Bill Nye: Race is a Human Construct
The Science Guy explores the social lessons to be learned from evolution. Paramount is that race, both as a classification for humans and dogs, is not a natural construct.
After joking about interviewing dogs for the new book, Nye began a dissection of the purebreed myth:
"We obsess about whether our dog is a pug-Jack Russell terrier mix with corgi overtones and an oaky finish. 'An approachable little dog,' whatever. They’re all dogs, okay? And so the idea of a purebred is just a human construct. There’s no such thing – in a sense there’s no such thing as a purebred dog."
This is one of the main lessons Nye hoped readers and viewers would take away from his analysis of dogs and evolution. No matter what kinds of dog mate -- pug with a chihuahua, Great Dane with a dachshund, whatever -- the result is still a dog. There is no variance in species. Years of breeding and evolution have resulted in a broad spectrum of dogs that look different from their proto-dog ancestors and certainly different from each other. But underneath it all they're still just dogs.
The same can be said for humans. Race, just like breed, is a human construct:
"If a Papua New Guinean hooks up with a Swedish person all you get is a human. There’s no new thing you’re going to get. You just get a human. Japanese woman jumping the African guy, all you get is a human. They’re all humans. So this is a lesson to be learned. There really is, for humankind there’s really no such thing as race. There’s different tribes but not different races. We’re all one species."
This isn't a groundbreaking idea in any way; sociologists and political scientists have argued over race for years. What's notable here though is that Nye is not making his claims from the platform of sociology. Instead, he's analyzing hard scientific evidence from a biological perspective. His argument that race doesn't exist is supported not by conjecture but through evolutionary evidence.
Setting a simple intention and coming prepared can help you — and those around you — win big.
- Setting an intention doesn't have to be complicated, and it can make a great difference when you're hoping for a specific outcome.
- When comedian Pete Holmes is preparing to record an episode of his podcast, "You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes," he takes 15 seconds to check in with himself. This way, he's primed with his own material and can help guests feel safe and comfortable to share theirs, as well.
- Taking time to visualize your goal for whatever you've set out to do can help you, your colleagues, and your projects succeed.
The Amazon Rainforest is often called "the planet's lungs."
- For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
- Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
- There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
How do we combat the roots of these hateful forces?
- American Psychological Association sees a dubious and weak link between mental illness and mass shootings.
- Center for the study of Hate and Extremism has found preliminary evidence that political discourse is tied to hate crimes.
- Access to guns and violent history is still the number one statistically significant figure that predicts gun violence.