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Quote of the Day

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Assuming this link is correct, here's an excerpt form the textbook at issue in the Scopes Trial:

The Races of Man. - At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the other in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; the American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest race type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America. . . .

Improvement of Man. - If the stock of domesticated animals can be improved, it is not unfair to ask if the health and vigor of the future generations of men and women on the earth might be improved by applying to them the laws of selection. This improvement of the future race has a number of factors in which as individuals may play a part. These are personal hygiene, selection of healthy mates, and the betterment of the environment�.

Eugenics. - When people marry there are certain things that the individual as well as the race should demand. The most important of these is freedom from germ diseases which might be handed down to the offspring. Tuberculosis, syphilis, that dread disease which cripples and kills hundreds of thousands of innocent children, epilepsy, and feeble-mindedness are handicaps which it is not only unfair but criminal to hand down to posterity. The science of being well born is called eugenics.

The Jukes. - Studies have been made on a number of different families in this country, in which mental and moral defects were present in one or both of the original parents. The "Jukes" family is a notorious example. The first mother is known as "Margaret, the mother of criminals." In seventy-five years the progeny of the original generation has cost the state of New York over a million and a quarter dollars, besides giving over to the care of prisons and asylums considerably over a hundred feeble-minded, alcoholic, immoral, or criminal persons. Another case recently studied is the "Kallikak" family. This family has been traced back to the War of the Revolution, when a young soldier named Martin Kallikak seduced a feeble-minded girl. She had a feeble-minded son from whom there have been to the present time 480 descendants. Of these 33 were sexually immoral, 24 confirmed drunkards, 3 epileptics, and 143 feeble-minded. The man who started this terrible line of immorality and feeble-mindedness later married a normal Quaker girl. From this couple a line of 496 descendants have come, with no cases of feeble-mindedness. The evidence and the moral speak for themselves!

Parasitism and its Cost to Society. - Hundreds of families such as those described above exist to-day, spreading disease, immorality, and crime to all parts of this country. The cost to society of such families is very severe. Just as certain animals or plants become parasitic on other plants or animals, these families have become parasitic on society. They not only do harm to others by corrupting, stealing, or spreading disease, but they are actually protected and cared for by the state out of public money. Largely for them the poorhouse and the asylum exist. They take from society, but they give nothing in return. They are true parasites.

Remember, many of the people who supported teaching this stuff denounced those who disagreed for being anti-scince, and backward.  Willian Jennings Bryan defended Christianity against Darwin, but he also turned to a more basic language when he called it a "barbarous doctrine." When science makes claims beyond its legitimate realm, and uses its authority to denounce those who disagree, it is science, not religion, that has crossed the line.

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Actually, while one can certainly quibble about the number (and concept) of "races," the rest is remarkably still accurate.

Eugenics certainly is not out of the question, although we now know that diseases such as TB are the result of airborne transmission rather than genetically inheritance; one of the biggest concerns around prenatal genetic testing is that it makes selective breeding (the improvement of man) much more likely and possible for a large number of couples (think of those who are excited about finding the "gay gene" and then testing for it; or about the fairly recent reduction in the number of children born with Downs Syndrome); Charles Murray would certainly agree that the Jukes and Kallikaks are still reproducing and spreading the "bad seed" and you can't tell me that parasitism isn't a rallying cry for those who advocate welfare reform and complain about the " welfare brood mares who suck on the teat of society" (Neal Boortz, in pretty close to a direct quote).

I think this old quotation speaks quite well for the sciences even as more modern understandings have modified it just a bit.

Talking about this is rather chilled. I have seen that link before. In some sense it is the dominance of christianity or liberalism, or maybe a sort of "liberaltarian" type argument that doesn't necessarily denounce the science but objects on moral grounds about the dignity of man. It is at the least in bad taste to be pro-eugenics.

More or less Holmes argument in Buck v. Bell and the champions of Eugenics don't really go away. The supreme court case was never overturned, but the underlying virginia statute and the other state statutes favoring eugenics were repealed.

"We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes."

So according to Holmes the "compelling state interest" outweighs the interest of the individual in his body.

It was this general movement that linked to the races of man, that was part of the motivation for Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924. While the Virginia statute in Buck v. Bell wasn't overturned, Loving v. Virginia overturned the attempt to do eugenics by prohibiting miscegenation.

Loving v. Virginia thus took what had previously been a "state interest" in marriage, and said that it was an individual right that could not be "infringed by the state".

Thus I say that the more Liberaltarian position is pro-gay marriage and generally against the articulation of state interests. To make it a little less abstract, the decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (2010) that relies upon Loving(and overturns California's prop 8) argue that marriage is an individual right, and not a state interest and says as a result "the right to marry protects an individual's choice of marital partner regardless of gender".

Essentially then for the sake of ease, if something is susceptible to rational basis, or to the articulation of a legitimate state interest, then it isn't a fundamental right.

If it is in the realm of "human dignity/individual rights" that courts have carved out, then it is virtually untouchable by science, facts or anything but the most compelling state interest(strict scrutiny).

This doesn't mean that private actors can't engage in eugenics thru private abortions, private genetic screenings, and it might not necessarily mean that the states compelling interest in something like eugenics doesn't surface in other areas, and include funding for say planned parenthood (legitimate state interest in reducing crime via abortion per Steven Levitt.)

So in some way the court has given new individual rights, and taken away the intrusion of state interests upon these rights in terms of coersion...but it hasn't prevented the state from nudging private actors towards a level of eugenics that is economically advantageous(i.e. supports a compelling state interest.)

Too bad no one at the time of the Scopes trial pay much attention to Darwin's lineage. It is ironic that his belief in Natural Selection seemed to apply to others, but not himself - Geez, doesn't this sound like the person in the white house? Darwin married his first cousin Emma Wedgewood. Charles' mother's parents were third cousins. Charles and Emma had ten children. Three of them died in childhood - one from scarlet fever, one from tuberculous, and one at 23 days old from unknow causes. Six of the seven married, but three of those marriages produced no offspring.

Guess that theory of mutations evolving into a new species and crossbreeding didn't work for Darwin. Evolution, Climate Change, anyone?

Geneticists have fairly recently shown that there is fundamentally nothing genetically wrong with marrying 1st cousins. The offspring are perfectly "normal." The most famous example of problems with this is the hemophilia prevalent at one point in the royal family of Britain, but that was because of pretty much everyone
(at the peak) was carrying the recessive gene in question, not because of a real problem with marrying cousins. As for the "new species" and "cross breeding" of which you speak, a fundamental understanding of evolution would tell you that a) you don't know what you're talking about, and b) you're describing inbreeding, not cross breeding.

As for climate change, evolution is a beautiful concept and it tells us that no matter what happens with the climate, the earth will adapt. Some species will become extinct (e.g., polar bears, penguins), but others will thrive (e.g., armadillos). Humans are a crap shoot, but this will take thousands of years, so we too as a species will either change and adapt to a different climate or go extinct. This was Darwin's brilliance...change, both good and bad, is constant and inevitable.

Yes I meant inbreeding not crossbreeding. There is ample documentation that Darwin feared that inbreeding in his family would harm the health of his children and that he was right according to a great many studies done by geneticists over the years. There is a great article in BioScience about the fact that consanguinesou marrige will contribute to poor health of that marriage's offspring.

Here is another great paper on the same subject:

Your geneticists obviously are the same ones who buy the global warming junket.

I have read most of Darwin's works and actually agree with what he has written in the Foreward of the Origin of Species. It goes something like this: Most of the information here is based on theory not facts.

As far as crossbreeding, it can be very dangerous. For example the miniature horse. It is cute, cuter than Elmo, but it has a short life expectancy, issues with hooves and is known to costs a lot of money to keep healthy and alive. Crossbreeding like inbreeding causes health and genetic issues. Unlike the theories of global warming and evolution, crossbreeding and inbreeding are very dangerous.

I agree there's nothing wrong with eugenics. We should employ it to breed non-Christians out of the species.
I'm sorry, does this offend?
Then you already know what's wrong with eugenics: you won't always be the one to decide what traits are desirable.

"Anonymous" : It is you who do not understand anything.

# 1: Those who advocate welfare reform now are not advocating the elimination of the recipients by separating them, sterilzing them, or killing them. Those who advocate welfare reform now, the conservatives and libertarians, push for greater individual responsibility and individual spiritural growth. The welfare recipients will grow as individuals and find how great life is when they get out of the government control system, what a former welfare recipient and now conservative commentator Star Parker calls "Uncle Sam's Plantation." The state of dependency is like a slavery of the soul. Those who advocate welfare reform now are more compassionate than the liberals who would prefer to see these souls enslaved. We, the conservatives and libertarians, would like to see them free to choose as they wish and mature as they like and take responsibility for their own lives.

# 2: The exerpt above is not science, but sociology. Darwin's theory cannot be used to discuss sociology or literature or the differences among races or how we --using human technology-- should eliminate disease.

Darwin's theory is a BIOLOGICAL explanation of how we came to be in our current animal form, solely. It cannot explain anything else. It cannot explain the spirituality of humans that started between 5-10 thousand years ago.

As a scientific theory that talks about NATURE and how nature shapes us, it is a contradiction to use it to explain how we can eliminate disease using technology that is HUMAN --not natural. Medicine and technology are anti-Darwin because it FIGHTS natural selection. As such, eugenics is anti-Darwin. For example, taking vaccines eliminates the survival of the fittest because you are vaccinating those that are "unfit" to fight that particular disease.

As far as the family heredity explanations: there are a lot of behaviors that are learned. A genius who grows up in a ghetto seeing only violence will be a genius criminal. But if he grows up in a well-to-do church-going family with high education standards he may be a CEO or engineer or professor etc.

Something can be completely true and yet utterly unwise to pursue as public policy. In general outline, both Darwin and eugenics are correct. Nonetheless, to use either to "improve" the human species overlooks the fact that we, as glorified apes, simply lack the foresight and fellow-feeling to apply such policies in any humane way. Best to let nature takes its course.

You are mostly right but you make a very common mistake when speaking about the Darwinian theory of evolution otherwise called Natural Selection.

First of all, eugenics is a relative term. What means "well born" to you will be different than what it means to me or especially what it means to someone from a completely different culture with different believes.

Natural selection does not speak of eugenics. That erroneous leap in logic is made by people who do not understand the biological theory and want to apply it to other things. Does not work that way.

Natural selection will favor different genes depending on the environment. So it does not describe what is "good" or what is "bad." It only says that X happens a certain way because the environment was a certain way. If the environment changes, so will natural selection. Our brains have been naturally-selected to adapt. This adaptation though is very flexible. There may actually be a selective advantage to criminal behavior in some environments. This is where morality comes in --completely unexplained by Darwin's theory.

Natural selection does not describe our spirituality, our search for God, our desire to have moral codes. There is something else.

The exerpt above was written by a dumb and racist sociologist. Sociology is not a respectable "science". I can only respect this "study of societies" only if it is not termed a science. The exerpt above was not written by Darwin, nor does it accurately describe Darwin's theory. I do not know much about Darwin's personal life or whether or not he was a racist or how religious he is. I do understand the theory and know its limitations.

Darwin's theory cannot be used to explain sociology. Notice that we have stopped evolving. Natural selection no longer applies. Now we get vaccinated and we search for genes in our family tree.

So over millions of years we evolved in our current human (animal) form. Over the last 10 thousand years we have adapated and developed a sense of creation and ideas about creator(s), right and wrong, morality, etc. Then technology has advanced us in such a way so as to almost be God-like without the wisdom, but yet able to go against Natural Selection. Is that good or bad? Who knows since success in this regard is measured in millions of years. I think it is good. Darwin's theory is limited and as such should be taught that way, and only in biology class.

In my schooling, while being taught Darwin in biology, I was also taught in history class about the errors in logic by the social evolutionists (like the dumb writer who wrote the above exerpt) and their evil danger.

The author of the above by the way is George William Hunter, and title of book "A Civic Biology" from 1914. This is the crap that Williams Jennings Bryan had to fight against in the Scopes Trial. Sure puts his argument into a different perspective; makes him not be the zealot many history books present him to be.

Wasn't just sociologists who were racists back in the day. Even people like George Bernard Shaw and Woodrow Wilson were raging racists. It took the Nazi Holocaust to sober people up -- pretty stiff medicine.

Regardless, you need a corrective, Mayte. Ever heard of "assortative mating?" The fact is, while we are no longer evolving in response to the physical environment (which our technology helps us overcome), we ARE still evolving in response to our social environment. Indeed, this was a central topic of Murray and Hernnstein's work on the Bell Curve. Increasingly, smart people are meeting on college campuses and producing smarter offspring (something that was not as channeled in the past). This may, over time, create a bifurcated society.

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