Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Another Science Question "Settled For All Time" By a Federal Court

Thanks to Mike Gene, here is a quote from the textbook Principles of Heredity, published in 1935. It concerns the Buck v. Bell decision:

The constitutionality of eugenic sterilization has been settled for all time by the famous case of Buck vs. Bell. In this case Carrie Buck, an incorrigible feeble-minded girl in the State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-minded of Virginia, was recommended by the superintendent for sterilization. The case was appealed to the Circuit court of the county, which sustained the decision of the Board of Directors of the state institution. The case was then carried to the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, which sustained the law. Finally, it was carried to the Supreme Court of the United States. On May 2, 1927, Mr. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the decision of the court, upholding the constitutionality of the statute. In this decision appeared the now famous phrase “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

I would put Judge Jones' decision in Kitzmiller right up there with Buck v. Bell. I anticipate that it will have a similar legacy.

For some even more offensive quotes (promoting eugenics and scientific racism) from the textbook that John Scopes used to teach a pseudo-scientific blend of evolution and eugenics, read here. (By the way, those quotes were conveniently left out of the movie Inherit the Wind.)

Related posts:

Why School Boards and Teachers Should Make Decisions Based On Edwards v. Aguillard, and Ignore Kitzmiller

Celebrating the Arrangement of Deck Chairs On the Titanic (Why the Kitzmiller decision may not last long)


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