Ideas

The 1990 CBC Massey Lectures, "Biology As Ideology"

Richard 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. "Science is a social institution," he writes in this collection of essays, which began their life...

Richard 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.

"Science is a social institution," he 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 Richard 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.

Listen
The 1990 CBC Massey Lectures by Richard Lewontin | 41:41
The 1990 CBC Massey Lectures by Richard Lewontin | 45:19
The 1990 CBC Massey Lectures by Richard Lewontin | 47:10
The 1990 CBC Massey Lectures by Richard Lewontin | 44:24
The 1990 CBC Massey Lectures by Richard Lewontin | 45:14


Biology as Ideology is published by House of Anansi.

Listen to other CBC Massey Lectures