Full text: Problems in eugenics

248Section III.F. A. Woods. 
reveal just the sort of facts that one would find were heredity all that its 
most ardent advocates believe it to be. 
In his pioneer studies, Sir Francis Galton used the materials of history 
to prove that men of genius count as many eminent relations as the expecta­ 
tions of heredity demand. Mr. Ellis has shown that British genius does not 
spring from the lower classes; the proportionate number is so small com­ 
pared to the total of the group (certainly not one to the million) that the 
few exceptions seem themselves to speak for the inborn nature of their 
gifts. Higher and higher in the social scale the percentages increase, until, 
among royalty, the number of geniuses of the first class becomes, instead 
of one in a million, one in about thirty or forty. No investigations have 
been made of inheritance of genius among the nobility, but among 832 
members of the various royal families at least twenty exhibit a genius in 
war and government which would entitle them to rank intellectually with 
those included in the studies of Galton and Ellis. Such a percentage is 
more than twenty thousand times as high as it is among the masses. And 
furthermore, all the exceptional geniuses in royalty—men like Frederick the 
Great, Peter the Great, Maurice of Nassau, and Gustavus Adolphus—are 
properly related to others of the same class, or to those of lesser eminence, 
just in the way that gametic inheritance demands. Moreover, correlation 
measurements have been obtained comparable to those found in the anthropo­ 
metric laboratory. 
But may not all this be equally the result of opportunity? That it is 
not the result of opportunity is proved by a more detailed analysis of 
materials. When complete pedigrees can be constructed and information 
obtained concerning the lives, the achievements and characteristics of whole 
family groups, the wicked as well as the virtuous, the stupid as well as 
the brilliant, it becomes evident at once, on examining such charts, that the 
strongest contrasts are everywhere the rule, even among those close of kin. 
These contrasts, more than anything else, compel a belief in the inborn 
nature of their mentalities. A similar environment ought, if it is effective, 
to mould people towards the same mental pattern. But royalty, historically 
considered, has not been so moulded. There is no reasonable cause why 
Frederick the Great was so different from his weak-kneed and almost 
forgotten ancestor, George William of Brandenburg, except inborn deter­ 
miners—something in the protoplasm, or, shall we say, something in the 
chromosomes. All that we know from modern Mendelian investigation leads us to 
expect these contrasts. Separately inheritable units are everywhere observed 
when studying animals and plants. When we study the higher traits we 
do not find single, simple units that can at once be brought in or imme­ 
diately eliminated out, but we do discover the same tendency to the segre­ 
gation of groups of determiners which finds its expression in the technical
	        

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