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  • Most famous scientists picked a thing.

  • But a few polymaths, like Aristotle and Ibn Sina, picked everything.

  • Francis Galton, one of the most important thinkers in the generation after Darwin, fell

  • into column B.

  • Hardcore.

  • Galton was a co-founder of a range of scientific disciplines, including meteorology, psychology,

  • forensics, and above all statistics.

  • He was an active member of the influential British Association for the Advancement of

  • Science.

  • He made the first weather map.

  • Mostly, though, he is remembered for something that we don't even count as science today:

  • Galton was the father of eugenics, the idea that the gene pool of the human species could

  • somehow be improved, if certain people with different abilities didn't have kids.

  • Where did Galton come up with such a terrible idea?

  • Partly, from the work of his half-cousin.

  • Charles Darwin.

  • [INTRO MUSIC PLAYS]

  • When Darwin and Wallace proposed their theory

  • of evolution by natural selection, it was based on observing differences produced by

  • thousands of years of gradual changes.

  • But we, as short-lived humans, can't observe thousands of years of evolutionary change

  • first-hand.

  • So it was hard to know what to do with natural selection.

  • In the late 1800s, no one really understood how heredity worked.

  • But many biologists, most notably Herbert Spencer, argued thatsurvival of the fittest

  • applied to humans, just like other species.

  • So they figured there must be a technical way to use that knowledge

  • Spencer, for example, argued against all laws that limited class conflict, which he saw

  • as tests of fitnessincluding basic child labor laws.

  • Spencer's idea, called social Darwinism, influenced a lot of people in the late 1800s.

  • And one of them was Darwin's younger cousin, Francis Galton.

  • Born in 1822 to a prominent Quaker family, Galton was a child prodigy.

  • Like Darwin, Galton was largely self-taught—a “gentleman of science.”

  • Also, like Darwin, he never did well in school, suffered from nervous breakdowns, and traveled

  • widely.

  • Unlike Darwin, Galton was not a shy scholar.

  • He was obsessed with the idea of geniuswhether it was a product of good hereditary luck or learning.

  • For Galton, as for most Victorians, nature

  • held all of the cards.

  • He got this idea from his cousin's hit book.

  • On the Origin of Species blew Galton's mind.

  • After 1859, Galton focused on the social implications of Darwin's work.

  • He argued that an organism's most important characteristics must be biological, rather

  • than shaped by the environment or experience.

  • And, like Darwin, he sought evidence for his theory.

  • The first step was to pick some trait to track over time.

  • He selectedeminence,” which today you might think of as basically awesomeness.

  • Galton thought that, if human traits can be inherited, then tracking the descendants of

  • obviously eminent menand of course they were menshould show a decreasing level

  • of eminence over time, as intermarriage with non-eminent people diluted this trait.

  • So he gathered all of the historical evidence he could on eminent British men and their

  • descendants, and indeed found that eminence seemed to decrease over time.

  • The resulting book, Hereditary Genius, published in 1869, contains the first use of the phrase

  • nature versus nurture.”

  • The book also, by the way, includes a chapter on eminentWrestlers of the North Country.”

  • !!! Hereditary Genius popularized the practice

  • of historiometry, or studying human traits by tracking ancestry information.

  • But Galton knew that he was barely scratching the surface of heredity.

  • He needed more evidence.

  • So he did what his cousin would have done: he turned to a model from nature.

  • This time, twins and peas instead of pigeons and barnacles.

  • In 1875, in the paper, “The history of twins,” he proposed studying twins, which he saw as

  • a natural experiment.

  • By the mid 1900s, twin studies became the foundation of behavioral genetics, or how

  • heredity affects behavior.

  • Galton realized that twins presented a “natural experiment”: if nature is more powerful

  • than nurture, then twins should be more similar than not, even if they're raised apart.

  • But if nurture is more powerful, then twins should behave differently when raised apart.

  • Galton didn't conduct his own twin studies, but he outlined what future research should look like.

  • Galton also developed statistical methods to research inheritance, and in doing so,

  • he created the quantitative science of human behavior.

  • ThoughtBubble, show us how:

  • Galton also started breeding sweet peas, comparing the sizes of the offspring of different seeds.

  • Galton's work with peas led him to conclude that traits tend toward a statistical average.

  • Galton couldn't figure out why, but he could use statistics to model the general

  • pattern of how traits were distributed over timein this case, in a “normaldistribution,

  • a bell curve.

  • In 1884, Galton took his pea model to the International Health Exhibition in London.

  • Visitors to hisAnthropometric Labpaid to have Galton measure their bodies, minds,

  • and senses in various ways.

  • He produced many new instruments in order to measure, for example, eyesight.

  • Visitors received the results, and Galton also kept a copy to add to his library of

  • research on variation in humans.

  • This practice, known as anthropometryor literally, measuring humansbecame common

  • across many disciplines.

  • Galton also pioneered the use of fingerprinting in forensics.

  • He classified the features that we still look for: loops, whorls, and arches.

  • Thanks ThoughtBubble. So Galton built on Darwin's work to invent

  • a statistical science of life.

  • But now it gets weird.

  • And, frankly, difficult.

  • Because Galton decided that, based on his investigations of inheritance, good traits

  • such as genius and morality were diluted down to some norm over time.

  • In 1883, one year after Cousin Chuck passed away, Galton published Inquiries into Human

  • Faculty and Its Development, in which he coined the termeugenics”—the discipline of

  • good breeding,” or literally makinggood families,” in humans.

  • Galton was not the first to suggest that smart people should have kids with each other, or

  • that cousins should avoid marrying.

  • What Galton did was arguebased on what he saw as scientific evidencefor the public

  • to do something about these ideas.

  • He wantedfamilies of meritto grow, and he thought the government should incentivize

  • this growth.

  • This was calledpositive eugenics.”

  • Galton pointed out that many well-born Victorians married late and had few kids, compared to

  • the lower classes.

  • If this fear of the weakening of supposedlygood stockby new, poor, or different

  • people sounds familiar, that's partly because Galton's so-calledscienceof eugenics

  • quickly gained traction.

  • The First International Congress of Eugenics was held in 1912, the year after Galton died.

  • And it was around this time that nations began passingeugenicallaws.

  • Particularly the United States.

  • Driven by a fear that births of supposedly inferior people would lead to weak or criminally

  • degenerateadults, some states introduced forcible sterilization laws starting in 1907.

  • These were mostly used to justify the sterilization of already incarcerated groups and those with

  • different abilities.

  • This wasnegative eugenics,” which was not something Galton had explicitly argued for.

  • The metaphor used by eugenicists was drawn from Darwin, but modified: a family or nation

  • was a tree, and its branches sometimes neededpruning.”

  • A famous example of this thinking in the United States was psychologist Henry Goddard's

  • 1912 book about a family from New Jersey called theKallikaks.”

  • This was a made-up name for a real family whose genealogy Goddard studied to understand

  • what he calledfeeblemindedness,” or intellectual disability.

  • In the book, Goddard compared the branch of the Kallikak family that was descended from

  • its founding father's legitimate marriage, and the branch descended from that founder's

  • affair with a “nameless feeble-minded girl.”

  • Goddard concluded that feeblemindedness was strongly heritable and a danger to democracy.

  • Although he later admitted this was a flawed study, it was a hit, and his terms for different

  • levels of intelligence became common: “moron,” “imbecile,” “idiot.”

  • Goddard's attempts to quantify intelligence weren't at the fringes of science.

  • His ideas are creepily still with us in the form of intelligence quotient or IQ tests.

  • Goddard, who was a big-time fan of Galtonian eugenics, translated the work of three major

  • French psychologists in 1910.

  • This translation was picked up by Lewis Terman at Stanford University, who adapted the work

  • of the French to create the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales in 1916.

  • Goddard and Terman then worked with Robert Yerkes to develop an IQ test

  • for the US Army in 1917.

  • The US Army introduced aptitude tests to place soldiers in different roles.

  • But the tests were highly discriminatory, privileging white candidates from educated

  • backgrounds.

  • The trial of the test showed very low results for non-Northern European whites and non-whites.

  • Goddard spent much of the rest of his life publicizing these resultseven though they

  • were contested in his own day as shoddy science.

  • There were sooo many other serious, Galton-inspired scientists who did creepy research on human

  • difference and argued for terrible policies, we could do a whole creepy spin-off show.

  • Instead, let's just talk about some of the worst.

  • A lawyer and zoologist named Madison Grant wrote a book called The Passing of the Great

  • Race in 1916, citing Galton.

  • Grant subdivided Caucasians into three types, claiming that the greatNordicswere

  • being rapidly outbred in the United States by inferior types of whites.

  • Meanwhile, Charles Davenport, a very influential zoologist, founded the Eugenics Record Office

  • at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1910.

  • He collected data to help people check whether a potential marriage was suitable.

  • And, maybe unsurprisingly,

  • Davenport was a fan of the Nazis.

  • But probably the eugenicist most well known to us today was the nurse who coined the term

  • birth controland opened the first US birth control clinic in 1916: Margaret Sanger.

  • Sanger founded the American Birth Control League to educate people about safe abortion

  • procedures and contraceptives.

  • She gave lectures on birth control to many groups, including the KKK in 1926.

  • In the 1920s and '30s, Sanger thought that eugenics would give her movement legitimacy.

  • Eugenics became a dominant theme at her birth control conferences, and she spoke publicly

  • of the need to put an end to breeding by the unfit.

  • By the late 1920s, eugenics had been recognized as bad science by most practicing biologists.

  • But as a source of policy for many lawmakers in the United States, Germany, and elsewhere,

  • eugenics was still very much alive.

  • In the 1800s, science had become much more important for states.

  • They wanted to understand their populationsand, now, shape them.

  • Compulsory sterilization was challenged in the US Supreme Court in 1927 in the famous

  • Buck v. Bell case.

  • But the decision, written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., sided with the eugenicists

  • and has never technically been overturned.

  • In fact, forced sterilization was still happening in California prisons until it was banned

  • in 2014.

  • Did Galton think that studying human difference would lead to bad science and even worse laws?

  • Not necessarily.

  • But in some ways, his legacy -- a legacy of comparing humans quantitatively -- is still

  • with us.

  • Next timewe'll see what's going on in a less creepy area of the life sciences:

  • it's time for Pasteur, Koch, and the birth of microbiology!

  • Crash Course History of Science is filmed in the Dr. Cheryl C. Kinney studio in Missoula,

  • Montana and it's made with the help of all this nice people and our animation team is

  • Thought Cafe.

  • Crash Course is a Complexly production.

  • If you wanna keep imagining the world complexly with us, you can check out some of our other

  • channels like Nature League, Sexplanations, and Scishow.

  • And, if you'd like to keep Crash Course free for everybody, forever, you can support

  • the series at Patreon; a crowdfunding platform that allows you to support the content you

  • love. And that is helping the world.

  • Thank you to all of our patrons for making Crash Course possible with their continued support.

Most famous scientists picked a thing.

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優生学とフランシス・ガルトン科学のクラッシュコースの歴史 #23 (Eugenics and Francis Galton: Crash Course History of Science #23)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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