EUGENICS

The full title of Darwin’s 1859 book was On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.  Old copies of Origin can still be checked out from your local library with the full title.  More modern copies do not contain the second part of the title.  Evolutionists developed a convenient collective amnesia to the full title.  And well they should.  Nazism, the biologist Fritz Lenz once said is nothing more than “applied biology.”  On the left, Marx wanted to dedicate Das Kapital to Darwin.

 

Siddhartha Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University.  A Rhodes Scholar, he graduated from Stamford University, the University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School.  He is a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of The Gene an Intimate History.  He opened my eyes to tell the story of Eugenics.

 

In 1883, one year after Charles Darwin’s death, Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton published Inquiries into Human Faculty and It’s Development.  Galton’s idea was simple; he would mimic the mechanism of natural selection.  The selective breeding of the strongest, smartest, “fittest” humans Galton imagined, could achieve, over just a few decades, what nature had been attempting for eons.

 

Galton needed a word for his strategy.  For Galton, the word eugenics was a good fit – the Greek prefix eu – “good” – with genesis: “good in stock, hereditarily endowed with noble qualities.”  In the Spring of 1904, Galton presented his argument for eugenics at a public lecture at the London School of Economics.  The liberal elite blew into the auditorium: George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells; Alice Drysdale-Vickery, the social reformer; the sociologist Benjamin Kidd; the psychiatrist Henry Maudsley and others.

 

Galton’s remarks lasted ten minutes.  Eugenics, he proposed, had to be “introduced into the national consciousness, like a new religion.”  It’s founding tenets were borrowed from Darwin – but they grafted the logic of natural selection onto human societies.   The purpose was to accelerate the selection of the well-fitted over the ill-fitted, and the healthy over the sick.  As Galton imagined it, a record of the best traits of the best families could be maintained by society – generating a human studbook.  Men and women would be selected from the “golden book” and bred to produce the best offspring.

 

Galton’s remarks were brief – but some in the crowd had grown restless.  Henry Maudsley, the psychiatrist, launched the first attack.  He said that normal fathers sometime produce schizophrenic sons.  Ordinary families sometimes generated extraordinary children.  The child of a barely known glove maker grew up to be the most prominent writer of the English language.  William Shakespeare had five brothers and none of the others distinguished themselves in any way.  The list of “defective geniuses” went on and on: Newton was a sickly, fragile child; John Calvin was severely asthmatic; Darwin suffered bouts of diarrhea and catatonic depression; Herbert Spencer, the great philosopher, spent much of his time bedridden.

 

But where Maudsley proposed caution, others urged speed.  H. G. Wells said selective inbreeding via marriage might produce weaker and duller generations.  The only solution was to consider the macabre alternative – the selective elimination of the weak.  “It is in the sterilization of failure that the possibility of an improvement of the human stock lies.”  Indeed, Wells had only said what many in Galton’s inner circle felt deeply but dared not utter – that eugenics would only work if the selective breeding of the strong was augmented with selective sterilization of the weak.

 

On July 24, 1912, one year after Galton’s death, the first International Conference on Eugenics opened at the Cecil Hotel in London.  The location was symbolic.  With nearly eight hundred rooms, the Cecil was Europe’s largest and grandest hotel.  Luminaries from twelve countries and diverse disciplines descended on the hotel to attend the conference: Winston Churchill; Lord Balfour; Alexander Graham Bell; Charles Eliot, the president of Harvard; William Osler, professor at Oxford; August Weismann, the embryologist.  Darwin’s son, Leonard Darwin, presided over the meeting.

 

Two presentations, among all, stood out in their chilling fervor.  The first was the enthusiastic and precise exhibit by the Germans endorsing “race hygiene” – a premonition of times to come.  The second presentation even larger in its scope and ambition – was presented by the American contingent.  If eugenics was becoming a cottage industry in Germany, it was already a full-fledged operation in America.  Bleecker Van Wagenen, the young president of the American Breeder’s Association, gave a rousing presentation. “Nearly ten percent of the total population are of inferior blood”, Van Wagenen suggested and “they are totally unfitted to become the parents of useful citizens… In eight of the states of the union, there are laws authorizing or requiring sterilization.  Many thousands of sterilization operations have been performed by surgeons in both private and institutional practice.”

 

In another experiment, Sir Francis Galton collaborated with the Wedgewood, Darwin, and Huxley families in an attempt at race improvement.  They would only reproduce with one another, selecting for a superior race.  But the result of this bold four-family experiment was that within just two generations, most of their offspring either perished during birth or were born seriously handicapped.

 

Keep in mind Karl Marx’s fondness for Darwin and communism’s grim harvest during the “Red Century” which approached 100 million deaths, according to The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression.  The authoritative study edited by French historian Stephane Courtois puts China atop the list with 65 million murdered.  Next comes the Soviet Union with 20 million (a conservative estimate).  North Korea and Cambodia tie for third at roughly 2 million each.  Courtois calculates that these and other Communist regimes are responsible for more deaths than any other ideology or movement – Nazism and Fascism very much included.  Is it any wonder that The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life is never talked about in polite society although this was the second part of the title of Darwin’s Origin throughout eugenics “golden age” during the first half of the twentieth century?

 

One will notice that eugenics is never mentioned when Darwinists bring up the Scopes trial and the Darwinist’s favorite movie, Inherit the Wind (Stanley Kramer, 1960).  As I noted in a previous paper, Edward Sisson started to investigate the Scopes Monkey Trial.  Sisson purchased a copy of the textbook from which Scopes taught, A Civic Biology, and a copy of the companion lab guide to that textbook.  A Civic Biology and the lab book both contain sections on eugenics introduced by the statement that “the science of being well born is called eugenics.”  Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, notes that A Civic Biology divided humanity into five races and ranked them in terms of superiority, concluding with the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the “civilized” white inhabitants of Europe and America.  A Civic Biology taught school children that the failure to apply eugenics forced the state of New York to bear the cost of “over a hundred feeble-minded, alcoholic, immoral, or criminal persons.”  The lab book, at problem 160, asks students to use inheritance charts “to determine some means of bettering, physically and mentally, the human race; so that students can answer the concluding question: should feeble-minded persons be allowed to marry”?  One can imagine what would happen today if “receptive young students” were taught that the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America are superior.  The Ku Klux Klan based their racism on pure ignorance.  The scientific establishment of Scopes day based it on Darwinian biology.

 

Christians and other groups should not be held blameless because at times they were silent and would not stand up for the needy.  How easily one forgets that Jesus championed the poor, the unclean, and the outcasts of society.  Indiana was the first of 30 states to authorize sterilization laws for criminals, idiots, rapists, and imbeciles.  By 1941 60,000 individuals had been sterilized in the U.S.

 

Margaret Sanger used eugenics to popularize Planned Parenthood.  Because many women and their babies were dying in childbirth, her ideas on better sex hygiene and education were needed.  Her cry for healthier and better care for children and a “balance of power” in relation to sex was a breath of fresh air.  However, she promoted birth control as a way to a “better and purer race.”  As a speaker at a rally of the Ku Klux Klan she hoped to create “a race of thoroughbreds.”  In her book, The Pivot of Civilization, she calls immigrants and poor people “human weeds” and “reckless breeders.”   Alveda King, the niece of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, complains that Planned Parenthood still targets vulnerable communities, setting up their clinics in the inner city, targeting the African American community.

 

Just as the “facts” of eugenics should have been questioned years ago, some of the “facts” taught in modern high school biology text books have been shown to be false even by ultra-Darwinists.  In my fifth paper, Half-truths: Evolutions Recurring Themes, I concentrated on four classic examples of evolution presented in modern textbooks that don’t stand up under empirical scrutiny.  They are: the Fossil Horses; the Peppered Moths; Haeckel’s Embryos; and the Miller-Urey Experiment.

 

It turned out that the horse drawings were taken out of context and were assembled to conform to someone’s pre-determined idea of evolution.  Now, most scientists agree with ultra-Darwinist Stephen J. Gould’s words about the horse drawings as being an “incarnation of concepts masquerading as neutral descriptions of nature.”  Darwinist Stephen J. Gould wrote about Haeckel’s Embryos in the New York Times on August 13, 1999, “Haeckel had exaggerated the similarities by idealization and omissions.  He also, in some cases – in a procedure that can only be called fraudulent – simply copied the same figure over and over again.”  Gould continued, “Tales of scientific fraud excite the imagination for good reason.  Getting away with this academic equivalent of murder and then being outed a century after your misdeeds makes even better copy.”

 

When University of Chicago professor Jerry Coyne learned of the flaws in the classical story about the Peppered Moths in 1998, he was well into his career as an evolutionary biologist.  Coyne was embarrassed when he finally learned the peppered moth story that he had been teaching as “fact” for years was a myth.  “My own reaction”, he wrote, “resembles the dismay attending my discovery at age six that it was my father and not Santa who brought the presents on Christmas Eve.”

 

These are prominent Darwinian stories, that proved to be false, but the most important is the Miller-Urey experiment.  It is in all biology and biochemistry textbooks and Miller has received many medals and awards from Darwinists.  Some 250 scientists interested in the origin of life gathered in Mainz, Germany in July 1983 for the Seventh International Conference on the Origin of Life.  Stanley Miller was presented with the medal for the best contribution within the field.  In 1952, Nobel Prize winning chemist Harold Urey concluded that the early atmosphere consisted primarily of hydrogen, methane, ammonia, and water vapor.  Urey’s graduate student at the University of Chicago, Stanley Miller, set out to test this hypothesis.  Miller assembled a closed glass apparatus in Urey’s biology laboratory, pumped out the air, and replaced it with hydrogen, methane, ammonia, and water.  He then heated the water and circulated the gases past a high-voltage electric spark to simulate lightning.  “By the end of the week”, Miller reported that he had identified the two simplest amino acids glycine and alanine in very weak amounts.  The other eighteen amino acids needed for a protein that are bigger and more complex were beyond the limits of this experiment.

 

This was a nice experiment that tried to simulate the early earth’s atmosphere.  But this experiment was a “maiden of doubtful virtue.”  I have a nice figure of Miller’s apparatus in a science book and it contained a large sealed glass tube, a vacuum line, a high voltage spark electrode, a condenser with circulating cold water, a trap to prevent back-flow, and a flask of boiling water.  Did the early earth have the controlled conditions of this experiment?  Did it have a laboratory with biologists?  Did it have glass tubes to keep the gases confined?  Did it have a laboratory closet where one could find the pure gases?  I recently read a science paper that said there is almost no pure hydrogen in the atmosphere because it always is combined with other atoms.  One chemist that I talked to said that these controlled conditions helped the experiment succeed over chance by a factor of 1051 (one thousand trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion) and that is a conservative estimate because the experiment did not include free oxygen.  Since 1977 there is a near consensus among geochemists that Miller’s synthesis does not have geological relevance.  The March 1998 issue of National Geographic explains: “Many scientists now suspect that the early atmosphere was different from what Miller first supposed.”

 

So, the most awarded experiment in the history of Darwinian evolution not only did not represent the random gases in the early atmosphere, but kept the gases in closed glass tubes that kept them from very quickly expanding and drifting away in the atmosphere to be combined with other harsh chemicals.  An intelligently designed apparatus was needed to get the two smallest amino acids with yields of 2.1 percent for glycine and 1.7 percent for alanine which have zero function unless the other 18 more complex amino acids are there to form proteins.

Yet this Miller-Urey experiment is still lauded world-wide and still mesmerizes high school students as an exercise not in design but as a true simulation of the early earth.  One look at Stanley Miller’s large glass apparatus will tell you otherwise.

 

Because the founding tenets of eugenics was borrowed from the science of Darwinian biology, it is important to mention much of this “science” is in question even by leading Darwinists.  Even the most famous event of evolutionary science, the Miller-Urey experiment was an exercise in design.  Once young minds are programmed in biology classes with the Fossil Horses, Haeckel’s Embryos, the Peppered Moths, and the Miller-Urey experiment they tend to remember them into adulthood.  Dan Brown, the author of the “block-buster” The Da Vinci Code is an example of this. In his latest work of fiction, Origin (copyright 2017), he writes about the “legendary” Miller-Urey experiment that attempts to re-create the conditions of life’s creation using only “science.”  Unlike most people, Dan Brown does his research and writes that the experiment “did not succeed.”

 

At last there is the sad story of Madison Grant, American lawyer, conservationist, and eugenicist.  Sad because he should be most remembered as the conservationist most responsible for the creation of our National Parks.  But you probably won’t hear Grant’s name so much as whispered, because of his peculiar line of thinking that helped lay the groundwork for the death camps of Nazi Germany.  He wrote, The Passing of the Great Race : Or, the  Racial Basis of European History, a book of “scientific” racism that perhaps more than any other book created what we might call the “racialist moment” in American history.  Grant received a personal letter from Hitler, who wrote his book was his “Bible.”

 

What about Charles Darwin?  Darwin assumed that western, especially Anglo-Saxon cultures, were superior to the inferior peoples.  Darwin even opposed vaccination of the lower class.  The Descent of Man portrayed men as more intelligent than women.  Darwin said that the careless, squalid Irishman multiplies like rabbits; the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting Scot is stern in his morality.  Darwin’s son Major Leonard Darwin, who became president of the Eugenics Education Society, called for the control of the lower class.

 

Yet Darwin’s Origin of the Species seemed to have a moral obligation to fairness.  He presented both sides of the story.  Four of the fifteen chapters in Origin list countless objections to his own theory.  I hope that if Darwin would have lived longer he might have been able to moderate the “scientific” legitimacy of eugenics and strike out the second half of Origin’s title – The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.

 

 

Lee Kleinschmidt

2018

 

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