Abuses of Biology +quot;The realm of nature is so vast,+quot; writes Howard L. Kaye (Socio

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Abuses of Biology "The realm of nature is so vast," writes Howard L. Kaye (Sociology, Franklin and Marshall College) "and Darwinian fables so easily constructed that virtually any cause can find its mascot, any group its biological totem." In his article, "The Uses and Abuses of Biology" ( Wilson Quarterly , 11 (1): 80-93, 1987), Kaye discusses the inevitable influence of personal desires and world views on biological science. He writes: In spite of the claims to greater rigor and objectivity by which contemporary molecular biologists and sociobiologists have tried to distinguish their writings from those of the Spencers and Huxleys of the past, their efforts, too, constitute scientific mythologies (p. 88). Kaye concludes: ...seemingly extrascientific elements may, at times, prove invaluable to the scientific enterprise. Yet, however much the triumphs of science may seem to confirm the ideas and interests that helped to inspire them and to encourage their extension into myth, they cannot grant to such social and philosophical speculations the status of objective, empirical science (p. 93). Keep that in mind the next time you read E.O. Wilson, or Fransic Crick, or Jacques Monod (among others)--and remember to sift the science from the philosophical speculation.


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