Its base came from the idea that the human race could be “perfected” by getting rid of its undesirable traits and the desirable ones could be multiplied. Physical appearance, IQ, and social capacity could be controlled in humans just as plant and animal traits could be perfected through Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution; that complex creatures evolve from more simplistic ancestors naturally over time. Through time, this state of mind has presented America and the World in an ethical battle that has continued to sway between positive and negative.
In 1883 Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, introduced the world to the theory of eugenics and coined the word eugenics to describe methods of improving the human race by regulating reproduction. Galton defined eugenics as “the science of improvement of the human race germ plasm through better breeding (Kevles, 1995).” In those early times there was no proof that eugenics was anything more than a preferred theory but the superior members of society were happy to embrace it. This theory allowed the upper class to justify its discrimination against the lower classes.
In the early 20th century, eugenics took to the masses and would flourish for quite some time. During this t...
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...h this genetic counseling hopeful and prospective parents are able to be directly tested for undesired genes. If the couple has already conceived, there are certain tests that can be performed to detect specific genetic defects in the developing fetus. If a couple is found to be at high risk for inheritable abnormalities, donor embryos may be screened and through processes like in vitro fertilization may be used to completely eliminate the genetic defects (Eugenics, 2008).
Though all eugenics stem from Darwin’s basic theory of evolution, they have been interpreted far differently throughout history. Modern science has helped America and the World define some of the ethical concerns that have plagued this science through time but the fact still remains that eugenics has always been a very controversial science and probably will be until life ceases to exist.
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