Interesting thought

But geneticist Veronica van Heyningen, president of the Galton Institute, sounded a note of caution. Her institute is independent of UCL but she has given evidence to its eugenics inquiry. “I fully acknowledge that Galton was a terrible racist,” Van Heyningen told the Observer. “But he also played an extremely important role in developing the science of genetics,

How much did his racism drive on the development?

32 comments on “Interesting thought

  1. “On his website, Cain quotes from a letter from Galton to the Times, in 1873, in which he claimed Africans were “lazy, palavering savages” who didn’t deserve to keep the land of their birth. “That alone is enough, for me, to disqualify a person from honoured status,” states Cain. “I don’t want to teach in a room named for someone with such a view.”

    Then feel free to find somewhere else to teach, chum.

  2. Galton has been especially infamous for this aspect of his views for a very long time. In fact, almost the scapegoat for his contemporaries, because you’re going to have to unperson an awful lot of early geneticists (and the entire Fabian society) if having favoured “improvement of the breeding stock” is grounds for unpersoning.

    I suspect the racism was driven by the eugenicist views rather than the other way around, Professor Higgins style the eugenicists thought of themselves as the pinnacle of evolutionary fitness therefore the others were unfit, rather than “the others are others therefore unfit”.

    The difference to me is that we have highly developed concepts of human rights, and to a lesser extent treat people as individuals rather than worrying about their skin colour-based group identity (again it’s the left trying to reverse this).

    It probably would be a good idea for Africans to have fewer children, but for Adam Smith’s reasons, not Galton’s.

  3. Galton produced over 340 papers and books. He also created the statistical concept of correlation and widely promoted regression toward the mean. He was the first to apply statistical methods to the study of human differences and inheritance of intelligence, and introduced the use of questionnaires and surveys for collecting data on human communities, which he needed for genealogical and biographical works and for his anthropometric studies.

    He was a pioneer in eugenics, coining the term itself and the phrase “nature versus nurture”. His book Hereditary Genius (1869) was the first social scientific attempt to study genius and greatness.

    God grief. Literally Hitler.

    😐

    I can see why the Grauniad doesn’t like him though. Lots of prodigious effort in attempting to prove (or disprove) things like whether intelligence is heritable or not. The concept that facts are neutral is obviously lost on the biased denizens of the left.

  4. he claimed Africans were “lazy, palavering savages”

    Probably not the claim (which was hardly unique at the time), but the evidence which they find really hard to bare.

  5. Oh dear. If they’re coming for the eugenicists now, the Labour Party’s Hall of Fame’s going to be looking somewhat deserted.

  6. People of Oriental appearance, on the other hand, seem to perceived as being clever and industrious. I’m sure there must be some other reason why I have a Korean car and phone rather than African ones. Otherwise my car and phone would both be racist.

    Palavering, I learnt a new word today, every day a school day.

  7. The Rod Liddle video in the Sunday Times is an interview with the Cambridge academic (statistical sociologist) sacked (under peer pressure) for the ‘crime’ of attending an academic conference in which one of the topics discussed was hereditability of intelligence and publishing in an open journal that also published this type of research.

  8. This is a tricky tightrope for the Left – how to brand eugenics as evil and right wing without accidentally letting it be widely known that previously it was a Progressive lynchpin, with many of their adored Socialist forebears firm believers.

    Being shameless and cynical liars I expect they’ll manage.

  9. ” But Joe Cain, professor of history and philosophy of biology at UCL disagrees…”

    So, not an actual scientist then?

    Part of a concerted effort by desperate blank-slaters to make it unacceptable to publicise the increasing number of findings in genetics that show that most human traits are indeed heritable.

    It’ll be book burning next.

  10. The fact that eugenics is, quite rightly seen as being immoral has no bearing on the fact that, if it were put into practice using sound scientific principles, it would most likely work. You can breed livestock for desired characteristics, there is no reason that it wouldn’t work with humans. The question of who gets to decide what is desirable is just one in the moral minefield that would result.

  11. Indeed, Rob. Margeret Sanger was an outspoken racist who hated blacks. Her Democrat backed Planned Parenthood kills a million* black babies a year.

    *A statistic, not a tragedy.

  12. Destroy the past, and you destroy the roots of the present. The CM attack on building names, statues, murals, etc. is aimed at the culture, not the named target. Galton isn’t the target: YOU AND YOUR WHOLE DAMN CIVILIZATION ARE!

    When they’ve finished with Galton, if you let them get away with it, they will find someone else. They won’t be done until after Washington, D.C. has changed its name.

  13. Stonyground,

    “The fact that eugenics is, quite rightly seen as being immoral has no bearing on the fact that, if it were put into practice using sound scientific principles, it would most likely work. You can breed livestock for desired characteristics, there is no reason that it wouldn’t work with humans. The question of who gets to decide what is desirable is just one in the moral minefield that would result.”

    The problem with eugenics is that it is mostly brought about by people who are either massive racists, or failures at getting any of the good cock/pussy (and generally descended from successful families, so think they’re entitled to it). Like Nazi eugenics even said that the Jews were cunning and clever, as if those aren’t positive,successful traits.

    Nature does eugenics on its own. Supermodels aren’t trying to shag men with down’s syndrome. They’re trying to shag premier league footballers.

  14. The problem I always have in discussing eugenics is the underlying assumption that there is a “natural” pattern of human reproduction. I can’t see there is any such thing. All manner things affect the makeup of the next generation, whether it’s killing off courageous blokes in wars or paying welfare. I suspect the way you get Africans is by giving wives to the most fearless warriors while killing off the smart blokes for being possesed by demons.

  15. I reckon Xi Jingping read Galton’s ‘Africa for the Chinese’ before coming up with his ‘Belt and Road initiative’.

  16. Jour, I heard a theory some years back that the most capable warriors in Africa got the best land, so others lived in lesser conditions. Forcing them to learn and adapt.

    Evolutionary forces don’t necessarily follow lines we expect.

  17. Given that I expect most Usanians probably associate the KKK with the Republican party rather than with its origins as a para-military wing of the Democrats, it will be easy to forget about the racial views of GBS, HGW, the Webbs and all the other socialist racists, including AH himself

  18. Gamecock, a similar argument has been presented for the smarts of European Jews. It obviously didn’t work for the Africans so I’m sticking with the “look, he’s adding up, kill him!” Explanation.

    Seriously though, we only came out of Africa a hundred odd thousand years ago so all the necessary genes must still be present they just need shuffling into the right order.

  19. Excavations at the Zimbabwean ruins found no evidence of copper wire. Proof that the blacks used cellphones before the stupid whities invented it.

  20. Witchie,

    “And their progeny are, um, rocket scientists?”

    See, that’s the problem with many eugenicists. They have ideas of “value” that aren’t the same as market value. Models bang footballers because they’re richer and in better shape than rocket scientists.

  21. Models bang footballers because they’re richer and in better shape than rocket scientists.

    So, the conclusion is that rocket scientists need substantial pay rises and subsidised gym membership?

    🙂

  22. It is an odd combination of circumstances that make first class footballers hugely wealthy at the present time. Football is a hugely popular spectator sport and, I would suggest that the football industry is brilliantly well organised to take advantage of this. If a different sport was massively lucrative, I wonder if the same people would be brilliant at that instead.

  23. “eugenics is quite rightly seen as being immoral”: of course it’s not immoral. What would be immoral would be imposing it by force, as pursued by Nazi Germany and Social Democratic Sweden, to name only two. (Or, to put that in full, to name only two socialist examples.)

    Hell’s bells, there’s an outfit in NYC that organises voluntary eugenics for Jews. Ditto Israel. Women all over the world have amnios for eugenic, or eugenic-like, purposes. Immoral, my arse.

  24. Stonyground,

    “If a different sport was massively lucrative, I wonder if the same people would be brilliant at that instead.”

    Probably not. Football is very much a sport about skill, probably more than any other team sport. Other sports put more emphasis on speed or strength. I think that’s why it’s so popular.

    Other sports that want more of the other things, I doubt footballers have the genes for it. I mean, some of them are quick, but not as quick as say, athletics needs.

  25. It’s very hard to be good at football if you haven’t mucked around endlessly from a young age. In other sports it helps; in football it seems to be essential. I suspect that’s because controlling and kicking a ball is much less natural than catching a ball or whacking it with a stick.

  26. There are plenty of young kids who have great ball skills and are potential pros at footie, cricket, tennis etc. My BiL is a sports teacher and he tells parents who ask what their kid should specialise in: “If he becomes the fifth best tennis player in the UK, he’ll struggle to make a living. If he becomes the 500th best footballer, he’ll have a big house in Cheshire with a Range Rover on the drive”. It’s really that simple.

  27. @ Tim
    One could also ask how much the development of Eugenics caused Galton to be a racist? That, and the “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun” belief that the African was consitutionally lazy because he chose not to kill hmself by working in conditions that would kill him.
    Statistics do show that races differ and whites are inferior at 100 metre races and basketball.

  28. @ BoM4
    Cricket and Hockey (proper Hockey, not Ice-hockey) are more skills-based relative to strength and speed than football.
    Football is more popular than Hockey because it is more dramatic just as heivy-weight boxing is more popular than Featherweight boxing although the latter is more skills-based.

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