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In general, eugenicists were lax in defining the criteria for measuring many of the "traits" they studied, and they were too quick to force their data to fit into simple Mendelian templates. American eugenicists sought genetic explanations of human behavior to the almost total exclusion of environmental or social circumstances. Thus, Davenport amusingly concluded that naval captains were influenced by a gene for "thalassophilia" (love of the sea), rather than childhoods spent around ships. ÂÃ¦More ominously, "pauperism" and "social dependency" were interpreted as genetic problems, rather than a financial ones. ÂÃ¦In retrospect, eugenicists' pedigrees of faulty genes are striking examples of lack of education and opportunity.
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