ID# 819:
"Summary of the discussion at the conference on education and eugenics"
Pages: (1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8)
American Philosophical Society, AES, 57506: Am3

&quote;Summary of the discussion at the conference on education and eugenics&quote;

[page number] -6- [end page number] of this sort at men's colleges as well as at women's. The eugenic implications of these courses have been indirect and far more effective than if the students were told it was their duty to have more children. The importance of this finding as to the value of the indirect method cannot be over emphasized. Eugenic approach must be made through the environment of the student, economic, cultural, its aspiration for social justice, and the proper atmosphere in all the social sciences. In other words, eugenic propaganda will go furthest if it is treated as incidental to all other social advance. If the eugenist is to save his soul, he must first lose it. The natural disposition of young women is conservative. The poast-war reaction is over, the time is ripe for the eugenic group to give the educator a eugenic philosophy which can without obtruding itself permeate all aspects of education. Professor Maurice A. Bigelow, Teachers College, following Dr. MacCracken's opening address, made a plea for an enlarged view of eugenics going beyond its solely biological aspects. He said that the opportunities for teaching eugenics as such were not appropriate to the schools but should be developed (1) at the college level; (2) at the adult level through parent education. In his experience the great majority of people at present think that eugenics means sterilization and nothing more. The rest think it means some unknown application of animal breeding to human beings. The reasonable and practical presentation made by the American Eugenics Society is not widely known or understood, especially among college professors who have arrogated to themselves the strict genetic interpretation of eugenics. Courses in eugenics should be under the direction of social biologists or of biological sociologists. Units of instruction in eugenics should be offered without prerequisites, so that they would be available to anyone desiring to take them. In his experience, the professional geneticist has very little understanding of the needs of eugenics. Probably the course should not be given under the name of eugenics, It might be called "Human Environment, Heredity and Eugenics." But that would be a compromise. It would be best if incorporated in a course on the family, which would then reach the greatest number of students. It should be based on the family as the unit of society, an integrated part of such a course. These courses should include biological problems and the social biology of the family. The course should not be presented as a scheme for the reform of society. An understanding of eugenics does not demand much biology, but it demands the social biological point of view, including the important psychological aspects. Properly taught and in this form, the wide teaching of eugenics should be encouraged by the American Eugenics Society. Professor Hankins agreed that the eugenic attack should be made at the college level, where it is most effective, thence spreading downward. It is necessary to overcome an ingrained prejudice against recognizing the importance of hereditary factors, not only among average Americans, but among average sociologists as well. It is probable that class stratification is increasing under the selective influence of society, both for intellectual and personality traits, and it is vitally important that proper studies be made of all selective influences. He pointed out the difficulty of introducing new inter-departmental courses in a conservative college organization.

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