Wednesday November 26th, 2014, 4:26 pm (EST)

Biology Under the Influence

Dialectical Essays on Ecology, Agriculture, and Health

Biology Under the Influence
Paperback, 400 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1-58367-157-3

Released: November 2007

Price: $29.00

How do we understand the world? While some look to the heavens for intelligent design, others argue that it is determined by information encoded in DNA. Science serves as an important activity for uncovering the processes and operations of nature, but it is also immersed in a social context where ideology influences the questions we ask and how we approach the material world. Biology Under the Influence breaks from the confines of determinism, offering a dialectical analysis for comprehending a dynamic social and natural world.

In Biology Under the Influence, Richard Lewontin and Richard Levins provide a devastating critique of genetic determinism and reductionism within science while exploring a broad range of issues including the nature of science, biology, evolution, the environment, public health, and dialectics. They dismantle the ideology that attempts to naturalize social inequalities, unveil the alienation of science and nature, and illustrate how a dialectical position serves as a basis for grappling with historical developments and a world characterized by change. Biology Under the Influence brings together the illuminating essays of two prominent scientists who work to demystify and empower the public’s understanding of science and nature.

In this major collection of essays, Lewontin and Levins range from the Human Genome Project and evolutionary psychology to Cuban agriculture. Throughout their work is illuminated by an insistence on a dialectical understanding of biology from the molecular to the socio-ecological. In rejecting reductionist understandings, they offer important insights into how biology-and science in general-could be reconceptualized in the service of human liberation.

—Steven Rose, Emeritus Professor of Biology, Open University, United Kingdom

Richard Lewontin is Alexander Agassiz Research Professor at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. He is the author of The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment (2000), It Ain’t Necessarily So: The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions (2000), Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA (1992), Human Diversity (1982), and (with Richard Levins) The Dialectical Biologist (1985). Richard Levins is John Rock Professor of Population Sciences, Department of Population and International Health at Harvard University.

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