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Burbank, Luther, 1849-1926 / Luther Burbank: his methods and discoveries and their practical application

[Luther Burbank -- the bearing of his work on human life -- on improving the human plant],   pp. [202]-246 PDF (10.0 MB)

Page 214

In very recent years, however, there has been
great progress in the way of ameliorating the en-
vironment, in particular the environment of child-
hood, through improvement in the understanding
of hygiene and the prevention of disease, so that
there is no longer the weeding out of the unfit in
infancy that occurred even a single generation
ago; so the generation of to-morrow are con-
fronted with problems of selection in the breeding
of the human race more urgent than ever before.
The problem is complicated by the fact that
the more intelligent members of the community-
precisely the ones that should be selected for the
propagation of the race-are prone to restrict the
number of their offspring, whereas the less desir-
able parents practice no such restriction.
The obvious tendency of this must be com-
parable to the condition of a flower garden in
which the best plants are restricted to the produc-
tion of one or two seed pods while the poorer
varieties are allowed to scatter their seeds by
indiscriminate thousands.
The plant breeder who permitted such a con-
dition to obtain in his garden would assuredly not
produce improved races of plants.
And the human system which permits such a
condition to obtain cannot hope to better the aver-
age condition of the human race.

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