The American eugenics movement and bad science, James Watson
Interviewee: James Watson. James Watson discusses the failure of eugenics to identify genetic differences between people they considered "fit" and "unfit." Here he talks about eugenicists went beyond the data provided by pedigrees, in asserting that mental illnesses were caused by single genes. (DNAi Location: Chronicle > Threat of the unfit > Epilogue > Going beyond the data)
The striking thing when you look back at human genetics in the United States in the first thirty years of the 20th century, was how limited it was, there were lots of assertions about mentally defective children being products of bad genes but no genes were isolated, there were no Mendelian causations. So it was all an assumption that genes were behind, in so far as the only evidence you could get that genes were behind it was looking at the association of traits in identical twins, comparing how common they were in identical twins versus unrelated twins. And this way you could say there was a genetic component to mental disease, but if you look at actual pedigrees you couldn't say there was a single gene involved. And yet the eugenicists were saying that people who were related to, say people with schizophrenia shouldn't have children. So the eugenicists were going beyond the actual data from human genetics.
immigration restriction act,american eugenics movement,henry fairfield osborn,alexander graham bell,immigration restriction act of 1924,roosevelt alexander,david starr jordan,thomas hunt morgan,coercive legislation,faulty genes,american museum of natural history,european immigration,hermann muller,james watson,eugenicists,mental illnesses,social circumstances,stanford university,seed producer,museum of natural history
James Watson talks about The promotion of the American Eugenics movement by prominent Americans.
James Watson talks about the wrongs of the eugenics movement.
James Watson talks about the relationship between science and the eugenics movement.
Irving Fisher, Thomas Hunt Morgan, and Alexander Graham Bell at board meeting of the Eugenics Record Office, 1915.
Eugenicists were concerned about the hundreds of thousands of southern and eastern Europeans who were entering the country each year through the U.S. immigration facility at Ellis Island,
James Watson how science was misused to support eugenics.
Types of aliens awaiting admission at Ellis Island station. Source: National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument.
Eugenics Research Association 16th Annual Meeting (2)
11726. "Eugenicists Hail Their Progress as Indicating Era of Supermen," New York Herald Tribune (1932), review of Third International Eugenics Congress
"Eugenicists Hail Their Progress as Indicating Era of Supermen," New York Herald Tribune (1932), review of Third International Eugenics Congress
The Johnson Immigration Restriction Act of 1924 made cunning use of statistics to change the complexion of American immigration.