Heredity and Human Affairs

Heredity and Human Affairs

Heredity and Human Affairs

Heredity and Human Affairs

Excerpt

Genetics stands second to physics as the most fruitful department of science during the last quarter of a century. Physics has given us a new chemistry, a new thermodynamics, in fact a wholly new philosophy as to the nature of matter. It has made possible such marvellous mechanical inventions as the aeroplane, the cinema, and the radio. The achievements of genetics are not so spectacular, but hardly less broadly constructive. The established facts concerning variation, heredity, and development provide a new orientation in sociology.

One must be a "monstrous clever" fellow to understand the modern physics, but fortunately only a select few need to understand it. With genetics it is a different matter. Every one ought to learn the tenets of genetics, for there is a genetic aspect to nearly all the problems of society; and these are problems which are not submitted to the technical expert, but are dealt with for good or evil by all who have a voice in governmental affairs. In its detail genetics is abstruse and complicated, scarcely easier to understand than the older science, but happily the general principles are not so difficult to grasp.

The purpose of this volume is to give a simple introduction to these principles, and to indicate how an acquaintance with them may be of service in analyzing some of the more important social questions. If I have a further hope, it is that the reader may be led to undertake a more adequate study of the subject in the various admirable text-books now available, instead of obtaining his information from less trustworthy sources. I am sure that when the thoughtful members of society come to appreciate the full significance of biological determinism, and what it means to the . . .

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