The most prominent sperm bank in the UK is under investigation after turning away donors with dyslexia and other questionable characteristics. This raises an important question: Should sperm banks be in the business of making “better” babies?
Eugenics is the now-defunct (and creepy!) practice of breeding supposedly superior humans to achieve genetic improvements while sterilizing undesirables. Sound familiar? It's the exact same thing we now do to dogs and it's responsible for a range of health and behavioral issues in them. — Ed.
They were carried out, according to the Eugenics Board of North Carolina,"for the best interest of the mental, moral, and physical well-being of the said patient, and/or for the public good."
Former New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade has just published a book about race and genetics that has stirred up debates over scientific racism that go back over 250 years. Where did his ideas come from? Here are nine major works of scientific racism that are still influencing thinkers today.
The name deriving from the Greek "eugenes," meaning "well-born," it should be no surprise that "eugenics" seeks to engineer a better human race by purposefully selecting good traits, and eliminating bad ones, as is common when breeding animals. Over the years, eugenics has had a number of proponents, from some of the…
The Jukes are not a real family. Juke is a made-up surname, assigned to a sprawling, impoverished family by a Victorian scientist. That scientist wanted the family to get a hand up. The next scientist to study the Jukes wanted them eliminated entirely.
Fears over "designer babies" were common long before we understood the science of genetics well enough to actually produce them. For many, the idea of predetermining a child's eye color or trying to influence their intelligence or athletic prowess through genetics is the very definition of dystopia. It probably…
Following the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1860, many political theorists and opportunistic politicians applied his findings to human society. In the 20th century, these ideas were put into practice — and it nearly destroyed us. Here’s why Social Darwinism was one of the worst ideas ever.
One of the stories about China you see cropping up a lot in U.S. media is that the nation is conducting a eugenics project to engineer a generation of hyper-smart kids who can conquer the world with their genius. The truth is a lot more interesting than that.
Good job internet! Nikola Tesla—a noted promoter of eugenics who hated fat people and once fired one of his secretaries for being overweight—will soon have his very own statue in Silicon Valley!
There's a provocative and somewhat disturbing article over at Vice about China's recent foray into genetics and the country's unabashed attempt to boost the collective IQ of its citizens. In it, Aleks Eror interviews NYU evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, who donated DNA to help a Chinese biotech firm identify…
In the late 1920s, a peculiar confluence of fashion and fascism came together in England. The Men's Dress Reform Party, an outgrowth of the eugenics movement, agitated for men to dress in more beautiful, flowing clothing reminiscent of what they wore during the Elizabethan era. Mostly, this seemed to mean wearing…
Nikola Tesla is often cited as geekdom's favorite inventor—advocate of alternating current, pursuer of wireless electricity and the death ray—but some of his beliefs about the future of science and culture wouldn't be quite so popular today. In addition to his predictions about labor-saving robots and his claims that…
I don’t think I’m taking a bold stance by saying that any real attempt at eugenics is indefensible. Practically speaking, though, eugenics is just as much of a bust as it is morally. We can’t positively select for “better people,” and we may face dire consequences if we try to weed out genetic problems, too. [jump]
It's more or less official now which villain Benedict Cumberbatch is playing in the Star Trek sequel. It's been confirmed by multiple off-the-record sources, and Trek Movie seems pretty sure about it. And there's already a protest movement brewing about it.
Everybody knows Khan Noonien Singh. He's one of the most famous Star Trek characters who isn't a starship crewmember. But he's also the poster boy for eugenics, the notion that you can improve the human race by rewriting our genes.
For years, mothers wanting to screen for genetic abnormalities in their unborn children have had few options, the most common being an invasive procedure known as amniocentesis, which requires the mother's womb to be tapped with a needle.
Many people in the 20th century assumed that the average citizen of the 21st century would be taller. However, a smaller (and for our purposes admittedly more entertaining) contingent assumed that advances in chemistry would breed hilariously super-sized babies. Having tipped the scales at ten pounds and ten ounces…
In the year 1933 physician Ira S. Wile made some wild predictions about what marriage would look like 100 years in the future. And although it's not yet 2033, we can still be thankful that his predictions for our world just 22 years from now were wildly off the mark.
You know what's awesome about living in the future? Not having to worry about crime of any kind.