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Topic: Richard Lewontin

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In the News (Thu 21 Mar 19)

  Richard Lewontin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lewontin held faculty positions at North Carolina State University, the University of Rochester, and the University of Chicago.
In 1973 Lewontin served as Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Biology at Harvard until 1998 and as of 2003 was the Alexander Agassiz Research Professor at Harvard.
Lewontin has claimed that his more general, technical criticism of adaptationism grew out of his recognition that the fallacies of sociobiology reflect fundamentally flawed assumptions of adaptiveness of all traits in much of the modern evolutionary synthesis.
en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Richard_Lewontin   (1073 words)

 KLI Theory Lab - Authors - Richard C. Lewontin   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-11-07)
Lewontin, R.C. Theoretical population genetics in the evolutionary synthesis.
Gould, S.J. Lewontin, R.C. The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: A critique of the adaptationist programme.
Lewontin, R.C. Sociobiology —; A caricature of Darwinism.
www.kli.ac.at /theorylab/AuthPage/L/LewontinRC.html   (1139 words)

 Gene Expression: Pattern Classification in Population Genetics, Pt. 1
I'm going to begin a short series outlining exactly what Richard Lewontin's misstep was in his 1972 paper estimating F_st for humans from blood group data.
This conclusion, due to R.C. Lewontin in 1972, is unwarranted because the argument ignores the fact that most of the information that distinguishes populations is hidden in the correlation structure of the data and not simply in the variation of the individual factors.
Lewontin (38), on the other hand, argued that 10% was a small number, that humans are therefore remarkably homogeneous, and that human differences are trivial.
www.gnxp.com /MT2/archives/002443.html   (919 words)

 Lewontin’s Living Legacy: Levels of Selection and Organismic Construction of the Environment by Val Dusek
Lewontin noted that Dawkins claimed that an extra-terrestrial attempting to gauge the level of human civilization would ask, "Do you understand natural selection?" Lewontin counters that a better question would be, "Do you understand the difference between sets and their members?" (implying that the early Dawkins does not).
Lewontin wrote a classic paper on levels of selection in 1970 and most of the leading figures in the philosophical analysis of levels of selection (Wimsatt, Sober, Brandon, Lloyd, Godfrey Smith, Kitcher) are students of or sometime collaborators with Lewontin.
Lewontin uses construction to include cases in which organisms select or determine the relevance of features of their environments as well as cases of physical modifications of the environment by organisms.
human-nature.com /nibbs/02/lewontin.html   (4047 words)

 PHF BELIEF | Richard C. Lewontin
Lewontin argues that in spite of the need to understand science in order to make decisions in a democratic society, the general population is not equipped to do so.
Lewontin warns that there are no "laws" as such in biology, despite a few popular misnomers (e.g., Mendel's "laws"); even the law of all life from life must be contextualized as a truism of recent life since the advent of the universe.
Lewontin calls on science teachers to reject textbooks that do not tell important truths and to allow science to be as complicated and sophisticated for their students as it is by nature.
humanities.sas.upenn.edu /03-04/lewontinsum.html   (1047 words)

 The Triple Helix - Richard Lewontin
Again, Lewontin emphasizes a perhaps unpopular perspective: his reminder that "Of all species that have ever existed 99.99 percent are extinct, and all species that currently exist will one day be extinct" is not the way most people prefer to look at the world.
Lewontin discusses the difficulties of the reductionist approach to understanding -- as, for example, with the Human Genome Project (sequencing human DNA), and shows some of its inherent limitations He also considers the distinction between causes and agencies, too readily forgotten when the scientist's focus narrows.
Lewontin notes that "the earlier chapters in this book have a distinctly negative flavor", and he tries to spin them somewhat more positively here, nudging his colleagues to acknowledge what, deep down, they already know and adjust their research accordingly.
www.complete-review.com /reviews/lewontin/tripleh.htm   (1223 words)

 SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE Archives -- June 2002 (#193)
Lewontin updates the review to include a critique of The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray (1994), which allegedly proves the inherited intellectual inferiority of Black Americans.
Lewontin exposes the bad science involved, e.g., by thoroughly debunking the validity of using identical twin studies to estimate genetic versus environmental influences on IQ measurements.
Ironically, Wilson, Lewontin, Richard Levins, and others had been members of a small group of "Young Turks" in the 1960s, fighting for new approaches to population genetics, and it was Wilson who was largely responsible for bringing both Lewontin and Levins to Harvard.
list.uvm.edu /cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0206&L=science-for-the-people&O=D&P=22654   (3024 words)

 UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lectures
Lewontin continues research into the questions of the inheritance or non-inheritance of human behavioral traits like I.Q. and temperament.
Lewontin is the author of numerous books, including "Human Diversity" (1982), "Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology and Human Nature" (1984), "Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA" (1991), and most recently "The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment " (2000).
Lewontin's achievements have been recognized with honors as a Fulbright Fellow (1961), and a National Science Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Fellow (1961 and 1971).
www.grad.berkeley.edu /lectures/hitchcock/lewontin.shtml   (303 words)

Lewontin's real purpose in most of these essays, though, is almost always not debunking for its own sake, but debunking in the service of his own ideological predilections.
Lewontin's political views are clearest in his review of Gould's The Mismeasure of Man, where he attacks at length not just the inheritibility of IQ but the whole notion that "intelligence" is a real thing that can be measured even in principle.
Lewontin brilliantly exposes the exaggeration and distortions of the genetic extremists, but it is always a mistake to reject any idea just because it is admired by fools and hucksters.
www.bensozia.com /benideas/lewontin.html   (2130 words)

 Richard Lewontin, review by Pat Boran
What makes Lewontin so rewarding is the fact that, given the space, he deals in such detail with the books under review, identifying assumptions and beliefs not just in the writers themselves but in biological science as a whole.
And it is interesting to see that Lewontin identifies this same movement in science fact, as it were, from astronomy to biology to genetics.
Lewontin's aim here is to examine how this and other discredited notions still linger in the popular mind, just as the nature/nurture confusion still colours popular perceptions.
homepage.eircom.net /~patboran/papers/lewontin.html   (615 words)

 Human Diversity
With data on allele frequencies in each population, Lewontin could ask how much additional variation is added to the unit in question by pooling together the data from all populations within races, or at one level up the hierarchy, by pooling all the data from within races to one large species sample.
Lewontin concludes that there is no genetic or taxonomic basis to racial distinction and classifications of this sort are of no social value.
While you are free to agree or disagree with Lewontin's social interpretation of the data, the population genetic conclusions are clear: with the largest component due to variation among individuals within populations, each and every one of us matters.
biomed.brown.edu /Courses/BIO48/40.Human.Diversity.HTML   (1016 words)

 Amazon.ca: The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment: Books   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-11-07)
Lewontin argues for a life science that faces up to reality, that tackles the problems of studying subtle processes in complex systems where three-dimensional shape is crucial.
Lewontin shows how cuttings from the same plant cultured at different altitudes developed differentially, and in a manner that could not be predicted.
In the second lecture Lewontin makes the point that to a significant degree organisms create their environment, and it is wrong to think of a place (such as the surface of the moon) without organisms as an environment.
www.amazon.ca /exec/obidos/ASIN/0674001591   (1931 words)

 The Triple Helix : Gene, Organism, and Environment by Richard C. Lewontin
One of our most brilliant evolutionary biologists, Richard Lewontin has also been a leading critic of those--scientists and non-scientists alike--who would misuse the science to which he has contributed so much.
Here Lewontin shows that an organism is a unique consequence of both genes and environment, of both internal and external features.
Richard Lewontin is Alexander Agassiz Research Professor at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University.
www.2think.org /triplehelix.shtml   (844 words)

 Human Diversity (Richard Lewontin) - book review
In Human Diversity Lewontin sticks to straight science, taking a less polemical approach than in Not in Our Genes (co-authored with Leon Kamin and Steven Rose).
The interconnection of the biological and the social is a theme that runs through Human Diversity, but Lewontin is a population geneticist rather than an anthropologist and his primary focus is on biological, and in particular genetic, diversity.
Lewontin then tackles the most controversial topics of all.
dannyreviews.com /h/Human_Diversity.html   (480 words)

 Creationist misrepresentation of Richard Lewontin I'd like to find out in which creationis
Richard Lewontin wrote an article, "Adaptation," for the September, 1978 _Scientific American_ series on evolution.
Later Lewontin said that organisms only *appear* to have been carefully designed, adding: It was the marvelous fit of organisms to the environ- ment, much more than the great diversity of forms, that was the chief evidence of a Supreme Designer.
Lewontin points out that the same passage of his article was misrepresented in "a recent issue of _Acts & Facts_," page two, in John R. Cole's "Misquoted Scientists Respond" (_Creation/ Evolution_, Fall 1981, p.
www.skepticfiles.org /evolut/misrepcr.htm   (681 words)

 Lingua Franca -- November 1999
Since both Lewontin and Gould were widely known for their radical politics, he devoted himself to the study of Marxist economic theory so as better to understand the "enemy in the field." In December 1975, his rebuttal appeared as a letter in the NYRB.
Lewontin, who married his high school sweetheart and can to this day be seen walking hand in hand across Harvard Yard with her, takes a much harder line.
It is symbolically fitting that Gould and Lewontin were teaching their undergraduate course on evolution for the last time this spring while a few hundred yards down the road Pinker and a recently tenured Harvard animal behaviorist named Mark Hauser were giving a popular graduate seminar on evolutionary psychology.
pinker.wjh.harvard.edu /about/media/1999_11_linguafranca.html   (6046 words)

 Just Genetics?
Lewontin is highly regarded not only for his research in population biology but also for his empirically grounded and challenging critiques of the field.
Lewontin's slim tome, readable within a few hours, is replete with provocative prose and graphs, sketches, and tables.
Lewontin is surely right, however, that genetics has become "the reigning mode of explanation" not only among biologists but also among the public at large.
www.parkridgecenter.org /Page1534.html   (2286 words)

 It Ain't Necessarily So : The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions - Richard Lewontin
Lewontin also raises important questions that are too often pushed aside in the debate around the Human Genome Project, the forensic application of DNA technology, and cloning.
Lewontin's politics may not always be popular, but these pieces aren't overly burdened by ideology.
Lewontin's is a clear-headed voice here, warning of the danger of over-reliance on biology and science as it is (mis)understood and abused (intentionally or not) by scientists and professionals.
www.complete-review.com /reviews/lewontin/itaintns.htm   (1464 words)

 Muslimedia.com   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-11-07)
One such scientist is Richard Lewontin: well known for questioning established biological orthodoxies in previous works, he gives us a lucid analysis of the current scientific controversy on the limits of genetic determinism.
Lewontin seeks a middle ground on which elements of reductionism and holism combine: "The world is divided into nearly independent subsystems within which are effective interactions but between which there are no palpable relations.
Lewontin thinks that scientists should come to terms with the social reality of their own inquiries, while ordinary people should be able to understand the scientific debates behind the headlines.
www.muslimedia.com /archives/book01/helixbk.htm   (1306 words)

 Maoist book reviews: Natural sciences, Richard Lewontin
MIM recommends this book, by Harvard professor Richard Lewontin, especially for those who are in the life sciences or would consider the life sciences for a career.
The reason Lewontin shows readers this drawing and element of history is to warn people not to become the next "preformationists," people who believed everything was already determined once the sperm left the male.
Finally, Lewontin says something to environmentalists that is very important: "The growing environmentalist movement to prevent alterations in the natural world that will be, at best, unpleasant and, at worst, catastrophic for human existence cannot proceed rationally under the false slogan 'Save the Environment.' 'The environment' does not exist to be saved.
www.etext.org /Politics/MIM/bookstore/books/science/lewontin.html   (811 words)

 EXN.ca | Discovery
Lewontin sacrificed any pretense of scientific credibility in his leading the charge of crypto-Marxist "thought police"...
Lewontin's behavior was driven entirely by political motives (not, one can only assume, his genes) and stands as one of the more shameful displays in science of the past 30 years.
Lewontin's confident dismissal of the Human Genome Project seems a bit odd, given their recent success.
www.exn.ca /Stories/2000/11/01/51.asp   (902 words)

Lewontin and Levins have introduced a discordant note into this scientistic chorus and have begun the serious analysis of Lysenkoism from the point of view of political economy, ideology and the problems of building socialism.
Lewontin and Levins are not of that persuasion, but their list of nostrums reveals that they, like most of the rest of us in the radical science movement, have no very clear idea about how to develop an historical materialist theory and practice in science.
The challenge is to transform and deepen studies such as those of Lewontin and Levins and Lecourt in the service of the understanding and transformation of the relations between modern societies and their intellectual formations conceived as labour process and practice, that is, in terms which do not lead down vulgar-Marxist, theoreticist or idealist alleys.
www.human-nature.com /rmyoung/papers/getting.html   (10299 words)

 Amazon.co.uk: It Ain't Necessarily So: Books   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-11-07)
Lewontin discusses Darwin, Mendel, natural selection, heredity, and the current state of play in modern genetics while damning what he sees as widespread biological determinism from the sociobiology of the recent past to the current "vulgar Darwinism" of the present.
Lewontin wants to arm the general public against the seductiveness of biological explanations which "often seem to smell of material reality even when they are equally speculative".
Lewontin is terrified that once the genome has been mapped and better understood, this Agassiz Research Professor will discover that human beings aren't the divinely placed species he and many others would like us to be.
www.amazon.co.uk /exec/obidos/ASIN/1862074437   (1178 words)

 STATS   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-11-07)
Lewontin is right to establish a central difficulty for sexual study, which is the secretiveness of (most) acts.
Lewontin seems to think that subjects are in the grips of "false consciousness." Of the original effort by the NORC team to title their survey something innocuous and thereby acquire funding, he says.
Lewontin is distressed not that there exist what NORC termed "master variables" for sexual behavior, but that they are not the ones upon which his theory insists.
www.stats.org /record.jsp?type=oped&ID=72   (2332 words)

 The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-11-07)
Lewontin, a Marxist whose philosophical sophistication exceeds that of Sagan by several orders of magnitude, came to see the issue as essentially one of basic intellectual commitment rather than factual knowledge.
Although Lewontin wants the public to accept science as the only source of truth, he freely admits that mainstream science itself is not free of the hokum that Sagan so often found in fringe science.
Lewontin laments that even scientists frequently cannot judge the reliability of scientific claims outside their fields of speciality, and have to take the word of recognized authorities on faith.
www.firstthings.com /ftissues/ft9711/johnson.html   (2152 words)

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