Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Science: The Cure for Racism


Probably the most pointless and ridiculous of all the bigotries, given it is based on nothing more than the passing of genetic material from parents to their children.

Unlike homophobes, racists can't even fall back onto some sort of sacred religious text to justify why they need to hate a particular section of society.

Much has been said, and no doubt will continue to be, about how to combat racism through sociological measures. More integration, a better of understanding of other cultures, that kind of thing.

Bear with me, here comes the science part. The number of atoms in the observable universe is estimated to be at least 1078

For those unfamiliar with scientific notation of large numbers, that's 10 multiplied by itself 78 times. It's a very, very big number.

These atoms have been around for billions of years. since the beginning of the universe. They've been bonding into molecules that make up everything that is in us, around us and is us. Those molecules break apart as things decay or are destroyed, and their component atoms go off looking for another dance partner to bond with and make some more molecules.

You are comprised entirely of atoms, formed into different molecules and compounds. The number of atoms in the average human body is estimated to be 1027.

In other words. another very, very big number.

The atoms that make up you, haven't always made up people. You've got a lot of carbon and hydrogen atoms in you, for example. These crop up in things like sugar cane and oil. You've also got a need for calcium, which you'll find in things as different as chalk and cheese.

So there is a very, very small chance that the atoms that make up you are ones that have always been in other people. You are statistically certain to contain some atoms that were once a tree, or a hippopotamus, or a block of Edam.

Who knows where those atoms have been? Even the ones that might have been other people at some point in time come with no guarantee of being from people of the same race as you.

Now how silly do your claims of racial or ethnic purity look? How different are you to the Asian fella down the street, or the white bloke you see shouting anti-fascist slogans at you from behind a police line? You're both made of atoms. Who knows, at some point some of your atoms might have been bound with theirs in the same molecule.

You want to combat racism? Teach kids where they come from and what they are made of. Let them see just how stupid it is to consider someone with a different skin colour or a different ethnic origin to be worth less than they are.

On an atomic level at least, we're all the same and we're all different.

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