28 April 2011

Darwin in the Classroom

Political descent has a fascinating reflection on Darwin in the classroom.

This is one reason why I think that we need to be open to and educated about the political history of evolution, - the history of the various ways in which people have taken the fact of our evolution to speak directly to questions about the sort of creatures we are, and in consequence the sort of society that we might live in. - This is especially important in light of the fact that many who oppose the teaching of evolutionary biology in public schools today argue that evolution is inherently tied to a politics that is competitive, individualistic, racist and xenophobic. The book I am writing, entitled Political Descent, will show that this has often been far from the case. Of course, there is no guarantee that the opponents of evolution will like the idea that evolution has also been used, for instance, by Charles Darwin to endorse an inclusive liberal politics that argued that there is an evolutionary grounding for a morality that was inclusive of all people of all races, and ultimately of all sentient beings; or by the likes of Peter Kropotkin to endorse the ethics of anarchist socialism. But these are both subjects for another time...

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate the publicity Stephen - I am teaching Kettlewell's peppered moths today, and the politcal fall out from that. That won't make into this book, but might well make it to the blog side of my Political Descent project... Katherine Pandora, who blogs at Petridish (http://scipop.typepad.com/petri_dish/)
    has also long been advocating for academics to engage with the public. In fact it was a recent talk by her that spurred me to action. I really do recommend you and your readers to check out what she has to say...

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