Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/37

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33
HEREDITY

HEREDITY, CULPABILITY, PRAISEWORTHINESS, PUNISHMENT AND REWARD
By Dr. C. B. DAVENPORT
CARNEGIE INSTITUTION OF WASHINGTON, COLD SPRING HARBOR, N. Y.

MODERN studies in heredity are yielding results whose social bearings can not be overestimated; and of these bearings not the least significant are those that relate to responsibility. To make these bearings clear we have, first of all, to grasp the current views about man.

It is often stated that man is a gregarious species; this illustrates the old point of view. Now we say: " Man is a congeries of elementary species or biotypes and hybrids between such; and some or most of these biotypes are gregarious." It is the necessary abandonment of the view that mankind is fundamentally uniform and homogeneous that involves such a change of our fundamental conceptions. There is, indeed, no statement that can be made about man that is universally true; and here is where our social codes, our laws, our works on ethics find their real limitations. We hear it said: " Human nature is pretty much the same the world over"—yes, in its variety.

Let us consider some of the evidence for such biotypes in man. Every one is familiar with the ordinary anthropological races; the white-skinned, black-skinned, brown-skinned, yellow-skinned and red-skinned. And inside each of these races no less marked subraces or strains may be distinguished. Take the white race alone. There are the blue-eyed subrace of Scandinavia and the brown-eyed subrace of the Mediterranean coast; the straight-haired western Finns and the curly-haired strains found in spots of Scotland; the tall strain of Ayrshire and Galloway and the short strain of Polish Jews; the dolicocephalic Corsicans and the brachycephalic Dalmatians. Coming to America we find, similarly, in southern California that a subrace that is nonresistant to tuberculosis and bronchitis has been partially segregated; in a valley of the Berkshire Mountains is isolated a nearly pure strain of feeble-mindedness, including much epilepsy and migraine; in eastern Massachusetts is a partially pure strain of deaf-mutism. We have evidence of localities (frequently much inbred) where are being isolated more or less pure-bred strains of albinos, of dwarfs, of syndactyls and polydactyls, of the non-resistant to cancer, of myopics, of hermaphrodites, of melancholies, of eminent scholars (e. g., the Dwight-Edwards-Woolsey complex of the Connecticut Valley), of military men and statesmen (e. g., the "first families" of Virginia), of sea captains and naval officers (e. g., the Hull-Foote family of Connecticut) and so on. Such "families" have just the same