The architect and the scaffold: evolution and education in South Africa
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We have caught a glimpse of an instruction book previously known only to God, a geneticist said of the most recent development in the mapping of the human genetic code. Having explored and mapped our planet's land masses, vast oceans and the space surrounding it, science is turning inward to the challenging and controversial mapping of the human genome, a collection of genes forming DNA. Each of our genes is a single instruction for the make up of an individual being. The more we learn, the more we discover to explore - and the more controversy we release in the process. Moral and ethical, social, religious and educational and scientific questions roll in: Are we giving proper attention to evolutionary theory in our schools? Can we constructively teach both science and religion? Are we allowing the genetic revolution to pass us by?
The Africa Human Genome Initiative was founded to address these questions, as well as the marginalisation of our continent - the cradle of humankind - in global research. The Architect and the Scaffold brings together papers presented at the Colloquium on Science and Evolution last year, in answer to these questions. This publication brings together thinkers and experts such as Wieland Gevers, President of the Academy of Science of South Africa and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cape Town; High Court Judge Denis Davis who looks at evolution from a "somewhat dissident Jewish perspective"; Professor Caroline Odora-Hoppers' passionate plea for the education of our children to include indigenous knowledge, and a myriad of curriculum developers, book publishers, teachers and religious scholars.