Wake up America

Eugenics was an effort “…to improve the human species through breeding” (DenHoed, p. 2). It was the belief that there were inferior people in society who had to be restricted from reproducing and that only those who are “…pure-blooded…” should reproduce because it would result in a better society (DenHoed, p. 2). Scientists and medical professionals thought that “…feared conditions such as criminality, feeblemindedness, and sexual deviance” were hereditary, and this thinking justified sterilization and eugenics (Stern, p. 1). Medical professionals justified eugenics based on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Medical professionals and scientists believed that they could control evolutionary biology by ensuring that only people that were viewed as “fit” reproduced (Stern, p. 2). One way this was determined was through I.Q. tests, but a person’s criminal history, a pre-marital pregnancy, and other things that society either smiled or frowned upon, would also be used to determine if a person was fit or unfit. Medical professionals then presumed the role of natural selection in evolution by using a person’s unfitness to justify their sterilization.

Eugenics does give us a reason to separate science and society. While they are linked in many ways, eugenics reveals the dangers of science and society being inextricably linked. When science is linked to society, society tends to dictate and control the science. That is seen with eugenics. Society dictates what is right and wrong. This isolates people based on their class, religion, race, gender identification, and the actions and decisions they make in their personal lives. When society has a strong hold on science, societal “norms” find their way into scientific research. However, this research is biased to suit the needs of society and does not meet the qualifications of the scientific process. Science needs to be able to operate outside of society’s grasp so that human beliefs don’t get morphed into scientific facts.

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