Eugenics, the science of detecting and eliminating genetic diseases in humans, is the subject of the next Reynolds Historical Lecture at UAB at noon Thursday, Nov. 20 in the Lister Hill Library Ireland Room
Michael Egnor, M.D., vice chair of neurosurgery at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, will examine “Why We Got Eugenics: the Old and New Science of Evolutionary Medicine.” It is free and open to the public. Box lunches will be available on a first come basis.
Proponents of eugenics advocate prenatal testing, genetic counseling, birth control and genetic engineering as a means to produce stronger, healthier humans. Those opposed suggest it can lead to discrimination, forced sterilization or even genocide.
“Historically, eugenics was quite popular and considered progressive in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, but fell out of favor with the rise of Nazism during the advent of World War II,” said Michael Flannery, director of Historical Collections at UAB. “Founded by Sir Francis Galton, the term eugenics comes from the Greek roots for ‘good’ and ‘generation’ or ‘origin’ and was first used to refer to the science of heredity and good breeding in about 1883.”