Sep 17, 2018
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza was a leading biologist who showed racism is not scientifically true. He died at age 96 on August 31.
Cavalli-Sforza went to rural small towns near his birthplace in Italy and compared ratios of blood types with marriage and birth records. He noticed how small variations progressively separated people who were more and more distantly related. With statistics, he showed that all people in Europe and throughout the world had come originally from the same place: Africa.
He explained that while migrating, people developed different skin colors, average heights, and other superficial changes to cope with different climates. He wrote, “Each population believes that it is the best in the world.” But he added that sufficient time didn’t pass for different races of people to emerge. He testified before the U.S. Congress that there is more diversity in general among people in any typical small community than there is between people from different countries. There are no human races, only one human race.
Cavalli-Sforza had seen prejudice during World War II when his anatomy teacher, who was Jewish, was fired under Nazi-like laws in Italy. Then Cavalli-Sforza went to study in England and experienced prejudice as an Italian!
Known for combining the studies of genetics, genealogy, math, and later also of the history of languages, and for a deep curiosity about nature and humanity, Cavalli-Sforza also believed everyone can learn scientific ideas.