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Eugenic Darwinism
Accuracy in Academia's ^ | June 4, 2007 | Wendy Cook

Posted on 06/13/2007 11:59:38 AM PDT by LUMary

Eugenic Darwinism by: Wendy Cook, June 04, 2007

Charles Darwin is partly to blame for eugenics, according to Discovery Institute senior fellow John West. Merriam-Webster’s defines eugenics as “a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed.”

Darwin said that because of our sense of compassion we couldn’t simply follow the dictates of reason and get rid of the unfit, “but he certainly provided the logical basis for why we should do so and later the eugenicists quoted this passage and they weren’t quoting it out of context, because in The Descent of Man Darwin really did argue that our progress as humans is dependent on a struggle for survival and that we were really impeding human progress by trying to undercut that struggle for survival,” Dr. West explained to an audience at the Family Research Council recently.

“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health,” Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man. “We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment.”

“There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox,” Darwin wrote. “Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind.”

“No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”

Darwin was not alone in his conception of a “supreme” or “perfected” human:

• Harvard Biologist Edward East felt nature eliminates the unfit but we are very capable of getting rid of “fools.”

• Charles Davenport, head of the Biological Research lab in Cold Spring Harbor and the Eugenics Record Office, thought man was nothing less then an animal: “Man is an animal and the laws of improvement of corn and of racehorses hold to true for him also.”

• Alexander Graham Bell thought that “The laws of heredity which apply to animals also apply to man, therefore the breeder of animals is fitted to guide public opinion on questions relating to human heredity.”

“Dressed up in quasi-religious terms, eugenicists promised to create a utopia through the magic of human breeding,” said Dr. West. “One eugenicist was even quoted saying, ‘The Garden of Eden is not in the past, it’s in the future.’”

Connecticut enacted the first marriage law in 1896 and by 1914 more than half of the states also imposed them, Dr. West noted. These laws were a way of regulating who can marry, to make sure “inferior” people were not breeding, he claimed.

One target of the eugenicists was American Immigration law. “They thought America was being overrun with biological defectives primarily from Eastern and Southern Europe—they weren’t [as] ‘biologically helpful’ as Nordic stock,” said Dr. West.

Immigration quotas were set so that only a certain number of people were allowed to come to the U.S. from certain countries. These laws were extremely harmful during the 1920’s when the Nazi’s were moving into countries such as Poland and starting concentration camps.

Poles, then, could not come to America because the quota on Polish immigrants was reached, while Norwegians, for example, still had plenty of open spots under U. S. restrictions. Nonetheless, beyond marriage laws and immigration rules, eugenicists were concerned with the “defectives” already in America.

Indiana enacted the first forced sterilization law in 1907 and, by the 1930s, 30 states had similar statutes on their books. Some of these states still have the law in place today, but not enforced.

Eugenicists promoted this policy as the answer to the looming welfare crisis. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, felt very strongly that sterilization was the answer to all sorts of problems.

“In 1923 over 9 billions of dollars were spent on state and federal charities for the care and maintenance and perpetuation of these undesirables, year by year their numbers are mounting and year by year their costs are increasing,” she said at Vassar in 1926. “The American public is taxed, heavily taxed to maintain an increasing race of morons, which threatens the very foundations of our civilization.”

“Our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost to the community of this dead weight of human waste.”

“The revolution of the Nazi Germany experience is what really killed off forced sterilization more than anything else,” said Dr. West. Some of their extermination and sterilization laws were modeled after American laws; only they did things much more rigorously, sterilizing hundreds of thousands of people just within a few years before they started killing them.

During Dr. West’s presentation he showed some of the German propaganda used to promote eugenics to its citizens, one of which had a bunch of flags on it (the American flag was located top center) to show “this is what the world is doing.” According to Dr. West, eugenics may not be explicitly happening but you can find the idea of it still implicit in other ideas hidden by new verbiage.

“If you were a eugenicist post-World War II you had a problem, because eugenics was a bad word,” said Dr. West. “But if you believed in it, you didn’t just go away.”

He believes eugenics has sort of morphed into other areas today such as, “freedom of choice” on abortion. This is evident from writings of pro-eugenicists who thought renaming it freedom of choice in parenting was a way to keep the idea alive but avoid the controversy, Dr. West argues.

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TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: agriculture; crevo; discoveryinstitute; eugenics; evolution; fsmdidit; libel; nazi; notworthyoflife; petersinger; redintoothandclaw
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To: LUMary

Justice Learned Hand, Buck V. Bell, 1927: “...three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Evidently, the Discovery Institute opposes forced sterilization of hereditary incompetents. In a welfare state like ours, what does that mean for the future?

21 posted on 06/13/2007 12:41:53 PM PDT by mdefranc
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To: dmz

Darwin is responsible for his contribution to eugenics. Jesus paid the price for our sins, but he did not cause them. Your comparison makes no sense.

22 posted on 06/13/2007 12:48:43 PM PDT by LilAngel (No blood for quislings)
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To: dmz
Chuckling ... I find it hard to be mad at anonymous posters on internet forums ...

Anonymous? How do you know that my name isn't really Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus?

My sarcastic side, however, is incapable of letting anyone slide when they groan at particular varieties of threads as they are reading and commenting on the very thread they groan at.

I wasn't really groaning about another evolution thread. I was attempting to gauge the mood on the board, in general.

23 posted on 06/13/2007 12:53:31 PM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (Run Fred RUN!)
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To: LilAngel

Darwin is responsible for his contribution to eugenics.

What exactly is Darwin’s contributions to eugenics? I’m sure that you’ll cite the appropriate sections of Darwin’s writings.

Eugenics is prescriptive. Darwin’s theory of evolution is descriptive. I have trouble getting from one to the other. But I’m sure you’ll let me know the error of my ways.

24 posted on 06/13/2007 1:02:54 PM PDT by dmz
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To: discostu

Which society is more likely to survive?

The society that believes the survival of the fittest individuals is most important? Thus they destroy others within their group that don’t measure-up to some arbitrary ideal. Don’t bother to help others in their group since they should be able to fend for themselves. Believe immunizations perpetuate a streak of weak genes through the population.

Or the society that believes the survival of the group is most important? Believe that all individuals can contribute to the group in some way. Believes the group is more likely to survive because of its variation of traits and genes. Knows that those who die due to disease or accident may have been able to save them in the future.

25 posted on 06/13/2007 1:14:19 PM PDT by toast
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To: dmz

Philosophically: not in actuality (when you take darwin’s theory applied to human beings): it means that some humans have to be “less developed”-Inferior*/- than others, that lends credence to some are better than others, which certain unethical people have used throught the 20th to “justify” their murder that includes the Nazis, and Eugenicists. Darwin is not directly responsible for these (and neither do most darwinists justify these heinous acts), but the truth is there that the philopical under-pinnings were taken from Darwinian thought applied to humanity.

26 posted on 06/13/2007 1:16:49 PM PDT by JSDude1
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To: toast

Society #2 though the differences between the two aren’t quite the way you label them in the first sentence. Both societies actually believe in survival of the fittest or at least evolutionary science (society 2 by understanding variations in DNA clearly has a grasp of evolution), the real difference is society 1 is eugenic and wants to drive evolution, and society 2 is Darwinian and is just allowing a natural process to do what it does.

27 posted on 06/13/2007 1:31:14 PM PDT by discostu (only things a western savage understands are whiskey and rifles and an unarmed)
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To: JSDude1

Of course Darwin isn’t the only one to have his philosphy misapplied to decide a certain people are inferior. It’s happened over and over again throughout history, it’s the rallying cry excuse behind the aggressive side of most wars. When push comes to shove most encouragements for invasion boil down to “they don’t deserve what they have because they aren’t as cool as us”.

28 posted on 06/13/2007 1:34:28 PM PDT by discostu (only things a western savage understands are whiskey and rifles and an unarmed)
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To: LUMary

And, in support of eugenics: “Seven generations of imbeciles is enough.” (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

29 posted on 06/13/2007 1:41:33 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: LUMary
Dr. West, meet Dr. Tinkle, Creationist eugenicist
30 posted on 06/13/2007 2:52:46 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (Laws are for the guidance of wise men and the blind obedience of fools - Solon, Lawmaker of Athens)
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To: dmz

I don’t know what more you want from me. If his actual contributions (some of which are listed on this very thread) aren’t sufficient, maybe you want a quote from Darwin using the word “eugenics” and explaining in detail how to practice it. You might as well ask for a detailed wiring diagram of a modern car, drawn up by none other than Ben Franklin.

Darwin’s contributions to eugenics are not in any way comparable to Jesus Christ’s contribution to the salvation of mankind.

31 posted on 06/13/2007 3:21:39 PM PDT by LilAngel (No blood for quislings)
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To: discostu
“From a purely Darwinian perspective there’s a strong practical objection to eugenics. Evolution is the result of natural processes, we can only guess as to what made one species better than another and subsequently more deserving of survival.”

I see your point, but look at the full title of Darwin’s book:

On the Origin of Species
by Means of Natural Selection,
or the Preservation of Favoured Races
in the Struggle for Life

I think you can see just from the title (i.e. ‘favoured races’) that human eugenics could be a tempting implementation of Darwinian ideas for some people. I’m not saying that Darwin actively encouaraged human engineering, but he discusses at length how animal breeding went about producing improvements in various species. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to move from animal breeding to human breeding. After all, doesn’t Darwinian theory demonstrate that we are all “animals”.

So, my point is that Darwinian theory lends itself to human eugenics - maybe not necessarily so, but it is not a stretch to see how it could be used that way. On the other hand, it is not possible for Jesus’ teachings, taken as a whole, to be used as a defense or motivation to commit the atrocities done in His name. The acts would be completely at odds with His character and moral teachings (as in the Sermon on the Mount).

32 posted on 06/13/2007 5:00:50 PM PDT by Nevadan (nevadan)
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To: AndyTheBear

“I think you may be putting some words in Darwin’s mouth. I don’t think he was promoting the idea that there was no God.”

I’m not saying that Darwin himself did, but there is no denying that many Darwinists today are “naturalistic” evolutionists - that is, they believe that all that exists occured by a natural process - not from some imaginary diety. That idea is a logical outcome of Darwin’s theory. It may not have been his intent, but that has been the overall far reaching result.

So, my point is that eugenics, from a naturalistic evolutionary point of view, should be morally acceptable because in the naturalistic worldview, there is no God, therefore there are no moral absolutes to hinder any action. In fact, morality is irrelevant and has no meaning.

33 posted on 06/13/2007 5:08:54 PM PDT by Nevadan (nevadan)
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To: Nevadan

Sure if the idiots ignored the words “by Means of Natural Selection” they could grab onto the words “Favored Races” as an excuse for their bad ideas. Of course if their Jewish they could take the idea of being the Chosen People and run right off the cliff with it too. Just because people take one phrase out of context and turn it into an excuse for their own stupidity doesn’t mean the core idea of the writing that contains that phrase is bad or that the writers was a bad person. Look at all the stupid stuff liberals have done with the Commerce Clause in the last 40 years, does that mean the Constitution is bad and the Founders should be held responsible?

Bad people take perfectly good ideas and screw them up, that’s how you know they’re bad people. They do it with Darwin, they do it with the Constitution, they do it with the Bible, they do it with Wealth of Nations, they do it with mediocre Beatles songs, they just do it.

It’s not possible to take Darwin’s teachings as a WHOLE to get an excuse to commit atrocities either. That’s why the people that commit atrocities using Darwinism, or Jesus, as an excuse edit.

34 posted on 06/13/2007 5:46:21 PM PDT by discostu (only things a western savage understands are whiskey and rifles and an unarmed man)
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To: discostu
Eugenics is an attempt to override a natural process...

How so.

If human consciousness is itself a direct result of natural processes, then it follows that any activity, including human intelligence and intent, is also the result of natural processes.

How then can eugenics be considered a foreign agent or mechanism within the very system that created it?

35 posted on 06/13/2007 7:38:27 PM PDT by csense
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To: csense

Read the rest of the sentence.

36 posted on 06/13/2007 10:57:04 PM PDT by discostu (only things a western savage understands are whiskey and rifles and an unarmed man)
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To: LUMary

Thank you for signing up in preparation for posting this thread.

You do know you are gonna be mocked, don’t you...

...and deservedly so.

The only question that remains unanswered is...

...WHO were you in a prior life?

37 posted on 06/13/2007 11:08:14 PM PDT by dixiechick2000 (There ought to be one day-- just one-- when there is open season on senators. ~~ Will Rogers)
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To: csense; discostu

“...declaring with our limited knowledge which section of humanity is better and more deserving of survival, the problem is the eugenicists might be wrong. The proper Darwinian approach to improving humanity is a species is to not, just do your thing and let nature take it’s course, eugenicists pervert the concept for their own twitsted purpose.”


38 posted on 06/13/2007 11:12:42 PM PDT by dixiechick2000 (There ought to be one day-- just one-- when there is open season on senators. ~~ Will Rogers)
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To: discostu
Read the rest of the sentence. Well, I did, but it's obvious you just don't get it, so I'll put it bluntly. In what way is any course of human action considered to be anything other than natural from the perspective of evolution.
39 posted on 06/13/2007 11:42:24 PM PDT by csense
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To: dixiechick2000

Since you ping’d me, and are obviously interested, care to take a shot at answering the question?

40 posted on 06/13/2007 11:46:49 PM PDT by csense
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