Larson 8

What are our modern values about this?
Scientists are human so science gets mixed up with society (including the prejudices of the time).  This can result both in useful new scientific ideas and in the distortion of science for political ends.  Science progresses more by sorting out many possibilities and disproving the bad theories than by proving the validity of good theories.

Galton's development of eugenics applied his sharp mind to his social prejudices
Eugenics (improving the human race through genetic selection):

20th century Eugenics poster based loosely on Dugsdale's work:    

20th century eugenics poster based on Dugsdale

Negative eugenics was developed first in the United States

Social Darwinism:

scientific racism

This was elaborated into scientific racism particularly in the American South

it was not good science because Darwin emphasized that evolution was branching, not linear and progressive
we now know traits such as intelligence and criminal behavior are not primarily genetic

In the US (predominantly in the northeast) eugenics focused on preventing the "feeble-minded" from reproducing, because low intelligence was assumed to be linked with anti-social behavior

          Eugenics posters
Eugenics never had broad support except in Germany
It faded out in the US by the 1930s

This is an example of how prejudice can creep into science--scientists need to be careful