Thursday, August 30, 2012

Galton, Sir Francis

Like his cousin, Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton was interested in biology. In contrast to Darwin, he investigated fields about which little was known: heredity and intelligence. Galton supported the idea of eugenics (which sought to improve the human race by way of heredity) for the development of inherent characteristics an individual possessed since birth. Galton’s genetic concept was adopted by Hitler, Churchill and many people who sought to eliminate “unfit” races.
K. Ludmerer states that Darwinism was the reason for the 19th century’s increased interest in eugenics:
 . . . modern eugenics thought arose only in the nineteenth century. The emergence of interest in eugenics during that century had multiple roots. The most important was the theory of evolution, for Francis Galton’s ideas on eugenics—and it was he who created the term “eugenics”—were a direct logical outgrowth of the scientific doctrine elaborated by his cousin, Charles Darwin. 190

190 K. Ludmerer, “Eugenics”in Encyclopedia of Bioethics, Edited by Mark Lappe, New York:  The Free Press, , 1978,  p. 457.

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