To measure the variations in the intelligence of the entire population, Galton collected data from all the public schools in the country (Cowan, 515). He also tried to use Darwin’s theory of pangenesis to quantify data on heredity, even with the support of Darwin and failed miserably (Cowan, 515). Galton used binomial expansions to prepare a model for heredity and correlated this concept with nature and nurture dichotomy (Cowan, 515). This attempt also was a failure.
Galton had refuted Darwin’s theory of pangenesis after conducting tests using rabbits and then went on to formulate the concept of nature-nurture dichotomy (Fancher, 89). He repeated his experiments on heredity using same-sex twins as well (Fancher, 89). The next experiment of Galton was with sweat pea, which he himself cultivated and also made his friends to cultivate and send the yield to him for analysis (Fancher, 90; Cowan, 516-517). Parallel to this experiment, an experiment on the height and weight of schoolboys also went on (Cowan, 517). The sweat pea experiment was an attempt to measure “the change in populations over several generations” so that he can support the schoolboy statistics with this secondary data (Cowan, 517). Thus, Galton thought, the variation among one generation and among different generations could be measured.
With his sweat pea experiment, Galton was able to prove that heredity, in general, has a tendency to clutter to the mean or show great variations from the mean. . Human Genetics Problems and Approaches - Eugenics and Francis Galton.
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Waller, John C., “Becoming a Darwinian: The Micro-politics of Sir Francis Galton’s Scientific Career 1859-65”, Annals of Science, Vol.61, No.2, 2004, pp.141-163.
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