By Richard C. Lewontin
Following within the type of Stephen Jay Gould and Peter Medawar, one of many world's top scientists examines how "pure technological know-how" is in truth formed and guided through social and political wishes and assumptions.
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It is for this reason that so much emphasis has been put on twin studies in human genetics. The idea is that if twins are more similar than ordinary sibs or if twins raised in completely isolated families are still similar, then this surely must be evidence for genes. In particular, there has been a fascination with a study of identical twins raised apart. If identical twins-that is, twins sharing all the same genes-are similar even though raised apart, then their traits must be strongly genetically influenced.
Could the aristocracy of Russia in the nineteenth century, which thought all things Slavic to be inferior, which spoke French by preference, which looked to Germany for its military and technological resources, be described as xenophobic? Educated and upper classes in particular have often looked to other cultures for the highest and the best. English-speaking scientists on occasion are interviewed by Italian radio and television, and the answers given to the producer's questions are translated into Italian, which the listeners hear in a voice-over after a few moments of the scientist's English.
Indeed, they were made in God's image, although a rather blurred one, and moreover, human beings were basically sinful from the time of Adam and Eve's fall. But modern secular technological society cannot draw its political claims from divine justification. From the seventeenth century onward, political philosophers have tried to create a picture of human nature based on some sort of appeal to a naturalistic view of the world. Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan, which argued for the necessity of the king, built a picture of human nature from the simplest axioms about the nature of human beings as organisms.