Paperback, 400 pages
Released: November 2007
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.