DNA and the Social Order

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* Book: Jonathan Latham. The Myth of The Master Molecule: DNA and the Social Order.

URL = (unpublished as yet, draft)


"The contention of the book is that the key organising principle of Western thought is the seemingly innocuous and seemingly simple idea that our personal qualities are biologically inherited. That is, our character derives from our ancestors rather than being an always-adapting product of our own experiences, decisions, and education. The book makes the case, first, that genetic determinism is a scientific fallacy since organisms are self-organised systems and therefore not genetically determined. Second, the explanation for the myth, which originated in Mesopotamia around 5,000 years ago, is its utility. Genetic determinism allows the development of political systems based on genetic privilege. The result was the dismantling of ancient cultures based on inclusive and egalitarian social patterns and their transformation into rigid structures of authoritarian domination based on separation and division: into families, classes, races, nations, sexes (i.e. patriarchy), and species. The final proposition of the book is that propagating the myth was the chief aim of Zoroastrianism and all the Abrahamic religions. Since the 1850s, this role has been appropriated by science. By recognizing how the founding myth of Western civilization is being re-told in the language of science we can start to dismantle and replace it with a more humane and scientific understanding of the world."