Skip to comments.Evolution and Eugenics
Posted on 04/04/2007 11:09:03 PM PDT by Ethan Clive Osgoode
IT IS OFTEN SAID that there is no connection between darwinism and eugenics. In effect, that whatever association darwinians have with eugenics is coincidental and of no importance. It is readily admitted that Galton was a eugenicist, but his teachings were supposedly a personal aberration which did not figure much in the history of darwinism nor in the teaching of evolutionary biology.
Horatio Hackett Newman was a Zoologist at the University of Chicago and a scientist of impeccable darwinian credentials. He was an expert witness at the Scopes trial, where he left his stamp on the Darwin debate by introducing the line of reasoning Willy, my lad, evolution just means change, ice changes into water, eggs change into chickens, monkeys change into man:
"The evolutionist stands for and believes in a changing world. Evolution is merely the philosophy of change as opposed to the philosophy of fixity and unchangeability. One must choose between these alternate philosophies, for there is no intermediate position; once admit a changing world and you admit the essence of evolution."You can find the kind reasoning today, in talk.origins, etc. Newman published Evolution Today and Yesterday, and Readings in Evolution, Genetics, and Eugenics (1921). The latter is actually a very good book, because unlike the waffling at the Scopes trial, the book is exceedingly direct. It is a compendium of material by Newman, and essays by others. Newman describes his purpose in the introduction (emphasis mine):
The present writer has now for sixteen successive years presented in lecture form to large classes of students the subjects of evolution, genetics, and eugenics. Never have we been able to find a single book that would cover the required ground. In fact it has been necessary to require, or at least to recommend, as many as three books. It is believed that the present book will furnish adequate reading material for a major or a semester course in evolutionary biology.Newman's book contains a chapter called Human Conservation by Herbert Walter. Herbert Walter is another biologist of unimpeachable darwinian credentials. He got his Ph.D at Harvard, and was assistant director of the Long Island Marine Biological Institute. He was the author of Studies in Animal Life, The Human Skeleton, Biology of the Vertebrates and Genetics. Walter is on Wikipedia's list of evolutionary biologists.
What follows are major extracts from Herbert Walter's Human Conservation...
Human performance always lags behind human knowledge. Many persons who are fully aware of the right procedure do not put their knowledge into practice. It follows, therefore, that any program of eugenics which does not grip the imagination of the common people in such a way as to become an effective part of their very lives is bound to remain largely an academic affair for Utopians to quarrel and theorize over.
It is not enough to collect facts and work out an anlysis and interpretation of them, for, important as this preliminary step is, it must be followed by a convincing campaign of education.
The lives of the unborn do not force themselves upon the average man or woman with the same insistency as the lives already begun. In the midst of the overwhelming demands of the present, the appeal of posterity for better blood is vague and remote. If every individual regarded the germplasm he carries as a sacred trust, then it would be the part of an awakened eugenic conscience to restrain that germplasm when it is known to be defective or, when it is not defective, to hand it on to posterity with at least as much foresight as is exercised in breeding domestic animals and cultivated plants.
The eugenic conscience is in need of development, and it is only when this becomes thoroughly aroused in the rank and file of society as well as among the leaders, that a permanent and increasing betterment of mankind can be expected.
A negative way to bring about better blood in the world is to follow the clarion call of Davenport, and "dry up the streams that feed the torrent of defective and degenerate protoplasm." This may be partially accomplished, at least in America, by employing the following agencies: control of immigration; more discriminating marriage laws; a quickened eugenic sentiment; sexual segregation of defectives; and finally, drastic measures of asexualization or sterilization when necessary.
The enforcement of immigration laws tends to debar from the United States not only many undesirable individuals, but also incidentally to keep out much potentially bad germplasm that, if admitted, might play havoc with future generations.
For example, during the year of 1908, 65 idiots, 121 feeble-minded, 184 insane, 3,741 paupers, 2,900 individuals having contagious diseases, 53 tuberculous individuals, 136 criminals, and 124 prostitutes were caught in the sieve at Ellis Island alone and turned back from this country by the immigration officials. These 7,000 and more individuals probably were the bearers of very little germplasm that we are nationally not better off without.
Eugenically, the weak point in the present application of immigration laws is that criteria for exclusion are phenotypic in nature rather than genotypic, and consequently much bad germplasm comes through our gates hidden from the view of inspectors because the bearers are heterozygous, wearing a cloak of desirability over undesirable traits.
It is not enough to lift the eyelid of a prospective parent of American citizens to discover whether he has some kind of an eye-disease or to count the contents of his purse to see if he can pay his own way. The official ought to know if eye-disease runs in the immigrant's family and whether he comes from a race of people which, through chronic shiftlessness or lack of initiative, have always carried light purses.
It is to be hoped that the time will come when we, as a nation, will rise above the hazardous methods of the horse trader in selecting from the foreign applicants who knock at our portals, and that we will exercise a more fundamental discrimination than such a haphazard method affords, by demanding a knowledge of the germplasm of these candidates for citizenship, as displayed in their pedigrees.
This may possibly be accomplished by having trained inspectors located abroad in the communities from which our immigrants come, whose duty it shall be to look up the ancestry of prospective applicants and to stamp desirable ones with approval.
Certain of the United States have laws forbidding the marriage of epileptics, the insane, habitual drunkards, paupers, idiots, feeble-minded, and those afflicted with venereal diseases. It would be well if such laws were not only more uniform and widespread, but also more rigidly enforced.
It is quite true that marriage laws in themselves do not necessarily control human reproduction, for illegitimacy is a factor that must always be reckoned with; nevertheless such laws do have an important influence in regulating marriage and consequent reproduction. Marriage laws may, however, sometimes bring about a deplorable result eugenically, as in the case of forced marriage of sexual offenders in order to legalize the offense and "save the woman's honor." To compel, under the guise of legality, two defective streams of germplasm to combine repeatedly and thereby result in defective offspring just because the unfortunate event happened once illegitimately, is fundamentally a mistake. Darwin says: "Except in the case of man himself hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed."
Persons with hereditary defects, such as epileptics, idiots, and certain criminals, who become wards of the state, should be segregated so that then- germplasm may not escape to furnish additional burdens to society.
"The great horde of defectives once in the world have the right to live and enjoy as best they may whatever freedom is compatible with the lives and freedom of other members of society," says Kellicott, but society had a right to protect itself against repetitions of hereditary blunders.
There is one grave danger connected with the administration of our humane and commendable philanthropies toward the unfortunate, for it frequently happens that defectives are kept in institutions until they are sexually mature or are partly self-supporting, when they are liberated only to add to the burden of society by reproducing their like.
David Starr Jordan cites the interesting case of cretinism which occurs in the valley of Aosta in northern Italy, to prove the wisdom of the sexual segregation of defectives. Cretinism is an hereditary defect connected with an abnormal development of the thyroid gland which results in a peculiar form of idiocy usually associated with goitre.
"In the city of Aosta the goitrous cretin has been for centuries an object of charity. The idiot has received generous support, while the poor farmer or laborer with brains and no goitre has had the severest of struggles. In the competition of life a premium has thus been placed on imbecility and disease. The cretin has mated with cretin, the goitre with goitre, and charity and religion have presided over the union. The result is that idiocy is multiplied and intensified. The cretin of Aosta has been developed as a new species of man. In fair weather the roads about the city are lined with these awful paupers - human beings with less intelligence than a goose, with less decency than the pig."
Whymper, writing in 1880, further observes: "It is strange that self-interest does not lead the natives of Aosta to place their cretins under such restrictions as would prevent their illicit intercourse; and it is still more surprising to find the Catholic Church actually legalizing their marriage. There is something horribly grotesque in the idea of solemnizing the union of a race of idiots, and, since it is well known that the disease is hereditary and develops in successive generations the fact that such marriages are sanctioned is scandalous and infamous."
Since 1890 the cretins have been sexually segregated, and in 1910 Jordan reported that they were nearly all gone.
A fifth method of restricting undesirable germplasm in the case of confirmed criminals, idiots, imbeciles, and rapists may be mentioned, namely, the extreme treatment of either asexualization or vasectomy. The latter is a minor operation confined to the male which occupies only a few moments and requires at most only the application of a local anaesthetic, such as cocaine. There are no disturbing or even inconvenient after effects from this operation. It consists in removing a small section of each sperm duct, and is entirely effectual in preventing subsequent parenthood.
Eight states already have sterilization laws providing for certain cases and "could such a law be enforced in the whole United States, less than four generations would eliminate nine tenths of the crime, insanity and sickness of the present generation in our land. Asylums, prisons and hospitals would decrease, and the problems of the unemployed, the indigent old and the hopelessly degenerate would cease to trouble civilization."
The campaign for human betterment in the long run must do more than avoid mis takes. It must become aggressive and take advantage of those human mutations or combinations of traits which appear in the exceptionally endowed.
The following unconfirmed newspaper clipping illustrates the point of what is meant by subsidizing the fit so far as certain physical characteristics are concerned. "Berlin, Dec. n, 1911. The Emperor is reported to be interested in a plan proposed by Professor Otto Hauser for the propagation of a fixed German type of humanity a type which will be as fixed as the Jewish in its characteristics, if the suggestions of the professor can ever be carried out. The fixed type is to be produced as follows: Only 'typical' couples are to be allowed to mate. The man is to be not more than thirty years old, the woman not over twenty-eight, and each have a perfect health certificate. The man should be at least five feet seven inches tall; the woman not under five feet six inches. Neither the man nor the woman should have dark hair. Its tint may range from blonde to auburn. The eyes of the pair should be pure blue without any tint of brown. The complexion should be fair to ruddy without any suggestion of heaviness or 'beefiness.' The nose ought to be strong and narrow, the chin square and powerful, and the skull well developed at the back. The man and the woman must be of German descent and must bear a German name and speak the language of Germany. These 'mated couples' are to get a wedding gift of $125 and an additional grant for each child born. The couples may settle in the United States if they prefer." This reported attempt to establish a Prussian type of "Hauser blondes" at least points the way to one sort of a positive eugenic method that might possibly be employed with respect to certain physical characteristics.
Much good protoplasm fails to find expression in the form of offspring because one or the other of possible parents is cut off either by preventable death or by social hindrances. To avoid such calamities is a part of the positive program of eugenics... War, from the eugenic point of view, is the height of folly, since presumably the brave and the physically fit march away to fight, while in general the unqualified stay at home to reproduce the next generation. When a soldier dies on the battlefield or in the hospital, it is not alone a brave man who is cut off, but it is the termination of a probably desirable strain of germplasm... David Starr Jordan has presented the matter very clearly. He points out that the "man with a hoe" among the European peasantry is not the result of centuries of oppression, as he has been pictured, but rather the dull progeny resulting from generations of the unfit who were left behind when the fit went off to war never to return.
In the practical application of a program of eugenics there are many difficulties, for who is qualified to sit in judgment and separate the fit from the unfit?
Elizabeth Tuttle, the grandmother of Jonathan Edwards whose remarkable progeny was referred to in a preceding chapter, is described as a "woman of great beauty, of tall and commanding appearance, striking carriage, of strong will, extreme intellectual vigor and mental grasp akin to rapacity," but with an extraordinary deficiency in moral sense. She was divorced from her husband "on the ground of adultery and other immoralities. The evil trait was in the blood, for one of her sisters murdered her own son and a brother murdered his own sister." That Jonathan Edwards owed his remarkable qualities largely to his grandmother rather than to his grandfather is shown by the fact that Richard Edwards, the grandfather, married again after his divorce and had five sons and one daughter, but none of their numerous progeny "rose above mediocrity, and their descendants gained no abiding reputation." As shown by subsequent events, it would have been a great eugenic mistake to have deprived the world of Elizabeth Tuttle's germplasm, although it would have been easy to find judges to condemn her.
One needs only to recall the days of the Spanish Inquisition or of the Salem witchcraft persecution to realize what fearful blunders human judgment is capable of, but it is unlikely that the world will ever see another great religious inquisition, or that in applying to man the newly found laws of heredity there will ever be undertaken an equally deplorable eugenic inquisition.
It is quite apparent, finally, that although great caution and broadness of vision must be exercised in bringing about the fulfilment of the highest eugenic ideals, nevertheless in this direction lies the future path of human achievement.
-- exerpts from Human Conservation, Herbert E. Walter in Newman's Readings in Evolution, Genetics, and Eugenics ppg 473-483, 1921.
bumping for later...
well, look at the Rats, and if they are not “the great horde of defecatives”, then what is?
To further support your point, from wikipedia:
"Breeding of human beings was suggested at least as far back as Plato, but the modern field and term was first formulated by Sir Francis Galton in 1865, drawing on the recent work of his cousin Charles Darwin. From its inception eugenics was supported by prominent thinkers, including Alexander Graham Bell, George Bernard Shaw, and Winston Churchill. Financial support for the advocacy of eugenics came from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman interests. Eugenics was an academic discipline at many colleges and universities. Its scientific reputation started to tumble in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rüdin began incorporating eugenic rhetoric into the racial policies of Nazi Germany."
Also, there was a definite link between Sanger (planned parenthood) and Eugenics.
There can be a connection.
When scientists study the record of life on the planet, life clearly was here first as very simple lifeforms and developed over a long time to more complex forms - better adapted species survived - individuals who survived and mated had a chance to pass their genes along.
Now its not hard to see how that scientific evidence could be misused. That doesn’t make the science bad - it makes the misuse of the science bad.
Even the Bible can be distorted.
>> The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. William Shakespeare<<
Agreed. A tyrant might use nerve gas to kill innocent people. However that does not imply a moral link between the tyrant and chemistry.
We can watch ice change into water and eggs become chickens but let the show begin to watch a monkey turn into man.
You may wish to read up on the Social Darwinism movement of the late 1800s as a link between Darwin and popular culture. The eugenics movement was a popular movement that would have gained no traction if there was not a widespread acceptance of the idea that some people are destined for greatness and the rest are just... vermin. Eugenics was widely embraced not because of scientific merit but because it was part of hip and trendy culture - a cause celeb of the ‘socially conscious’ and progressives who outgrew their social darwinist roots.
Wrong on two counts.
The lives of the unborn are already begun.
They do have the same *insistency* as those already born. Spoken like a true liberal and one who has (obviously) never been pregnant nor has any clue what the *average* man of woman is all about.
What an arrogant elitist attitude.
That's exactly what many of us creationists keep saying but when we state that we're accused of being anti-science, knuckle dragging, talibani-type, neanderthals who want to drag the world back to the dark ages.
Is this self-parody?
The Bible is probably the most often distorted writing on the planet.
Many of the early members of the IPPF and the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau were also members of the (British) Eugenics Society. Margaret Sanger herself was a Life Fellow. She was also a member of the American Eugenics Society.
Julian Huxley, another biologist of unimpeachable darwinian credentials, was an important figure in this sordid history.
Like his grandfather T. H. Huxley, Julian Huxley rose to be one of the most (if not the most) influential evolutionary biologists of his time. He collaborated with H.G. Wells (one of Margaret Sanger' lovers) and J.S. Haldane on The Science of Life, a work which helped fossilized various "icons of evolution" into the public mind until this very day. Julian Huxley was a key figure in the formulation of the "modern synthesis" of darwinism. In fact, he wrote a book called just that: Evolution: The Modern Synthesis (1942). Indeed the very term "modern synthesis" is, I think, due to Julian. Huxley also popularized the works of Teilhard de Chardin (of Piltdown man fame).
From 1931-1962, Julian Huxley served various positions in the Eugenics Society, as a fellow, as a member of the council, as vice-president, and president. He was also on the executive committee of the Euthanasia Society, and was vice president of the Abortion Law Reform Society. Huxley was involved in the creation of UNESCO and was the its first director general from 1946-1948. He also co-founded the World Wide Fund for nature and signed Humanist Manifesto II. As late as the 1960s, Huxley was still openly advocating eugenics: Eugenics in Evolutionary Perspective (Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 6 (2): 155-87, Winter 1963.) Huxley's views on population, birth control, sterilization, euthanasia, etc. are hardly different from Sanger's.
Julian Huxley was a long-time friend of Konrad Lorenz, who, for a while, went a little astray with Nazi "racial hygene" theoretical work. Huxley's archive of correspondence is immense and includes practically all the who's who of the darwinian world: the Darwin family, Gavin de Beer, Theodore Dobzhansky, Richard Goldschmidt, Jane Goodall, Earnst Haeckel, J.B.S. Haldane, Louis Leaky, Ernst Mayr, George Gaylord Simpson, Teilhard de Chardin, H.G. Wells, and Margaret Sanger.
But all that is merely a coincidence.
I'm sure. Just that perfect combination of random events and the right social climate that selected out all other viewpoints and caused them to all think the same way at the same time.
It's the reflex reaction of true believers of a rubber science. By pointing out the rubbery nature of their rubber science, you are "impeach[ing] the credibility of modern science"!! In 1930, Pope Piux XI condemned all the causes dear to the eugenicists, as any decent human should, Pope or not, Catholic or otherwise. The reaction then was the same reaction now. This is from Eugenics Review 23 (1931)...
"... the Pope delivers an uncompromising ultimatum not only to eugenists, but to all who seek to order their own affairs in the light of science and human judgement. It is a defiant return to mediaevalism... at the beginning of this survey it was written advisedly that the Encyclical was a return to the Middle Ages. Its mediaevalism is carried so far as to ignore all anthropology, all history not contained in Genesis, and to attack not only the practice of eugenics, but also the underlying biological bases. Not only is current biology specifically attacked, but an onslaught is made on the whole texture of science and the liberty of thought...Tap the knee, it jerks.
Evolutionists don’t buy into eugenics, because science has shown that intelligence is largely the result of training rather than genes.
And they don’t buy into racism, because science has shown that there are no biological human races. (there is more variation within any “race” you might want to define than there is between any of them)
However, creationism is still ripe for eugenics and racism. As late as the 1990s, creationist master Henry Morris was writing that blacks were spiritually and mentally inferior to other people.
Not that all creationists are racists; many would be horrified to find out the sort of thinking on which YE creationism is based. But it’s one of the big differences between science and creationism.