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2nd International Congress of Eugenics held in 1921

Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911) – ‘Father’ of eugenics and cousin of Charles Darwin

“Every 15 seconds, $100 of your money goes for the care of persons with bad heredity, such as the insane, feeble-minded, criminals, and other defectives” – American Eugenics Society, 1929

Miscegenation – the prohibition of interbreeding between different races

“Only Genetically Healthy Offspring Ensure the Strength of the People. We do not stand alone” (1936)

Selective breeding and domestication • Evidence of ritual sacrifice of people with unusual bone growth patterns in European Upper Paleolithic (c.26,000-8,000 BC).[1] • Domestication of plants and animals; • Dog – East Asia; 15,000BC. • Wild Rye – Syria; 11,000 BC. • Wild grasses ‘encouraged’ to be made into foodstuffs. • Wild animals ‘cajoled’ into working with humans

Plato •In Plato’s Republic he suggested that the state be divided into 3 classes; Guardians, Philosophers and Commoners. •The Philosophers established who would breed. •Thus children were bred to their caste. •This was to keep the population stable and suited to role it fulfilled to the state. hil/forum/Plato-3.jpg[]

• It appears in the Athenian legislation of Solon, Solon conceded to the father the power of killing his children. According to Plutarch (Solon, xxii.), he sanctioned the exposure (being left to the elements) of natural children.[2]

This is..

Sparta •Spartan law decreed that all Spartan children were inspected before being allowed to live. •Children who showed physical weakness or mental weakness (excessive crying) were left to die.

•The role of women was to continually produce fit children. •However by 371bc this policy left Sparta with only 1000 Spartiates, that year they lost the battle of Leucra.

Rome • Insignis ad deformitatem (kill the deformed) • “We drown the weakling and the monstrosity. It is not passion, but reason, to separate the useless from the fit." – Seneca the Elder • Legislation had to be passed to limit infanticide. Romulus is said to have forbidden the murder of sons and firstborn daughters.

Age of Christianity (272 AD +) • The objectives of eugenics were incompatible with Christianity. Infanticide was prohibited the 1st Christian Emperor, Constantine.

Resurgence (1800s) •Darwin’s theory of natural selection leads to the concept of Social Darwinism. •Malthus argued that as an increasing population would outgrow its food supply, this would result in the starvation of the weakest. •Social Darwinism says that within human society, the more capable profit.

Nietzsche •Nietzche wrote about the Ubermensch, and the natural right of the strong to dominate the weak. •His work was influential and helped spread eugenics ideas from a philosophical perspective.

Birth of modern eugenics – Sir. Francis Galton •"Eugenics is the study of the agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally.“[3] •Hereditary Genius in 1869 •Applied his skill in statistical maths and questionnaires

• He advocated encouraging eugenic marriages by supplying incentives to the worthy. • His study of human abilities led to the foundation of differential psychology, the first mental tests, and the scientific study of human intelligence. • His work in Eugenics laid the foundation for and aided the development of many other fields of science

Nazi Germany • Directly inspired by Nietzche. • Established Hereditary Health Courts. • Over 400,000 people with hereditary illness where sterilized. • Outright killing of around 225,000 people with physical or mental disabilities under Aktion T4 between 1939 and 1945 . • Extended this to Jews and political undesirables. • Eugenics fell out of favor after this.

Some contemporary believers in Eugenics • • • • • • • • •

Winston Churchill Alexander Graham Bell Marie Stopes George Bernard Shaw John Maynard Keynes Theodore Roosevelt (26th US president Calvin Coolidge (30th US president) Margaret Sanger H.G. Wells

The Negatives of Eugenics in Practice

Great People These people wouldn’t have lived to make their cultural and scientific contributions (there are many more): Einstein: Autism (Aspergers), Dyslexia Newton: Autism (Aspergers) Steven Fry: Bi-Polar Van Gough: Bi-Polar

Removes variation from the gene pool • Removes variation from the gene pool • The general population will become less creative • Places one person as better than another (the basis for racism) • Society will become less interesting with clone like similarities

Ethical objections • Do people have a right to have children? • Can conflict with an individuals right to life! • Nazis used cruel and unethical experiments on individuals with “undesirable” characteristics • This undermines one of its principles of “lessening human suffering”

The Nazis • The Nazis used Eugenics as a scientific bases for them to commit genetic genocide • The Nazis believed that they were ‘improving the gene pool’ • At what point does enforcing Eugenic principles become genocide?

But...we do it to animals? • Ignore ethics for a minute Greater stature, more meat and faster maturation. A placid temperament A different coloured coat. Higher milk yield. Enhanced instincts (e.g. herding in collies)

Greater stamina for fighting.

What benefits would Eugenics give us? • Ignore ethics for a minute What factors would a eugenicist really want to enhance within man?

Intelligence, however defined. Stature. Loyalty. Which is probably measured by gullibility + courage.

Longevity. Health and fitness.

Eugenics in practice without genocide Voluntary sterilization

Sperm ‘n’ egg donors

Slowly stop breeding with stupid people!

Does it have a future? Doubtful in the ‘traditional’ sense.

Selective breeding will probably continue in a more advanced form as genetic engineering [GE], where the process of manipulating genetic patterns is a more exact science. GE removes the element of natural uncertainty which we get with selective breeding, and allows us to get more precise results, faster. Hopefully with a better understanding of genetic interactions and with well discussed and agreed upon ethics, we can use this knowledge for good, improving the world without taking life or civil liberties. Though we can ‘improve’ the science of genetic engineering, we cannot ‘improve’ the philosophy; the deep questions will remain the same. We can simply do our best, obey medical laws and see if values become more permissible over time Whenever we choose to manipulate the genetic tapestry, there is some aspect of Eugenics at work.


• • • Unabridged (v 1.1) (2006) Eugenics [online] Random House. Available from: [Accessed 31 December 2007] Unabridged (v 1.1) (2002) Eugenics [online] Houghton Mifflin Company. Available from: [Accessed 31 December 2007] Susanne, ‘Eugenics Lecture’ (2006) Eugenics Lecture [online]. University of California, Berkeley. Available from: [Accessed 31 December 2007]

Images • • • •

‘Vida Y Matematicas’ (nd) francis-galton.jpg [online]. Available from: [Accessed 31 December 2007] Toscani, O (nd) The Family of the Future [online]. ElectricArtists. Available from: [Accessed 31 December 2007] ‘!’ (nd) Wir_stehen_nicht_allein.jpg [online]. Available from: Nilsson, L. (nd) foetus-20e-semaine.jpg [online]. Luxorion. Available from: [Accessed 31 December 2007]

Jack’s References • [1] • [2]The Arnold Prize Essay for 1913 by Allen G. Roper, B.A. -Originally Published By B.H. Blackwell, Broad Street, Oxford (1913) • [3] m • [4] • [5] 6532/eugenics.htm

Osh’s references • • 00-March/002283.html • •

Jack Oughton + Osian Jones - Eugenics Presentation  

2nd International Congress of Eugenics held in 1921 Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911) – ‘Father’ of eugenics and cousin of Charles Darwin “Ever...

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