During the 1860s, as eugenics and the focus on heredity began, Darwinism was a liberal and secular ideology of social reform. In much of the same way eugenics grew out of Darwinism, a religion grew out of eugenics. Eugenics was observed and venerated in much of the same way religion has been throughout history. Due to the strong emphasis on science, a shift in spirituality took place and many replaced scientific values as surrogates for Christianity. During the first three decades of the present century, eugenics was a sort of secular religion for many who dreamed of a society in which each child might be born endowed with vigorous health and an able mind. Francis Galton was an agnostic and found in eugenics an emotional equivalent for religion. "An enthusiasm to improve the race is so noble in its aim," he declared, "that it might well give rise to the sense of a religious obligation." He foresaw that eugenics might become some sort of national creed in much of the same way that institutions such as polygamy (among Moslems), celibacy (among Catholic priests), and caste marriages (among Hindus) became accepted standards (Haller 1984:17-8). It isn't surprising that eugenics developed such a spiritual following. The success that groups have had in using religion to rally support and blind devotion to social movements is a continuing historical phenomenon.
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Audra Milligan @ 2001