Thursday, December 19, 2013

Eugenics and the Station for Experimental Evolution

Jerry Coyne is goin' all Bagdad Bob about David Klinghoffer's and my criticisms of his bizarre embrace of John Scopes' grave and his implicit endorsement of the racist eugenic textbook John Scopes was convicted of using to teach human evolution to students in Dayton Tennessee in 1925 in the Scopes Monkey Trial.

No matter that Scopes was a short-term substitute teacher for the biology class, couldn’t even remember whether he taught human evolution from the book, and almost certainly didn’t teach the eugenics part of the book... 
Coyne extols Scopes, hugs his grave, and then denies that Scopes did anything.
[E]ugenics wasn’t even considered part of evolutionary biology back then, but was seen as part of genetics.

The science of genetics began with de Vries' and Correns' rediscovery and replication of Mendel's work in 1900. The word "genetics" wasn't coined until 1905, by Bateson.

The science of eugenics began in 1869, when Francis Galton, Charles Darwin's cousin, published his landmark Hereditary Genius. Galton was obsessed with his cousin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (the full title of Darwin's masterwork is rarely acknowledged) which was published just a decade earlier.

Galton coined the term "eugenics" in 1883 with his work Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development.

Darwin himself published Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex in 1871. Darwin echoed his cousin's eugenic science, lamenting smallpox vaccination because it ensured the survival of the weak and "excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed."

Darwin noted:
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.
Karl Pearson, Ernst Haeckel, Herbert Spencer and Charles Davenport began their groundbreaking eugenics research and advocacy in the last decades of the 19th century. In 1889 the Royal Commission on the Blind, Deaf and Dumb discouraged intermarriage between the disabled based on eugenic science. In 1896 the National Association for the Care and Control of the Feeble Minded was organized in England to advocate for the eugenic sequestration of handicapped people. Connecticut passed the first eugenic law in the United States in 1896.

Charles Davenport, the Harvard-trained champion of American eugenics, assumed directorship of the Cold Spring Harbor research lab in 1898. American eugenic science was pioneered by Davenport at Cold Spring Harbor. Davenport's laboratory, which became the clearinghouse and research center for American eugenics, was named the "Station for Experimental Evolution" in 1904, a year before the word "genetics" was coined.

Eugenics was derived from Darwinian evolutionary biology with remarkable celerity by direct descent. Eugenics antedates genetics by at least a generation.


Eugenics was presaged in Darwin's work in 1859 and 1871, originated and named in the work of his cousin Francis Galton in 1869 and 1883, developed by a number of evolutionary biologists in the last decades of the 19th century, and became part of public policy and law in England and the United States prior to 1900.

The Center for Experimental Evolution-- eugenics, that is-- opened in Cold Spring Harbor in 1904. The word "genetics" was coined in 1905.

Note to Coyne: Eugenics was not "a part of genetics". Eugenics was experimental evolution, named so by the Darwinists who pioneered it.

(Cross-posted at Evolution News and Views)


  1. I still can't get Hoo to tell me where Asians fall in Darwin's racial hierarchy. He simply accuses me of being racist, as if it's my hierarchy and not Darwin's.

    Here's my take on evolutionary biology rand race. The theory was originally infused with lots of racial supremacism. That wasn't a problem for probably a century because society concurred, but then two things happened: the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Suddenly it wasn't acceptable to talk about desirable races any more. So they kept mum about that part and tried to whitewash the past. It would help if they would just own up to their history and admit their racism, but they can't bring themselves to do that. Instead they claim that they were talking about different races of vegetables, and that these "anti-science" loons are just making stuff up to impugn their good character.

    That just tells me that they're liars with an agenda.


    1. 'On the Origin of Species' is riddled with 'race'. Domestic races. Races of dogs. And of pigeons. Even races of cabbages.

      When Darwin refers to 'human races', it's to attempt to explain the geographic distribution of species by analogy to 'savage races' being pushed into inhospitable habitats by more 'civilised' humans.

      On the voyage of the Beagle, he saw the natives of Tierra del Fuego, who went naked all the time in a very cold climate. Darwin at the time was a rather naive man in his early '20s who still was considering a career in the clergy.

      Undoubtedly, he would have been repulsed by their 'primitive' state, not realising that their lifestyle was perfect for the conditions. When missionaries put the natives in clothes, they soon died out.

      Anyway. Religion (I hope) tells us that it's wrong to treat human 'races' differently. Science, on the other hand, tells us that there are no human 'races' in the first place.

    2. Let's fix Anonymous' comment:

      "Here's my take on ANTI-evolutionary biology rand race. The anti-evolution theory was originally infused with lots of racial supremacism. That wasn't a problem for probably a century because society concurred, but then two things happened: the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Suddenly it wasn't acceptable to talk about desirable races any more. So creationists and ID proponents kept mum about that part and tried to whitewash the past. It would help if they would just own up to their history and admit their racism, but they can't bring themselves to do that. Instead they claim that they were talking about different races of vegetables, and that these "pro-science" loons are just making stuff up to impugn their good character.

      That just tells me that they're liars with an agenda."

  2. No. Eugenics was a direct application of selective breeding, which had been employed by humans for at least 12,000 years, in producing useful domesticated plants and animals.

    Charles Davenport got into eugenics as a result of his interest in chicken breeding.

    Natural selection is anything but eugenics. There's nothing planned in Darwinian evolution. The only thing that counts is reproductive success. 'Fitness' as perceived by a human observer doesn't count.

    Eugenics wasn't experimental evolution, which has as examples the Grants' study of beak size of Darwin's finches in the Galápagos Islands, Richard Lenki's 25 year study of E. coli and Kettlewell's study of the pigmented variety of the peppered moth in response to air pollution in England.

  3. "Evolution News and Views" is written by and for racist fundamentalist dimwits, so what's the aim of this boilerplate? Harden the stance of the rubes against evolution? Fleece the suckers from some more of their dollars?

  4. Nice try to tie eugenics to evolution, Mike, but even a cursory examination of history shows a different picture. The term eugenics translates as well-bred. It's heredity, not evolution, that was used as a pretext for the social experimentation (that's what eugenics is).

    Charles Davenport's book Heredity in Relation to Eugenics made much hay out of human genetics. Here is how the book begins:

    "Recent great advances in our knowledge of heredity have revolutionized the methods of agriculturalists in improving domesticated plants and animals. It was early recognized that this new knowledge would have a far-reaching influence upon certain problems of human society—the problems of the unsocial classes, of immigration, of population, of effectiveness, of health and vigor. Now, great as are the potentialities of the new science of heredity in its application to man it must be confessed that they are not yet realized. A vast amount of investigation into the laws of the inheritance of human traits will be required before it will be possible to give definite instruction as to fit marriage matings. Our social problems still remain problems. For a long time yet our watchword must be investigation. The advance that has been made so far is chiefly in getting a better method of study."

    Heredity? Check. Genetics? Check. Evolution? I don't see it.


    1. Davenport explains in Chapter 1 what eugenics is:

      "Eugenics is the science of the improvement of the human race by better breeding or, as the late Sir Francis Galton expressed it: — "The science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race." The eugenical standpoint is that of the agriculturalist who, while recognizing the value of culture, believes that permanent advance is to be made only by securing the best ''blood." (Man is an organism—an animal; and the laws of improvement of corn and of race horses hold true for him also. Unless people accept this simple truth and let it influence marriage selection human progress will cease."


    2. From the evolutionary view, human beings were an evolved species that was deteriorating under domestication (civilization). Taking human evolution in hand-- experimental evolution-- was eugenics, which was human breeding predicated on the evolutionary understanding of man.

      Eugenics began as a science in 1869. Mendel's science was rediscovered in 1900, more than a generation after eugenics was established as a science.

      Eugenics was obviously a sub-discipline of human evolutionary biology. As genetic science grew in the first decades of the 20th century, its implications were incorporated into eugenic science. But eugenics had its origins in evolutionary biology. All eugenic scientists for the first 30 years were evolutionary biologists or allied academics sympathetic to Darwin's theory.

      Eugenicists called their science "experimental evolution" for a reason. Man up, Hoo, and accept historical truth. You look ridiculous denying it.

    3. Doc, I like how you make grand proclamations without a single attempt to back them up with some relevant material. This is why most of what you write is bullshit.

      I agree that genetics began in the early twentieth century. That's beside the point, though. Breeding of plants and animals has been around for much longer than that. Davenport himself states that the eugenical standpoint is that of the agriculturalist who, while recognizing the value of culture, believes that permanent advance is to be made only by securing the best ''blood." This isn't about evolution by natural selection. This is about artificial selection that has been practiced in breeding.

      You are pathetic, doc.


    4. Hoo:

      When did proposal for the scientific breeding of man first appear in the scientific literature? What was the date of publication of the first eugenics book? When was the term eugenics coined?

      What book was published ten years before the first eugenics book? Was there any family relation between the authors-- cousins, perhaps?

    5. Heredity and inheritance are key terms in Davenport's book. He spends quite a bit of time discussing mechanisms of inheritance, Mendel's laws, chromosomes, and so on.

      Have a look, doc. You might learn something.


    6. Egnor: What book was published ten years before the first eugenics book? Was there any family relation between the authors-- cousins, perhaps?

      Heh. Genetic fallacy in its explicit form.


    7. Egnor,

      'Eugenecists called their science "experimental evolution" for a reason'.

      Any idiot can use the word 'evolution' in any way he wants. 'Evolution' isn't under trademark protection.

      You for one have the bizarre concept of 'Thomistic evolution' or 'teleological evolution', which has nothing to do with science or evolution. You certainly weren't inspired by 'On the Origin of Species' despite coming after Darwin and also speaking the same language as Darwin.

    8. Smegnor: Was there any family relation between the authors-- cousins, perhaps?

      Oh-- you think moral qualities run in families.

      Once again, a creationist pushing eugenic beliefs. As was the case with all major creationists from 1920 to about 1970, almost all of whom explicitly supported human eugenics.

  5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 19, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    The existence of selective breeding, which is nothing more than a technology (or process, if you don't like the term technology), before Darwin formulated his theory in no way exculpates Darwin's theory from its role in the development of eugenics.

    The role of Darwinism is simply this: the theory of evolution provided a "scientific" rationale for the "betterment" of the human species in an age when "scientific" rationales were considered paramount by the intelligentsia of the day. Social engineering was emerging, championed by intellectuals such as Comte (considered the founder of sociology with his "social physics") and Marx. It was a perfect confluence of theory and technology.

    Strongly influenced by the utopian socialist Henri Saint-Simon, Comte developed the positive [!!??] philosophy in an attempt to remedy the social malaise of the French Revolution, calling for a new social doctrine based on the sciences.
    --- Wiki: Auguste Comte

    bumfight's comment that "Natural selection is anything but eugenics, ...Darwinian evolution [is unplanned, and] [t]he only thing that counts is reproductive success [because '[f]itness' as perceived by a human observer doesn't count." is irrelevant, a distraction.

    I'll wager that there are few humans alive who would deny that the ability to survive is desirable. In fact, I'll raise that bet to "highly desirable".

    Whether or not individual persons might be capable of recognizing or intuiting the necessary traits is irrelevant matter as far as desirability is concerned. It's common knowledge that the ability to succeed in one's own career is deemed desirable, and the fact that best-selling books exist to explain and describe the personal traits necessary for that "fitness" for success only serve to reinforce its obvious desirability. To wit:

    The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a business and self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey. It has sold more than 15 million copies in 38 languages worldwide, and the audio version has sold 1.5 million copies, and remains one of the best selling nonfiction business books.
    --- Wiki: The Seven Habits...

    In short, the theory of evolution provided a scientific rationale to improve society and the general human condition (i.e., eugenics) in an age when scientific rationales for the improvement of society were eagerly sought out.

    By the way, I've considered publishing a business book myself. It will have two main points:

    First point: for a business to be successful, you must hire the right people.

    But, you ask, how do you know you're hiring the right people?

    Second point: you know you're hiring the right people if your business is successful.

    1. Senile old fart,

      Stop mangling my moniker. It's 'bachfiend' you twit.

      'Natural selection' doesn't just apply to humans. It applies to all species, and in all, reproductive success is the only thing that counts. The giant pacific octopus female spends months lovingly tending her fertilised eggs in an oceanic cave, at the same time neglecting herself by not eating, till she starves to death. She's just one example of a species in which reproductive success, not personal survival, counts.

      Eugenics was just selective breeding of humans. Done by humans on other species for at least 12,000 years.

    2. Don't be hard on Grandpa, bachfiend. He's doing the best he can.


    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 19, 2013 at 8:52 AM

      backfield: "'Natural selection' doesn't just apply to humans. It applies to all species..."

      I didn't say otherwise. So who are you responding to? Or, perhaps more apt, what is your point?

    4. LOL. Grandpa mutters incomprehensibly to himself, then complains about being misunderstood.

      Do I read you right, Gramps?


    5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM

      By the way, that was a touching story about Ms Octopus. I wonder if she's seen "The LIfe of Julia"?

    6. "Stop mangling my moniker. It's 'bachfiend' you twit.'

      That makes it even funnier.

    7. Grandpa,

      You senile fool. It's to illustrate that reproductive success is everything, not survival. I wasn't specifically referring to humans, but you brought humans up in your comment.

    8. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 19, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      bangfree: "You senile fool."

      Take your beta-blockers, bangfree. You've lost the plot and fallen into the prototypical leftist rant mode. And wipe your chin. :-)

  6. KW:

    How do you feel about the racist eugenic history of evolutionary biology?

  7. It's funny what sort of contortions Egnor has to go through. Charles Darwin's cousin was involved in the eugenics movement. He was inspired by Charles Darwin's work, you see. Therefore evolutionary biology has a "racist eugenic history."

    You are twisting like a pretzel, doc. Not advised at your advanced age.


  8. I’m sorry that some racists misused evolutionary biology in a misguided attempt to justify their bigotry. Today however, it’s not “evolutionists” but the racist right that, under the guise of condemning it, make the argument that evolution so obviously supports racism.

    In the broad ark of history, the recognition of racism and fight against it has happened almost entirely after publication of the Origin of Species. The fact is it was evolutionary biology that showed we are all very closely related descendants of Africans, and that the differences between races are entirely superficial.

    Your whole rift is based in your own racist attitude but you lack the self-awareness to realize it.


  9. William Wilberforce would be surprised to hear that the fight against racism only happened after 1859.

    And you assertion that Darwinism mitigated racism is quite funny. Don't you ever read the stuff these bastards wrote?

  10. You have quoted a passage from Darwin's Origin in your opening post. There is nothing particularly damning in it. Darwin does not call for the extermination of other human races, he merely points out that the extermination is ongoing.

    You have nothing to go on, doc, so you make things up.


  11. You must have missed the word “almost”. The first recorded use of the term “racism” wasn’t until 1907. What we consider racism and racist today has come a long way since Wilberforce.

    What’s the matter Doc? Can’t you come up with a reason not to be racist beyond the re-interpretation of religious authority championed by Wilberforce? In your mind does the evidence from evolutionary biology support or refute racist beliefs?

    I think it’s clear you think evolutionary biology supports racism.


  12. Describing man as an animal evolved by natural selection without remainder is an enormous impetus to racial and ethnic hate. The history of eugenics and Nazism, both of which were applied Darwinism, couldn't be more clear.

    We are each spiritual and corporeal creatures created in God's image, and infinitely loved. Our destiny is to share in Christ. That is the truth, and it is the only real cure for racism.

  13. Egnor,

    Wilberforce was campaigning against slavery, not racism. Britain abolished slavery, only to replace it with a different form with a different name in India.

    As I've noted many times. It's only science that proves that there are no human races in the first place, so racism is biologically impossible. Racism is just social discrimination.

  14. Egnor:

    The history of eugenics and Nazism, both of which were applied Darwinism, couldn't be more clear.

    Liar. The industrial killing of Jews by the Christian Nazis was simply industrial scale pogrom that had always been encouraged by the Christian clergy. They didn't need Darwinism back in the day, they didn't need it later.

    We are each spiritual and corporeal creatures created in God's image, and infinitely loved. Our destiny is to share in Christ. That is the truth, and it is the only real cure for racism.

    No, it's a lie. We are animals and oblivion awaits us all. That's the truth.

  15. troy:

    Perhaps the day will come when you would prefer oblivion.

    I hope not, for you.

  16. Egnor,

    'Perhaps the day will come when you would prefer oblivion'.

    Why not? As Mark Twain put it, I didn't exist for billions of years before I was born, so why should it worry me that I won't exist for billions of years after I die?

    All I hope for, is that my death not be too painful.

  17. Perhaps the day will come when you would prefer oblivion.

    What is that supposed to mean?

  18. Doctor, I asked a simple question. Do you thing evolutionary biology supports or refutes racism?


  19. Of course, eugenics started long before Darwin. Try reading about Athens and Sparta before trying to pin the blame on Darwin, Egorant one.


  20. A picture is worth a thousand words...
    Busts of C. Darwin and F. Galton, 3rd International Eugenics Conference:

    Please do not answer me if you are not able to quote me someone in those years that has condemned this use/misuse of Darwin's memory.

    1. Domics,

      I don't need to.

      'Evolution' wasn't a trademark protected word. A bust of Darwin isn't copyrighted. Anyone can use either in whatever way desired and there's no way of preventing it.

      A eugenics conference is only going to get attendees who think that eugenics is valid science. Opponents of eugenics aren't going to attend. They won't know if a statue of Darwin is displayed, unless its reported in the press (and they bother to read it).

      And anyway. Scientists don't worship Darwin. He was a very significant figure in science, but he still got things wrong, many things in fact.

  21. Heh. Egnor's half-witted screeds have been noticed by a historian of science who knows a thing or two about the Scopes trial.

    Why Attacking John Scopes as Racist isn’t True by Adam Shapiro.

    A summary:

    Egnor states: “Ironically, telling the truth about evolution — telling exactly what Scopes taught to his students — is precisely what David and I did.” This is wrong twice over. It’s not true that Scopes taught the eugenics passages (or perhaps even the evolution passages) and it’s also not true that the passages about eugenics were “about evolution” in the way that Egnor implies. Similar to the other rhetorical sleight of hand mentioned earlier, Egnor seems to strategically invite us (and Coyne takes the bait here) to disagree that Scopes taught the eugenics section, or that Scopes had no choice but to teach it, but then hopes to slip by the other implication of his statement – that eugenics was part of the evolution coverage.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.


  22. Egnor: The Center for Experimental Evolution-- eugenics, that is-- opened in Cold Spring Harbor in 1904. The word "genetics" was coined in 1905.

    Let's dig into the history of the Cold Spring Harbor Lab.

    1890: Founded as a biology teacher-training laboratory

    At the end of the 19th century, the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences founded a laboratory for training high school and college teachers in marine biology. As biologists and naturalists of that time worked out the consequences of Darwin’s theory of evolution, they often established their laboratories at the seashore, where there was an abundance of animals and plants for study. The pristine north shore of Long Island was a natural site for the Brooklyn Institute’s facility – a place to study nature at its source, the sea.

    1904: Genetics research begins

    Soon, another mission was established: research in genetics. This grew out of two events: the appointment, in 1898, of Charles Davenport, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard, as director of the Laboratory, and the rediscovery in 1900 of Gregor Mendel’s work, carried out 35 years earlier. Mendel’s Laws provided explanations for the variability that underlies evolution, and his work opened new possibilities for experimentation in biology.

    Davenport approached the Carnegie Institute of Washington and proposed that it establish a genetics research program at the Cold Spring Harbor site. In June 1904, the Carnegie Institute's Station for Experimental Evolution, later renamed the Department of Genetics, was formally opened with a commemorative speech given by Hugo de Vries, one of the three re-discoverers of Mendel’s work.

    (end of quote)

    The Station was established by Davenport with the express purpose of studying Mendelian inheritance. It wasn't called a Station for Genetics at the beginning as there was no such word in 1904. They did study genetics, though.


    1. Hoo,

      it's much worse than you imagine. The Eugenics Record Office [ERO] was funded with money from millionaie John Harvey Kellogg (yeah, the cornflakes guy). No Kellogg, no ERO.

      Kellogg, of course, was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the sect that gave us Young Earth Creationism [see Ronald Numbers' The Creationists]. Almost all Young Earth arguments, like "Geologists date the strata from the fossils, and the fossils from the strata" originated with SDA's. As as SDA it was mandatory for Kellogg to be seven-day creation Young Earth creationist-- because SDA's insist that the seven-day work week mimics the seven 24-hour days of creation.

      Kellogg was an avid supporter of eugenics, a racist and a segregationist, a supporter of Christian missionaries of course-- all typical of almost all major creationists up until 1970-80.

      Kellogg believed in everything the Discovery Institute believes in. He was a holist and anti-reductionist (like the Discovery Institute), and of course he created crazy health holistic, anti-reductionist quack health clinics like in the movie The Road to Wellville. He also supported quack medicine-- kind of like the Discovery Institute's vaccine-opposing fellows, William Dembski and John Oller, not to mention many other anti-vax creationists.

      Kellogg was a vitalist and an anti-materialist (like the Discovery Institute). He believed that modern science could never explain the behavior of cells through mere chemistry, like atoms interacting. Why did that amoeba move its pseudopod? "God did it." Throw out biochemistry-- oh well!

      Wikipedia on Harry Hamilton Laughlin: The Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was founded at Cold Spring Harbor, New York, by [Charles Benedict] Davenport with initial support from Mary Williamson Averell (Mrs. E. H. Harriman) and John Harvey Kellogg, and later by the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

      (Note that the Carnegie Institution ~1920 backed away from eugenics and not scientific and forced the Office to change its focus; but Kellogg never turned against it.)

      Wikipedia on John Harvey Kellogg: an American medical doctor in Battle Creek, Michigan, who ran a sanitarium using holistic methods, with a particular focus on nutrition, enemas and exercise. Kellogg was an advocate of vegetarianism and is best known for the invention of the corn flakes breakfast cereal with his brother, Will Keith Kellogg.[1]

      He led in the establishment of the American Medical Missionary College.

      ...Kellogg was outspoken on his beliefs on race and segregation, though he himself raised several black foster children. In 1906, together with Irving Fisher and Charles Davenport, Kellogg founded the Race Betterment Foundation, which became a major center of the new eugenics movement in America. Kellogg was in favor of racial segregation and believed that immigrants and non-whites would damage the gene pool.

      Written by Kellogg: 1915 The Eugenics Registry Official Proceedings: Vol II, Proceedings of the Second National Conference on Race Betterment. Battle Creek, MI: Race Betterment Foundation.

  23. Perhaps the day will come when you would prefer oblivion.

    What is that supposed to mean?

    Believe my hypothesis not because it's supported by evidence (it's not) but because our side will torture you with fire if you don't believe.

    You know-- the same argument used by scientists at every scientific conference to persuade people their hypothesis is correct...

  24. Hoo, I think we caught Egnor lying through his teeth again! Ha ha! Egnor's lie here is that he's trying to pass off CSHL's Department of Genetics [Center for Experimental Evolution] as being the Eugenics Records Office [ERO], when they appear to be two different entities, founded SIX YEARS APART. The only thing Egnor got right is Cold Spring Harbor-- otherwise he's lying.

    Egnor: Davenport's laboratory, which became the clearinghouse and research center for American eugenics, was named the "Station for Experimental Evolution" in 1904...

    Egnor has no evidence the entity founded in 1904 had anything to do with human eugenics.

    Egnor: The Center for Experimental Evolution-- eugenics, that is-- opened in Cold Spring Harbor in 1904.

    Again, where is the evidence the entity formed in 1904 studied human eugenics?

    But the Cold Spring Harbor Lab itself tells us something different:

    Davenport approached the Carnegie Institute of Washington and proposed that it establish a genetics research program at the Cold Spring Harbor site. In June 1904, the Carnegie Institute's Station for Experimental Evolution, later renamed the Department of Genetics, was formally opened with a commerative speech given by Hugo de Vries, one of the three re-discoverers of Mendel’s work. [The Cold Spring Harbor Lab on Its Own History]

    So the entity formed in 1904 was later renamed the Department of Genetics. What evidence is there that CSHL's Department of Genetics, aka Experimental Evolution, formed in 1904, is the same as the Eugneics Record Office, founded in 1910?

    Wikipedia on the Eugenics Record Office: Founded in 1910, the ERO was financed primarily by Mary Harriman (widow of railroad baron E. H. Harriman),[1] the Rockefeller family and then the Carnegie Institution until 1939.

    Two different entities.

    So Egnor-- what evidence can you provide that you are not lying through your teeth-- again?

    Creationists GOT NOTHING. You GOT NOTHING. If you had evidence against evolution, you'd present it. Instead you LIE because you got no evidence.

    You wanna argue social consequences? Let's go. Every major creationist up until ~1980 was RACIST, most major creationists in the 1930's were enthusiastically PRO-HITLER and ANTI-SEMITIC, and almost all creationists from 1920 to ~1970 were PRO-EUGENICS. YOU GOT NOTHING.

  25. As I stated before, almost all major creationists from 1920 to 1970 were pro-eugenics. Let's list a few, with references.

    I already mentioned John Harvey Kellogg, cornflakes millionaire and Seventh Day Adventist, who funded the Eugenics Record Office.

    Let's next consider A. E. Wilder-Smith, who was both a Young Earth Creationist in the Henry Morris mold, as well the founder of Intelligent Design's fake "Information Theory", and an avid believer in eugenics (along with many other things, like ghosts, necromancy, magical mojo bags, ESP, and that taking drugs could give you telepathy-- Wilder-Smith also claimed he himself had telepathy.)

    First I will establish that Young Earther, A. E. Wilder-Smith is acknowledged as the founder of Intelligent Design "theory."

    William Dembski: “... the challenge [of ID to evolutionary theory] would not exist without the efforts of Henry Morris and young earth creationists.

    I myself would not be a design theorist today without them.
    To be sure, I am not a young earth creationist... Nonetheless, it was their literature that first got me thinking about how improbable it is to generate biological complexity and how this problem might be approached scientifically. A. E. Wilder-Smith was particularly important to me in this regard. Making rigorous his intuitive ideas about information has been the impetus for much of my research.
    [Intelligent Design's contribution to the Debate Over Evolution: A Reply to Henry Morris. By William A. Dembski. 1 February 2005.]

    Touchstone Magazine Interviews the Discovery Institute Leaders:

    Touchstone: Who are the “prophets” who anticipated the intelligent design (ID) movement?...

    Phillip E. Johnson: I would name, first, Dr. A. E. Wilder-Smith, author of The Scientific Alternative to Neo-Darwinian Evolutionary Theory, who pioneered the “origin of information” analysis (see

    William A. Dembski: I would add to Phil’s list... Like Wilder-Smith and [Michael] Denton, they [Polanyi, Schutzenberger] were deeply critical of scientific materialism and the reductive approach to biology that it fostered...

    Paul Nelson: ...If you ask Charlie Thaxton who he was reading, however... I think he’d mention people such as... A. E. Wilder-Smith, a polymath who thought hard about exactly why Darwinism failed.

    [The Measure of Design, Touchstone, v. 17, issue 6, July/Aug. 2004]

    Here is Dean Kenyon, the main author of Of Pandas And People, explaining where he got the idea of Intelligent Design:

    Dean Kenyon: Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith was one of the two or three most important scientists in my life. He very powerfully influenced my intellectual development and my change of opinion on the origin of man. His writings... and the discussions I had with him were outstanding and had a great impact on my views and thoughts on origins.”
    [Testimonials about Wilder-Smith, cited in Barbara Forrest’s Expert Testimony at Dover, p.15, Footnote 50]

    1. Continuing:

      OK, so all you ID people are agreed that Wilder-Smith invented Intelligent Design's fake "Information Theory." So how did he feel about eugenics?

      In Wilder-Smith's 1968 book Man's Origin, Man's Destiny he wrote a whole chapter about his grand eugenic plan. AEWS pointed out that Adam in the Bible lived to 900 years, so creationism logically entails that we could live that long again if we just "breed out some recessives" as he put it. He also uses the word "superman" to describe the outcome of his creationist plan.

      Note that his chapter on eugenics is called "Planned Evolution." This was not a contradiction for a Young Earth creationist, because creationists believe in micro-evolution not macro-evolution, and eugenics is micro-evolution.

      A. E. Wilder-Smith: “Chapter 4. PLANNED EVOLUTION.


      The possibility of improving the human race, biologically as well as psychically, by planned breeding has interested scientists and others for a long time. Animal breeding projects have shown wonderful results. Cows yield more milk, produce better meat and give a better percentage exploitation of the food they eat... Could we not apply the same principles to our own race and build a better one? Could one not arrive at a superman from the genetic materials we have now on hand?


      ...there can be little doubt that present-day man could be improved upon fairly quickly and easily. It might be possible to breed from our race a man with almost the physical properties of Adam who lived over nine hundred years. We would have to breed out some recessives and their accompanying degenerative properties, but this would not be insuperable, using proper selective breeding.

      … From the mixed genetic properties of a wolf and a hyena it would, perhaps, be possible to breed a poodle or an alsatian, simply because poodle and alsatian properties are present (in a mixed form) on the genetic code of the wolf and hyena.…

      Typical creationist idiot. Hyenas are not canids, they're felids. Creationists can't tell a cat from a dog. Continuing:

      We might be able to breed out of the human race today an Adam who would live nine hundred years, that is, we could breed out the recessive and damaging genes which seem to have arisen... probably by exposure to toxic substances and maybe ionizing radiation. [A. E. Wilder-Smith, Man's Origin, Man's Destiny (1968), Chapter 4: Planned Evolution, p. 155-7]

      More creationist idiocy. Creation "scientists" stupidly think most mutations are due to radiation. They're not.

      Anyway, Intelligent Design, like modern creationism, was brought about and led by pro-eugenics morons who didn't know squat about science.

  26. As for creationists who supported eugenics, let's next consider Rousas J. Rushdoony, yeah I'm going there: the racist, fascist, pro-eugenics, Holocaust-denying, pro-slavery, geocentrist Reconstructionist theologian responsible for inspiring the Christian home-school movement, and reviving the popularity of America's so-called "Providential history," particular that of racist pro-slavery theologian Robert Lewis Dabney.

    In 1961 Rushdoony played a key role in creationism by brokering the publication of Henry Morris' The Genesis Flood. In the 1970's he helped found the Christian home-schooling movement, and his even crazier son-in-law, Gary North, helped inspire the "Satanic Ritual abuse craze" of the 1980's with None Dare Call It Witchcraft which regarded witchcraft and the occult as real. In the 1980's Rushdoony was in the Reconstructionist Council on National Policy with other creationist bigwigs like Duane Gish and the sex- and financial scandal-plagued televangelist leaders of the Reagan era.

    Rushdoony became the spirtual guru of Howard Ahmanson, the Reconstructionist "kill all gays" banking billionaire whose money founded the pro-ID Discovery Institute. Ahmanson was present at Rushdoony's deathbed when he died. No Rushdoony, no Discovery Institute.

    Besides being racist, pro-slavery, a Holocaust denier, blah blah blah, he also insisted eugenics had been and would always be required by Christians.

    Rushdoony: “If Negroes are only “white men with black skins, nothing more…” then conversely white men are only Negroes with white skins… This means that all cultural differences, hereditary predispositions, and historical traditions are irrelevant and meaningless. It means, in other words, that history is meaningless.

    The white man has behind him centuries of Christian culture, and the discipline and selective breeding this faith requires. Although the white man may reject this faith and subject himself instead to the requirements of humanism, he is still a product of this Christian past. The Negro is a product of a radically different past, and his heredity has been governed by radically different considerations.
    [Rousas Rushdoony, The Biblical Philosophy of History (1969), p.112-3]

    There you go, a two-fer: eugenics is required by Christianity, and that's the explanation for why whites are biologically superior to blacks.

    In the Institutes of Biblical Law, Loony Rushdoony writes a long section that is explicitly creationist, about genetic degeneration (aka "Genetic Entropy" as John Sanford would call it) caused by cosmic radiation from space. Once again we see creationist stupidity about how most mutations are caused by cosmic radiation. They're not.

    Rushdoony: “Clearly history has witnessed genetic deterioration. Selective breeding in Christian countries has led to a degree to the progressive elimination of many defective persons, however. Among Armenians, arranged marriages prevailed in Armenia to World War I, and a routine demand of parents, before continuing with any further negotiations, was a clear family record genetically for seven generations. As a result, many genetic defects were eliminated and unknown among Armenians. In every Christian country, some form of standard has prevailed. [Rousas Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law (1973), p. 372]

    And there you go: Christianity requires "the progressive elimination of many defective persons", which again entails that Christians [whites] are biologically superior to heathens [non-whites] because "In every Christian country, some form of [eugenic] standard has prevailed.

    Again: no pro-eugenics, racist, Holocaust-denying Rousas Rushdoony, no Discovery Institute.

  27. I will add a few more creationists for eugenics.

    William J. Tinkle was the real founder and first secretary of the Creation Research Institute, later ICR (Henry Morris got the credit, but he was a figurehead-- Tinkle did most of the work.) Tinkle's textbook Fundamentals of Zoology (1939) was one of only two creationist textbooks available pre-1970, the other being Ernest S. Booth's Biology: The Story of Life (1950, 1954). Both textbooks were racist and pro-eugenics, promoting eugenics decades after real biologists had abandoned it.

    Tinkle was an avid eugenics researcher who published in the eugenics literature. He tried to apply eugenics to deaf people, and said "nomadism" or what made people drifters was genetic (e.g. William J. Tinkle, "Heredity of Habitual Wandering," Journal of Heredity 18 (1927): 548-51. Also "Habitual Wanderers," Literary Digest 96, April 21, 1928. Also see "Breeding Better Vermonters: The Eugenics Project in the Green Mountain State", p. 201.)

    Ronald Numbers writes: "One of the few active creationists to have lived as an adult through the antievolution controversies of the 1920’s, he [Tinkle] had first contacted Price in 1932 at the suggestion of William Bell Riley… Like [Walter] Lammerts, he specialized in genetics, but his particular interests ran more toward breeding people than plants. He had devoted his master’s thesis, popularized in the Literary Digest, to the inheritance of habitual wandering and his doctoral dissertation to a study of deafness as a problem in eugenics. As late as 1939, by which time most reputable geneticists had backed away from eugenics, he was still advocating selective human breeding in his creationist textbook, "Fundamentals of Zoology." [Ronald Numbers, The Creationists, p.248]

    If you would like to read some of the creationist pro-eugenics passages from Tinkle's 1939 book, see this Panda's Thumb post.

    Decades later, Tinkle wrote another creationist textbook, Heredity: A Study in Science and the Bible (1970). That one is still pro-eugenics, some 25 years after the end of World War II. If you look in the acknowledgements section, this books was reviewed and approved by Henry Morris, John C. Whitcomb (authors of The Genesis Flood), Walter Lammerts (president of the Creation Research Society), and Frank L. Marsh, founder of creationist "baraminology" ("variation within a kind.")

    This book, like TInkle's 1939 pro-eugenics textbook, was published by Zondervan. The science editor of Zondervan in the 1970's was John N. Moore; he is co-author, with fake physicist Harold Slusher, William Tinkle, etc. of the third major creationist textbook Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity (1974).

    So you think you'll attack evolution because one evolutionist textook, A Civic Biology was pro-eugenics? All your creationist textbooks were written by eugenicists until the 1970's. Every major creationist from about 1920 to 1970 was pro-eugenics.

    1. Looks like Diogenes has totally pwned Egnor. Respect!


  28. Above I have shown how almost every major creationist from about 1920 to 1970 supported eugenics.

    Since Egnor specifically brought up the Scopes Trial, he ought to talk about Scopes' lawyer, Clarence Darrow, who strongly opposed Eugenics as early as 1924 and wrote "The Eugenics Cult" in 1925.

    See here for Darrow vs. Eugenics.

    Darrow: “I, for one, am alarmed at the conceit and sureness of the advocates of this new dream [ie., eugenics]. I shudder at their ruthlessness in meddling with life. I resent their egoistic and stern righteousness. I shrink from their judgment of their fellows. Every one who passes judgment necessarily assumes that he is right. It seems to me that man can bring comfort and happiness out of life only by tolerance, kindness and sympathy, all of which seem to find no place in the eugenists’ creed. The whole programme means the absolute violation of what men instinctively feel to be inherited rights.” [Clarence Darrow, "The Eugenics Cult" online].

    The creationists have nothing like that.

    Amongst other evolutionists opposed to eugenics, we have Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace, and most of the founders of the modern synthesis, in particular J.B.S. Haldane, Sewall Wright, T. H. Morgan; in addition Herbert S. Jennings.

    1. Actually, Diogenes, in his characteristic under-medicated way, has a point. There was considerable religious participation in eugenics, although "creationist" is a sloppy term.

      The facts of the religious collaboration make it worse, not better, for the Darwinists.

      I'll post on it shortly.

    2. Egnor,

      "'Creationist' is a sloppy term"

      This is a bit rich, coming from someone who throws around the terms 'leftist', 'liberal', 'progressive', 'socialist', as though they all mean, or at least imply sympathy with, 'Marxism'.

      Even if the was a consensus amongst scientists that eugenics was good science, which I doubt (to actually know whether there was a consensus, you would have had to have a survey of scientists), how would religious collaboration make it worse?

      Anyway. All this talk about consensus is just a ploy to discredit evolutionary biology - descent with modification and common ancestry - which remains true, as any scientific theory can ever be considered to be true.

      Consensus isn't everything. It can be wrong. On a scale of reliability of opinion, I'd order opinions as follows:

      Your opinion (least reliable)

      My opinion

      The opinion of an expert with the appropriate knowledge and experience (could still be wrong, particularly if the expert has an agenda)

      The consensus of experts with the appropriate knowledge and experience

      The Truth. May never be known.

    3. Egnor: The facts of the religious collaboration make it worse, not better, for the Darwinists.

      Oh, I do wonder how that could follow.

      Lemme guess: Egnor will argue that the creationists I listed above, who promoted eugenics in their creationist anti-evolution books using creationist anti-evolution logic, were pro-eugenics because they were "influenced by Darwinism"!

      The proof that they were "influenced by Darwinism" being that they aggressively promoted eugenics in their creationist books with creationist logic.

      It's a syllogism:

      1. If anyone promotes eugenics, they were influenced by Darwinism.

      2. William J. Tinkle, A. E. Wilder-Smith, Rousas Rushdoony, Henry Morris, John C. Whitcomb, Walter Lammerts, Frank L. Marsh, and almost every major creationist 1920-1970 promoted eugenics.

      3. Therefore, almost every major anti-evolutionist 1920-70 was evolution-influenced.

      4. Conclusion: Darwin made us do it! They compromised with Darwinism! That just proves we should never compromise with Darwinism!

      I'm goin' way out on a limb here, but I'll guess that Egnor will assume the conclusion in his Step 1.

    4. Diogenes, in his characteristic under-medicated way

      It seems creationist M.D.s often make this assertion.

      Is it your recommendation as an M.D. that I should take psychotropic medication? Email me a prescription, perhaps?

      I shall inform the certification board.

    5. Egnor: The facts of the religious collaboration make it worse, not better, for the Darwinists.

      Sounds pretty desperate to me. Maybe you should lay off shilling for Disco 'tute. You get beaten up by pros and amateurs alike.


  29. Is that what it means? Egnor thinks I might face eternal torture by Jesus and his sadistic friends, and I might therefore wish for oblivion when that time comes?

    What kind of sick mind could think it is ever justifiable that anyone be tortured forever? The people who fabricated the Jesus character apparently did. So does Egnor it seems.

  30. Now now, Troy, "We'll torture you if you don't believe" is the only evidence they've got. Go easy on them.

  31. Jerry Coyne seems an angry atheist who loves cowboy boots. The only good thing he has is pretend daily conversations with the little cute cat.
    Lets have pretend conversation between Jerry and his favorite cowboy boot El Booto.

    El Booto: You know Jerry, I been thinking: evolution is like your feet.
    Jerry: How so, El Booto?
    El Booto: They both stink.

    Eugen FCD

    1. Eugen,

      Q: What's the difference in IQ between an evolution-denier and a cowboy boot?

      A: Not much...

    2. Bachfiend

      I don't know enough or care about evolution to deny it.

      I noticed how you and another commenter are mocking Admiral Boggs. We shall fix that tomorrow.

    3. Eugen,

      Georgie Boggs is easy to mock. He's a self-named admiral in a fictional navy, who has a tendency to go off on irrelevant tangents.

      You certainly don't know enough.

  32. I'll give more detail on scientists against eugenics. I covered Clarence Darrow already (I incorrectly gave the date of "The Eugenics Cult" as 1925; it was 1926, although Darrow opposed eugenics as early as 1925, the year of the Scopes Trial.)

    Let's start with Thomas Hunt Morgan, evolutionary biologist, who did all those experiments on fruit flies, proved genes are carried on chromosomes, founded the modern science of genetics, and won a Nobel Prize in 1933.

    Mark Borrello writes on Morgan's opposition to eugenics: “Further, the scientific leader of the developing field of classical genetics, Nobel laureate T. H. Morgan, resigned from the committee on Animal Breeding of the American Breeders Association in 1915 because of what he called the unsubstantiated and reckless use of genetics to support social and political conclusions.” – [Dancing with the Disco Institute. Mark Borrello. Minnesota Citizens for Science Education.]

    Next let's consider bacterial geneticist Herbert S. Jennings.

    Richard Conniff writes on Jennings' opposition to the American Eugenics Society: “[Pro-eugenics Economist Irving] Fisher received a sharp upbraiding from a member of his organization’s own immigration committee over “the shakiness of the evidence” used in its lobbying. Herbert S. Jennings, a geneticist at Johns Hopkins University, resigned from the AES [American Eugenics Society] in 1924, citing its “clearly illegitimate” arguments. Privately, he advised Fisher that a eugenics society was no place for serious researchers, whose work depends on freedom “from prejudice and propaganda.”
    [God and White Men at Yale. Richard Conniff. Yale Alumni Magazine. May/June 2012.]

    Wikipedia on Jennings' opposition to the racist Immigration Act of 1924: [Harry Hamilton] "Laughlin [of the Eugenics Record Office] provided extensive statistical testimony to the United States Congress in support of the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924. Part of his testimony dealt with "excessive" insanity among immigrants from southern Europe and eastern Europe. He was eventually appointed as an expert eugenics agent to the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization... At least one contemporary scientist, bacterial geneticist Herbert Spencer Jennings, condemned Laughlin's statistics as invalid because they compared recent immigrants to more settled immigrants." [Wikipedia on Harry Hamilton Laughlin]

    1. diogenes,
      Morgan, Jennings... please could you go on?
      Could you explain why five of the first six presidents of the American Society of Human Genetics, founded in 1948 were also directors of the American Eugenics Society?

  33. Egnor started this post with the intention of equating "evolution" with "eugenics." However, creationists know and have always said directly that eugenics is about micro-evolution, while modern evolutionary theory is about macro-evolution. That's why creationists supported eugenics, and they stated that clearly.

    Here is firebrand preacher T. T. Martin. In his creationist book Hell and the High Schools (1923), he blamed evolution for every social evil (young people in high schools are acting lasciviously and sensuously! Immorality is everywhere! Not like in the good old days.)

    T. T. Martin explains the difference between evolution and selective breeding: Evolution is not the improvement of the species, development within the species. Everybody believes in that; that is the reason we educate our children; that is the reason we line-breed our hogs and our poultry. The man who calls these things Evolution is either a hypocrite or an ignoramus." [T. T. Martin, Hell and the High Schools (1923), Chapter 2]

    Creationists today try to claim that evolution is the same as eugenics, but T. T. Martin and old-time creationists say that anyone who tries to argue that is a hypocrite who belongs in Hell-- or worse:

    "... hell is almost too good for the whining hypocrite... who will talk about Evolution and make it mean simply the development of the embryo ...or who will talk of the improvement of the species as Evolution. If that is Evolution, why all this parading of Evolutionists as being learned? Every old farmer believes in the development of a stalk of corn from a grain of corn... every one of them [farmers] believes in the improvement of the species. No, reader, that is not Evolution, AND THE LAST ONE OF THEM KNOWS IT, and they stoop to this miserable, hypocritical camouflaging in order to save their faces and continue to be supported by our taxes, or the hard-earned money of Christian people in our religious colleges; or others stoop to this miserable, hypocritical camouflaging, in order to protect these pseudo-scientists [evolutionists] from the wrath of the people and help keep them in their positions." [T. T. Martin, Hell and the High Schools (1923), Chapter 4]

    There you have it. If you try to claim that evolution is eugenics, T. T. Martin in 1923 called that "miserable, hypocritical camouflaging" and anyone who tries it is "either a hypocrite or an ignoramus."

  34. El Booto: I was wondering, how did I evolve?

    Jerry : You didn't evolve, you were made.

    El Booto: You filthy creationist!

  35. of course all those who seek to deny the link between eugenics and evolution forget that Scopes was first supported by the major representatives of the eugenics movement.
    From Larson' book on the Scopes Trial:
    "In June of 1925 Scopes came to New York to meet with American Civil Liberties Union officials. There, Scopes was introduced to Osborn , Charles Davenport and J.M. Cattell of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
    To demonstrate scientific support for the cause, Scopes made public appearances in New York with three of America's best-known evolutionary scientists: the paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, the psychologist J. McKeen Cattell, and the eugenicist Charles B. Davenport. All three men helped shape the public response to the upcoming trial..."

    "The ACLU invited twenty prominent progressive educators to serve on a Tennessee Evolution Case Fund advisory committee to help raise money for the defense. All twenty accepted the invitation, including the two senior statesmen of American higher education, president emeritus Charles W. Eliot of Harvard and president emeritus David Starr Jordan of Stanford..."

    "Davenport's involvement in the Scopes case began with a Science Service article entitled "Evidences for Evolution" that appeared in scores of newspapers across the country ... Davenport represented a logical choice for writing the initial article because, as America's lead eugenicist, he had a vital stake in defending the teaching of evolution. The textbook used by Scopes, Hunter's Civic Biology, featured Davenport's research into the evolutionary improvement of humans "by applying to them the laws of selection," and stressed the importance of proper "mate selection" in this process. "

    Davenport, Osborn for the scientific support; Eliot, Jordan for the economic support.
    Without them the Scopes Trial would have been otherwise..

    1. ... also Cattel was a supporter of the eugenics... It seems that the ACLU had been able to find only eugeneticists to support Scopes.
      Did the teacher know who he was meeting?

  36. This is getting old so I'll end it;

    I have to stop going to Coyne's web site, it's making me sick. He calls Catholics a hate group. What an angry, arrogant atheist! For that El Booto comes back one more time.

    Jerry: Good morning El Booto, it's time to put my foot inside of you.
    El Booto: Nooo, I'm not that kind of boot. I'm calling police!

    PS...To Michael (blog owner)

    If you don't mind El Booto can come back every time you mention Jerry Coyne in your post.

    1. Coyne's site makes me sick too. That's why I respond to him-- it's not a pleasant job, but someone has to do it.

      El Booto is always welcome!

  37. "... it's not a pleasant job, but someone has to do it.."

    Yes that's the problem,it's great that you can do it. I can't control my gag reflex very well when I read their blogs.

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Why doesn't Michael Egnor respond to Diogenes critique in the comment section on this blog as opposed to on Is it because the lack of commenting area at ENV allows Egnor's statements to go without rebuttal?

    Also, why do people who feel the need to comment saying he is Christian and then some start attacking his ''Christian'' beliefs? Within the first 15 words on this website it says he is a Catholic. Believe it, or not, there is a difference to people who are one or the other lol Immediately dismissed comments who couldn't, or chose not to, differentiate between the two as it does a disservice in showing your ability to comprehend data correctly.