Evolutionary biologist and pop-atheist Richard Dawkins. (Getty Images)
Atheist and devout Darwinist Dr. Richard Dawkins sparked controversy over the weekend by tweeting that eugenics works for animals so “why on earth wouldn’t it work for humans?” He also tweeted that with eugenics “we could breed humans to run faster or jump higher.”
Some scientists condemned Dawkins’ tweets and Dawkins was quick to assert that he was not advocating for a “eugenic policy,” but only stating that eugenics would work in humans as it apparently has worked in animals.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and natural scientist Francis Galton, who, influenced by Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, advocated a system that would allow ‘the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable.'”
Eugenics was popular among many scientists in the early 20th century in myriad countries, including Britain, Germany, and the United States. However, it’s application upon real human beings in Nazi Germany exposed the dangers and inhumanity of the practice.
“From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany carried out a campaign to ‘cleanse’ German society of individuals viewed as biological threats to the nation’s ‘health,'” according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Enlisting the help of physicians and medically trained geneticists, psychiatrists, and anthropologists, the Nazis developed racial health policies that began with the mass sterilization of ‘genetically diseased’ persons and ended with the near annihilation of European Jewry.”
“This campaign was based in part on ideas about public health and genetic ‘fitness’ that had grown out of the inclination of many late nineteenth century scientists and intellectuals to apply the Darwinian concepts of evolution to the problems of human society,” stated the museum. “These ideas became known as eugenics….”
Despite the history of eugenics, Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, tweeted on Feb. 16, “It’s one thing to deplore eugenics on ideological, political, moral grounds. It’s quite another to conclude that it wouldn’t work in practice.
“Of course it would. It works for cows, horses, pigs, dogs & roses. Why on earth wouldn’t it work for humans? Facts ignore ideology.”
Dawkins also tweeted, “For those determined to miss the point, I deplore the idea of a eugenic policy. I simply said deploring it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work.
“Just as we breed cows to yield more milk, we could breed humans to run faster or jump higher. But heaven forbid that we should do it.”
Greg Epstein, an ethicist and humanist chaplain at Harvard and MIT, tweeted in response to Dawkins, “So unacceptable for Richard Dawkins to tweet about eugenics without clearly condemning it. Dawkins is *supposedly* one of our exemplars of humanism & science outreach. Yet today he’s given every manner of passive and active bigot an opening to ‘consider’ persecution on steroids.”
Author and New York times columnist Charles Blow tweeted, “This eugenics crap is so dangerous. In the US it led to forced sterilizations of women in the South — sometimes against their wills, often without their knowledge — that became so common that they came to be referred to as ‘Mississippi appendectomies.'”
Margaret Sanger, an American and strong advocate for eugenics. She led the birth control movement in the early 20th century and founded what became Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States. (Getty Images)
New York Times best selling author Scott Lynch, as reported by RT World News, tweeted to Dawkins, “You absolute pin-headed simpleton. It doesn’t work in practice because too many of the goals turn out to be arbitrary fantasies, and too many of those fantasies are the pet projects of abusive bigots who fuck up any civilization they get their hands on. Are you new here? Christ.”
Commenting on the eugenics programs utilized in Nazi Germany, the Holocaust Memorial Museum stated, “With the patina of legitimacy provided by ‘racial’ science experts, the Nazi regime carried out a program of approximately 400,000 forced sterilizations and over 275,000 euthanasia deaths that found its most radical manifestation in the death of millions of ‘racial’ enemies in the Holocaust.”
h/t RT World News, RT.com