Biology

Questions to Ponder Evolution and Human Equality

1. What does he mean by saying that human evolution is contingent on random historical events?

Is this true of all species’ evolution?

Do you agree?

2. What is his personal view on human social and legal equality.

Do you agree or disagree?

3. Before Darwin there were two main ideas about human relatedness based on the bible. What were they?

After Darwin what idea of racial inequality replaced the previous views? (Hint it has to do with length of separation of the races.)

4. The sequence of beliefs that maintained ideas of inequality was, Humans started in Asia-Humans started in Africa but intelligence didn’t pick up until Asia. What attitude in particular was supported by this belief? Hint it had to do with colonial exploitation at that period.

5. What is meant by a paradigm?

How do preconceived ideas effect our abilities to perceive facts? Remember our video on facts and beliefs.

6. How can this idea of an overarching cultural belief system affect our ability as scientists striving for objective truth?

How might it affect our ability to view the world objectively?

7. We now have the studies of many people that show that humans are over 99% identical genetically. What do you think are the reasons behind people clinging to ideas of genetic inequality even after all the facts are in? What benefit does it give them?

8. What is the self- serving benefit to be gained from believing that the poor and powerless are in that state because of profound lack of genetic potential.?

9. Compare the story of the Hottentot Venus to what happened to Carrie Buck in America. Tell me the whole story.

What happened to her sister?

What stand did famed jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes take in the famous Supreme Court decision?

10. As a researcher doing work on questions of human relatedness what are your responsibilities about the way your data and results are reported?

If your results support the idea of inherent genetic inequalities what would you do?

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