Majority on UCL's Eugenics Inquiry Withdraw Support for Chair's Report

Review of UCL Eugenics Inquiry: Reasons to Reject Recommendations From Chair’s (Minority) Report

The Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL presented the chair’s report on February 2020 to UCL President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur. He received that report, but he also received the alternative MORE group recommendations, which were supported by a majority of members (signed by 10 of 16 members) on the committee. The MORE group recommendations offer a “least common denominator” approach. After agreement…

Historical analysis shows Karl Pearson was a racist nativist supremacist for Anglo-Saxon stock

Review of UCL Eugenics Inquiry: Why I Didn’t Sign the Eugenics Report

I served on UCL’s Investigation into the History of Eugenics. I withdrew my support for the chair’s report, which is published today. Together with nine colleagues also serving on this committee, we’ve created a set of recommendations arising from our work that we have presented to UCL’s President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur. This is the MORE subgroup of this Inquiry, and we constitute 10/16ths…

UCL's Eugenics Inquiry failed to seriously investigate teaching and learning

Review of UCL Eugenics Inquiry: Failure on Teaching and Study

The Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL was expected to report on how we teach and study eugenics in the university. This instruction about teaching was included in our Terms of Reference: “To examine the current status of the teaching and study of eugenics at UCL” (Terms of Reference, 2018) We didn’t do the job. The Inquiry collected a tiny amount of anecdotal…

Student protests during scandal over London Conference on Intelligence (LCI) January 2018

Review of UCL Eugenics Inquiry: Failure on London Conference on Intelligence

The chair’s report from the Investigation into the History of Eugenics at UCL is published today. It did not investigate the London Conference on Intelligence (LCI). That’s odd. I thought that Inquiry was created to get answers about the LCI and to investigate if there was a larger body of activity, or supporting mindset, at the university to support it. Does UCL harbour a network…

University College London (UCL) Wilkins Building at night

UCL’s Eugenics Inquiry: Terms of Reference

The “Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL,” also referred to as the “Eugenics Inquiry,” and the “Eugenics Investigation” operated at University College London (UCL) between November 2018 and February 2020. It was a university committee appointed by UCL President and Provost, Professor Michael Arthur. It held three town meetings: March 2019, October 2019, and February 2020. I served on this committee. Terms of Reference…

UCL Galton Lecture Theatre - plaque on door - ProfJoeCain

Time Has Run Out for Francis Galton at UCL

Francis Galton was a bad piece of work. His racist, nativist, supremacist views are antithetical to UCL’s vision and values. He is no role model for me. He should be no role model for you. Time for him to go. I call on UCL to remove all references to Galton in our commemorative practices, such as names used on the estate and names used for…

Historical analysis shows Karl Pearson was a racist nativist supremacist for Anglo-Saxon stock

Eugenics, Karl Pearson, and the Legacy of Anglo-Saxon Nativism at UCL

In September 2019 I gave a paper, “Eugenics, Karl Pearson, and the Legacy of Anglo-Saxon Nativism at UCL,” at a conference organised by the Research Group on University History held at the University of Manchester. In essence, it argues (1) Karl Pearson promoted a racist, nativist, supremacist programme favouring his vision of Anglo-Saxon stock, (2) he took advantage of his position within the university to…

Profesor Karl Pearson at desk in Francis Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics

Karl Pearson and Mental Deficiency Act 1913 (UK)

What role did UCL biometrician and eugenicist Karl Pearson have in passage of this Act? Reading Angelique Richardson’s 2014 TLS piece on the Mental Deficiency Act (UK), effective 1914 repealed 1968, sparked me into condensing some research on that Act and possible involvement by Karl Pearson in its development and passage. We know a lot about the Mental Deficiency Act (UK). Wikipedia offers a quick…

George Gaylord Simpson, 1956 (courtesy American Philosophical Society Library).

George Gaylord Simpson’s “Night Thoughts on Leaving the American Museum,” 1959

George Gaylord Simpson (1902-1984) was a leader in twentieth century vertebrate palaeontology, and he contributed to making the American Museum of Natural History a powerhouse in the field. In 1959, Simpson left his job at the museum in a bitter dispute with its management. Simpson never published a rationale for his resignation, but he secretly wrote one. After his first day unemployed, Simpson penned a…

Three snouters: Archirrhinos haeckelii, Rhinolimacius conchicauda, Nasobema lyricum (Order Rhinogradentia), from Stumpke (1961).

The Snouters and Gerolf Steiner (alias Harald Stumpke)

Every scientific discipline has inside jokes. Why? Because they perform social or intellectual work. In this post, Professor Joe Cain links jokelore to his project on one of biology’s most famous jokes, the Rhinogradentia, or “snouters”. This page supports a research paper published on the subject and provides additional materials. Historical research paper on Rhinogradentia Joe Cain. (2018). In My Tribe: What the Snouters (and…