Saturday, 7 September 2019
Sir Ronald Fisher, HIGHLY NEGATIVE EUGENICIST.
The Elimination of Mental Defect (Eugenics Reviews, 1924-25)
The great statistician and geneticist Sir Ronald Fisher was a positive eugenicist when he helped found the Cambridge Undergraduate Eugenics Society in 1911, Several of his contemporaries at Cambridge advocated Nietzschian ideas on the development of a superhuman race, the Ubermensch, However, Fisher was a negative eugenicist by 1924. In the Elimination of Mental Defect, he used some very dodgy, subjective statistics which purported to justify the immense and early benefits of the segregation and sterilization of the feebleminded.
For a detailed account of Fisher's contributions to Eugenics, and their interaction with Fisher's pioneering but also suspect contributions at Rothampstead Agricultural Research Station to the Statistics of Crop Breeding, see Chapter 3 of Pauline Mazumdar's splendid book Eugenics, Human Genetics and Human Failings (1992),
According to Rodrigo Cruz's 1980 Ph.D. Dissertartion
At the roots of Fisher's intellectual motivations, such as the development of population statistics and genetics, was his concern with the phenomenon he termed ‘differential fertility’. To him, the high reproductive rates of genetically unfit humans for life in society were the main cause of the problems that humankind faced at that time - and would also be the reason for the decline of civilizations throughout history. The fittest needed higher rates of reproduction, and to Fisher, reversing these indexes was vital to the maintenance of civilization.
FISHER WAS STILL A EUGENICIST IN 1952. In his response to UNESCO in THE RACE CONCEPT he expresses the opinion that men were not created biologically equal
See also the references in Scott's three helpful comments (below)