Historical Retrospect on Eugenics and Racial Biology – Pt 2

WARNING. SENSITIVE CONTENT!

We have come to part 2 of my series on Eugenics. It is important that you have read part 1 in order to lay the foundation for what I will be dealing with in this post. You will see that the ideas and research in Eugenics that we see today, bear clear marks from the late 19th century.

eu·gen·ics [yoo-jen-iks]
noun (from eu- “good” and verb genos “birth“, Greek. eugenē, “of good race”, “of good birth”)
the study of or belief in the human enhancement by biological processing of the human race. We usually distinguish between “positive eugenics”, which seeks to encouraging procreation of appropriate parents presumed to have inheritable desirable traits and “negative eugenics” by sterilization or otherwise reduce the number of births by unfit parents having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable, undesirable traits.

NOTE: Scroll down to listen to a Podcast on the history of the American Eugenics.

The pattern I see in today’s research, is the one part of Eugenics, that to a certain extent, is also supported by Christianity in the Western world. The thoughts in late 19th century on Eugenics as an answer to the decline of humanity, as perceived at that time, made way for moral and ethical thoughts to spread with a new born interest in today’s religious world. According to tradition this “positive eugenic” that I am refering to, is for example to encourage the evolution of a genetically improved offspring, an offspring without defects and traits that can create social stigmas, such as homosexuality. Here it is only your imagination that sets the limits to how far we can go! In this effort to improve the genetic strain, thoughts have emerged, which in many respects are similar to the ideas which once started the Eugenics movement in Europe. It is, as I see it, a matter of quality thinking that excludes rather than includes fellow men.

Let me begin this post with a most thrilling and thought-provoking quote. A quote from theologian Albert Mohler and his radioshow and from his blog on Christian Eugenics. (From his blog Friday, March 2, 2007.) It’s a long time ago, but, hey, after all, this is still daily news!

“Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?
What if you could know that your unborn baby boy is likely to be sexually attracted to other boys? Beyond that, what if hormonal treatments could change the baby’s orientation to heterosexual? Would you do it? Some scientists believe that such developments are just around the corner.

For some time now, scientists have been looking for a genetic or hormonal causes of sexual orientation. Thus far, no “gay gene” has been found — at least not in terms of incontrovertible and accepted science. Yet, it is now claimed that a growing body of evidence indicates that biological factors may at least contribute to sexual orientation.”

The starting point of Mohler’s blog post and his radio show was an article written by Tyler Gray in “Radar Magazine” in March 13, 2007. The article was not in any way scientifically written, but had some interesting facts. It is impossible to say if Albert Mohler could have something more in mind when he wrote down these lines on his blog, but it gives me some eerie premonitions. Was it just to provoke homosexual people or to give a hope to his Christian fellows? Who knows. But it is a fact that there actually is a concept of “Christian Eugenics.”

QUOTES FROM ALBERT MOHLER’s EUGENIC THEOLOGY

Mohler begins with reading from the Radar article and then continues with some own thoughts as he had a revelation, because this must have been a pretty new concept for Mohler.
He reminds us that it was the gays in the first place who welcomed the scientific research about the origins of homosexuality, because then homosexuality would be seen as normal and therefore moral. Nothing new about that; his observation is very true! The research has attracted a lot of positive interest on both sides of the debate. But then he strikes with his sledgehammer in triumph:

“But now the picture is quite different. Many homosexual activists recognize that the discovery of a biological marker or cause for homosexual orientation could lead to efforts to eliminate the trait, or change the orientation through genetic or hormonal treatments.”

What is the difference he makes between “eliminate the trait or change the orientation”? The expression “eliminate the trait” has for more than a century been associated with more appropriate definitions, such as “forced abortion” or “euthanasia.” That was an inappropriate choice of expression.

It is not at all difficult to infer Albert Mohler’s malice when he uttered these words and he continues even more triumphantly:

“This question stands at the intersection of so many competing interests. Feminists and political liberals have argued for decades now that a woman should have an unrestricted right to an abortion, for any cause or for no stated cause at all. How can they now complain if women decide to abort fetuses identified as homosexual? This question involves both abortion and gay rights — the perfect moral storm of our times. Homosexual activists have claimed that sexual orientation cannot be changed. What if a hormone patch during pregnancy will do the job?”

I think Mohler confuses everything to a conspiracy theoretical hotchpotch. What does abortion have to do with gay rights?

I do not believe homosexuals have been campaigning for or against that women should carry out abortions, there is no such connection but here pastor Mohler uses the old trick to put two social group’s interests against each other, comparing which group is most important to listen to. This malice is found by his assertion that gays have no right to complain, now that women would be entitled to abortion of gay foetuses! It is like Mohler wants to say “This will make them shut up their mouths!”

To further drive a nail in the coffin of the “Gay agenda,” Mohler imposes a 10 point list where he lines up benefits and consequences for the discovery of a “gay gene” and what that would lead to.

Here is point number 8: “If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.”

Point no. 9 with a Biblical moralism: “We must stop confusing the issues of moral responsibility and moral choice. We are all responsible for our sexual orientation, but that does not mean that we freely and consciously choose that orientation. We sin against homosexuals by insisting that sexual temptation and attraction are predominately chosen. We do not always (or even generally) choose our temptations. Nevertheless, we are absolutely responsible for what we do with sinful temptations, whatever our so-called sexual orientation.”

And once again he emphasize the religious rhetoric in point no. 10: “Christians must be very careful not to claim that science can never prove a biological basis for sexual orientation. We can and must insist that no scientific finding can change the basic sinfulness of all homosexual behavior” [– – –] “If such knowledge should ever be discovered, we should embrace it and use it for the greater good of humanity and for the greater glory of God.”

He also admits on his blog that “finding a biological causation for homosexuality may also lead to the discovery of a “cure” for the same phenomenon.” It is as the ends justifies the means; G-d and His followers can use any methods to accelerate the coming of the Kingdom of G-d.

Since when did Christian preachers support genetics and medication to cure a “Biblical sin?” We see that already in early 1900s, evangelical Christianity saw connections between over population, raised poverty and more causing higher taxes. They saw in this new science a way to put an end of the problems, resulting in mass sterlizations and abortions. All this was done in order to get rid of the ‘unfit’ and make room for the better. This connection between the view on “Biblical sin” and science is worrying! Suddenly, homosexuality has gone from an exclusively Biblical sin to a sin also against the laws of genetics! If Christians can see a support for Eugenics in the Bible, then we are in very deep trouble! Then it is not surprising that there are preachers out there who see capital punishment against homosexual people as a legal and a Biblical act!

Note: Albert Mohler, Jr. (born October 19, 1959) is an American theologian and president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

My conclusions:

Mohler is free to express his thoughts, I would die for his rights! But he has no right to shut me up with Eugenesist thinking. When science is used as a support of finding a genetic/biological cause for homosexuality, this is seen as a really bad thing theologically, then science is evil! When science confirms religious dogmas, science is a blessing! This suggests a very hesitant approach to science and to his fellow human beings. His attitude also shows a glee that gays should not be so excited about the research results, they might be used against them!

HISTORY OF RACIAL HYGIENE AND EUGENICS

Going back more than 100 years, we see that already in the late 19th century, it was a strong link to the Racial biology research in Europe and the United States, which then came to be used for mass extermination of people with undesirable characteristics, such as disability, mental illness, sexual abandonment and people in general who never were allowed to reproduce and give birth to children. This degeneration of the race, was seen as a threat and the idea of a supreme, white, race was born. The philosophical thoughts who carried this idea forward and implemented in society came later on to be called “Eugenics.” See my post “Historical Retrospect on Eugenics and Race Biology – Pt 1.”

There are clear links between Eugenics and the Nazi idea of a pure race. In Europe, long before this term came up in history, this science was shortly known as “Racial Hygiene.”

Germany was seen as a land of white, aryan people, inhabited by blonde, blue-eyed people with good physics and other positive traits, they produced children of high quality. The educational level was high, Germany is also known to have created the best in music, art and literature the world have ever seen. During World War 2 the ideas, everything from the development of the “Über Mensch,” a Superman, all the way to mass sterilization of individuals with unwanted traits such as mentally retarded, people with handicaps and subsequently later on, it led to dr Mengele and his idea to perform surgery on humans in an attempt to change their eye colour or his interest in medical examinations and surgery on twins. In this way, a brown-eyed person could have blue eyes and in that way he could be a part of the German society.

The ideas of Eugenics that evolved in Europe were early on embraced by scientists and politicians and among the moral guardians within the conservative Christian movement in the United States. There was a huge interest for this new science, as they saw how immorality, decadence, poverty, illiteracy and unemployment had increased among individuals and groups of individuals in the population. When education and medical care were insufficient, they began a forced sterilization programme of the population. Today it seems that researchers combine the good old Eugenics with a more “humane” approach, where we instead of sterilization and abortions can change the chemical balance in a woman’s body and thereby change the unborn child’s negative, not wanted homosexual characteristics. But it is still the same old Eugenics!

J. MICHAEL BAILEY

John Michael Bailey (born July 2, 1957 in Lubbock, Texas) is an American psychologist and professor at Northwestern University. He is best known among scientists for his work on the aetiology of sexual orientation, from which he concluded that homosexuality is substantially inherited.

Bailey had an interest in eugenics long before he arrived at the Psychology Department at Northwestern University. He studied under eugenicist Lee Willerman at University of Texas, Austin while pursuing his doctorate. Willerman, a member of the American Eugenics Society starting in 1974, spent much of his career producing research that claimed certain groups have lower intelligence than others, and that this was largely genetic. Willerman seems to have been a father figure for Bailey, shaping his thinking and setting him on the path he would follow to this day:

“My advisor, Lee Willerman, was a much better role model. Lee was one of the most intellectually and personally delightful people I’ve ever met, and he led me to discover a love of individual differences, IQ, sex differences, psychopathology, behavior genetics, etc. And he taught me the human sexuality course when I learned about an interesting theory of sexual orientation, which I investigated for my dissertation. The theory involved maternal prenatal stress, and I found no evidence for it. However, I loved the research area, and have stayed there, more or less.”

Bailey’s initial work on twins led to several papers on the heritability of homosexuality. Bailey has also authored papers with Aaron Greenberg while at Northwestern, arguing that screening for and aborting gay fetuses is “morally acceptable” and a matter of parental rights, as well as arguments for castrating criminals.

“Bailey is well known for research involving biology and sexual orientation. In the early 1990s Bailey and Richard Pillard coauthored a series of twin studies which examined the rate of concordance of sexual identity among monozygotic twins (52% concordance), dizygotic twins of the same sex (22%), non-twin siblings of the same sex, and adoptive siblings of the same sex (11%). More recent research by Bailey et al. on twins however found much lower concordance rates for monozygotic twins regarding homosexual orientation of only 20% for men and 24% for women pointing to a significant contribution of environmental factors in sexual orientation; Bailey suggests an explanation for the much lower concordance rate among monozygotic twins in this study as opposed to previous studies: In those previous studies, twins deciding whether to participate in a study clearly related to homosexuality probably considered the sexual orientation of their co-twins before agreeing to participate.” Source: Wikipedia

Bailey has also been involved in a study of gay brothers with Alan Sanders and Khytam Dawood. After many raised concerns about Bailey’s involvement with this project, he attempted to defend his writings in 2005 (Barlow 2005)

Gary Barlow writes in the Chicago Free Press about his concerns under the heading “NU Professor defends controversial gay, trans research:”

“Bailey’s writings on genetic selection and homosexuality, as well as his 2003 book, ‘The Man Who Would Be Queen,’ have attracted widespread criticism from gay and transgender academics, activists and critics. In his book, Bailey alleged that transgenders are ‘especially motivated’ to shoplift and that prostitution is ‘the single most common occupation’ among transgenders.” Read more here.

For a thorough overview of Bailey’s ties to the eugenics movement, please read “American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism” by Nancy Ordover, University of Minnesota Press.

Parental Selection of Children’s Sexual Orientation Aaron S. Greenberg, JD, and J. Michael Bailey, PhD
“As we learn more about the causes of sexual orientation, the likelihood increases that parents will one day be able to select the orientation of their children. This possibility (at least that of selecting for heterosexuality) has generated a great deal of concern among supporters of homosexual rights, with such selection being widely condemned as harmful and morally repugnant. Notwithstanding this widespread condemnation, and even assuming, as we do, that homosexuality is entirely acceptable morally, allowing parents, by means morally unproblematic in themselves, to select for heterosexuality would be morally acceptable. This is because allowing parents to select their children’s sexual orientation would further parent’s freedom to raise the sort of children they wish to raise and because selection for heterosexuality may benefit parents and children and is unlikely to cause significant harm.” See also link to pdf file, below.

So, what Bailey means is that there is nothing wrong in changing a childs sexual orientation, it causes no harm to the foetus. They emphasize that it is not abortion, and as such, it is technically and morally acceptable to do. But then comes the age old questions, who is welcomed into life, is there any room at all for diversity? Then another question raises if our society has become exclusive rather than inclusive.

Interview: “Stereotypes of homosexuals” with J. Michael Bailey, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University.

“Q: What stereotypes have turned out to have some truth to them?
A: One big thing is occupational and recreational interests. In fact, hairdressers, professional dancers, actors and designers tend to be gay men, at least at much higher rates than their population rate, which is somewhere between 1 and 4 percent. And women who are in the armed services, or professional athletes (two of the three best all-time women’s tennis players are lesbian), are disproportionately lesbian.

Children who are sex-atypical do tend to become homosexual. Especially males. Boys who want to be girls become men who want men. Most very masculine girls probably become heterosexual women, but their rate of homosexuality is probably still higher than would be expected given the population rate of female homosexuality, which is probably less than 1 percent.

Recently, we have shown that on average, gay men and lesbians are very different on average from straight people in the way they walk and speak. There is such a thing, evidently, as a gay voice. And lesbians tend to look different than straight women – in particular, they have shorter hairstyles.

On the other hand, some stereotypes about homosexual people are due to the fact that they are in certain other ways psychologically like straight people of their own sex. For example, gay men have lots of sex partners compared with straight men. This is because they have a male-typical level of interest in casual sex, but because they are seeking other men with the same interest, they can have as many partners as they want. Straight men are constrained by the desires of women. I think that there is nothing intrinsically ‘gay’ about having hundreds of sex partners. Lots of straight guys would if they could. But they can’t, because they can’t find female partners who’ll have anonymous sex with them.” (Source: http://www.psych.nwu.edu, August 28, 2002)

A critical quote:

“Bailey’s ‘science’ is based on his belief that homosexuality is an evolutionary mistake and a developmental error. Bailey is an advocate of evolutionary psychology and believes in a mixture of science and ideology called eugenics, based on a simplistic assumption that all evolution is in service of procreation. Bailey has applied this notion to sexual and gender variance and has suggested that eliminating gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children is “morally acceptable” because it’s a parent’s right. He also cites the argument that these children will have ‘hard lives,’ (page 82) an argument used by other eugenicists like Peter Singer who advocate aborting or killing disabled children at birth to avoid a ‘hard life’.” “Transsexual Road Map”

Another critic is found on the Internet “Bailey, Cochran and Sailer on Homosexuality and Eugenics” written by Lynn Conway & Anjelica Kieltyka.

“Conclusion. We believe that many people find parental selection for heterosexuality intuitively troubling or even abhorrent. We also believe, however, that this is one of those intuitions that does not stand up to rational analysis. The general enterprise of attempting to influence what a child will be like cannot be objected to. Raising a child consists exactly in attempting to dictate what that child will be like in a multitude of ways. Virtually everyone believes, and rightly so, that it is, indeed, a primary duty of parents to take steps, both pre- and postnatal, to assure that their children possess certain characteristics and do not possess others. Assuming that a particular method of selection, in itself, poses no moral problem, its use, as a general matter, cannot be faulted.”
(Parental Selection of Children’s Sexual Orientation,” Aaron S. Greenberg, JD and J. Michael Bailey, PhD)

Although Bailey sees himself as gay-friendly, he has even come to know many gay people through his research, something superior shines through his interviews in different newspapers. It is as if he is trying to make a “popular science” of his research on the origin of homosexuality, its social causes and effects, and more. Sometimes he can be quite entertaining in the interviews. But his appearance is somehow deceptive. We see of these few examples that the research he has done and is still doing, has attracted a lot of criticism.

The ideas which bear the Eugenics is the usual old racist ideals we know from history, of a world populated by a homogenized and superior people, a society composed of perfect obedient and straight acting individuals, without any defects. It creates a society which is very similar to the kind of world George Orwell warned us about in his book “1984”, or the books “Stepford Wives” written by Ira Levin, “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley and “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury.

Listen to a Podcast on the history of the American Eugenics

🔊 “The Law and the Liability of Eugenics”

Description: For decades, a program called Eugenics gave state boards the right to deem someone “unfit to procreate.” The outcome of this was 66,000 Americans were selectively sterilized between the late 1920’s and the 1980’s. Lawyer2Lawyer co-host and attorney J. Craig Williams welcomes Professor Alfred Brophy, from the University of North Carolina School of Law and Attorney James Bowden from Waller Lansden, to discuss this controversial practice, the US Supreme Court’s shocking decision on eugenics and why forced sterilization “is” technically constitutional.
(Podcast Lawyer2Lawyer on Legal Talk Network, First aired: February 9, 2012)

End of part 2 of “Historical Retrospect on Eugenics and Racial Biology”

Sources:
• Albert Mohler: Podcast show and Blog, March 2, 2007
• Tyler Gray: article “Radar Magazine”, March 13, 2007
• Nancy Ordover, “American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism”, University of Minnesota Press.
• Aaron S. Greenberg, JD, and J. Michael Bailey, PhD; “Parental Selection of Children’s Sexual Orientation”. Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA
• Dean Hamer, National Institutes of Health
“Anti-humanist movement’s history – A wolf in sheep’s clothing, with connections to Eugenics”, Sasser Media Lab AB.
• Varying sources from PubMed.org (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11446202)
• Varying material from Council for Responsible Genetics (http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/)

© 2012 Jonathan Axelsson
אתר הבית של יונתן
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About Meadow of Tzedaqyal

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1881-1955)
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