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The Rushton-Suzuki debate on race

The Story

David Suzuki and professor Philippe Rushton sit on stage before a politically charged crowd. This one-on-one debate is about race and genetics. Rushton, a psychology professor at the University of Western Ontario, has released his controversial study that places Orientals, Caucasians and Blacks in an evolutionary hierarchy. The crux of Rushton's argument is that Orientals have higher IQ, are more law-abiding and are more sexually restrained than the other races. Suzuki debunks Rushton's work as pseudo-science. "I do not believe that we should dignify this man and his ideas in public debate," Suzuki says to a cheering audience.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Feb. 8, 1989
Guests: Phillipe Rushton, David Suzuki
Host: Knowlton Nash
Duration: 1:50

Did You know?

• "I did not want to be here. I do not believe that we should dignify this man and his ideas in public debate. His claims must be denounced, his methodology discredited, his grant revoked and his position terminated at this university. This is not science." — David Suzuki in the debate.

• While Suzuki was widely accepted as the winner in the debate, some critics felt that he didn't attack Rushton's study on a scientific basis.

• Philippe Rushton was removed from the classroom temporarily and delivered his lectures via video. On the basis of intellectual freedom he was subsequently reinstated in the classroom and continued to teach at the University of Western Ontario.  He died on Oct. 2, 2012, at the age of 68.



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