Jonathan Latham, PhD
The Bioscience Resource Project,
Ithaca, NY 14850 USA
Twitter and Facebook: @Biosrp
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Notice: Please forgive any delays and slow news. I am writing a book about genetics and genetic determinism.
It is provisionally titled: The Myth of The Master Molecule: DNA and the Social Order
The contention of the book is that the key organising principle of Western thought is the seemingly innocuous and seemingly simple idea that our personal qualities are biologically inherited. That is, our character derives from our ancestors rather than being an always-adapting product of our own experiences, decisions, and education. The book makes the case, first, that genetic determinism is a scientific fallacy. Organisms are self-organised systems and therefore are not genetically determined. Second, the explanation for the myth, which originated in Mesopotamia before 6,000 years ago, is its utility. Genetic determinism rationalises political systems based on genetic privilege. The result was the dismantling of ancient cultures based on inclusiveness and egalitarianiism and their transformation into rigid structures of authoritarian domination based on separation and division: into families, classes, races, nations, sexes (i.e. patriarchy), and species. The final proposition of the book is that propagating the myth was the chief aim of Zoroastrianism and all the Abrahamic religions. Since the 1850s, this role has been appropriated by science. By recognizing how the founding myth of Western civilization is being re-told in the language of science we can start to dismantle and replace it with a more humane and scientific understanding of the world.