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T? UGENICS, Dean Inge writes in one of his essays, is capable of
Jj-/becoming the most sacred ideal of the human race, as a race;
one of the supreme religious duties. In this I entirely agree with him.
Once the full implications of evolutionary biology are grasped,
eugenics will inevitably become part of the religion of the future, or
of whatever complex of sentiments may in the future take the place
of organized religion. It is not merely a sane outlet for human
altruism, but is of all outlets for altruism that which is most compre-
hensive and of longest range.
However, in addition to holding out these emotional possibilities,
the eugenic movement must obey practical necessities. If it is to grow
into a soul-compelling ideal, it must first achieve precision and
efficiency as a branch of applied science.
At the moment, it is idle to pretend that it has advanced very far
in either direction. True that to a limited number of men and
women, it is already an inspiring ideal: but for the bulk of people,
if not a subject for a jest, it remains either mistrusted or wholly
neglected. True that, thanks to the genius of Darwin and his
cousin Galton, the notion of evolutionary improvement through
selection has provided a firm scientific base for eugenics, and that
in recent years distinct progress has been made in appplying the
triumphant discoveries of modern genetics to the human species:
yet for the bulk of scientists, eugenics is still hardly reckoned as a
It may be that, as a scientist myself, I overrate the importance of
the scientific side. At any rate, it is my conviction that eugenics
cannot gain power as an ideal and a motive until it has improved its
position as a body of knowledge and a potential instrument of control:
and in this essay I shall endeavour to point out what, in my opinion,
is the next step towards the graduation of eugenics into the dignity of
an established science. It will be an inquiry into the methodology
of our subject.
Eugenics falls within the province of the Social Sciences, not of the
Natural Sciences. It shares with the rest of them a suspicion, often
very frankly expressed by the pundits of more respectable branches of
study, such as physics or pure biology, of being not quite scientifically
respectable. Some, indeed, go as far as to assert that the social
sciences can never be truly scientific, and imply that they have