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Preaching EugenicsReligious Leaders and the American Eugenics Movement$
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Christine Rosen

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195156799

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/019515679X.001.0001

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(p.183) Conclusion
Preaching Eugenics

Christine Rosen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This conclusion summarizes the key arguments of the book, including the many assumptions it challenges about the history of eugenics and the history of American religious leaders in the early half of the 20th century. It is clear that American religious leaders embraced eugenics when they departed from the traditional tenets of their faith, and that they did so in an effort to find new methods of social reform to suit a time of often-bewildering social and cultural change. This chapter also ties the history of eugenics to current debates in bioethics, revealing the continuities and discontinuities in hereditarian thinking from the previous century into the present. It is argued that the peculiar history of eugenics in the United States in the early-to-mid 20th century has fundamentally shaped the way genetic technologies is discussed in the twenty-first century. An understanding of that history — particularly the history of the ethical and theological debates that occurred — is necessary as we enter a new era of genetic science.

Keywords:   religion and science, eugenic family studies, bioethics, ethics, genetics, reproductive technologies, Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, sex selection

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