It was puzzling, at best, to hear (last night) commenter REC, try to spin at this post, To All of Those We Mutilated, “Our Bad, But At Least We Weren’t Science Deniers” this idea: Eugenics was not, from first to last, a Darwinian project.
Everyone who knows anything about the subject knows that it was a Darwinian project. Yet REC writes,
Some famous (then and now) geneticists opposed eugenics.
So? Clearly, no one paid attention to them. Darwinism ruled. It was enforced through the legal system, which was precisely Barry Arrington’s point.
About 45 years ago, I was even briefly involved in the campaign to get rid of the practice in a Canadian province where – surprise, surprise – east Europeans were far more likely to be forwarded for involuntary sterilization through the mental health system than west Europeans were.
The campaign didn’t need to last long because by then the practice was not tenable by any standard – but that raised the question, what had been the previous standard and why?
It was Darwin, Darwin, and his cousin Galton. That’s why.
While we are here: Modern racism is a Darwinian project too, actually.
Ancient racism rested on ethnic boastfulness and very imperfect notions of heredity and tribal origins. Look, many people even claimed descent from the gods.
Ethical monotheism sure took the whack out of that racket…
But modern racism was based on Darwinian science. According to Darwin’s theory, the human stock must diversify, making racism legitimate*. I find it interesting that no progressive educator, enforcing Darwin in the schools, wants to take on its obvious connection with racism from the mouth of the master himself.
They don’t just want to rewrite history, they want to remake history.
Could their approach be one of the reasons that so many current efforts in combating racism seem like puerile and illegitimate wastes of public time, money, and attention? Which never seem to address the real problems that cause riots, shootings, etc.?
What if we disabled Darwinism first?
Anyway, here is a relevant story that may interest readers:
Eugenics and the Firewall, Part I:
Denyse: The thing that struck me, reading your book, was how widespread the idea was in the province of Alberta, that sterilizing “socially challenged” people was a great idea. You write, “Many early eugenicists were leftists, but most important, Social Darwinist ideas behind right-wing eugenics absolved the wealthy of responsibility to help the poor.” (p. 8.) True, and many were pastors and churchgoing people. Today’s evangelicals would likely have a hard time believing that, but it’s a fact.
Jane: You bet! Eugenics was widely accepted by the business, academic, medical and political establishment. Preachers – in evangelical and mainline churches – even preached it from the pulpit. One exception: Roman Catholics. And they were ridiculed for their ‘backwardness’ in not endorsing eugenic theory. Also, the Conservative Party in Alberta was the only party to consistently refuse to support eugenics legislation in Alberta after it was introduced. (Your readers should know that, in the policy spectrum, the Conservative Party in Alberta was not similar to American Republicanism, but to the British and Canadian Conservative tradition. Pro-American free trade policies and trickle-down “Adam Smith”-style economics were the Liberal Party’s platform in those days.)
Denyse: You note that eugenicist Francis Galton felt free to manipulate global politics, Chinese, Africans … – disposing of the lands and peoples freely. (P. 12) I’m not here focusing on the moral badness of it; rather the political ineptness. Look what he was doing: promoting huge Chinese settlement in Africa, for example, without asking the Africans. Isn’t that a recipe for intractable future conflict? More important, doesn’t it suggest ambitions far vaster than any government should have? To what do you attribute the enormous, misplaced certainty that seems to have prevailed in those days about the extent to which intervention and interference would produce a better human being? I mean, at the time there was also a hypothetical creature known as the “new Soviet man.”
Jane: Galton was a man of his generation and class who believed that the upper classes were superior and that the poor were inferior and that whites were superior to other races. But he went even further, by creating a hierarchy of races in which Africans were considered inferior to Asians, and Asians were inferior to Southern Europeans, who were in turn, considered inferior to Northern Europeans. This hierarchy of races was considered “scientific.” More.
It was better than scientific, it was Darwinian. The single greatest idea anyone ever had.
* Has anyone found evidence of this fact, or is it just another of Darwin followers’ many pronouncements that conveniently receives little publicity at present?
See also: Imagine a world of religions that naturalism might indeed be able to explain
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11 Replies to “Modern eugenics was, first to last, a Darwinian project”
Inbred Science offers some good information on the Darwin/Eugentics connection.
What does this have to do with Intelligent Design?
A design-view posits intelligence as a cause. Intelligence makes rationality and purposeful actions possible. So, the design-view makes it possible to understand and improve moral decisions.
We see the contrary in the materialist-evolutionary view, as illustrated in posts about eugenics. Behaviors, in that view, are determined by chemical properties and blind, unintelligent natural forces. Rain clouds produce rain. Evolutionary-eugenicists mutilate thousands of people. There’s no rationality, morality or decision-making capabilities in the anti-ID view.
you may laugh but a lot of ID supporters want bad science out of the school system. I personally would argue against just as strenuously at any hint of YEC science in the schools. Let’s get the conclusions right from the science.
We can argue over what those conclusions are and should do it amicably but it should be free of any bad logic and bad facts. (I personally believe the findings say we do not know how life forms changed over time.) Eugenics was bad science and above that very bad social policy. It is an example of how some of the so called best minds went astray. The same minds that pushed Darwinian thought into the school systems.
“What does this have to do with Intelligent Design?”
And whom exactly is asking?
Although the girl in the following videos was written off as hopelessly retarded by everyone who saw her, eventually a breakthrough was made that revealed there was/is indeed a gentle intelligence, a “me”, a “soul’, a ‘person’ within the girl that was/is trapped within her body. And that that “me” was/is not able to express herself properly to others simply because of her neurological disorder. Not because she was not fully a ‘person’ as would be held under eliminative materialism.
From Applied Eugenics (1918), Popenoe, Paul:
The science of eugenics is the natural result of the spread and acceptance of organic evolution, following the publication of Darwin’s work on The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, in 1859. It took a generation for his ideas to win the day; but then they revolutionized the intellectual life of the civilized world. Man came to realize that the course of nature is regular; that the observed sequences of events can be described in formulas which are called natural laws; he learned that he could achieve great results in plant and animal breeding by working in harmony with these laws. Then the question logically arose, “Is not man himself subject to these same laws?[Pg 148] Can he not use his knowledge of them to improve his own species, as he has been more or less consciously improving the plants and animals that were of most value to him, for many centuries?”
The evolutionist answered both these questions affirmatively. However great may be the superiority of his mind, man is first of all an animal, subject to the natural laws that govern other animals. He can learn to comply with these laws; he can, therefore, take an active share in furthering the process of evolution toward a higher life.
Eugenics was bad science and above that very bad social policy. It is an example of how some of the so called best minds went astray. The same minds that pushed Darwinian thought into the school systems.
And most of those minds were devout Christians, especially the politicians. So what?
Everybody makes mistakes. I forgive all those Christians for implementing bad social policy but I don’t condemn today’s Christians for the sins of the past.
We all know the agenda here. The real purpose of these posts is to associate evolution and science with evils like eugenics and the holocaust in order to discredit them. That’s supposed to make intelligent design more credible because, by implication, Christians would never do evil things.
That’s one of the main objectives of the intelligent design movement. What surprises me is that you guys then get all huffy and indignant when scientists complain about your tactics and fight back. You seem genuinely shocked that we object to being labelled as eugenicists and Nazis.
ok, someone lied to me.
I was told that this was a convention of evolutionary biologists.
You really have to stop listening to Ben Stein, Mung.
Why do you tell such falsehoods. It seems to come so natural for you. If a few nominal Christians supported eugenics, it is only because a large gaggle of unscrupulous scientists peddled it as “the science of human nature.”
R. Grant Steen in DNA and Destiny: Nature and Nurture in Human Behavior:
“The great majority of scientists at the turn of the century believed in eugenics. In 1916, all five scientists who founded the American journal Genetics were advocates of eugenics, even though each was an established scientist of great reputation. If most practicing scientists adhere to a certain world view, that viewpoint is, by definition, mainstream science.”
History repeats itself. A hundred years ago, lying Darwinists persuaded a few gullible Christians to accept eugenices in the name of science. Today, lying Darwinists still persuade gullible Christians to accept unguided evolution in the name of science.
No, the point of these posts is to expose lying Darwinists as lying Darwinists.
Gunnar Myrdal’s “An American Dilemna,” commissioned by FDR and published in 1939, was called a de riguer read for the Left during the 50’s and early 60’s. In fact, if you read it, you’ll encounter most of the terms bandied about in the sixties.
Interestingly, this study of blacks in America suggested, as a solution to this “dilemna,” the sterilization of blacks.