What is eugenics? Definition, objectives and methods
What is eugenics and how did it appear? With the development of biology, mankind has tried to find new ways to increase the yield of cultivated crops and improve the performance of domestic animals. To achieve these goals used methods of selection. At the same time, in scientific circles, there was a growing desire to apply the acquired skills to improve their own gene pool. Attempts to translate these ideas into practice were reflected in the new teaching, eugenics.
What is eugenics? Can we call this direction of science, and if he has a future? This is still a controversy. Someone calls eugenics pseudoscience, someone - the science of the future. For many people involved in improving the genotype, the line between research and racism is too thin. In this doctrine, ethical and social norms intersect; therefore, it cannot be perceived only as a science.
The term "eugenics" refers to scientific activities aimed at preserving and improving the hereditary characteristics of the human body. The word is of Greek origin and literally means “good genus”. Thus, eugenics is a science that studies the influence of various surrounding and hereditary factors on the innate qualities of a person. The purpose of the activity is to identify negative indicators and minimize their presence.
Many scientists at different times sought to separate external factors from genetic ones. However, studies have shown that this is not possible. These factors interact. For example, climatic conditions form such properties of an organism as skin pigmentation, and the society in which a person lives has a significant impact on his psyche as a whole.
Types of eugenics
It is customary to distinguish two main areas:
1. Positive eugenics. In this case, the improvement of hereditary characteristics is achieved by stimulating the spread of genotypes that are free from diseases that can be passed on from generation to generation.
2. Negative eugenics.This direction is considered more rigid and categorical. It prevents the spread of the negative gene pool.
Positive eugenics is more benign. However, it did not receive distribution, and the methods of its application were never formed. The reason is that so far there is no clear understanding of how to derive and preserve the valuable gene pool.
With negative eugenics, things are much simpler. There is a rich practice of identifying undesirable hereditary qualities that can be successfully applied. Unfortunately, the experience of using these methods is rather sad. What is eugenics negative in practice? That it was used by Nazi Germany, trying to destroy asocial, in her opinion, representatives of society. In the United States and some European countries, criminals, mentally ill and other people objectionable to society have been sterilized by force.
For the first time, the selection of a human species was seriously discussed after the publication of Darwin's theory of the origin of species. It was then that questions of evolution and the search for ways to influence it were discussed in all scientific circles.
It should be noted that ideas for improving the gene pool have existed since ancient times. For example, the ancient Greek philosopher Plato believed that inferior and perverse people should not be treated, and “moral degenerates” should be punished. Weak and sick children in Sparta and Scandinavian countries were killed in infancy, as it was believed that they could not cope with the harsh living conditions. The tsar-reformer Peter the Great even issued a decree stating that “fools who do not fit into any science and service” should not reproduce offspring, since they lacked a “good heritage” and could not be passed on to their children.
Questions and tasks of human eugenics were first formulated by the naturalist Francis Galton from England. He was of noble birth and was cousin of Charles Darwin. Since 1863, he studied the genealogies of noble families, trying to identify patterns of inheritance of mental and physical data by descendants. His first works were published in 1965 in the article "Inherited talent and character." Four years later, his book Inheritance of Talent was published.
The terms and main provisions of the new science were formulated in 1883. They concerned the selection of crops, the improvement of domestic animals, the preservation and ennobling of the human species. These aspects were described in the first book on eugenics, published the same year.
It should be noted that similar research was also conducted in tsarist Russia. Vasily Markovich Florinsky, a doctor and writer, in 1866 published his work “Improvement and degeneration of the human race”.
The formation of eugenics as a science
In 1907, Francis Galton defined eugenics as a science that deals with improving the innate characteristics of a race. From that moment on, she began to deal exclusively with the human gene pool. Another definition of eugenics appeared. It is a science that uses methods of social influence on the evolution of the human species.
Despite the fact that Galton preached positive measures to improve the race, in the 20th century negative eugenics became widespread in almost all developed countries. In 1920, the Russian Eugenic Society was formed in the USSR, in which the leading genetics and physicians of that time participated. In Europe, forced sterilization was actively used.This measure was used in the United States.
At the beginning of the last century, a stable phrase appeared - the Indian method. In the history of eugenics, this was the first experience of using a negative trend. The name of the method was given by the state of Indiana, where this practice was applied initially. Later, it spread to other states. Since 1904, according to the law officially adopted in the USA, “undesirable societies” have been subjected to forced sterilization. They were criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics, the mentally ill.
Eugenics in the USSR
The history of Russian eugenics began in 1920 with the founding of the Russian Eugenic Society. At the head of this group was an innovator biologist, Nikolai Koltsov, a corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. He was also the editor of the Russian Eugenic Journal.
Within the walls of the Society was carried out active research activities. Participants studied the phenotype and the human genotype. They collected data from Russian family chronicles, conducted surveys of people with outstanding abilities. The purpose of these studies was to search for patterns of inheritance and the acquisition of certain abilities of a person.
The fundamental difference between Russian eugenics and eugenics of other states is that the USSR did not take measures to sterilize and exterminate carriers of undesirable heredity. In Koltsov's work on improving the breed of a man, the idea of creating a creative man (HomoCreator) was formulated. The biologist believed that artificially reducing the birth rate would lead to a negative result on the issue of improving the gene pool. The right method, in his opinion, was to create a favorable environment for supporting carriers of good heredity.
Geneticist Yuri Filipchenko and the eugenist Mikhail Volotsky, by contrast, considered the eugenic sterilization experience used in the United States to be the most successful. Psychiatrist Victor Osipov considered alcohol to be the main factor influencing the degeneration of the Russian nation.
The scientist Serebrovsky proposed to create a separate eugenics for each class. It was quite logical, because each social group had a certain set of positive and negative qualities that had been developed by generations. In general, he argued, to achieve the goals pursued by eugenics, it is necessary to improve the living conditions of citizens.He also proposed to create a sperm bank with samples of seminal fluid from representatives of the social elite for artificial insemination of women.
With the advent of Stalin, science has undergone a number of changes. Society, formed in 1920, collapsed. Eugenics reborn in medical genetics.
Science and Nazism
In the first half of the 20th century, forced sterilization was popular in Germany. However, the measures of the eugenics of the Third Reich were much tougher than in other European countries. The offspring was forbidden to have not only sick and unreliable citizens. This fate befell the Gypsies and the Jews. The same measures were taken regarding people with communist views. Then it was decided not only to sterilize people disliked by the Third Reich, but also to exterminate them physically. Initially, such measures were carried out only in Germany, but later spread to the lands seized by the Nazis.
The Germans believed that such a “eugenic” would prevent the degeneration of the Aryan race, of which they were the only representatives. However, it was genocide in its most cruel manifestation.
After World War II, attitudes toward eugenics changed dramatically. The shadow of fascism and those horrors that occurred under the leadership of Hitler lay firmly on her. Since that time, people who are not dedicated to the finer points of science and the history of its origin have inexorably associated it exclusively with the Third Reich. This is the main reason for the negative attitude towards science.
At the Nuremberg trials, the eugenist scholars of the Third Reich were ranked as executioners for experiments conducted on prisoners, and the very doctrine was imposed on the doctrine itself. In addition, some of the methods proposed by the Eugenists were criticized by society. In the Soviet Union, for example, it was proposed to introduce artificial insemination of women.
The main problem faced by eugenics is the lack of information on the transfer of positive and negative hereditary qualities from generation to generation. There is no formula that would determine and predict the presence of a high level of intelligence or talent in any field in children. It follows from this that positive eugenics is built on hypotheses and does not have scientific evidence.A negative trend met with harsh criticism of society.
Eugenics as a scientific activity began to revive after many years. The advantage is given to research in a positive direction. Most modern scientists are inclined to believe that this science has lost its meaning today. The goals were not achieved, and the activity, which was initially positioned purely scientific, was closely intertwined with the norms of ethics and morality.
Eugenics and human rights
Everyone knows where the road paved with good intentions leads. This is what happened with eugenics. Science is faced with morality. The fact is that the process of improvement begins with the definition of the standard to which one should strive. Thus, the identification of good and bad qualities. In eugenics, separation has occurred between people who deserve to live and produce offspring, and unworthy.
It should be noted that the number of disagreeables to society significantly exceeded the number of those who had positive heredity. Indeed, among them were not only the sick and the criminals. The selection took place on a number of grounds, which often had nothing to do with heredity. It could be religion, social affiliation, wealth level.
In order to avoid infringement of human rights and freedoms, a number of legal measures were taken. European countries have signed conventions and declarations on this topic. According to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2000), eugenics has become a forbidden science.
In the modern world, the tasks of eugenics are solved by the science of genetics. Couples wishing to have a child, but fearing the occurrence of hereditary diseases in a baby, can, with the help of specialists, analyze their data and assess the risks. Such counseling allows you to calculate the probability that the offspring will / will not have this or that defect.
The methods of prenatal diagnosis are widely used. Examination of a fetus developing in the womb helps to identify the majority of hereditary diseases and pathologies. If necessary, the woman has the opportunity to terminate the pregnancy in the early stages.
Genetic engineering is directly involved in finding and researching methods that could improve the gene pool and save humanity from inherited diseases.
If you come to grips with the search for information about eugenics, on the pages of information resources you can find answers that are not related to science. Phrase combinations appear in the drop-down list: “eugenics instagram”, “eugenics didyulya”, “eugenics singer” and the like. What do these phrases mean and how do they relate to human breeding? Absolutely none.
Under the sonorous pseudonym of Evgenik, Evgeniy Didyulya is hiding. "Singer. Actress. Model. TV presenter. Wonderful wife ”- she writes about herself in social networks. Currently she is involved in the project "Didulja". In addition, she is a blogger and often appears in various talk shows.
Eugenia has two higher education degrees in vocal, is married and has a daughter. Her husband - Valery Didyulya, the famous guitar virtuoso, composer and showman. Concurrently, he is a producer of beauty.
In his blog, Eugenik Didyul reads various sarcastic rhymes. The authors of these poems are director Oleg Lomova, network poetess Julia Solomonova and others.
The singer released her first album in the summer of 2017. He is called "Optimist."Songs Eugenics are filled with humor and life simplicity. According to the performer herself, they fully reflect her character and outlook on life. The singer's clips are also humorous. In addition, she does not hesitate to appear to the public in both revealing dresses and in the male image. A vivid example of this is the clip for the song “Baba” by Eugenics.