- Mini Bio
- Name: Francis Galton
- Born: 16th February 1822, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, England
- Died: 17th January 1911, Haslemere, Surrey, England
- Alma mater: King's College London, Trinity College Cambridge
- Occupation: Sociologist, psychologist and anthropologist
- Best known for: First terming the word Eugenics and his research on the subject of selective breeding in order to enhance human evolution
- Awards: He was knighted as Sir Francis Galton in 1909. Other notable awards he received were the Gold Medal of the Royal Society in 1886 and the Darwin Medal from the Royal Society in 1902
"This is precisely the aim of Eugenics. Its first object is to check the birth-rate of the Unfit, instead of allowing them to come into being, though doomed in large numbers to perish prematurely"Francis Galton
"General impressions are never to be trusted. Unfortunately when they are of long standing they become fixed rules of life and assume a prescriptive right not to be questioned"Francis Galton
"How is it possible for a population to remain alike in its features, as a whole, during many successive generations, if the average produce of each couple resemble their parents?"Francis Galton
"The policy of the religious world in Europe... by means of persecutions... brought thousands of the foremost thinkers and men of political aptitudes to the scaffold"Francis Galton
"There is a steady check in an old civilisation upon the fertility of the abler classes: the improvident and unambitious are those who chiefly keep up the breed"Francis Galton
"A nation need not be a mob of slaves, clinging to one another through fear, and for the most part incapable of self-government, and begging to be led"Francis Galton
"Those she [the Church] reserved... to breed the generations of the future, were the servile, the indifferent, and again, the stupid"Francis Galton
"By all means, then, let competitive methods be tested at hospitals on a sufficiently large scale to settle their relative merits"Francis Galton
"What nature does blindly, slowly and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly"Francis Galton
"Nature is all that a man brings with himself into the world; nurture is every influence without that affects him after his birth"Francis Galton
"The aim of eugenics is to represent each class or sect by its best specimens"Francis Galton
"One of the effects of civilization is to diminish the rigour of the application of the law of natural selection. It preserves weakly lives that would have perished in barbarous lands"Francis Galton
"Characteristics cling to families"Francis Galton
"Well-washed and well-combed domestic pets grow dull; they miss the stimulus of fleas"Francis Galton
"Exercising the right of occasional suppression and slight modification, it is truly absurd to see how plastic a limited number of observations become, in the hands of men with preconceived ideas"Francis Galton
"It takes a curiously long time for new ideas to become current, and the older men who ought to be capable of taking them in freely, will not do so through prejudice"Francis Galton
"All male animals, including men, when they are in love, are apt to behave in ways that seem ludicrous to bystanders"Francis Galton
"I wish that hospitals could be turned into places for experiment more than they are"Francis Galton
"I object to pretensions of natural equality"Francis Galton
"Whenever you can, count"Francis Galton
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Francis Galton Biography
Francis Galton was bred from good stock. His parents came from families successful in banking, business and scientific specialities such as medicine and biology. A renowned child prodigy who excelled at everything he turned to. As an adult he was prolific in the sheer volume of ground breaking research he conducted in fields as diverse as geography, meteorology, biometrics, genetics and psychology. He was even a cousin of Charles Darwin.
Being related to Darwin it is of no surprise that his book "Origin of Species" had a heavy influence on Galtons thinking. It was the catalyst which led him to his theory of accelerated human evolution through selective eugenics. It is Galtons research into eugenics that he will mostly be remembered for.
After first coining the word eugenics in his 1883 book 'Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development' little did he know the impact it would have during the 20th century. As an educated scientist he looked at ways of improving civilisation without giving a thought to the manipulation that politicians always have and always will use to divide and rule populations to their own benefit.
As well meaning as he probably was, eugenics basically means playing god and defying nature by identifying who can and who cannot breed and at the turn of the twentieth century there were plenty of self righteous people professing to know what is best for a population.
It led to the formation of the American Breeder’s Association in 1903, then the Race Betterment Foundation in 1911 and then the dark side of forced sterilisations of those deemed mentally and physically unsound.
Then there was a certain chap called Adolf Hitler, his eugenics programme to create the master Aryan race sent millions to their deaths in concentration camps, which incidentally were another invention of the British. I'm sure he was rolling in his grave aghast at the depths humanity had plumbed in the name of eugenics, but at least Hitler made eugenics less popular after WWII.
Galton, like me, was a fellow Brummie, he was born and bred in Sparkbrook which makes me wonder what he would make of his eugenics philosophy if he were to witness the ethnic make up of the inner city suburb of Sparkbrook today. Maybe he should have researched human ethnic diversity instead? Where there's a theory there's a quote, so this is my compilation of 20 of the best Francis Galton quotes
Quotes About Francis Galton
The psychologist Daniel Kahneman made this observation:
"It took Francis Galton several years to figure out that correlation and regression are not two concepts – they are different perspectives on the same concept. The general rule is straightforward but has surprising consequences: whenever the correlation between two scores is imperfect, there will be regression to the mean"
An eminent naturalist, J. Arthur Thomson described him as:
"the first person to approach the Darwinian problem from a statistical point of view"
The scientist and writer Samuel Arbesman shared this assessment:
"Galton ... combined analysis and mathematical techniques to great effect, and in so doing, brought many new facts to light. It is part of a grand tradition that, especially in the fields of sociology and psychology, has unleashed a great many intriguing and clever experiments"
The author Stephen M. Stigler said this of him:
"To Galton, correlation meant what we might call today intraclass correlation-two variables are correlated because they share a common set of influences. Galton seems to have only conceived of correlation as a positive relationship; negative correlations play no role in his discussions"