the sacred flame of life, then die, but do not encourage others in your ignominious anti-life, anti-child cowardice.
Dysgenic suicide is only possible in a society that refuses to accept the moral responsibility for what it does. . . . Ironically, we are using the intellectual capacity that made us great in order to destroy that capacity itself.
It is not a question of beginning or initiating a eugenic program. It is a matter of recognizing that we have already begun an anti-eugenic program which is a suicidal and disastrous one because it selects the inferior for survival and eliminates the superior. We are practicing eugenics in reverse. We are causing the reversal of evolution. Since we are already manipulating genetics, we should be made conscious of our responsibility for the results of our actions on future generations. We are responsible for what our children will be. We can no longer plead ignorance. We have a voluntary choice to make between superior and inferior, between prosperity and starvation, between evolution and devolution. Doing nothing is a choice and a disastrous one.
The cause of our suffering is within us. The source of our salvation is also within us.
Evolution is the systematic and progressive development of life toward perfection. Evolution is the development of the energy of the universe in such a way that it has an increasing ability to consciously control itself and the universe around it. It is a progressive change from the unconscious to the conscious. We are the universe trying to comprehend itself. Man is the corporeal manifestation of the universe trying to control its own destiny. Man is God in the process of coming into existence.
James Hart, Eugenic Manifesto
Eugenic techniques like gene splicing and selective breeding are considered good when applied to plants and animals to produce advances in medicine and food production, but should anyone have the temerity to suggest that these eugenic techniques be used to protect our children, he risks being labeled as a Nazi or racist. One actually hears the argument: eugenics is evil because Hitler believed in eugenics. Is everything Hitler believed in wrong ipso facto because he believed in it? If Galileo had been a mass murderer, would that prove the world was flat? Eugenics is a moral commitment, not a racial affiliation.
We have the moral understanding of an ignorant savage of 2000 years ago, but the science and power of a modern nuclear age. Mankind is like a five year old child playing with a loaded gun. Yet even in this preposterous predicament, foolish nihilists tell us that good and evil are myths. Good is what maintains and improves the consciousness of the universe. Evil is what destroys that consciousness.
Perhaps in light of our present situation, we should seriously re-examine conventional religion. Is conventional religion actually a religion at all, or is it rather superstition? If it is superstition, it is a threat to our survival, rather than an aid in securing it.
In astronomy, medicine, and biology, conventional religion has been the single greatest obstacle to advancement. By obstructing the advancement of knowledge, conventional religions have jeopardized the health, the well-being and the very survival of the human race. Indeed, it is a crime against humanity to obstruct the collection of knowledge. It is certain that whenever you circumscribe, distort, or restrict human knowledge, you reduce the human ability to control the environment and ultimately reduce the probability of human survival itself.
Science is not essentially the opposite of religion nor opposed to religion. In fact, science may be a part of religion. Properly understood, science is not a means to destroy religion, but rather a means to discover and build it.
Every generation is one link in the chain of life that leads from the animals to the Gods.
James Hart, God
"The theory of democratic government is noble and the practise of it offers the greatest opportunities for human happiness, if only the mass of the human individuals within the democracy is sound in body and in mind, and consequently social and to some extent unselfish in behavior. Progressive biological deterioration of the people leads inevitably to anarchy and dictatorships.
More than ever, in the light of recent events, we have come to pin all of our faith for the future of civilization and of man on democracy. Like Noah we have builded an ark, the rains have come, and the deluge is upon us. Do we hope to take refuge in that ark of democracy, with our sons and our sons' wives, and survive the flood?
We can succeed in this hope only if we leave out some of the noxious animals who are boring from within and making that ark dangerously leaky. So it behooves us to learn our human parasitology and human entomology, to practise an artificial and scientific selection with intelligence, if we wish to save our skins."
Hooten, E. A., (1939) Crime and the Man,. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but even greater from a practical point of view is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects, by lowering what Mr. Churchill calls an "iron curtain" between the masses and such facts or arguments as the local political bosses regard as undesirable, totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciations, the most compelling of logical rebuttals."
There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance ? that principle is contempt prior to investigation.
Shared joy is a double joy.
I would rather go to bed with Lillian Russell stark naked than Ulysses S. Grant in full military regalia.
Truth doesn't need laws to protect it - only lies or scams do.
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
This above all: to thine own self be true,
Lord Burleigh, first prime minister to the queen of England (& distant ancestor of MVC), used by his ward, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and real author of the sonnets and plays attributed to William Shakespeare (found in Hamlet).
Laugh and the world laughs with you.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
A Slave is he who cannot speak his thoughts.
In every controversy, most people care much less for what the truth is than for which side it's safer and more respectable to take.
Racism as a moral evil can only mean that someone asserts an untruth, known to them to be untrue, because of hatred of others.
Louis Andrews, 2004
"When things are investigated, knowledge is extended. When knowledge is extended, the will becomes sincere. When the will is sincere, the mind is correct. When the mind is correct, the self is cultivated."
"Ability will never catch up with the demand for it."
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."
"The object of the superior man is truth."
"To see the right and not do it is cowardice."
"Beware of friends not equal to yourself."
Hell is truth seen too late.
Do not squander time. That is the stuff life is made of.
Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
The difference between the right word,
Posted: at 12:30 pm
Cohousing: An Ancient Idea Whose Time has Come - Future Generations
| Cohousing: |
An Ancient Idea Whose Time Has Come by Marian Van Court
This article appeared in Counter-Currents Publishing
In 1516, Sir Thomas More published his now-famous work, Utopia. One of his recommendations was that housing be constructed for groups of about 30 families in order to create small villages which share common facilities, dinners, and child care.
This idea has recently been expanded considerably and put into practice in what has come to be called bofaellsskaber in continental Europe, and “cohousing” in the English-speaking world. Cohousing communities first appeared in Denmark in the late 1960s, and the idea spread to a number of other European countries, as well as the United States and Canada. Today in Europe, there are many hundreds of cohousing communities, and hundreds more in North America.
Cohousing came into existence because people had become dissatisfied with the isolation of the typical suburban house or urban apartment, but they wanted to avoid the opposite extreme of communal living. They wanted privacy, but not alienation and loneliness. They wanted to be part of a community, but to retain their independence and their right not to participate. They wanted a safe, healthy, stimulating environment in which to raise children. One couple explained what motivated them to search for an alternative form of housing:
Several years ago, as a young married couple, we began to think about where we were going to raise our children. What kind of setting would allow us to best combine our professional careers with child rearing? Already our lives were hectic. Often we would come home from work exhausted and hungry, only to find the refrigerator empty. Between our jobs and housekeeping, where would we find the time to spend with our kids? Relatives lived in distant cities, and even our friends lived across town. Just to get together for coffee we had to make arrangements two weeks in advance. Most young parents we knew seemed to spend most of their time shuttling their children to and from day care and playmates' homes, leaving little opportunity for anything else.r(MacCamant, Katherine, and Durrett, Charles (1988) Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, Ten Speed Press, California, p. 9.)
What is Cohousing?
The Danish word for cohousing, bofaellsskaber, translates eliving communities.e When Katherine McCamant and Charles Durrett wrote Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves in 1988, they coined the English term ecohousing,e short for ecollaborative housing.e In a nutshell, cohousing is that which is organized in such a way as to create a natural community, much like the villages in which our ancestors lived for thousands of years.
There are many variations on the cohousing theme. One cohousing venture was constructed inside an abandoned iron foundry, another was created in a high-rise apartment building. In one Toronto neighborhood, six families tore down their backyard fences and began sharing gardening equipment, buying in bulk, and eating dinner together several nights each week. Some cohousing communities have as few as 4 families, some as many as 80 (although the latter is subdivided into smaller groups). However, there are several essential elements which most cohousing communities have in common:
Although some cohousing groups modify existing structures, most embark on the more ambitious journey of building their communities from scratch. An individual or couple usually begins the process by placing an advertisement in the local newspaper or on the internet announcing their intention, asking like-minded people to contact them. After a series of meetings and considerable attrition, the group enters into in a loose-knit partnership and begins looking for a site upon which to build. Next they consult with a developer and an architect, with whom they work especially closely so they can build homes to fit each family's needs. From start to moving in, it takes a minimum of 2 years, sometimes as many as 4 or 5.
Most cohousing is situated on the outskirts of a metropolitan area where many of the residents work. One typical arrangement is clusters of 2-story townhouses constructed in an oval shape surrounding a courtyard, along with one large, collectively-owned building at the end — the common house — used for dining and other group activities. The complex provides homes for 25 families of various compositions — couples with children, single parents with children, elderly couples, and singles. Houses may vary from one to four bedrooms. Each house is designed to be self-sufficient, and each kitchen is fully furnished. The front door opens into the courtyard with a semi-private yard for each household, and the back door opens to the outside to a private yard, and then the parking lot. This arrangement creates a village atmosphere where, in the course of ordinary, every-day activities, residents naturally interact and get to know one another.
The Common House
The common house is the hub of social activity, where people can chat with neighbors, play indoor sports, and, most importantly, eat dinner. The evening meal is the main collective endeavor. Most cohousing communities serve dinner in the common house every night to the majority of residents. There are very substantial practical advantages of communal dinners over individually-prepared dinners, both in terms of time and money. Buying food in bulk is much cheaper, and one big effort spent preparing a communal dinner once a month for everyone is far less trouble than each family shopping, cooking, serving, and cleaning up independently each night. Two adults and two children may work together for several hours once a month to prepare a meal for everyone, and clean up afterwards. This entitles them to inexpensive, work-free dinners for the entire rest of the month. eI don't have to cook all those other nights,e one woman resident exclaimed cheerfully. eI can just waltz in there at 6 p.m. to a homemade dinner!e
Almost all cohousing communities chose to include the following basic features in their common house, in order of priority:
Many cohousing communities also include storage areas, a laundry room, an adult lounge area, guest rooms for visiting friends and family members, office spaces, and other special-use spaces in the common house. Cohousing communities in Scandinavia often have glass-covered pedestrian streets or courtyards, which can be a blessing during their frigid winters.
Financially, owning a house in a co-housing community is like owning a condominium, where each household owns its own home, plus a share of the common facilities. In Europe, existing cohousing complexes are highly prized because buyers receive the benefits without all the developmental work involved in finding a site and building on it. Attempts are made to standardize as much as possible during the building phase — not customize — to keep costs down. Turnover in cohousing complexes is less than in conventional housing, and appreciation is considerable greater, as they're considered desirable places to live.
In conventional housing, parents especially tend to feel isolated and stressed. If a couple decides to go out to a movie, for example, or if a wife wants to go shopping, what was formerly a simple act suddenly becomes a major undertaking when small children are involved, requiring finding a babysitter, picking her up, paying her, and driving her home again. Usually this must be planned well ahead of time in order to work smoothly, so there's little opportunity for spontaneity. In contrast, the social network which naturally develops in cohousing enables parents to take time away from their children on the spur of the moment. As one resident explained, eWhen you have children, you lose some of your freedom. To move into cohousing is to regain it.e
Potential babysitters are always around. Children easily find playmates. The courtyard makes a safe haven for toddlers where mothers can keep an eye on them. Crime is virtually non-existent because everyone knows his neighbors, and a stranger will be spotted immediately. Cars are parked safely outside, on the periphery of the complex. Another resident explained it thus:
If I had to chose one word to describe what cohousing meant to me, it would be security — in the emotional sense that I know there are people that I can depend on, people I can call for help. When I couldn't make it home the other night, I called a neighbor to ask him to feed the chickens. When I got home, I found that he had not only fed the chickens but also the rabbits, figuring I had forgotten about them. We never worry about finding a baby sitter because we know we can depend on one of the neighbors — and the kids are very comfortable staying with them. The older kids can just stay home because they have neighbors to call if they have any problems. (Ibid., p. 87)
Children seem to thrive in this environment. Field trips become possible when a critical mass is reached such that if one or two participants drop out at the last minute, the outing doesn't fall through. As one cohousing resident put it:
[T]here are favorable conditions for children here — socially, physically, and educationally. They are exposed to many more interests and stimulations than usual . . . They also have a strong sense of identity. They are not anonymousrhere; and like the children of any village, they know that there is a place they are recognized and have a sense of belonging. This enhances their self-confidence. Children who live in cohousing are usually ecan doe people because they learn from participating in so many kinds of activities, and receive recognition for their accomplishments. (Ibid., p. 87)
Many families nowadays home-school their children, which can be a big burden on the mother, but it's made much easier by tackling the job collectively, as is day care for the younger children.
Shared Facilities: More Stuff, Lower Cost
While few people would consider relinquishing private ownership of their houses, cars, or personal possessions, there will always be a myriad of impersonal items which people need occasionally which quite reasonably might be purchased collectively. Examples: guest rooms for visiting friends or family, soccer field, workshop, swimming pool, tree house, tennis court, exercise machines, and garden. In conventional housing, the family must either foot the bill for the entire thing, or go without. Cohousing makes it possible to own these sometimes-needed items collectively, at a fraction of the cost. A few cohousing communities even maintain a small store stocked with household items, cereal, toiletries, etc. The store is unattended, but all residents have a key so they can shop any time. They simply record the items they've bought, for which they're billed later. Residents appreciate the convenience of an on-site store, and benefit from the savings of buying in bulk.
Who are These People?
Virtually everyone in cohousing is on at least one committee, and most people attend at least some meetings. The alternative to attending meetings is to have no impact on how things are run, and to leave decisions to others who may — or may not — see things the same way. The point is that in this environment, unlike a typical suburban house or urban apartment, total lack of participation can have costs.
New people assimilate quickly in cohousing, and become part of the community, which is an advantage in technologically advanced countries where more and more people work all day at the computer, never meeting anyone in the course of their workday, and where others move frequently to better jobs.
People who chose cohousing are an interesting, self-selected bunch. They tend to be well-educated, with a broad range of interests, often active in local affairs such as politics or the school board. They also tend to be predominantly professionals, who often work at home, with higher than average incomes, of European descent, ranging from early thirties to retirement age, and politically somewhat Left of center. Efforts to increase ethnic diversity have not been successful. The authors of The Cohousing Handbook describe them as eexperienced and successful controllers,e accustomed to controlling the world around them, at least more so than the average person. When asked what most attracted them to cohousing, they reply that it offers safety and security; an ideal place for raising children; flexibility and choice in such things asrmeals and socializing; savings in terms of both money and time; and greater control of theirrlives. (Scott-Hansen, Kelly, and Scott-Hansen, Chris (2004) The Cohousing Handbook, New Society Publishers, p. 120)
Cohousing is not for everyone. It probably wouldn't be a congenial environment for extreme introverts or people who dislike children. Personality clashes are inevitable in any group endeavor, and in small communities, they will have more impact than in larger ones, where it's easier for two people to simply avoid one another. In small communities, if the disagreement is serious, one party may decide to move out.
Back to the Future
Medium-sized cohousing complexes (15-35 units) seem to work best. It's interesting that Sir Thomas More chose the figure of 30 families per village in Utopia, because it's not far from the median number of 25 which recent experience seems to have chosen as ideal (Ibid.,rp. 15). Evolutionary psychologists frequently talk about ethe environment of evolutionary adaptio
Cohousing and Eugenics
Eugenicists are interested in cohousing because it makes parenthood easier and more enjoyable. Women who have children as a result of a conscious choice are, on average, much brighter and more responsible than women who have their children as a result of a series of eaccidents,e so eugenicists favor anything that makes motherhood easier. Moreover, high-IQ women often have fewer children than they would ideally like to have because of conflicts with career. Living in a cohousing community makes juggling career and motherhood easier and less stressful, so it could reasonably be expected to increase the fertility of this group.
Many wives either want to work, or need to work. Few young couples can afford full-time nannies, but most want to have children. However, they don't want to become slaves to their children i they want to retain a good deal of their freedom. But is this even possible? In the Western world today, few couples have an on-call, 'round-the-clock baby-sitter living nearby, so it may not be possible. Cohousing provides couples the opportunity to have small, medium, or even large families while still retaining a good portion of their freedom.
In the future, cohousing ventures may increasingly be organized around one unifying principle i for example, all elderly residents, vegetarians, environmentalists, artists, musicians, writers, scientists, and those with specific religious or political philosophies. People who are committed to a religious or a political belief can be empowered by joining forces with others who have the same convictions. The value of such gatherings is already well-known, viz. universities, conferences, and churches. Inspiration doesn't occur in a vacuum, and having the opportunity to meet informally with colleagues on a regular, day-to-day basis could be ideal. When people get together who share the same beliefs and interests, it sparks imagination and fosters collaboration, and the kind of deep communication that makes life worthwhile. A unique and priceless efermente takes place that frequently results in original creative work.
Beyond sharing common facilities, dinners, and child care, cohousing has little else in common with Sir Thomas More's Utopia, and residents don't claim that life resembles a eutopiae in the more general sense of the word. Not surprisingly, however, cohousing communities bear a strong resemblance to traditional villages of the past. Cohousing offers major time, money, and convenience advantages over conventional 21st-century housing, particularly for parents and children, which probably account for its rather marked growth worldwide, despite the very considerable trouble and expense of starting such endeavors from scratch and seeing them through to completion. In addition to practical advantages, cohousing seems to have struck an emotional cord because it provides a more natural balance between autonomy and community.
Posted: at 12:30 pm
Heretical Thoughts on Abortion & Eugenics - Future Generations
| Heretical Thoughts on |
Abortion & Eugenics by Marian Van Court
This article appeared in Counter-Currents Publishing
Once I saw an interview with a woman whose child had cystic fibrosis. The child was forced to endure long medical treatments every day just to stay alive. Tests showed early in the pregnancy that her baby would be afflicted with cystic fibrosis, but the woman decided not to abort because, she said, “I figured that I’d rather have a life with health problems than no life at all.”
Strangely enough, I’d heard this exact same statement once before from another woman who gave birth to a child with a genetic defect. But what does it mean? You and I are conscious beings, and as such, we certainly recoil at the prospect of having no life at all. That would definitely be a loss. But if we had died before we were conscious beings, was there anyone there to suffer “having no life at all”?
The Wounded Angel, 1903
I do have a problem with late-term abortions, and I was appalled to learn some of the excuses women give for waiting so long, such as, “I kept meaning to do something about it, but I just kept putting it off.” It seems monstrous to take a viable fetus from a woman’s womb and then kill it, so I am personally sympathetic to the idea that there’s a point at which abortion is no longer an option. The timing is problematic, of course, because the fetus matures very gradually, and it doesn’t achieve viability and consciousness on any particular date.
Numerous embryos develop naturally in the womb and then spontaneously abort (the woman’s period is “late”). In fact, geneticists believe that perhaps the majority of conceptions spontaneously abort. It would be interesting to hear what Pro-Lifers have to say about that. According to their own dubious reasoning, everything that happens “naturally” is God’s will. Wouldn’t this mean that God aborts vast numbers of embryos and fetuses? It’s an inescapable conclusion. And if God commits abortion, then how could it be a terrible sin against God? I see no way out of this contradiction. Embryos and fetuses that spontaneously abort are usually defective, often with chromosomal abnormalities, so maybe this gives us a clue into God’s intention. Maybe God doesn’t want defective fetuses coming to term and becoming defective children. And if God is a eugenicist, would it be so wrong for us to follow God’s lead and only deliver healthy babies?
Suppose a woman learns early in her pregnancy that her potential child, if she carries it to term, will suffer from severe mental retardation. I believe that to knowingly give birth to a baby with any serious defect is cruel, immoral, and a crime against that being. Some pro-lifers are concerned with life to the exclusion of all other considerations – such as quality of life. Do they care at all about suffering? No woman should let herself be frightened or made to feel guilty if she decides to have an abortion in such a situation. She might not want to sacrifice her life in order to spend decades changing the diapers of a severely retarded child, and she surely need not apologize for that. But would she be “righteous” if she carried it to term and became its unpaid, unappreciated, round-the-clock, lifetime slave? No. In my opinion, she’d be a fool. The mother’s life matters plenty, and there are other people to be concerned about, in addition to the mother – such as the father, the other children, and the potential child itself should be considered when there’s little chance it would lead a normal life. What about the potential healthy children that the mother might forego bearing because of the time and expense of taking care of a severely handicapped or retarded child? Often it’s an act of courage and compassion to abort and to try again to have a healthy baby.
Typically, a severely retarded child (or any other child with serious genetic impairment) requires an extraordinary amount of care, more than any one person can provide, and the state (a.k.a. “the taxpayer”) virtually always ends up paying for it. Fairness would seem to require that the state should therefore have some input if it pays the bills, but, of course, it doesn’t. A strong case can be made that parents have no right to impose a huge financial burden on the rest of society if they can possibly avoid it.
If the parents sign a legally-binding contract that they will assume the entire life-time cost of the child themselves, that would be different, but few people have that much money. Parents who knowingly give birth to seriously defective children are also evading their responsibility to the larger society unless they accept full financial responsibility for them.
Some would maintain that evading responsibility in this way is both immoral and un-Christian, and unfortunately, this is the rule rather than the exception. Almost invariably, the larger society is burdened with the enormous expense. It’s my understanding that even parents with very substantial incomes still obtain social services for these children. If all such parents were required to take full responsibility, a few might very well change their minds regarding their total and unconditional opposition to abortion. When taking full responsibility means financial ruin and life-long slavery, my guess is that at least some Pro-Lifers will find their unwavering principles beginning to waver.
Ideally, eugenicists want Western countries to have nation-wide eugenics programs of incentives and disincentives, much like the eugenics program that exists today in Israel. (Isn’t that the very height of irony?) But sadly, we are nowhere near “ideally.” Political oppression has made this impossible for the time being because a tiny ethnic minority controls our world, and they want eugenics for themselves, and dysgenics for everyone else.
While we continue to promote eugenics generally, as we have always done, and work to free ourselves from this oppression, we can also engage politically in ways that advance eugenics without even having to mention the word. In the United States, for example, Republicans have taken control of many state governments recently, and they have dramatically reduced the number of women’s clinics, sometimes cutting the number by more than 50%. Limiting access to contraception and abortion is horribly dysgenic. Smart, responsible women with initiative and drive will find ways to get them, whereas less-capable women often will not, so closing clinics only makes a bad situation worse.
Just to clarify one point: there’s exactly zero chance that we will ever return to the days in which there was no contraception. People already know all about it, clearly they want it, and there are numerous companies that make and sell it. We will never stuff that genie back in the bottle.
Planned Parenthood is a “natural ally” of eugenics. Margaret Sanger (1883-1966) founded Planned Parenthood, she pio
Recall that the major cause of dysgenics (genetic deterioration) is that low-IQ women have far more accidental pregnancies than higher-IQ women have, and the end result is that they typically have many more children than they intended to have. These children are unplanned, and often unwanted, and they have disadvantages in terms of both heredity and environment. If we could somehow halt that trend, we could eliminate dysgenics. Then at least we would “break even” genetically.
Eugenics is not an “all or nothing” proposition. Rather, every miniscule bit of progress we make helps real people in the immediate future. Regardless of where things stand today – whether we live in a eugenic utopia, or a dysgenic hell hole, or somewhere in between – we can always improve the lives of those who follow us. Even if we can only reduce the severity of dysgenics, that’s a totally worthwhile endeavor because many lives can be improved, and soon. Keeping one more women’s clinic open is worth the fight.
Eugenicists must vigorously oppose all so-called “pro-life” candidates, and the utterly outrageous “personhood” amendments. “Pro-life” is a superficially attractive term that conceals a sinister interior, because what it really means is unequal access to contraception and abortion, which invariably causes genetic deterioration. Just as the idea of Communism sounded appealing in the beginning, the reality was untold misery. It is the same with pro-life.
Posted: at 12:29 pm
Adam, Eve, and Evolution
by Marian Van Court
The traditional interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve is that they disobeyed God by eating the forbidden apple, which is the origin of Original Sin. I shall present a new interpretation (based largely on the principles of evolutionary psychology) that the story symbolizes the major step in our evolution from animal to human, a transition which spanned millions of years.
Occasionally people refer to Adam and Eve eating from the tree of knowledge. They leave off the "of good and evil" part, which is crucial. The Biblical passage clearly states that they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If it were merely the tree of knowledge, the passage would make no sense whatsoever. God said:
Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Later, the Serpent assured Eve that what God had told her was untrue, and that her fears were unfounded:
Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods . . . .
Adam and Eve ate the apple, and when God realized this, He said:
Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.
Thus, God confirmed that what the Serpent had said when he tempted Eve was, in fact, true. Now they have souls, and their consciousness lives forever, even after their bodies are gone. They have become as one of us.
In the traditional interpretation, the Serpent is considered wicked. Its plain from the text that the Serpent was perfectly truthful in everything he said to Adam and Eve, and the fact that he was telling the truth is somehow overlooked, as is the fact that God deceived them, at least until the point at which they ate the apple. This is an inescapable conclusion, and God admits as much later on. The fact that God lied to them is also ignored or glossed over by the traditional interpretation.
God told Adam and Eve if they ate from that one tree, they would die. But clearly, they ate from the tree, and they didn't die!! It could be argued that, in the very broadest sense of the word, that they did die, the change in them being so great, their former selves and their former lives being lost forever. However, a stronger case could be made that God simply deceived them. Maybe it was for their own good, but He deceived them, nevertheless. God goes on to confirm everything the Serpent predicted, and Adam and Eve became as gods. How did the Serpent know all these things?
Perhaps it makes sense to view God and the Serpent as two aspects of the same entity. God loved Adam and Eve, and didn't want to see them suffer, but, having planted the tree in the Garden, God knew it was inevitable that at some point they would eat from it. In this story, God and the Serpent may represent the two opposite poles of a conflict similar to the one parents feel as their children grow up, need them less, and venture out into the cold, cruel world. Parents want their children to become independent, but they also want to keep them at home, forever safe.
What exactly is meant by knowledge of good and evil? It means morality, a distinctly human trait. It means the entire array of emotions, beliefs, and behaviors that goes along with it, such as the assumption of free-will, desire for approval and respect, fear of rejection, guilt, pride, envy, admiration, desire for revenge, ambition, anxiety, shame, remorse, love-- in short, all the emotions that make up the glue holding human social groups together, motivating members to suppress hostile impulses, forgo selfish interests, and work for the common good. Eventually, this leads to the development of civilization, along with its numerous ramifications.
Acquiring the knowledge of good and evil means evolving from animals to human beings. Becoming human was both a blessing and a curse. There was much to be gained from it--as the Serpent said, "your eyes shall be opened". But it entailed a steep price. God said to Eve, "I will increase your labor and in labor you shall bear children." Why specifically that? Because becoming human meant becoming more intelligent, and in order to do that, their brains had to grow larger, resulting in extremely painful births which lower primates, with smaller head-to-body ratios, do not experience. This evolution of larger brains, along with an un- avoidable increase in pain during childbirth, is at the very heart of the process of becoming human.
Before, they were naked, but unashamed, their sexuality uninhibited, like animals. Afterwards, they suddenly realized they were naked, and they stitched loincloths from fig leaves. Strong social restrictions on sexual behavior characterize any civilized people, and make up an integral part of the whole cluster of moral beliefs and behaviors that distinguish us from lower animals.
When Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden, they began the long, Faustian journey to human-hood, striving for understanding and mastery. God said to Adam, "You shall gain your bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground." No longer could he pluck fruit from a tree when he got hungry the way a monkey does. He cultivated the land, tended his flock, and put away food for hard times. He had the intelligence to envision the horror of famine, and he knew if he didn't work hard and plan wisely, he and his family would starve.
Back in the security and isolation of The Garden, good and evil were hardly salient concepts. But suddenly they become very real, and very potent forces, in human social groups where survival itself is uncertain. Good is whatever helps the group as a whole to survive and prosper--courage, honesty, unselfishness, intelligence, hard work. Evil is whatever harms the group--cowardice, dishonesty, selfishness, stupidity, and laziness.
The concepts of good and evil were integrated into the culture. Parents taught children to share, to be honest, and to consider the feelings of others. The concepts became internalized, along with all the whole vast array of emotions, both powerful and subtle, that go with them. For example, a man feels instinctive rage when he discovers his wife with another man. People feel spontaneous resentment upon witnessing the selfish or deceitful behavior of others. They experience fear and anxiety when they imagine themselves ostracized by the group for engaging in forbidden acts. And they feel pride after being praised for making a major contribution to the group. All of these pleasant and unpleasant emotions form a system of positive and negative reinforcement that molds the behavior of individuals and keeps the group working successfully as a unit.
The importance of the group is paramount, for we know that human beings must band together in order to survive. Groups with a highly developed morality survived in greater numbers than those without it, thus the genetic predisposition increased in the population. The most successful hunters and warriors received the admiration and gratitude of all, as did the most ingenious inventors--in short, those who contribute to the group. Thieves and murderers were executed or banished. Adolescent boys dreams of glory constituted specially potent fuel for the creative process that constructed technology and civilization. This entire dynamic, the network of prescriptions and proscriptions, facilitated group co-operation, cohesion, morale, progress, and ultimately, survival.
How does the story of Adam and Eve end? They (or sh
all I say "we") are still evolving. Will we become more and more human--smarter, more compassionate, more creative--until eventually we become one with God? Maybe in some symbolic sense we will come full circle back to the Garden. The story of Adam and Eve is a beautiful and powerful allegory. I hope what I have suggested fits the original text from Genesis reasonably well, and that it at least provides an interesting alternative interpretation to the traditional one.
Posted: at 12:29 pm
Evolution, Eugenics, and God's Will
Evolution, Eugenics, and God's Will by Marian Van Court
This famous scene from the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel has recently been interpreted in a startling new way. After it was cleaned and restored, the original details were revealed. The vehicle in which God is traveling, along with God himself, all the angels, the sashes, etc, conform remarkably well to the structures of a human brain (turned sideways, facing Adam). It's long been known that Michelangelo performed dissections so that he could fully understand the human body. Instead of the old interpretation of God giving life to Adam, it seems clear that Michelangelo's intention was to portray God giving the highest form of intellect to Adam, a uniquely human gift which is the product of the human brain (Meshberger, 1990).
This painting provides a wonderful artistic illustration for the subject of this paper. If one understands the large genetic component to our very souls -- not only our intelligence, but our honesty, our kindness, our courage, our creativity, and our unique personalities -- then one can immediately grasp the potential of eugenics for evolving ourselves into better people, more fully in the image of God. Francis Galton envisioned eugenics as a large-scale humanitarian endeavor, firmly grounded in science, which also contained the seed of a new religion:
The chief result of these Inquiries has been to elicit the religious significance of the doctrine of evolution. It suggests an alteration in our mental attitude, and imposes a new moral duty. The new mental attitude is one of a greater sense of moral freedom, responsibility, and opportunity; the new duty which is supposed to be exercised concurrently with, and not in opposition to the old ones upon which the social fabric depends, is an endeavor to further evolution, especially that of the human race.
Those who enjoy a sense of communion with God can dwell on the undoubted fact that there exists a solidarity between themselves and what surrounds them, through the endless reaction of physical laws among which the hereditary influences are to be included. They know that they are descended from an endless past, that they have a brotherhood with all that is, and have each his own share of responsibility in parentage of an endless future ( Blacker, 1952).
Evolution is the Crown Jewel of Creation
Evolution by natural selection fashioned creatures with conscious awareness from one-celled animals over vast expanses of time. The consciousness of human beings has evolved to such a degree that we are able to love one another, to experience joy at the beauty of nature, to create, to explore, to struggle to comprehend the nature of God, and even to manifest glimmerings of divinity ourselves. If Creation can be said to have anything resembling a purpose or destiny in a spiritual sense, the evolution of conscious beings has got to be at the very heart of it. For this reason, evolution by natural selection can legitimately be regarded as the "crown jewel" of Creation.
And isn't "the crown jewel of Creation" a far cry from how Darwin's theory was first greeted by the public in the late 1800s?! Christianity's vehement rejection of the theory of evolution was understandable since it contradicted a literal interpretation of the Bible. Although it was a painful process, fraught with bitterness, in the long run this conflict was healthy. Now we think of the story of Adam and Eve as an allegory, and a lovely one at that. We have sufficient understanding to welcome Darwin's message because we recognize evolution as a vitally important key to life, to our consciousness, and ultimately to God.
All major religions say, in one way or another, that we are created in God's image. In Genesis it is written, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is within you." An Indian proverb (East Indian) elegantly expresses a similar notion:
Divinity sleeps in stones,
breathes in plants,
dreams in animals,
and awakens in human beings.
Consider the fact that we were created in God's image through the process of evolution--this can hardly be an insignificant fact. The creation story in the Bible may be lovely, but isn't the way we actually evolved into ourselves more awesome and more overwhelmingly beautiful than God merely dictating by fiat the existence of the first man and woman? Science has established conclusively that evolution is true, and this is not in doubt. But perhaps evolution could also be said to surpass the story of the Garden of Eden as being more probably true purely on aesthetic grounds (just as in physics sometimes the more beautiful of two theories is given more credence).
Dysgenics: A Cosmic Sacrilege?
The process of evolution quite naturally evokes our deepest fascination and respect, but it is the product of evolution, our consciousness itself, which is precious -- one might even say "divine." Yet the shocking fact is that today, our evolution has shifted into reverse, and our precious consciousness -- acquired at such an enormous cost in suffering and death, over so many millennia -- is now deteriorating. Scientific studies have shown that we, as a species, are currently evolving to become less intelligent, more violent, less healthy, and more mentally disturbed (Van Court and Bean, 1985, Lynn and Van Court, 1996; Lynn 1995; Lynn, 1996; Comings, 1996). The word for this is "dysgenics," which is the opposite of "eugenics." Dysgenics means human genetic deterioration. It's difficult to imagine worse news. If evolution by natural selection is the crown jewel of Creation--having produced human beings in the image of God--then dysgenics must constitute one cosmic sacrilege.
How did dysgenics come about? Simple. By a process that might well be called "un-natural selection," because it is a reversal of natural selection resulting from society's corrupting influence. In a nutshell:
(1) Modern societies quite understandably take care of sickly people who previously would have died, but then these people go on to have children with a high incidence of the same illnesses, and
(2) although contraception is available to everyone, it's more consistently and effectively used by all of the "best" and the most admirable people, i.e., the smartest, most responsible, hard-working people who make a positive contribution to the larger society.
A high percentage of the "worst" and least-admirable people either don't know, or don't care, that unprotected sex brings babies into the world, so they have sex with little or no thought of contraception. They include: psychopaths; sociopaths; criminals; psychologically disturbed people of all varieties; alcoholics; drug addicts; irresponsible, short-sighted, and selfish people; the mentally retarded; just-plain-dumb people; and people who are too lazy to take a trip to the corner drugstore. Because of their negligence, they contribute a disproportionate share of their least- admirable genes to future generations.
Professor Richard Lynn of the University of Ulster conducted a study in which he found that despite lengthy sojourns in prison, London criminals still managed to produce more children on average than ordinary, law-abiding citizens (Lynn, 1995). Lynn calculated the increase in crime that would be expected, given the degree to which criminal behavior is a function of heredity, and estimated the increase in crime which should result (other factors being equal) by the excess fertility of criminals. His excellent book, Dysgenics (see review on this website) is the most comprehensive and authori
tative work on the issue of eugenics and dysgenics to date.
Instead of implementing a eugenics program of incentives and disincentives in order to rectify the problem of dysgenics, most governments are making it worse by subsidizing the reproduction of the least-productive segment of society, and taxing heavily the most productive segment.
Farmers and breeders have utilized the principle of "select the best" for their crops, livestock, and pets, and this has given us bountiful crops of every variety, high-yield milk cows, fast, beautiful, and gentle horses. Yet we take far less care when it comes to human beings, and in effect, we "select the worst." It would be unconscionable to breed stupid, sickly, and vicious dogs -- surely it's at least as cruel to do this to human beings.
It's not necessary, nor even possible, to do away with contraception entirely because the technologies and information for preventing conception are "out," and only a severely repressive government could keep them from the people, and then only partially. However, we can reverse dysgenics and continue the process of improving the human species by implementing a eugenics program. We can once again evolve in a positive direction with self-directed evolution. From a spiritual point of view, when we take on the mantle of eugenics, we insure that our evolution will be guided more directly by God, who lives and breathes within us.
The word "eugenics" conjures up draconian images of Nazis and death camps, but even a cursory examination of the issues shows that this association is unwarranted. Eugenics has been practiced since ancient times, and in the 20th century Sweden had a eugenics program that lasted for 40 years (Broberg and Roll- Hansen, 1996). In fact, a total of 28 countries practiced eugenics in the 20th century, and one country, Germany, committed genocide, so despite Marxist propaganda to the contrary, it's apparent that no causal association can be drawn between eugenics and mass murder. (For a more detailed discussion of these important issues, see the review of Dysgenics on this website.)
Critics of eugenics often argue that we will never agree upon which traits we want, so therefore, the entire enterprise is hopeless. But this argument is utterly without merit. It's perfectly predictable that we will choose health, beauty, intelligence, talent, courage, kindness, and honesty for our children because these are universally valued traits. All over the world parents value them today, just as parents valued them a hundred years ago, and a thousand years ago.
Is Dysgenics God's Will? Three Fundamental Truths
Scientists entering the realm of theology for the first time suddenly find themselves on very shaky ground, indeed. How does one know this or that is true? Where's the evidence? In this paper, I have assumed only that many readers believe in God. Now, given this assumption, at least it becomes possible to say, "If one accepts this statement about God, then such-and-such logically follows."
Is the current genetic deterioration of the human species "God's will?" I hope to address this question in a such a way that it will be applicable to Christians and devotees of other religions, as well as to most people who believe in God but don't adhere to any particular religious creed. First I'll state three fundamental truths about the nature of God upon which all major religions agree. Then I'll attempt to draw inferences from them about dysgenics.
(1) God loves us. All major religions hold that this is so.
(2) God wants us to be kind to one another. Jesus said "Love thy neighbor as thyself." The current Dalai Lama (spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists) says, "Be kind to one another." Kindness to others is one of the most important -- if not the most important -- teaching of all religions.
(3) God has accorded human beings a special place in the animal kingdom, with a distinct destiny. All major religions believe that human beings are the pinnacle of God's creation. In Genesis, God said, "[L]et [man] have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepith upon the earth." In Hindu writings about reincarnation, people are considered the highest and most spiritually advanced creatures. No major religion teaches that we are indistinguishable from lower animals.
Now we get to the heart of the matter--namely, what inferences can we draw from these three fundamental truths? Is dysgenics God's will? Is dysgenics contrary to God's will? Or, is dysgenics simply irrelevant to God?
Let's take the first statement, that God loves us. If God loves us, then he doesn't want us to suffer unnecessarily. That certainly follows, doesn't it? Dysgenics means that our children's generation will be less well-endowed genetically than our generation is, and it's inescapable that they will suffer as a result. To be sickly, to be retarded, to suffer psychiatric illness -- these are all things we definitely do NOT want for our children, nor for anyone else we love. It hardly requires a giant leap of faith to conclude that if God loves us, he doesn't want us to suffer needlessly.
With regard to the second point, that God wants us to be kind to one another -- is it kind for us to leave the next generation genetically stupider, more sickly mentally and physically, and worse people morally? Inflicting pain and suffering on enormous numbers of innocent beings is hardly the definition of kindness. I challenge the reader: can you think of anything that is more cruel, on such a vast scale? Communism certainly comes to mind as a possible contender, but I would argue it ranks second to dysgenics. At any rate, we know what our health means to us--it means everything. And we know how much our intelligence means. Imagine what life would be like if you had been born mentally retarded -- you wouldn't even be you! These traits are profoundly important to everyone, past, present and future.
In addition to leaving our children's generation a poorer genetic legacy, if we do nothing about dysgenics, we will also bequeath to them the same cultural taboo against eugenics which we have inherited -- the taboo which has paralyzed the Western world for the past 50 years on the vitally important issue of our own biological evolution. Until dysgenics is reversed, each generation will become successively less and less capable of solving the problem of dysgenics -- or any problem, for that matter.
Third, God has accorded human beings a special place in the animal kingdom, with a distinct destiny. Could our "distinct destiny" possibly be to evolve closer and closer in the image of God for hundreds of thousands of years -- more intelligent, more loving and kind, healthier and more civilized -- and then suddenly to reverse direction, to squander all the hard-won gains, and evolve backwards, less in the image of God, more like lower animals? How could this be God's will? It's inconceivable.
By examining three fundamental truths upon which all major religions agree, a very short and sure step of reasoning leads us, in each case, to the conclusion that dysgenics must be against God's will.
Our biology and our spirituality are inextricably linked, and they evolve (or de-volve) hand in hand. From the standpoint of Christianity, it's fascinating to realize that as we de-volve to become more criminal, more stupid, and more primitive, there will inevitably be (1) a large increase in the total amount of sin, and therefore (2) a higher percentage of people condemned to Hell!! Amazing though it may seem, science has proven that Good and Evil have roots in biology, and we ignore this fact at our peril.
In conclusion, the most capable of our small, ape-like ancestors survived and reproduced in greater numbers so that our species gradually evolved large
r brains, higher intelligence, and greater human-ness, and the result of this extraordinary Creation is us. However, "we" aren't the end of the story!! "Creation" is still in motion, and now we are participants in it, whether for good or for ill. We can, and we must, reverse the current process of dysgenics if we are to carry out God's will, and if we feel any love or compassion for all those who come after us.
Blacker, C. P., 1952, Eugenics: Galton and After, Gerald Duckworth & Co, London
Broberg, Gunnar, & Nills Roll-Hansen, 1996, Eugenics and the Welfare State: Sterilization Policy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland, Michigan University Press, East Lansing
Comings, David, 1996, The Gene Bomb, Hope Press, Duarte, CA
Meshberger, Frank L., 1990, "An Interpretation of Michelangelo's Creation of Adam Based on Neuroanatomy," JAMA, Oct. 10, 1990, vol. 264, No. 14
Lynn, Richard, 1996, Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations, Praeger, Westport, Connecticut
Lynn, Richard, 1995, "Dysgenic fertility for crime," Journal of Biosocial Science, 27, p. 405-408
Van Court, Marian, and Frank Bean, 1985, "Intelligence and Fertility in the United States: 1912-1982," Intelligence, vol. 8, p. 23-32
Posted: at 12:29 pm
Intelligence and Fertility in the United States: 1912-1982
By MARIAN VAN COURT
Department of Psychology
The University of Texas at Austin
By FRANK D. BEAN
Department of Sociology and Population Research Center
The University of Texas at Austin
The following article first appeared in Intelligence 9 (1985), pp. 23-32.
|Results are presented for the first analysis of the relationship between IQ and completed fertility using a large, representative sample of the U.S. population. Correlations are predominantly negative for cohorts born between 1894 and 1964 but are significantly more positive for cohorts whose fertility was concentrated in the "baby boom" years. Previous studies reporting slightly positive correlations appear to have been biased in their restriction of samples to atypical cohorts.|
In the advanced industrialized nations, the rate of change in fertility and mortality - the two major forms of selection acting upon intelligence—began rapidly accelerating with the onset of the "demographic transition." In the United States, fertility began to decline in the late 1700s, moving from an average number of live births per woman of around 8.0 before the Revolutionary War to one Of less than 2.0 during the 1970s (Grabill, Kiser, & Whelpton, 1958; Rindfuss & Sweet, 1977). Although the evidence on mortality is more limited, it appears that steep declines in mortality also occurred during this period (Kitagawa & Hauser, 1973). Whereas most observers would agree that differential mortality operated prior to the demographic transition to increase intelligence, it is not certain whether differential fertility or differential mortality was the dominant selective agent in the latter stages of the transition. Nevertheless, the possibility of the former led many theorists at the beginning of this century to forecast a lowering of average levels of intelligence.
Studies conducted in the early 1900s seemed to bear out the more pessimistic prognostications. The relationship between family size and intelligence was measured by correlating the IQ scores of school children with their number of siblings. Negative correlations were consistently reported in a large number of studies conducted in the United States and England (Cattell, 1936; Lentz, 1927; Mailer, 1933; Roberts, 1939; Roberts, Norman, & Griffiths, 1937; Sutherland, 1929; Sutherland & Thomson, 1926). Naturally, these findings were met with considerable alarm. It was predicted that a loss of 1.0 to 1.5 mean IQ points would occur per decade (Cattell, 1937, 1936).
Large-scale investigations were launched in an attempt to measure predicted losses in population IQ over time. In the Scottish survey, the entire 1 l-year-old population was tested in 1932. Again in 1947, all 1 l-year-olds were given the same group verbal-intelligence test. Contrary to expectations, there was an average increase of 2.3 points (Maxwell, 1954). Cattell conducted an equally ambitious cross-decade study of 10-year-olds' performance on a nonverbal test in England, and found a 1.2-point increase in the mean IQ of children tested in 1950 over those tested in 1936 (Cattell, 1951). Intelligence test performance of US high school students showed small gains over a 20-year period (Finch, 1946), and American soldiers from World War II were reported to have significantly higher verbal-ability scores than their counterparts from World War I (Tuddenham, 1948).
Clearly, results of the family-size-IQ studies and cross-decade studies of populations yielded contradictory results. If people with lower IQ scores had larger families, why was there no discernible loss of IQ over time? Investigators adduced a variety of explanations attempting to resolve the paradox. Predicted losses might have been masked by rather substantial improvements in education, nutrition, and other facets of the environment. Tuddenham (1948) stressed the importance of better education and improved mass communication. Cattell (1951) discussed the possibility of increased test sophistication and noted that the relationship between intelligence and marriage rates had not been investigated. Reed (1965) suggested that such small gains as those reported in the cross-decade studies could easily have been caused by sampling error, testing errors, or some other unknown source of error. Osborn's (1940) "Eugenic Hypothesis", had predicted that a eugenic trend would naturally emerge in a modern democratic society, because parenthood would become wholly voluntary when there was free access to birth control (Osborn, 1940, pp. 193-198). At the opposite extreme, Cook (1951) adopted perhaps the bleakest outlook in the controversy when he characterized a decline in intelligence as "inevitable" and wrote that "(I)f this trend continues for less than a century, England and America will be well on the way to becoming nations of near half-wits" (p. 6). Still others expressed skepticism that real changes in either direction were taking place. Penrose (1950a, 1950b) believed a genetic equilibrium existed. Dobzhansky (1962, 316) concurred, suggesting a balanced polymorphism for intelligence in which both extremes failed to produce their quota of offspring.
In 1962, Higgins, Reed, and Reed provided what has come to be regarded as the definitive answer in their landmark article, "Intelligence and Family Size: A Paradox Resolved." They studied the completed fertility of a large Minnesota sample. Although they found the usual sizable negative correlation between IQ and number of siblings, they found a tiny positive correlation between IQ and completed fertility. The latter correlation was dependent upon the inclusion of individuals who had never married—apparently, their automatic exclusion in previous family-size-IQ studies using school children had biased earlier result because the unmarried were disproportionately found at the lowest IQ levels Higgins, Reed, and Reed reported that 30% of those with IQ's less than 70 were, unmarried, in contrast to 10% with IQ's between 100 and 110, and 3-4% with IQs over 110.
Several more studies of IQ and completed fertility reported similar result (Bajema, 1963, 1971; Olneck & Wolfe, 1980; Spuhler, 1962; Waller, 1970). In Bajema's Michigan sample, the higher rate of childlessness among those with very low IQs was due more to their childless marriages than to their lower marriage rates, but the net result was the same. With direct evidence such as this the dire predictions of the early 1900s were rejected as totally unfounded (Falek 1971; Osborn & Bajema, 1972). In a 1971 review article, Falek wrote
There is no evidence of a decrease in intelligence from generation to generation .... (B)ehavioral scientists concerned with the problem have resolved, in approximately a quarter of a century, all the contradictions which plagued the understanding of the direction of human intelligence. In doing so, most investigators have turned around 180 degrees, and are now confident that, with regard to intelligence, evolution is on a positive track. (p. 14)
Despite the wide acceptance these studies received, they contained two potentially serious sources of bias. First, the samples were not random, because they were composed principally of white, native-born Americans living in either the Great Lakes states or New England (Cattell, 1974; Jensen, 1969; Osborne, 1975; Weyl, 1973). Second, they were largely restricted to a narrow range of birth cohorts (Vining, 1982). In a pathbreaking recent analysis, Vining (1982) cast doubt on conclusions derived from previous fertility-IQ studies, suggesting that the absence of a negative correlation may well have been peculiar to the cohorts studied. Previous samples were largely confined to cohorts
which had their main reproductive years during the "baby boom," a period of rising fertility, unprecedented; since such records began to be kept. Vining hypothesized that during periods of rising fertility, there will be a zero or slightly positive relationship between fertility and intelligence, but during periods of falling fertility which characterize the entire modern era, with the one exception of the baby boom years of the late 1940s and the 1950s—there will be a negative relationship. He correlated intelligence test scores with number of children, using a large, national probability sample of men and women aged 25 to 34 as of the late 1970s. For each category of age, sex and race examined, correlations were negative, ranging from -.104 to -.221.
One acknowledged limitation of Vining's sample is that many of the respondents had not yet completed their fertility. In addition, the information it provides is confined to a restricted age cohort. The purpose of this paper is to report the results of research on the relationship between IQ and completed fertility (as well as partly completed fertility) which extends the range of cohorts to encompass those born between 1894 and 1964, whose major reproductive years span 1912 to 1982. In so doing, we may also be able to reconcile results of previous research on this issue and to discern whether a positive or negative relationship in fact emerges during periods of rising or declining fertility.
DATA SET: THE NORC GENERAL SOCIAL SURVEY
The National Opinion Research Center (NORC), a nonprofit research organization affiliated with the University of Chicago, conducted the General Social Survey (GSS) in the United States each year from 1972 to 1982, except for 1979 (Davis, 1982). A combination of block quota and full probability sampling was employed. Hour-long interviews were completed with a total of 12,120 respondents, who were English-speaking, noninstitutionalized adults (18 years or older) living within the continental United States. Such questions as age, place of birth, income, and occupation were asked in each interview. Other questions about attitudes on various social, political, and moral issues were rotated in different years.
Variables of relevance to the present investigation include total number of liveborn children, number of siblings, and scores on a steeply graded, untimed vocabulary test given in 1974, 1976, 1978, and 1982 (total N = 6,021). The vocabulary test is made up of 10 questions selected from a test originally devised by Thorndike for use in large demographic surveys in which a full-scale IQ test would not be feasible (Thorndike, 1942; Thorndike & Gallup, 1944). The two forms of the original version were standardized against the Otis Test (Miner, 1957) and included 20 multiple-choice questions each (one item taken from every level of the I.E.R. Intelligence Scale CAVD).
Although no attempt has been made (to our knowledge) to standardize the GSS version against another test of mental ability, there is good evidence that brief vocabulary tests such as this perform quite well as measures of general intelligence. Miner (1957, pp. 28-29) found a median correlation of .83 between scores on several dozen similar short-vocabulary tests and scores on standard IQ tests. Vocabulary correlates more highly (r = .75) than any other subtest with total score on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) (Wechsler, 1958, p. 98). Furthermore, preliminary analyses of the GSS test showed internal characteristics and relationships with other variables which accord well with those reported for traditional, full-scale IQ tests. Scores are normally distributed with a Mof 6.0 and a SD of 2.2. The internal reliability (Cronbach's Alpha) is .79. Test scores correlate 0.5 with highest educational level obtained. As with other measures of crystallized intelligence, there is a very gradual improvement in performance until old age and then a gradual decline. Blacks average 0.70 SDs below the mean for whites, and there is a negligible sex difference (0.06 SDs) favoring women. A previous study found the GSS vocabulary test to be the most powerful predictor of adult white men's income (r = 0.29), better than both educational level and family background (Peterson & Karplus, 1981). Another study reported it to be strongly negatively correlated with "anomie" (r = .42) (Segilman, 1981).
The test was designed to provide only a rough grading of mental ability. In the "ideal world," the test might have been nonverbal and longer, though unreliability could only vitiate relationships between intelligence and other variables, and correlations to be presented could hardly result from random errors. The unique opportunity this data set affords is an overview of the relationship between intelligence and fertility for a nationally representative sample of Americans whose major reproductive years fell between 1912 and 1982.
Data were consolidated from the four surveys in which the vocabulary test was given (1974, 1976, 1978, and 1982). Respondents were divided into 15 birth cohorts of 5-year intervals ranging from before 1894 to 1964. Cohorts 1-9 can be considered to have completed their fertility (because the youngest would be 40 years old), whereas cohorts 10-15 would have completed their fertility to varying degrees. Correlations between vocabulary test scores and total number of children ever born for all 15 cohorts are presented in Table 1. Correlations
Number of Offspring and Vocabulary Scores, Zero-Order Correlations by Cohort
Date of Birth
Note. Tests are one-tailed.
corrected for attentuation (divided by the square root of 0.79, the coefficient of test reliability) are also presented in parentheses. It is clear that the relationship is predominantly negative, with 12 of 15 correlations statistically significant.
It is of particular interest to see whether the correlations of cohorts 8 and 9 are typical or atypical. Cohorts 8 and 9, whose fertility occurred squarely within the baby boom years, are the cohorts which largely comprised the samples of previous studies which reported small positive correlations. Although the correlations for both are negative, they are less negative than the other correlations. Vining's hypothesis of zero or slightly positive correlations during periods of rising fertility might thus be considered partly substantiated, and his hypothesis of a negative relationship during declines in fertility is more fully substantiated. But it appears that other factors, in addition to cohort effects, will be required to account fully for the differences between Vining's results and those of previous studies. To determine whether exclusion of nonwhites may have also constituted a source of bias in previous studies, a separate analysis of whites was performed for all 15 cohorts (see Table 2). Comparing the correlations in Tables I and 2, it can be seen that overall, the effect of exclusion of nonwhites is negligible.
Number of Offspring and Vocabulary Scores for Whites, Zero-Order Correlations by Cohort
Date of Birth
Note. Tests are one-tailed.
Although nonwhites average more children and lower test scores, they comprise only 11% of the sample. However, with nonwhites excluded, cohorts 8 and 9 exhibit a more positive relationship than the other cohorts (t = 2.04, p
Correlations between vocabulary scores and number of siblings are presented in Table 3. They are markedly negative across all 15 cohorts, in agreement with the numerous family-size IQ studies of the early 1900s. Vocabulary-sibling correlations are more negative in every cohort than vocabulary-offspring correlations. If the childless had disproportionately low scores in this sample as in previous ones, this would weaken the negative relationship between vocabulary and offspring, but it would not affect the correlations between vocabulary and siblings, and thus it might reconcile the two sets of correlations. In actuality, the opposite turned out to be the case—the childless were found to score higher than those with one or more children in nearly every cohort. It should be noted, with regard to the difference in magnitude between the two sets of correlations, that the variability is considerably greater for number of siblings (M = 4.3, SD = 3.3) than it is for number of offspring (M = 2.1, SD = 1.9).
Number of Siblings and Vocabulary Scores, Zero-Order Correlations by Cohort
Date of Birth
Note. Tests are one-tailed.
***Significant at p
Recall that in previous studies people with very low IQs were found to be more often childless, so their inclusion in fertility-lQ correlations had the effect of neutralizing otherwise negative correlations. Greater childlessness among those with low IQs purportedly reconciled the conflicting results from cross-decade studies of IQ and IQ-family-size studies—the markedly negative IQ-family-size correlations using number of siblings as a measure of family size were thought to be spuriously inflated, because they automatically excluded the childless. An error appears to have been made in generalizing these conclusions from nonrepresentative samples, for our analysis of childless respondents from the General Social Survey shows them to score higher, not lower, on the vocabulary test,
This paper reports the results of the first analysis of the relationship between intelligence and completed fertility (as well as partially completed fertility) in the United States which employs a large, representative sample of the population. The major finding is that the relationship has been predominantly negative from 1912 to 1982. Previous reports of a neutral or slightly eugenic relationship appear to be due to the nature of the samples used, in part because the cohorts chosen were atypical (both with regard to their overall fertility and to their fertility-IQ relationship), and in part because they did not include nonwhites. Childless respondents averaged slightly higher scores than did those with one or more children, indicating that the automatic exclusion of the childless from sibling-IQ studies has not spuriously inflated negative correlations (as had been previously believed).
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Posted: at 12:29 pm
Bell Curve As the Bell Curves By Charles Murray and Daniel Seligman
(Originally published in The National Review, December 8, 1997)
Is The Bell Curve the stealth public-policy book of the 1990s?
Mr. Seligman is the author of A Question of Intelligence: The IQ Debate in America. Mr. Murray is co-author of The Bell Curve.
DS: Three years after publication of The Bell Curve, I find myself endlessly reading news stories about great national controversies in which all the participants do their best to ignore the data you and Dick Herrnstein laid on the table. Three recent examples:
1) the row over school vouchers, whose advocates (e.g., Bill Bennett in the Wall Street Journal) endlessly take it for granted that poor performance by students reflects only inadequacies by the teaching profession -- inadequacies among the learners being a huge unmentionable;
2) the President's astounding proposal (never characterized as such) that all American youngsters, including those with IQs at the left tail, should have at least two years of college;
3) the expressions of surprise and rage when it turned out that, in the absence of affirmative action, prestigious law schools would be admitting hardly any black students. The participants in these controversies were in no sense talking back to The Bell Curve. They were pretending its data do not exist. What's your perspective?
CM: I read the same stories you do and ask the same question: Do these guys know but pretend not to? Or are they still truly oblivious? In the case of education vouchers, there is a sensible reason to ignore The Bell Curve: inner-city schools are overwhelmingly lousy. Bill Bennett has read the book, understands it, and (rare indeed) has defended it on national television. But his battle cry is, and should be, ``These kids are getting a raw deal'' -- not a lot of qualifications about the difficulties in raising IQ.
Bill Clinton and his pandering on college education is another story altogether. Vouchers for elementary school can be a good policy idea, no matter what our book says about IQ. But universal college education cannot be. Most people are not smart enough to profit from an authentic college education. But who among Republicans has had the courage to call Clinton on this one? A lot of silence about The Bell Curve can be put down to political cowardice.
Affirmative action was still politically sacrosanct when The Bell Curve came out in October 1994. Within a year, the tide had swung decisively. Did the book play any role? Damned if I know. Dick and I were the first to publish a comprehensive account of the huge gaps in SAT scores at elite colleges, but I have found not a single citation of the book during the affirmative-action debate.
My best guess -- and the broad answer to your question -- is that The Bell Curve is the stealth public-policy book of the 1990s. It has created a subtext on a range of issues. Everybody knows what the subtext is. Nobody says it out loud.
DS: I am reading with fascination your ``afterword'' in the paperback edition, and I have an argumentative question about the passage where you speculate on long-term responses to the book. You postulate a three-stage process. In stage one, the book and its authors take endless rounds of invective from critics who simply want to suppress the message that human beings differ in mental ability. These critics turn to thought control because they look at your findings and conclude, in Michael Novak's words, that ``they destroy hope'' -- a hope which Novak sees as a this-worldly eschatological phenomenon. [eschatalogical = relating to the end of the world. MVC] In stage two, the invective attracts the interest of scholars not previously involved in these disputes. They look over the empirical record, deciding in the end that your case is supportable and may indeed have been understated in some areas. In stage three, these scholars build on your work, and in the end do more than The Bell Curve itself to demolish those eschatological hopes. In the long run, the thought control shoots itself in the foot.
This process seems entirely plausible. But I wonder: Will the truth ever break out of the academic world? Remember, the basic message (including even a genetic factor in the black - white gap) was already pretty well accepted by scholars in the mid Eighties as the Snyderman - Rothman book documented. What I never see is acceptance of any part of this message in the public-policy world, where the term ``IQ'' is seldom uttered without the speaker's sensing a need to dissociate himself from it.
Among many horror stories is the current row over Lino Graglia, the University of Texas law professor now in trouble for having stated an obvious truth: that black and Mexican-American students are ``not academically competitive'' with white students. Graglia gave the most benign possible explanation for this educational gap: minority students were not genetically or intellectually inferior but were suffering from a cultural background in which scholarship was not exalted. But that explanation got him nowhere. He has been attacked by every editorial page in Nexis that has weighed in on the matter. (He did better in the letters columns.)
NOW, I can see the process you envision going forward -- with some scholars and maybe even some journalists looking at actual academic performance at Texas and other universities. What I cannot imagine is defenders of Graglia surfacing in any institutional setting -- at least not in the realms of politics and education, nor in major media. Meanwhile, what with Texas campus demonstrations and Jesse Jackson's call for Graglia to be made a social pariah (cheered at the demonstrations), scholars have got the crucial message: Stay under cover if you hold beliefs challenging to those eschatological hopes.
CM: Graglia said ``culture.'' What everybody heard was ``genes.'' As soon as anyone argues that racial differences in intelligence are authentic, not an artifact of biased tests, everyone decodes that as saying the differences are grounded in genes. It is a non-sequitur, but an invariable one in my experience. America's intellectual elites are hysterical about the possibility of black - white genetic differences in IQ.
As you know, The Bell Curve actually took a mild, agnostic stand on the subject. Dick Herrnstein and I said that nobody yet knows what the mix between environmental and genetic causes might be, and it makes no practical difference anyway. The only policy implication of the black - white difference, whatever its sources, is that the U.S. should return forthwith to its old ideal of treating people as individuals.
But how many people know this? No one who hasn't read the book. Everyone went nuts about genes, so much so that most people now believe that race and genes is the main topic of our book.
Why? The topic of race and genes is like the topic of sex in Victorian England. The intellectual elites are horrified if anyone talks about it, but behind the scenes they are fascinated. I will say it more baldly than Dick and I did in the book: In their heart of hearts, intellectual elites, especially liberal ones, have two nasty secrets regarding IQ. First, they really believe that IQ is the be-all and end-all of human excellence and that someone with a low IQ is inferior. Second, they are already sure that the black - white IQ difference is predominantly genetic and that this is a calamity -- such a calamity indeed that it must not be spoken about, even to oneself. To raise these issues holds a mirror up to the elites' most desperately denied inner thoughts. The result is the kind of reaction we saw to Lino Graglia.
But when people say one thing and believe another, as intellectual elites have been doing about race, sooner or later the cognitive dissonance must be resolved. It usually happens with a bang. When the wall of denial gives way, not only will the receive
d wisdom on race and IQ change, the change will happen very rapidly and probably go much too far. The fervor of the newly converted is going to be a problem. I fully expect, if I live another twenty years, to be in a situation where I am standing on the ramparts shouting: ``Genetic differences weren't a big deal when we wrote The Bell Curve and they still aren't a big deal.''
DS: Watching Clinton perform in Little Rock the other day, and picking up especially on his lament about the extent and persistence of discrimination (including employment discrimination) in American life, I went back for one more look at that table on page 324 of The Bell Curve -- the one showing that job discrimination is essentially nonexistent in the United States today. At least it is nonexistent among the younger workers in that huge sample from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.
Your argument begins by noting that when you control for age, education, and socioeconomic status (SES), black earnings are still only 84 per cent of white earnings, which implies continuing discrimination. As the table shows, however, when you bring IQ into the picture, everything changes. Even if you forget about education and SES and control only for age and IQ, the black - white earnings gap essentially disappears. To be precise: when you average the results for many different occupational categories, blacks of similar age and IQ make 98 per cent as much as whites. When you control for gender as well, the figure goes to 101 per cent.
These findings seem stunning to me, on several counts. First, they show that employers are astonishingly good at seeing through the imperfect credentials represented by educational levels and family background, and at figuring out which job prospects have the most ability. Second, the findings are surely big news -- and good news. They imply that much, or most, or essentially all (depending on the extent to which NLSY data can be generalized to the labor force as a whole) of what is routinely identified as invidious discrimination is nothing of the sort. It is rational behavior by employers and it shows them to be amazingly color-blind. So why is this news not on the front pages?
CM: Think about how that front-page story would have to be headlined. It would have to convey the thought, BLACKS WITH EQUAL IQS GET EQUAL PAY. You see the problem. No matter how reasonable the explanation, it is not intellectually permissible at this moment in history for blacks or women to have different outcomes from white males. If you really want egregious examples of that attitude, don't bother with IQ and blacks. Look at the military performance of women. A military officer came into my office some months ago, almost with tears in his eyes. ``We're killing people,'' he said, referring to the degradation of entrance requirements and training standards for combat pilots -- a degradation carried out so that enough women could get through. How many journalists in major U.S. papers have been willing to write that story straightforwardly? When the problem of female combat performance is mentioned at all, it is with an ``on the one hand, on the other hand'' presentation, even though one side has all the data and the other side is only an attitude.
DS: Let me ask you to weigh in more heavily on an issue we touched on earlier -- the ``average child'' fallacy. This is the notion that any normal child can learn anything if only he gets the right teaching. Your data make plain that this view is nonsense. Indeed, you add: ``Critics of American education must come to terms with the reality that in a universal education system many students will not reach the level of education that most people view as basic.''
That thought was so important that you put it in italics. In our current debate on national standards and educational reform, however, no one is paying attention to it -- certainly not Bill Clinton, but also not many conservatives. I recently caught Jeanne Allen of the pro-voucher Center for Educational Reform in a debate on CNN. She was complaining about education bureaucrats ``that don't believe, or don't necessarily think, all children are capable of learning to the highest level. I think that's scary.''
Isn't it about time to scold conservative fans of education reform for persistently dodging reality when they're out there selling vouchers?
CM: I propose a new term: ``suspension of belief,'' defined as ``basing a public-policy stance on an assumption about human beings that one knows to be untrue of oneself.'' Do you suppose Jeanne Allen believes herself capable of learning to the highest level if we're talking, say, about quantum mechanics? Of course not. Only a few silly people who have never tested themselves are under the illusion that they have no educational limits.
Putting that last sentence on the screen, however, makes me pause. Many bright liberal-arts graduates have not tested themselves. In the liberal arts and some of the soft sciences it is possible to get a PhD without having to confront that awful moment: ``My God, studying hard won't be enough. It is beyond the power of my intellect to understand this.'' With me, it came halfway through a graduate course on the theory of matrices, and it was an invaluable lesson. Isaac Asimov once gave a rule of thumb for knowing when you've hit the wall: when you hear yourself saying to the professor, ``I think I understand.''
Another factor may also be operating here: the isolation of the cognitive elite. If you have never had a close acquaintance with an IQ below 100, then you have no idea what ``dumb'' really means.
Should we scold our conservative allies for this kind of na¨iveté? Chide, I guess. But I am uncomfortably aware of a sentence in a well-known conservative tome that reads, ``I suggest that when we give such parents [who are actively engaged in their child's education] vouchers, we will observe substantial convergence of black and white test scores in a single generation.'' The book is Losing Ground, page 224. So I have a first-stone problem here.
DS: One last question: Have you had second thoughts about formulations in The Bell Curve?
CM: If Dick and I were writing it again, I suppose we would go over the section on race and put in a few more italics, and otherwise try to grab readers by the shoulders and shake them out of their hysteria. But it probably wouldn't do any good. We would certainly incorporate an analysis of siblings into the chapters of Part II that deal with IQ and social problems -- the kind of analysis I did in that Public Interest article you mentioned earlier. And there's a highly technical error we made that had the effect of understating the statistical power of our results; I would like to fix that. But that's about all. The book's main themes will endure just fine.
The reality of a cognitive elite is becoming so obvious that I wonder if even critics of the book really doubt it. The relationship of low IQ to the underclass? Ditto. Welfare reform is helping the argument along, by the way, as journalistic accounts reveal how many welfare mothers are not just uneducated, but of conspicuously low intelligence. The intractability of IQ? Dick and I said that IQ was 40 to 80 per cent heritable. The identical-twin studies continue to suggest that the ultimate figure will turn out to be in the upper half of that range. More importantly, the literature on ``nonshared environment'' has developed dramatically since Dick and I were researching The Bell Curve. Its core finding is that, whatever the role of environment may be in determining IQ, only a small portion of that role consists of influences that can be manipulated (through better child-rearing, better schools, etc.). For practical purposes, the ability of public policy to affect IQ is probably smaller than Dick and I concluded.
With regard to race differences, nothing has happened to change our conclusions about the cultural fairness of the tests, the equal predictive validity of the tests, or the per
sistence of the 15-point gap. Recent data from the NLSY indicate that in the next generation not only is the black - white gap failing to shrink, but it may be growing.
So I do not expect any major finding in The Bell Curve to be overturned. I realize that attacking the book has become a cottage industry. The New York Times recently used one such attack to announce that our ``noxious'' conclusions have been definitively refuted. But in the same month that this most recent definitive refutation was published, the journal Intelligence had a special issue devoted to IQ and social policy. The articles in it are not written as defenses of The Bell Curve; they just happen to make our case on a wide variety of points. And that's the way the debate will eventually be resolved -- not as a judgment about a book that has been almost buried by controversy, but by continuing research on the same issues. As that happens, it is not just that Dick and I will be proved right. We will be proved to have been -- if you will pardon the expression -- conservative.
(From the pages of the National Review.)
Posted: at 12:29 pm
Glayde Whitney - Book Review Whatever Happened to Eugenics?
Glayde Whitney's review of
Heredity and Humanity: Race, Eugenics, and Modern Science
By Roger Pearson
This paper originally appeared in The Mankind Quarterly , vol. 37, p. 203-215.
Scott-Townsend Publishers, Washington DC., 1996
ISBN 1-878365-15-S 162 pps.
"Most of those who have sought to suppress human knowledge about heredity have done so with kindly intentions, but sound policies can never be constructed on bad science or unsound data. Any society that sets itself against the immutable causal laws of biology and evolution will ultimately bring about its own demise" (Pearson, p. 140).
Whatever happened to Eugenics? How is it that the prevention of human suffering came to be considered as the greater evil? In this delightful little book Roger Pearson takes us on an excursion through history, science and ideologies.
In so doing he illuminates the origins of great concepts and names the heroes and the villains in a saga that is not yet complete. In recommending this book to a Seminar in Evolutionary Psychology I told the graduate students that it is "an anti-PC, anti-egalitarian, historical polemic, well referenced and worth reading- this is not the story you got in cultural anthropology class." This is a story well-told that needs wide telling, and serious pondering by all who are concerned for the welfare of our civilization.
The opening chapter (The Concept of Heredity in the Ancient World) serves to remind the reader that heredity has been considered important since before the beginning of recorded history, and at least until earlier in the twentieth century. Unfortunately, these observations will be new to many students who have suffered a modern deconstructed education. Pearson announces his agenda in that the opening chapter
...illustrates the deeply held belief in the importance of heredity and race which prevailed from the earliest times until roughly the end of the nineteenth century. Subsequent chapters document the rise of political&-motivated egalitarian ideology which, heavily supported by the media, eventually succeeded in making the idea of biological inequality taboo. Despite the fact that there is today a rapidly developing body of scientific research which validates the age-old comprehension of the role of heredity in shaping human abilities, too many people are unaware of the mechanics behind the swing toward the notion of the biological equality of mankind (p. 9). The mechanics of the swing will be well understood by the readers of this book. Pearson reasonably speculates that an appreciation of heredity probably existed at least as early as the Neolithic origins of agriculture and animal husbandry. It is well documented with ample quotes (Plato, the Odyssey, Theognis, etc.) that the ancient Greeks had a keen appreciation of hereditary contributions to both physical and mental traits. Unlike the matrilineal and patrilineal clan systems of many other peoples, the ancient Germanic "kindred" acknowledged the actual degrees of genetic relatedness on both paternal and maternal sides. This Germanic kindred is the basic traditional approach to family shared today by most North Americans of European descent.
Multicultural egalitarianism reared its civilization- destroying head in the ancient world. Early on, freeborn Romans could only marry among certain stocks under the system of connubium. But with military and bureaucratic successes the empire grew to become a "multicultural giant", "ripe for the rise of egalitarian political ideologies" (p.13)
The coming of Christianity plunged logic and classical philosophy into centuries of near-oblivion and clashed with the established and ancient European belief in the inequalities of men. Spreading first among the slaves and lowest classes of the Roman empire, Christianity came to teach that all men were equal in the eyes of a universal Creator God, an idea that was totally alien to older European thought which had recognized a hierarchy of competence among men - and even among the gods. Opposing the traditions of classical philosophy and scientific enquiry, Christianity introduced into Europe the concept of a single omnipotent 'God of History' who controlled all the phenomena of the universe - with men and women being creations of that God. Since all men and women were the 'children of God', all were equal before their Divine Maker! Faith in the church's interpretation of supposedly prophetic revelations became more important than scientific or philosophical enquiry; and to question the church's view of reality came to be perceived as sinful. . . . . Christianity carried the anti-intellectualism of the Middle Eastern prophets to its extreme (p. 14). And the weakened, multicultural egalitarian Roman Empire soon fell "before the onslaught of the smaller, more homogeneous, Germanic nations, which still retained a sense of group identity" (p.13).
Across the centuries of church domination the notions of hereditary differences among men were discouraged in the service of Church Power. The "divine right" to rule, given by God, became quite different from the earlier concept of hereditarily noble ruling lineages. Stripped by the Church of belief in the importance of human heredity and of the notion of the state as a kinship unit - "a family writ large" (p.16), believing instead in the essential equality of all God's children, the stage was set for the development of egalitarian-espousing secular political movements:
Such was the case of the Levellers who fought alongside the Parliamentarians in seventeenth century Britain; of the Jacobins, who decimated the accomplished aristocracy of eighteenth century France; and of the Bolsheviks who wrought genocidal slaughter among the more successful members of Czarist Russian society. In recent times, calls for political revolution have frequently invoked attacks on 'genetic determinism' in favor of the alternate, wildly illogical, philosophy of 'biological egalitarianism'.... The suggestion that one individual might be inherently more creative or productive than another was unlikely to fuel the feelings of resentment necessary to incite the masses to revolutionary action (p. 17).
After more than a thousand years of intellectual suppression, there eventually was a renaissance. By the eighteenth century thinking people were well aware of inherited differences among individuals and races. Thomas Jefferson certainly did not confuse rule of law [ . . . . all men are created equal . . ..] and hereditary reality. In a letter to John Adams, Jefferson states that
I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents. . . . . For experience proves, that the moral and physical qualities of man, whether good or evil, are transmissible in a certain degree from father to son. (Jefferson, at Monticello, October 28, 1813).
Jefferson's view concerning the profound inherited differences between the black and white races are well known, and are documented in his "Notes on the State of Virginia" and elsewhere throughout his writings.
In the chapter "The Discovery of Evolution: Eugenics and the Pioneers of Modern Science" Roger Pearson presents the scientific heroes of early eugenics. The topmost trinity are Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton, and Karl Pearson. By all accounts a kind and gentle man, Charles Darwin delayed over twenty years between formulating his theory of evolution by natural selection and its publication (Desmond & Moore, 1991). His feeling for his wife's religious sensitivities, and a reluctance to be excoriated by correct society, contributed to the delay.
Were it not for Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin may well have traveled the road of such luminaries as Copernicus and Descartes and not publ
ished until beyond the reach of disapprobation. However, Darwin received instant acclaim among important scientists when appeared in 1859 his masterpiece The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
Among those profoundly influenced was Darwin's half-cousin (same grandfather - Erasmus Darwin - different grandmother) Francis Galton. Already an eminent scientist, explorer, and inventor in his own right, Galton later wrote to Darwin:
I always think of you in the same way as converts from barbarism think of the teacher who first relieved them from the intolerable burden of their superstition. . . ..the appearance of your Origin of Species formed a real crisis in my life; your book drove away the constraint of my old superstition as if it had been a nightmare and was the first to give me freedom of thought. (from Karl Pearson, 1924).
It was Galton who immediately took up the scientific study of human diversity, human ability, and the evolution of civilizational capacity. By 1865 Galton published two important articles which shared the title "Hereditary Talent and Character", in 1869 he published Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry into Its Laws and Consequences. From the beginning Galton's work on heredity combined science (which later developed as human genetics) with notions of applications for the benefit of humanity. Galton founded, and then in 1883 named, the new science, eugenics. The term was from the Greek eugenes ("well born"), and Roger Pearson tells us: In Galton's own words, the purpose of genetic science was "to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable." (p. 19).
The humanitarian goal of eugenics was summarized by Galton in 1908:
Man is gifted with pity and other kindly feelings; he has also the power of preventing many kinds of suffering. I conceive it to fall well within his province to replace Natural Selection by other processes that are more merciful and not less effective. . . . . Natural Selection rests upon excessive production and wholesale destruction; Eugenics on bringing no more individuals into the world than can be properly cared for, and those only of the best stock. (Galton, 1908, p.3233).
Heartened by Galton's applications of evolution to humanity, by his investigations into the laws of heredity, Darwin was encouraged to prepare his own notes and thoughts concerning human evolution, and, in 1871 published The Descent of Man. In light of what came after it is important to emphasize that neither Galton nor Darwin, nor I dare say any competent scientist, doubted that the races differed profoundly in hereditary characteristics. As illustration Roger Pearson provides the following excerpt from chapter seven of The Descent of Man:
. . . . the various races, when carefully compared and measured, differ much from each other - as in the texture of hair, the relative proportions of all parts of the body, the capacity of the lungs, the form and capacity of the skull, and even the convolutions of the brain. But it would be an endless task to specify the numerous points of difference. The races differ also in constitution, in acclimatization and in liability to certain diseases. Their mental characteristics are likewise very distinct; chiefly as it would appear in their emotion, but partly in their intellectual faculties. Everyone who has had the opportunity of comparison, must have been struck by the contrast between taciturn, even morose aborigines of S. America and the light-hearted talkative negroes (p. 20).
In order to study heredity Galton revolutionized methods, becoming "The Father" of modem statistics. The younger applied mathematician and social activist Karl Pearson [later to be Galton's major biographer] became an important colleague. Karl Pearson generalized the mathematical foundations of Galtonian statistical concepts, and further developed statistics in his quest of eugenical science. He was one of the most influential scientists at the turn-of-the-century, and emphasized eugenics in books with titles such as National Life From the Standpoint of Science , and Nature and Nurture: The Problem of the Future (1910). Karl Pearson had deep concerns for the welfare of the British Empire, he feared that current conditions were having dysgenic consequences such that the quantity of qualified persons would be insufficient to maintain the Empire.
Judging from the changes to the British Empire over the century from 1896 to 1930, there is certainly nothing apparent that contradicts his concerns. At one point he lamented "We have placed our money on environment, when heredity wins in a canter".
Roger Pearson makes abundantly clear with extensive documentation and fascinating text that the period up until approximately 1930 saw the flowering of eugenics in science, society and law. Many humanitarians of both the left and the right were united in an enthusiasm to improve human stock and prevent human suffering, rather than to only treat suffering after the fact. Eugenic ideals were embraced by such luminaries as George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Havelock Ellis, A. J. Balfour and Winston Churchill, to list but a few in Britain. In the United States such influential people as Henry Ford, Madison Grant, Margaret Sanger and Theodore Roosevelt were enthusiastic. The Carnegie Institute of Washington established, with Harriman family funds, the Cold Spring Harbor Eugenics Record Office under the leadership of the geneticist Charles Davenport.
Organizations such as The Galton Society and The Race Betterment Foundation were founded with ample scientific and social support. Writing for a majority (only one justice dissented) of the United States Supreme Court in 1927, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., noted:
It is better for all the world if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. . . . . . Three generations of imbeciles is enough (Buck v. Bell, 1927).
With such widespread support eugenics might have continued to develop as a major component of progressive society. Alas, such was not to be. Within the movement, R. Pearson points out, there developed schisms between those interested in race betterment and those more interested in prevention of specific genetic diseases - a breach between positive and negative eugenics. At the same time the "eugenic ideal - the desire to engineer a healthy genetic heritage for future generations - came under increasing attack from those who were ideologically committed to egalitarianism. The latter refused to see the eugenic ideal in any light other than as an hierarchical concept implying superiority and inferiority - the precise pattern of thought they sought to eliminate from social consciousness. They, too, sought to engage in social engineering, though engineering of a political nature which would have unanticipated dysgenic consequences, and the stage was set for the intense emotional struggle which today dominates both academia and the media, about the political correctness of permitting research into behavioral genetics, as well as the right to propagate information about the role of heredity in shaping the limits of human abilities and behavior." (pp. 52 - 53).
The arch villain on the academic front, instrumental in supplanting and then demonizing eugenics was Franz Boas, aided by a large entourage of students and fellow-travelers. One of the main take-home messages is that honest empirical science does not fare well, at least in the short run, when up against ideologically inspired polemics in which almost anything goes in the service of a greater good [the end justifies the means]. In Chapter V (Radical Egalitarianism Penetrates Academe), and the following few chapters, Roger Pearson exposes the players and the agenda promoting the egalitarian fallacy. It is a fascinating expose of names, dates, and events, too rich t
o be dealt with adequately in even a lengthy review.
The reader is reminded of the Verona files, recently released documentation of the extensive infiltration of American government and society by communist agents. In very important respects Joe McCarthy was neither paranoid nor mistaken. Roger Pearson here makes clear that the academic and anthropological/psychobiological scientific fronts were not immune from the same intellectual infestations.
Born of a pair of politically radical socialists who were active in the 1870-71 wave of revolutionary movements across Europe, Franz Boas emigrated to the United States in 1886. In coming to America he was following Abraham Jacobi, an uncle by marriage, who came after being released from prison for armed violence in the Cologne revolution of 1848. Jacobi was active in the revolutionary socialist movement in the United States, and was in a good position to provide influential contacts for his kinsman. Boas "became the head of a department of anthropology established at Columbia University, where he trained and awarded doctoral degrees to numerous selected students. Equipped with the earliest American doctorates specifically designated as being in the field of anthropology, his students by default became the leaders and prime builders of academic anthropology in the United States, rapidly establishing themselves as the arbiters of anthropological research, publishing and teaching in American universities.
Interestingly, as late as 1911, in his book The Mind of Primitive Man, Boas had admitted that: "[d]ifferences of structure must be accompanied by differences of function, physiological as well as psychological; and, as we found clear evidence of differences of structure between races, so we must anticipate that differences in mental characteristics will be found."
However, Boas was shortly to reverse this position when he realized that the recognition of genetic forces conflicted with the goals of his egalitarian and internationalist ideology, which sought to demolish the unity and coherence of national units. Instead he began a massive campaign to undermine national and ethnic consciousness and 'combat racism' in whatever form it might find expression. In particular, his [books] were devoted to downplaying the concept of heredity and undermining the eugenic ideal. . . . . The spread of Boasian doctrines was further facilitated by the position of world dominance then enjoyed by the Western nations.
Spurred by an ethical desire to shoulder 'the white man's burden' in a shrinking world, many academics came to believe that Mankind should now abandon the Darwinian struggle and treat the diverse subspecies of mankind as members of a single, international gene pool. This . . . . was an ethical concept not shared by the non-western nations, who adhered to more functional, self-promoting, competitive patterns of behavior. . . . . the desire that biological egalitarianism be true gained strength as human altruism was redirected away from the immediate group ..[to].. an ideology which favored overall sapiens homogenization. The new radicals in U.S. social science found it convenient to downplay heritability; and Boas's earlier acknowledgment of human biological disparities was edited out of his 1938 edition . . . . . Those to whom Boas awarded doctoral degrees in anthropology generally shared his ideologies and became prime disciples of 'egalitarian universalism'. (pp. 57 - 59).
Among his many students were Margaret Mead, the "mother of American anthropology", eventually exposed as a hoaxster and communist propagandist, and Israel Ehrenburg (A.K.A. Ashley Montagu) whose "entire career was built around a bitter crusade against the work of respected scholars such as Carleton Coon, who recognized race as a vital product of human evolution" (p. 62). Others too numerous to even list are exposed in their infamy.
Many world events contributed to the growth of anti-eugenic egalitarianism, not least among which was the suffering associated with the world-wide depression which followed World War I. The growth of Nazism and the outcome of W.W. II provided an unfortunate boost to anti-eugenic sentiment. It was a propaganda coup of tremendous proportions to be able to paint eugenics with the tar brush of Nazi anti-Semitism. Never mind that it makes no more sense than to condemn all of pharmaceutical science or medical surgery because German science and applications were well developed in those fields. The propaganda damage was done, and it became unacceptable to even mention the possibility of race differences in behavior at the same time that Lysenkoism, condemning all genetics, was taking hold in the Soviet Union.
Biological egalitarianism became the only 'politically correct' doctrine among Marxists throughout the world, and . . . . permeated Western [universities] through the teachings of faculty members who were ideologically attracted to egalitarianism but were balefully ignorant of even elementary biology." (p. 71).
The Science for the People movement sprang up as part of the counter-culture protests in the era of the Vietnam War; "The political left-wing had now achieved ascendancy in the universities of the Western world. Indeed, many contemporary evolutionary scientists still seem to wish to be perceived as believing in equality, . . . . in a degree of malleability of human nature that does not exist. . . [Pee-Cee evolutionists focus] their writings on the 'panhuman' traits shared by all living hominids" (p. 73). They attempt to deny any genetic diversity among living races. Indeed, some even deny the existence of races. A sickly accurate joke has it that "It takes a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard to not be able to discern any difference between an Eskimo and a Hottentot"!'
"On the one hand, DNA fingerprinting can now establish, from a drop of saliva or dried blood, the race of origin to a probability of error of less than one-in-a-hundred-million."
The second half of the book deals in fascinating depth with essentially current happenings, both in eugenical science [genetics], and in ideological countermoves to empirical science. On the one hand, DNA fingerprinting can now establish, from a drop of saliva or dried blood, the race of origin to a probability of error of less than one-in-a-hundred-million. Incredibly, at the same time popular media and scientific publications stridently proclaim that biological [genetic] races do not exist. We are now in critical times, a race is occurring around us between humanitarian applications of modern genetic science (eugenics, that is) and the suppression of knowledge by PeeCee ideologues. The media, by-and-large trained by egalitarians, know no better than to attack as "racist", "repellent", or "repugnant" almost any admission of information concerning behavior and genetic diversity among human races. Yet at the same time the human genome project in combination with a wide variety of research in the neurosciences [brain science] and behavioral medicine and genetics in general, is quickly taking us beyond the point where race differences can be obfuscated or denied. So? It is ominous that there is a proliferation of 'hate crime' and 'hate speech' laws being considered or already in existence in various European countries, Australia, and Canada. While in the United States, under the umbrella of first amendment freedom-of-speech protection, academic tenure is under wide-spread attack and previously respectable academic publishers are censuring authors and censoring their book lists, even withdrawing from publication a title deemed "repellent" for including mention of race differences.
Whatever happened to eugenics? In China it is alive and well. The "Maternal and Infantile Health Care Law" went into effect on 1 June 1995. A media mention states "The official Xinhua News Agency reported that China currently has more than 10 million disabled people whose births could have been prevented if such a law had been in effect" (Tallahassee Democrat, 1994).
Meanwhile, in the West, eugeni
cs continues to encounter politically motivated attempts to suppress. As the scientific advances continue at an accelerating pace, it remains to be seen if rational humanitarian applications of sound genetic knowledge can be implemented for the benefit of mankind, or if we will slip into another era of anti-intellectual totalitarianism. Anyone concerned for the future of mankind should carefully read this book. It is not the story you were told in cultural anthropology class.
. . . there is now no reasonable excuse for refusing to face the fact that nothing but . . . . eugenics . . . . . can save our civilization from the fate that has overtaken all previous civilizations (p. 136).
* ' On April 17, 1996, at the order of President and C.E.O. Charles R. Ellis, the New York headquarters of academic publisher John Wiley &Sons, Inc. took the unprecedented action of depublishing -withdrawing from publication and circulation -a book which they had released just six weeks earlier in the United Kingdom. The reason given for depubliihing Christopher Brand's The g Factor: General Intelligence and its ImpIications was that "The management of John Wiley & Sons, Inc., does not want to support these views by disseminating them or be associated with a book that makes assertions that we find repellent." [letter, 9 May 1996 from Susan Spilka, Wiley Manager, Corporate Communications, to G. Whitney]
(Editors note: If you would like to order obtain a copy of this book, check the Links section on this site for Mankind Quarterly.]
Buck v. Bell, 1927, 274 U.S., pp 201-208.
Desmond, A., & J. Moore, 1991 Dali, London: Penguin Books
Galton, F., 1908 Memories of My Life, London: Methuen (3rd. ed., April 1909).
Galton, F., 1996 Essays in Eugenics With biographical introduction by Roger Pearson. Washington D.C.: Scott-Townsend.
Jefferson, T., 1813, Letter to John Adams, October 28,1813. Reprinted in: Peterson. M.D. (ed.) 1975 The Portable Thomas Jefferson. New York: Penguin Books, pp 533-539.
Pearson, K., 1924, The Life, Letters and Labours of Francis Galton. Vol.1, London: Cambridge University Press
Pearson, R., 1991, Race, Intelligence and Bias in Academe. Washington DC.: Scott-Townsend
Rushton, J. P., 1995, Race, Evolution, and Behavior. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction
Tallahassee Democrat, 1994, China: Lawmakers approve eugenics law, 28 October, Volume XYXMI Number 2, Bitier 1996
Posted: at 12:29 pm
The Concept of Heredity in the History of Western Culture, Part I
The Concept of Heredity
in the History of Western Culture, Part I by Roger Pearson
Institute for the Study of Man
This paper originally appeared in The Mankind Quarterly, vol. 35, #3, Spring 1995, p. 229-265.
The recent publication of Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve, reviewed in this issue of The Mankind Quarterly, has led to a remarkable controversy within the media itself. Several of the initial reviews were favorable, as in The New York Times Book Review, but the commitment to the fanciful concept of biological egalitarianism, so strong in the politicized world that is contemporary multi-racial Western society, soon led to a violent reaction against the book and all associated with its message. Few if any of the reviewers who criticized it cared to challenge the data contained in it: most preferred to trash it by seeking to demonize it by emotional and irrational tirades. Unfortunately, co-author Richard Herrnstein died of cancer shortly before it was published, and this placed the entire weight of its defense on Charles Murray. In particular, The Mankind Quarterly was criticized by several radical commentators, such as Leon Kamin, a former New England editor of the U.S. Communist Party's weekly newspaper, and by journalist Charles Lane, also the holder of strong political views. Lane attacked The Mankind Quarterly as the source of a number of the articles containing data cited in The Bell Curve, complaining that "[N]o fewer than seventeen researchers cited in The Bell Curve have contributed to Mankind Quarterly." This is a charge the present writer, as publisher of The Mankind Quarterly, does not dispute: though he regards it as an accolade rather than a criticism.(1)
However, the general reading public, including possibly a high percentage of those who have been exposed to contemporary politically biased university courses in the humanities, fail to appreciate the true history of Western thought concerning the role of heredity and race for race is nothing if not a matter of heredity. The writer therefore feels that it might be useful to present a brief outline of this history, showing how committed the Western world was to a recognition of the efficacy of heredity until academic and media attitudes were affected in the first half of the present century by changes in the social, political and demographic climate.
This first article is consequently designed to illustrate the deep belief in the importance of heredity and race which prevailed from the earliest times until roughly the end of the first quarter of the present century. It will be followed by a second article, in the Fall issue of The Mankind Quarterly, which will document the rise of politically-motivated egalitarian ideology in the classrooms, which with the support of a substantial portion of the media eventually succeeded in making the idea of biological inequality politically unacceptable. Despite the fact that there is today a rapidly developing body of scientific research which, when viewed without fear or prejudice, clearly validates the age-old comprehension of the role of heredity in shaping the potential limits of individual human abilities, too many people are unaware of the mechanics behind the swing toward the powerful political notion of the biological equality of mankind. It is to be hoped that the following observations will encourage readers to enquire more deeply into this remarkable development.
Heredity in Ancient Europe
Western tradition has long recognized that heredity plays a significant role in determining not merely the characteristics of plants and animals but also the mental and physical qualities of human beings. Some elementary recognition of the role of genetics as a causal force may have originated as early as the Neolithic revolution, when cultivators learned how to improve upon the various species of wild grasses and to breed domesticated milk- and meat-giving animals which were biologically more useful to mankind than those they found in the wild. By the time of the great classical civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome it had become commonplace knowledge based on observing and remembering the generations from the same family that heredity also played an important role in determining the character and abilities of men and women.
In most early European societies, as in virtually all early societies that achieved an advanced culture, the social group was seen by its members as an intergenerational affair, with the family and the ancestors playing an important role in the self-concept of the individual. Life does not begin, nor does it end, with the individual. As Fustel de Coulanges pointed out in 1864, in his classic study of ancient Greek and Roman culture entitled The Ancient City (1955), it was the idea of common descent from the same ancestral forebears the idea of belonging to a specific community of families, and of sharing the same, hopefully eternal, thread of life that held the freemen of the Greek city-state together. As long as the lineage survived, the ancestors lived on in the minds and bodies of their descendants; death was only final when the entire nation was eliminated. The biological reality was interpreted into religious terms. The individual was seen as the product of the forces of biological causality, a living link in the chain that was the lineage, just as the lineage comprised a vital component of the nation-state, and the nation-state was a distinctly biological unit, with its own distinctive gene pool:
Reproduction in the ancient community was a religious duty... The religious society was the family, the genos. Paternal dignity and sacerdotal dignity were fused: the eldest son, upon the death of the father, becomes the head and priest of the family. The deceased father is honoured by his children as a kind of divinity. He himself is honoured by his children as a kind of divinity. He himself rendered the same worship to his ancestors: thus the greatest misfortune that his piety had to fear, is that the line shall be stopped. For then his religion would disappear from the earth, his hearth would become extinct, the whole series of his departed ones would fall into oblivion ...
The qualities that characterized individuals were acquired, it was believed, from their ancestors. Thus we find a speaker in the Odyssey (IV, 60) observing that "the blood of your parents was not lost in you, but ye are of the line of men that are sceptered kings, the fosterlings of Zeus, for no churl could beget sons like you." Similarly there are references to the disguised Athena as being "delicate of countenance such as are the sons of kings" (XIII, 216), whereas in the Iliad Thersites is described as ill-formed with a warped head. It was recognized that the even well-born individuals had to be schooled and trained to develop their inborn qualities to the maximum, but basic potential was inborn. In Homeric Greece, even truthfulness a revered value was deemed to be an inherited virtue, and to call a eupatrid, or "person of good ancestry," a liar was tantamount to calling him a bastard, a man of impure, inferior descent. Even as late as Classical Athens, Aristotle defined the physical and moral characteristics that were deemed to constitute nobility as "an inherited virtue" (Pol. IV. 8). In this, as in so many of his opinions, Aristotle was echoing ancient convictions expressed in the Iliad, as when a speaker protests that: "Therefore ye could not say that I am weak and a coward by lineage, and so dishonor my spoken word" (Il. XIV, 126).
According to L. R. Palmer, the authority on the Pylos tablets, Achaean kings held their office by virtue of the purity of their descent. Among the Achaeans, he wrote: "Where the `luck' of the tribe is concerned, there is no su
bstitute for blue blood" (Achaeans and Indo- Europeans 1955, p. 9). Werner Jaeger went even further, describing the Hellenic ideal as an "aristocracy of race (1945, p. 205)." Because of their respect for good breeding, the Greeks honored their women as the progenitors of the race, and it was said that men chose their wives as they chose their horses, by the length of their pedigrees. The desirability of breeding from proven stock had become a cultural requirement, and only children born of legitimate wives (i.e., of quality ancestry) could inherit the social status of the father. Indeed, in ancient Athens and other Greek city-states, the eupatrids were men descended from no less than nine generations of untainted noble stock on both sides of the family tree.
Plato's interest in eugenics is well known, and he praises the Spartan interest in eugenic breeding (Laws, 630). Aristotle is equally impressed by the need to breed good stock. Theognis of Megara constantly praises the importance of heredity, complaining that well-born men and women will sometimes take inferior marriage partners in pursuit of riches, laments that "We seek well-bred rams and sheep and horses and one wishes to breed from these ... [but] men revere money, and the good marry the evil, and the evil the good. Wealth has confounded race." (Theognis, V. 183). Racial purity was linked to physical appearance, with Spartan women being renowned for their beauty; and character was seen as inherited along with personal features: "Thou art pleasing to look upon and thy character is like to thy form" (Stobaeus, lxxxviii, 71). In Greek literature the importance of heredity is repeated again and again: "Noble children are born from noble sires, the base are like in nature their father" (Alcmeaon, Fr. 7); "I bid all mortals beget well-born children from noble sires" (Heraclitus, 7);"If one were to yoke good with bad, no good offspring would be born, but if both parents are good, they will bear noble children" (Meleager, Fr. 9).
The early Romans similarly held lineage in great respect and enforced a system of connubium, whereby freeborn Romans could only marry into certain approved stocks. However, the Romans were relatively few in number and, when their unparalleled military and administrative ability converted the Roman empire into a fully multi- ethnic community of enormous size, the circumstances became ripe for the rise of egalitarian political ideologies. Rome, the "multicultural giant," disappeared before the onslaught of the smaller, more homogeneous, Germanic nations, which still retained a sense of group identity.
The Germanic peoples (the Germans, Dutch, Flemings, Anglo- Saxons, Franks, Lombards, Scandinavians, Goths, Burgundians and Vandals) who founded so many of the modern states of Europe following the demise of the Roman Empire, carried the concept of heredity to its logical conclusion in their virtually unique system of kinship. Unlike their kinsmen, the Greeks, Italics, Celts, Slavs, and East Balts, they did not organize themselves in patrilineal clans and phratries which recognized only their father's kinfolk, but saw kinship in fully genetic terms. The Germanic "kindred" comprised all the individual's relatives on both the paternal and the maternal sides, assessing the degree of closeness according to the closeness of their actual genetic relationship; this was a quite different system from the concept of patrilineal or matrilineal clans so widespread amongst other peoples of the world. This Germanic kindred was the subject of the exhaustive study Kindred and Clan in the Middle Ages and After (Phillpotts, 1917). To this day most North Americans of European descent have come to accept the Germanic tradition, where kinship is determined by the closeness of genetic relationship, whether the relatives be on the maternal or paternal side, as distinct from patrilineal and matrilineal clan systems. In ancient Scandinavia the belief in inherited talents was reflected in the concept of hamingja, an inherited "luck" force. However, it was recognized that siblings inherited qualities in different patterns, and kings who were "unlucky," and under whose leadership things went badly, were readily replaced by more competent individuals from the same royal lineage that had already produced generations of distinguished and successful leaders. The belief in breeding and the intergenerational transmission of genetic qualities was overriding, or as the old Germanic folk dictum expressed it, one could not make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!
Indeed, most Indo-European peoples, including those who resided outside the geographical borders of Europe, seem to have placed considerable trust in the powers of heredity. Max Weber documented the same emphasis on heredity among other Indo-Europeans. In The Religion of India (1958), Weber described the semi-magical xvarenah attributed to Indo-Iranian kings as a belief in inherited ability, calling it "familial charisma." The Indian caste system, he maintained, was sustained by a similar belief in the genetic inheritance of human qualities. The charisma of a caste, of a sib, and of a family, was genetically transmitted; its roots were to be found in the concept of inherited ability.
The coming of Christianity plunged classical philosophy into centuries of near-oblivion and clashed with the established and ancient European belief in the inequality of men. Spreading first among the slaves and lowest classes of the Roman empire, Christianity came to teach that all men were equal in the eyes of a universal Creator God, an idea that was totally alien to older European thought which had recognized a hierarchy of competence among men and even among the gods. Opposing the traditions of classical philosophy and scientific enquiry, Christianity introduced the concept of a single, omnipotent "God of History" who controlled all the phenomena of the universe with men and women being creations of that God. Since all men and women were the "children of God," all were equal before their Divine Maker! Faith in the church's interpretation of supposedly prophetic revelations became more important than scientific or philosophical enquiry; and to question the church's view of reality came to be perceived as sinful.
However, traditional European convictions as to the significance of heredity never completely died. Heroes, aristocrats and other national leaders had been regarded as superior beings by virtue of their descent from famed heroes or even from the gods, just as the Germanic kings claimed descent from Woden.(2) Kings and nobles were believed to inherit qualities superior to those of the average man, and to carry these qualities in their "blood." In ancient myth heroes might even challenge the gods; and the Christian church, jealous of the "divinity" awarded to kings and nobles by virtue of their lineage,(3) but finding it convenient to win their goodwill, offered them the "divine right" to rule as earthly representatives of the Christian God for so long as they obeyed the wishes of the Church as the representatives of God on Earth. The "divine right" to rule with the church's approval was a very different concept from the "divinity" that came from well-born stock.
Consequently, the idea of any disparity in genetic qualities came to be subtly discouraged by the church; and the success of the church was such that by the Middle Ages those who tilled the fields began to ask the rhetorical question: When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the Gentleman?
Stripped of their belief in the significance of human heredity and the notion of the state as a kinship unit "a family writ large" and believing instead in the essential equality of all men and women as the children of God, dissident sects espousing radically egalitarian ideals arose at intervals to protest social and economic inequality, especially at times when this became oppressive.
In time, secular political movements also began to assert the idea of biological equality, a theme which tended to be favorably received whenever the disquietude o
f a divided society erupted into revolution. Such was the case of the Levellers who fought alongside the Parliamentarians in seventeenth century Britain; of the Jacobins, who decimated the accomplished aristocracy of eighteenth century France; and of the Bolsheviks who wrought genocidal slaughter among the more successful members of Czarist Russian society nobles and peasants alike following the Bolshevik Revolution in the early twentieth century.(4)
In recent times, calls for political revolution have frequently invoked attacks on "genetic determinism" in favor of the alternate, wildly illogical, philosophy of human "biological egalitarianism." Despite the fact that both Marx and Engels personally believed in the significance of heredity and race Marx being particularly fond of resorting to some of the more vulgar racist terms to abuse his rivals in correspondence with his friends the ideological movement that emerged from their teachings eventually yielded to the notion of biological egalitarianism as a necessary ploy to inspire revolutionary passions among members of what they chose to call the proletariat. It was under Stalin, who sought to spread revolution in the Third World against "capitalist imperialism," that communist theoreticians found it convenient to overlook the fact that much economic inequality could be explained by biological inequality: the suggestion that one individual might be inherently more creative or productive than another tended to dampen the feelings of resentment so necessary to incite the masses to revolutionary action.
The Discovery of Evolution and Genetic Science
Yet even while the myth of biological egalitarianism was gaining ground in the Western world, the momentum of scientific enquiry, freed by the Renaissance from the shackles of medieval religious dictates, was deepening Man's knowledge about himself and the world around him. In addition, a renewed enthusiasm for the application of selective breeding to plants and animals in the agricultural revolution of the eighteenth century focused enlightened thought once again on the significance of heredity.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin finally restored the concept of heredity to its rightful place with the completion of his epic work, The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life ( 1914). It is of some small interest that his research troubled his deeply religious but loyal wife, because she sensed that it challenged the still dominant pattern of religious thought. Facing the need to defend his overall theory of evolution as applied to all living species, Darwin is described by his biographer, Sir Arthur Keith, as having decided to refrain from extending his evolutionary theory to explain the inequalities between the surviving races of man, which he regarded as being so apparent.(5)
What Darwin found it necessary to avoid, so inundated was he with criticism of his claim that mankind as a whole had evolved from "lower" forms of life, his half-cousin Sir Francis Galton did not hesitate to tackle. Indeed, Galton established the science of statistics as he sought to apply mathematics to the study of inheritance. In his own way, Galton was quite as great a contributor to evolving science as was Darwin, for apart from the attention he directed to the need to study heredity, he not only laid the foundations for the science of meteorology, but together with his close friend, co-worker, and biographer Karl Pearson, he established the basic techniques of modern statistical methods and quite literally founded the science of eugenics. The goal of eugenics, a word created by Galton from the Greek eugnes ("well born"), was to apply scientific knowledge about heredity to the problem of human evolution in order to combat deleterious demographic trends which threatened to lead to a decline of genetic quality in modern societies. In Galton's own words, the purpose of genetic science was "to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable." Significantly he described eugenics as "that science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race; also with those that develop them to the utmost advantage" (1909, 35). In short, Galton realized that nature and nurture work in tandem and are not to be seen as mutually exclusive opponents. Heredity was important, but so was a healthy and congenial environment.
Using mathematical techniques to demonstrate the role of genetics in shaping mankind, Galton argued that it was scientifically possible to increase the frequency of desirable qualities among human beings, and to prevent the spread of deleterious qualities, by eugenic measures, and the idea quickly attracted the favorable attention of most serious scholars following the publication of his epoch-making study Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry into Its Laws and Consequences (1869). This seminal text was followed by Natural Inheritance (1889) and Essays in Eugenics (1909).
It is on record that Darwin was impressed by his cousin's work on Hereditary Genius. In a letter dated December 3, 1869 Darwin commended Galton on his "memorable work," stating that "I do not think I ever in my whole life read anything more interesting and original and how well and clearly you put every point You have made a convert." Two years later, in chapter seven of The Descent of Man, he developed Galton's observations concerning the differences between human races, noting that:
... the various races, when carefully compared and measured, differ much from each other as in the texture of hair, the relative proportions of all parts of the body, the capacity of the lungs, the form and capacity of the skull, and even the convolutions of the brain. But it would be an endless task to specify the numerous points of difference. The races differ also in constitution, in acclimatization and in liability to certain diseases. Their mental characteristics are likewise very distinct; chiefly as it would appear in their emotion, but partly in their intellectual faculties. Everyone who has had the opportunity of comparison, must have been struck by the contrast between taciturn, even morose aborigines of S. America and the light-hearted talkative negroes."
Thus both Darwin and Galton came to the same conclusion, expressed by Galton as follows:
It is in the most unqualified manner that I object to pretensions of natural equality. The experiences of the nursery, the school, the university, and of professional careers, are a chain of proofs to the contrary ... In whatever way we may test ability, we arrive at equally enormous intellectual differences.
Galton's younger colleague, Karl Pearson, developed Galton's novel statistical techniques to new levels of effectiveness, laying the foundations of modern scientific method in his publication The Grammar of Science (1892). Like Galton, Pearson realized that the genetic legacy each generation leaves to its successors is of prime importance for the future of mankind. Every generation, in fact, is a bottle-neck which sifts and determines which genes are to survive. Pearson delineated the fundamentals of the new field of eugenic science in a number of publications, including National Life from the Standpoint of Science (1905), Nature and Nurture: The Problem of the Future (1910). He expressed his concern for the genetic future of the British nation in a warning to his fellow-Britons in his Huxley Memorial Lecture of 1903:
ethe mentally better stock in the nation is not reproducing itself at the same rate as of old the less able and the less energetic are the more fertile ... The psychical characters which are the backbone of a State in the modern struggle of nations are not so much manufactured by home and school and college; they are bred in the bone, and for the last forty years the intellectual classes of the nation, enervated by wealth or by love of pleasure, or following an erroneous sta
ndard of life, have ceased to give in due proportion the men wanted to carry on the ever- growing work of the Empire. (Pearson, 1903)
Early Eugenics in Britain
Any people who recognize the significance of heredity must naturally think in terms of breeding. Once science had revalidated the concept of heredity in the Western world, the reaction in favor of extending the principles by which the quality of plants and animals had been improved to human beings was natural. The conditions of life in modern society seemed to be reversing natural selection and lowering the quality of each succeeding human generation. Support for the eugenic ideal quickly came from a wide range of varied intellectuals, including not only traditionalists who had always retained their belief in good breeding combined with good training, but also progressive thinkers. Those who cared for the unfortunates of this world saw how simply much human suffering could be eliminated in future generations by eugenic policies, and socialists such as George Bernard Shaw, whose Man and Superman (1965, p. 159) (essentially an ode to the inborn instinct to procreate the race) complained of contemporary society that "being cowards, we defeat natural selection under cover of philanthropy." H. G. Wells, another reformer who likewise cared for posterity, proclaimed that "the children people bring into the world can be no more their private concern entirely, than the disease germs they disseminate" (Kevles, 92). Others who supported the eugenic ideal were the youthful J. Maynard Keynes; left-leaning Julian Huxley, who sought not revolution but the reduction of human suffering by genetic improvement; and J. B. S. Haldane, who adopted Marxist values but always opposed its anti-hereditarian extremes. Numerous other social reformers of that time, such as Sidney and Beatrice Webb, likewise embraced the eugenic ideal they were patriotic in the tradition of William Morris and Charles Dickens and eschewed revolutionary socialism, but feared emerging capitalism as a threat to the traditional bliss of agrarian England, and felt that much misery could be eliminated by rearing fit and healthy children rather than those who were burdened by genetic handicaps.
Also joining the eugenics cause was the ardent advocate of social change, Havelock Ellis, who supported the call for female liberation but emphasized the essential role that women played in ensuring the future of the race. Ellis (1912, pps. 4647, 205) declared that the aims of eugenics "could only be attained with the realization of the woman movement in its latest and completest phase as an enlightened culture of motherhood." The new St. Valentine, he observed, would be a scientific saint, not one of folklore, because marriage should be for the procreation and health of the race, not merely for personal pleasure. Scholars and politicians alike applauded the new sense of responsibility in procreation,6 with diverse figures such as the Cambridge biologist Francis Maitland Balfour, founder of the British school of evolutionary biologists, British Prime Minister Arthur James Balfour,(7) and the young politician Winston Churchill, all paying homage to the eugenic ideal. Galton, childless himself, applied his personal fortune toward the promotion of research into heredity and eugenics, funding the establishment of a biometrics laboratory at the University of London under the direction of his fellow-eugenicist Karl Pearson, for the primary purpose of studying heredity in man. He also helped finance the establishment of the Eugenics Education Society, which later changed its name to the more simple Eugenics Society. Patriotic Englishmen who feared a dysgenic trend in national ability eagerly supported the eugenic doctrine that the fittest, most intelligent and creative parents should be encouraged to have larger families. In this, they were joined by Fabian socialists, who sought to decrease what was seen to be an excessive rate of reproduction among the genetically unfortunate, so as to "level up" society instead of "leveling it down" which latter was the usual outcome of revolutionary socialism.
Possibly it was Julian Huxley who best summed up the confidence with which so many British academics who lived during the first half of this century viewed the future, when he wrote (1941, p. 22):
Once the full implications of evolutionary biology are grasped, eugenics will inevitably become part of religion of the future, or whatever complex of sentiments may in future take the place of organized religion. It is not merely a sane outlet for human altruism, but is of all outlets for altruism that which is most comprehensive and of longest range.
In all honesty, although it would seem difficult to envisage his prophecy becoming a reality in any foreseeable date in the Western world, tendencies in Mainland China, and in the Chinese republic of Singapore, strongly indicate that it may be the billion-plus Chinese people who first realize Huxley's dream of the future.
The Eugenic Ideal Finds Favor in America
Scientific ideas are seldom confined to one country in the modern world, except where political suppression enters onto the scene, as in Marxist Russia, and although it was in England that the concepts of evolution and eugenics first saw light, European and American scholars soon responded. We will not here attempt to cover the continental scene, although scholars such as Ernest Haeckel, who became an ardent advocate of Darwinian evolution, seeing nations as potentially incipient races and the major racial divisions of mankind as virtually separate species, undoubtedly influenced the English-speaking world. At this time the determination of what constituted a species had not yet come to be linked to the concept of mutual inter-fertility, but was judged purely by the extent of phenotypical variation, as in the Linnaean system of classification still broadly accepted by biologists today. Consistent with such views, Haeckel and others began to urge not only eugenic breeding but also racial purity.
The concept of a new eugenic science was also welcomed in the United States, which shared the same traditional appreciation of the role of heredity held by those Europeans who had remained behind in Europe. At the turn of the century, the United States was still a land of opportunity, yet one which had already acquired a sense of nationhood, so that many of its most important families had developed a profound social conscience and a strong desire to ensure that the hopes they held for the well-being of their descendants, as Americans, would be realized. Idealists such as president Theodore Roosevelt were convinced that the existing American population possessed generally superior genetic qualities, shaped by severe selective evolution over the previous generations. Their forebears had been adventurous individuals who had first elected to undertake, and then survived, what was in earlier centuries a dangerous ocean crossing. After arrival in the New World, they had to protect themselves and their families from the depredations of the native Indian tribes who had the advantage of familiarity with the local environment. While doing this, they had to tame vast primeval forests and grassland wildernesses something Europeans had not seen since their forebears first began to convert the forests of Europe into the rich but increasingly overpopulated farmlands of civilized agrarian and mercantile culture. Thus a century and a half ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson reflected the views of his countrymen when he wrote that: "Where the race is right, the place is right".(8)
Americans at that time did not think of their country as a potential microcosm of all humanity, but as an emerging micro-race of predominantly European origin. President Theodore Roosevelt, credited with advancing the "melting pot" ideology, wanted only quality immigrants from ethnic stocks which would readily assimilate into the "Old American" population a term used to refer to persons descended from Europeans who had settled in North Am
erica prior to the War Between the States. While the British eugenicists were primarily concerned with maintaining the breeding quality of the resident population of the British Isles, Americans also debated the question of immigration, since they instinctively knew that immigrants affect what we would today call the national gene pool quite as significantly as differential selection within that pool.
Like Theodore Roosevelt, eugenicists felt that the new America must remain a vital and homogeneous nation. But, Roosevelt strongly believed that the Old Americans were not producing enough children, and that they must either change their ways or submit to an invasion of non-white peoples, most likely from Asia. Selected immigration from Europe was welcome, but those who would not fit in were not wanted. Immigrants should desirably match the genetic character of the existing population, and, to ensure this, most favored the restriction of immigration to the nations from which the predominantly North European pioneers who had built the United States had been drawn. The eugenic ideal matched perfectly the optimistic, forward-looking spirit of the people of the United States as they entered the twentieth century (although Roosevelt was fearful that those who advocated negative eugenics might discourage large families). But when eugenicists looked at increasing Asian and Hispanic immigration, some feared that the "great race" as eugenicist and conservationist Madison Grant (1924) described those whose ancestors had pioneered the establishment of European civilization in North America might be drowned by hordes of immigrants from Asia and Central America, too numerous to be assimilable, if it failed to defend its coasts and increase its own rate of reproduction. Madison Grant's own ancestors, it might be noted, had come to the American colonies from Scotland following the failure of the 1745 Highland uprising led by Bonnie Prince Charlie. His writings were therefore well received by a generation of proud, self-confident, and essentially prosperous Old Americans who wished to see their lovely country remain in the hands of their own kind, and who like the Greeks of old treasured the memory of the achievements of their forebears. American scholars, wealthy self-made industrialists, farmers, and even politicians saw the eugenic ideal as a means of ensuring the future well- being and happiness of the new nation to which they were proud to belong. Indeed, it was those who could claim to be Old Americans who gathered most enthusiastically in support of the eugenic cause.
The hopes of the eugenicists were raised in 1910 by the establishment of the Cold Spring Harbor Eugenics Record Office by the Carnegie Institute of Washington. This was funded by Mrs. Mary Harriman,(9) the widow of E. H. Harriman, whose forebears left England for America in the seventeenth century. The director was Charles B. Davenport, the Harvard zoologist who was twice president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), as well as president of the American Zoological Society. The superintendent was Harry H. Laughlin, a leading light in the eugenics movement which flourished in America during the first half of the present century. The distinguished inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, figured prominently among the members of the Board of Scientific Directors established to support the work of the Eugenics Record Office. In a letter to Davenport, dated December 27, 1912, Bell revealed himself as a "mainstream" eugenicist who believed in "positive eugenics," which aimed at increasing the percentage of healthy and talented individuals in succeeding generations, rather than in "negative eugenics," the term commonly ascribed to measures designed to prevent the spread of deleterious genes. In light of the somewhat limited development of genetic and medical science at that time, and the heavily dysgenic impact of two World Wars which were shortly to follow, his observations reflect the perspicacity of a scientist whose name will live forever in history as a major contributor to technological progress and as a benefactor of the human race. Bell attended eugenics conventions, and himself authored several papers on eugenics, such as his essay entitled "How to Improve the Race," which appeared in the January 1914 issue of the Journal of Heredity, edited by Paul Popenoe.
The Galton Society formed in New York in 1918 at the American Museum of Natural History by Henry Fairfield Osborn, C. B. Davenport, and Madison Grant became actively involved in endeavors to shape U.S. policy relating to population quality. Spontaneous eugenics societies were established in many American cities, and hopes for a bright future for eugenics and future generations were raised when in 1923 (due largely to the efforts of Alexander Graham Bell, Luther Burbank and Charles B. Davenport) the American Eugenics Society was established, with branches in numerous American cities. With the foundation of the Society, the eugenics movement began to take shape in a businesslike manner, placing heavy emphasis on the participation of scholars as scientific advisors on various advisory committees. Other eugenics organizations proliferated at this time, among which were the Eugenics Research Association, the International Federation of Eugenic Organizations, the American Social Hygiene Association, and even such bodies as the American Genetics Association, and the American Association for the Study of Human Heredity. Eugenicists were kept informed of new developments in science through a publication the Eugenical News.
Devoted to the well-being of their young nation, many of the early American eugenicists were proud to claim to be of Old American stock.(10) The term "Old American" was further popularized by the book of the same name, compiled by the anthropologist Ale Hrdlika. Hrdlika was himself a recent European immigrant, of Bohemian origin, who had accompanied his father to America at the age of fourteen and, after working in a cigar factory as a teenager, had entered the Eclectic Medical College of New York and graduated with an M.D. at the top of his class. Hrdlika practiced medicine for a while but soon found his interest turning to the problem of human quality and the significance of racial differences, which he saw in an evolutionary context. Traveling extensively to study the diverse living peoples of the world, as well as paleontological remains, he emerged as America's leading physical anthropologist, serving as editor of The American Journal of Physical Anthropology (which he founded in 1918), and as first president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Significantly he found nothing wrong in the historical pride of his new compatriots, and served for many years on the American Eugenics Society subcommittee on anthropometry and on the advisory council, being deeply concerned, as an expert on evolution, with the threat of dysgenics (of a deterioration in genetic stock) facing modern man. In his article "Race Deterioration and Destruction with Special Reference to the American People," published by the Race Betterment Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan as part of the Proceedings of the Third Race Betterment Conference held on January 26, 1928, Hrdlika defined "race deterioration" as "the degradation of its standards of mentality and effectiveness, generally attended also by the lowering of those of physique" (p. 82). "Race destruction," another threat with which he was concerned, meant the loss of racial identity either "through complete submergence into another race" (p. 82) or simply by failure to reproduce itself. History, Hrdlika noted, recorded the rise and fall of nations. Vital, healthy nations tended to rise, but nations could also fall when, weakened by luxury and the exhaustion of ambition, they suffered a "dilution of the physical as well as mental status by admixture with poorer blood" (p. 83). He observed (pp. 84-85):
There are still some benevolent minds who would like to see all men, white and black, potentially equal. Yet t
hey will hold that there are differences between one family and another family, and even between the children of the same family, in the same racial group. If they did not, there would obviously be no use for eugenics ... no use even for much of genetics and biology. As a matter of fact there are similarities but no absolute equality anywhere in living nature, either in races, or families or even individuals. The problem is merely how great in a given case is the dissimilarity. Races, especially the further distant ones ... are not equipotential, or equally effective, or able ...
The Race Betterment Foundation, which sponsored the conference at which Hrdlika presented these views, was first established in 1906 as the American Medical Missionary Board (but soon changed its name to the Race Betterment Foundation). Its founder was John Harvey Kellogg, a descendant of an Englishman named Joseph Kellogg who had arrived in North America as early as 1651. Kellogg, who launched the breakfast cereals industry by introducing granola to the American public as a health food, was chief surgeon at the then world-famous Battle Creek Sanitorium.
Publishing a journal called Good Health, the Race Betterment Foundation became a major center of the new eugenics movement in America. Kellogg himself was an important and respected figure who authored numerous medical and eugenics treatises, and his circle of influence extended to several successful businessmen including J. C. Penney and C. W. Barron, whose names remain familiar to this day. Another member of the Kellogg family, Vernon Lyman Kellogg, a zoologist of international repute, also espoused the eugenics movement. As a personal friend of President Herbert Hoover, he served on various national health and agricultural committees, becoming a trustee of the young Brookings Institute and of the Rockefeller Foundation while continuously taking an active role in the eugenics movement as the latter grew in size and influence.
The movement was also early supported by famed educator David Starr Jordan, first president of Stanford University.(11) Jordan's first American ancestor had arrived in the North American colonies from England circa 1700. Jordan's status in the American education scene of his day is illustrated by the fact that he was a trustee of the Carnegie Foundation and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Educational Association, and the California and Indiana Academies of Science, as well as vice president of the Eugenics Education Society in Britain. In the opinion of the present writer, his major contribution to eugenic thought was the emphasis he placed on the dysgenic effect of modern warfare in such books as War and the Breed (1915). Charles William Eliot, president of Harvard University, trustee of the Carnegie Institution of New York, and one of the most eminent educators in America, also rallied to the eugenic crusade, as did astronomer William Wallace Campbell, president of the University of California, whose Scottish forebears had migrated to the colonies in the eighteenth century. Livingston Farrand, president of the University of Colorado and subsequently president of Cornell University, chairman of the central committee of the International Red Cross, and editor of the American Journal of Public Health, similarly espoused the eugenics movement, as did innumerable other educators and faculty members of note.
American paleontologists and anthropologists were also generally enthusiastic. Another leading anthropologist who served on the American Eugenics Society subcommittee on anthropometry was Earnest A. Hooton, the respected Harvard professor who later became director of the Peabody Museum. Hooton's father had been born in England, and Hooton himself attended Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship. Returning to America, where he became one of the main pioneers of physical anthropology, Hooton was an active member of the American Genetics Association and the Galton Society. He saw eugenics in terms of different levels of human evolution, and strongly believed that different inherited personalities contributed to susceptibility to engage in criminal behavior. Hooton collated data on some seventeen thousand criminals, and took a keen interest in the effects of race mixing. His Up from the Ape (1931), Apes, Men and Morons (1937) argued that heredity was at least as important as environment as a determinant of human behavior.
Most scholars who were in any way connected with the study of evolution came to see races as representing different levels of human evolutionary development. Ellsworth Huntington, a Yale geologist descended from one, Simon Huntington, who had emigrated from England to the colonies in 1633, was at one time or another president of the Association of American Geographers, president of the Ecological Society of America, director of the Population Association of America, member of the American Eugenics Society advisory council and chairman of its Committee on Biologic Genealogy.(12) A widely traveled scholar, Huntington expressed his fear that the more advanced human stocks would likely be overrun by the less advanced, and, as a prolific author (he wrote no less than twenty books and several hundred articles), his views reached a broad audience of educated men and women. Biologists were naturally prominent among those who recognized the role of heredity in human affairs, and many adopted the eugenics cause. Notable amongst these was H. S. Jennings of The Johns Hopkins University, himself of Old American stock, who wrote several influential books on the subject: notably Prometheus or Biology and the Advancement of Man (1925), which forecast a bright future for mankind through the application of eugenic policies, and The Biological Basis of Human Nature (1930). Jennings was president of the American Society of Zoologists and the American Society of Naturalists, as well as a member of the advisory committee of the American Eugenics Society.
Psychologists who were interested in intelligence also tended to become involved with the new ideal of population improvement. R. M. Yerkes, a descendant of Anthony Yerkes who had come to America from Holland in 1700, became an enthusiastic member of the American Eugenics Society and the Galton Society. A professor of psychology at Harvard, Yerkes is particularly known for his mammoth World War I study of the IQ ratings of one and three-quarter million U.S. military recruits, compiled while he was head of the psychology division of the office of the United States Surgeon General. Yerkes's concern with the different qualities of individuals and races led him to become active in the matter of immigration control, and he was elected chairman of the Committee on Human Migration in 1922. Leaving Washington to take a professorship at Yale, Yerkes recognized the potential for sociobiological studies in helping to explain human behavior, and in 1929 he founded the Laboratory of Primate Biology in Florida for this purpose. He also served as chairman of both the American Psychological Association (1916) and the American Society of Naturalists (1938). Carl C. Brigham, professor of psychology at Princeton University and author of A Study of American Intelligence (1923) was another member of the American Eugenics Society who became involved in immigration control, seeking to ensure that the American gene pool would not be adulterated by inferior genes, and was a keen member of the Galton Society and the Eugenics Research Association.
Possibly the most influential of the early psychologists who were active in the eugenics movement was William McDougall. Born in England, and educated at the universities of Cambridge and Göttingen, McDougall taught at Oxford University before eventually emigrating to the U.S. to take up a position at Harvard. With his experience of anthropological work in Borneo, McDougall was a fellow of the prestigious Royal Society in Britain and the author of numerous major textbooks which earned him preeminence in the field of social psy
chology. His respect for heredity showed itself in a series of books, beginning with An Introduction to Social Psychology (1908). Acutely conscious of the role of heredity in shaping human behavior, McDougall was an evolutionist who realized that human behavior was shaped by the evolutionary past of the human race. Because of the significant degree of racial diversity within the living peoples of the world, he prophesied that "racial psychology" would one day become a recognized field of study. As a believer in the quality of the North European stock relative to diverse other populations in the contemporary world, McDougall also took an interest in the composition of the future population of America: his book Is America Safe for Democracy? (1926) stressed the need for a selective immigration policy which would ensure that the United States remained a relatively homogeneous nation, and the need to design a truly scientific eugenic policy.
Of equal significance, however, was Lewis Madison Terman, president of the American Psychological Association and of the National Academy of Science. Terman authored a number of popular books on psychology, sex, and mental health, but is academically best known for his revision of the Binet Scale (1916), his co-authorship of the Stanford Achievement Tests, and his massive four-volume Genetic Studies of Genius (1926-30). Terman was a major voice in the eugenics movement, and was a key member of the Eugenics Society committee on psychometry.
Notable sociologists also rallied to the logic of eugenics. Franklin H. Giddings, author of several major works in early American sociology, professor of sociology at Bryn Mawr College, later chairman of the sociology department at Columbia University and president of the American Sociological Society, was a strong supporter of the eugenics movement who helped organize some of the first international conferences on eugenics and population. Giddings was descended from George Giddings who came to the colonies from England as early as 1635. Frank H. Hankins, a Columbia University educated sociologist who taught at Clark and Smith Colleges, was an active member of the board of directors of the American Eugenics Society. President of the American Sociological Society, and of the later-formed Population Association of America, Hankins authored a penetrating study entitled The Racial Basis of Civilization (1926).
Another sociologist who firmly believed in the importance of heredity was Robert M. MacIver, a Scottish immigrant who had been born in Stornaway on the isle of Harris. Well known for his many sociology texts, MacIver taught at Barnard College and Columbia University, and later was president of the New School for Social Research, which did not prevent it from later becoming identified with leftist views. A dedicated humanist, MacIver recognized the importance of good heredity and enthusiastically served on the board of the American Eugenics Society.
Another realist was the renowned sociologist and social psychologist, Emory Stephen Bogardus, who likewise served on the American Eugenics Society advisory council. A professor at the University of Southern California, Bogardus edited the Journal of Sociology and Social Research for over forty years, was founder and editor of the Journal of Applied Sociology, and a contributing editor to the Journal of Social Forces and the Journal of Educational Psychology. He authored numerous textbooks which were widely used and his Development of Social Thought (1960), written toward the end of his life, remained a classic survey of the history of sociology right into the fourth quarter of the present century. Less remembered today is his Immigration and Race Attitudes (1928), which more clearly shows his personal convictions on the importance of an understanding of heredity to the shaping of national policies.
The common cause between liberals and the traditionalists who both initially welcomed eugenics eventually became somewhat strained over the question of the feminist movement. This was not because the traditionalists despised women, but because they saw the outcome of the feminist movement differently. In general, the liberals favored "negative eugenics," a reduction of the number of births among the less favored, while the traditionalists tended to think in terms of the competition between nations and races, and favored "positive eugenics," which sought to encourage a higher rate of reproduction among the better stock.
Women made up an appropriately high proportion of those who attended eugenics lectures in both America and England, showing a proper concern for the future of the children they bore and the nation they nourished. Consequently, feminists such as Margaret Sanger, who for eugenic reasons wanted to make contraceptives equally available to the poor as to the middle and upper income groups, agreed with eugenicist Margaret Stopes when the latter proclaimed: "[m]ore children from the fit, less from the unfit that is the chief issue of birth control" (Hall 1977). Traditionalists such as the British eugenicists W. C. D. and C. D. Whetham, authors of The Family and the Nation: A Study in Natural Inheritance and Family Responsibility (1909), while agreeing with the female liberationists in that statement, nevertheless feared that feminism and the entry of the more intelligent women into the professions would reduce the birth rate among precisely those women who should be having more children: "Woe to the nation whose best women refuse their natural and most glorious burden," they wrote, warning that "freedom from marriage and reproduction ... is suicidal" (pp. 198-99).
Today, the low birth rate in the Western and more advanced nations of the world, and the massive ongoing population explosion in the Third World, have rendered the views of these traditionalist eugenicists prophetic. Even the Singaporeans, who are not a Third World nation, have noted the low birth rate among the more intelligent and educated of their womenfolk. As Leonard Darwin, Charles Darwin's son, a leading supporter of the British Eugenics Education Society and the British Eugenics Review, warned in 1927, the spread of birth control devices has been "racially devastating" to the more advanced countries. Sir Charles Galton Darwin, grandson of the renowned evolutionist and one of the early editorial board members of The Mankind Quarterly, also stressed the threat of overpopulation arising from reduced infant mortality in the Third World as a result of modern medical advances in his book The Next Million Years (1951) and in his 1960 Mankind Quarterly article "World Population: Can Man Control His Numbers?"
Nevertheless in the early decades of this century, both in America and in Britain, there was a generally happy overlap of interest on the subject of eugenics between leading liberals, who espoused negative eugenics aimed at discouraging the genetically defective from procreating, and traditionalists such as Leonard Darwin and Coldstream Guards officer C. P. Blacker, who generally supported positive eugenics and who were more concerned that the talented and healthy should be sure to pass on their genes to future generations. This political overlap was matched by a softening of the attitude of the Church, and the Bishop of Ripon urged the greater procreation of the fit in order to populate the British dominions overseas. The same moderation of attitude toward eugenics among the more progressive churchmen was also to be found in America. As Rudolph M. Binder wrote in his article "Eugenics and Religion," in the Eugenical News:
There has always been a double line in theological reasoning. One holds that God is not only omnipotent but controls absolutely everything; and all the various phenomena in the universe, including human activities are but manifestations of his power. This theory is best known by the term "predestination," and would imply that ... any attempt at contraception is an interference with the will of God. Hence, the opposition to eugenics which, while primarily concerned wit
h the increase of good stock, is at least indirectly opposed to the propagation of poor stock.
This theological theory has gradually yielded to a more ethical conception of the deity. The omnipotence of God is less emphasized than His love. And the new theory permits a different interpretation of man. He has some liberty, he is held responsible for his acts, he is praised for his good actions as a co-worker with God and blamed for his bad ones.
With various other religious leaders such as Dean Inge of St. Paul's Cathedral supporting eugenics, the years between 1900 and the early 1930s were generally marked by a happy collaboration among those who truly desired to improve the conditions of life for future generations of human beings.
The More Advanced Countries Adopt Eugenics Laws
Today, continuing and rapid progress in genetic science holds out the promise that gene `splicing' or genetic `surgery' may make the elimination of many hereditary defects a real possibility in the foreseeable future. If individual deleterious genes can be replaced by healthy counterparts so that future generations can inherit all the desirable qualities of their forebears free from adverse mutations and other heritable disabling conditions, one of the major dreams of eugenicists will have been realized. Of course, this will not solve the entire eugenic problem, for although it is easy to repair a disabled Rolls Royce by replacing a leaking hosepipe or other defective part, it is not practicable to attempt to convert a Yugo or Lada into a Rolls Royce by replacing a major number of parts: not only is the task too large, but also many of the Rolls Royce parts would be incompatible with those of the inferior vehicle. The justification for "positive" or "mainline" eugenics the encouragement of an appropriate rate of reproduction among overall healthy and competent individuals would still remain. However, in the early decades of the twentieth century, although the consciousness of responsibility for the well-being of posterity ran high, genetic engineering was still hopelessly out of reach, and eugenicists knew that if the members of their generation were to pass on their genetic heritage to posterity in at least as good a condition as they had received it, it was necessary to avoid an undue proliferation of deleterious genes and to ensure the transmission of at least an undiminished percentage of the more desirable genes. It was obvious to the more conscientious that modern conditions of life had undermined nature's own methods of preserving the quality of the human stock in those populations that had emerged from a feral state of life and had advanced into what they so proudly called a "civilized" existence. Something had to be done to block the dysgenic trends that were weakening the quality of the population in the more technologically advanced nations. Native tribes living in the Amazon were still subject to nature's pruning knife and did not yet face these dysgenic trends, but they too, as their lifestyle became "modernized," were likely in the course of time to face the same dysgenic influences.
As a result, the more responsible members of the advanced Western nations, conscious of their duty to the well-being of future generations, came to press for eugenic laws, and the majority of the more enlightened nations of the West introduced some such kind of legislation. Some might argue today that they should have waited until genetic science had advanced to the level where genetic "surgery" had become a real possibility, but the immediacy of the dysgenic threat introduced by modern conditions did not permit the luxury of delay. The entire genetic potential of future generations was going to be restricted to whatever collation of genes those who were living in the early decades of the twentieth century passed on to their heirs. Eugenicists realized that the future genotype of a nation depends on the reproductive activity of each successive generation, and the massive dysgenic impact of modern warfare, combined with the emergence of disproportionate rates of reproduction between the fit and the unfit, indicated that there was no time to be lost.
In consequence, virtually all the more enlightened nations of the Western world decided to introduce eugenic laws intended to control the reckless spread of deleterious genes. With this objective in mind, eugenic laws were introduced in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Lithuania, Estonia, Iceland and a number of Swiss cantons. Germany introduced similar laws and has been much criticized for this, but so also did Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece, and Spain. Britain, which had largely pioneered the eugenics movement and was suffering from the decimation of its leadership class in World War I, did not get around to following suit. Even outside Europe, there were countries such as Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil where laws covering hereditary mental pathologies, hereditary feeblemindedness and serious hereditary physical pathologies were enacted.
It is of some interest that these legislative measures, designed to protect future generations, were largely pioneered by the United States; U.S. legislation being copied by many of the other countries, including Germany. By 1931 twenty-seven of the forty-eight states of the U.S. had eugenics laws on their statute books, and no less than thirty states in all passed such laws at one time or another. In addition, many states had statutes prohibiting miscegenation, on the theory that the scrambling together of separate gene pools created by nature might be dysgenic. In Canada, both British Columbia and Alberta adopted similar laws, and it seemed probable that in the course of time all the leading nations of the West would eventually take steps intended to free their future populations from the dysgenic threat already so apparent. Responsible intellectuals were confident that science and moral vision would combine to save Homo sapiens from itself and enable him to take control of the evolutionary steering tiller which modern science would allow them to steal from nature to chart a rational course to a happier future than any to which primitive man could ever have dreamed to aspire. Julian Huxley's prophecy seemed about to be fulfilled.
Eugenicists as Conservationists
To truly appreciate the social conscience of those who supported eugenics, it is revealing to note that those who desired to preserve the genetic quality of the human population were also anxious to preserve all that was wonderful in the world of nature. Indeed, it was mainly those who were anxious to conserve the genetic heritage of mankind who pioneered the conservationist movement which similarly sought to conserve the rich variety of plant and animal species that nature had bequeathed to the care of man.
Possibly the most notable figure in this conservationist movement was Gifford Pinchot a grandson of one of Napoleon's generals, who was a professor of forestry at Yale and who had the honor of having Mount Pinchot named after him. A respected and popular figure, who was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania, Pinchot combined his services to the environment with active engagement in the eugenics movement. But the list of eugenicists who were active in the conservation movement is a long one. The foundation of the American Bison Society was largely due to eugenicist Madison Grant and his like- minded personal friends. The Save-the-Redwoods League owed its existence to eugenicists Madison Grant, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and paleontologist John Campbell Merriam (president of the American Paleontological Society and of the Geological Society). Merriam, who was proud of his father's "Old American" ancestry and his mother's Scottish ancestry, also served as president of the Carnegie Foundation of Washington, and as an extremely active president of the Save-the- Redwoods League. Despite a full calendar, he seldom missed a meeting of the Galton Society or of the Eugenics Advisory Council.
With the support of Theodore Roosevelt, eugenicists Madis
on Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn founded the New York Zoological Society in 1893, where animals could roam freely in conditions similar to their natural habitats instead of being confined to cramped cages. Irving Fisher of Yale president of the Eugenics Research Association in the 1920s was a member of Theodore Roosevelt's National Conservation Commission in 1919. Antioch College president Arthur Ernest Morgan, a civil engineer by profession, was another keen eugenicist who supported the conservation movement. Botanist and eugenicist James Arthur Harris, of "Old American" English stock, a student of Karl Pearson in London and winner of the Weldon Medal (named after the noted English eugenicist), was also an ardent conservationist, and served as president of the American Society of Naturalists. Perhaps even more typical of the academic naturalist and eugenicist of the day was Francis B. Sumner, a sociologist who began teaching at City College, New York, became director of the laboratory of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, before moving to the University of California, La Jolla. Sumner combined his various duties as a section chairman of the AAAS and president of the Western Society of Naturalists with active membership of the American Genetics Association and the Save-the- Redwoods League.
It is only logical that eugenicists should be ardent conservationists: the humanitarian idealism of the first decades of the twentieth century was the natural outcome of discerning and cultured men and women who were prepared to devote their lives to obstructing the tide of biological destruction which was already beginning to sweep America, damaging both the human and the non-human genetic heritage alike. These were people who deemed it their duty to leave the world a better place than they had found it or if that were not possible, at least as good a place as previous generations had left it. Eugenicists, after all is said and done, are conservationists first and last, and there are few eugenicists who do not care about the survival of a rich legacy of flora and fauna in a healthy environment as a logical extension of their concern that the earth should be in the care of persons capable of appreciating its qualities and conserving these for future generations. The historical record shows that they put superhuman effort into their struggle as conservationists, both with respect to plants and animals as well as to humans, and much of what in fact has survived to the present day is a result of their efforts.
The success of the conservationist movement in the United States at this vital period in the nation's history was facilitated by the sympathy of President Theodore Roosevelt, who was deeply concerned about the threat to the quality of both the natural and human stock of America. The contemporary generation of "Old American" pioneering origin, he held, were guilty of committing race suicide by allowing their birth rate to drop below the rate necessary to populate the lands their forebears had won.13 But he also cared deeply for the zoological and botanical heritage, and inviting George Bird Grinnell, a pioneer conservationist who had been publicizing the need for conservationist action through the medium of Forest and Stream magazine, to dinner to meet like-minded individuals, Roosevelt formed the highly respected Boone and Crockett Club, without the activities of whose members, such as Madison Grant and Gifford Pinchot, there undoubtedly would be no Yellowstone Park today. Nor would the early conservation laws which saved much wild life, trees, plants, and wildernesses from destruction have been enacted. Glacier National Park is another example of the treasures that exist largely due to the Boone and Crockett Club.
With Madison Grant serving as secretary and later as president, the Boone and Crockett Club was largely comprised of eugenicists and eugenics sympathizers. Renowned as one of the more active members of the eugenics movement, and especially for his efforts to preserve the "Old American" component of the American population, Grant worked just as ardently to preserve the natural heritage for future generations of Americans and should be remembered always with honor as one of the nation's greatest benefactors.
As to legislation, the members of the Club worked both inside the Club and outside to ensure the passage of federal and state laws that would protect certain species of animal and plant life, notably the giant redwoods, from extinction. Their fear was that the increasing population of North America and modern economic development would eliminate the heritage nature had bequeathed to their generation, and that this could also happen worldwide. As Madison Grant prophetically warned in Trail and Camp Fires (1904) that unless active steps were taken:
[i]t may be confidently asserted that [man] ... will have destroyed most, if not all the large African fauna certainly including the most beautiful antelopes in the world and game in India and North America in a wild state will almost have ceased to exist.
Henry Ford, who was concerned about preserving both the quality of the population and the quality of the environment, assigned one of his staff to act as a full-time lobbyist to aid in the passage of a major conservation bill which was signed into law by President Taft on March 4, 1913. It was also no accident that Henry Fairfield Osborn, one of the most active exponents of eugenics, was among those who worked most strongly for passage of the bill.
The opening decades of the Twentieth Century were in many ways a credit to the flowering of American conservationist idealism. Led by patriotic and far-seeing descendants of the early European settlers of North America, and with the whole-hearted collaboration of the nobler- minded among more recent European immigrants, there was a strong dedication to the need to hand down a rich heritage to future generations of Americans. To have personally known any of these farsighted American leaders from the early part of this century is a privilege now denied to all except a few more elderly citizens. The names mentioned are but a few of the dedicated individuals who graced early twentieth century American society and who freely gave their time, talents and money to the effort to save for posterity all that was best of the plant, animal, and human wealth still plentiful in their day. These men and women were inspired by a noble sense of public duty, and although subsequent generations have not preserved the high level of genetic and environmental conservation to which they aspired something at least of their spirit still exists, and the overall logic behind their views has since been demonstrated to have been totally sound.
Biological Egalitarianism Infiltrates Academe
But just when it seemed that the Western nations of the world were rising to a new level of social consciousness and moral responsibility, World War I wrought political and genetic havoc upon the Western world. Striking Europe the most heavily, with Britain and France suffering genetic losses from which they never recovered, it also led to significant changes in America which were further accentuated by the ensuing Great Depression. The forces of revolutionary socialism, seducing significant segments of the public by painting a fanciful image of a distant egalitarian paradise, were the only beneficiaries of the disastrous maelstrom of genetic and economic destruction wrought by the war. Although eugenicists saw the war losses as additional evidence of the urgent need to preserve the drastically weakened heritage of beneficial genes, the public's confidence in the future was shattered by the Great Depression and the resultant struggle simply to survive. Popular concern, often little directed toward the distant future, was redirected even more strongly to the problems of the present day, and the revolutionary socialist creed of egalitarianism and anti- hierarchicalism steadily won control of the high ground that the eugenicists were unable to retain.
In some countri
es, as in Russia, the massive losses of World War I led to violent revolutionary victory for those who preached anti- hereditarian views: although this brought with it neither freedom nor equality for the common man, only a truly cruel form of dictatorial government that showed no interest in either environmental conservation or human genetic conservation. Even in Western Europe and North America, where there was no violent Marxist seizure of power, the forces of social revolution made egalitarianism their slogan. This steady slide from idealistic concern for the future to crude appeals to the material interests of the present generation was facilitated by the penetration of the academic world by advocates of social revolution, and the political influenceof the latter gained ground rapidly during an era troubled by economic depression.
Positive and Negative Eugenics
Changes also developed at this time within the eugenics movement which first seemed to strengthen the argument in favor of eugenic action, but eventually led to a major setback. Traces of this can be identified in the double-edged manner in which president Theodore Roosevelt had viewed the eugenics movement. Roosevelt strove mightily to persuade healthy Americans to have more children, and fussed against members of the eugenics movement whose advice, he feared, could discourage childbearing among otherwise healthy Americans. Genetic science was not then sufficiently advanced to enable the precise identification of deleterious genes, and Roosevelt and many other supporters of the eugenic ideal justifiably believed that the best route to take in the prevailing circumstances was to encourage the procreation of those stocks that seemed to be generally fit and creative.
Those were days, it must be remembered, when concern about the "yellow peril" was common. This was based on the evidence, already apparent but since then magnified many times, that while the white race was threatened by a decline in numbers and quality, the speed with which the population of Asia was increasing, and the attempts Asians were already making to migrate into North America, constituted a threat to the United States which then perceived itself as a white nation. G. Stanley Hall, president of Clark University, was among those who warned that the traditional character of America as a European-based nation was threatened by the uncontrolled immigraton of Asians logically and prophetically commenting that "the future belongs to those people who bear the most and best children and bring them to maturity". In Britain the Whethams similarly warned against the immigration of genetically quite diverse peoples(14) and echoed the same theme: that the future belongs to the more prolific, and that, if the disparity in births continued, the world could one day fall to the Chinese.
Theodore Roosevelt's criticism of eugenicists who were ignoring the international numbers competition proved to be a forerunner to a division of interest which was to split the young eugenics movement within a few decades of its explosive origin. Roosevelt might be described as being what some have since called a "mainstream eugenicist." Mainstream eugenicists placed emphasis on positive eugenics, on encouraging the reproduction of healthy families chosen from among stock of proven historical capability. Being mostly of Northwest European origin themselves, the mainstream eugenicists saw eugenics as a national issue closely connected with the survival of their own national stock at a time when the birth rate of that stock was declining and the population of non- whites was beginning to increase rapidly.
But mainstream eugenics was doomed to wither. As genetic science continued its initially slow and halting advance, many geneticists became so enthralled with the hunt for biological illneses and defects that could be clearly identified as genetic in origin that they began to lose interest in mainstream eugenics a goal which lent itself less readily to laboratory research. Geneticists began to seek out specific genetic diseases, and took less interest in encouraging creative families to increase or even maintain their birth rate, an activity which fell more realistically into the political arena. This search for inherited diseases was dubbed "reform" eugenics. Its goal could hardly be faulted; but as the memory of the massively dysgenic impact of World War I began to fade in the public mind, reform eugenics increasingly diverted attention away from the ideal of those who sought to preserve an adequate reserve of genetically healthy, creative stock. Unfortunately it would be many long years before scientists could even begin to foresee a day when it might be possible to effectively eliminate individual defects.
Thus the eugenics movement found itself increasingly divided at precisely the time when the eugenic ideal the desire to free future generations of mankind from genetic handicaps and to provide posterity with an adequate heritage of genes for above average creativity came under increasing attack from those who were ideologically committed to egalitarianism. The latter refused to see the eugenic ideal in any light other than as an hierarchical concept implying superiority and inferiority the precise pattern of thought they sought to eliminate from the social consciousness, and the foundations were laid for the highly emotional struggle which today dominates both academia and the media, concerning research into behavioral genetics and the propagation of information about the significance of heredity in shaping human behavioral potential to the general public.
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