How Do We Mix Science With Society?

Eugenics is the idea of “improving” the human genetic pool. This was and is quite a harmful notion, yet medical professionals attempted to justify it by looking to Charles Darwin’s studies. Using biological terms that appeared in his work made the whole practice look more scientific than what it really was — biased. Even the name “eugenics” carries some sense of professionalism and science. I was shocked and quite frankly horrified to learn how common the practice of sterilization was in the early 20th century right here in the United States (and even more so to hear about more recent cases in the 21st century).

While clearly concerning, I don’t think eugenics should be an indicator to separate science and society. While technology was used throughout this movement, it was less of a strictly scientific movement and more of a political one. We should be cautious of these potentially harmful “science based” ideologies, but not instantly discredit the combination of science and society. Science (or scientific sounding words and phrases) can be used to convince the general public that they should believe one way that may not be morally ideal. Using the history of eugenics as a guideline, it shows how much the public as a whole needs to utilize critical thinking skills when it comes to this kind of propaganda. This also shows what kind of “problems” techno fixes should absolutely not be utilized to solve. This was certainly not the way to approach the mentally ill and those who deserve our love and support.

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