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Professor Wilmot James gives a passionate talk on 'Liberal Education and the Biology of Race in Human Societies'

Professor Wilmot James gives a passionate talk on ‘Liberal Education and the Biology of Race in Human Societies’

My eyebrows raise up instantly when I see the words ‘human’, ‘race’ and ‘biology’ too close together.

So I was keen to attend a talk called ‘Liberal Education and the Biology of Race in Human Societies‘ by Prof Wilmot James at the Cornerstone Institute. Apparently his talk the day before ‘Why some people get AIDS and others don’t’ had already stirred some discussions.

Looks like Wilmot James knows how to pick a controversial title for his presentations, as the talk turned out to be on evolution and why it must be taught in school.

Right at the beginning he clarified that there is of course no race distinction between skin colours, we all belong to one race: the human race.

To appreciate the diversity of humankind, he actively promotes teaching evolution in school for these simple basic reasons:

  • The purpose of education is not to get a job, but to get an understanding:

  • There is a moral obligation to teach the most modern knowledge available:

Prof James pursued in giving a concise history of human evolution, quasi a teaser of what Darwinism is about.

His sensitivity towards people who ‘object’ the theory of evolution (I put this in quotation marks, as it is actually impossible to object a fact…) shows in his approach towards this much debated topic: Evolution theory versus Creation myth.

He suggests that the two don’t cancel each other out, addressing the issue that while science and the medical industry take evolution for granted, biology lecturers around South Africa still fail to teach the theory of evolution.

Instead the tension between religion and science can be good as observed by Francis Collins, the scientist who deciphered the human genome.

But for this to happen evolution needs to be taught in the first place. As Professor Wilmot James emphasises: It’s the biology teachers’ responsibility to expose pupils to Darwin.



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