Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title



Lawyer and eugenicist Madison Grant (1865-1937) is known for his book ‘The Passing of the Race,’ subtitled ‘The Racial Basis of European History’ (1916). Adolph Hitler praised the work and Nazi lawyers cited it in their defense at the Nuremberg Trials. A statement from Madison’s book referenced at the trials is: “The laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race.” Nearly a century later science writer Nicholas Wade, in ‘A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History’ (2014), dismisses eugenics as a pseudoscience. However, he holds onto the idea that “race” is a meaningful term and thereby takes sides in an ongoing debate. There is a general divide today, as in the past, on whether “race” is real or is a social construct. This article compares the two books on the basis of history, geography, culture, religion, environment, and science. The conclusion is that while genetic differences do exist among and between populations, they are not significant in the final analysis.

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