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The Politics of Heredity: Essays on Eugenics, Biomedicine and the Nature-nurture Debate (SUNY Series in Philosophy and Biology) [Hardcover]

Diane B. Paul


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (23 July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 079143821X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791438213
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 1.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,557,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Paul (political science, Univ. of Mass. at Boston) explores the development of hybrid corn, the history of eugenics, human genetics, the nature-nurture debate, the origins of the Marxian concept of proletarian society, the shift in the meaning of "fitness" in evolutionary theory, the practice of normal science in Nazi Germany, and the making and se

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An honest look at eugenics--past and present. 7 April 2000
By Matt Nuenke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book presents the eugenics movement in a much more balanced manner than many of the other books from the socialist left. In fact, one of the most interesting facets of early eugenics as explained is that both the left and the right embraced eugenics. Yes, even the socialists new that any eugenic program could improve the quality of the state's people, and that generally socialism could only flourish in a homogenous state of like minded people. But as we all know now, the early eugenics program was overly ambitious, and relied on a purely Mendelian view of genetics--one that was far too simplistic and naïve.
The book also takes a fairly balanced look how pervasive and enduring the concepts of eugenics has been. Most books from the left would like one to think that eugenics was an epiphenomena of a racist agenda. But of course we know that most nations in the past have had concerns about the genetic or racial quality of their people, and in fact it was only during a very brief period of history, from about 1960 to 1980 that the radical environmentalists (Gould et al.) attacked eugenics as a pseudoscience. Though this political correctness still prevails in the media and in government policies, academics now that these old Marxists are the ones that are now sicking into the quagmire of pseudoscience, or science based on a purely political agenda. This book helps clarify much of this propaganda.
Also, contrary to other leftist books on eugenics, this book explains how with the legalization of abortion along with genetic testing, eugenics practiced by individuals is alive and well. And it is being openly discussed by numerous academics as the rising concern of a dysgenic trend and a falling of intelligence is starting to show up on the radar screen. And from recent work by numerous researchers, the heritability of intelligence is no longer in doubt. So eugenics is back and more vibrant than ever. This book gives a good overview of its history and some indications of where we are headed, at least from a socialist's viewpoint.
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