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David Starr Jordan on the Dysgenic Effects of Dysfunctional Culture

Ian McNish

Published: 2002/09/01

Abstract

David Starr Jordan, Chancellor of Stanford University, typified the positive eugenicists who were writing at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. In the light of modern genetics it is reasonable to say that he accurately identified the importance of reproductive selection in determining the destiny of any breeding population, and drew attention to the fact that while culture came into existence as a factor which helped promote the survival of the population which possessed it, culture can also be dysfunctional and exert dysgenic pressures on those who adhere to value systems which run counter to nature's law of survival of the fittest.