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21st Century Eugenics, Scientific Racism and the Global Health Community

June 6 @ 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

Register here to join us online at 1pm on 6 June for this LIDC webinar on Eugenics and scientific racism with Dr Rebecca Sear.


Eugenics and scientific racism are ideologies that undermine the principle of human equality and have caused significant harm throughout history. Despite being roundly disproved, these ideologies continue to pose a threat to human dignity and social justice. Eugenics is the belief in improving the genetic quality of the human population, often through selective breeding and sterilisation, while scientific racism is the use of pseudoscientific methods to justify and promote racial superiority and discrimination.

As Professor Rebecca Sear explains, complex human traits and behaviours cannot easily be bred into (or out of) human populations. Eugenics is ideology, not science. Yet despite this being clear prior to World War II, the Nazi regime used these ideologies to justify atrocities.


So why do major academic publishers with influential and respected scientists on their editorial board, regularly publish academic literature promoting the idea that people in sub-Saharan Africa have cognitive ability so low that they are, on average, on the verge of intellectual impairment? Indeed, the national IQ dataset, which claims to provide data on average cognitive ability in nation-states is scientifically flawed and has been used to explicitly argue for a genetically-determined racial hierarchy of intelligence. As Professor Sear writes “this  research has not just been confined to academia, but has  done real-world harm; work using the dataset was cited in the manifesto of the terrorist who murdered 10 people in a racially motivated attack in Buffalo, US in 2022.”

About our speaker: 

Rebecca SearDr. Rebecca Spear (Brunel University) is and Interdisciplinary evolutionary behavioural scientist. She is a Founder member and currently President of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association.As a demographer, anthropologist and human behavioural ecologist, she uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand human behaviour, incorporating an evolutionary theoretical framework into her research. She is keen to promote a greater understanding of evolutionary explanations for human behaviour in the social and health sciences.

About our moderator: 

CheffernanProfessor Claire Heffernan is Director of LIDC and Principle Investigator or the UKRI GCRF Action Against Stunting Hub. She is a veterinarian with training in the social sciences. As  Head of Infection and Immunity at Bristol University she initiated the Risk and Resilience Hub which explores four inter-linked critical global challenges: climate change and health, antimicrobial resistance, sustainable food systems and disease emergence.


Join us on 6 June at 1pm. We have the honour of  hosting this online seminar at which Professor Sear will discuss Eugenics, scientific racism, and why we should be concerned. There will be time for discussion. 

Attendance is free but registration is mandatory.

Featured mage by Laurent Arroues from Pixabay

In-text images: Adobe


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Charine John, LIDC.

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