“In the scientific study of human heredity, it is necessary first to have an accurate standard for measuring specific traits. When these traits are physical ones, eugenics draws upon the science of anthropometry for its standards and technique.
The recent development of the science of measuring mental qualities and physiological and temperamental reactions, has added much to the efficiency of eugenical studies.
The statistical study of population by sex, age, race, occupation, literacy, wealth and individual talent reveals the end results of the working out of eugenical factors. The study of population and vital statistics constitute the bookkeeping aspect of eugenics.”
OPPOSITION TO EUGENICAL ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT TRAITS
Most of the mental diseases have no hereditary relationships. Any individual whose candidacy for matrimony is being considered need not hesitate to marry if his ancestors have died in insane hospitals… We are very far from establishing the fact that we are dealing with biological entities concerning which we may make any kind of general conclusions in relation to heredity. The insane have normal descendants; normal folk have insane descendants in a perfectly bewildering and inexplicable fashion.
Dr. Abraham Meyerson, Professor of Neurology, Tufts University, “Heredity and Insanity” paper delivered at the Second Congress.
The literature of eugenics has largely become a mangled mess of ill-grounded and uncritical sociology, economics, anthropology, and politics, full of emotional appeals to class and race prejudices, solemnly put forth as science, and unfortunately accepted as such by the general public… In preaching as they do, that like produces like, and that therefore superior people will have superior children, and inferior people inferior children, the orthodox eugenists are going contrary to the best established facts of genetical science.
Dr. Raymond Pearl, Professor of Biometry and Vital Statistics, Johns Hopkins University, “The Biology of Superiority,” American Mercury 12 (November 1927), pp. 257–266.) [Pearl attended the Second Congress]