Friday, March 24, 2023

Eugenics – 5

Recent articles from the American Society of Human Genetics is raising increasing awareness of these issues. If you are interested in the pros and cons discussions, there are multiple resources on the Internet. 

Here are two examples.

Eugenics: Definition, Movement & Meaning - HISTORY - HISTORY

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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Eugenics – 4

Negative Eugenics included Hitler’s reported “euthanasia” of upwards of a quarter of a million mentally ill individuals in Germany as a way to save money currently being spent on caring for those individuals who were believed inferior and a burden on society. This position expanded as the Nazis adopted and promulgated eugenics to justify their treatment of disabled individuals, the Jews, and other minority groups. Eugenics gradually earned a negative association mainly from Adolf Hitler and his genocide, and master-race theories. In 1933, the Nazis created the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, which resulted in thousands of forced sterilizations. By 1940, Hitler’s master-race mania took a terrible turn as hundreds of thousands of Germans with mental or physical disabilities were killed by gas or lethal injection. According to Dan Seigman, Eugenics’ reputation never recovered. More tomorrow. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Eugenics – 3

In the US, John Harvey Kellogg, of Kellogg’s cereal fame, organized the Race Betterment Foundation in 1911 and established a “pedigree registry.” The foundation hosted national conferences on eugenics in 1914, 1915 and 1928. As the concept of eugenics took hold, prominent citizens, scientists and socialists championed the cause and established the Eugenics Record Office. The office tracked families and their genetic traits, claiming most people considered unfit were immigrants, minorities or poor. The Eugenics Record Office also maintained there was evidence that supposed negative family traits were caused by bad genes, not racism, economics, or the social views of the time. More tomorrow.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Eugenics – 2

In 1883 in England, Darwin’s Cousin, Francis Galton, coined the term "eugenics" to describe the idea of modification of natural selection through selective breeding for the improvement of humankind. Galton came up with the word from a Greek word, Eugenes, meaning “good in birth” or “Good in stock.” Eugenics was said to be a method of promoting reproduction by individuals with ostensibly superior traits—supposedly as a way to improve the human race, and that society should promote the marriage of what he felt were the fittest individuals by providing monetary incentives. Eugenics provided two approaches, one positive and one negative. Positive eugenics promoted the breeding of good stock by careful selection of marriage and breeding partners. Negative eugenics had the goal of prohibiting marriage and breeding between so-called defective stock. More tomorrow. 

Monday, March 20, 2023


Recently in passing I heard someone use the word Eugenics, but I don’t understand what that means. Is it related to Epigenetics?

 Epigenetics and Eugenics are unrelated. Epigenetics describes everything that is not genetics as related to lifestyle and life experiences that impact each human being. According to the dictionary, Eugenics is the practice or advocacy of controlled selective breeding of human populations (as by sterilization) to improve the population's genetic composition. Eugenics encompasses ways in which to arrange reproduction within a human population to increase the occurrence of what are called desirable characteristics. It has been defined as the scientifically erroneous and immoral theory of racial improvement through planned breeding. More tomorrow

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Friday, March 17, 2023

Autism Study

Using electroencephalogram (EEG), researchers recorded the brain waves of children ages 6-16 years of age with and without autism as they watched videos of multiple dots of differing colors that were arranged to look like a person. The movement of the dots represented actions such as funning, kicking, jumping, turning in different directions or jumbled so they no longer moved like a person would move. Researchers asked the study participants to focus on the color of the dots. When they followed this instruction, they failed to process the dots when they moved like a person. A decrease in processing body movements means they might have more difficulty understanding others and need to consciously learn to pay more attention to body language in order to see it. Learning this potentially can help children with autism spectrum disorders.

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Thursday, March 16, 2023

Autism & Distractions

Studies by researchers at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester in NY, reported that children with autism spectrum disorders may not process body movements as effectively as do those who are not on the spectrum. This is especially true if the child is distracted by something else. According to Emily Knight, M.D., Ph.D., first author of the study that was recently published in Molecular Autism, “Our findings suggest that when children with autism are distracted by something else, their brains process the movements of another person differently” than their peers do who are not on the spectrum. I found the experiment itself quite interesting. More tomorrow.