Lecture Notes 12

Lecture Notes 12 - Lecture 15 Evolution and Eugenics Image...

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Lecture 15 Evolution and Eugenics Image courtesy of karindalzielon on Flickr. CC-BY. 1
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Motto for today No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society 2
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Road Map ± Natural selection and human affairs ± A convert to evolution: Francis Galton ± Galton s utopian vision: eugenics ± The eugenics movement in Britain ± The eugenics movement in the United States ± The long shadow of eugenics 3
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Natural Selection and Human Affairs ± In the 1860s, many naturalists expressed doubts about natural selection as the main cause of evolution ± Many more (including Wallace) were skeptical that natural selection could account for human origins ± But at the same time, some who accepted Darwin s theory worried that natural selection might not work on humans once they were civilized, with potentially disastrous consequences ± Today s lecture is the (tragic) story of what became of this particular worry…. 4
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Natural Selection and Civilization In our complicated modern communities a race is being run between moral and mental enlightenment and the deterioration of the physical constitution through the defeasance of the law of natural selection;—and on the issues of that race the destinies of humanity depend. William R. Greg, "On the failure of 'Natural Selection' in the case of Man", Fraser's Magazine , 1868 5
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…a most intricate problem… The advancement of the welfare of mankind is a most intricate problem: all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children; for poverty is not only a great evil, but tends to its own increase by leading to recklessness in marriage. On the other hand, as Mr Galton has remarked, if the prudent avoid marriage, whilst the reckless marry, the inferior members will tend to supplant the better members of society. Darwin, Descent of Man , 1871 6
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Francis Galton, 1822-1911 ± Darwin s cousin ± Polymath – geographer, meteorologist, statistician, anthropologist, psychologist ± After reading the Origin , he devoted the next 50 years to investigating the effects of inheritance on human character ± In 1883, coined the term eugenics 7
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Galton s tribute to Darwin I always think of you in the same way as converts from barbarism think of the 0!±²$!.3$+9./0.!(%!2!
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