Biology As Ideology
Written by Richard Lewontin
Publication Date October 23, 1996
R. C. Lewontin is a prominent scientist -- a geneticist who teaches at Harvard -- yet he believes that we have placed science on a pedestal, treating it as an objective body of knowledge that transcends all other ways of knowing and all other endeavours.
Lewontin writes in this collection of essays, which began their life as CBC Radio's Massey Lectures Series for 1990: "Scientists do not begin life as scientists, after all, but as social beings immersed in a family, a state, a productive structure, and they view nature through a lens that has been molded by their social experience. . . . Science, like the Church before it, is a supremely social institution, reflecting and reinforcing the dominant values and vices of society at each historical epoch."
In Biology as Ideology Lewontin examines the false paths down which modern scientific ideology has led us. By admitting science's limitations, he helps us rediscover the richness of nature -- and appreciate the real value of science.
R.C. Lewontin, a leading geneticist, is the author of The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change and co-author of Not in Our Genes, Biology Under the Influence, The Dialectical Biologist and Biology as Ideology (the 1991 CBC Massey Lectures). He is also a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. Lewontin is Alexander Agassiz Research Professor at Harvard University.