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On the Origin of Species, published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology.
Its full title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
Darwin's book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s and his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.
The Biology of the Second Reich
This award-winning 14-minute documentary tells the little-known story of the influence of Social Darwinism on German militarism leading up to World War 1, including an exploration of the German military's genocidal policies in Southwest Africa (modern Namibia). The video features the work of California State University historian Richard Weikart, author of the book From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (Palgrave Macmillan). More info. is available at www.darwintohitler.com. "Biology of the Second Reich" was a featured selection at the Anthem Film Festival (2015), and it was named Best Documentary Short by the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood (Winter 2015).
In his book, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (2004), Richard Weikart explains the revolutionary impact Darwinism had on ethics and morality. Darwinism played a key role in the rise not only of eugenics (a movement wanting to control human reproduction to improve the human species), but also on euthanasia, infanticide, abortion, and racial extermination. This was especially important in Germany, since Hitler built his view of ethics on Darwinian principles. Series: "Voices" [11/2004] [Humanities] [Show ID: 8987]
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Thirty years before Adolf Hitler seized power as Germany's chancellor, German soldiers murdered up to 105,000 Herero and Namaqua tribe members in its Southwest Africa colony, now the state of Namibia.
While the final number of deaths was far less than the victims of the Nazi war machine, the genocide in Namibia featured some startling similarities with the WWII tragedy: the application of scientific theories of racial superiority, the formation of concentration camps; the meticulous recording of details of the mass killings; the need for “lebensraum” (living space) for the German people; demand for reparations; and a lengthy silence over German complicity in such crimes.
It was not until 2004 (a century after the massacre) that Germany formally apologized for the atrocity.
At a commemoration in the Namibian city of Okokarara, Germany's Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, stated: We Germans accept our historic and moral responsibility and the guilt incurred by Germans at that time. Germany has learnt the bitter lessons of the past.
She characterized the killings in Namibia as a “genocide.”
She also said her government agreed to provide Namibia with economic aid amounting to about $14-million annually (descendants of the murder victims reportedly demanded $4-billion in compensation).
High-stakes testing has its origins in the eugenics movements and racist assumptions about IQ. We forget, at our own peril, that this legacy hangs over current demands for increased testing
By Alan Stoskepf
At the beginning of the century, one of the most damaging experiments in public education began. Under the banner of educational reform, the American eugenics movement captured the hearts and minds of some of the nation's most influential educational researchers and policy makers. While the history of the eugenics movement has been virtually written out of American history textbooks, it nonetheless has had an insidious effect on the lives of students and the organization of public schools. It also has become part of an unexamined legacy that shadows today's standards and testing movement.
What was eugenics? The English mathematician Sir Francis Galton first coined the term in 1883. He wrote, "Eugenics is the study of the agencies under social control that seek to improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally."1 What Galton saw as a new branch of scientific inquiry became a dogmatic prescription in the ranking and ordering of human worth. His ideas found their most receptive audience at the turn of the century in the United States.
American Eugenics Society (1926-1972)
by Rachel Gur-Arie Keywords: Eugenics
The American Eugenics Society (AES) was established in the US by Madison Grant, Harry H. Laughlin, Henry Crampton, Irving Fisher, and Henry F. Osborn in 1926 to promote eugenics education programs for the US public. The AES described eugenics as the study of improving the genetic composition of humans through controlled reproduction of different races and classes of people. The AES aided smaller eugenic efforts such as the Galton Society in New York, New York, and the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, and it influenced eugenic policy set by the US Supreme Court in cases including Buck v. Bell (1927) and Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942). The AES was renamed the Society for the Study of Social Biology in 1972.
Before the formation of the AES, several other eugenic organizations helped lead to the AES. The increasing international interest in eugenics from 1904 to 1926 spurred the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1904 to create the Station for Experimental Evolution at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Geneticists Albert F. Blakeslee and Charles Davenport had helped establish the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1890. Davenport, the director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, had connections to the Eugenics Records Office (ERO), and later recruited Laughlin to serve as the ERO's director.
In 1906, John H. Kellogg, a medical doctor, founded the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Race Betterment Foundation sponsored three conferences between 1914 and 1928, culminating in the 1928 formation of a Eugenics Registry for family biological records. The American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York, financed the Galton Society. The Galton Society took its name after its founder Francis Galton, a UK eugenicist and cousin of Charles Darwin. The Galton Society focused on racial anthropology and was involved with the Eugenics Education Society in London, England, which played a major role in the 1908 foundation of the English Eugenics Society.
In 1912, Leonard Darwin, son of naturalist Charles Darwin, held the First International Congress of Eugenics in London. More than three hundred people from England, Europe, and the US attended his conference. The growing support for eugenics in the next decade prompted the Eugenics Record Office of Cold Spring Harbor and the American Museum of Natural History to sponsor the 1921 Second International Congress of Eugenics in New York, New York. Scientist Alexander G. Bell served as honorary president. During the Second International Congress of Eugenics, Irving Fisher from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, proposed the American Eugenics Society. Fisher stressed a need for a widespread eugenics education in the US. With that proposal, Osborn, president of the International Congress, appointed an Interim Committee that worked on the AES until its formal incorporation on 30 January 1926. Fisher served as the society's first president. Davenport, director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, was the first vice president. Among the Society's presidents, Laughlin, who served as president from 1927 to 1929, promoted eugenical sterilization in the early twentieth century US.