In spite of major developments that the biological model of psychology presented, the middle ages escorted in yet a new era psychological thought flooded by the non-foundational approach of demonology as mental illness was accredited to unknown forces and those unfortunate enough to suffer from mental illness were banished from their community and churches. The 20th century has ushered in an record growth in the biological model of psychology as specific disciplines such as biological psychology and neuroscience have appeared offering research to the physical and neurological etiology of mental illness. Since its beginning as a social science, psychology has gone through many cycles of thinking and examination yet it always seems to recycle ideas from the past to impact future discoveries (Marina, 2009).
Eugenics was a extensively accepted scheme for the enhancement of the human race through the control of reproduction. Eugenics reached it’s height in the late nineteenth century as well as WWI as German Nazi took the concept to the extreme in the form of mass sterilization and genocide. Many methods of eugenics existed and practiced around the world and is cin effect at this time in The Peoples Republic of China (Eugenics, Information about Eugenics, n.d.).
The word eugenics, from its Greek roots means "good in birth," was created by Francis Galton in 1883 who was the prosperous cousin of Charles Darwin. Galton assumed society's compassion for the weak prevented proper evolution. Galton's demonstration of eugenics was reinforced through Charles Darwin's 1859 book, The Origin of Species. The theory took priority as the human race was separated into the "fit" and "unfit," and eugenics became the scientific community's mission as it promoted ways in which, according to Galton, "social control might improve or weaken the racial qualities of forthcoming generations whether physically or mentally." Darwin mentioned Galton repeatedly in his next book, The Descent of Manin which they both agreed that intelligence, courage, good, and bad moods were predisposed by family upbringing, and features such as mental illness was inclined to be congenital (Eugenics, Information about Eugenics, n.d).
the Immigration Act of 1924 established severe quotas which limited the number of immigrants from countries with "inferior" stock into the United States. The worldwide economic depression of 1929 deepened the burden for forced sterilization. Adolf Hitler began to take notice of America's attentiveness ofeugenics. Hitler exploited the needy population of Germany as they suffered in economic turmoil after the war and gained control and commanded the country's sterilization law from voluntary to mandatory(Eugenics, Information about Eugenics, n.d).
Compared to the 30,000 sterilized on eugenic grounds in the United States, from1934 to 1937, 400,000 sterilizations occurred in Germany. Hitler initiated the euthanasia program in 1939 through secret “merciful deaths” to the terminally ill in which more than 70,000 patients were killed in less than three years (What is Eugenics?, n.d.).
Endorsing better breeding while thwarting poor breeding became the eugenics movement credo. Citizens could take part by competing in "fitter family" and "better baby" competitions at county fairs and exhibitions all over the United States. "Fit families" were measured on an subtle scale which however included an IQ test, and a Wasserman test for syphilis(Eugenics, Information about Eugenics, n.d).
Legislatures continued to be stirred by economic and social respects and argued that "feebleminded" citizens should not be given the chance to pass adverse traits on to their children. The North American laws focused on the inmates of state institutions for the mentally handicapped and mentally ill. Wealthier families could meet the expense of private care for their relatives with mental handicaps and mental illness, and so the laws tended to discriminate against the poor (Eugenics, Information about Eugenics, n.d).
The sterilization laws were important essentially for their unconcealed language, successfully applying to anyone who we deemed abnormal, as well as for the omission in terms of patient rights There was no legal instrument for patients to contest the sterilization order, no written statements required to be sent to the patient of family, and no opportunity for a hearing at the institutional level. Mental deficiency was a very broad term, including everything from the socially undesirable traits such as sexual promiscuity, to schizophrenia including alcoholics, epileptics, individuals with Down’s syndrome, the insane, and those who were manically depressed. Often, these were disproportionately female and racial minorities (Kaelber, L. n.d.).
American eugenics refers inter alia to compulsory sterilization laws implemented by over 30 states that led to more than 60,000 sterilizations of disabled individuals. Many of these individuals were sterilized because of a disability: they were mentally disabled or ill, or belonged to socially underprivileged groups living on the limitations of society. 20,108 people were sterilized in the state of California prior to 1964. California had by far the highest number of sterilizations in the United States (one third of all sterilizations nationwide). The numbers of men and women sterilized were about equal. Of the total sterilizations, almost 60% were considered mentally ill and more than 35% were considered mentally deficient (Kaelber, n.d.).
People of diverse ideological obligations have been involved in eugenics. Ideologues of the deep-seated right, as well as interwar fascists, have been distinctively involved in its development. Over six decades after the beginning of his career, Raymond B. Cattell is a world-renowned psychologist andremains to be one of the most regularly cited psychologists in the academic literature. While Cattell'sBeyondist ideology is not original, it is unusual for its extremism, racism, and infectious bias against the poor. It is extremist both in its empirical claims and in its policy endorsements. Cattell believes that people are poor largely because they are incompetent and unintelligent and that human intelligence is declining swiftly and only extreme methods will save humanity (Mehler, 1998).
Galton’s work is used today in the form of statistical methods famously known as the “Bell Curve” in which the intelligence within the populace is defined. Various methods were also devised that measured intelligence that concluded on average, Europeans were smarter than Africans. Galton, in 1904 endowed a research chair in eugenics at University College, London University (American Bioethics Advisory Commission, n.d.).
The work of the eugenicists were hidden within the walls of eugenic societies in which Irving Fisher made the statement that encompassed racism, white supremacy, promoting birth control among the "dysgenic," restricting immigration, sterilizing the handicapped, endorsing euthanasia, and looking for ways to increase the number of genetically well-endowed individuals. Margaret Sanger wrote: "Birth control is thus the entering wedge for the Eugenic educator...the unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit' is admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization... The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective“ (American Bioethics Advisory Commission,n.d.). The societies activities as far as crypto-eugenics were concerned was vigorously pursued by way of the FPA Family Planning Association, (the English branch of Planned Parenthood) and the IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation) and it was called a “system of voluntary unconscious selection."
The Human Genome Project was created in 1990 as a coordinated effort between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The major goals were to identify all the human genes; determine the sequences of all the base pairs in the human DNA; store the information in a database; cultivate tools for analyzing data; and address the ethical, legal, and social issues that would arise from the project (Collins et al, 1998), (The Human Genome Project, n.d.). Using the data found, science would be able to assist medicine by helping to increase understanding of and treat genetic diseases. In Great Britain, life insurance is often tied to home mortgages. Thus, people who are predisposed to certain genetically detected illnesses face much higher costs in obtaining housing and may be unable to afford to have children ((Eugenics, Information about Eugenics, n.d.). Do human beings have the right to use the knowledge gained by the Human Genome Project to try to develop life? If for example someone's genes say that they have a forty two percent chance of getting skin cancer, would their insurance agency make them pay higher premiums than someone with a twenty five percent chance? Would employers hire them if they knew that their genetic makeup pointed to mental depression? These are the legal issues regarding healthcare and the success of the HGP. It is important to highlight the value of every individual in the community, regardless of race, ethnic group, or physical problems, for it is in this environment that the rights of the people are conserved . History always repeats itself. The finger of blame cannot continue to be pointed to people or a nation. it is imperative that we do not lose face of humanity It is also vital that the growing desire to have “normal” children does not erode the acceptance and care of those who have disabilities, otherwise the advances made through the American with Disabilities Act will be null and void (Garver, n.d.).
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EUGENICSANANDA MMARCH 2, 2013
OUTLINEWhat is Eugenics?Historical EventsPopular CulturePsychological Influences That Fostered Discrimination Against the Mentally DisabledThemes and Perspectives of EugenicsEugenics and its Relation to the Psychological Theories of the TimeIs The Human Genome Project Modern Day Eugenics?
WHAT IS EUGENICS? A Pseudoscience founded by Sir Francis Galton. Considered as an attempt to improve human genetics through selective breeding. Practiced in the United States, Theodore Roosevelt and Alexander Bell passed Eugenic Laws. The basis for the science of eugenics was Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of the Species” and Francis Galton’s “Hereditary Genius”. (Eugenics, Information about Eugenics, n.d)
HISTORICAL TIMELINEThe Descent of Man – 1859Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development - 1883Pluck and Luck (No. 7)April 6, 1898The Buffalo Bill Storiesa. (No.189) December 24, 1904b. (No.379) August 15,1908c. (No.449) December 18, 1909d. (No.451) January 1, 1910
HISTORICAL TIMELINE (CONT.)A rise in anti-Semitic print and cartoon – Late 1920’sAims and Achievements of Zionism – 1935The Christian-Jewish Tragedy. A pamphlet attempting to stem the tide of hateJapanese invasion of Manchuria because they saw the Chinese as an inferior race – 19311933 – Hitler begins to push anti-Jewish legislation after gaining dictatorial power and the first concentration camps were built.(Eugenics, Information about Eugenics, n.d)
HISTORICAL TIMELINE (CONT.) 1945: After the death of tens of millions of human beings, the war concluded in an overthrow of axis powers. A culmination of decades of eugenics propaganda against races that were “inferior” resulted in the death of many. After 1945, the eugenics movement was finally delegitimized.(What is Eugenics?, n.d.)
POPULAR CULTUREIn society, deep-seated ideals of the perfect man and the inferiority of non-Caucasian races were commonly accepted and followedThe American dime novel The Buffalo Bill Stories, because they were printed weekly and prices were low, reached a far-reaching amount of impressionable Americans than most other literature .("What is Eugenics?“, n.d.).
WHAT PSYCHOLOGICAL INFLUENCES FOSTEREDDISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE MENTALLY DISABLED? (CONT.) Social Darwinists saw medical care as giving the "weak" an increased ability to survive, instead of permitting nature to take its course and eradicate flawed individuals. In the United States, "mentally defective" patients were institutionalized in growing numbers, overpopulating mental asylums. A more radical approach to eliminating the "unfit" came to fruition -Sterilization was supported far and wide in the United States, Great Britain, and Germany.(Eugenics, Information about Eugenics, n.d)
WHAT PSYCHOLOGICAL INFLUENCES FOSTERED DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE MENTALLY DISABLED?Eugenicists began to influence public alarm that society was stricken by the "unfit," which demanded government action.By 1912, 34 states had approved laws denying the insane the right to marry, nine states regulated marriage of epileptics, and 15 banned mentally retarded people from marrying one other.
WHAT PSYCHOLOGICAL INFLUENCES FOSTEREDDISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE MENTALLY DISABLED?Twenty-four states passed laws that encouraged sterilization of those who were mentally retarded, insane, or had criminal records.American biologist Charles Davenport proposed that certain "racial stock" was superior in areas such as intelligence, hard work and hygiene.(Kaelber, n.d.)
THEMES AND PERSPECTIVES OF EUGENICSCattells role in the history of eugenics work currently encourages the spread of radical eugenics ideology “Genthanasia," a humane form of genocide, essential to the elimination of "moribund" cultures.(Mehler, 1998)
EUGENICS AND ITS RELATION TO THE PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES OF THE TIME“BELL CURVE”- All men are not equalEUGENIC SOCIETIESa. Gesellschaft für Rassenhygiene, ( Society of Race- Hygiene) 1905 - Dr. Alfred Ploetz & Dr. Ernst Rüdinb. International Eugenics Congress – 1912 – London Universityc. Birth Control Review/ American Birth Control League, Margaret Sanger – 1922(American Bioethics Advisory Commission, n.d.).
EUGENICS AND ITS RELATION TO THE PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES OF THE TIME (CONT.)d. American Eugenics Society - 1922 CRYPTO-EUGENICSa. Planned Parenthood(American Bioethics Advisory Commission, n.d.)
IS THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT MODERN DAY EUGENICS? A plan to develop a detailed genetic and physical map of the human genome / 15 years and cost $2M per yearDegenerationHeritability of Behavioral TraitsAre people with minor risks for genetic disease entitled with the advantage of cheaper insurance rates?(The Human Genome Project, n.d.)(Eugenics, Information about Eugenics, n.d.)
REFERENCESAmerican Bioethics Advisory Commission. (n.d.). American Life League: The Nations Largest Grassroots Catholic Pro-Life Organization . Retrieved March 3, 2013, from http://www.all.org/abac/eugen02.htmEugenics, Information about Eugenics. (n.d.). Internet FAQ Archives - Online Education - faqs.org. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from http://www.faqs.org/health/topics/45/Eugenics.htmlGarver, K. L., & Garver, B. (n.d.). The Human Genome Project and Eugenic Con... (ynm00a99). Legacy Tobacco Documents Library . Retrieved March 3, 2013, from http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ynm00a99/pdf;jsessionid=D89565D5581651F19B70AB33BCFC795B.tobacco03Kaelber, L. (n.d.). California Eugenics. The University of Vermont. Retrieved March 2, 2013, from http://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/CA/CA.htmlMarina, M. (2009, March 15). The Evolution of Psychology: Moving Towards Foundationalism | Serendip Studio. Serendip Studio. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/3963Mehler, B. (1998, January 1). ISAR - Beyondism: Cattell and the New Eugenics. Ferris State University: Michigan College Campuses in Big Rapids MI, Grand Rapids MI, Off Campus Locations Across Michigan . Retrieved March 3, 2013, from http://www.ferris.edu/isar/bios/cattell/genetica.htmThe Human Genome Project. (n.d.). Untitled Document. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from http://campus.udayton.edu/~hume/Genome/genome.htmWhat is Eugenics?. (n.d.). cr.middlebury.edu. Retrieved March 1, 2013, from cr.middlebury.edu/amlit_civ/allen/web_museum/winter10/eugenics/website/whatis.htm