Our neighboring field on the right is that of biology—or more narrowly the field of genetics—but here we find indeed that our relationship is very close, that we possess in fact only one section of the big biological farm, and that, however big and important our corner may be, nevertheless, it is only a corner of the larger field of genetics. Our relationship is indeed here so close that we shall need no fence between us. We have, it is true, somewhat different conditions to contend with, but the same problems to solve, and by retaining our good fellowship, we may hope to receive much aid from this neighbor, whose conditions are in some ways much simpler than our own, and who can, therefore, make more rapid independent progress.
On the other side we are bordered by the field of euthenics. Unfortunately, we have not always, up to the present, been able to get along with this neighbor on the best of terms, hut there is every reason why our relations should be amiable and friendly, cooperative and helpful; we both have the same objects in view—our ideals are the same, but we are not in thorough accord as to the methods by which they may best be attained.
Since the relations between the other biological sciences and eugenics are so obvious, let us examine a little more fully those between eugenics and euthenics. According to one of the foremost exponents of euthenic ideas in this country, euthenics means, "The betterment of living conditions, through conscious endeavor, for the purpose of securing efficient human beings," or "Euthenics deals with race improvement through environment," while "Eugenics deals with race improvement through heredity." Galton himself defines eugenics somewhat more broadly as "The science which deals with all influences that improve and develop the inborn qualities of a race," though he must have had chiefly hereditary influences in mind, since he adds:
The aim of eugenics is to represent each class or sect by its best specimens, causing them to contribute more than their proportion to their next generation; that done, to leave them to work out their common civilization in their own way.
We may conclude, therefore, that the point at issue between eugenics and euthenics is clearly that of the relative influence of heredity and environment in the development of the human race, and as such, we may proceed to discuss it further.
Whatever may have been the degree of controversy in the past and whatever may be the opinion of the practical breeder, the philosopher or the reformer, biologists are practically agreed that the environment can have no hereditary effect on organisms, at least in the crude way commonly inferred under the caption of the "inheritance of acquired
- "Euthenics, the Science of Controllable Environment," by Ellen H. Richards, Boston, 1910.
- Nature, Vol. 70, 1904, p. 82.