What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:23 am

What is Eugenics?
by Leonard Darwin
1929, 1930, 1932



Copyright Elliott and Fry. As a special tribute to Major Darwin, the Congress has inserted his portrait in this edition of ''What is Eugenics?"


• Preface
• Introductory Statement, by James R. Angell, Yale University
• Message to the International Congress of Eugenics, New York, 1932
• I. Domestic Animals Attention to breed — Unconscious and conscious selection — Breeds of dogs, cattle, etc. — The farmer's knowledge.
• II. Man's Ancestors Improvements in mankind — Evolution and development, parallel processes — Struggle for existence — Natural selection.
• III. Our Surroundings Acquired differences — Mutilations — Effects of education — Social contact — Large families and poverty.
• IV. Hereditary Qualities Differences in mind and body at birth — Twins — Qualities of descendants — Regression to the mean.
• V. Eugenic Methods Stockyard methods — Overcrowding — Murder — Compulsory marriage — Birth rate, not death rate — Risks inevitable.
• VI. The Men We Want Elimination of defectives — Supermen — Inferior castes — Men judged by performance — Equality never obtainable.
• VII. Inferior Stocks Elimination of unfit — Compulsion or persuasion — Rare diseases — Insanity — Epilepsy — Consumption — Doctors' advice.
• VIII. Birth Control Checks on population — Family limitation — Continence — Contraception — Effects on health and morals — Dual campaign.
• IX. Sterilization Nature of operation — Not as punishment — Not compulsory — Promiscuous intercourse —Rapidity of results — Californian experiences.
• X. Feeble-mindedness Numbers — Causes — Heredity — Segregation — Guardianship — Sterilization — Marriage — Mental Deficiency Acts.
• XI. The Habitual Criminal Causes — Removal of children — Feeble-minded criminals — Reformatories — Training — Imprisonment — Segregation — Sterilization.
• XII. Who Pays The Bill? The Unfit — Taxation — Private charity — The inferior — Social contagion — Output of goods — The employable — The unemployed.
• XIII. The Deterioration of Our Breed Differential birth rate — Multiplication of poorer classes — Effects produced — Conditions new — Decay of ancient civilisations.
• XIV. Eugenics in the Future Elimination of the inferior — Public assistance — Eight to parenthood — Warnings as to size of family.
• XV. Bigger Families in Good Stocks Small families — Character and wages — Morals and patriotism — Luxury — Ambition — Children 's welfare — Highly educated women.
• XVI. Financial Aids to Parenthood Larger families, their causes and how to promote them — Family allowances — Income tax — Salaries — Scholarships.
• XVII. Selection in Marriage Benefits and disadvantages — Opportunities for meeting — Marriage with good stock — Cousin marriages — Medical certificates.
Site Admin
Posts: 32991
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:23 am


THE word ''Eugenics" now often occurs in the newspapers, and there must be some who are asking, "What is Eugenics? What is it all about? In the following pages an attempt is made to answer these questions in the fewest possible words. For the sake of brevity, a dogmatic tone has been adopted, all such expressions as "I believe," "I think," being omitted. Perhaps I may say that the arguments in favour of the views here set forth are stated at much greater length in my book on ''The Need for Eugenic Reform" (Murray; 1926). Also that this is a subject which has been in my thoughts for more than half a century, and that during the last seventeen years of that period, whilst I have been President of the Eugenics Society, it has been my constant study.

Condensed writing is necessarily hard reading. If the reader would read only one chapter a night, and read it three times over, it might have a greater effect than reading a more verbose book three times the length and much more than three times as expensive.

August, 1928.
Site Admin
Posts: 32991
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:24 am


The eugenics movement in this country has suffered somewhat — at least among the well educated — from the suspicion of sentimentality and of scientific superficiality. Certain of its more enthusiastic proponents may have given some ground for this distrustful attitude. But, be that as it may, no thoughtful person who reflects upon the vital and social statistics of his own nation, to say nothing of those of less favoured peoples, can have the slightest doubt that the population problem is going quickly to take on vastly greater importance than it has ever before enjoyed. International, as well as national, relations are certain to be increasingly and often critically affected by it. Not only the question of the total population, but also, and even more urgently, the problem of selecting the better and suppressing the poorer stocks, must be given exhaustive study.

No one is more competent to discuss these issues than Major Leonard Darwin, who for nearly half a century has been recognised as an authority in this field. In the present monograph, he has brought together an extraordinary amount of material and condensed its implications into the space of a few lucidly written pages. It should receive a warm welcome in its American dress. It will certainly be found provocative to honest thinking upon the problems with which it deals, and at the present moment that is the result most to be desired.

James R. Angell
Yale University
New Haven, Conn.
December 12, 1929

President Angell was delighted to welcome the Italian delegation to Yale and to "salute the young Fascisti," as he put it. James R. Angell to Mr. Lohmann, September 25, 1934, box 116, James R. Angell Presidential Papers [hereafter JRAPP], Sterling Library [hereafter SL], Yale University [hereafter YU], New Haven, Conn. After the welcome, the Italian students gave President Angell the Fascist salute and shouted, "Viva Mussolini!" Yale Daily News, October 11, 1934. The Yale administration invited the Fascist students to be its guests at the Yale-Columbia football game, and to parade in their college uniforms into and around the stadium, giving the Fascist salute. The Yale band serenaded the Italian Fascist students with "a tumultuous rendition of the Fascisti anthem Giovinezza." C. Lohmann to Mr. President, September 15, 1934, and David L. Clendenin to Dr. James R. Angell, October 8, 1934, box 116, JRAPP, SL, YU; Yale Daily News, October 6, 1934; New Haven Evening Register, October 7, 1934.

-- The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses, by Stephen H. Norwood
Site Admin
Posts: 32991
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:26 am

Message to the International Congress of Eugenics, New York, 1932

As advancing years will prevent me from attending the Congress at New York, may I be allowed to take this opportunity of sending to it a message to say how very sincerely I appreciate the great honor of being nominated as one of its Honorary Presidents and how keenly I wish it every success, even though knowing that such success is a certainty? And may I take this opportunity of adding a few words concerning eugenic policy generally?

In order to be practically successful in our endeavors to promote racial progress, or, I should rather say, to stem racial decay, two things are necessary. We must have such accurate scientific knowledge as will make it possible to foretell with a considerable degree of probability the consequences of any proposed social policy. And we must include within the scope of our moral precepts — of our religious ideals — a firm determination to pursue whatever policy is thus indicated as tending steadily to improve the inborn qualities of our nation as the generations succeed each other.

As to the many institutions in America where admirable scientific work is being carried on in this field, there is one which I must, for two reasons, be allowed on this occasion to pick out for special mention, and that is the Eugenics Record Office, now a department of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, located on Long Island, New York. In the first place, it has for many years been under the direction of Charles B. Davenport, the President of this Congress, with Harry H. Laughlin, Secretary to the Congress, in immediate charge; and during that time excellent work has there been accomplished. In the second place, its initiation was made possible to a large extent by the generosity of Mrs. E. H. Harriman; and I should like to call the attention of the women of America to the fact that many opportunities still exist in their country for promoting national progress through the agency of eugenics; for none of the institutions concerned is too wealthy. It is, I fear, somewhat invidious to mention names on such occasions; but, as my Society in England not long ago received a large bequest — not nearly so large as was reported — I cannot but express my hope that the cause of eugenics in America will have the same good luck. Again, the Eugenics Research Association is setting out on a career of very useful practical enquiries of a nature especially interesting to me.

Thus far I have only mentioned the more practical aspects of the labors of your Congress. As to the students of genetics, that being the very foundation on which eugenics is built, in whatever part of the world they live the name of T. H. [Thomas Hunt] Morgan is certain to be indelibly recorded in their minds; for the work done by him, and by an able band of American fellow workers, has been of inestimable value, not only to pure science, but also in the promotion of practical progress in racial matters.

As to the practical benefits certain to result from eugenic reforms, the sterilization experiment has been soberly advocated and wisely pursued in the United States, and the world will owe much to your country for the lead given in this direction. And, in this connection, the Human Betterment Foundation of California calls for special mention. Up till now, all such endeavors to stamp out defective heredity have been applied only to the grossly defective; and this limitation has probably been wise whilst eugenics was yet young. Racial deterioration is, however, I fully believe, taking place amongst us in such a way as to affect society as a whole; and, if this be so, the cure should be as widespread as the disease. Many methods, including voluntary sterilization stimulated by some carefully regulated pressure, must be utilized in the future in order to lessen the rate of multiplication of the lower half of humanity, and in this endeavor I hope to see America also playing a leading part.

Turning to what is called positive eugenics, that is to the methods of increasing the fertility of all the better stocks, here there is now a crying need for a bold forward movement. The very first step should be to make certain indisputable truths so widely known that they shall come to affect the everyday life of the whole nation. All should be made to realize that those stocks in which the families are habitually limited so as to contain only one or two children, are, in fact, disappearing off the face of the earth. Science has now taught us that each time that procreation takes place, one half of the hereditary endowment allotted to a human being for that occasion is actually thrown away, the half retained being joined up with a similar half from the other parent, these two together making up the full endowment needed by the child. But if half the then available hereditary endowment disappears with the appearance of every child, it follows that there must be on the average at the very least two children in each family — there really must be three or more — if the stream of life which is thus being passed on to future generations is not in time to run quite dry. Those stocks in which families are deliberately restricted to less than three are at each generation failing to transmit a large portion of their natural qualities to their descendants, and posterity really should not look upon them as forming part of their ancestry. As to those who have a right to review their family history with any satisfaction and who are nevertheless using contraceptive methods so freely that their blood must necessarily be thus watered down by interbreeding with other stocks, they are in fact refusing to serve their country in the distant future in the way now most certainly open to them. They are shirking a primary duty, for they are leaving to others the task of filling up the invisible gaps in the hereditary ranks of futurity; and this is to act like deserters in the fight for racial progress. This is a hard saying, over which I hope that young America will ponder; this, and the opposite truth that to bring into the world children likely to be below the average of their nation in natural qualities, is also to be condemned as definitely unpatriotic. Here I would add that certain economic problems in connection with the financial strain now thrown on sound families of adequate size are in urgent need of consideration in order to prevent praiseworthy parental foresight from causing racial damage.

I should like also to express the hope that eugenic organizations will restrict their energies to those questions which are primarily concerned with the inborn qualities of future generations; my reason being that unanimity, and consequently progress, are more probable the more clearly limited is the field covered by each society. To take a single instance, divorce had better be ruled out of our list of subjects for consideration, because the immediate social consequences of any proposed reforms in connection with the laws concerning marriage would be both more important and more calculable than their ultimate racial effects. In regard to family life generally, perhaps the most important object apart from eugenics is that as many children as possible should be brought up in homes where they come under the influence of both a father and a mother; and if such an aim can be but very imperfectly realized, this affords no argument against its being made the goal of our endeavors. Moreover, in considering such social problems as these, it is generally the broad effects of changes likely to be brought about in the mental attitude of the mass of the population which should mainly be held in view; whilst it is often forgotten that too much attention should not be paid to exceptionally unhappy marriages, for to give undue consideration to hard cases makes for bad eugenics. Now to allow divorces to be very easily obtainable would bring to the minds of all the idea that the breaking of the marriage tie must be regarded as a highly probable contingency, and this is a mental attitude which in itself greatly tends to increase the probability of separations taking place. In the absence of such thoughts, temporary difficulties would be far more often overcome, and the family would more often remain united. Divorce must be neither very easy nor very difficult if this highly important aim in regard to married life is most likely to be realized, that is, its continuance unless the conditions become really harmful.

Perhaps I may add that if compelled to regard divorce solely from the eugenic point of view, I should come to the same conclusion, though with less confidence. The more probable separation appears to be, the more will family limitation be practised; because the thought would more often arise that when living apart children would be likely to become a serious encumbrance. And if the birth-rate were thus to be lowered, it would be lowered most amongst the foreseeing and the prudent and least amongst the stupid, reckless or improvident. Free divorce would, in fact, tend to increase those differences in the birth-rate which now constitute the greatest danger to our race.

The eugenic point which now most needs emphasizing in connection with family life is that no marriage is undertaken without incurring material risks; that these risks should be studied in advance so as to lessen the number of unwise unions; and that when the risks involved have been definitely accepted, a great deal should be endured for the sake of maintaining a united family, that is for the sake of the children already born and to he born. Divorce is often both cowardly and unpatriotic.

The aim of eugenics being to lessen the fertility of all inferior stocks, whilst increasing the fertility of all the superior, we should seek for some method of deciding in which of these two equal divisions any individual should be placed. This is another problem presenting many difficulties, to which I hope careful attention will be paid in America, especially by its medical men. In deciding this question, the good qualities must always be weighed in the scales as against the bad, this being a point often overlooked in practice.

To conclude, though much progress has been made in recent years in eugenics, yet wide gaps still remain both in our theories and in our practical proposals. The International Eugenics Congress of 1921, held in New York under the presidency of Henry Fairfield Osborn, did much to promote a forward policy in racial matters; and I am confident that the Congress of 1932, in the same city, will carry on this good work in a way not only to bring great credit to the United States but also to help to spread the light over the whole world.

Leonard Darwin
August 22, 1932
Site Admin
Posts: 32991
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:27 am

Chapter I: Domestic Animals

WHEN the time comes for the old dog to die and when with sorrow we shall have to replace him, will not the breed of our new companion be our first thought? Farmers in all ages of which we have any records, and in all countries, have paid great attention to the breed of all their flocks and herds. Owners of cattle have always known that care in the selection of stock for breeding purposes will pay them well in the long run. Do not all who keep poultry discuss the relative merits of Leghorns and Light Sussex, or of whatever may be the favorite breeds at the time? Pigs, pigeons, canaries, bees, to say nothing about vegetables — ask those who take a practical interest in rearing them what would be the chance of anyone winning a prize who was careless as to breed. Lastly, the publication of stud books proves what careful consideration is given to the performances of the ancestors of existing horses. And if men, however savage or however cultivated, have always given so much time to the study of the breed of the animals they own, why have they not paid equal or more attention to their own breed? Before a marriage is contracted many questions may be asked as to the amount of money likely to be inherited by the bride, while no consideration is usually given to the qualities of mind or body which she is likely to pass on to her children — to her breed, in fact. The aim of eugenics is to prove that the breed of our own citizens is a matter of vital importance when considering the future welfare of our country.

First of all let us see what advantages have actually been gained for man by improving the breed of his domestic animals, and how these improvements have been brought about. All our dogs are descended from some wild wolf-like ancestors, who had been captured when young and tamed. Those with the wildest natures often ran away, and became wild animals again. Some of the naturally tamer animals could be kept, but when they failed to follow our savage ancestors out hunting, or when they turned sulky or unsociable, or when they bit a child in the camp, they were often promptly killed. This may be described as unconscious or unpremeditated selection. It has been going on for several thousand years, and it has had wonderful effects. The wild ancestors of our dogs were ready enough to attack a man if found at a disadvantage. Our dogs of to-day, their descendants, are our most faithful companions. Their affection for men is so bred into them that they pay much more attention to us than to other dogs.

Police in rural Virginia have released disturbing details about a woman who they say was killed by her two dogs while taking them for a walk last week. Four days after Bethany Stephens, 22, was found, police held a second press conference to describe her death and refute rumours of foul play. When deputies found the dogs on Friday they were guarding what police at first thought was an animal carcass. But the body was Stephens's, and police say the pit bulls were eating her.

"I observed, as well as four other deputy sheriffs observed," Goochland County Sheriff Jim Agnew said, "the dogs eating the rib cage on the body". "The first traumatic injury to her was to her throat and face," he said. "It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death," he added, pausing several times.

Sheriff Agnew said in Monday's press conference that he did not want to initially release the graphic detail, out of concern for the victim's family. But after rumours began to swirl in the small town 30 miles (48km) outside Richmond, Virginia - and the sheriff was inundated with calls from concerned citizens - he chose to release the information in order to assure the public that there was not a killer on the loose.

Friends had questioned what would have led the pit bulls to kill their owner who had raised them since they were puppies. One friend told local media that the dogs were gentle. "They'd kill you with kisses," Barbara Norris told WWBT News....

Authorities say the bite marks on her head match those of the dogs, and that they were not consistent with any other type of wild animal such as a bear. T

he dogs' bodies have been preserved for a post-mortem examination.

-- Virginia woman mauled to death by her dogs, police say, by BBC.com, 12/19/17

The effects of the deliberate efforts which have long been made to breed better animals have been even more remarkable than the effects of this unpremeditated selection. All savages are known to pay some attention to breed. As it was obvious that it was the swiftest hound of the pack which succeeded in running down the hare or the rabbit, it was that dog which was selected by primitive man for breeding purposes. This went on century after century, with the result that in time the greyhound of to-day made its appearance. When our ancestors wanted protection for themselves or their herds, they looked more to strength and weight when selecting for breeding; and in consequence many stronger kinds of dogs were produced at the same time as the greyhound. When it was a creature to pet that was desired, dogs like the Chinese chow slowly appeared as if in answer to this demand. The differences between all the innumerable breeds of dogs — bulldogs, pugs, mastiffs, terriers, bloodhounds, poodles, lapdogs, etc. — are probably partly the result of the differences between the wild animals which were tamed originally. But this extraordinary diversity of form is really mainly due to the different ideals in the minds of the men who bred them, and to the slight differences in the individuals selected in consequence for breeding purposes generation after generation.

The contrast between cats and dogs is also instructive. The cat's nature leads it to wander out at night, and its habits make control over its breeding very difficult; and such breeding is, therefore, but little attended to. In consequence, as compared with dogs, fewer different breeds of cats have been produced, with less marked differences between them. Then, again, cats are chiefly useful for killing mice at home. This they can do in their master's absence, because he does not want to eat the mice himself. Hence obedience to a call has not been bred into them. Lastly, what brings the cat home in the morning after its wanderings in the dark is the desire for shelter and warmth. It was those cats which felt this desire for comfort most strongly who least often deserted the camp to become wild animals. The result of this unpremeditated selection going on for ages has been the production of the comfort-loving, unsympathetic animal we all know so well.

The effects of selection in bygone times are also seen clearly in our cattle of to-day. In the days of our ancestors of long ago, the poor milker was often killed for food, while the cow producing more milk was retained to supply the family. It was only the better milkers, therefore, who had calves; and these calves passed on to their descendants their powers of producing milk in bigger quantities. No doubt this kind of unintentional selection in some degree improved the breed in regard to milk-giving. In our day, however, deliberate selection is being carried on with the greatest forethought and care. A bull is valued for breeding purposes in accordance with the milking qualities, not only of its female ancestors, but also of the cows which he has already produced as his offspring. African savages have tame cows which are known to have produced not more than two or three pints of milk a day; and this may be more than that produced by wild cattle. A good milker may now produce forty pints a day, this increase in amount being the result of deliberate care taken in breeding.

The egg-laying powers of poultry have been improved much in the same way as the amount of milk given by cows. The singing of canaries tells much the same story. The differences between the breeds of horses, with the cart horse and the pony at the two extremes, are with little doubt due in some measure to different wild animals having been caught and tamed in bygone ages. But the differences between these wild animals have been immensely increased by man. In the case of pigeons, the existing breeds, including such apparently different birds as the pouter and the fantail, have all descended directly from the one wild form, the rock dove. Why they now differ so greatly is because in breeding them the fancier had no useful purposes in view, and had only his fancy to guide him. A study of pigs, sheep, duck, and even bees, would also illustrate the wonders that can be accomplished by care in breeding.

Those who live in towns have not as good opportunities of studying animal life as have the farmers of to-day or as had their ancestors. Farmers learn much by their own personal experience. They may have learnt even more in consequence of the traditional knowledge acquired in their families in times gone by having been passed on to them by their fathers when they were lads. Farmers are not always right when they try to explain things; but when they talk about the advantage of attending to breed they are talking about what they know. It is not the business of farmers as such to apply to their fellow citizens their knowledge as to breed. But should not we ask ourselves why we should not try to improve mankind by somewhat the same methods as those which have worked such wonders with domestic animals? Is it not folly altogether to neglect the experience gained by breeders when we are thinking of the needs and the shortcomings of our own nation? These are the questions which eugenics aims at answering.
Site Admin
Posts: 32991
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:27 am

Chapter II: Man's Ancestors

SOME persons will reply to what has just been said by declaring that man is not an animal. They will add that it is, therefore, worse than useless to look to the breeding of pigs and sheep when seeking for guidance in our own affairs. A word or name is, however, in many ways, like a label. You can tie it on to anything or tear it off again, almost at your pleasure. If you choose to attach the label of "animal" only to what are generally called the lower animals, then you may say if you like that man is not an animal. You will, however, learn nothing whatever about man merely by considering the name you give to him. We must look at things themselves, and not at the labels attached to them. What we want to know about mankind is whether it is likely that the human race would be benefited in the future by care being taken in regard to breeding; that is, in the same way that domestic animals have certainly been improved in the past. This is the question to be asked and answered.

As to the lower animals, all students of science now believe that if we could trace their ancestry backwards, offspring to parent, generation after generation, for an immense time, we should see that they were all descended from some common stock. All the lower animals are, in fact, very distant cousins. And, being thus related, it is natural that they should all be improved in like manner by care being taken in the selection of the individuals that are allowed to breed. Is man their cousin also? There is no good reason why he should be excluded from this great family group, and he is not so excluded by those who have looked into the matter carefully. We are of common descent with the lower animals, and with us, as with them, wonders could be effected by breeding.

The existence of this blood relationship between man and the lower animals was, it is true, nearly universally-denied but a short while ago. Many who have not studied the question deny it still. Then what has brought about this wonderful change of opinion amongst the students of science? Many reasons can be given in favour of this belief in the common descent of all animals; but these reasons can be thoroughly understood only by reading some of the many books on the subject. In these works it can be learnt that it is in the oldest rocks that the remains of the most simple or primitive creatures are found. It is only in those parts of the ground beneath us which were laid down in more recent times that there exist fossil remains of creatures at all like those which now surround us. Living things have evidently appeared on earth in such a way that what we call the highest came last. Then, again, animals which are found living near each other when wild are more like each other than animals that live far apart. If the body of the unborn babe is examined, it is found to contain parts which seem likely to develop so as only to be useful to animals living in water. These useless parts are like relics indicating the kind of life lived by our remote ancestors: they cannot have been put there merely to puzzle us.

When studying all the living beings we see around us, students of science have, in fact, been at work at a kind of great jigsaw puzzle. They have found that the pieces will fall into their places only if it is assumed that a blood relationship exists between all animals, including man. In this way hundreds of previously unexplained facts, such as those above mentioned, can now be explained. It can, therefore, no longer be denied that man has descended from some ape-like ancestor. We must accept this as a fact in framing our social policy. And this change in our beliefs has no doubt amounted to a revolution in thought. All such revolutions must have some effect on our actions.

The strongest opposition to this belief in the lowly ancestry of man is based on religious scruples. All such scruples must be treated with respect, provided we do not flinch from stating what we ourselves believe to be true. Every man who condemns this belief in the evolution of his race should remember that he himself unquestionably has developed from a small jelly-like object, very like some of the simplest creatures now living on earth. From such an apparently simple germ each one of us developed before birth into something shaped like an animal which could not be distinguished from a pig or a sheep when at that same early stage of development. After birth we were for a time far more helpless and far less intelligent than a monkey. As children we had little self-control. Every individual man has gone through a process of development which in some respects resembles the way in which the race of man has sprung from some lowly kind of living beings. Since no one can deny his own development, no one thinks of being ashamed of it. Why should we be any more ashamed of the somewhat similar descent of our race from some bygone race of primitive ancestors? Should we not rather rejoice at the thought that we have been so long on the upward march?

Granted that all the different kinds of animals which have appeared on earth in the past were descended from some older kinds by the ordinary methods of reproduction, we next must ask what it was which brought about this slow change in their appearances and habits. Here again the story is too long to tell in full. Only a few main points can now be mentioned.

When food is short the numbers of any kind of animal will be reduced by starvation. When food is plentiful, on the other hand, there will be an exceptional increase in numbers. But, generally speaking, the numbers of any kind of wild animal do not alter greatly as time goes by. Now, when numbers are not changing, and when one couple die, they must be replaced by one other couple, no more and no less. If each couple had two offspring, and if both of these offspring grew up and in time also reproduced their kind in like manner, numbers would be kept just even. As a rule, however, every animal has more than two offspring, generally many more. And when, in the past, numbers have not been increasing, all the offspring over two must on the average have been got rid of before pairing, somehow or other. How has this been brought about?

This keeping down of numbers has been the result of what has been called ''the struggle for existence." This is not a very good name; for the killing off of animals in fights with other animals has not been the most important way in which their numbers have been held in check. Many more have died as the result of accident, disease, and want of food. Some have failed to get a mate, and have consequently left no progeny behind them. The result of these innumerable deaths and failures has been that the numbers of the different races of animals have been kept from altering greatly. Now, some of these animals were slightly superior to their fellows in some way which gave them an advantage in this so-called struggle for existence. It was these slightly superior animals who had the best chance of survival and of reproducing their kind, and who most often did so. They were picked out by what has been called "natural selection."

Life has existed on this earth for perhaps a thousand million years. During all this time the best or the fittest animals have been selected, as it were, in this way for breeding purposes. We have seen how our savage ancestors, without always giving the matter any thought, generally bred from the dogs who actually succeeded best in the chase. The result of this partly unpremeditated selection was that in the course of a few thousand years a wolf-like animal slowly changed into a dog something like our greyhound. The survival of the beings best fitted to their surroundings during an unthinkably long period of time has led in a somewhat similar manner to some lowly animal gradually giving rise to man.

This is the process which has been called "evolution by natural selection." This is how, in my opinion, the changes which are known to have taken place in animals in the course of past ages have been brought about. Some scientists do not attach quite as much importance as this to natural selection: all of them, however, hold that it has had great effects in the past. And all agree, therefore, that if selection can now be applied to the human race, in a somewhat similar manner, it will have wonderful effects on future generations. A belief in evolution opens out before our eyes possibilities of almost unlimited improvement in the lot of mankind in the distant future. We are also thus led to see that those who care for the future welfare of their country should make it one of their main aims to attend to the breed of their race. And eugenics tells us in what ways we can do this.
Site Admin
Posts: 32991
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:28 am

Chapter III: Our Surroundings

WE have seen that if animals showing good points are selected for breeding purposes, generation after generation, the result will be an improvement in the breed. This is because any good point noted in a parent as a rule will reappear to some extent amongst its descendants; or, in other words, it will generally be inherited. We have thus far accepted this as a fact merely because it is a matter of common knowledge. Doubts and difficulties are, however, constantly being raised when it is proposed to apply this knowledge in human affairs. Something must, therefore, be said to make this certainty doubly certain.

As we have seen, every human being is developed out of a minute germ. These germs are at first quite indistinguishable from each other in appearance. Nevertheless, putting aside the case of twins, who resemble each other closely, now often called identical twins, no two germs are ever exactly like each other. And the differences between the germs are such as to give rise to differences between the individuals developing from them. Since no two germs are alike, no two human beings are alike either. And the differences between men, which result from differences between the germs from which they originated, are known as hereditary differences. If one man has blue eyes and another brown, this is as good an example as can be given of an hereditary difference.

These are, however, not the only kind of differences which exist between human beings. Men meet with different surroundings as they are developing from their originating germs and, indeed, during all their lives. The surroundings to which men are exposed may leave an indelible mark on them, and may thus make them differ permanently one from another. Probably no two human beings would ever remain exactly alike, even if the germs from which they all sprang were identical. And these differences between men, which result from differences in the surroundings to which they had been exposed, may be called acquired differences. If one man had been exposed to the sun more than another, the resulting difference in appearance between them would be an acquired difference.

When we study any particular difference between two men, we shall nearly always be led to believe that it is due partly to a difference between the germs from which they sprang, and partly to differences in their past surroundings. It is generally, therefore, very difficult to say what part of any human quality or character is acquired and what is inherited. It is, nevertheless, very important that we should get clear ideas as to the differences in the behaviour, so to speak, of these two kinds of differences. With this object in view, we shall discuss acquired differences in this chapter, leaving inherited differences for consideration in the following chapter.

Now, the first question we have to ask about those differences between human beings which we have described as being acquired, is whether they are passed on by natural inheritance to succeeding generations. Do good surroundings and good training tend to improve the actual breed of man? Will the descendants of well-cared-for and well-educated human beings show any natural superiority in consequence of this care and education? This is known as the question of the inheritance of acquired characters, and it is still one which is to some extent in dispute.

In the first place, it is universally agreed that the results of accidents or mutilations are not inherited. The soldier who lost a leg in the war, or who sustained any other injury, need have no fear that his children will be in any way inferior because of his misfortune.

As to the more general question, the following is the kind of enquiry to which an answer is needed. If one of a pair of identical twins becomes a blacksmith and the other a clerk, will the son of the blacksmith be more likely to have good muscles than the son of the clerk? Or again, if one twin becomes a criminal after having been brought up in evil surroundings, whilst the other, coming under no such harmful influences, commits no crime, will the son of the criminal, even if removed from bad surroundings at birth, be more likely to become a criminal than his cousin whose father remained honest? The answer given to-day by the majority of scientists is that neither the strength of the blacksmith nor the criminality of the criminal will tend to reappear in their descendants merely because the one exercised his muscles to an exceptional amount, whilst the other failed in consequence of being exceptionally tempted. The descendants of the blacksmith will be no stronger, and the descendants of the criminal no worse, than the descendants of their identical twin brothers, whose muscles and morals had not been thus exceptionally affected. It is true that some scientists hold that there will be very slight inherited effects in such cases. It is generally agreed, however, that those inherited effects will be so small that they may be safely neglected when considering practical human affairs. And this, therefore, may be our final verdict with regard to the inheritance of acquirements.

This conclusion is no doubt contrary to the beliefs of the man in the street. Here, then, we must decide whether we should place our trust in those scientists who have studied these questions for years, or whether we should be guided by men who have never given the matter any systematic thought. If we decide to trust to science, the care and education which are being given to-day to our fellow citizens must not be relied on as practical methods of improving the actual breed of our nation in the coming generations.

Then why is it, we may be asked, that drunkenness, for example, is to be noted so often generation after generation in the same family? Is not this obviously because the man who first gave way to drink passed on this evil habit by inheritance to his descendants? This sounds common sense, but it is not the true explanation. Two other explanations have to be considered. In the first place, a son is apt to imitate his father, and the mere fact that a father drinks is likely to increase the chances of his son doing so also. In the second place, the first drunkard in any family of whom we have any record may have inherited from his ancestors some hereditary weakness which made him especially ready to give way to this amongst other forms of temptation. He may have passed on this weakness to his descendants; a weakness which made them also in their turn especially liable to become drunkards. These are the real reasons why drunkenness sometimes runs in families.

We have said that care in regard to the surroundings of man will not improve the breed of his race. But let there be no mistake. This does not mean that our surroundings are of little importance to us. Training, education, health, housing, culture, recreation, etc., are obviously of the greatest importance; because it is only by paying attention to them that those now on earth can be made to lead happier and nobler lives. Moreover, the benefits resulting from education will to no small extent be passed on by tradition to future generations. All that is here to be noted about these admirable methods of improving the lot of mankind is that the label "eugenics" is not attached to them. They can, however, be pursued just as well without that label.

It may be said that to improve the surroundings of the people is the quickest way of benefiting them, and that this, therefore, should be our first aim. There is no doubt some truth in this. But experience should teach us how difficult it is to improve surroundings at all quickly. In any case, the possibility of doing good in one direction is generally the worst of all arguments against trying to do good in another direction. Steps can be taken which will result in an improvement in the breed in future generations at the same time that improvements in surroundings of those now on earth are being promoted.

Thus, when studying the effect of surroundings we are not studying eugenics. But such studies, as we shall see, have important indirect bearings on our subject. When groups of men have free dealings or intercourse with each other, this we may describe as social contact. Now social contact is never a one-sided affair. When a group, which is morally or mentally superior in any way, comes in contact with an inferior group, that inferior group will be benefited by that contact. The superior group generally realizes this quite sufficiently. But it is equally certain that the inferior group tends to drag down the superior, and this is a fact which is often overlooked. Social contact, no doubt, tends very slowly to bring all the groups affected to a common level or condition. And that level will be above the bottom and below the top. Social contact always has a levelling effect.

Now, persons living in poor homes cannot have the same opportunities of improving their minds as have the well-to-do. As a rule, the children of the day labourer, for example, must be at some disadvantage as compared with the children of the skilled artizan. No doubt all that is practicable should be done to put the different classes on an equality as regards such opportunities; provided that the results would be on the whole beneficial and not demoralizing. But reforms of this kind often do good but very slowly; and we may ask whether some other methods of improving the lot of all classes cannot be simultaneously set in operation.

Families appearing in poor homes are at the present time larger than those found amongst the better paid classes. As compared with the parent generation, the children born in better-equipped homes are, therefore, outnumbered by those coming from worse surroundings. The result of social contact between the classes must in consequence now be a downward drag on the nation as a whole in regard to all qualities thus affected. Ought we not to try to reverse this state of things? If the well-to-do had the big families and the poor the small ones, those children with superior opportunities would outnumber those less fortunately situated. In such circumstances, social contact would continually tend to raise the level of the whole nation.

Moreover, if the families of the poor were to be smaller, other good results would follow. Much misery would thus be saved. Taxation would be lessened because there would be less pauperism. On the other hand, larger families amongst the well-to-do would result in a wider and, therefore, more even distribution of wealth. For all these reasons, there would be less discontent and less political animosity. This again would improve the industrial situation, and consequently lead to a higher standard of living all round. Thus we see that, when looking only to the more immediate effects of human surroundings, all the advantages mentioned in this and the preceding paragraph would be felt if, for example, day labourers had smaller families and artizans and the well-to-do generally had more children. And in the following chapters we shall see that it is also in this direction that we should move if we wish to improve the actual breed of the race. All social reformers ought to be able to co-operate in the promotion of reforms aiming at these results.
Site Admin
Posts: 32991
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:29 am

Chapter IV: Hereditary Qualities

IN the last chapter it was said that men are not all born alike. It was declared that the germs from which we spring differ one from the other, with the result that as grown men we also differ amongst ourselves. But what proof is there that any of the differences between us can thus be explained? May not all our differences be the result of the differences in the surroundings to which we have been exposed?

All will agree that we can do nothing to stop a man having red hair or blue eyes if, when born, that seems to be his fate. Such peculiarities as these evidently depend on something which was in existence when the man possessing them was born. And this is equally true of many other bodily qualities. Men are certainly not all born alike as far as their bodies are concerned.

Men also differ amongst themselves at birth as regards their minds, or rather as to what their minds will become; though this is not so easily proved. In this matter we can, however, appeal to common sense. Let anyone look back at his school-days, and he will readily admit that some of his school-fellows could beat him not only in strength of body, but in strength of mind also. And it is evident to us now that the superiority of the minds of some of our young companions had little if anything to do with any superiority in their surroundings.
As to some other boys, we know equally well that we should never have behaved as badly as they did under any circumstances. Our common sense tells us that some of the differences that we noted between our schoolboy friends depended on something which was not affected by external conditions.

If a more scientific proof that men are not all born alike is demanded, it can be obtained by a study of identical twins. The great likeness often existing between twins is not to be explained by a likeness between their past surroundings. This we know to be the case because twins who were separated soon after birth, and who lived very different lives, have often remained extraordinarily alike. The only satisfactory explanation which can be given of the great similarity between identical twins is that they sprang from one and the same germ.[/size [size=125] Whatever small differences there are between what are called identical twins may, no doubt, be explained by differences in their past surroundings. But ordinary brothers are exposed to nearly the same differences in surroundings as are twins. Brothers who are not twins cannot, therefore, differ from each other much more than do twins because of the effects of their past surroundings. To whatever extent ordinary brothers differ more than twins, to that extent some other explanation has to be found for these extra differences between them. And no explanation can be suggested for these differences except that they are due to the differences which existed between the germs from which the brothers sprang. We thus get a rough measure of those differences existing amongst the members of any one family which can be traced back to their originating germs; differences which may be called hereditary differences.

Monica and Erika Hoffman stand barefoot, side by side near a sign that reads “Twin Studies Center” at California State University at Fullerton. Their glasses removed, both have auburn eyes, softly jutted chins, light freckles, and perky noses. Both wear black shirts and small sparkly earrings (Erika’s are flowers, Monica’s, bows). The identical twin sisters turned 39 the day before this lab visit.

“You are the 101st twin pair we’ve had in this study,” Nancy Segal, a shrewd, spirited professor in a sequined black hoodie, tells them, as a cluster of graduate students shadow her through the halls. Segal, a fraternal twin herself, is a walking Wikipedia of twin science. She specializes in evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics, and has studied thousands of twins and their families around the world. Nearly three decades ago, Segal founded the Twin Studies Center to learn what twins like the Hoffman sisters—far from the same, despite appearances—have to teach us about the complex interplay of forces that impact our health and shape who we are.

Segal takes out a tape measure and begins with Monica, then moves to Erika. “Sixty-eight inches,” Segal says. “That would make Monica three-quarters of an inch taller.”
At first glance, the Hoffman twins’ physical differences are as difficult to notice as their slightly mismatched heights. It’s tricky to tell them apart at all, except that Monica wears a gray beanie, wispy baby hairs peaking from beneath its knitted edges. Erika wears her brown hair loose, falling past her shoulders. Monica used to have the same hairstyle—before four-and-a-half months of chemotherapy and six-and-a-half weeks of radiation treatments left her bald.

In September 2015, doctors discovered a tennis-ball-size tumor in Monica’s left breast. It turned out that she had stage two breast cancer, which had already spread to her lymph nodes. But the specialists were surprised to learn that Monica had an identical twin—and three years later, they continue to be baffled. Monica is now in remission after a partial mastectomy, while Erika continues to receive regular mammograms and ultrasounds, but has never tested positive for cancer. (A year before Monica’s diagnosis, a mammogram also detected early stage breast cancer in the twins’ mother.)

Identical twins (also known as monozygotic twins) come from a single egg that splits in two, and share 100 percent of their genes. Neither Hoffman twin tested positive for BRCA gene mutations, which account for between 5 and 10 percent of breast-cancer cases. There are other mutations that may be involved in breast cancer, but with the Hoffman twins, the question loomed: What could have led to their divergent diagnoses, when their bodies contain the same roughly 20,000 genes?

Twin studies have historically been some of the most valuable genetic research tools in the world—contributing a century of data to our knowledge of human behavioral, medical, and physical traits.

“All twins are valuable to research,” says Jeffrey Craig of the Center for Molecular and Medical Research at Deakin University in Australia. “But identical twins, I think they are the most valuable. Because what we control, or hold still, is the genetics. The mother, the father, the date of birth, the season of birth, the shared environment, the family, the mother’s diet [are all the same].”

“Twin studies are a simple, very elegant design,” Segal adds. Holding the genetics constant allows researchers to study the age-old question of nature versus nurture—what aspects of a person come from their DNA, and which come from their environment? There was a time when scientists tended to think one or the other factor was more important to development, but they have since come to realize how limiting it is to confine our understanding of behavior, health, and identity to this either-or dichotomy. “Nature and nurture work in concert,” Segal says, “affecting every measurable human trait.”

To her, twins are not just curious spectacles, but unique individuals born in tandem, living gifts to science and to humanity. Segal has investigated some of the world’s most fascinating twin cases. She’s traveled to Brazil to spend time with twins who belong to a family that includes 22 sets of identical twins born across five generations. Like many researchers, Segal used to believe that while fraternal twins run in families, identical twins are just random occurrences in nature. But cases like the Brazil family and a study of 13 sets of identical twins in Jordan challenge that idea, along with findings like a 2009 study that found twins from seven different families shared similar alleles. Each of these families produced at least two pairs of identical twins.

But Segal may be most known for her studies on twins separated or switched at birth, such as the case involving Begoña and Delia from the Canary Islands in Spain. As a baby, Delia was accidentally switched with another infant in the hospital, and the girls and their families grew up oblivious that it had ever happened until they were 28. They were the sixth switched-at-birth pair of twins ever identified.

In 2014, Segal stumbled on the eighth and ninth publicly known switched-at-birth cases, an even more bizarre story of two sets of brothers in Colombia. Each family believed their two sons were fraternal twins. But everything the men thought they knew about their families and selves blew up when a co-worker of one of the brothers, Jorge, in Bogotá went to the butcher shop on the far side of town. She was sure she saw Jorge working behind the meat counter, which was particularly odd because she knew Jorge worked at an engineering company, designing gas and water lines. It was actually Jorge’s identical twin, William, who he’d never met.

This mistaken identity led to the discovery that two of the four brothers had been switched at birth. The young men were actually part of two identical twin sets. Two of them had been raised in the wrong families altogether, about 150 miles away from their identical brothers. Segal traveled to Colombia to study the four young men, and write about their journeys in a new book, Accidental Brothers.

Though switched-at-birth twins are exceedingly rare, there are more instances of twins who are separated at birth. Since 1922, there have been 1,894 cases of sets of twins reared apart, according to a study by Segal. Today, there are more documented cases of twins separated at birth and later reunited than ever before, largely because the internet has helped connect these siblings. Segal has studied 150 reared-apart twin pairs, and is currently studying 22 cases, mostly from China, whose one-child policy of the 1970s led to the abandonment of tens of thousands of infants. Over a dozen twin sets from China were adopted (since the 1990s) and raised separately.

Though all twins, through their similarities and differences, offer insight into the effects of genetics and the environment, twins who were reared apart offer particularly powerful case studies.

In 1979, Jim Springer and Jim Lewis, “the Jim twins,” were reunited at age 39 after not knowing the other existed. As described in Segal’s book on the identical Jim twins, Born Together—Reared Apart, both had been adopted and raised by different families in Ohio, just 40 miles apart from each other. Despite their separate upbringings, it turned out that both twins got terrible migraines, bit their nails, smoked Salem cigarettes, drove light blue Chevrolets, did poorly in spelling and math, and had worked at McDonald’s and as part-time deputy sheriffs. But the weirdest part was that one of the Jim twins had named his first son James Alan. The other had named his first son James Allan. Both had named their pet dogs “Toy.” Both had also married women named Linda—then they got divorced, and both married women named Betty.

The Jim twins inspired the Minnesota Twins Reared Apart study, which Segal also worked on from 1982 to 1992. This research once again showed surprising similarities in identical twins’ habits, interests, intelligence, and religion despite their separate upbringings. Still, even the Jim twins had differences. For starters, one divorced Betty and married a woman named Sandy
, which, as Segal jokes, must have caused worry for the other still-married Betty.

Even the most strikingly similar identical siblings can also differ in deeper ways. In the 1960s, researchers studied a set of four identical sisters known as the Genain Quadruplets, all of whom were diagnosed with schizophrenia at 24. As a graduate student at the University of Chicago, Segal worked on the case one summer at the National Institutes of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The quads’ shared diagnoses might have seemed like a vote for nature over nurture. But it wasn’t so simple. “The Genains did have a very abusive, paranoid father,” Segal says. But the quads were especially remarkable because “despite their identical genes, they all showed varying symptoms.”

Twin studies of personality are consistent in attributing approximately half of the variance in personality to genetic effects, with the remaining variance attributed to environments that make people within the same families different. Such conclusions, however, are based on quantitative models of human individual differences that estimate genetic and environmental contributions as constants for entire populations. Recent advances in statistical modeling allow for the possibility of estimating genetic and environmental contributions contingent on other variables, allowing the quantification of phenomena that have traditionally been characterized as gene-environment interaction and correlation. We applied these newer models to understand how adolescents’ descriptions of their relationships with their parents might change or moderate the impact of genetic and environmental factors on personality. We documented notable moderation in the domains of positive and negative emotionality, with parental relationships acting to both enhance and diminish both genetic and environmental effects. We discuss how genetic and environmental contributions to personality might be more richly conceptualized as dynamic systems of gene-environment interplay – systems that are not captured by classical concepts, such as the overall heritability of personality.

-- The Heritability of Personality is not Always 50%: Gene-Environment Interactions and Correlations between Personality and Parenting, by Robert F. Krueger

One sister, known as Myra in the study, had mild features, and might not have even been diagnosed with schizophrenia had it not been for her three sisters whose symptoms ranged in paranoia, hallucinations, catatonia, and incoherence. Genetics obviously played a role. But how the disease manifested within each sister may have been influenced by something else.

The reasons why identical twins have differences at all—not just in health outcomes, but temperament, taste, and physical traits—can come down to random chance. But it can also be traced to how each sibling’s (identical) genes are expressed. These microscopic variations can lead to radical differences in a person’s health, personality, and even appearance. The study of how this works is known as epigenetics.

This research field is often misunderstood. Confusion over gene expression contributed to recent widespread fake news claiming that the identical twin astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly no longer had identical DNA, after Scott’s record-length stay on the International Space Station.

What actually happened to the astronaut? “Some of Scott’s genes changed their expression while he was in space, and 7 percent of those genes didn’t return to their preflight states months after he came back,” as Marina Koren writes in The Atlantic. “If 7 percent of Scott’s genetic code changed, as some of the stories suggested, he’d come back an entirely different species.” Gene expression would be expected to change as one’s body reacts to life in space, a drastically different environment from earth. But genetic code itself would not.

With epigenetics, gene activity reacts in response to various mechanisms at the cellular level. In Greek, the prefix “epi” means “on top of” or “above.” So referring to “epigenetics” or the “epigenome” implies a process occurring on top of the genes. A common analogy used to describe the epigenome is to consider genes as instruments in the “symphony” of life. But they don’t play themselves. They need musicians. Epigenetics would be the musicians that help express (or silence) the performance of our genes. Exercise, sleep, trauma, aging, stress, disease, and diet have all shown significant effects on the epigenome.

Studies suggest that some changes to the epigenome may be passed on to our future grandchildren. Meanwhile, scientists are actively working on epigenetic editing—finding a way to hack gene expression. Others are developing drug treatments that target the epigenome. There is hope that the science of epigenetics will one day help doctors detect and disrupt diseases earlier and more effectively.

Whether a gene is active or not can depend on chemical compounds that click onto the DNA structure, toggling the gene’s on-off switch (think of it as a biological lock and key). These changes can be clicked into place, and they can also be undone. Environment and lifestyle can influence gene activity, and it is within this segment of the field of epigenetics that twin studies can play a key role.

My own identical twin boys are now 16 months old. One has a strawberry-shaped birthmark on his left ankle. The other has a thick em-dash-shaped birthmark on the back of his right thigh. One has a hair whorl that swoops to the right. The other’s swoops left. Without those defining markers—for the first six months of their lives especially—my husband and I might have mixed them up and never straightened out the mistake.

It is not as hard to tell my sons apart now, but we often recognize them more based on personality differences than looks. One is adventurous, daring—the first to nosedive off a sofa, the first to fall down stairs. He also crawled, stood, cruised, and walked first. He hollers and cries when we leave the room. Our other boy is an observer. He can be laser-focused, able to spend 30 minutes trying to click together a buckle as his brother marches around with his chest puffed, in need of constant movement and entertainment.

In life, they’ve shared bottles, diets, sleep schedules, and common colds. In the womb, they shared a placenta (but not umbilical cords). Still, they were starkly different long before most of these experiences, from the instant the doctor sliced me open and yanked them out. One screamed all night long in those first days on Earth. The other, in the same bassinet, dozed right through his brother’s cries.

I wondered: What the heck then was going on inside my body that may have influenced their different personalities in their first shared year of life? No doctor or scientist can possibly tell us for sure. But the epigenetic changes that can take two identical strands of DNA and turn them into two unique individuals are thought to start in the womb. Some studies of twin newborns have shown that intrauterine and postnatal environments lead to differences in gene expression, and some of these divergent patterns are detectable at birth.

These differences may widen as twins grow up. While infant identical twins can be almost indistinguishable, some can begin to look more unique as they age (though friends and family still confuse adult twins all the time, Segal says, as with the Colombian sets). But Segal studied a pair in which one twin was always heavier growing up. “Mom said he always ate more—so there is a subset of twins like that. And adverse prenatal factors can intervene, making identical twins somewhat different in height—the average difference is two inches,” she says. For some pairs, their different environments change them. One may spend more time in the sun. One may smoke or experience greater stress. All of these things could influence their epigenomes.

Twins share many environments—a room, a religion, a family.
But for twin researchers, understanding what they call “non-shared environments” is of special significance. In life, a non-shared environment “could be a college course. A great teacher. A trauma,” says Segal. “Say one twin took an exotic trip around the world, or one twin had a terrible disease, or won the lottery, or had an accident. It’s those unshared experiences that affect behavior.”

In the womb, non-shared experiences could be slight differences in placenta size, or in umbilical cords, and the fetuses’ placement in the womb.
“If it’s a really long cord, the idea is that you need more pressure to actually get the nutrients and oxygen from mother to baby,” says Craig, of Deakin University, who believes this is one area of research that is understudied but potentially very important.

“There are some twins in Brazil, where one twin has microcephaly due to the Zika virus infection and the does other not,” he adds. “And you’d really think, ‘Hold on a minute, how does that happen if the mother gets infected, why does only one twin get infected?’” As a recent study on twins exposed to Zika in pregnancy suggested, infection risk could be related to epigenetic mechanisms.

In 2015, Segal collected cheek-swab samples from the Colombian twins doubly switched at birth, and sent them to Craig’s lab for an epigenetic analysis. This was the first published epigenetic comparison of identical twins raised apart.

Two of the identical twins raised apart (Jorge and William) ­shared the same bump on the same spot on the bridge of their nose, and until they were reunited both had been convinced that it was from an injury. They also both preferred only eating the drumsticks of chicken. But one wore glasses and the other did not. The other identical pair (Carlos and Wilber) had both been smokers, and both had a speech impediment (Carlos’s was corrected but Wilber’s was not). Segal also noticed that Wilber is more strongly right-handed than Carlos, who borders in ambidexterity.

Two of the young men grew up in the city of Bogotá, where they had access to strong educational resources and were working toward graduate degrees when Segal met them. The other two grew up on a remote farm in Vereda El Recreo, and left school after fifth grade. “The Colombian twins really made me think hard about the environment,” Segal says. “The separated twins were raised in extremely different environments, more so than most separated pairs.”

"Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education."

-- Pudd'nhead Wilson, by Mark Twain

Craig specializes in reading one kind of epigenetic marking known as methylation patterns. With the Colombian twins, it turned out that one identical pair was still epigenetically similar, despite being raised apart. But with the other pair, the epigenome of one brother raised in the city seemed to differ significantly from his identical twin raised in the country. This could be because of genes affected by ultraviolet rays, radiation, or pesticides—factors that may have differed from city to country, Craig and Segal hypothesized in their study, published in December 2016. But it’s unclear why these twins diverged so greatly while the other pair—who also grew up in these different environments—had such similar epigenomes.

One possibility is that epigenetic changes could have been triggered long before the twins were separated. “What happens if one had a big placenta, and other had a small one? Or a thin umbilical cord, and the other had a fat one?” Craig asks. There is also, as Craig and other researchers emphasize, happenstance. There are spontaneous, unpredictable variations between all cells, and all people, including identical twins.

For twins raised together in similar settings who share the same genetic profiles, it isn’t surprising that one’s illness could befall the other, like identical twin girls diagnosed with a rare leukemia at three months old; or identical twin brothers who each received an ALS diagnosis within weeks of each other; or the tragic story of identical teen boys who developed a deadly form of liver cirrhosis last year (one survived and his twin did not).

But by comparing differing gene expressions in identical twins, researchers are beginning to understand a variety of conditions. Rare pairs like the Hoffman sisters with “discordant” diagnoses (in which one has a disease, but the other does not) may help physicians determine risk factors for diabetes, autism, schizophrenia, cerebral palsy, thyroid disease, and ALS.

Manel Esteller, the director of the Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona led one of the earliest efforts to identify differences in gene-expression “portraits” of monozygotic twins. “We saw that different lifestyles were able to create divergent epigenomes,” Esteller says. And the changes grew more contrasting in the twins as they aged.

Esteller’s lab then set out to look for epigenetic markers of cancer risk. They studied twin pairs with discordant breast-cancer diagnoses, and found that epigenetic changes signaling higher breast-cancer risk could be detected in the sick twin several years before doctors would be able to make an actual clinical diagnosis. (The sample had been previously studied before the diagnosis, which allowed Esteller to look at their epigenomes over time.) These changes “can be detected by a biopsy of the breast. Sometimes the epigenetic defects can also be observed in DNA circulating in the blood,” Esteller says. “Nowadays it is widely accepted that in all human disorders there is a genetic and epigenetic component.”

The number of academic papers in the field of epigenetics has exploded since 2000, which has also led to hyped-up promises and overblown results. It is a relatively new field, with some problematic studies, says Andrew Feinberg, who directs the Center for Epigenetics in the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. But for some diseases, like cancer, “it is already well established that most of the mutations disrupt the epigenome, so epigenetics is at the very heart of malignancy.”

In April’s New England Journal of Medicine, Feinberg called for doctors to integrate genetic and epigenetic information into their practices, arguing that the field “can lead us at last to an era of comprehensive medical understanding, unlocking the relationships among the patient’s genome, environment, prenatal exposure, and disease risk in time for us to prevent diseases or mitigate their effects before they take their toll on health.”

After Monica Hoffman’s breast-cancer diagnosis, doctors probed the twins’ medical and life histories, forcing them to think about where exactly their environments had diverged.

When Erika and Monica were newborns, the only way their mom could tell her babies apart was by a freckle on Monica’s lip. But sleep-deprived or in the dark of night, it was impossible to keep her kids straight. “My mom was so tired that she still couldn’t remember who she fed, who she bathed, who she burped,” Erika says. “She would just cry. So our grandparents came over. They put my mom to bed. They washed both of us. They fed both of us, and they painted Monica’s toenails.”

When it comes to cosmetics, the term “non-toxic” can be difficult to decipher. With regard to nail polish, a commonly used term is “five-free.” Five-free refers to polishes that do not contain five specific ingredients: formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin, and camphor. There are also brands that market themselves as being free of more substances, such as 7-free or 10-free.

Formaldehyde is a preservative that has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute as a potential cancer-causing substance. It is also among the most common substances that cause allergic contact dermatitis. Formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene can also cause allergic contact dermatitis. Camphor is an oil that has been long used as a topical remedy for various conditions, but can be toxic if consumed by mouth.

Studies have shown that chemicals in nail polish can be absorbed into the body. But the exact amount of absorption, and whether it is enough to have negative health effects, are not well established.

-- A Look at the Effects of Nail Polish on Nail Health and Safety, by Harvard Health Publishing

If you wear nail polish, you might be applying more than glossy color to your fingertips.

A new study by researchers at EWG and Duke University finds that nail polishes can contain a suspected endocrine disruptor called triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP.

Researchers tested the urine of 26 women volunteers before and after they applied nail polish. They were looking for DPHP, a different chemical created by the body when it metabolizes TPHP. They detected much higher levels of DPHP after the polish was applied.

The scientists at Duke also tested 10 different nail polishes for TPHP itself and found that eight contained it. According to EWG’s Skin Deep database, polishes that list TPHP as an ingredient include such popular brands as Sally Hansen, Essie, OPI, butter LONDON, Revlon and Wet N Wild. You can see the full list here.

TPHP might disrupt hormones in humans, and in animal studies has upset reproductive and development processes. Cosmetics companies use it because the chemical makes nail polish more flexible and durable. It’s also used in plastics manufacturing and as a common fire retardant in furniture cushions and some foam children’s products.

As a result, most Americans are widely exposed to TPHP, but some research shows that women have higher levels in their bodies. This may be explained by use of the chemical in personal care products for women, including nail polish.

The EWG and Duke study reveals how applying nail polish can increase your short-term exposure to TPHP. But regularly painting your nails could lead to long term exposure.

Parents, this is a particular concern for kids and teens. For many youngsters, nail polish is the first introduction to cosmetics. But before and during puberty, they’re especially vulnerable to hormone disruptors.

-- More Bad News About Nail Polish, by Megan Boyle, 10/19/15

The red toenails kept the confusion to a minimum at home. At school, classmates called Monica and Erika the “Twin Towers.” They played softball and volleyball, were natural leaders, and had similar taste in clothes (surfing tanks and flip-flops even in the winter). They both attended California State University at Long Beach. They went on to start a pharmacy wholesale business together and, after living apart for a while, are now roommates again in Huntington Beach, California.

The sisters wondered if stress may have played a role in Monica’s illness. Erika was in a long-term, stable relationship. Monica struggled to find the right romantic partner. Did it come down to diet? Monica ate salmon three times a week for a year. Erika ate far less fish. The sisters told doctors about Monica’s irregular, low-pain periods, which started when she was 10. Meanwhile, Erika had regular menstruation cycles since the age of 11, accompanied by excruciating cramps. Monica developed breasts by fifth grade, much earlier than Erika.

The truth is doctors may never be able to tease out any environmental triggers that may have been involved in Monica’s diagnosis. Many environmental-epigenetic findings so far are based on correlation, not proven causation. In the field of twin studies, there is so much still left to untangle and explore, as the research continues to veer more toward epigenetics and also the human microbiome, Segal says.

One key question for scientists to consider may be not just if and how the environment toggles with gene expression, but how humans could flip genes on or off ourselves. This is where technology such as epigenetic gene editing—which focuses on turning the volume knob of gene expression up or down without changing the underlying DNA—holds great promise.

It wasn't the kind of passage you usually encounter in a strait-laced science journal: "I have had to spend periods of several weeks on a remote island in comparative isolation," Anonymous wrote in Nature. Curiously, he continued, the day before he was due for shore leave his beard grew noticeably: "I have come to the conclusion that the stimulus for this growth is related to the resumption of sexual activity."

Neither Anonymous nor his fellow scientists were surprised that the aforementioned activity would loose a flood of testosterone, which affects beards the way Miracle-Gro affects tomato plants. No, the weird part is that merely anticipating female companionship did the trick.

Just as stress in the med students I wrote about last week altered the expression of genes in their immune systems, so libidinous thoughts seem to affect gene expression, says developmental psychologist David Moore of Pitzer College in Claremont, California. Thoughts can cause the release of hormones that can bind to DNA, "turning genes 'on' or 'off.'"

-- So Much for Destiny: Even Thoughts Can Turn Genes 'On' and 'Off', by Sharon Begley, June, 2002

The Hoffman twins enrolled in Segal’s study (which is still underway) to better understand themselves, but through their involvement, they will also help researchers like Segal understand more about all humans. Today, the cancer-free twin, Erika, is focusing on disease prevention. She receives regular mammograms and ultrasounds. She thinks back to Monica’s bouts with chemo, which caused terrible bone pain, migraines, and neuropathy. Erika cradled her sister though sleepless nights and helped carry her when she needed to move off the couch. “I always thought I was a burden,” Monica told her twin, to which Erika replied: “I would rather have you be a burden, than have you not be around.”

After her battle with cancer, Monica had a hysterectomy at her doctors’ advice, as a preventative measure. It was bittersweet, because although she is still in remission, she had always wanted to be a mother. Erika, on the other hand, knew that she did not want children. The twins still wonder why they ended up on these contrasting trajectories.

“I suspect that there are some answers that will always elude us,” Segal says.

-- Identical Twins Hint at How Environments Change Gene Expression: Studying twins has long offered insight into the interplay of nature and nurture. Epigenetics is the next frontier, by Erika Hayasaki, 5/15/18

Here a point may be mentioned which has puzzled many persons. How is it possible for persons belonging to the same family to show hereditary differences? If brothers do differ widely, does not this prove that heredity counts for little? Now the qualities of both a father and a mother are to some extent, as it were, passed on to and then carried by the germ out of which their son originated. But the son will pass on more of his father's qualities and less of his mother's to one grandchild than to another. The grandchildren will in consequence differ amongst themselves. And this they will do although the whole of their qualities may have been derived without change from their grandparents. Hereditary qualities, when transmitted to another generation, remain unchanged; though they may be sorted out differently. Somewhat the same bodily and mental qualities will often keep cropping out in successive generations, and yet members of the same family will differ considerably amongst themselves. Fact and theory hang together perfectly.

The fact that each hereditary quality of any individual is passed on to some but not to all of his descendants shows its results in the following way also. We have seen that we cannot foretell what will be the qualities of a man before he is born. But if we know the qualities of his near relations we can tell a good deal about what his qualities will probably be. This means that, though we should make many bad shots, we should be generally far nearer the truth than if we went by chance.

Perhaps a single example may make this point clearer. Let a thousand fathers be selected, all four inches above the average height of the nation as a whole. Now, we cannot know what will be the height of any one of the sons of these fathers. We do know, however, with considerable accuracy that if a large number of these sons were to be measured, they would prove to be on the average two inches above the average height of the nation, or about half the excess of their parents. And this is true of most or all other qualities that can be measured. This being the case, when a farmer is breeding cattle, he is often disappointed in regard to particular beasts. He never doubts, however, that by care in breeding he will raise the qualities of his stocks to some extent. And this is equally true as regards the breeding of men.

We have seen that the sons of fathers selected on account of their height, though tall, will not be as tall as their fathers. This fact is known as the regression to the mean. Now, this regression does not continue beyond a certain point. It does not destroy the benefits arising from selection in breeding. If a number of tall sons and daughters of a selected group of parents were to be kept as a caste apart, the height of their descendants would not continue to diminish as the generations succeeded each other. Thus it is true that, when a selection of exceptionally good stock is made for breeding purposes, the next generation will not come quite up to that high level. But this does not prevent it from its being also true that selection in breeding always produces some good results on the stock taken as a whole, in spite of this partial regression to the mean.

What we have been discussing may be described as the laws of natural inheritance or of heredity. More and more is being found out about these laws, this being the result of breeding experiments and statistical enquiries. The way in which germs unite has also been watched under the microscope, and the conclusions arrived at by experiments in breeding have thus been confirmed in a wonderful way. The impression left on the minds of students of science is that natural inheritance always proceeds in a perfectly orderly and regular way. What has happened in the past will happen again in the future under the same circumstances. The laws of heredity can be relied on with complete confidence.

From all this we know for certain that the natural qualities of parents will reappear amongst their descendants to such an extent as to enable us to foretell in no small degree the characteristics of the coming generation. This is true of mental and bodily qualities, and of good and bad qualities. Is it not, therefore, worse than folly to allow parents with bad natural qualities to have more children than those who are better endowed? Eugenics seeks to lessen this folly in the future.

Of course, the germ from which any one of us originated cannot be changed. It is impossible to go back on the past. But if the hereditary qualities of every one now living may be said to be dependent on a germ which is unalterable, is not that rather a hopeless outlook? This question certainly needs an answer. Our heredity can best be compared to a fixed anchor, to which we are tied by a cable. But the cable which ties us to this fixed point is elastic. By further efforts, or by being placed in better surroundings, our lot can always be improved somewhat. In all circumstances the cable tying us to our hereditary anchor can be stretched a bit more by pulling harder. This is so, although it would be practically impossible to go on lengthening it for ever. In the same way, we vaguely know that, as regards all things that we are striving for, there is a limit beyond which we cannot expect to go. Yet this practically unattainable limit to our hopes should not and does not fill us with despair.

If we look to future generations, however, another story has to be told. If an improvement in the breed of the race comes to be made, this will be as if those who come after us will find their anchors of heredity cast further in advance. Such an improvement in natural qualities would mean that our successors would have a better start in life. They would be able to do as well as we have done with less exertion. With efforts equal to those which we have made, their lives would be more profitable than ours. The cables attached to their fixed anchors would not drag them back to the same extent. With no more trouble than we have taken, they would be superior to us in mind and body. That these results in the future can actually be obtained by reforms adopted to-day is the hope held out to us by eugenics. Is not this an inspiring hope?
Site Admin
Posts: 32991
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:29 am

Chapter V: Eugenic Methods

IT has been suggested in a previous chapter that man is a domestic animal, and that, even as regards human affairs, something can be learnt from the farmer because of his knowledge about breeding. On reading this, some may hold up their hands in dismay, and without further thought condemn any imitation of the methods of the stockyard.

First of all it may be noted that some stockyard methods are certainly not to be despised. If you inspect any good establishment you will find that the animals are well housed; that they are fed with suitable food in quantities neither too small nor too great; and that they are carefully guarded against infection. Should not we be glad if the same could be said about our slums?

Then, again, another useful practical lesson has often been impressed on the minds of those who have had the management of large stock farms in the Dominions. Experience has made them clearly realize the "madness" of going on breeding more animals when the ranch is already fully stocked, and when the surplus stock cannot be readily disposed of. This is a stockyard lesson which may well be remembered when considering at what point our own islands should be held to be over-populated.

In another direction also we may well imitate the farmer's frame of mind. When the question before him is how to stock his farm in the future, as a matter of course he looks to breed above all things. When taking thought as to the animals he already possesses, he concentrates his mind on their surroundings and their training. No doubt he considers how best to spend his money. But the point is that it never even occurs to him not to attend to both breed and surroundings. In human affairs the need for attending to the immediate wants of our fellow citizens has constantly been made an excuse for altogether neglecting the consideration of the breed of future generations. In this matter the farmer can teach us the invaluable lesson that we should always strive to advance in both directions. The farmer hopes that he will come to possess well-trained horses of good breed. We ought to have similar hopes in regard to the citizens who will constitute our nation in the future.

It is, of course, easy to push this comparison between man and domestic animals too far. The farmer will no doubt train his horse as well as he can. But in doing so he is only improving that one horse. When we educate our children, on the other hand, we know, or we ought to know, that we are benefiting not only them but also all who come in contact with them, including their children. This is because learning is passed on from one to another by word of mouth and by books. It is true that nearly all such accumulated learning — or, in other words, civilization — has at times been destroyed by wars and internal strife, this being especially likely to happen if the breed has been previously deteriorating for some time. This is what occurred when the greatest period of learning and luxury in ancient Rome was followed by the Dark Ages. And in this danger we can find a strong argument in favour of attending to breed as well as to surroundings. Improvements in breed cannot be wiped out all at once in any way. This is because such improvements take place in the very nature of man himself, and are passed on to future generations by an infallible natural process. And, as we saw in the last chapter, the effect of improvements in breed would be to make the men who will come after us rise to higher levels than those which we have been able to reach in like circumstances.

What has here been indicated is that certain useful lessons can be learnt from the farmer. But when we come to consider those methods which are generally associated with the word "stockyard," we see that they must be repudiated altogether in human affairs. The farmer may kill off his inferior stock; whilst no one advocates putting both the unwanted kitten and the inferior baby into the tub in the backyard. To argue against such proceedings is a waste of time. Compulsory marriage is equally out of the question. It is true that both infanticide and the subjection of women have been common enough in many countries and in all ages; but they will never be reintroduced into civilized countries. A highly developed moral sense and great freedom of choice are two of the most precious attributes of man, and the necessity for preserving them rules out these stockyard methods.

The main lesson learnt from a study of domestic animals is, in fact, that the descendants of good stocks are always on the whole naturally superior to the descendants of inferior stocks. This is true of all animals, man included. And from this it follows that, in order to improve the breed of our race, we should now take such steps as would result in all who show any natural superiority producing a greater number of descendants than at present, whilst making all who are definitely inferior pass on their natural inferiority to as few as possible.

As regards the superior stocks, a reduction in the number of deaths amongst them would, of course, increase the number of their descendants
. We may, however, be sure that efforts will continually be made in this direction. The special aim of eugenics is, therefore, to increase the size of the families of such stocks. As to the inferior types, we cannot, as we have seen, reduce the number of their descendants by the simple expedient of murder. All that can be done is to lessen the size of their families.

It has often been urged that our scientific knowledge is not now enough to make it right to take any practical steps in the directions above indicated. Certainly further knowledge should be sought in all directions. But we do know that human beings differ from one another at birth to a very considerable extent. We also know for certain that all endowed with any natural superiority will pass on some of their good qualities to some of their descendants. We know that this is equally true of harmful qualities. And this knowledge is all that is needed to justify us in assuming that the lot of mankind in the future would be improved if steps were now to be taken which would result in a lowering of the birth-rate of all the naturally inferior types, and an increase in the birth-rate amongst the naturally superior. To introduce reforms having these effects is the aim of eugenics; provided that the moral attributes of man are always duly safeguarded.

It may be said that these islands are over-populated, and that consequently no steps should now be taken which would tend to increase the birth-rate of any section of the people; for that would tend to increase our already too great numbers. But there would be no increase in numbers if any increase in the descendants of the superior stocks was counter-balanced by an equal decrease in the inferior strains. In any case, to impose some immediate suffering as the result of over-population might well be justifiable if it would lead to an enduring improvement in the natural qualities of the race. It is by the adoption of eugenic reforms to-day that the reputation and happiness of our nation in the future can most certainly be promoted.

Moreover, all reforms involve some risk. To do nothing is, however, often the course which involves most risk. The world is never really standing still; and to leave things alone may be merely to drift on to unseen rocks ahead. The bogey of dangers in the path of progress is often raised by us from an unconscious desire to save ourselves the trouble of making up our minds and of beginning to move in new directions. If science points clearly to certain steps which could now be taken in order to benefit our nation in the future, do not let us fail to move in that direction out of a selfish regard for our own comfort. Eugenics calls upon us to include all future generations amongst our neighbours; that is amongst those for whom we ought to be prepared to sacrifice our own immediate interests.
Site Admin
Posts: 32991
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: What is Eugenics?, by Leonard Darwin

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:30 am

Chapter VI: The Men we Want

IF our object is to try to improve the breed of man, should we not first of all decide on the kind of man most to be desired? To fix on all the qualities of the ideal man would probably do more harm than good, because to do so would be more likely to discourage than to encourage us in our efforts. Something must, however, be said on this subject.

We can at all events assert that there are many kinds of men that we do not want. These include the criminal, the insane, the imbecile, the feeble in mind, the diseased at birth, the deformed, the deaf, the blind, etc., etc. How to lessen their numbers will be considered in later chapters.

It has been suggested that, whilst getting rid of these extremely undesirable types, we should endeavour to create a group of supermen at the other end of the scale. If a few perfect individuals were to appear on earth, and if their perfection were to be acknowledged by all, this would be very good. These supermen would rule over us to our great contentment. This idea is, however, utterly unpractical. The desire to dominate or lead other men is a very deeply-seated quality. It would be very difficult, and not altogether beneficial, to get rid of it. This being the case, any group of supermen appearing in our midst would probably bully or harass their fellow citizens, until the mob rose up and drove them from power or exterminated them. The creation of supermen is to be condemned because it would lead to either tyranny or rebellion.

Neither should our aim be to create various inferior castes of human beings, such as would be especially adapted to do the dirty work of the world without complaint. No doubt such a plan may seem attractive to those who consider it certain that their own descendants would not be included in any such caste. Slavery is now condemned because it is always demoralizing to the slave owner, as well as being generally cruel to the slave. The endeavour to create inferior and docile human breeds is to be condemned on like grounds.

Our object should be, therefore, to improve the breed of the whole nation. And in this endeavour we should not attempt to lay down a single standard of excellence, with the object of preventing or discouraging parenthood in all who fall below that standard.
Such a standard would have to take into account bodily fitness, intellect, and temperament or character
; and as regards none of these attributes have we at present sufficiently reliable methods of measurement for such a purpose.

The most practical way of judging grown men is by seeing how they are fulfilling the duties of the positions which they actually hold. If all who are now winning good wages by doing good work were to have rather more than enough children to fill their places when they will be gone, the ranks of such well-paid occupations would thus be kept full, with some to spare. If all doing ill-paid work were to have families so small that their numbers would not be maintained in the next generation, there would come to be fewer applicants for such labour. If this went on for long, the result would be that either wages would rise, or that this ill-paid work would have to be done in some other way. If the unemployed had few children, this would in like manner lessen unemployment in the future, with all its attendant misery. In these rather rough-and-ready ways the needs of the nation as regards the number of its people would best be met.

The point here is, however, that by thus regulating the size of families the breed of the nation would also be improved. Men differ greatly amongst themselves, and so do the qualities demanded by the different kinds of work which have to be done. If all men honourably employed at high wages had families of sufficient size, the appearance in the coming generations of good qualities of every variety would be promoted. On the other hand, a proportion — often but a small proportion — of those winning low wages, or failing or not trying to get work of any kind, are thus situated because of some natural defect of body, mind, or character. If all such as these were to have few children, though it would be an unmerited privation to many, yet the result would be a lessening in the future of all natural defects leading to low wages or unemployment. Some suffering in this generation would thus be caused; but it would lead to an immense saving of suffering in the future. What has been said is perhaps enough to show that advantages of many kinds would result from the size of families being dependent on the positions held by the parents, and that thus to advance on a wide front is the best eugenic policy. This difficult subject will, it is hoped, be made more clear in a later chapter, when it will be seen how very far we now are from any such ideal condition of things.

What would occur when the natural qualities of a nation were being slowly improved in the ways above suggested may be roughly illustrated by the following analogy. When packs of cards are being dealt out at a whist drive, good hands appear fairly frequently and very good hands at rarer intervals. In somewhat the same way, the coming together by chance of a number of good qualities in the same individual before his birth results in the appearance of superior individuals at frequent intervals, and of men of genius much more rarely. Much the same might be said as to the way in which inferior and very inferior individuals make their appearance at intervals. Now, if some of the very low cards were to be removed altogether from all the packs, the differences between the hands as dealt out would become somewhat less marked. In the same way, if all the above-mentioned very defective types of individuals were to have no children, there would in future generations come to be somewhat less natural inequality between human beings. This would be an advantage as far as it went; because, amongst other things, it would tend to lessen social and political discontent.

To illustrate by this analogy how an actual improvement in the breed of a nation takes place, we must imagine as well as we can that all the cards in all the packs are being increased in value. We must also try to imagine that, in consequence, the value of every hand as dealt out is thus increased. Good hands would become better, whilst bad hands would become less bad. But the difference between different hands would not necessarily be affected by any general increase in the value of the individual cards. And by this analogy we see that, though the natural inequality between men would be somewhat lessened by the elimination of all the very inferior types, yet that, as far as we can now see, this inequality is a fact with which human beings will have to reckon for ever.

The main point to be learnt from what has just been said is, however, that an improvement in the breed of a nation would result in the appearance of more men capable of filling every post needing useful qualities of any kind, whilst the greatest men in the land would be even greater than the greatest of to-day. Such a general improvement in breed should, therefore, be the main aim of eugenics.  
Site Admin
Posts: 32991
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Ancien Regime

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests