Page:Science and Citizenship.djvu/65

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Science and Citizenship


A new Secular order of biologists is beginning to appear in the Eugenists, who seek to develop and apply Mr. Francis Galton's doctrine of Eugenics. It belongs to this doctrine to rescue the "perfect man" from the lumber of archaic survivals, and restore it, not as an idol of a Golden Past, but as a legitimate ideal of the future. Taken over from theology by political philosophers of the eighteenth century, the idea of the Fall of Man from a state of primordial perfection became a powerful solvent of economic and political institutions. An abortive and premature attempt was then made by early biologists and sociologists to use the doctrine as a constructive ideal by transforming it into the conception of a future perfectibility of type. But in the generation which witnessed the classic demonstration of organic evolution by Spencer and Darwin, by Haeckel, Wallace, and Galton, the very idea of perfectibility was discredited. Nevertheless the language of the Fall persisted, and of necessity had its unconscious influence on thought. It was therefore quite natural, if not inevitable, that the place of Man in the animal series should be worked out in terms of descent and not ascent. But the idea of potency latent in organic evolution was bound to manifest itself.

It was Francis Galton who first and most fully made the change from the cosmic and naturalist to the humanist and idealist mood in organic evolution. His doctrine of Eugenics shifts the