Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins
Edited by Denis R. Alexander and Ronald L. Numbers
Now available from the Faraday Institute on-line shop.
Over the course of human history, the sciences, and biology in particular, have often been manipulated to cause immense human suffering. For example, biology has been used to justify eugenic programs, forced sterilization, human experimentation, and death camps-all in an attempt to support notions of racial superiority.
By investigating the past, the contributors to Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins hope to better prepare us to discern ideological abuse of science when it occurs in the future. Denis R. Alexander and Ronald L. Numbers bring together fourteen experts to examine the varied ways science has been used and abused for nonscientific purposes from the fifteenth century to the present day. Featuring an essay on eugenics from Edward J. Larson and an examination of the progress of evolution by Michael J. Ruse, Biology and Ideology examines uses both benign and sinister, ultimately reminding us that ideological extrapolation continues today.
An accessible survey, this collection will enlighten historians of science, their students, practicing scientists, and anyone interested in the relationship between science and culture. Ronald Numbers (left) and Denis Alexander (right) celebrate the launch of the new book at a party held at Prof. Number¹s house in Madison, USA, on Saturday, May 8th, 2010.