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Thread: Eugenics

  1. #1
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Eugenics

    ADA JUKE is known to anthropologists as the "mother of criminals." From her there were directly descended one thousand two hundred persons. Of these, one thousand were criminals, paupers, inebriates, insane, or on the streets. That heritage of crime, disease, inefficiency and immorality cost the State of New York about a million and a quarter dollars for maintenance directly. What the indirect loss was in property stolen, in injury to life and limb, no one can estimate.

    Suppose that Ada Juke or her immediate children had been prevented from perpetuating the Juke family. Not only would the State have been spared the necessity of supporting one thousand defective persons, morally and physically incapable of performing the functions of citizenship, but American manhood would have been considerably better off, and society would have been free from one taint at least.

    Instances such as these are not isolated. Ever since the late Sir Francis Galton gave us his science of Eugenics, which in its most literal sense means "good breeding," the scientific students of mankind, the directors of insane asylums and hospitals, criminologists the world over, have been compiling statistics to show not only the danger of permitting the marriage of criminals, lunatics, and the physically unfit, but the effect upon" mankind. Thus, Prof. Karl Pearson, Galton's ablest disciple, has driven home the necessity of the scientific study of the human race in many a telling statistical comparison and monograph. He has shown that in Great Britain 25 per cent of the, population (and that the undesirable element in England) is producing 50 per cent of English children, and that if this goes on unchecked, national deterioration and degeneracy must inevitably result.

    Galton originally worked only with statistics, and in his capable hands, they proved a powerful weapon. After he had enunciated the principles of Eugenics, Mendel's law of heredity was revived and applied to the problem. Imperfectly understood as that law may be as yet, nevertheless it enables us to prophesy with considerable accuracy what the offspring of animals, plants and human beings may be, not only in the next generation, but in generations to come. Mendelian principles have no doubt long been followed by professional animal breeders in an empirical way, but only within recent years have enough data been accumulated to show that they apply with equal force to human beings. We know enough about the laws of heredity, we have enough statistics from insane asylums and prisons, we have enough genealogies, to show that, although we may not be able directly to improve the human race as we improve the breed of guinea pigs, rabbits or cows, because of the rebellious spirit of mankind, yet the time has come when the lawmaker should join hands with the scientist, and at least check the propagation of the unfit. Prizes have been offered to crack trotters for beating their own record, $10,000 for a fifth of a second, all for the purpose of evolving a precious two-minute horse. Yet we hear of no prizes which are offered for that much worthier object, the physically and intellectually perfect man. Fortunately the need of intelligent legislation on the subject is being driven home by scientific men and Eugenic associations here and abroad. The Eugenics laboratory founded by Sir Francis Galton and the American Breeders' Association have done much to clear away the popular prejudices inevitably encountered in such educational work and to prepare the ground for legislative action. Some States have already passed laws that show an appreciation of the situation.

    The proper attitude to be taken toward the perpetuation of poor types is that which has been attributed to Huxley. "We are sorry for you," he is reported to have said; "we will do our best for you (and in so doing we elevate ourselves, since mercy blesses him that gives and him that takes), but we deny you the right to parentage. You may live, but you must not propagate."

    The absurdity of legislation to cure social evils without scientific facts to base that legislation upon, is no more apparent than in the disposal of the insane. In Wethams's "Family and the Nation," it is stated: "According to the mid-Victorian concept, a man was either sane or insane-quite mad or completely cured. How he became mad, how completely he was cured, were not taken into consideration." It is not enough to take care of an insane man. To discharge him after a period of a few months or a few years and brand him as cured, when his whole family history points to the fact. that he is a hereditary epileptic or lunatic, and to place no barriers in his path when he attempts to marry, is statesmanship of the poorest order.

    If the Eugenist has his way, "well-born" will acquire a new meaning. It will not cease to mean descent from a proud and noble race that has accomplished great things in the past, but it will also mean that the stock descended from that race is composed of men and women who will live up to its traditions, who will have that perfect physique and stable mental organization which Maudsley, that most literary and philosophical of psychiatrists, calls "the highest sanity."






    ...








    Normally I don't quote an article in full, but I thought this was especially interesting and I thought it would have a more profound impact read in its original context. The above is a reprint of an article from Scientific American originally printed in 1911. I think it goes to show what a long way we've changed from those days, however it still disturbs me that sentiments like this still exist to some degree in modern society. I guess I believe that often we as human beings believe things that seem to be true according to "the best" methodologies of our times that when subjected to further analysis and the cold wisdom of experience can be shown to have other outcomes than those expected.

    Here is a link to an article debunking the "research" done on the Jukes family.

    Ironically, I am actually in favor of modifying the human genome in an ethical fashion so that we can expand our capabilities perhaps using genes in deep sea hydra to increase the human life span, or using genes from animals to increase the range of our perceptions (dog's olfactory perception or perhaps the acoustical detection of cetaceans), and to make unique strains of humans that could colonize worlds/places on the earth that it would be impossible for us to inhabit now.

    I'm curious how people will respond to this. I guess for me it is a reminder not to believe too fervently in something (whether it be science, a faith system, or simple assurance of certitude) that I preclude the possibility that I could be wrong and in so doing go down a dark path. Hope you guys find something useful in it.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I totally support eugenics in some form, its harder to understand or fathom now because most people dont have any sense of a wider or different good other than satisfying their immediate selfish wishes.

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    morose bourgeoisie
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    Eugenic would create unintended consequences. Nature's way is best.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanton Moore View Post
    Eugenic would create unintended consequences. Nature's way is best.
    Nature's way has unintended consequences.

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    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Nature's way has unintended consequences.
    I understand what you're saying, but it's not the same thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanton Moore View Post
    I understand what you're saying, but it's not the same thing.
    It is.

    In some instances nature is there to be improved on, it is why we live in heated homes and not caves.

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    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    It is.

    In some instances nature is there to be improved on, it is why we live in heated homes and not caves.
    That is not directly a part of human evolution, nor are other technological advances. It has nothing to do with eugenics either.
    If humans are selectively bred and that was all, then it's possible that the results would not have as many unintended consequences as would directly tampering with the genome to produce changes (but: remember the slave trade? breeding humans is morally reprehensible and requires a master-slave society; see Nazi Germany or the American slave trade). Our technology is far too primitive to make such changes without creating all manner of problems, from run-away diseases, birth defects, etc; these are what I mean by 'unintended consequences'.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanton Moore View Post
    That is not directly a part of human evolution, nor are other technological advances. It has nothing to do with eugenics either.
    If humans are selectively bred and that was all, then it's possible that the results would not have as many unintended consequences as would directly tampering with the genome to produce changes (but: remember the slave trade? breeding humans is morally reprehensible and requires a master-slave society; see Nazi Germany or the American slave trade). Our technology is far too primitive to make such changes without creating all manner of problems, from run-away diseases, birth defects, etc; these are what I mean by 'unintended consequences'.
    Sounds like a bunch of cliches to me.

    There's no master slave relationship needed, you could simply say that eugenics would be a matter of good public records and genetic markers and tracking, where this the case people would make choices I'm sure, no one is going to marry someone who is too genetically similar to they themselves I'm sure if they knew it.

    Unfortunately nature does not always make it clear if people are, at the genetic level, virtual cousins, its complicated by cheating and children conceived and born whose parentage and familial trees are not totally clear too.

  9. #9
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Sounds like a bunch of cliches to me.

    There's no master slave relationship needed, you could simply say that eugenics would be a matter of good public records and genetic markers and tracking, where this the case people would make choices I'm sure, no one is going to marry someone who is too genetically similar to they themselves I'm sure if they knew it.

    Unfortunately nature does not always make it clear if people are, at the genetic level, virtual cousins, its complicated by cheating and children conceived and born whose parentage and familial trees are not totally clear too.
    Cliches? lol
    OK, Lark, whatever you say. Maybe you could include a quote by Fromm. I'm sure you could find one to shoe-horn in. Remember to never check your spelling or punctuation, and let your sentences run on! That's our Larky!

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanton Moore View Post
    Cliches? lol
    OK, Lark, whatever you say. Maybe you could include a quote by Fromm. I'm sure you could find one to shoe-horn in. Remember to never check your spelling or punctuation, and let your sentences run on! That's our Larky!
    I'm not surprised you followed me to this forum, not a lot of options for interaction you seem to have but I can ignore you here as well as any other place and I bet you'll not be long before warnings mount up to infractions and a ban.

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