How early studies in human genetics related to the eugenics movement, James Watson
Interviewee: James Watson. James Watson discusses how eugenicists constructed and used pedigrees to highlight the supposed differences between "fit" and "unfit" families. Here he talks about the college-educated women who were trained to take pedigrees at Cold Spring Harbor thought they were helping prevent the "unfit" from taking over the world. (DNAi Location: Chronicle > Threat of the unfit > The fit and unfit > Collecting pedigrees)
So human genetics, there was no, it wasn't like animal genetics where you could do crosses, you just observed crosses or hoped they were actually the crosses you thought they were, and tried to follow through families. This was done sort of chaotically initially and then at Cold Spring Harbor they set up the Eugenics Record Station Office just to do masses of pedigrees and thousands were obtained here, sort of college-educated women came here and were taught how to take pedigrees. And they all thought they were doing good things, they were going to, prevent the unfit from taking over the world.
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James Watson talks about methods used by Davenport and the Eugenics Record Office.
James Watson talks about Charles Davenport's promotion of eugenics in America.
James Watson examines a family pedigree in which many suffer from mental disorders.
While positive eugenics highlighted the achievements of "fit" families, negative eugenics focused on "unfit" families who were burdened with degenerate traits such as feeblemindedness, alcoholism, pauperism, and criminality.
Fitter Families contestants at Georgia State Fair, Savannah, 1924. Source: American Philosophical Society.
James Watson talks about the connection between American eugenics and Nazi Germany.
James Watson talks about the eugenics movement and Nazi Germany.
James Watson talks about The American eugenics movement and bad science
James Watson talks about the origin of eugenics.
James Watson how science was misused to support eugenics.