degeneration

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However, as the popularity of degeneration theory and the lasting influence of Lamarck suggest, by the late-nineteenth century the polygenic school was fighting a losing battle; certainly, my examination of fin-de-siecle medical texts revealed that theories of evolutionism as the motor of species development were the accepted standard within the field of tropical medicine.
The application of degeneration theory to the genesis of crime thus held out the possibility of its eventual eradication through changing an unhealthy social environment.
Similarly, east of the Rhine, Max Nordau, the high priest of degeneration theory, also clamored for a "new muscle Jew.