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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

fertility exists, raising the environmental level will reduce any dys-
genic effects which it may now have.
Returning, however, to the more important aspect of the eugenic
knowledge to be gained by levelling up the social environment, I
anticipate that at the bottom, the social problem group, though
shrinking in size, will be left, clearly marked out by its inadequate
performance in the new and favourable conditions, as a well-defined
target for measures of negative eugenics such as segregation and
sterilization; and that minor targets of the same nature will emerge
out of the present fog, in the shape of nests of defective germ-plasm
inspissated by assortative mating and inbreeding, such as have been
imaginatively glimpsed by Lidbetter and others. I further anticipate
that the professional classes will reveal themselves as a reservoir of
superior germ-plasm, of high average level notably in regard to
intelligence, and therefore will serve as a foundation-stone for experi-
ments in positive eugenics. But I anticipate that society will tap large
resources of high ability that are at present unutilized, thus facilitating
the social promotion of at least certain fitter elements; and without
social promotion we cannot proceed to reproductive encouragement.
This is the scientific ideal at which we should aim* Like many other
ideals, we shall not achieve it; but any approach to it will help us
towards a more certain knowledge.
Science, however, is control as well as knowledge; and new prac-
tice may advance theory as much as new theory lay the basis for
practice. This is especially true for the social sciences, where, as we
have seen, rigorously controlled experiment, on the pattern of pure
physics or physiology, is impossible, and problems must frequently
be solved ambulando. We make a partial experiment which is simul-
taneously pure and applied science. The experiment is both an
attempt to gain knowledge and an effort to realize a wish, a desired
control. It is planned, like more crucial experiments in the natural
sciences, to verify deductions from known facts* In so far as the
desired end is attained, the deductions are verified and knowledge is
increased: and even if the control is not attained, knowledge is in*
creased, though not to the same extent.
This more empirical mode of attack must also be used in eugenics,
We must attempt to control the change of social environment and at
the same time to control the change of human germ-plasm, along
lines which appear likely to yield tangible and desirable results. It is
the ^ results which interest us. Admirable germ-plasm unable to
realize itself owing to unfavourable conditions does not interest us:
nor do the most alluring social conditions, if they permit or encourage