Biological science is simultaneously the hegemonic narrative for understanding the living world in industrial societies and the basis for potential technological transformations of the biosphere and our own species. The 20th century notion of the gene as the primary determinant of living systems has supported rampant privatization of food production and medical and natural resources. With the increasing precision of gene alteration by the CRISPR DNA editing technique, genetic determinism is now generating proposals for ecological engineering and eugenicist manipulation of future humans. This talk will report on the current biotechnological landscape and describe challenges to its enabling genetic determinist ideology from dialectical and multi-causal explanatory modes within the emerging field of evolutionary developmental biology.
Stuart A. Newman is a professor of cell biology and anatomy at New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York. He has contributed to several scientific fields, including biophysical chemistry, developmental biology, and evolutionary theory. He has been a critic of genetic determinism in biology and an opponent of eugenic applications of biotechnology since his student days in the 1960s. Newman was a founding member of the Council for Responsible Genetics and is a columnist for Capitalism Nature Socialism.
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