Abstracts of Papers Read at the First International Eugenics Congress online

. (page 3 of 15)
Online LibraryVariousAbstracts of Papers Read at the First International Eugenics Congress → online text (page 3 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

practical difficulties; because, if it is relatively easy to estimate
the physical qualities of man, nothing on the other hand is harder than
to estimate his mental qualities. A dynamometer of intelligence does
not exist, and Galton's method of observing the points of merit of
University graduates is very insufficient and fallible.

In face of these difficulties there naturally arises the idea of
inferring the psycho-physical aptitudes of individuals from their
social and economic position, or from their income, which is easily
measured. In accord with this idea, it would be a question of acting so
that marriages would be effected exclusively and predominantly amongst
individuals provided with superior incomes, and to prevent, as far
as possible, marriages between persons of inferior incomes, or of no
income at all.

But all this would be plausible if there should be a real analogy
between the economic élite, and the psycho-physical élite, or if the
former were really a product of the latter. Now, this is precisely what
I deny. The _economic élite_ is not in the least the product of the
possession of superior qualities, but is simply the result of a blind
struggle between incomes, which carries to the top those who, at the
start, possess a larger income through causes which may be absolutely
independent of the possession of superior endowments. (See my _Sintesi
economica_ - Paris, Giard et Briard, 1911.) Hence, nothing makes it
impossible that the wealthier people should be precisely the worst
endowed, physically and mentally, and this as a matter of fact happens
in innumerable cases.

Besides, we have an indirect proof of this in the very results of
selective processes as, until now, they are practised. And, in fact,
conjugal selection to-day takes place precisely amongst individuals of
the same class, or belonging to the same standard of income, so that
persons of the upper classes always marry exclusively amongst each
other. So then these marriages, which, according to the theory, ought
to give more splendid results, give, on the contrary, more wretched
results. Galton's same law of "return to the mean," or the fact that
the descendants of persons of high class sometimes have inferior
endowments as compared with the average of the race, could not be
fulfilled if persons of the upper classes who marry with each other
were really select persons, physically and mentally.

There would also be in this case a falling off from the super-normal
qualities of an exceptionally gifted parent, but in that case the
characters of the children would always be superior to those of the
descendants of the lower classes. If this does not happen, if the
children of the upper classes show qualities inferior to those of the
average of children of the lower classes, this proves conclusively
that married people of the superior classes were not in the least
endowed with specially high aptitudes, but, on the contrary, presented
the opposite characteristics. Thus, the same law of Galton, properly
interpreted, shows the absolute independence of largeness of income and
excellence of individual qualities, hence the absurdity and danger of
Eugenics upon an economic foundation, such as many desire.

The researches of Fahlbeck upon the Swedish nobility, which show the
rapid extinction of the upper classes who practise _Economic Eugenics_,
is a further proof of the absence of any link between economic
superiority and psycho-physical superiority; since if the wealthier
people, who usually intermarry, were really the better endowed, their
descendants would never show those phenomena of extinction which betray
a leaven of inner degeneration.

I conclude that Economic Eugenics is already practised to-day
upon a large scale, and hence it is already possible to form an
accurate judgment upon its results - which are those of return to the
mean - degeneration and extinction of race. Now, these same results show
that the economically superior classes are not at all the best endowed,
and often even degenerate, and that, therefore, the only method
calculated to effect a conjugal selection which would be socially
useful is not to unite in marriage the richer people, but individuals
really possessing superior qualities, and to exclude from marriage
those who do not possess them.



By Professor Alfredo Niceforo,

_Of the University of Naples._

The author has compared the physical, demographic, and mental
characters of the upper and leisured classes with the same characters
in individuals of the inferior and poor classes. He has made use of
several methods: (1) A comparison between the well-to-do and the poor
children in schools; (2) a comparison between individuals belonging to
different professions; (3) a comparison between the rich and the poor
quarters of the same city.

He has also studied 4,000 children of the schools of Lausanne; Italian
peasants; conscripts of different countries, classified according to
their occupation; and the rich and the poor quarters of Lausanne,
Paris, etc.

He has found that individuals of the lower classes show a smaller
development of stature, of cranial capacity, of sensibility, of
resistance to mental fatigue, a delay in the period when puberty
makes its appearance, a slackening in growth, a very large number of
anomalies, etc.

The causes of these differences ascertained in comparing the two groups
are of the _mesological_ and _individual order_.

Of the _mesological_ order because the conditions of life where men of
the lower classes are forced to live constitute one of the causes of
the deterioration of their physical and mental characters.

Of the _individual_ order because, thanks to biological variation,
every man is born different from all other men, and men who are born
with superior physical and mental characters tend to rise in the
superior classes, while men who are born with inferior physical and
mental characters tend to fall in the most wretched classes.

However, in studying the catalogues of measurements and observations,
the author has found that in the mass of men belonging to the superior
classes one finds a small number of men with inferior qualities, while
in the mass of men forming the inferior classes one finds a certain
number of men presenting superior characters.

It is between these two _exceptional_ categories that social exchanges
should be made, allowing the best and most capable of the lower stratum
to ascend, and compelling the unadapted who are found above to fall to
the lower stratum.



By M. Lucien March,

_Directeur de la Statistique Générale de la France._

Statistics of families furnish, perhaps, the most appropriate data
for the examination of the factors which govern the productiveness of
marriages or their sterility.

Statistics concerning the children born in the eleven and a half
million French families, classed according to occupation, have been
prepared in France for the first time as a result of the census of
1906. These statistics give information as to the number of children
per family, either alive on the day of the census or previously
deceased, in each occupation, for all the families in the whole country
taken together, and for the different provinces. Further, a special
investigation of the 200,000 families of employees and workmen in the
public services has furnished more circumstantial details, which have
enabled the number of children and number of deaths of children in a
family to be brought into relation with the income of the head.

The results obtained by the method described above are the subject of
this report. The effects of occupation, social position and income are
analysed by means of co-efficients expressing the productiveness of
marriages, after eliminating the influence of such factors as duration
of marriage, age, and habitat, all of which may obviously affect the
productiveness of a marriage.

These results confirm what has been learnt from previous researches of
the fertility of different social classes, but they go further in that
they show that the difference is not exclusively dependent on income.

In general there are more children per family in the families of
workmen than in the families of employers, and the latter contain
more than those of employees other than workmen. Further, one finds
industries in which the number of children in the employers' families
is larger than in the families of workmen in other industries. Thus,
differences are introduced by the occupation. Industries employing many
hands seem the more favourable to the production of large families,
both among workmen and among employers. Agriculture, in which a large
number of persons are engaged in France, does not seem to conduce
to fertility. Fishermen and sailors in the merchant service, on the
other hand, appear to form the class in which fertility is the most

The importance of the occupational factor is such that we could
place its influence on the same plane as that of "concentration"
of population, with which it is in close relation, since persons
following certain classes of occupation, as, for instance, the members
of the liberal professions, and clerks and other salaried employees are
most numerous in towns.

It does not appear that in France casual and unskilled labourers,
persons in the receipt of Poor Law relief, etc., are specially
prolific. There is not thus in reality too much risk of seeing the
renewal of the population carried out in a dangerous manner by its
least valuable section. However, even among the working classes, the
most highly paid occupations are not those among which one finds the
greatest number of children.

The economic, social, or moral burden of children is a factor bound
up in a complex manner, not only with the individual conditions of
existence, but also with the transformations of society, progress in
manners and customs, and the conception which one forms of life.

It is this burden which must be allieviated where allieviation would be
most effective and produce the best results, in order to put a stop to
a movement which may be dangerous to civilisation.



By Vernon L. Kellogg.

(_Professor in Stanford University, California._)

The claim that war and military service have a directly deteriorating
influence through military selection on a population much given to
militarism, has been clearly stated by von Liebig, Karl Marx, Herbert
Spencer, Tschouriloff, Otto Seeck, David Starr Jordan, and others,
not to mention the ever-anticipating Greeks. Military selection may
be conceived to work disastrously on a population both through the
actual killing during war by wounds and disease of the sturdy young
men selected by conscription or recruiting, and also by the removal
from the reproducing part of the population of much larger numbers of
these selected young men both in war and peace times. Another phase
of the racial danger from military service is the possibility of the
contraction of persistent and heritable disease which may be carried
back from camp and garrison with the return of the soldiers to the
population at home.

As likely as seem all these and certain other anti-eugenic influences
arising from military selection, the substantiation of their actual
results on a basis of observed facts is necessary to give them real
standing as eugenic arguments against militarism.

The writer is engaged at present in an attempt to find and expose
certain actual results of military service and war that have direct
relation to racial modification. His paper presents some pertinent
facts and figures already gained. These facts are examined in the
light of the criticisms of such men as Bischoff and Livi, who have
recognized the weaknesses in military and hygienic statistics, and in
the light of other opportunities for error both in the recording and
the interpretation of the facts, which have suggested themselves to
him. Also there has to be considered the possible reality of eugenic
advantages from military selection. Seeck and Ammon believe they have
discovered some.

The writer, holding in mind both the dangers of error and the
possibility of eugenic advantage, believes himself nevertheless able
to present certain definite facts showing considerable direct eugenic
disadvantage in certain types of militarism.



By Roberto Michels,

_University of Turin, Italy._

An oligarchy is invariably formed in all political parties for reasons
based partly on individual psychology, partly on crowd psychology, and
partly on the social necessity of party organisation. Under the first
head is grouped the individual's consciousness of his own importance,
which with opportunity develops into the natural human lust for power,
and, further, such individual qualities as native tact, editorial
ability, and so on. Crowd psychology is characterised chiefly by the
incompetence of the masses, their dependence upon traditional methods
of party government, and their feeling of gratitude to leaders who have
suffered for the cause. Finally, the necessity for party organisations
grows with every increase of numbers and extension of functions. It
is physically impossible for large party groups to govern themselves
directly. All parties live in a state of perpetual warfare with
opposing parties, and, if they are revolutionary in character, with the
social order itself. Tactical considerations, therefore, and, above
all, the necessity of maintaining a condition of military preparedness,
strengthen the hands of the controlling clique within the party and
render every day more impossible genuine democracy.

The selective or eugenic value of party organization is that it allows
men gifted with certain qualities to rise above their fellows into
positions of superiority, which, for the considerations set forth
above, are more or less permanent. This value is of the greater
importance because the opportunities for able and ambitious workmen
to rise by the economic ladder to the rank of employers are rapidly
disappearing, at any rate, in old countries.

The qualities necessary for a successful party leader are discussed.
Briefly stated, they consist of oratorical ability, which is partly a
psychical and partly a physiological and anatomical character; energy
of will; superiority of intellect and knowledge; a depth of conviction
often bordering on fanaticism and self-confidence, pushed even to the
point of self-conceit. Also in many countries, as for instance Italy,
physical beauty is important in helping a man to rise, while in rarer
cases goodness of heart and disinterestedness influence the crowd by
reawakening religious sentiments.

We have seen that some elements of the crowd are seized by the
selecting-machine of the party organisation that raises them above
their companions, increasing automatically the social distance between
them and their followers. To put this automatical selecting-machine
into action, certain individuals appear, possessing special physical
and intellectual gifts that distinguish them spontaneously from the
mass of the party.



By W. C. D. and C. D. Whetham.

The history of Europe presents a long series of nations successively
rising and falling in the scale of prosperity and influence. Such
persistent alternations suggest a common cause underlying the
phenomena. All history is the record of change. The outward change as
recorded by the chronicler has probably its counterpart in unnoticed
variations of the internal biological structure of the nation.

Most nations are composite in character. They contain two or more
racial stocks, fulfilling different functions in the national life. It
is probable that the proportion in which these stocks are present is
not always constant. The variation in proportion is possibly the agent
effecting the internal change in structure, which becomes manifest
outwardly in the rise or decline of the nation.

The physical characters of the population of Europe during historic
times indicate three chief races: (1) the Mediterranean, (2) the
Alpine, (3) the Northern. The individuals of these races possess also
distinct mental and intellectual attributes, and the history of Europe
is fundamentally the story of the interaction of the three races.

It is suggested that the supreme power of Greece and Rome, each in
its own direction, was due to the attainment of a fortunate balance
between the social and political functions of the constituents of the
nation, the directing power being supplied chiefly by the invaders
of northern race, who formed the dominant class among the southern
indigenous Mediterranean population. In each case, the northern
elements grew gradually less, through such agencies as losses in war,
the selective action of a differential birth rate, and by racial
merging into the more numerous southern stock.

The outburst of artistic genius and intellectual pre-eminence which
marked the Renaissance in North Italy may perhaps be due to a similar
racial composition, the northern elements being supplied by the
descendants of the barbarian invaders of the later Roman Empire.

Great Britain has also similar racial elements. The Mediterranean
race, spreading up the shores of the Atlantic, enters largely into the
composition of the people of the south-west. The northern element,
immigrant from the shores of the Baltic and North Sea, is strongest in
the east and north.

We know that there are now at work two influences affecting the
average racial character of the English nation; (1) the increase in
the urban population at the expense of the rural, (2) the voluntary
restriction of the birth rate which affects certain sections of all
classes more than others. It is probable that both these changes tend
to favour selectively the southern racial elements at the expense of
the northern. Eventually, the present structure of society may become
unstable in consequence of this racial alteration, and the necessary
readjustment, in its turn, will contribute a chapter to history.



By Frederick Adams Woods, M.D.,

_Harvard Medical School._

The relative influence of heredity and environment has long been a
subject for debate, but, for the most part, such debates have not
been profitable. It is true that heredity cannot be separated from
environment if only one individual be considered; but as soon as we
inquire into the causes of the differences between man and man, it is
perfectly possible to gain real light on this subject, so important
to the advocates of eugenics. Everything must be made a problem of
differences. The mathematical measurements of resemblances between
relatives close of kin will sometimes serve. At other times, the
correlation co-efficient is of no avail, and only an intensive study of
detailed pedigrees will bring out such differences as cannot be due to
the action of surroundings.

History and genealogy both speak unmistakably for heredity. Men of
genius have as many eminent relationships as the expectations of
heredity demand. The same is true among the highest aristocratic
classes, and is equally true under democratic government, as is proved
by a study of the family history of those Americans whose names are in
the Hall of Fame. History shows that about half of the early monarchs
were not cruel or were not licentious. Alternative heredity can well
account for that. Virtuous types have only slightly increased in
numerical proportion. Environment cannot be very effective; but there
are biological factors of a more hidden nature which are silently
making for progress. Mental qualities are correlated with moral;
and in the European dynasties the survivors have been generally the
descendants of the morally superior.

Physical differences can also be demonstrated, coming in the course
of generations. A study of the portraits of royal, noble, and other
historical personages shows that the bony framework of the face,
especially about the nose and eyes, has changed rapidly since the
beginning of the sixteenth century.

In explaining the rise and fall of nations, gametic and personal causes
can be measured and marked. All the evidence of history points to the
power and importance of a very few great personalities - they themselves
the product of inborn forces. These have been the chief causes of
political and economic differences, but non-gametic (environmental)
causation can be occasionally detected, and separated out; as, for
instance, the modern scientific productivity in Germany and the
proportionate intellectual activity among women in America. It is
estimated that there are four hundred thousand books on history. These
form an almost unworked mine of information, easily available to every
student of eugenics. It is high time that the human record, so ancient
in its beginnings, should be used to contribute to that most modern of
sciences, the improvement of the human breed.



By Dr. Corrado Gini,

_Professor of Statistics in the Royal University of Cagliari, Italy._

Tables of mortality relating to human beings with classification as
to age, when compared with similar statistics relating to the equine
species, show that man during the period of development has a much
heavier death-rate. It is not possible to say whether in their natural
state the higher kinds of animals possess a higher or lower death-rate
during the period of development than when under domestication, but
the second of the alternatives seems more likely. It remains to be
determined whether the heavy death-rate during development which
the human race shows in the comparison is a distinctive natural
characteristic belonging to it, or whether it is rather the result of
the more or less artificial circumstances in which man is born and

The human race differs as regards reproduction and the rearing of its
offspring from the higher species of animals in their natural state,
chiefly in three ways: (_a_) In the case of the human race reproduction
takes place at all times of the year, whilst the higher animals have
one single period for reproducing, or, in some cases, two or three
periods; (_b_) animals reproduce as soon as the organism becomes
capable of reproduction, whilst in civilised human races as a rule a
longer or shorter period elapses between the time when the individual
becomes capable of reproduction and the time he actually begins to
reproduce; (_c_) in civilised man the development of altruistic
sentiments protects weak and sickly persons from the eliminating action
of natural selection, and often enables them to take part in the
procreation of future generations.

The paper of A. has for its object to examine closely these three
arguments based upon very extensive data taken partly from demographic
statistics and partly from researches made personally by him or which
he caused to be made, especially in the Municipal Statistical Offices
of Rome and Cagliari, and in the Obstetrical Clinic of Bologna. The
principal results are here indicated.

A. The rule of a greater number of conceptions in Spring observed in
temperate regions suffers notable exceptions in tropical and arctic
regions. Hence there is a weakening of the idea that in it one should
recognise the atavistic heritage of a special season for reproduction
which the human race had originally shown, analogous to what one finds
to-day in many species of animals. On the other hand, neither the
frequency of multiple births, of miscarriages, or of stillbirths, nor
the length of life of offspring nor their intellectual capacity show
any correlation whatever with the season of conception. The frequency
of stillbirths, however, and the length of life of the offspring show
a clear correlation with the season of birth, in the sense that those
born in temperate seasons show a lower rate for stillbirths and a
greater length of life.

B. The age of the mother at the time of parturition does not show any
regular influence on the size and weight of the child. It has a very
sensible influence on the frequency of miscarriages and of stillbirths;

1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryVariousAbstracts of Papers Read at the First International Eugenics Congress → online text (page 3 of 15)