The interplay of science and ethics: the case of eugenics

Scientia Salon

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by Massimo Pigliucci

It is a rare case where I find myself sympathetic to quotes from both Steven Pinker and a Pope. And yet, reading and thinking about eugenics can cause this sort of strange happening, and more.

Here is Pinker, from an interview with Steve Sailer [1] about The Blank Slate, criticizing what he called “the conventional wisdom among left-leaning academics” and their obsession with Nazi-inspired eugenics:

“The 20th century suffered ‘two’ ideologies that led to genocides. The other one, Marxism, had no use for race, didn’t believe in genes and denied that human nature was a meaningful concept. Clearly, it’s not an emphasis on genes or evolution that is dangerous. It’s the desire to remake humanity by coercive means (eugenics or social engineering) and the belief that humanity advances through a struggle in which superior groups (race or classes) triumph over inferior ones.”

Fair enough. And here is…

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