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Eugenics Isn’t Ancient History


We’ve amply documented the links among eugenics, racism, and Darwinism, whether under fascism (see the recent podcast interview with historian Richard Weikart on Great Minds with Michael Medved) or much closer to home. But isn’t that all ancient history? Well, no.

The London Student reports on a disturbing event hosted, since 2014, on the University College London campus — the London Conference on Intelligence. The article notes:

A central figure in the London Conference on Intelligence (LCI) is the white nationalist, extremist Richard Lynn, who has called for the “phasing out” of the “populations of incompetent cultures.” Lynn, who is President of the Ulster Institute for Social Research (UISR), spoke at the conference 2015 and 2016, along with four of the six members of the UISR’s Academic Advisory Council.

Lynn’s UISR runs the journal Mankind Quarterly, whose founders include a leading member of Mussolini’s eugenics taskforce, and whose board once boasted Nazi Joseph Mengele’s personal mentor.

Believe it or not, the interests of some participants are even darker, and worse.

One attendee? A recent Theresa May appointee to the UK’s Office for Students board. Soon after the news broke, Toby Young submitted his resignation. Young has himself written sympathetically about the concept of “Progressive eugenics.”

The 2015 London Conference on Intelligence website is still online, and here’s a sampling of topics the event was to cover:

  • Evolution vs. culture as background factors for international intelligence differences
  • Spearman’s hypothesis: Hypothesis or Law?
  • By their words ye shall know them: Evidence of genetic selection against general intelligence and concurrent environmental enrichment in vocabulary usage since the mid 19th century
  • National-Level Indicators of Male Hormones (Androgen) Relate to the Global Distribution of number of Scientific Publications and Nobel Prizes
  • In chimpanzees, more g-loaded cognitive abilities are more heritable, evolvable, and exhibit more inter-individual variability
  • General and domain-related effects of prenatal methyl-mercury exposure
  • Admixture in the Americas
  • Intelligence and occupational achievement in the US
  • Does intelligence explain the overrepresentation of liberals and leftists in American academia?
  • Population Differences in Androgen levels: A test of the Differential K theory
  • A Meta-analysis of Roma Intelligence: an update
  • Intelligence is correlated more with higher non-verbal ability than with verbal ability
  • Using frequencies of GWAS hits to estimate selection pressure and to increase the statistical power of GWA studies
  • Spearman’s hypothesis tested on group differences in personality

You can’t make this stuff up!

The London Student mentions in passing the interesting fact that University College London still has a Galton Professor of Genetics, as in Francis Galton the originator of modern eugenic theory. The occupant of the chair formerly carried the title of Galton Professor of Eugenics. It was only in 1996 that UCL’s Biology Department absorbed the Galton Laboratory. “The ancestor of the Galton Laboratory was the Eugenics Record Office founded by Francis Galton in 1904,” explains Wikipedia.

It’s all so surprisingly…recent, isn’t it? But then, if we fully embrace Darwinian theory, with its inspiration in animal breeding, and find little difference between humans and animals, the leap to the monstrous idea of eugenics, breeding better humans, seems almost irresistible. Are eugenics and racism the stains that can never be washed out of Darwinian thinking? It sometimes seems so.

Photo: University College London, by Steve Cadman [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.