The law of regression represents the tendency of the extreme elements of the race constantly to seek the middle or mediocre level. For example, the children of superior parents are not likely to be so brilliant as their parents, and the offspring of inferior people are somewhat better than their parents. This “drag of the race” or “pull of ancestors” is no doubt due to the fact that selection has never been practiced, hence the two-thousand nearby ancestors were most likely an average lot of people, and the “pull” is from the higher towards the lower level. The “pull” is a help to the children of inferior parents but is a handicap to the superior.
If long-continued selection of parents were practiced, the regression would disappear and the “pull” would be upward. Selection of parents possessing superior elements of character and the prevention of the unfit and the criminal from propagating their kind, seem the surest hope we have of producing a permanently higher type.
It is well known that the extremes of the race are less fertile than the means; and since fertility is the chief factor in fixing the type, in the absence of selection and repression, the race appears doomed to remain at the dead level of mediocrity. The tremendous significance of this fact is that the welfare of the race—the gradual substitution of a superior for the present mediocre type—rests absolutely upon the willingness and ability of the superior class to do their full share in propagating the race.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What is the principle of heredity as discovered by Mendel? Explain by illustrating how it works out in plants and animals.
2. What practical application is made of this law in producing better seed and better breeds?
3. Illustrate Galton’s law.
4. What significance has these laws in the improvement of the human race?
5. Account for the variability of children in the same family.
6. Why are some children inferior, some superior to their parents?
7. Illustrate the “pull of ancestors.”
8. How might this “pull” be made upward instead of downwards, as it now seems to be?
9. What sacred responsibility rests upon superior people to propagate the race?
10. What are the gospel teachings regarding mixed marriages and the rearing of families?
11. What practical steps can and should be taken to prevent feeble-minded and vicious people from propagating their kind?
Reference: The Jukes-Edwards family by Dr. A.E. Winship. If this book be available, have some member of the class make a report on it. “Training the Human Plant,” and “Being Well Born,” will also be found helpful here.
The Care of the Mother During the Embryonic Period Determines Largely the Future Welfare of the Child