Eugenics: A Reassessment (Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence)

Eugenics: A Reassessment (Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence)

Richard Lynn

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0275958221

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Lynn argues that the condemnation of eugenics in the second half of the 20th century went too far and offers a reassessment. The eugenic objectives of eliminating genetic diseases, increasing intelligence, and reducing personality disorders he argues, remain desirable and are achievable by human biotechnology. In this four-part analysis, Lynn begins with an account of the foundation of eugenics by Francis Galton and the rise and fall of eugenics in the twentieth century. He then sets out historical formulations on this issue and discusses in detail desirability of the new eugenics of human biotechnology. After examining the classic approach of attempting to implement eugenics by altering reproduction, Lynn concludes that the policies of classical eugenics are not politically feasible in democratic societies.

The new eugenics of human biotechnology--prenatal diagnosis of embryos with genetic diseases, embryo selection, and cloning--may be more likely than classic eugenics to evolve spontaneously in western democracies. Lynn looks at the ethical issues of human biotechnologies and how they may be used by authoritarian states to promote state power. He predicts how eugenic policies and dysgenic processes are likely to affect geopolitics and the balance of power in the 21st century. Lynn offers a provocative analysis that will be of particular interest to psychologists, sociologists, demographers, and biologists concerned with issues of population change and intelligence.











the genetic quality of the population with respect to its health, intelligence, and moral character. There are two broad kinds of program by which this could be accomplished. These can be designated "classical eugenics" and "the new eugenics." Classical eugenics consists of the application to humans of the methods used for many centuries by plant and animal breeders to produce plants and livestock of better quality by breeding from the better specimens. The application of such a selective

approximately 6,200 babies were born to single "capped" women in the first year following the introduction of the measure (Donovan, 1998). There are problems in assessing the effectiveness of the cap. Among these is that there is no control group sample of women not subject to the cap and that welfare recipients often do not report the birth of an additional child to their welfare agency because they have no incentive to do so. Because these women largely cease to report additional babies, their

slope that inevitably leads to eugenic measures that are unethical. The ultimate end of eugenics, these critics assert, was the use of eugenic arguments by the Nazis to justify the extermination of the Jews and others in the concentration camps. For instance, Colin Clarke (1963) wrote "We have seen in Nazism where eugenics may lead. I think that it is no accident that the Nazi doctrines about sterilization were closely linked intellectually and morally to Nazi doctrine about genocide" (p. 294).

impossible to find; and the fertility of these groups remained disappointingly low. Nevertheless, despite these limitations, until the 1960s, the eugenics movement commanded wide assent and made substantial progress. Few would have predicted that in the last three decades of the twentieth century, eugenics would come to he almost universally rejected and condemned. Yet this is precisely what occurred. Throughout the Western democracies the eugenics societies closed themselves down; sterilization

selecting for implantation those whose genes have the best potential for these traits. However, they disapprove of these potential developments. They write that they would be unacceptable because "the very notion of the sanctity of human individuality would be grossly offended" (p. 246). Although Bodiner and McKie are correct in anticipating that these new techniques for eugenics will become available, it is impossible to accept their judgments on which applications of these are desirable and

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