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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

expression in such an environment would help to create the demand;
the friction and discontent would add themselves to the forces of change.
It will, however, by now have become clear that neither of these
approaches is so satisfactory as the third. Indeed, neither is methodo-
logically sound. If the aim of eugenics be to control the evolution of
the human species and guide it in a desirable direction, and if the
genetic selection should always be practised in relation to an appro-
priate environment, then it is an unscientific and wasteful procedure
not to attempt to control environment at the same time as genetic
quality. Science is simultaneously both theory and practice, both
knowledge and control. For the applied science of eugenics to neglect
the environment is a source both of confusion and of practical weak-
ness. I would go further: I would say that we cannot succeed in
achieving anything in the nature of adequate positive eugenics unless
we attempt the control of the social environment simultaneously with
the control of the human germ-plasm, any more than Stapledon could
have improved his rough mountain grazings save by a similar double
Let us then look more in detail into this third or dual method of
approach. It has two facets, theoretical and practical. On the
theoretical side, we shall only progress in our attempt to disentangle
the effects of nature from those of nurture in so far as we follow the
footsteps of the geneticist and equalize environment. We shall never
be able to do this in the same radical way as the pure scientist, by
testing out a whole range of controlled and equalized environments
on selected stocks. We must therefore concentrate on producing a
single'equalized environment; and this clearly should be one as
favourable as possible to the expression of the genetic qualities that we
think desirable. Equally clearly, this should include the following
items. A marked raising of the standard of diet for the great majority
of the population, until all should be provided both with adequate
calories and adequate accessory factors; provision of facilities for
healthy exercise and recreation; and upward equalization of educa-
tional opportunity. The further we move in this direction, the more
readily shall we be able to distinguish inherent physical and mental
defects from environmental stunting and frustration; the higher we
raise the average, the more certain shall we be that physical or mental
performance above the average is dependent upon genetic endow-
ment and therefore provides the raw material for positive eugenics.
Not only this, but we know from various sources that raising the
standard of life among the poorest classes almost invariably results in
a lowering of their fertility. In so far, therefore, as differential class-