Biology and Social Responsibility

Authors

  • Eric Holtzman

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14452/MR-038-03-1986-07_9

Keywords:

Race, Ecology, Inequality

Abstract

My starting point is a familiar, simple one: the natural sciences are simultaneously products of social forces and of individual scientists' curiosity awakened and channeled by these forces. Both of these facets must be kept in mind in analyzing the history of science and in planning for its future. In this paper I will explore this dual nature of science, at a general philosophical level and in the specific instance of modern biology, which in the past forty years, has seen a series of striking successes, with U.S. science playing a dominant role. Basic discoveries about the structure and function of genes, the immune system, brain function, biochemistry, etc., have provided both a new understanding of living systems and new abilities to manipulate them. The concrete results include new medical therapies, enhanced agricultural production, prenatal diagnosis of genetic diseases, and industrial uses of "engineered" bacteria and other microorganisms.

Published

1986-07-09

Issue

Section

Articles