Human experimentation

Apparently, the climate of eugenics, euthanasia, racism, and “life not worth living” was current in the United States in the 1940′s, just as it was in Hitler’s Germany. Look what government scientists did in Guatemala:

U.S. government medical researchers intentionally infected hundreds of people in Guatemala, including institutionalized mental patients, with gonorrhea and syphilis without their knowledge or permission more than 60 years ago.

Many of those infected were encouraged to pass the infection onto others as part of the study.

About one third of those who were infected never got adequate treatment.

On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered extensive apologies for actions taken by the U.S. Public Health Service.

“The sexually transmitted disease inoculation study conducted from 1946-1948 in Guatemala was clearly unethical,” according to the joint statement from Clinton and Sebelius. “Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health. We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.” . . .

According to [Susan] Reverby’s report, the Guatemalan project was co-sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service, the NIH, the Pan-American Health Sanitary Bureau (now the Pan American Health Organization) and the Guatemalan government. The experiments involved 696 subjects — male prisoners and female patients in the National Mental Health Hospital.

The researchers were trying to determine whether the antibiotic penicillin could prevent syphilis infection, not just cure it, Reverby writes. After the subjects were infected with the syphilis bacteria — through visits with prostitutes who had the disease and direct inoculations — it is unclear whether they were later cured or given proper medical care, Reverby notes. While most of the patients got treatment, experts estimate as many as one-third, did not.

The mindset that saw nothing wrong with this persists today in the broad acceptance of experimentation on human embryos.

HT: Webmonk

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • WebMonk

    It’s one of those things that should remind people that the “good old days” where America was a marvelously God-fearing and Christian nation only exists in memory. Atrocities happened even back then, but people tend to put the bad things out of mind and remember the better things.

    Tom Hering’s link mentions that over 60,000 forced sterilizations were carried out in the early to mid 20th century. Some of the racial laws used eugenics as rationales, and a lot of the heroes of our country’s past were supportive of various forms of eugenics (Theodore Roosevelt, for example).

    And, of course, we have this example – forced syphilis infection of people. Considering that this instance is just now receiving widespread attention, I can only assume there are at least a few more of this sort of thing still hidden away in the musty halls of American history.

  • WebMonk

    It’s one of those things that should remind people that the “good old days” where America was a marvelously God-fearing and Christian nation only exists in memory. Atrocities happened even back then, but people tend to put the bad things out of mind and remember the better things.

    Tom Hering’s link mentions that over 60,000 forced sterilizations were carried out in the early to mid 20th century. Some of the racial laws used eugenics as rationales, and a lot of the heroes of our country’s past were supportive of various forms of eugenics (Theodore Roosevelt, for example).

    And, of course, we have this example – forced syphilis infection of people. Considering that this instance is just now receiving widespread attention, I can only assume there are at least a few more of this sort of thing still hidden away in the musty halls of American history.

  • SKPeterson

    Here’s another one that’s been largely forgotten: http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bhmtuskegee1.html.

    Gives me the National Health Care warm fuzzies.

  • SKPeterson

    Here’s another one that’s been largely forgotten: http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bhmtuskegee1.html.

    Gives me the National Health Care warm fuzzies.

  • Tom Hering

    It wasn’t only about the “inferior races.” Poor whites like Appalachians, the immigrant farmers of the Plains, and the Okies of the Dust Bowl were all considered to be literally subhuman in “scientifically proven” ways – even by progressive men like H.L. Mencken and Theodore Roosevelt. Popular Eugenics.

  • Tom Hering

    It wasn’t only about the “inferior races.” Poor whites like Appalachians, the immigrant farmers of the Plains, and the Okies of the Dust Bowl were all considered to be literally subhuman in “scientifically proven” ways – even by progressive men like H.L. Mencken and Theodore Roosevelt. Popular Eugenics.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Tom Hering,
    What’s really fun is when you trace this though back to Darwin. Evolutionists get mad when this is brought up, but I believe it’s the book The Descent of Man in which Darwin is aware of the wars against American Indians and the Aboriginal tribes of Australia, yet seems to have no problem with it.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Tom Hering,
    What’s really fun is when you trace this though back to Darwin. Evolutionists get mad when this is brought up, but I believe it’s the book The Descent of Man in which Darwin is aware of the wars against American Indians and the Aboriginal tribes of Australia, yet seems to have no problem with it.

  • Tom Hering

    J. Dean, yeah, it’s all about evolution, and improving the human race. (At the very least by allowing the “unfit” to fend for themselves, with no help from society.) As one motto of the movement proclaimed, “Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution.”

  • Tom Hering

    J. Dean, yeah, it’s all about evolution, and improving the human race. (At the very least by allowing the “unfit” to fend for themselves, with no help from society.) As one motto of the movement proclaimed, “Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution.”

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/ Louis

    Dean – you now sound like other folk on this blog, who try and discredit Luther by harping on the unsavoury bits.

    In an earlier thread I mentioned Chesterton’s book on eugenics – I would recommend it again here. In it is we can see that there is a very strong link to Nietzsche etc. But in reality, people would grasp at any idea to support their own agenda’s, be it religion, science or philosophy. Misuse of an idea hardly disproves the idea itself.

    I wonder know if anybody is going to examine/apologise for the famous Point-Saint-Esprit incident… (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/7415082/French-bread-spiked-with-LSD-in-CIA-experiment.html_ )

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/ Louis

    Dean – you now sound like other folk on this blog, who try and discredit Luther by harping on the unsavoury bits.

    In an earlier thread I mentioned Chesterton’s book on eugenics – I would recommend it again here. In it is we can see that there is a very strong link to Nietzsche etc. But in reality, people would grasp at any idea to support their own agenda’s, be it religion, science or philosophy. Misuse of an idea hardly disproves the idea itself.

    I wonder know if anybody is going to examine/apologise for the famous Point-Saint-Esprit incident… (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/7415082/French-bread-spiked-with-LSD-in-CIA-experiment.html_ )

  • WebMonk

    Dean, not that nonsense!

    Views that Africans, Aborigines, North and South American Indians, and Orientals were different and inferior races traces to LONG before Darwin. Darwin was quite progressive for his time, holding that even the Aborigines and Negros were of the same race as Caucasian people.

    He was a man of his time, and just like we think that Abraham Lincoln’s statements about race are incredibly racist by today’s standards, we can recognize that compared to the common statements of Lincoln’s time, they were very egalitarian. The same thing is true of Darwin’s views – compared to today, his views are very racist, but he did maintain that Aborigines, Indians, Negros, etc were of the same race as Caucasians, which was very egalitarian for his time. Was he a racist by our standards? Absolutely. Was he a racist compared to almost anyone else of his time? No, quite the opposite.

    I’m going to bet that you’ve never actually read “The Descent of Man”, have you? If you had, you would know that whoever it was who told you that the Descent of Man promoted the idea that Aborigines or Indians or any of the humans were of a different race than Caucasians was mistaken to the direct opposite of what the book actually holds.

    If you go Googling, I’m sure you can find lots of snippets pulled out showing how racist Darwin was, but before you swallow those as Gospel truth, go read the larger context of what was being said around the quote, and also compare what was being said to the common views of the time that had been around LONG before Darwin came to the scene.

  • WebMonk

    Dean, not that nonsense!

    Views that Africans, Aborigines, North and South American Indians, and Orientals were different and inferior races traces to LONG before Darwin. Darwin was quite progressive for his time, holding that even the Aborigines and Negros were of the same race as Caucasian people.

    He was a man of his time, and just like we think that Abraham Lincoln’s statements about race are incredibly racist by today’s standards, we can recognize that compared to the common statements of Lincoln’s time, they were very egalitarian. The same thing is true of Darwin’s views – compared to today, his views are very racist, but he did maintain that Aborigines, Indians, Negros, etc were of the same race as Caucasians, which was very egalitarian for his time. Was he a racist by our standards? Absolutely. Was he a racist compared to almost anyone else of his time? No, quite the opposite.

    I’m going to bet that you’ve never actually read “The Descent of Man”, have you? If you had, you would know that whoever it was who told you that the Descent of Man promoted the idea that Aborigines or Indians or any of the humans were of a different race than Caucasians was mistaken to the direct opposite of what the book actually holds.

    If you go Googling, I’m sure you can find lots of snippets pulled out showing how racist Darwin was, but before you swallow those as Gospel truth, go read the larger context of what was being said around the quote, and also compare what was being said to the common views of the time that had been around LONG before Darwin came to the scene.

  • Tom Hering

    So Charles Darwin somehow managed to keep his racism and his evolution-think in separate compartments of his mind?

  • Tom Hering

    So Charles Darwin somehow managed to keep his racism and his evolution-think in separate compartments of his mind?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    This is the whole point of abortion. Abortion rates are sky high among the poor and minorities.

    Ginsburg: “Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae – in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.”

    http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=103457

    37 years after Roe v. Wade and abortion has disproportionately killed minority children. That is the whole point. Sick and depraved, but real.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    This is the whole point of abortion. Abortion rates are sky high among the poor and minorities.

    Ginsburg: “Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae – in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.”

    http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=103457

    37 years after Roe v. Wade and abortion has disproportionately killed minority children. That is the whole point. Sick and depraved, but real.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “J. Dean, yeah, it’s all about evolution, and improving the human race. (At the very least by allowing the “unfit” to fend for themselves, with no help from society.) ”

    Yeah, but define help. Some think giving money to the poor is a swell idea. Unfortunately they are such poor managers, often they don’t actually improve their own lives with the money. Ignoring the spiritual and vocational needs of the poor is just as cruel as ignoring their economic needs. This all gets back to making value judgements. When looking at a primitive tribe somewhere that doesn’t pollute the environment, lives at the whim of the forces of nature including periods of starvation, etc., should we say they need to change to be more like we are? Is it morally right to lure them to our countries so we can exploit them as cheap labor even though many won’t assimilate or function here. I mean they built the society that they can function in given the limits of the environment. So, the idea that they should live in the kind of society that we feel is “better” is sort of projecting our ideas onto them. This is hard for me because I sure wouldn’t want to live the way people in some places live, so it is tempting to say they should have it my way.

    Also different groups have different apparent physical characteristics simply determined by genes, why not figure different groups have different incidence rates of psychological and mental traits? Cue the hue and cry for daring to ask a question. The point is that people should be treated with the highest ethical standards, but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend that all people are similar in the way they will respond because there are different rates of variation among various groups. We just saw this with the mortgage meltdown. Money was loaned to people whose behavior indicated they would not repay the loans, and indeed they didn’t. The correlation of lending standards to actual repayment rates is very high. There was no reason to believe people who could not earn more and pay more would earn more and pay more and sure enough, they didn’t. They weren’t even helped by the supposedly helpful proposition, rather the lenders and company execs made the money. It was a lose-lose-lose for the customers, taxpayers and economy. Only the folks at the top profitted and are still patting themselves on the back for “trying to help the poor”. The established lending standards didn’t discriminate based on ethnicity, rather on actual financial criteria. However, this had a disparate impact on minorities, so we were obliged to “help”. It didn’t help. When everyone is treated the same, there are unequal outcomes. Why are we not okay with treating everyone fairly and as individuals?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “J. Dean, yeah, it’s all about evolution, and improving the human race. (At the very least by allowing the “unfit” to fend for themselves, with no help from society.) ”

    Yeah, but define help. Some think giving money to the poor is a swell idea. Unfortunately they are such poor managers, often they don’t actually improve their own lives with the money. Ignoring the spiritual and vocational needs of the poor is just as cruel as ignoring their economic needs. This all gets back to making value judgements. When looking at a primitive tribe somewhere that doesn’t pollute the environment, lives at the whim of the forces of nature including periods of starvation, etc., should we say they need to change to be more like we are? Is it morally right to lure them to our countries so we can exploit them as cheap labor even though many won’t assimilate or function here. I mean they built the society that they can function in given the limits of the environment. So, the idea that they should live in the kind of society that we feel is “better” is sort of projecting our ideas onto them. This is hard for me because I sure wouldn’t want to live the way people in some places live, so it is tempting to say they should have it my way.

    Also different groups have different apparent physical characteristics simply determined by genes, why not figure different groups have different incidence rates of psychological and mental traits? Cue the hue and cry for daring to ask a question. The point is that people should be treated with the highest ethical standards, but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend that all people are similar in the way they will respond because there are different rates of variation among various groups. We just saw this with the mortgage meltdown. Money was loaned to people whose behavior indicated they would not repay the loans, and indeed they didn’t. The correlation of lending standards to actual repayment rates is very high. There was no reason to believe people who could not earn more and pay more would earn more and pay more and sure enough, they didn’t. They weren’t even helped by the supposedly helpful proposition, rather the lenders and company execs made the money. It was a lose-lose-lose for the customers, taxpayers and economy. Only the folks at the top profitted and are still patting themselves on the back for “trying to help the poor”. The established lending standards didn’t discriminate based on ethnicity, rather on actual financial criteria. However, this had a disparate impact on minorities, so we were obliged to “help”. It didn’t help. When everyone is treated the same, there are unequal outcomes. Why are we not okay with treating everyone fairly and as individuals?

  • Tom Hering

    “Yeah, but define help.” – sg @ 11.

    Maybe we should let those who need help define help, instead of the rest of us (whatever our politics) always defining it for them.

  • Tom Hering

    “Yeah, but define help.” – sg @ 11.

    Maybe we should let those who need help define help, instead of the rest of us (whatever our politics) always defining it for them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Interesting, Tom. Could you explain that? What if they think abortion is help? What if they think help is all those ineffective measures that have been taken? Do those who truly need help have the judgement necessary to evaluate their own situation? Many people who truly need help have mental, emotional and spiritual problems. I am thinking addictions, etc.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Interesting, Tom. Could you explain that? What if they think abortion is help? What if they think help is all those ineffective measures that have been taken? Do those who truly need help have the judgement necessary to evaluate their own situation? Many people who truly need help have mental, emotional and spiritual problems. I am thinking addictions, etc.

  • Tom Hering

    sg, so the daddy/mommy state is a bad thing, except in the case of the needy? (Yes, that’s a dig. We have a reputation as a “lively” bunch to uphold now. :-) )

  • Tom Hering

    sg, so the daddy/mommy state is a bad thing, except in the case of the needy? (Yes, that’s a dig. We have a reputation as a “lively” bunch to uphold now. :-) )

  • DonS

    It is well documented that the founder of Planned Parenthood was a proponent of eugenics. It is also well documented that abortion disproportionately kills the babies of minorities and of poorer women.

    This atrocity is a good reminder that there really have been no “good old” days on this sinful earth, and that there is lower limit on man’s depravity. It should also be a good reminder that we will never create paradise here, no matter how much we bankrupt ourselves in the attempt.

    Tom, I think you have an excellent point. Our social programs are designed by politicians and bureaucrats who are cynically bent on building permanent dependency on government by as many voters as possible, no matter how much corrosion it causes to the souls of those being used. Those having genuine need would much prefer assistance which provides an opportunity, rather than merely perpetual handouts.

  • DonS

    It is well documented that the founder of Planned Parenthood was a proponent of eugenics. It is also well documented that abortion disproportionately kills the babies of minorities and of poorer women.

    This atrocity is a good reminder that there really have been no “good old” days on this sinful earth, and that there is lower limit on man’s depravity. It should also be a good reminder that we will never create paradise here, no matter how much we bankrupt ourselves in the attempt.

    Tom, I think you have an excellent point. Our social programs are designed by politicians and bureaucrats who are cynically bent on building permanent dependency on government by as many voters as possible, no matter how much corrosion it causes to the souls of those being used. Those having genuine need would much prefer assistance which provides an opportunity, rather than merely perpetual handouts.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, I think what we can all take from this article is that was back then. The government has changed. We can trust them now. Especially when it comes to human life. We can trust them to wisely wage wars on our behalf now. And we can trust them with our data and our private conversations. The days of government being filled with bad people are over.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, I think what we can all take from this article is that was back then. The government has changed. We can trust them now. Especially when it comes to human life. We can trust them to wisely wage wars on our behalf now. And we can trust them with our data and our private conversations. The days of government being filled with bad people are over.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg, so the daddy/mommy state is a bad thing, except in the case of the needy? ”

    Is that supposed to be a reasoned reply? These are the fundamental problems we face as a mixed country. Many have smart aleck accusing comments, but few want to engage the issues. Is there a way to help the poor without being a nanny state? I mean being a nanny state is very expensive because the all of the nannies in all of the government departments. Some say yes, others no, but why? The example Dr. Veith gives of unethical government scientists abusing folks by experimenting on them is an egregious example of nanny state gone wrong. I mean a private drug company could be sued, but with the gov’t they are just stuck. Same with folks in the Tennessee Valley who got inundated when the gov’t run power plant wasn’t overseen by the designated nanny, Barbara Boxer. Their whole community was devastated by the huge spill of toxic sludge. They don’t even have recourse because it is a gov’t entity. Victims of the Exxon Valdez spill could at least get a neutral party to settle their claim. The gov’t should protect people by being neutral. So, human experimentation, abortion, forced sterilization, environmental disasters due to gov’t nanny programs can leave vulnerable people with less protection than without the gov’t program.

    My mind isn’t closed on the issues. I am willing to listen to a coherent evidence-based different perspective.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg, so the daddy/mommy state is a bad thing, except in the case of the needy? ”

    Is that supposed to be a reasoned reply? These are the fundamental problems we face as a mixed country. Many have smart aleck accusing comments, but few want to engage the issues. Is there a way to help the poor without being a nanny state? I mean being a nanny state is very expensive because the all of the nannies in all of the government departments. Some say yes, others no, but why? The example Dr. Veith gives of unethical government scientists abusing folks by experimenting on them is an egregious example of nanny state gone wrong. I mean a private drug company could be sued, but with the gov’t they are just stuck. Same with folks in the Tennessee Valley who got inundated when the gov’t run power plant wasn’t overseen by the designated nanny, Barbara Boxer. Their whole community was devastated by the huge spill of toxic sludge. They don’t even have recourse because it is a gov’t entity. Victims of the Exxon Valdez spill could at least get a neutral party to settle their claim. The gov’t should protect people by being neutral. So, human experimentation, abortion, forced sterilization, environmental disasters due to gov’t nanny programs can leave vulnerable people with less protection than without the gov’t program.

    My mind isn’t closed on the issues. I am willing to listen to a coherent evidence-based different perspective.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG asked (@13), more or less, “What if they think abortion is [good]? What if they think … all those ineffective measures that have been taken [are good]? Do [they] have the judgement necessary to evaluate their own situation? Many people … have mental, emotional and spiritual problems. I am thinking addictions, etc.”

    If you weren’t so intent on vilifying just the poor, SG, you’d see that your statement (as abstracted only slightly, above) applies to every class of people, not just the poor.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG asked (@13), more or less, “What if they think abortion is [good]? What if they think … all those ineffective measures that have been taken [are good]? Do [they] have the judgement necessary to evaluate their own situation? Many people … have mental, emotional and spiritual problems. I am thinking addictions, etc.”

    If you weren’t so intent on vilifying just the poor, SG, you’d see that your statement (as abstracted only slightly, above) applies to every class of people, not just the poor.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The days of government being filled with bad people are over.”

    Love the comment, tODD. I really don’t think the gov’t was filled with bad people then or now. It was just filled with people. They aren’t better than the rest of society. They are representative of who we were and are. They are just people, not any worse than the rest of us, and not any better, which is the problem. ;-)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The days of government being filled with bad people are over.”

    Love the comment, tODD. I really don’t think the gov’t was filled with bad people then or now. It was just filled with people. They aren’t better than the rest of society. They are representative of who we were and are. They are just people, not any worse than the rest of us, and not any better, which is the problem. ;-)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “If you weren’t so intent on vilifying just the poor, SG, you’d see that your statement (as abstracted only slightly, above) applies to every class of people, not just the poor.”

    Wow, I don’t really think I vilify the poor. I think they are incompetent to function in society. I also agree that every class of people and every person both contributes to and detracts from society and their own well being.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “If you weren’t so intent on vilifying just the poor, SG, you’d see that your statement (as abstracted only slightly, above) applies to every class of people, not just the poor.”

    Wow, I don’t really think I vilify the poor. I think they are incompetent to function in society. I also agree that every class of people and every person both contributes to and detracts from society and their own well being.

  • Tom Hering

    DonS @ 15, I think you have an excellent point as well. Some (many?) of the disabled (myself included) would prefer a combination of small business education and start-up loan to a lifetime of payments. Heck, we might even become employers. Since the money’s going to be spent anyways, it makes sense to turn a portion of the disability program into a jobs/economic growth program. Win-win, even for the taxpayers.

  • Tom Hering

    DonS @ 15, I think you have an excellent point as well. Some (many?) of the disabled (myself included) would prefer a combination of small business education and start-up loan to a lifetime of payments. Heck, we might even become employers. Since the money’s going to be spent anyways, it makes sense to turn a portion of the disability program into a jobs/economic growth program. Win-win, even for the taxpayers.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” it makes sense to turn a portion of the disability program into a jobs/economic growth program. ”

    Or at least make it an option.

    Why didn’t someone in gov’t think of that?
    (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

    Seriously though, gov’t work isn’t incentive based, so workers may not be as motivated to come up with great ideas, and the people who do have the spark to come up with new ideas would rather take risks with their ideas out in the private sector.

    Similarly, I wonder how well the gov’t does at recruiting and hiring the disabled. They may do a good job. I just don’t know.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” it makes sense to turn a portion of the disability program into a jobs/economic growth program. ”

    Or at least make it an option.

    Why didn’t someone in gov’t think of that?
    (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

    Seriously though, gov’t work isn’t incentive based, so workers may not be as motivated to come up with great ideas, and the people who do have the spark to come up with new ideas would rather take risks with their ideas out in the private sector.

    Similarly, I wonder how well the gov’t does at recruiting and hiring the disabled. They may do a good job. I just don’t know.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “I don’t really think I vilify the poor.” Oh?

    “I think they are incompetent to function in society.” Hmm.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “I don’t really think I vilify the poor.” Oh?

    “I think they are incompetent to function in society.” Hmm.

  • WebMonk

    Tom @9, You miss the point – racism and eugenics didn’t come from the evolutionary discoveries of Darwin. They were well in vogue long before Darwin came onto the scene. Darwin’s books are strongly non-racist compared to the common writings/views of the time; if anything they moved society as a whole away from racism and eugenics.

    Claiming that acceptance of evolution is at the root of eugenics (like the claims Dean’s post passed along) is nonsense. Claiming that evolution encourages eugenics can be argued, but not if one looks for a historic basis for the claim – Darwin and his writings were far less racist than the societies in which they were written, thus (if anything) moving society away from such views.

    Eugenics is a result of mankind’s fallen nature, certainly not caused by the theory of evolution, and not even promoted by it if history is any guide.

  • WebMonk

    Tom @9, You miss the point – racism and eugenics didn’t come from the evolutionary discoveries of Darwin. They were well in vogue long before Darwin came onto the scene. Darwin’s books are strongly non-racist compared to the common writings/views of the time; if anything they moved society as a whole away from racism and eugenics.

    Claiming that acceptance of evolution is at the root of eugenics (like the claims Dean’s post passed along) is nonsense. Claiming that evolution encourages eugenics can be argued, but not if one looks for a historic basis for the claim – Darwin and his writings were far less racist than the societies in which they were written, thus (if anything) moving society away from such views.

    Eugenics is a result of mankind’s fallen nature, certainly not caused by the theory of evolution, and not even promoted by it if history is any guide.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You miss the point – racism and eugenics didn’t come from the evolutionary discoveries of Darwin. They were well in vogue long before Darwin came onto the scene.”

    Right, but his theory provided a scientific basis to explain what people already thought. Which brings up the question of why people thought that in the first place. Why would anyone think his theory was plausible? Was it because such differences had already been observed and folks wanted an explanation as to why? Just asking.

    I mean people had observed gravity before Newton established the law of universal gravitation and the gravitational constant was calculated.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You miss the point – racism and eugenics didn’t come from the evolutionary discoveries of Darwin. They were well in vogue long before Darwin came onto the scene.”

    Right, but his theory provided a scientific basis to explain what people already thought. Which brings up the question of why people thought that in the first place. Why would anyone think his theory was plausible? Was it because such differences had already been observed and folks wanted an explanation as to why? Just asking.

    I mean people had observed gravity before Newton established the law of universal gravitation and the gravitational constant was calculated.

  • Tom Hering

    Or, the theory of evolution is the result of mankind’s fallen nature – or – just fallen Nature.

  • Tom Hering

    Or, the theory of evolution is the result of mankind’s fallen nature – or – just fallen Nature.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Eugenics is a result of mankind’s fallen nature, certainly not caused by the theory of evolution, and not even promoted by it if history is any guide.”

    Interesting. Do you think the backlash against eugenics is due entirely to the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews? I mean eugenics was pretty popular before and if Ginsburg is any indication, it just seems to have been relabled as “pro choice”.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Eugenics is a result of mankind’s fallen nature, certainly not caused by the theory of evolution, and not even promoted by it if history is any guide.”

    Interesting. Do you think the backlash against eugenics is due entirely to the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews? I mean eugenics was pretty popular before and if Ginsburg is any indication, it just seems to have been relabled as “pro choice”.

  • WebMonk

    sg – “Right, but his [Darwin's] theory provided a scientific basis to explain what people already thought.”

    Did it? Or did it provided a scientific basis on which to oppose eugenics and racism?

    What is seen coming from evolution? Well, like I’ve said, it was very much anti-racist compared to what was around at the time. For example, it was argued in “Descent of Man” that humans are all one race, not several different ones, and should not be classified in such a manner.

    We need to delineate between people grabbing a bit of fact and using it to support their preconceived notions, and people coming to notions from a bit of fact. People who support eugenics may say that evolution supports their position (and people who oppose evolution happily point that out), but as we see in history, eugenics had support long before evolution was discovered and people used all sorts of supports for it back then, and if the theory of evolution weren’t around today, they would use some other reason, at least if history is any clue.

  • WebMonk

    sg – “Right, but his [Darwin's] theory provided a scientific basis to explain what people already thought.”

    Did it? Or did it provided a scientific basis on which to oppose eugenics and racism?

    What is seen coming from evolution? Well, like I’ve said, it was very much anti-racist compared to what was around at the time. For example, it was argued in “Descent of Man” that humans are all one race, not several different ones, and should not be classified in such a manner.

    We need to delineate between people grabbing a bit of fact and using it to support their preconceived notions, and people coming to notions from a bit of fact. People who support eugenics may say that evolution supports their position (and people who oppose evolution happily point that out), but as we see in history, eugenics had support long before evolution was discovered and people used all sorts of supports for it back then, and if the theory of evolution weren’t around today, they would use some other reason, at least if history is any clue.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Eugenics is a result of mankind’s fallen nature, certainly not caused by the theory of evolution, and not even promoted by it if history is any guide.”

    Regardless of whether it is the chicken or the egg, is eugenics incompatible with the tenets and framework of evolutionary theory?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Eugenics is a result of mankind’s fallen nature, certainly not caused by the theory of evolution, and not even promoted by it if history is any guide.”

    Regardless of whether it is the chicken or the egg, is eugenics incompatible with the tenets and framework of evolutionary theory?

  • WebMonk

    sg 27, I think eugenics has certainly been put in a less favorable light because of the Nazis, but I think a lot of its fall from favor comes from basic scientific discovery that the world isn’t becoming dumber and more segregated by intelligence.

    There have been a LOT of studies about intelligence and genetics, and genetics has a relatively small role to play in one’s native intelligence. There certainly are exceptions of people who seem to have great genetics when it comes to intelligence, for the other 99.9999% of the population, genetics is a relatively minor factor which can be swamped by other things like nutrition, exercise, health, training, society, etc.

    If you start looking at the eugenics positions today, much of it is based on people’s rights of self-determinism or the position that the unborn aren’t really people. There isn’t as much eugenics-to-save-the-human-race any more because it has virtually zero scientific support.

  • WebMonk

    sg 27, I think eugenics has certainly been put in a less favorable light because of the Nazis, but I think a lot of its fall from favor comes from basic scientific discovery that the world isn’t becoming dumber and more segregated by intelligence.

    There have been a LOT of studies about intelligence and genetics, and genetics has a relatively small role to play in one’s native intelligence. There certainly are exceptions of people who seem to have great genetics when it comes to intelligence, for the other 99.9999% of the population, genetics is a relatively minor factor which can be swamped by other things like nutrition, exercise, health, training, society, etc.

    If you start looking at the eugenics positions today, much of it is based on people’s rights of self-determinism or the position that the unborn aren’t really people. There isn’t as much eugenics-to-save-the-human-race any more because it has virtually zero scientific support.

  • WebMonk

    sg 29
    “Regardless of whether it is the chicken or the egg, is eugenics incompatible with the tenets and framework of evolutionary theory?”

    That’s sort of like asking whether or not eugenics is incompatible with the tenets and framework of quantum mechanics or the Theory of Relativity.

  • WebMonk

    sg 29
    “Regardless of whether it is the chicken or the egg, is eugenics incompatible with the tenets and framework of evolutionary theory?”

    That’s sort of like asking whether or not eugenics is incompatible with the tenets and framework of quantum mechanics or the Theory of Relativity.

  • Kirk

    @29

    No, but neither is it incompatible with the tenants and framework for a free market economy. It could as easily be argued that capitalism is just as complicit in spreading eugenics and similar values. Perhaps even more easily.

  • Kirk

    @29

    No, but neither is it incompatible with the tenants and framework for a free market economy. It could as easily be argued that capitalism is just as complicit in spreading eugenics and similar values. Perhaps even more easily.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What is seen coming from evolution? Well, like I’ve said, it was very much anti-racist compared to what was around at the time. For example, it was argued in “Descent of Man” that humans are all one race, not several different ones, and should not be classified in such a manner.”

    Not sure I get that. The flood was more recent than the human migration out of Africa hypothesis. The shorter time after the flood would allow less time for groups to differentiate than the much longer time frame posited by the out of Africa scenario.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What is seen coming from evolution? Well, like I’ve said, it was very much anti-racist compared to what was around at the time. For example, it was argued in “Descent of Man” that humans are all one race, not several different ones, and should not be classified in such a manner.”

    Not sure I get that. The flood was more recent than the human migration out of Africa hypothesis. The shorter time after the flood would allow less time for groups to differentiate than the much longer time frame posited by the out of Africa scenario.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “No, but neither is it incompatible with the tenants and framework for a free market economy. It could as easily be argued that capitalism is just as complicit in spreading eugenics and similar values. Perhaps even more easily.”

    Could you explain that? Do you mean that capitalism makes the idea of eugenics more popular? if so why?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “No, but neither is it incompatible with the tenants and framework for a free market economy. It could as easily be argued that capitalism is just as complicit in spreading eugenics and similar values. Perhaps even more easily.”

    Could you explain that? Do you mean that capitalism makes the idea of eugenics more popular? if so why?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “That’s sort of like asking whether or not eugenics is incompatible with the tenets and framework of quantum mechanics or the Theory of Relativity.”

    No it is not. If evolutionary theory establishes a scientific framework that very specifically validates and explains how and why eugenics works, then it doesn’t in any way steer people off of the eugenics path.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “That’s sort of like asking whether or not eugenics is incompatible with the tenets and framework of quantum mechanics or the Theory of Relativity.”

    No it is not. If evolutionary theory establishes a scientific framework that very specifically validates and explains how and why eugenics works, then it doesn’t in any way steer people off of the eugenics path.

  • Kirk

    Think about it, in many ways capitalism and natural selection are very similar processes. The objective in both is to develop the strongest, most adept thing (company or species) through means of reactions to circumstance. Adaptive companies in capitalism are the strongest and mirror the adaptive animal in natural selection. Competition breeds growth under both frameworks as it kills of the weak and leaves only the strongest, which is ultimately what you’re seeking.

  • Kirk

    Think about it, in many ways capitalism and natural selection are very similar processes. The objective in both is to develop the strongest, most adept thing (company or species) through means of reactions to circumstance. Adaptive companies in capitalism are the strongest and mirror the adaptive animal in natural selection. Competition breeds growth under both frameworks as it kills of the weak and leaves only the strongest, which is ultimately what you’re seeking.

  • Kirk

    Continuing with this theme, you could, I think, make a very strong evolutionary case against eugenics, much in the same way that you can make a capitalistic argument against controlled markets. Essentially, eugenics relies on humans, and not naturally adaptive method of selection. It entails a human making a judgment on which traits are desirable for the betterment of this species (naturally, his own traits) and deciding who may or may not reproduce based on that. Eugenics fails to take into account natural factors that humans may not perceive. For example a higher rate of illness A in people that are blond haired and blue eyed, or a strong physical characteristic that race b might have. Naturally, the strongest will endure, so there’s really no reason to take a hand in it. Let things happen and the strongest, most capable version of the species will result.

    Just because many eugenicists used evolution as an argument for eugenics doesn’t mean their line of thinking was correct or consistent. So what if evolution did make eugenics seem appealing? It doesn’t discount evolution in any way.

  • Kirk

    Continuing with this theme, you could, I think, make a very strong evolutionary case against eugenics, much in the same way that you can make a capitalistic argument against controlled markets. Essentially, eugenics relies on humans, and not naturally adaptive method of selection. It entails a human making a judgment on which traits are desirable for the betterment of this species (naturally, his own traits) and deciding who may or may not reproduce based on that. Eugenics fails to take into account natural factors that humans may not perceive. For example a higher rate of illness A in people that are blond haired and blue eyed, or a strong physical characteristic that race b might have. Naturally, the strongest will endure, so there’s really no reason to take a hand in it. Let things happen and the strongest, most capable version of the species will result.

    Just because many eugenicists used evolution as an argument for eugenics doesn’t mean their line of thinking was correct or consistent. So what if evolution did make eugenics seem appealing? It doesn’t discount evolution in any way.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Adaptive companies in capitalism are the strongest and mirror the adaptive animal in natural selection.”

    Okay, but what makes them stronger? I get the analogy, but what if a company is made stronger by lowering its labor costs by hiring cheaper labor?

    “Competition breeds growth under both frameworks as it kills of the weak and leaves only the strongest, which is ultimately what you’re seeking.”

    So, do strong companies depend on a few at the top making a ton of money and a zillion at the bottom making jack? I mean that sounds like two incompatible structures. If you have tons of competent people and few at the bottom, how can a company get strong? They need the weak workers to exploit.

    Am I missing something?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Adaptive companies in capitalism are the strongest and mirror the adaptive animal in natural selection.”

    Okay, but what makes them stronger? I get the analogy, but what if a company is made stronger by lowering its labor costs by hiring cheaper labor?

    “Competition breeds growth under both frameworks as it kills of the weak and leaves only the strongest, which is ultimately what you’re seeking.”

    So, do strong companies depend on a few at the top making a ton of money and a zillion at the bottom making jack? I mean that sounds like two incompatible structures. If you have tons of competent people and few at the bottom, how can a company get strong? They need the weak workers to exploit.

    Am I missing something?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Let things happen and the strongest, most capable version of the species will result.”

    What if natural selection renders more lazy, stupid and violent people because there is nothing in a civilized society to keep them from having kids and nothing to keep the kids from dying because those traits will not cause them to die before they can reproduce?

    Just asking!!!! Not promoting!!!!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Let things happen and the strongest, most capable version of the species will result.”

    What if natural selection renders more lazy, stupid and violent people because there is nothing in a civilized society to keep them from having kids and nothing to keep the kids from dying because those traits will not cause them to die before they can reproduce?

    Just asking!!!! Not promoting!!!!

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 36: You made quite a leap from your comment @ 32 to your comment @ 36. A fair enough point @ 36 that pure capitalism bears resemblance to natural selection, though pure capitalism doesn’t kill another living being, but rather only an uncompetitive business. So your analogy only goes so far. Moreover, we are a very long way from pure capitalism, and no one, other than a few fringe libertarians and anarchists is arguing for pure, entirely unfettered capitalism.

    But your original comment, @ 32, says “It could as easily be argued that capitalism is just as complicit [as evolutionary theory] in spreading eugenics and similar values. Perhaps even more easily.”

    Um, how so? Capitalism has NOTHING to do with eugenics. Eugenics requires the intervention of the powerful to deliberately determine who they think the weak are, and then to deliberately exterminate them. That is totalitarianism, not capitalism. I’m guessing you realized how ridiculous that was, so walked it back and restated it in 36.

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 36: You made quite a leap from your comment @ 32 to your comment @ 36. A fair enough point @ 36 that pure capitalism bears resemblance to natural selection, though pure capitalism doesn’t kill another living being, but rather only an uncompetitive business. So your analogy only goes so far. Moreover, we are a very long way from pure capitalism, and no one, other than a few fringe libertarians and anarchists is arguing for pure, entirely unfettered capitalism.

    But your original comment, @ 32, says “It could as easily be argued that capitalism is just as complicit [as evolutionary theory] in spreading eugenics and similar values. Perhaps even more easily.”

    Um, how so? Capitalism has NOTHING to do with eugenics. Eugenics requires the intervention of the powerful to deliberately determine who they think the weak are, and then to deliberately exterminate them. That is totalitarianism, not capitalism. I’m guessing you realized how ridiculous that was, so walked it back and restated it in 36.

  • Joe

    Kirk – “Perhaps even more easily.” I really don’t think so. Evolution is a theory of how the human race advances over time and eugenics is mankind’s attempt to steer that process toward its ideas of what is advancement. I really don’t see how you can draw a closer coloration between this and an economic system. I will grant you that an analogy can be made, but reasoning that rests on analogy alone is barely reasoning.

  • Joe

    Kirk – “Perhaps even more easily.” I really don’t think so. Evolution is a theory of how the human race advances over time and eugenics is mankind’s attempt to steer that process toward its ideas of what is advancement. I really don’t see how you can draw a closer coloration between this and an economic system. I will grant you that an analogy can be made, but reasoning that rests on analogy alone is barely reasoning.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Evolution is a theory of how the human race advances over time…”

    Not trying to be a jerk, but evolution with respect to humans explains how the human race adapted to survive.

    It explains adaption which doesn’t necessarily require change or advancement. Think sharks and alligators. Fossils show they are very much the same as they have always been, no need for much change or adaption.

    Different environments select for different traits. Those without those traits either die before they can reproduce or can’t mate.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Evolution is a theory of how the human race advances over time…”

    Not trying to be a jerk, but evolution with respect to humans explains how the human race adapted to survive.

    It explains adaption which doesn’t necessarily require change or advancement. Think sharks and alligators. Fossils show they are very much the same as they have always been, no need for much change or adaption.

    Different environments select for different traits. Those without those traits either die before they can reproduce or can’t mate.

  • Kirk

    @DonS, so you’re saying that an economic framework has absolutely zero societal influence? Maybe I am approaching the issue backwards, though. Perhaps it’s not the principles of capitalism that should be linked to eugenics, but the same aspects of human nature that make capitalism appealing would also make eugenics appealing. Fare enough, these impulses are applied on different planes but they’re still both governed, ultimately, by the strong being valued over the weak.

  • Kirk

    @DonS, so you’re saying that an economic framework has absolutely zero societal influence? Maybe I am approaching the issue backwards, though. Perhaps it’s not the principles of capitalism that should be linked to eugenics, but the same aspects of human nature that make capitalism appealing would also make eugenics appealing. Fare enough, these impulses are applied on different planes but they’re still both governed, ultimately, by the strong being valued over the weak.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Perhaps it’s not the principles of capitalism that should be linked to eugenics, but the same aspects of human nature that make capitalism appealing would also make eugenics appealing.”

    The principle of capitalism is efficient delivery of the best product at the best price to be determined by competition.

    The principle of eugenics is to have the healthiest people/animals/plants.

    The principles seem okay.

    It is the methods used in the misguided service of those goals that have been evil. I am guessing that is because people have been involved in these ventures.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Perhaps it’s not the principles of capitalism that should be linked to eugenics, but the same aspects of human nature that make capitalism appealing would also make eugenics appealing.”

    The principle of capitalism is efficient delivery of the best product at the best price to be determined by competition.

    The principle of eugenics is to have the healthiest people/animals/plants.

    The principles seem okay.

    It is the methods used in the misguided service of those goals that have been evil. I am guessing that is because people have been involved in these ventures.

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 43, you’ve got a mess on your hands. I already pointed out the discrepancy between what you said @ 32 and what you said @ 36, though I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you had realized that your comment @ 32 was nonsense, and were walking it back to something a bit more reasonable @ 36. You continued that walk back @ 37 (which I did not read prior to my post @ 40), by saying that “Essentially, eugenics relies on humans, and not naturally adaptive method of selection. It entails a human making a judgment on which traits are desirable for the betterment of this species (naturally, his own traits) and deciding who may or may not reproduce based on that. Eugenics fails to take into account natural factors that humans may not perceive.” This, of course, is a good point that further repudiates your comment @ 32 by recognizing that eugenics involves a deliberate value judgment made by the powerful against the powerless, while natural selection (and by extension, your analogy to capitalism @ 36) relies on competitive processes to sort out the weak from the strong.

    But now @ 43 you are back full circle to linking capitalism to eugenics. Since you have already distinguised natural selection from eugenics, which is it? 32 or 36? Once you clarify your point, I’ll attempt to clarify mine.

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 43, you’ve got a mess on your hands. I already pointed out the discrepancy between what you said @ 32 and what you said @ 36, though I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you had realized that your comment @ 32 was nonsense, and were walking it back to something a bit more reasonable @ 36. You continued that walk back @ 37 (which I did not read prior to my post @ 40), by saying that “Essentially, eugenics relies on humans, and not naturally adaptive method of selection. It entails a human making a judgment on which traits are desirable for the betterment of this species (naturally, his own traits) and deciding who may or may not reproduce based on that. Eugenics fails to take into account natural factors that humans may not perceive.” This, of course, is a good point that further repudiates your comment @ 32 by recognizing that eugenics involves a deliberate value judgment made by the powerful against the powerless, while natural selection (and by extension, your analogy to capitalism @ 36) relies on competitive processes to sort out the weak from the strong.

    But now @ 43 you are back full circle to linking capitalism to eugenics. Since you have already distinguised natural selection from eugenics, which is it? 32 or 36? Once you clarify your point, I’ll attempt to clarify mine.

  • WebMonk

    sg 33 and 35, nonetheless, Darwin put forward a very solid case based on his fairly recently published theory of evolution that the people of the world are all of a single race, regardless of observed differences in skin color, height, facial structure, and things like that. It was based on the far more striking similarities which existed even between black-skinned pygmies in the depths of Africa with differently shaped noses, and the 19th century Europeans.

    sg 35,
    “If evolutionary theory establishes a scientific framework that very specifically validates and explains how and why eugenics works, then it doesn’t in any way steer people off of the eugenics path.”

    Evolution can explain how eugenics might affect a population. Quantum mechanics can explain how we can’t know everything about a system.

    Evolution doesn’t “support” eugenics any more than QM “supports” moral relativity. The statement that evolution can “validate” eugenics is a disconnected statement – evolution describes how populations change over time, it doesn’t make any statement about whether eugenics is right or wrong, there’s nothing to “validate” or “invalidate” eugenics.

    What evolution, along with other scientific areas, can provide a way to predict what will happen if a eugenics program were instituted. (it would have bad results according to most theories based on evolution and genetics) That’s a completely different thing than “validating” eugenics.

  • WebMonk

    sg 33 and 35, nonetheless, Darwin put forward a very solid case based on his fairly recently published theory of evolution that the people of the world are all of a single race, regardless of observed differences in skin color, height, facial structure, and things like that. It was based on the far more striking similarities which existed even between black-skinned pygmies in the depths of Africa with differently shaped noses, and the 19th century Europeans.

    sg 35,
    “If evolutionary theory establishes a scientific framework that very specifically validates and explains how and why eugenics works, then it doesn’t in any way steer people off of the eugenics path.”

    Evolution can explain how eugenics might affect a population. Quantum mechanics can explain how we can’t know everything about a system.

    Evolution doesn’t “support” eugenics any more than QM “supports” moral relativity. The statement that evolution can “validate” eugenics is a disconnected statement – evolution describes how populations change over time, it doesn’t make any statement about whether eugenics is right or wrong, there’s nothing to “validate” or “invalidate” eugenics.

    What evolution, along with other scientific areas, can provide a way to predict what will happen if a eugenics program were instituted. (it would have bad results according to most theories based on evolution and genetics) That’s a completely different thing than “validating” eugenics.

  • Kirk

    @Don,

    Fair enough, it was an ill-made point to illustrate the failings of guilt by association. I’ll give it to you.

  • Kirk

    @Don,

    Fair enough, it was an ill-made point to illustrate the failings of guilt by association. I’ll give it to you.

  • River

    Don @15: Just to nitpick a little bit: While Sanger was a supporter of the eugenical programs and politics of her time, I understand that, conversely, the eugenicists never wanted their work associated with hers. This is because true eugenics seeks the destruction of all but “superior whites,” while encouraging “superior white” couples to have as many children as possible, thus trumping the “mistakes” conceived by the brown races and the imbecile whites. Margaret Sanger was not a true eugenicist, as she wanted to limit or abolish children even among the “superior white” race. She was … what’s a good term? … a human annihilationist? Her motivations were more feminist than those of eugenicists.

    I would argue that those who love life fight two different human derangements: the dangerous vanity of the eugenicist, and the dangerous self-loathing of the human annihilationist.

  • River

    Don @15: Just to nitpick a little bit: While Sanger was a supporter of the eugenical programs and politics of her time, I understand that, conversely, the eugenicists never wanted their work associated with hers. This is because true eugenics seeks the destruction of all but “superior whites,” while encouraging “superior white” couples to have as many children as possible, thus trumping the “mistakes” conceived by the brown races and the imbecile whites. Margaret Sanger was not a true eugenicist, as she wanted to limit or abolish children even among the “superior white” race. She was … what’s a good term? … a human annihilationist? Her motivations were more feminist than those of eugenicists.

    I would argue that those who love life fight two different human derangements: the dangerous vanity of the eugenicist, and the dangerous self-loathing of the human annihilationist.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What evolution, along with other scientific areas, can provide a way to predict what will happen if a eugenics program were instituted. (it would have bad results according to most theories based on evolution and genetics) That’s a completely different thing than “validating” eugenics.”

    Some orthodox Jews use matchmakers who know whether or not they are carriers of Tay Sachs so they won’t end up with an incompatible spouse and won’t be known as a carrier. This is important because they don’t want to get a divorce or abort their children. Such an arrangement is sort of like eugenics. It is voluntary, a service they pay for. There is growing interest in genetic informed medicine where people know and can use their own information to their own benefit and that of their children and relatives. It seems to be responsible and helpful while at once being artificial and circumventing the natural method of selection, death.

    The evil methods involve forcing people to comply with someone else’s ideals.

    Still, I haven’t seen anything based on genetics that supports the idea that preventing people from inheriting specific defects would be worse than natural selection. Have you? In fact most people who have a child with an inherited condition get genetic counseling etc. Often it affects their decision whether to have more children.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What evolution, along with other scientific areas, can provide a way to predict what will happen if a eugenics program were instituted. (it would have bad results according to most theories based on evolution and genetics) That’s a completely different thing than “validating” eugenics.”

    Some orthodox Jews use matchmakers who know whether or not they are carriers of Tay Sachs so they won’t end up with an incompatible spouse and won’t be known as a carrier. This is important because they don’t want to get a divorce or abort their children. Such an arrangement is sort of like eugenics. It is voluntary, a service they pay for. There is growing interest in genetic informed medicine where people know and can use their own information to their own benefit and that of their children and relatives. It seems to be responsible and helpful while at once being artificial and circumventing the natural method of selection, death.

    The evil methods involve forcing people to comply with someone else’s ideals.

    Still, I haven’t seen anything based on genetics that supports the idea that preventing people from inheriting specific defects would be worse than natural selection. Have you? In fact most people who have a child with an inherited condition get genetic counseling etc. Often it affects their decision whether to have more children.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Evolution is a theory of how the human race advances over time…”

    I have to come back to this statement. This seems a kind of romantic view really. Basically evolution does not select for the best. It just selects for the minimum threshold for survival. In many environments so many can survive that they will eventually starve and the meanest and toughest will survive. In other environments, maybe heat or cold tolerance is needed etc. In each case, it is a threshold effect is in play as it the ability to attract a mate. If the threshold is pretty low, things can proceed unabated until a big problem (war/drought) comes along. Doesn’t sound like the kind of natural cycle anyone would much relish.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Evolution is a theory of how the human race advances over time…”

    I have to come back to this statement. This seems a kind of romantic view really. Basically evolution does not select for the best. It just selects for the minimum threshold for survival. In many environments so many can survive that they will eventually starve and the meanest and toughest will survive. In other environments, maybe heat or cold tolerance is needed etc. In each case, it is a threshold effect is in play as it the ability to attract a mate. If the threshold is pretty low, things can proceed unabated until a big problem (war/drought) comes along. Doesn’t sound like the kind of natural cycle anyone would much relish.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/ Louis

    Galton originally introuduced the word “eugenics” as follows:

    “The investigation of human eugenics, that is, of the conditions under which men of a high type are produced.” [Galton, "Human Faculty," 1883]

    The question, though, is what is meant by “high type”. For the Nazi’s, it meant people of Aryan race, and physical perfection (which begs the question of why Hitler liked Goebels) For others, ir meant the elimination of the “great unwashed”.

    What the news item above (remember that?) illustrates, however, was that for the US government of the time, or certain government officials at least, though they did not go to the lengths of trying to expunge certain races and ethnicities from the earth, they certainly viewed certain groups as below par, worthy of experiment fodder. Thus is not unlike the Nazi’s view of the Slavic races – people good for use. This is not eugenics, but it certainly is ethnocentrist. Similarly, the experiments carried out on the French villagers indicate that the view was that these people were less worthy (“mere peasant stock” maybe), and thus experimenting would not be wrong, although they were viewed as higher up the hierarchy than the Guatemalans, thus no potentially deadly bacteria.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/ Louis

    Galton originally introuduced the word “eugenics” as follows:

    “The investigation of human eugenics, that is, of the conditions under which men of a high type are produced.” [Galton, "Human Faculty," 1883]

    The question, though, is what is meant by “high type”. For the Nazi’s, it meant people of Aryan race, and physical perfection (which begs the question of why Hitler liked Goebels) For others, ir meant the elimination of the “great unwashed”.

    What the news item above (remember that?) illustrates, however, was that for the US government of the time, or certain government officials at least, though they did not go to the lengths of trying to expunge certain races and ethnicities from the earth, they certainly viewed certain groups as below par, worthy of experiment fodder. Thus is not unlike the Nazi’s view of the Slavic races – people good for use. This is not eugenics, but it certainly is ethnocentrist. Similarly, the experiments carried out on the French villagers indicate that the view was that these people were less worthy (“mere peasant stock” maybe), and thus experimenting would not be wrong, although they were viewed as higher up the hierarchy than the Guatemalans, thus no potentially deadly bacteria.

  • WebMonk

    sg 49, I have lost your point.

    In 33 and 35, you seemed to be saying evolution is evil because it “validates” eugenics. In 46, I said evolution doesn’t “validate” eugenics at all.

    So, in 49 you write that people are using genetics (which is a different field from evolution) to avoid marrying people who will likely have a child with Tay-Sachs. You wrote that as if it somehow proved that my statement in 46 was false. If so, I’ve totally missed how.

    Are you saying genetics “validates” that practice? Would you say having a hammer “validates” making a house?

  • WebMonk

    sg 49, I have lost your point.

    In 33 and 35, you seemed to be saying evolution is evil because it “validates” eugenics. In 46, I said evolution doesn’t “validate” eugenics at all.

    So, in 49 you write that people are using genetics (which is a different field from evolution) to avoid marrying people who will likely have a child with Tay-Sachs. You wrote that as if it somehow proved that my statement in 46 was false. If so, I’ve totally missed how.

    Are you saying genetics “validates” that practice? Would you say having a hammer “validates” making a house?

  • –helen

    “Wow, I don’t really think I vilify the poor.I think they are incompetent to function in society. I also agree that every class of people and every person both contributes to and detracts from society and their own well being.” –sg @20

    “Okay, but what makes them stronger? I get the analogy, but what if a company is made stronger by lowering its labor costs by hiring cheaper labor?” –sg @38

    Then you get more poor people “who are incompetent to function in society”! If you send their jobs overseas, you make them poor faster.
    If you look the other way while illegals are brought in to depress wages further, it’s great for the “elite” (You’ve got cheap maids and yard workers and larger profits on your investments.) but bad for the ordinary citizens. And finally if you rob anyone who has got a dollar left by blowing up the housing market, and rebuilding the banks out of 0% interest on the savers’ CD’s, just about all the money has gotten back to the top.

    GI Joe’s grand kids are as well off as he was in the late 30′s.

    Maybe you’re right. The “poor” aren’t competent to function in that version of “society”! God help us!

  • –helen

    “Wow, I don’t really think I vilify the poor.I think they are incompetent to function in society. I also agree that every class of people and every person both contributes to and detracts from society and their own well being.” –sg @20

    “Okay, but what makes them stronger? I get the analogy, but what if a company is made stronger by lowering its labor costs by hiring cheaper labor?” –sg @38

    Then you get more poor people “who are incompetent to function in society”! If you send their jobs overseas, you make them poor faster.
    If you look the other way while illegals are brought in to depress wages further, it’s great for the “elite” (You’ve got cheap maids and yard workers and larger profits on your investments.) but bad for the ordinary citizens. And finally if you rob anyone who has got a dollar left by blowing up the housing market, and rebuilding the banks out of 0% interest on the savers’ CD’s, just about all the money has gotten back to the top.

    GI Joe’s grand kids are as well off as he was in the late 30′s.

    Maybe you’re right. The “poor” aren’t competent to function in that version of “society”! God help us!

  • –helen

    Oh, yes, on the subject: I knew a couple of “sceptics” (officers in the Skeptics Society on campus) who thought that medical experiments should be conducted in the islands of the south seas, “because those people’s lives weren’t good for anything else anyway”. The disease of thinking someone different is an animal is endemic, it seems.
    [Animals have PETA, which is more successful than our anti abortion, anti euthanasia groups.]

  • –helen

    Oh, yes, on the subject: I knew a couple of “sceptics” (officers in the Skeptics Society on campus) who thought that medical experiments should be conducted in the islands of the south seas, “because those people’s lives weren’t good for anything else anyway”. The disease of thinking someone different is an animal is endemic, it seems.
    [Animals have PETA, which is more successful than our anti abortion, anti euthanasia groups.]

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I don’t really think I vilify the poor.” Oh?

    “I think they are incompetent to function in society.” Hmm.

    Honestly, I don’t think that is vilifying. I don’t consider incompetent folks to be villains. Perfectly nice people can be incompetent. I actually have a few friends like that. They can’t hold a job for long, etc. I try to help them. I gave one a car. Her problems were the result of poor choices. She was incompetent. She couldn’t get hired full time because she wasn’t a good enough employee.
    Do you really think that is vilifying? Do you think employers are rejecting good employees in favor of incompetent folks? I really don’t think that is true.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I don’t really think I vilify the poor.” Oh?

    “I think they are incompetent to function in society.” Hmm.

    Honestly, I don’t think that is vilifying. I don’t consider incompetent folks to be villains. Perfectly nice people can be incompetent. I actually have a few friends like that. They can’t hold a job for long, etc. I try to help them. I gave one a car. Her problems were the result of poor choices. She was incompetent. She couldn’t get hired full time because she wasn’t a good enough employee.
    Do you really think that is vilifying? Do you think employers are rejecting good employees in favor of incompetent folks? I really don’t think that is true.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    WebMonk,

    Evolution is just a theory. How can it be evil? People with evil motives have used evolution (and everything else) to push their ideas, methods etc. The point is just that evolution does not undermine eugenics. The ideas of natural and artificial selection are similar but use different means to select for traits. I don’t see it as that much different from groups that discourage folks marrying outside their ethnic group like high caste Indians, or Japanese etc. with the big difference being the population control agenda of folks like Sanger who wanted women to have fewer kids and certain women to have practically none. Evolution doesn’t contradict her vision.

    The one side point on races is the time frame of evolution/selection would mean that there would be more variation based on selection with the longer evolution time frame than from the shorter starting from the flood time frame. So, evolution would allow for greater differences than starting with eight people after the flood.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    WebMonk,

    Evolution is just a theory. How can it be evil? People with evil motives have used evolution (and everything else) to push their ideas, methods etc. The point is just that evolution does not undermine eugenics. The ideas of natural and artificial selection are similar but use different means to select for traits. I don’t see it as that much different from groups that discourage folks marrying outside their ethnic group like high caste Indians, or Japanese etc. with the big difference being the population control agenda of folks like Sanger who wanted women to have fewer kids and certain women to have practically none. Evolution doesn’t contradict her vision.

    The one side point on races is the time frame of evolution/selection would mean that there would be more variation based on selection with the longer evolution time frame than from the shorter starting from the flood time frame. So, evolution would allow for greater differences than starting with eight people after the flood.

  • –helen

    sg : I think you are wrong to equate “poor” with “incompetence”.

    The auto worker who made $60K and more, until they moved the factory to Mexico, was not incompetent! There are millions like him in the country right now, down and out through no lack of effort on their part.
    Plenty of people keep “society” running by working at lower wage jobs they are very good at. [Maybe we have a different understanding of "competence". ]

    Oh, I do know one person like your friend! She decided she was too good for the jobs available to a high school graduate and she chose to milk the welfare system and the church’s “discretionary fund”. [And me, too, till I figured it out.]
    She gives “poor” a bad name, but I don’t consider her representative of the lower income people I know.

  • –helen

    sg : I think you are wrong to equate “poor” with “incompetence”.

    The auto worker who made $60K and more, until they moved the factory to Mexico, was not incompetent! There are millions like him in the country right now, down and out through no lack of effort on their part.
    Plenty of people keep “society” running by working at lower wage jobs they are very good at. [Maybe we have a different understanding of "competence". ]

    Oh, I do know one person like your friend! She decided she was too good for the jobs available to a high school graduate and she chose to milk the welfare system and the church’s “discretionary fund”. [And me, too, till I figured it out.]
    She gives “poor” a bad name, but I don’t consider her representative of the lower income people I know.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t really think I vilify the poor. I think they are incompetent to function in society. (@20)

    Honestly, I don’t think that is vilifying. I don’t consider incompetent folks to be villains. (@55)

    Well, at least part of your problem is you’re using false etymologies. This is, of course, a semantic debate, but since you’re interested, here’s Merriam-Webster on the matter:

    vil·i·fy vt ˈvi-lə-ˌfī

    1: to lower in estimation or importance
    2: to utter slanderous and abusive statements against : defame

    Middle English vilifien, from Late Latin vilificare, from Latin vilis cheap, vile

    The word has nothing to do with “villains”. So that’s the semantics side of it.

    You’re still apparently making the claim that the poor are only poor because of choices they make, though. That wealth is some sort of value indicator, at least in term of “competence”.

    I’m not sure how, exactly, you’ve missed the copious amount of evidence that corporate CEOs are frequently incompetent people. How many stories have I read about a CEO that was brought on and completely failed to turn a company around, yet ended up leaving all the richer for it? What did competence have to do with wealth in those situations?

    And what good “choices” did I make, exactly, to be born in America, where there are jobs and capitalism and money? What choices did I make to be born to middle-class parents, who would care for me, make sure I got a good education, and could afford to send me to college? All those things and many more contribute to the fact that I am not poor, but they weren’t my choices. Yes, I made some choices, but not the foundational ones.

    But do you hold the poor “in low estimation”? Seems pretty obvious you do, SG.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t really think I vilify the poor. I think they are incompetent to function in society. (@20)

    Honestly, I don’t think that is vilifying. I don’t consider incompetent folks to be villains. (@55)

    Well, at least part of your problem is you’re using false etymologies. This is, of course, a semantic debate, but since you’re interested, here’s Merriam-Webster on the matter:

    vil·i·fy vt ˈvi-lə-ˌfī

    1: to lower in estimation or importance
    2: to utter slanderous and abusive statements against : defame

    Middle English vilifien, from Late Latin vilificare, from Latin vilis cheap, vile

    The word has nothing to do with “villains”. So that’s the semantics side of it.

    You’re still apparently making the claim that the poor are only poor because of choices they make, though. That wealth is some sort of value indicator, at least in term of “competence”.

    I’m not sure how, exactly, you’ve missed the copious amount of evidence that corporate CEOs are frequently incompetent people. How many stories have I read about a CEO that was brought on and completely failed to turn a company around, yet ended up leaving all the richer for it? What did competence have to do with wealth in those situations?

    And what good “choices” did I make, exactly, to be born in America, where there are jobs and capitalism and money? What choices did I make to be born to middle-class parents, who would care for me, make sure I got a good education, and could afford to send me to college? All those things and many more contribute to the fact that I am not poor, but they weren’t my choices. Yes, I made some choices, but not the foundational ones.

    But do you hold the poor “in low estimation”? Seems pretty obvious you do, SG.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “And what good “choices” did I make, exactly, to be born in America, where there are jobs and capitalism and money? What choices did I make to be born to middle-class parents, who would care for me, make sure I got a good education, and could afford to send me to college? All those things and many more contribute to the fact that I am not poor, but they weren’t my choices. Yes, I made some choices, but not the foundational ones.”

    Okay, fine. However, lots of people are born in the US which by definition means they get a free and reasonably good education. All they have to do is show up and try. It worked for plenty of really poor kids in the past. It works now. It doesn’t work if the individual can’t benefit from education. In which case, he will likely stay relatively poor due to the lack of education.

    Sure, some CEO’s aren’t the greatest, but they managed to do whatever was necessary to get through school and maintain connections yada yada. By far most CEO’s are not incompetent. There is just too much competition for those jobs. Even if they aren’t good CEO’s, they are competent enough to hold some job, which is why they do. I mean, on what objective measure would the average poor guy be more competent than the average CEO?

    “But do you hold the poor “in low estimation”? Seems pretty obvious you do, SG.”

    I think I have a reasonable view based on facts. I don’t think we should promote abortions for the poor as a way to remedy their situation. I don’t think we should abuse the poor. However, there is no real way that I know of for people of pretty limited ability to be highly productive and thereby earn more money.

    Don’t get me wrong. In plenty of cases the working poor create at least some value, whereas many top income earners just transfer value created by others to themselves. I am not defending the well connected just because they are well connected. I made that point in reference to those who enriched themselves supplying mortgages to those who could not repay them. I would argue that folks who think they “earn” $50 million a year are making a dubious claim. More like they were clever enough to transfer that much value to themselves. That is a form of competence albeit not an admirable one.

    Finally, I would say the greatest hardship the poor endure is the public school system, not because the academics or teachers are inadequate because they aren’t, but because they are not Christian. I think every child would be better off in a Christian school learning right from wrong and that God loves and values him. That won’t make him smarter or more or less competent, but it will let him learn there is something far more important than success in this life measured by ultimately futile human standards.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “And what good “choices” did I make, exactly, to be born in America, where there are jobs and capitalism and money? What choices did I make to be born to middle-class parents, who would care for me, make sure I got a good education, and could afford to send me to college? All those things and many more contribute to the fact that I am not poor, but they weren’t my choices. Yes, I made some choices, but not the foundational ones.”

    Okay, fine. However, lots of people are born in the US which by definition means they get a free and reasonably good education. All they have to do is show up and try. It worked for plenty of really poor kids in the past. It works now. It doesn’t work if the individual can’t benefit from education. In which case, he will likely stay relatively poor due to the lack of education.

    Sure, some CEO’s aren’t the greatest, but they managed to do whatever was necessary to get through school and maintain connections yada yada. By far most CEO’s are not incompetent. There is just too much competition for those jobs. Even if they aren’t good CEO’s, they are competent enough to hold some job, which is why they do. I mean, on what objective measure would the average poor guy be more competent than the average CEO?

    “But do you hold the poor “in low estimation”? Seems pretty obvious you do, SG.”

    I think I have a reasonable view based on facts. I don’t think we should promote abortions for the poor as a way to remedy their situation. I don’t think we should abuse the poor. However, there is no real way that I know of for people of pretty limited ability to be highly productive and thereby earn more money.

    Don’t get me wrong. In plenty of cases the working poor create at least some value, whereas many top income earners just transfer value created by others to themselves. I am not defending the well connected just because they are well connected. I made that point in reference to those who enriched themselves supplying mortgages to those who could not repay them. I would argue that folks who think they “earn” $50 million a year are making a dubious claim. More like they were clever enough to transfer that much value to themselves. That is a form of competence albeit not an admirable one.

    Finally, I would say the greatest hardship the poor endure is the public school system, not because the academics or teachers are inadequate because they aren’t, but because they are not Christian. I think every child would be better off in a Christian school learning right from wrong and that God loves and values him. That won’t make him smarter or more or less competent, but it will let him learn there is something far more important than success in this life measured by ultimately futile human standards.

  • Tom Hering

    Generally speaking, an individual’s success in life corelates most closely with his or her parent’s social status. There are always the rags-to-riches exceptions, of course. But their success is (from their own testimony) as much a matter of luck as it is of good choices and hard work. Sometimes more luck than anything.

  • Tom Hering

    Generally speaking, an individual’s success in life corelates most closely with his or her parent’s social status. There are always the rags-to-riches exceptions, of course. But their success is (from their own testimony) as much a matter of luck as it is of good choices and hard work. Sometimes more luck than anything.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 60: That’s “old world” thinking. Yes, maybe in a majority of cases, the children tend to track to their parent’s status. But in many of those cases, it’s because their parents did (are doing) pretty well, and they are fine with tracking with them. In the U.S., the “rags-to-riches exceptions”, as you call them, are more than exceptions, they aggregate to a sizable number. This is especially true nowadays, when the information age allows one to establish a business with very low overhead. There is a whole generation of success stories in the Silicon Valley, freshly minted millionaires and billionaires who did not come from particularly wealthy homes. And there are a substantial number of folks from poor families who run successful businesses today. Check out the new immigrant community (first or second generation immigrants) to really see this principle in practice. Immigrants still believe in the unprecedented opportunities afforded by our historic free market economy.

    Good choices and hard work still give rise to opportunity. It is most often those who disdain this principle, and assume it’s all based on luck, who don’t rise above. That’s why I hate it so much when our selfish political class exploits the poor and seeks to keep them as government dependents, pitting them against their fellow citizens with their class warfare garbage, just so they will be reliable votes.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 60: That’s “old world” thinking. Yes, maybe in a majority of cases, the children tend to track to their parent’s status. But in many of those cases, it’s because their parents did (are doing) pretty well, and they are fine with tracking with them. In the U.S., the “rags-to-riches exceptions”, as you call them, are more than exceptions, they aggregate to a sizable number. This is especially true nowadays, when the information age allows one to establish a business with very low overhead. There is a whole generation of success stories in the Silicon Valley, freshly minted millionaires and billionaires who did not come from particularly wealthy homes. And there are a substantial number of folks from poor families who run successful businesses today. Check out the new immigrant community (first or second generation immigrants) to really see this principle in practice. Immigrants still believe in the unprecedented opportunities afforded by our historic free market economy.

    Good choices and hard work still give rise to opportunity. It is most often those who disdain this principle, and assume it’s all based on luck, who don’t rise above. That’s why I hate it so much when our selfish political class exploits the poor and seeks to keep them as government dependents, pitting them against their fellow citizens with their class warfare garbage, just so they will be reliable votes.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    WRT villain, I looked it up.

    villain
    c.1300, “base or low-born rustic,” from Anglo-Fr. and O.Fr. villain, from M.L. villanus “farmhand,” from L. villa “country house” (see villa).
    The most important phases of the sense development of this word may be summed up as follows: ‘inhabitant of a farm; peasant; churl, boor; clown; miser; knave, scoundrel.’ Today both Fr. vilain and Eng. villain are used only in a pejorative sense. [Klein]

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=villain

    So, FWIW, I don’t think I try portray people as lower than they actually are.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    WRT villain, I looked it up.

    villain
    c.1300, “base or low-born rustic,” from Anglo-Fr. and O.Fr. villain, from M.L. villanus “farmhand,” from L. villa “country house” (see villa).
    The most important phases of the sense development of this word may be summed up as follows: ‘inhabitant of a farm; peasant; churl, boor; clown; miser; knave, scoundrel.’ Today both Fr. vilain and Eng. villain are used only in a pejorative sense. [Klein]

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=villain

    So, FWIW, I don’t think I try portray people as lower than they actually are.

  • Tom Hering

    DonS @ 61: Old World thinking? I think not. Inter- and Intra-Generational Mobility.

  • Tom Hering

    DonS @ 61: Old World thinking? I think not. Inter- and Intra-Generational Mobility.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Tom, you don’t really buy all that PC nonsense in that wiki article. Sure immigrants won’t be socializing with the Bushes and Kennedys but they will be socializing with their peers from work. We get together with a diverse group of folks for a weekly games group. The folks in the group are white, hispanic, Indian and Chinese. The kids are second generation Americans. My husband is the master at what is here called vocation. He reaches out like crazy. Their kids are in public schools and Christian schools. Americans are welcoming. This closed society stuff is bull. Well behaved folks from all over are welcomed here more than anywhere on the planet. Not just welcomed as a permanent underclass of wage slaves, but welcomed as equals and welcomed into homes as friends. Our family isn’t weird and the only welcoming home on the block. I am sure tODD is probably the same as are others including Tom, Bror etc. Who here discriminates against nice people? Who here wouldn’t hire a person who was different? It just isn’t true. We are not a bunch of haters.

    Now employers are looking for competent people of whatever background, so that is a factor. But there is not some structural racism/sexism keeping people down. It just isn’t true.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Tom, you don’t really buy all that PC nonsense in that wiki article. Sure immigrants won’t be socializing with the Bushes and Kennedys but they will be socializing with their peers from work. We get together with a diverse group of folks for a weekly games group. The folks in the group are white, hispanic, Indian and Chinese. The kids are second generation Americans. My husband is the master at what is here called vocation. He reaches out like crazy. Their kids are in public schools and Christian schools. Americans are welcoming. This closed society stuff is bull. Well behaved folks from all over are welcomed here more than anywhere on the planet. Not just welcomed as a permanent underclass of wage slaves, but welcomed as equals and welcomed into homes as friends. Our family isn’t weird and the only welcoming home on the block. I am sure tODD is probably the same as are others including Tom, Bror etc. Who here discriminates against nice people? Who here wouldn’t hire a person who was different? It just isn’t true. We are not a bunch of haters.

    Now employers are looking for competent people of whatever background, so that is a factor. But there is not some structural racism/sexism keeping people down. It just isn’t true.

  • Tom Hering

    “Tom, you don’t really buy all that PC nonsense in that wiki article.”

    Studies can be flawed, wrong, or deliberately manipulated. Yet I tend to take them seriously, giving them greater weight than anecdotes.

  • Tom Hering

    “Tom, you don’t really buy all that PC nonsense in that wiki article.”

    Studies can be flawed, wrong, or deliberately manipulated. Yet I tend to take them seriously, giving them greater weight than anecdotes.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Since 1990, whites have seen the smallest growth in income, with 10.2% ($40,100 to $44,226). Hispanics saw 16.6% ($28,671 to $33,447), Asians 12.4% ($49,369 to $55,521) and blacks saw the biggest increase with 26.9% ($23,979 to $30,439).

    Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-213, Money Income in the United States, 2000, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 2001.

    http://social.jrank.org/pages/738/People-Their-Money-Incomes-by-Race-Ethnicity.html#ixzz11XNCfy3B

    The data are a little old but they don’t lie. There is plenty of opportunity for everyone in America.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Since 1990, whites have seen the smallest growth in income, with 10.2% ($40,100 to $44,226). Hispanics saw 16.6% ($28,671 to $33,447), Asians 12.4% ($49,369 to $55,521) and blacks saw the biggest increase with 26.9% ($23,979 to $30,439).

    Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-213, Money Income in the United States, 2000, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 2001.

    http://social.jrank.org/pages/738/People-Their-Money-Incomes-by-Race-Ethnicity.html#ixzz11XNCfy3B

    The data are a little old but they don’t lie. There is plenty of opportunity for everyone in America.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Studies can be flawed, wrong, or deliberately manipulated. Yet I tend to take them seriously, giving them greater weight than anecdotes.”

    That is fair.

    It is also fair to consider data. Not interpreted and hidden, but the actual numbers. I have read studies and then flipped a couple of pages to read the numbers in the tables and indices at the end of the study only to find that in fact the numbers in no way supported the conclusions they stated.

    Plenty of this is just cleverly phrased bull. For example, I was reading a study that reached the conclusion that abortion doesn’t increase breast cancer risk. So all the usual media outlets used that study as some sort of proof to make pro life folks shut up or look stupid. However, when I read the the conclusion it said that was only the case after controlling for known risk factors, which to the uniformed reader sounds swell. So, what are the known risk factors? The biggest is the age at which a woman has her first child. The next is the number of full term pregnancies. Well, for folks who have read other studies, they already know that women who have ever had an abortion have on average fewer children and have them later than women who have never had an abortion. Abortion contributes directly to the known risk factors that were controlled out of the study. And that fact was not explained in the study. So, they didn’t fool anyone who actually knows what is going on. But they created a study that made headlines. Mission accomplished.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Studies can be flawed, wrong, or deliberately manipulated. Yet I tend to take them seriously, giving them greater weight than anecdotes.”

    That is fair.

    It is also fair to consider data. Not interpreted and hidden, but the actual numbers. I have read studies and then flipped a couple of pages to read the numbers in the tables and indices at the end of the study only to find that in fact the numbers in no way supported the conclusions they stated.

    Plenty of this is just cleverly phrased bull. For example, I was reading a study that reached the conclusion that abortion doesn’t increase breast cancer risk. So all the usual media outlets used that study as some sort of proof to make pro life folks shut up or look stupid. However, when I read the the conclusion it said that was only the case after controlling for known risk factors, which to the uniformed reader sounds swell. So, what are the known risk factors? The biggest is the age at which a woman has her first child. The next is the number of full term pregnancies. Well, for folks who have read other studies, they already know that women who have ever had an abortion have on average fewer children and have them later than women who have never had an abortion. Abortion contributes directly to the known risk factors that were controlled out of the study. And that fact was not explained in the study. So, they didn’t fool anyone who actually knows what is going on. But they created a study that made headlines. Mission accomplished.

  • Joanne

    A few years back, 2003, I read a book by Deborah Hayden, “Pox: genius, madness and the mysteries of syphilis.” I was fascinated by it. Ms. Hayden postulated that several well-known persons from history were strangely behaved because of infection with syphilis. All her subjects were taken before 1945 and the blessed deliverance that pennicillin brought. Ms. Hayden suggested that Mr. Lincoln might have had an infection that he passed along to Ms. Lincoln. His infection would be consistent with his conflicted emotions before marriage and with Ms. Lincoln’s slow descent into insanity after his death. Hitler is her best case study. It was in the way that she compared how syphilis destroyed the lives of known syphilitics to her perported subjects that was so telling. It’s popular history, and I do recommend the book as light reading. I believe I came to understand a family tragedy from understanding how people lived and died under the fatal pall of this evil disease.

    However, I simply can’t read about people living in a world with penicillin and feeling any kind of great dread for them, after coming to understand what went on before for hundreds of years (since Columbus returned from the New World). No matter how badly treated these people may have been, the cure is there waiting for the right thing to be done.

    Still, it’s like watching two monsters of the modern world devour each other. Huge institutions devouring institionalized people. One wonders about permission slips? “No, we do not give our permission for you to use poor Tia Josefina in your pennicillin study.” Update: ” For 20 pesos per injection, you may include our poor loca Tia Josefina in your very important pennicillin study as long as you only use clean needles.”

  • Joanne

    A few years back, 2003, I read a book by Deborah Hayden, “Pox: genius, madness and the mysteries of syphilis.” I was fascinated by it. Ms. Hayden postulated that several well-known persons from history were strangely behaved because of infection with syphilis. All her subjects were taken before 1945 and the blessed deliverance that pennicillin brought. Ms. Hayden suggested that Mr. Lincoln might have had an infection that he passed along to Ms. Lincoln. His infection would be consistent with his conflicted emotions before marriage and with Ms. Lincoln’s slow descent into insanity after his death. Hitler is her best case study. It was in the way that she compared how syphilis destroyed the lives of known syphilitics to her perported subjects that was so telling. It’s popular history, and I do recommend the book as light reading. I believe I came to understand a family tragedy from understanding how people lived and died under the fatal pall of this evil disease.

    However, I simply can’t read about people living in a world with penicillin and feeling any kind of great dread for them, after coming to understand what went on before for hundreds of years (since Columbus returned from the New World). No matter how badly treated these people may have been, the cure is there waiting for the right thing to be done.

    Still, it’s like watching two monsters of the modern world devour each other. Huge institutions devouring institionalized people. One wonders about permission slips? “No, we do not give our permission for you to use poor Tia Josefina in your pennicillin study.” Update: ” For 20 pesos per injection, you may include our poor loca Tia Josefina in your very important pennicillin study as long as you only use clean needles.”

  • Grace

    I remember several years ago, reading about the situation in Alabama. I was shocked by what I read. Here are several excerpt and LINK –

    EXCERPTS from article- New York Times –

    New York TImes

    By IAN URBINA
    Published: August 13, 2006August 13, 2006

    “In addition to addressing the abuses at Holmesburg, the regulations were a reaction to revelations in 1972 surrounding what the government called the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, which was begun in the 1930’s and lasted 40 years. In it, several hundred mostly illiterate men with syphilis in rural Alabama were left untreated, even after a cure was discovered, so that researchers could study the disease.”

    “What happened at Holmesburg was just as gruesome as Tuskegee, but at Holmesburg it happened smack dab in the middle of a major city, not in some backwoods in Alabama,” said Allen M. Hornblum, an urban studies professor at Temple University and the author of “Acres of Skin,” a 1998 book about the Holmesburg research. “It just goes to show how prisons are truly distinct institutions where the walls don’t just serve to keep inmates in, they also serve to keep public eyes out.”

    READ THE REST: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/13/us/13inmates.html

  • Grace

    I remember several years ago, reading about the situation in Alabama. I was shocked by what I read. Here are several excerpt and LINK –

    EXCERPTS from article- New York Times –

    New York TImes

    By IAN URBINA
    Published: August 13, 2006August 13, 2006

    “In addition to addressing the abuses at Holmesburg, the regulations were a reaction to revelations in 1972 surrounding what the government called the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, which was begun in the 1930’s and lasted 40 years. In it, several hundred mostly illiterate men with syphilis in rural Alabama were left untreated, even after a cure was discovered, so that researchers could study the disease.”

    “What happened at Holmesburg was just as gruesome as Tuskegee, but at Holmesburg it happened smack dab in the middle of a major city, not in some backwoods in Alabama,” said Allen M. Hornblum, an urban studies professor at Temple University and the author of “Acres of Skin,” a 1998 book about the Holmesburg research. “It just goes to show how prisons are truly distinct institutions where the walls don’t just serve to keep inmates in, they also serve to keep public eyes out.”

    READ THE REST: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/13/us/13inmates.html

  • DonS

    Tom @ 63: Huh? Did you consider that link a refutation of my point? Hardly. Take this single passage from the rather biased Wiki article you cited: “Recent researchers collecting data on the economic mobility of families across generations, looked at the probability of reaching a particular income distribution in regards to where their parents were ranked and found that 42 percent of those whose parents were in the bottom quintile ended up in the bottom quintile themselves, 23 percent of them ended in the second quintile, 19 percent in the middle quintile, 11 percent in the fourth quintile and 6 percent in the top quintile.[3] These data indicate the difficulty of upward intergenerational mobility.”

    There are two things that are stunning in this article. One is the last sentence, which displays the abject bias of the writer. How in the heck does this data “indicate the difficulty of upward intergenerational mobility”? Because the other thing that is stunning is exactly that — the amazing upward mobility of the BOTTOM QUINTILE in a single generation! According to this particular study, 58% of those with parents in the bottom quintile escaped that quintile themselves — a majority! 36% moved up into the top three quintiles, essentially middle class and better, and 17% into the top 40%. 6% of those born to parents in the bottom quintile moved all the way up to the top quintile! To me, this shows the remarkable opportunity open to all in the U.S.

    As for the 42% who didn’t advance out of the bottom quintile, I wonder why not? Probably because they thought Old World. Too bad.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 63: Huh? Did you consider that link a refutation of my point? Hardly. Take this single passage from the rather biased Wiki article you cited: “Recent researchers collecting data on the economic mobility of families across generations, looked at the probability of reaching a particular income distribution in regards to where their parents were ranked and found that 42 percent of those whose parents were in the bottom quintile ended up in the bottom quintile themselves, 23 percent of them ended in the second quintile, 19 percent in the middle quintile, 11 percent in the fourth quintile and 6 percent in the top quintile.[3] These data indicate the difficulty of upward intergenerational mobility.”

    There are two things that are stunning in this article. One is the last sentence, which displays the abject bias of the writer. How in the heck does this data “indicate the difficulty of upward intergenerational mobility”? Because the other thing that is stunning is exactly that — the amazing upward mobility of the BOTTOM QUINTILE in a single generation! According to this particular study, 58% of those with parents in the bottom quintile escaped that quintile themselves — a majority! 36% moved up into the top three quintiles, essentially middle class and better, and 17% into the top 40%. 6% of those born to parents in the bottom quintile moved all the way up to the top quintile! To me, this shows the remarkable opportunity open to all in the U.S.

    As for the 42% who didn’t advance out of the bottom quintile, I wonder why not? Probably because they thought Old World. Too bad.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As for the 42% who didn’t advance out of the bottom quintile, I wonder why not? Probably because they thought Old World. Too bad.”

    Let’s just be reasonable for a minute.

    20% of the population must be in the bottom quintile by definition.

    If we had no mobility, a person born there, would die there. The 58% who moved up were replaced by folks who moved down if we figure zero immigration. However, we have immigration and many of them start at the bottom. As Don aptly notes the writer’s characterization of 58% move up indicates an obvious bias. How could it possibly get any higher? I mean, it is not like the bottom quintile can be vacant.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As for the 42% who didn’t advance out of the bottom quintile, I wonder why not? Probably because they thought Old World. Too bad.”

    Let’s just be reasonable for a minute.

    20% of the population must be in the bottom quintile by definition.

    If we had no mobility, a person born there, would die there. The 58% who moved up were replaced by folks who moved down if we figure zero immigration. However, we have immigration and many of them start at the bottom. As Don aptly notes the writer’s characterization of 58% move up indicates an obvious bias. How could it possibly get any higher? I mean, it is not like the bottom quintile can be vacant.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Webmonk,

    “There have been a LOT of studies about intelligence and genetics, and genetics has a relatively small role to play in one’s native intelligence.”

    Not true.Intelligenceis heritable.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Webmonk,

    “There have been a LOT of studies about intelligence and genetics, and genetics has a relatively small role to play in one’s native intelligence.”

    Not true.Intelligenceis heritable.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Webmonk,

    “There have been a LOT of studies about intelligence and genetics, and genetics has a relatively small role to play in one’s native intelligence.”

    Not true. Intelligence is heritable.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Webmonk,

    “There have been a LOT of studies about intelligence and genetics, and genetics has a relatively small role to play in one’s native intelligence.”

    Not true. Intelligence is heritable.

  • WebMonk

    sg, that’s sort of funny that it happened on that comment, but your anchor tags aren’t coming through.

    Anyway, I never said intelligence isn’t heritable, merely that it is a fairly small factor among many others. Nutrition, health, upbringing, habits, etc all have a large impact. With all of those impacts, the impact on intelligence made by genetics tends to get covered up.

  • WebMonk

    sg, that’s sort of funny that it happened on that comment, but your anchor tags aren’t coming through.

    Anyway, I never said intelligence isn’t heritable, merely that it is a fairly small factor among many others. Nutrition, health, upbringing, habits, etc all have a large impact. With all of those impacts, the impact on intelligence made by genetics tends to get covered up.