Jun 2 • 1HR 10M

The Genius of Galton | Gavan Tredoux

Why is one of the most important scientists in history so shunned? What did he actually think about race and eugenics? How much do we owe to his once-in-a-generation mind?

Open in playerListen on);
In-depth discussions with the world's most fascinating thinkers.
Episode details

Gavan Tredoux is Chief Technical Officer at Traitwell. Previously he was a Principal Data Scientist at Bayer and a Senior Scientist at Xerox PARC. A Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, he is the author of Comrade Haldane is Too Busy to Go on Holiday: the Genius Who Spied for Stalin (Encounter: 2018), about JBS Haldane. His Book of Burtoniana (burtoniana.org, 2016) collects the correspondence of Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) in 4 volumes. He is currently in the final stages of proofing his biography, Francis Galton: a Lifetime of Exploration (in 2 volumes with 7 supplements). He created and maintains galton.org, containing the complete works of Francis Galton (1822-1911), including all his published memoirs. Likewise, his burtoniana.org collects Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton. Sometimes he blogs over at renostercations but more often tweets @gtredoux.

Without doubt, this is one of our most educational and fascinating podcasts so far. We hope you enjoy.


0:00 Intro

1:33 How Gavan got interested in Galton

10:30 Why is there not more interest in Galton?

13:40 Will Darwin go the way of Galton?

15:38 What were Galton’s major accomplishments in psychology and genetics?

23:52 Is the field embarrassed by Galton?

27:40 What was Galton’s idea of race?

33:00 Was Galton racist?

35:48 How Galton thought about heritability

45:11 What about the environment?

51:40 Eugenics

1:04:15 What should Galton’s legacy be?

1:07:20 Bonus questions preview

Watch the conversation below: