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Pichot examines the relationship between science, politics and ideology through an analysis of specific cases: from Nazism and the concentration camps to the various eugenicist research programmes launched or financed by eminent scientific organizations.
Racist eugenic ideas were once prevalent among the scientific community, despite a patent lack of supporting evidence. As today’s scientists and writers applaud the advance of science, the egregious mistakes made along the way are too often forgotten. Now, with the mapping of the human genome and rapid advances in gene therapies, Pichot warns that biologists are increasingly emboldened to venture into the realms of public policy and politics. If moral philosophers abandon these fields, it is all too possible that the lights of a misguided science will resurrect the dream of a ‘pure society’.
“André Pichot’s work has the merit of gathering together a great deal of information on the forgotten, ‘uncomfortable’, massive international presence [of eugenics].”—Le Monde
“The historian of science André Pichot shows here the extent to which [Darwin and Hitler] profoundly marked social and political history ... A welcome warning against the dream of purity in social matters.”—Le Nouvelle Economiste
“André Pichot is an excellent historian ... Pichot analyses [this complex history of eugenics] with finesse. He destroys the false ideas, the ‘fables’ which were completely invented to justify a priori ideas. A very rich book, which is based on abundant documentation.”—Etudes