Classifying humans into races the biggest mistake in history of scienceRoundup
Science is one of the most remarkable inventions of humankind. It has been a source of inspiration and understanding, lifted the veil of ignorance and superstition, been a catalyst for social change and economic growth, and saved countless lives.
Yet, history also shows us that its been a mixed blessing. Some discoveries have done far more harm than good. And there's one mistake you will never read about in those internet lists of the all-time biggest blunders of science.
The worst error in the history of science was undoubtedly classifying humans into the different races.
Now, there are some big contenders for this dubious honour. Massive blunders like the invention of nuclear weapons, fossil fuels, CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), leaded petrol and DDT. And tenuous theories and dubious discoveries like luminiferous aether, the expanding earth, vitalism, blank slate theory, phrenology, and Piltown Man, to name just a few.
But race theory stands out among all of them because it has wreaked untold misery and been used to justify barbaric acts of colonialism, slavery and even genocide. Even today it's still used to explain social inequality, and continues to inspire the rise of the far right across the globe.
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