When science takes precedence over morality

Eugenics was a movement to “improve the human species through breeding.”(Denhoed Pg.2) Essentially a movement that sought to have biologically “unfit fit” people eliminated from the gene pool. This movement gained popularity in the US and Germany specifically in the early 20th century. In both counties many laws were drafted and passed that allowed sterilization of certain peoples, “Such legislation was motivated by crude theories of human heredity that posited the wholesale inheritance of traits associated with a panoply of feared conditions.”(Stern Pg.1) This resulted in an estimated 60,000 and 400,000 sterilizations in the US and Germany Respectively. And eventually the Nazis used eugenics to justify murder leading to the holocasut. And in the US “Although the state’s eugenic sterilization law was repealed in 1979, existing legislation provided leeway for operations in state prisons pursuant to a strict set of criteria. Between 2006 and 2010, 146 female inmates in two of California’s women’s prisons received tubal ligations that ran afoul of these criteria.”(Stern Pg.5) One of the driving factors that led to the political success of eugenics is that Medical professionals justified and supported eugenics. Usually based on “A sloppy reading of Gregor Mendel’s pea pods and Charles Darwin’s theories gave a scientific veneer to the conclusion that many social ills were caused by the proliferation of the wrong sort of people and that they could be neatly nipped in the bud with the intervention of eugenics.”(Denhoed Pg.2) Using the theory of evolution and “survival of the fittest” these scientists concluded that you could force the hand of evolution with eugenics.

I personally think science and society should be more closely linked in the sense that more scientists should be elected officials and societal leaders because it would allow our country to politically react to scientific evidence much faster for example in relations to climate change. But it would be paramount to find a way to make sure our scientific evidence is sound and to create a balance as to ensure that the solidity of science does not result in legislation like eugenics or that would have the ends justify the means. Eugenics in particular shows us what can happen when even flawed science takes precedence over morality. 

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