Full text: Problems in eugenics

F. A. Woods.Sociology and Eugenics.249- 
phrases, “alternative inheritance,” “presence or absence,” “particulate 
inheritance,” or “ gametic segregation.” 
Thus, there are two proofs of heredity : First, the correlation ratios 
give all that is to be expected of heredity; and second, an intensive study of 
pedigree charts gives more. It gives something which environment can 
scarcely be thought to have caused. 
An objective study of psychological types of morality reveals the 
strongest contrasts. The historian is at fault who says that such and such 
a king was no worse than his contemporaries, or was only typical of the 
age in which he lived. As a matter of fact, every bad king was very much 
worse than a great many of his contemporaries. Seven of the early kings 
of England were licentious, but there is equally good authority that eleven 
of the others were not. If Richard Coeur de Lion was a libertine because 
of the age in which he lived, what shall we say for William the Conqueror? 
This noted tyrant, with all his faults, was not in the least a libertine. The 
early French kings show the same array of differences. Those described as 
licentious are Charles VI., VII., VIII., and XI., Francis I., Henry III., 
and Henry IV. Those described as chaste are Louis VI., VII., VIII., 
and IX., Philip III., and Charles V. And it is worth while to observe, 
in this instance, the kings who were noted for their chastity all lived in 
an earlier age than the others. In the history of Castile, Alfonso X., 
Sancho IV., Ferdinand IV., Alfonso XI., Peter I., and Henry II., and 
in the history of Aragon, Alfonso I., James I., Peter IV., and John II. 
are pictured in lurid terms—sinister and merciless tyrants. But, in both 
these countries, a somewhat greater number were quite the opposite; and 
there is not the least reason for calling them treacherous, tyrannical, or 
cruel. Some naturally fall in a doubtful class between these two extremes, 
and historical evidence is all too meagre at times, but the point is that 
the sort of report which history gives is just what we should expect from 
heredity as it is understood to-day, and is perfectly explainable by it. 
On the contrary, attempts to measure environment have generally failed. 
For instance, actual reigning sovereigns have had presumably different 
opportunities for eminence, compared with their younger brothers; yet the 
difference in opportunity has made them neither more nor less eminent. 
It has been shown that court atmosphere—the living for several generations 
at one court—has not had any measurable effect on the morality or behaviour 
of princes. That is, any given prince is just as likely to resemble his 
maternal grandfather and maternal great-grandfather who lived in some 
foreign court, as he is his paternal ancestors who lived in the same court. 
Another illustration which shows a failure of differences in surroundings 
to produce differences in the end is drawn from a study of American history. 
It has been claimed that personal distinction in the older civilisations, such 
as exist to-day in European countries, is much favoured by family patronage. 
I thought it would be interesting to compare the facts of family distinction

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