Eugenics and evolutionary theory

A question from Askville:

Is eugenics rooted in and inspired by evolutionary theory?

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines eugenics as “the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Developed largely by Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, it fell into disfavor only after the perversion of its doctrines by the Nazis.”

I would say that eugenics is rooted in misunderstanding evolutionary theory…

Evolution theory postulates that only the fittest (meaning, the best adapted to the surrounding environment) survive. Human beings, however, inhabit many natural (and quite a few artificial) environments, so there is no single set of traits that ensures survival in all circumstances. So for the human race to survive, it must remain diverse, if for no other reason, then simply because its habitats are diverse. Eugenicists never understood it…

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