Monday, April 15, 2013

Testing for Intelligence

Eugenics made it its goal to engineer a perfect human race through genetics - similar to the way cattle and plants are genetically engineered to resist disease or produce more product. However, besides just the physical, eugenics also stepped into the realm of psychology, trying to breed not only a less sickly and more beautiful but also more intelligent race of people. Could genetics also have influence on how intelligent a person could be and could it be controlled?

Through mental testing, the author hoped that eugenicists would find a correlation, a factor that would determine what linked some mental faculties together, defining a "general" or "popular intelligence" and perhaps there could be something to look for in the genetic code. Preliminary tests found that there was a large amount of positive correlation. The article concludes with a statement about immigration and intermarriage, if it should be allowed before the mental faculties of all races were established.

Reading this article from our time of human rights, as struggling as we are with the details and the particulars, everyone, at least in this country, believes in freedom for themselves, if nothing else. While this article is about the taking away of the most basic right of marriage and, in a sense, of life, I can't help but wonder what would happen if this was brought to sudden life in our time. What would happen if these tests were given and, for instance, the Chinese race was shown as mentally superior, something that is a common stereotype in US coastal schools. Would the European population, the ones who created this test, be satisfied with these results even though they showed that they were not the best and brightest? That, in my opinion, puts things into perspective. In the article, it's mentioned that the Easter European exodus was threatening the American way of life. But what if the American way of life was inferior? Just because Westerners came up with this grand idea of perfection does not mean they correspond to it. The view is very xenophobic and egocentric, something that has been very prevalent in the West, as no one studies Eastern history in schools in the West. Perhaps it is similar in the East, making ego-centrism a widely prevalent trait in humans in general. Is that a trait that should be weeded for in eugenics as well?

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