Bits and things.

I have (mostly) taken a step back from eugenics. There is an overwhelming abundance of information to try to make sense of.

On one Twitter thread, I’ve posted several articles and videos to talks about or closely related to eugenics, along with other things that are unrelated to eugenics. The Twitter thread represents how my mind wanders. As do the emails I send , this blog and my notebooks etc… Put all of it together and it all might not appear so ‘random’… But there is a chance that it would show that I’m insane or something in that ballpark.

My main notebook. What has become my main notebook since Christmas day has been more or less devoid of anything eugenics-related:

There is a page or two of notes containing what I was up to on Christmas eve in the shopping regions near where I live.

One section has been very recently devoted to copying out a few Bible verses each day, starting with Amos. Which will be followed by Acts… Then I will continue alternating between old and new Testaments, going through the names of the books alphabetically etc…

Some time has been spent copying from a thesaurus.

There is a list of books intended to be read.

A few pages of thoughts triggered by reading the first book/part of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’… I particularly like the chapters ‘A conspiracy unmasked’.. ‘The Old Forest’ and ‘In the house of Tom Bombadil’.

On Thursday just gone, I copied out an old poem/hymn by Bishop Heber titled ‘Epiphany’.

I have started noting down programmes broadcast on C4, E4, More4, 4Music tv channels that contain blatant pro-cannabis  content.   

And a few other bits and things.

There is another notebook that contains notes relevant to the world history of psychiatry. And a few notes about eugenics…

I’ve semi-patiently been waiting for the name of someone to take an interest in. Most of the talks and lectures I have listened to tell pretty much the same stories, mention the same names etc…

Immediately before writing this, just after learning a little bit about the history of psychiatry in Romania, I stumbled upon someone I think will be a good starting point in trying to make sense of why the ‘scientific ‘/statistical studies of heredity and evolution bother me.

I was just  looking in the index of a book on my bookshelf that mainly gets neglected ‘Europe: A History’ by Norman Davies.

There are a handful of pages about Romania which might come in useful at some point.  A few sentences about psychiatry could lead to some interesting further reading.

I searched the index for references to ‘eugenics’ not expecting to find anything. But there was an entry for eugenics…

There are a few generous handfuls of useful information to be gleaned from there.

One name caught my eye in particular… I can’t remember taking note of it before – Karl Pearson.

From P. 793 of Europe by Norman Davies:

“The subsequent career of Evolutionism is well-trodden history. One line of development fostered by Darwin himself came to be known as ‘Social Darwinism’. It preached the ominous proposition not just that the fittest had survived but also that the fittest alone had a right to survive. Another line was concerned with the practical science of ‘improving racial standards’, i.e. of human breeding. This was pioneered by a series of English scholars headed by Sir Francis Galton. . . and came to be known as eugenics. Its later advocates included Galton’s student and biographer, Karl Pearson (1857-1936), a statistician and Marxist, who founded a theory of ‘social imperialism’, and H. S. Chamberlain who publicized their ideas in Germany.”

Karl Pearson has an entry in a copy of ‘Who’s who in British History [The History Today] (2000) ‘

PEARSON, KARL (1857-1936), statistician and biologist. Born in London, Pearson studied mathematics at Cambridge and physics in Germany, and in 1882, after a brief legal career, devoted himself to mathematics. In 1884 he became Professor of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics at University College, London, where he met Francis Galton and W. F. R. Weldon, whose pioneering applications of statistics to the study of heredity and evolution sparked Pearson’s interest. From the 1890s he developed Galton’s statistical methods to test the efficacy of natural selection as propounded by Charles Darwin; that led him to construct some of the most important techniques in modern statistics, including theories of correlation and the chi-squared test (1900). In opposition to William Bateson and others, he doubted that Mendel’s laws of heredity could explain variability in natural populations and believed in gradual and continuous evolution rather than discontinuous variation. He published much of his work in ‘Biometrika’, a journal which he founded in 1901 and used, as its editor, to promote the use of statistics in the biological sciences and the biometrical school of Darwinism. In 1911 he was appointed as the first Galton Professor of Eugenics at University College, London. ‘

I don’t recall his name mentioned before. If he was mentioned in lectures/talks etc… Nothing said about him inspired me to take notes.

I am again taking a step back from intentionally looking at eugenics. But I will be taking an interest in the political beliefs of Karl Pearson

Starting with this little publication that seems to have been printed sometime during the 1880s:

‘The moral basis of socialism’

by Karl Pearson

https://archive.org/details/moralbasisofsoci00peariala

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