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Science, a human endeavor, seems to be ever-struggling between the possibilities of technology and the limitations of ethics. No other single event in the history of science demonstrates how the use of data and evidence were construed to massage ethics to fuel a reproductive war against the lower classes. As the introduction to the issue states, "...new immigrants were seen as troublemakers, and the eugenicists purported to have data showing that the problem was in their genes. The solution to the problem was simple -- selective immigration restriction." The somber topic of eugenics is covered exceptionally well in this website from the Dolan DNA Learning Center, a part of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. A series of links leads visitors to exhibits highlighting such issues as the scientific origins of eugenics, the social origins that married social Darwinism with genetics, sterilization and marriage laws, and much more. Another link to a related site, DNA Interactive, further stresses that while the eugenics movement has since passed, "Coming to grips with the past failings of eugenics may allow us to move with greater confidence into the new gene age." Certainly a fascinating look at a troubling era in social history, this site offers a wealth of background knowledge as well as posing critical questions for today and beyond.
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