George Church is a Harvard geneticist – and a known associate of Jeffrey Epstein. He is creating a DNA-based dating app that would weed out potential mates with undesirable genes. It sounds a lot like eugenics, and the research behind it was funded, in part, by Jeffrey Epstein.
Modern eugenics was first invented in 1865 by Sir Francis Galton, a British scientist who was the cousin of Charles Darwin. Galton believed that intelligence and talent were hereditary. The Nazis took eugenics to a dangerous place, “breeding out” what they considered undesirable traits, like mental illness, diminished mental capacity, “lesser” races, etc. in hopes of creating the “master race.” Largely thanks to the public image it took on during Hitler’s reign, eugenics fell out of favor after WWII.
Church’s research was partly funded by Epstein’s donations from 2005-2007. Epstein attended meetings as recently as 2014 with professors at Harvard University, a school he had supported with at least one multi-million-dollar donation, even though the convicted sex offender’s ties to the school had raised eyebrows. NBC reported Epstein donated $6.5 million to Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics in 2003, and he met with members of the Harvard faculty at least six times in 2014.
In 2006, after investigations into Epstein’s alleged sexual contact with minors became public, a Harvard spokesperson told a reporter for the campus newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, that the university would not be returning Epstein’s $6.5 million gift. The article also stated that when Epstein made his initial donation, he had “agreed to consider raising his total contribution to $30 million after a review of the program’s progress.” As of the 2006 Crimson article, the University said that review had not transpired.
Church continued to spend time with the convicted sex offender in 2008. He claimed his technology could eliminate hereditary diseases by screening out mates with the “wrong” DNA. “You wouldn’t find out who you’re not compatible with. You’ll just find out who you are compatible with,” Church stated on 60 Minutes.
“You’re suggesting that if everyone has their genome sequenced and the correct matches are made, that all of these diseases could be eliminated?” 60 Minutes’ Scott Pelley asked Church, who responded: “Right. It’s 7,000 diseases. It’s about 5% of the population. It’s about a trillion dollars a year, worldwide.”
However, Fordham ethics professor and science journalist Elizabeth Yuko told The Daily Beast the app sounds like a eugenics operation. Tech App Gizmodo called it a “dating app only a eugenicist could love.”
Returning to the Nazi goal of cultivating a master race, Yuko said, “I thought we realized after World War II that we weren’t going to be doing that.” Epstein showed a major interest in eugenics, describing his plan to “seed the human race with his DNA” by impregnating women at his New Mexico ranch. Clearly, he saw himself as “master race” material.
The New York Times reported, “Once, at a dinner at Mr. Epstein’s mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Mr. Lanier said he talked to a scientist who told him that Mr. Epstein’s goal was to have 20 women at a time impregnated at his 33,000-square-foot Zorro Ranch in a tiny town outside Santa Fe.”
“According to Mr. Lanier, the NASA scientist said Mr. Epstein had based his idea for a baby ranch on accounts of the Repository for Germinal Choice, which was to be stocked with the sperm of Nobel laureates who wanted to strengthen the human gene pool,” The Times continued.
Church downplayed his connection to Epstein during his 60 Minutes interview, calling it “unfortunate” and saying, “You don’t always know your donors as well as you would like,” adding: “Tainted money can be used for good… like, the tobacco money was used for good things.” The Harvard geneticist is keeping the app’s name and release date close to his vest.
Read more from Lorraine Silvetz, MSW.