This introductory chapter describes the main themes of the book, placing them within the context of the scientific and cultural milieu from which the eugenics movement and its religious supporters emerged. It describes the science of eugenics and its founder, Francis Galton, and the 19th century scientific discoveries upon which the eugenics movement would build, including Darwinian evolutionary theory and Lamarckianism, as well as a brief overview of the conflict between religion and science, as exemplified in the work of John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White. The chapter also discusses the influence of the Progressive Movement on American culture in the early 20th century, and an overview of liberal and modernist Protestantism, Reform Judaism, and liberal Catholicism.
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