Eugenics

Eugenics refers to beliefs and practices aimed at producing human beings or populations with preferred or “better” characteristics. In the early twentieth century, eugenic ideas were popular in many countries and across the political spectrum, and provided scientific cover for practices and policy decisions targeting society’s most vulnerable communities. In the United States, these included the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people considered “unfit,” stringent immigration restrictions, and public policies that encouraged “fitter families” to produce more children. In Germany, the Nazis used similar concepts to justify their extermination of Jews, people with disabilities, and other groups. A century later, many activists, bioethicists, and other scholars are concerned that a new form of eugenics may be on the horizon as market dynamics and individual choice, rather than government policies, drive decisions about our use of human genetic technologies.


Biopolitical Times

At irregular intervals over the last decade or so, Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg of The Fertility Institutes has used the media to promote eugenic ideas to make money. He already uses the embryo selection procedure known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for sex selection, and fully intends to try to select other traits. He is starting to sell a choice of eye color, he has talked about skin color, and haircolor is (he says) “about 18 to 36 months...

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It’s never a good time for another bout of genetic determinism, but it’s hard to imagine a worse one than this. Social inequality gapes, exacerbated by climate change, driving hostility towards immigrants and flares of militant racism. At such a...

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LAST SPRING, Paul Strode gave an unusual survey to his advanced biology students at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado....

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The University of Arizona has accepted years of funding from a foundation infamous for promoting research linking race and intelligence...

Three stages of human evolution, looking more like a modern man from left to right. Pencil drawings on a tan background

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A row of tall cactuses behind a sign reading "University of Arizona"

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The letters A C T G repeat in primary colors descend down a screen

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A bronze plaque describes the history of Shockley semiconductor lab

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Writing on genes

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Group of employees laboring over assembly line.

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