Eugenics Not Just a Thing of the Past: Nathaniel Comfort and "The Science of Human Perfection"


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Guest:

Nathaniel Comfort, Science Historian, Author Bio and Contact Info

Listen (3:49) A different viewpoint on genetics

Listen (7:45) Garrod and Galton, two different early visions for genetics

Listen (6:12) An uneasy relationship between medicine and eugenics

Listen (5:27) State control vs individual control

Listen (5:56) Is yours a provocative message?

Listen (1:35) Did early geneticists foresee genetics becoming such big business?

Listen (4:09) Genetics and the 2012 election

Listen (3:34) Genetics not the only tool

Most of us think of the eugenics movement as a blemish on American history. How could they think like that, we ask. But in his latest book, The Science of Human Perfection: How Genes Became the Heart of American Medicine, science historian Nathaniel Comfort talks about the ongoing current of eugenics throughout the last hundred years and more. "Genetics became medical, and medicine became genetic through eugenics," Comfort says recounting the themes of his book. Anyone who makes their livelihood in genetics will find Comfort's meticulous and well researched argument compelling. Comfort says that there are some using the word eugenics again in a positive light, and he says it's his job as historian to record it. Always the skeptic--see his blog at genotopia.scienceblog.com --Comfort urges us at the end of the book to remember that genetics is a powerful tool, but there are other tools as well in the kit.

Nathaniel also weighs in on the presidential election and Prop 37 in California requiring labeling of GMOs.



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