The Eugenics Movement By Sir Francis Galton

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The phrase “designer baby” was not added to the dictionary until 2004, but the idea had existed in the form of the eugenics movement since Sir Francis Galton published his book Hereditary Genius in 1869. Galton’s research suggested that intelligence is hereditary, and he believed that success is due to superior qualities that were passed down generation through generation. His research further suggested that personality traits and mental abilities were also hereditary (Plucker, 2013). Eugenics, a term coined by Galton in 1883, advocated for human breeding restrictions so as to improve the biological make-up of the human race (Steen, 1996). Technology since then has advanced greatly, and designer babies are now a very real possibility.…show more content…
307). He also stated “…it seems highly probable that some blends of the human sub races are eugenically admirable and others disastrous” (p. 307). At that time, interracial relationships were looked down upon. Race was a large factor in eugenics, as white European and American people were leading the movement. They believed that race determined intelligence. McDougall (1914) professed “…the upper social strata are in the main natively superior in mental endowment than the lower” (p.303). Not only did this prejudice lie in race, but social classes within a society were also considered to be an indication of intelligence. Eugenics was not only a movement of the application of psychology to procreation, but was also a largely social and political movement. One of the main purposes of the eugenics movement was to attempt to control the level of intelligence in the human race. This is not completely possible, however, as all genes are linked to other genes, and intelligence is affected by many more than just the one gene (Agar, 2006). In contrast to Galton’s theory, intelligence is not actually completely hereditary. Between 47 and 58% of intelligence lies in DNA, and the rest is based on environmental factors (Steen, 1996). Many types of intelligence tests have been created to measure the level of intelligence in humans. Defining intelligence in itself is a difficult task, as there are
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