The US Holocaust Memorial Museum exhibit “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race” opens at the Hub this week. The exhibit examines how the Nazi regime, with the collaboration of medical professionals, used the pseudo-science of eugenics to legitimize persecution and genocide. The exhibit is open until May 2, 2010.  A series of events tied to the exhibit have been scheduled for February 16, March 25 and April 21.  For more information about the exhibit and the events, please go to:

This extremely important exhibit should be of interest to everyone.  But for medical students, students in the life sciences, and students pursuing a minor in Bioethics and Medical Humanities or Science, Technology and Society, it’s not to be missed!

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2 Responses to Deadly Medicine Exhibit at the Hub

  1. Mark Fisher says:

    Jonathan, it strikes me as interesting that you use the term pseudo-science to describe eugenics (and not only because we recently finished discussing demarcation criteria in my Philosophy of Science course). In her talk the other evening, Susan Bacharach provided evidence that the eugenic research taking place in Germany in the first half of the 20th Century was fairly representative of mainstream scientific practice in both Europe and the United States. Part of her message seemed to be that continuing to subscribe to the historical narrative that has eugenically-minded Nazi doctors on the fringe of the sciences would blur some of the most interesting and important lessons we could learn from that era.

    Do you disagree with her historical thesis about the prevalence of eugenics, or do you think it is consistent with what she is saying to maintain that, despite the prevalence of this kind of research at the time, it is still fair to classify eugenics as psuedo-scientific?

    • JONATHAN H. MARKS says:

      Hi, Mark. Thanks for your comment. This blog entry was just an announcement notice and, for that reason, I used the express language of the exhibit’s theme statement, which includes the word “pseudo-science.” So the word is the museum’s choice rather than my own. However, I don’t think the term implies that eugenics was on the “fringe,” as you put it. Rather, it is intended to suggest that eugenics was and is not real science–that is, that eugenics makes claims that were not and cannot be supported by scientific method. In my view, that claim can stand side-by-side with a recognition of the prevalence eugenics-related research and practice outside as well as inside Nazi Germany.

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