I've been watching Andrew Marr's interesting "The Making of Modern Britain". Lots of fascinating stuff, one section deserves a mention because of the way it flies in the face of the medias love affair with the New-Atheists particularly their simplistic view "Science=good, Religion=bad". Marr leads with a piece on Darwin's cousin Francis Galton. Galton, the scientist wrote in 1869 the book "Hereditary Genius" in which he says,
a man's natural abilities are derived by inheritance, under exactly the same limitations as are the form and physical features of the whole organic world. Consequently, as it is easy, notwithstanding those limitations, to obtain by careful :selection a permanent breed of dogs or horses gifted with peculiar powers of running, or of doing anything else, so it would be quite practicable to produce a highly-gifted race of men by judicious marriages during several consecutive generations.effectively launching the idea of Eugenics into the modern world, which within 100 years led directly to the experiments of Joseph Mengele and the death camps of Nazi Germany. Marr suggests that Galton believed that poverty could be bred out of culture, that only the upper classes should be encouraged to breed. The programme then sets Galton in contrast to Seebohm Rowntree, the Christian, who conducted a study of poverty in York in 1899 the findings of which where published in the book "Poverty" in 1901 and, when taken up by David Lloyd George, became the seeds of British social welfare reform.