Scheinfeld Amram - You and Heredity

Author : Scheinfeld Amram
Title : You and Heredity
Year : 1939

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Assisted in, the genetic sections by MORTON D. SCHWEITZER, Ph.D. Research GENETICIST, CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDICAL COLLEGE. ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR With four color-plates and seventy-five drawings, maps and diagrams. Including an original study of The Inheritance of Musical Talent. To MY FATHER AND THE MEMORY OF MY MQTHER. PREFACE MosT books on scientific subjects addressed to the general public are written from the inside look._ing out-that is to say, from the viewpoint of the scientist looking out, and not infrequently clown, to the reader. This book is written from the outside in-from the viewpoint of a layman peering into the laboratories of the scientists (in this case those concerned with the study of human heJ;edity) and reporting back to others what he has seen, heard and learned. The two viewpoints differ in many respects, and especially is this true of the subject here dealt with. The scientist studying heredity is preoccupied chiefly with the processes by which the findings in his field were achieved and which pave the way for future discoveries. ~en, and if, he stops to consider the practical aspects of his science in relation to human life, he is inclined to think in terms of broad averages, of large masses and many generations, and of individuals as mere fragments in a limitless mosaic. But the layman is interested primarily in himself and in the immediate application of the scientific findings to his own life and to his own little world which will come to an end when he passes on. . The difference in viewpoints underlies the motivation and, 1 hope, the justification for this book. Had any scientist made e:asily available to me all the facts about human heredity which 1 wished to know, and which many years of writing for the general public have taught me that others wish to know, this book would never have been written, nor should 1 have had the temerity to think of writing it. When 1 began my study of the subject, it was solely with the practical purpose of utilizing sorne facts about human heredity in a projected work of fiction. Before very long 1 discovered that the findings in this field so completely shattered my own preconceived notions and the ideas held by all but an initiated few, as to obliterate my original plans. 1 became convinced that the most interestmg and important task before me was to acquire as thorough a knowledge of this subject as 1 could and then, in sorne way, to communicate what 1 had learned to others. The subsequent steps included my enrolment (at a mature age) for a college course in genetics and the setting aside of ali other activity for severa! years to devote myself to further study and research. The first fruits came with a series of articles on human heredity which 1 wrote for a popular magazine. These proved to my own satisfaction that the subject could be expounded to laymen without putting them through the technical mazes of meiosis and mitosis, the formation of spindle fibers and polar bodies, of linkage, cross-over, nondisjunction of chromosomes, tetraploidy, etc., ali considered essentials in almost every college course and treatise oq gene tics. From the articles grew the plan for a book, but even when the contract for it was signed with my publishers, nothing like the present work was contemplated. That it did grow to its present proportions was due to many factors, not the !east of which was the quite unexpected aid and encouragement giv:en it · by the very scientists and other authorities who, 1 had feared, would look askance at such a project undertaken by one outside their fold. Thus, weil aware that a layman writing on a scientific subject must, like Caesar's wife, be-or try to be-above suspicion, 1 am heartened by the thought that in every phase of this book 1 have had expert counsei and guidance, and that, as a happy consequence, my acknowledgments of indebtedness are many. In my toddling steps 1 was aided by Dr. Henry J. Fry of the New School For Social Research. Later, as the necessity for an active scientific associate grew imperative, through the friendly offices of Prof. Donald C. Lancefield, then of Columbia University and now of Queens College, 1 was brought in touch with Dr. Morton D. Schweitzer of the Cornell University Medical College. Dr. Schweitzer's participation in this enterprise proved one of the happiest events that could have befallen it. To him feil the task of gathering most of the material for the chapters dealing with hereditary diseases and defects, and of preparing the data for the extensive "black" gene lists; of working out genetic ratios for the various "forecast" tables and other parts involving genetic predictions; and in general, of casting a trained eye over all the facts and statements in the book coming within the scope of his knowledge as a geneticist. 1 can say unreservedly that without his enthusiastic cooperation, painstaking research and meticulous editing, this book would have fallen short of such scientific validity as it may now possess. Because human genetics is correlated with all other sciences dealing with human beings, it was necessary to seek further for information and counsel from physicians, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists and various other experts. This aid was so graciously and generously given wherever sought that every part of this book can be said to have had the benefit in its preparation of careful reading, discussion, criticism or editing by some qualified expert. With both pride and gratitude 1 therefore acknowledge my great indebtedness to the following: Prof. Lancefield, for reading all the first twenty chapters; Dr. George W. Henry, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College, for reading and discussing "Sick Minds," "The Twilight Sexes" and "Sexual Behavior"; Dr. Walter Bromberg, Senior Psychiatrist, Bellevue Psychiatrie Hospital, and Psychiatrist of the New York Criminal Courts, for editing the aforementioned three chapters and "Enter the. Villain"; Dr. Alfred J. Lotka, of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, for editing and aiding, with members of his staff, in the preparation of charts for "How Long Will You Live?", and to Prof. Raymond Pearl, of Johns Hopkins University, for reading and discussing that chapter; Dr. Dwight F. Chapman, of the Department of Psychology, Columbia University, for helpful criticisms and suggestions regarding "The Battle of the IQ's" and "Personality"; Prof. CarlE. Seashore, of the University of Iowa, for reading "Musical Talent" and giving pertinent advice regarding the original study presented therein; Dr. Gene Weltfish, of the Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, for her suggestions regarding "Race" and her invaluable aid in the preparation of maps for that chapter; and to Frederick Osborn, Associate in Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, for reading and discussing "Ancestry," "The Giddy Stork," "Eugenics: Negative" and "Program for Tomorrow." · (In all of these acknowledgments no responsibility is implied on the part of the individuals named for any errors of fact or judgment that may sti.ll have survived in the text. The responsibility for any failings of commission or omission, or for any opinions expressed in this book, 1 accept fully as my own.) On behalf of Dr. Schweitzer, as well as on my behalf, thanks are extended to the following who discussed with 'him special phases of disease inheritance: Dr. James Ewing, Director of the Memorial Hospital for the Treatment of Cancer; Dr. May Wilson, Associate Professor of Pediatries at Cornell University Medical College (childhood rheumatism); Dr. Eugene Opie, l'rofessor of Pathology at Cornell ( tuberculosis); and also to Drs. Wimam Schmidt, Harold Aaron, Emanuel Klein, Nathan Kaliss and Emil Smith. Overseas our thanks go to Prof. J. B. S. Haldane of the University of London who, in editing this book for British publication, made many important suggestions by which we have profited. For severa! other corrections we may thank Prof. S. J. Holmes of the University of California. . For discussion of problems relating to intelligence 1 am indebted to Prof. Gertrude H. Hildreth of Teachers College, Columbia University; Dr. Beth L. Wellman of the University of Iowa; Dr. Donah B. Lithauer, Psychologist of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, New York; and Dr. 1. Newton Kugelmass. Special thanks, which 1 am sure will be echoed by all music lovers, are due to the scores of musicians and singers who contributed data for the study of the Inheritance of Musical Talent, to their concert managements and persona! representatives who aided in enlisting their cooperation, and to Ernest Hutcheson, President of the Juilliard lnstitute; also, for the auxiliary study of Voice Types, to Miss Rose Hdd arid members of the Schola Cantorum. To Prof. Gregory G. Pincus and to the Anatomical Record 1 am indebted for permission to reproduce the photograph of the human ovum; to Dr. Seymour F. Wilhelm, of Beth Israel and Montefiore Hospitals, New York City, for the slide from which the spermatozoa photograph was made; to Prof. Lewis M. Terman of Stanford University and to the McGraw-Hill Company, for permission to use material from "Sex and Personality"; and to the Macmillan Company for permission to quote from "Human Heredity," by Baur, Fischer and Lenz. My memory has undoubtedly fàiled me with regard to others who have been of great help. Also, while 1 do not name them, members of my family and many friends know how deep is my gratitude for innumerable services and considerate acts which contributed toward the production of this book. Finally, 1 wish to acknowledge my debt to all the many geneticists1 scientists and research workers from whose painstaking studies 1 have gleaned, and in the conveyance of whose findings my r8le has been merely that of a reporter. lt is my hope that the indebtedness will be repaid in sorne measure by such added interest as this book may stimulate in their work. To acknowledge my great debt to my publishers would be superfluous, for the make-up of this book itself will speak for their faith in this enterprise and the unlimited support and encouragement which they gave it. New York City, June 1, 1939. ...

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