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Genetic Criminal Traits 1925

Posted October 12, 2013 by admin with No Comments in 1920's


Machines have been designed to determine mechanically for parents what the inherited traits of their children will be. This latest innovation in the field of genetics is announced in the annual report of the Chicago municipal court’s psychopathic division, we are told by Owen D. Scott of the Consolidated Press Association, Chicago. He says:

“Guess-work, the report emphasizes, plays no part in heredity. Characteristics of parents in all of their intricate multiplicity are passed on to children with mathematical precision. What the psychopathic division of the municipal court has done is to start determining by machine what the result in children will be from the crossing of parental traits. One machine, given the out-standing characteristics of the parents, determines what the heritage pattern of the offspring might be. A second machine shows how children of dissimilar parents will average in the traits that they develop.  Both involve complicated mathematical determinations. Inheritance follows definite unchangeable lines. Should parents be alike in all except one characteristic, one-quarter of the children would resemble the father, one-quarter the mother, and half of them will resemble the combined traits of the father and mother. But characteristics vary so widely and run back through so many generations that inheritance becomes a vastly complicated mathematical problem. The psychopathic laboratory of the municipal court, established by Chief Justice Harry Olsen is particularly determining the inheritability of criminal traits, and for that purpose its machines are used. The laboratory has found, as eugenics teaches, that bad strains in families carry through generations with the same tenacity that good strains do, cropping out from time to time with regularity.”

Source: The Literary Digest for September 12, 1925

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