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8   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

"_separates under two distinct heads the innumerable elements of which personality is composed"? He noted that twins are of two kinds-those born physically and mentally alike, and those born as unlike as ordinary brothers and sisters. , He proceeded to determine how far like twins were differentiated by unlike environments, and how_ far unlike twins were rendered like by their common nurture. He discovered that whatever the environment like twins remained alike and unlike twins remained unlike, even as they were born. Thus he sums up his History of Twins, as a Criterion of the Relative Powers of Nature and Nurture

"There is no escape from the conclusion that nature prevails enormously over nurture when the differences of nurture do not exceed what is commonly to be found among persons of the same rank of society in the same country. My only fear is that

my evidence seems to prove too much, and may be discredited on that account, as it seems contrary to all expectation that nurture should go for so little. But experience is

often fallacious in ascribing great effects to trifling circumstances. Many a person has amused himself by throwing bits of stick into a tiny brook and watching their progress ;

how they are arrested, first by one chance obstacle, then by another ; and again, how their onward course is facilitated by a combination of circumstances. He might

ascribe much importance to each of these events, and think how largely the destiny of the stick has been governed by a series of trifling accidents. Nevertheless all the sticks

succeed in passing down the current, and they travel, in the long run, at nearly the same rate. So it is with life, in respect to. the several accidents which seem to have had a great

effect upon our careers. The one element, which varies in different individuals, but is constant for each of them is the natural tendency; it corresponds to the current in

the stream, and inevitably asserts itself." (Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1875, p. 391, etc.)

Such work as the Galton Laboratory has done was to give quantitative definiteness to this conclusion of its founder. And, in view of it, would it not be idle in this biography to pass over the nature-the ancestral factor-and spend our time chiefly on the nurture of Francis Galton ? To those of us who believe in alternative inheritance, to those again who favour its more fashionable Mendelian phases, there is nothing marvellous in transcendent intellectual power being associated with one member of a Darwin or with one member of a Galton fraternity. To those who put their faith in nurture as the controller of mental characters, it must be a standing miracle that brothers reared under identical environment should fail to show the same ability, or showing the same ability should be so diverse in their physical attributes or in other mental characters !


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