Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/190

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trol, that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations, either physically or mentally."

Mr. Galton realized that nowhere is a scientific groundwork more essential than in eugenics. Compared with the dilettante in eugenics the quack in medicine is nothing in his power for harm. The danger reef lies in its attractions to the superficial and the hasty.

To the fundamental requisites of race improvement Francis Galton contributed in a two-fold manner. He gave much of the best vigor of his own long working lifetime and in his old age provided for its wider growth by endowing a university laboratory where the work might be continued along the lines which he began.

In the early sixties little more than superstition reigned concerning the influence of heredity and environment in man. Scientific data were almost unknown. Galton not only backed up his arguments by the best available evidence, but always dissatisfied with this and believing that "the basis of science is exact measurement" he gathered fresh quantitative data and taught others to do the same. Realizing that statistics "are the only tools by which an opening can be cut through the formidable thicket of difficulties that bars the path of those who pursue the science of man" he worked out methods for the more refined analysis of statistical data, out of which a whole modern science has grown.

If one turns from the work which he personally did to that of his laboratory it need only be said that if those laboratories to be patterned after this in other universities make good as it has done under the direction of his friend, Professor Pearson, a few years must show a marked advance in our knowledge of many of the basal problems of biology and sociology. From the Francis Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics have come, to mention only major topics, researches into the inheritance of the insane and tubercular diathesis, into the physique and intelligence of school children, into the influence of parental alcoholism on the physique and intelligence of the offspring, into the relative significance of constitution and infection in tuberculosis.

When a theory or a social propaganda wins its ways to public notice the historical critic seeks to trace it to its origin. Rarely is the credit of conception to be assigned to one man, although almost alone he may have compelled the world's attention.

The ideal of eugenics is no exception to this rule. The retrospectively inclined may look back as far as Plato. But the undeniable fact remains that it is Francis Galton who has forced thinking men to take these matters into consideration. The explanation is not far to seek. To-day men demand more than will-o'-the-wisp ideals. The dreamer who conceives and the engineer who executes are both essential and both to be honored, but for efficiency and progress their talents must be combined. Once the idealist, the prophet, the man religiously