Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The danger of "consensus" science

Interesting op-ed piece from a US politician, John Linder, in the Washington Times that makes a comparison between the AGW crowd and the supporters of eugenics.

For nearly 50 years, from the late 1800s through the first half of the 20th century, there grew a common political acceptance by the world's thinkers, political leaders and media elite that the "science" of eugenics was settled science. There were a few lonely voices trying to be heard in the wilderness in opposition to this bogus science, but they were ridiculed or ignored.

All seems very familiar.

The "science" was not lacking important public supporters. Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Woodrow Wilson were enthusiastic believers. The theory won approval of Supreme Court justices, leaders in higher education and Nobel Prize winners. The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was one of the most vocal adherents. She established the first "birth control" clinic in 1916.

We had our own "Margaret Sanger" here in the UK, of course, Marie Stopes. Of course, we all know where this "science" eventually led.

Twenty-nine states passed laws allowing sterilization. Ultimately, 60,000 Americans were sterilized -- some legally. The Germans were the most progressive. They had help. The Rockefeller Foundation funded the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and the work of its central racial scientists, one of whom was Josef Mengele.

One must ask, "How in the world did university researchers come to conclusions that defended this outrageous affront to society?" A look back at the research concluded that the researchers adjusted their outcomes to support the theory of those paying for the research. (My emphasis).

They wouldn't do that, would they? Read the whole thing.


xoggoth said...

"Of course, we all know where this "science" eventually led"

Do we? I don't have a clue Stan, tell us. As far as I am concerned Marie Stope's "science" was about women being able to make their own choices in life, not be baby producing machines.

Stan said...

I'm not sure that enabling women "to make their own choices in life" is actually a science, xoggoth - but she was certainly a keen supporter of eugenics, writing in her book "The Control Of Parenthood" that she would, if she could, legislate for "compulsory sterilization of the insane, feebleminded... revolutionaries... half castes."

Maybe it's just me, but I find that sort of attitude repugnant.