Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
David M. Hulac
Eugenics is the attempt to deliberately improve the hereditary, genetic traits of a particular race in order to improve the race as a whole. In particular, eugenics, meaning “good birth,” describes the regulation and manipulation of reproduction to reduce the incidence of genetically derived problematic traits while increasing the incidence of ideal genetically derived traits. Supporters of eugenics believe that active human intervention can create a stronger society by gaining a better understanding of genetic traits and their relationship to societal success. Critics of the eugenics movement believe that such attempts violate individual human rights and may remove desirable traits from a population. Further, the critics believe that eugenicists have oversold the power of genetics and have failed to take into account the environmental influences that affect wealth, morality, and mental health. The origin of eugenics is most frequently traced to Sir Francis Galton, a statistician, biologist, geographer, and sociologist ...