Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Bad antecedents

From The Australian:

This is not the first time, of course, that superstition has paraded itself as science, or created a priesthood masquerading as the exponents of reason. At the beginning of the previous century we had the fascination with eugenics, when the Gores of the age such as E.A. Ross and Ernst Haeckel warned that modern industrial society was headed for race suicide.

The list of otherwise sensible people who endorsed this hokum, from Winston Churchill to Oliver Wendell Holmes, is embarrassing to read today.

Then as now, money was poured into foundations, institutes, and university chairs for the study of eugenics and racial hygiene. Then as now, it was claimed that there was a scientific consensus that modern man was degenerating himself into extinction.

1 comment:

dearieme said...

"At the beginning of the previous century..": but it went on in Sweden into the 1970s.