- "The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by the English mathematician Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin. He defined it as the science of improving humanity by enhancing the chances that the 'fittest' would produce more offspring than the 'less fit.' The eugenicists felt a mandate to help human evolution along." Am I only seeing a phantom connection?
- "To be against eugenics early in this century 'was to be perceived as being against modernity, progress, and science,' writes anthropologist Jonathan Marks. 'The ideas were inaccurate and insensitive - but they were modern science' at the time." If I may remind today's scientists, they still don't know everything. Science will change now too.
- "[Frederick Osborn's] efforts [to reform eugenics] were doomed by events in Europe. By the late 1940s, after public revelations about Nazi atrocities, the eugenics movement and even the word eugenics had fallen out of favor." But the concept remains.
- "Scientists stand on the shoulders of their forbears. What is worth marking is the deliberate amnesia as to some unsavory aspects of its history that has pervaded this particular field [of population genetics] until very recently." Never forget. This connects nicely with a quote I found in Remembering the Christian Past by Robert L. Wilken (Eerdmans, 1995, p. 14): "Without memory the language of scholarship is impoverished, barren, and lifeless, a tottering scaffold of secondary creations in which 'words refer only to words.'" [Czeslaw Milosz, The Witness of Poetry, Cambridge, 1983, p. 49].
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Unnatural Selection: Chapter 7
Eugenics! Darwinian theory/hypothesis! It comes together in this chapter, foreseeably to the chagrin of certain proponents of macroevolution. Quotes with my bold comments: