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Reply to The Eugenics Movement in the Early 20th Century

Reply to The Eugenics Movement in the Early 20th Century

Choose initial posts made by 2 separate people; comment on them; present your views.  

  • In order to receive the maximum number of points go beyond merely agreeing or disagreeing in your response. In other words, bring to the Discussion Forum new information that respectfully challenges your peers to think further about what he or she posted.
  • When you begin, type the name of the person you are replying to.
  • Make an analysis of the other person's work/thinking.
  • Make sure to cite 2 sources in both your initial and response posts, cite from the Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement and the Dudley and Gale (2002) journal article to demonstrate support for your viewpoint.
    • Respond to 2 peers
    • The expectation is that response posts will add factual information to the discussion, whether in agreement or disagreement with the peer’s original post. 
    • 75-100 words

 Reply to:

The Eugenics Archive is an important reminder that what is socially acceptable is not always morally right. With detailed pictures, 1920’s propaganda, and legislature, the Eugenics Archive tells the deplorable story of the Eugenics movement in America that led to the involuntary sterilization of 3000 individuals. In an effort to create an ideal, white America, scientists inspired by the work Francis Galton convinced law-makers, clergy, and the general public that Darwinism must be helped along through weeding out undesirable traits, such as neural and racial diversity.

Reading about the eugenics movement, pioneered by Galton, and systematically applied by Charles Davenport was a painful experience (Dudley & Gale, 2002). Hearing the term “feeble-mindedness” over and over brought me to tears (Dudley & Gale, 2009). My oldest daughter Evelyn (14) is a kind and thoughtful beauty. She loves theater and possesses natural musical talent, performing in several local productions at an elite children’s theater in Spokane. When Evelyn was 3 she was formally diagnosed with Autism. Her autism severely limits her ability to communicate like her typically functioning peers. Thankfully, Evelyn lives in 2020 and not in 1920.

Similarly, imagining the mass murder of children in Nazi Germany that were considered to be undesirable made me feel ill (Dudley & Gale, 2002). Dudley & Gale (2002) recount the systematic and efficient medical murder of Germany’s disabled and undesirable children. They point out that psychiatrists aided in the euthanasia of 200,000 people (Dudley & Gale, 2002). Influenced by America’s eugenic ideology, many German doctors and psychiatrists committed these acts without guilt.

Both America and Germany applied science in an evil, bias, and inhumane way. As I studied the actions and attitudes of the perpetrators of the eugenics movement, I felt like these men, scientific authorities of their day, were reaching through time and threatening the value of my daughter. However, as I reflect on these atrocities as I sit in the peace and presence of Jesus, I know that is not possible. Her value is innate and unchangeable. The men and women that passed judgments upon those that they deemed “less than” were scared, self-protecting, and finite people. I am reminded of the words of Jesus as he hung on the cross, beaten and broken by his creation, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34, NIV). Anything that could actually hurt Evelyn; sin and death, was defeated at the cross. Mankind will continue to pass judgments on one another, attempt to play God with scientific application, and war against themselves, but I will continue to love.

Dudley, M., & Gale, F. (2002). Psychiatrists as a Moral Community? Psychiatry Under the Nazi’s and its Moral Relevance. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 36, 585-594

Retrieved from http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/eugenics/

liamdunaway. (2007, May 1). War on the Weak: Eugenics in America. YouTube .Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaH0Ws8RtSc

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