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ResourcesResearch IntegrityWant to do better science? Admit you’re not objective – Nature (Angela Saini | March 2020)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Want to do better science? Admit you’re not objective – Nature (Angela Saini | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 09, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 19, 2020 / , , , , , , ,
 


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When science is viewed in isolation from the past and politics, it’s easier for those with bad intentions to revive dangerous and discredited ideas.

One of the world’s leading universities — University College London (UCL) — has completed an inquiry into its support for the discredited pseudoscience of eugenics. Funds linked to Francis Galton, a racist who believed it was possible to improve the British population through selective breeding, and who founded the Eugenics Records Office at UCL in 1904, continue to line the university’s coffers to the value of more than £800,000 (US$1 million).

An important idea, which should inform practice – especially when we comment on social factors.

The inquiry’s report, released on 28 February, recommended renaming lecture theatres and buildings bearing Galton’s name and that of another prominent geneticist. Although this is welcome, it does not acknowledge just how much yesterday’s mistakes survive in modern science.
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As I found while writing my 2019 book Superior: The Return of Race Science, geneticists today rightly treat eugenics as a laughable proposition, and the concept of biological race — the belief that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups with meaningful differences between them — as easily debunked nonsense. But this ignores how these ideas manifest in the real world. They can only be truly understood as age-old intellectual threads, embedded in politics as much now as ever.
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