Saturday, November 23, 2019 -
1:30pm to 3:00pm


Dollar West

Event Description

Modern biology and modern medicine claim alike that at the center of living organisms (plants, animals, and microbes, including humans) is to be found a "master molecule." This view of life, in which DNA is a "code" having executive functions, relegates the organism to the status of a puppet and a machine. It is a paradigm of life that is, at once, strikingly authoritarian and, on careful examination, unlife-like. In this workshop I will show that this genetically deterministic and reductionistic orthodoxy in biological science has no basis at all in evidence. DNA exists, but the privileging of its functions above the rest of the organism is purely what social scientists call "socially constructed." It is a myth whose origins long predate the discovery of DNA. Genetic determinism, in the form of fetishizing certain species, bloodlines, races, and especially males, for imagined special qualities, can be traced back millennia. It is explainable as a mythology initiated to serve oppressive Middle Eastern empires of the Bronze Age, and later perfected by European states; in both cases to cement hierarchical, monarchical, patriarchal, racist, political orders. Our present-day society remains built around and dependent on that same ancient myth, now transformed into a scientific format. This conference workshop will explore the ideas described above and ask, if organisms do not operate as mini-dictatorships, what indeed are the deep organizing principles of life? How, once understood, can these principles be put to work on the farm and thereby contribute to health and wealth?



Workshop Session C