Caption: Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA. The 1990 Massey Lectures by Richard Lewontin
Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA. The 1990 Massey Lectures by Richard Lewontin 

Episode 18 - Richard Lewontin

From: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Series: How to Think About Science
Length: 53:56

HOW TO THINK ABOUT SCIENCE: Part Eighteen of a documentary by David Cayley, a producer with the CBC Radio program IDEAS. Modern societies have tended to take science for granted as a way of knowing, ordering and controlling the world. Clips include: Richard Lewontin, an evolutionary biologist and geneticist.

Ep-18-lewontin_small Some years ago, on Ideas, American evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin delivered the  annual CBC Massey Lectures under the title Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA. In his lectures Lewontin argued that science had replaced religion as what he called “the chief legitimating force in modern society.” Science sanctions the existing social order, he claimed, by telling stories about a universal “struggle for existence,” or about how we are all blindly programmed by our selfish genes. These stories, in Lewontin’s view, constitute the ideology of biology, and he has devoted much of his long career in trying pry the ideology apart from the science. In this episode he talks about how over-extended metaphors distort our understanding of both science and society.

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Piece Description

Some years ago, on Ideas, American evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin delivered the  annual CBC Massey Lectures under the title Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA. In his lectures Lewontin argued that science had replaced religion as what he called “the chief legitimating force in modern society.” Science sanctions the existing social order, he claimed, by telling stories about a universal “struggle for existence,” or about how we are all blindly programmed by our selfish genes. These stories, in Lewontin’s view, constitute the ideology of biology, and he has devoted much of his long career in trying pry the ideology apart from the science. In this episode he talks about how over-extended metaphors distort our understanding of both science and society.

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Thanks for Lewontin

Many thanks for making this interview available on the web.. A very interesting perspective on biology...

Broadcast History

This 24 part series first aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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Related Website

http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/science/index.html#