Recent advances in the science of human origins refute racist ideology, writes STEVE DRURY in this guest post
We are in the midst of a resurgence of racism, white supremacism and all the other trappings of right-wing populism, together with growing physical threats from some who adhere to those ideologies. This trend depends on a morass of origin myths, pseudoscience, denialism and conspiracy theory – an “intellectual” foundation that actually permeates more widely than merely in overtly far-right fringe groups. Sadly, it is part of the cultural baggage of a majority.
Yet rapid advances in the science of human origins have been providing powerful refutations of all kinds of nonsense and mindless prejudice.
Britain has long been a relatively quiet repository of day-to-day, casual racism and ideas of supremacy that stem from its former possession of colonies, together with the idea of an
island fortress against all comers, benign or malevolent. So how the “British” and their early culture came into existence is an excellent starting point for countering the insidious backwardness of this politics.
Evidence for the presence of humans in Britain goes back about a million years. For most of that time, however, any occupation was probably temporary. Stone tools are the most durable signs that early humans paid the British landscape a visit, fossil remains being rare and generally just a few fragments.
The earliest known traces occur in ancient river deposits exposed by wave erosion on the Norfolk coastline. Pear-shaped, double-edged stone tools, known as “bifacial axes” (archaeologists are uncertain about how they may have been used) turn up there from time Read the rest of this entry »