Full text: Problems in eugenics

F. A. Woods. Sociology and Eugenics.3* 
the social and political functions of the constituents of the nation, the 
directing power being supplied chiefly by the invaders of northern race, 
who formed the dominant class among the southern indigenous Mediterranean 
population. In each case, the nothern elements grew gradually less,, 
through such agencies as losses in war, the selective action of a differential 
birth rate, and by racial merging into the more numerous southern stock. 
The outburst of artistic genius and intellectual pre-eminence which 
marked the Renaissance in North Italy may perhaps be due to a similar 
racial composition, the northern elements being supplied by the descendants 
of the barbarian invaderĀ» of the later Roman Empire. 
Great Britain has also similar racial elements. The Mediterranean 
race, spreading up the shores of the Atlantic, enters largely into the 
composition of the people of the south-west. The northern element, 
immigrant from the shores of the Baltic and North Sea, is strongest in the 
east and north. 
We know that there are now at work two influences affecting the 
average racial character of the English nation; (i) the increase in the 
urban population at the expense of the rural, (2) the voluntary restriction 
of the birth rate which affects certain sections of all classes more than 
others. It is probable that both these changes tend to favour selectively 
the southern racial elements at the expense of the northern. Eventually, 
the present structure of society may become unstable in consequence of this 
racial alteration, and the necessary readjustment, in its turn, will contribute a 
chapter to history. 
By Frederick Adams Woods, M.D., 
Harvard Medical School. 
The relative influence of heredity and environment has long been a 
subject for debate, but, for the most part, such debates have not been profitĀ­ 
able. It is true that heredity cannot be separated from environment if only 
one individual be considered; but as soon as we inquire into the causes of 
the differences between man and man, it is perfectly possible to gain real 
light on this subject, so important to the advocates of eugenics. Everything 
must be made a problem of differences. The mathematical measurements 
of resemblances between relatives close of kin will sometimes serve. At 
other times, the correlation co-efficient is of no avail, and only an intensive 
study of detailed pedigrees will bring out such differences as cannot be due 
to the action of surroundings.

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