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Human Junk
January 31, 2006 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Engineering Perfect Americans Were your immigrant ancestors considered genetically predisposed to become criminals? Were your mixed-ethnic ancestors thought to be polluting the nation's 'germ-plasm'? The Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement presents a well-put-together online exhibit/walkthrough of this disturbing vein in American history.
posted by Miko (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Look for the "Flawed Research" section, which offers an excellent example of why duplication and peer review are so vital in the sciences.
posted by Miko at 6:12 AM on January 31, 2006


Look for the "Flawed Research" section, which offers an excellent example of why duplication and peer review are so vital in the sciences.

Sadly, this kind of psudoscience is still going on.
posted by delmoi at 7:10 AM on January 31, 2006


Interesting site , full of nicely presented info regarding the eugenic delusion.
posted by elpapacito at 7:27 AM on January 31, 2006


I think their inferior genes prevented them from making a usable website.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:11 AM on January 31, 2006


Ironically, there is one example of successful human selective breeding, based not on science but sheer luck.

In one of the immigrant waves to the US from northern Europe, there was a spate of idealistic settlements formed mostly in one county in western New York. The leader of one of these settlements, though a firm believer in marriage, and that children should be raised with much parental and other adult supervision, also believed that the conception of the children should be directed, by him.

That is, based on his judgement that a man was strong and a woman was smart, for example, he would direct them to produce a baby, though they were not married to each other. Other people he might order not to reproduce at all.

This colony only lasted three generations, but years after it had broken apart, it was noted that they had produced no fewer than 60 national leaders in all fields. The odds of that happening naturally, or just because of environment, are tiny.

It was also noted that it was fortunate that they did break apart after three generations, as with a fourth generation inbred from the community, they risked a much higher percentage of birth defects.

America was not alone in practicing Eugenics, however. Much of the western world at one time or another had overt or covert programs to eliminate or sterilize those who were seen as inferior. Even today, it is alleged that China is practicing selective breeding in hopes of producing whatever qualities they find desirous.
posted by kablam at 4:47 PM on January 31, 2006


kablam: That's an interesting anecdote -- do you have any links or other sources that are more specific about this community?
posted by Miko at 5:57 PM on January 31, 2006


I second that call for a link. Fascinating if true.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:18 AM on February 1, 2006


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