At any rate, despite his immense contributions in many areas, Galton’s forays into eugenics have led to his current demonization. According to the Evening Standard and the Telegraph, University College students have started a “Galton must fall” campaign, apeing the “Rhodes must fall” campaign at Oxford. Presumably, if examination of Galton’s legacy shows him to have pernicious and influential ideas about selective breeding of humans, his legacy should be effaced. As two students wrote on the UCL History blog:Here is the Cntl-Left at work. If Galton were wrong, they would be content to publish his errors. No, they must censor and ostracize him.Francis Galton was beyond any doubt tremendously innovative. Some of his scientific output, especially in the fields of meteorology and statistics, is still valid today. Yet Galton’s legacy can be open to question and debate. His endorsement of selective breeding can arguably be construed as paving the way for the ideology of racial hygiene in Nazi Germany. His pivotal role in the eugenic movement, though firmly rooted in the broader assumptions of his age, shocks many of our contemporaries. Whether or not Galton must fall, we are in no position to judge. But it is our belief that this debate needs to be informed by historical research.
Galton was a scientist. I don't know about his politics, but apparently he had some ideas for improving the human condition. He was scientific and honest and sincere, as far as I know. Blaming him for the Nazis is like blaming Einstein for the Nazis.