A Reassessment

by Richard Lynn


Argues that the condemnation of eugenics went too far and that it needs reassessment.

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Cover image for Eugenics

June 2001


Pages 380
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Science/General

Lynn argues that the condemnation of eugenics in the second half of the 20th century went too far and offers a reassessment. The eugenic objectives of eliminating genetic diseases, increasing intelligence, and reducing personality disorders he argues, remain desirable and are achievable by human biotechnology. In this four-part analysis, Lynn begins with an account of the foundation of eugenics by Francis Galton and the rise and fall of eugenics in the twentieth century. He then sets out historical formulations on this issue and discusses in detail desirability of the new eugenics of human biotechnology. After examining the classic approach of attempting to implement eugenics by altering reproduction, Lynn concludes that the policies of classical eugenics are not politically feasible in democratic societies.

The new eugenics of human biotechnology--prenatal diagnosis of embryos with genetic diseases, embryo selection, and cloning--may be more likely than classic eugenics to evolve spontaneously in western democracies. Lynn looks at the ethical issues of human biotechnologies and how they may be used by authoritarian states to promote state power. He predicts how eugenic policies and dysgenic processes are likely to affect geopolitics and the balance of power in the 21st century. Lynn offers a provocative analysis that will be of particular interest to psychologists, sociologists, demographers, and biologists concerned with issues of population change and intelligence.

Table of Contents

Preface: The General Theory of EugenicsHistorical IntroductionSir Francis Galton Lays the Foundation of EugenicsThe Rise and Decline of EugenicsThe Objective of EugenicsHistorical FormulationsGenetic Diseases and DisordersMental IllnessIntelligenceMental RetardationPersonalityPsychopathic PersonalityThe Implementation of Classical EugenicsThe Genetic Foundations of EugenicsThe Genetic Principles of SelectionNegative Eugenics: Provision of Information and ServicesNegative Eugenics: Incentives, Coercion, and CompulsionLicenses for ParenthoodPositive EugenicsEthical Principles of Classical EugenicsThe New EugenicsDevelopment in Human BiotechnologyEthical Issues in Human BiotechnologyThe Future of Eugenics in Democratic SocietiesThe Future of Eugenics in Authoritarian StatesThe Evolution of the Eugenic World State



[T]his book should be read by everyone concerned about the brave new world the advancement of human biotechnology allows. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals.—Choice

[A]fter reading this excellent, scholarly book, one cannont reasonably disagree with him on any point unless one can find an argument he has not already refuted.—Contemporary Psychology

[A] fascinating, multi-faceted book.Professor Lynn sets outs to rescue eugenics from the lowly place to which it fell in the latter half of the twentieth century. It is an ambitious project, and Lynn emerges with scientific and ethical orthodoxy on many fronts. He does this with enthusiasm, moving effortlessly between history, genetics, demographics and ethics before delivering a startling prediction about the central role eugenics will play in 21st century world politics....A new debate is needed, and professor Lynn's book lays a provocative challenge to those who wish to avoid the dystopian future he foresees.—King's Parade

[P]acked with information. It's arguments are likely to stimulate some readers but to provoke many others.—Population and Development Review

[W]ell written and readable.—Intelligence

[T]hose scholars who are in need of inspiration in this pursuit would benefit from consulting Lynn's book.—Isis

Highly readable....Describes and answers many of the ethical issues that have been raised about human biotechnologies.—Personality and Individual Differences

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