Eugenics and Ethics

The term coined by Fransis Galton, eugenics blamed society’s “ills” on genetic reproduction of deplorable people. Eugenics was performed through sterilization of members of society that were considered undesirable genetically (mostly based on race and economic class). The eugenics movement was popular in the United States during the late 1800’s and the early to mid 1900’s. However, in order to justify these inhumane practices, scientists used the term “evolutionary biology” rather than eugenics or sterilization. Eugenics supporters used this type of language because they possibly genuinely believed they were only helping create the best human race possible through picking and choosing biological traits. This is not that surprising because throughout history this is a common occurrence to cover up and justify horrendous actions on behalf of those in power. In DenHoed’s article, the Supreme Court argued that it saved society time and money: “It is better for the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly un t from continuing their kind.”

Science and society have inevitably been linked and reliant on each other since the cognitive revolution and in many ways have brought great advancements to the world. However, I think that in the example of eugenics, society and science should have been separated because of the lack of morals and values the practice has/had. When it comes to involuntarily sterilizing someone because of society’s perception of perfect, science has gone too far. Society and science are in different spheres most of the time, although they can influence each other, I do not think they should be cohesive at all times. 

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