Abuses of Biology +quot;The realm of nature is so vast,+quot; writes Howard L. Kaye (Socio
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).
...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.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank