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Rethinking Biology: Public Understandings

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AuthorReiss Michael J Et Al
Published LanguageEnglish
Publication Year2019
PublisherWorld Scientific
Original Price$35
Ships By2-3 days


Rethinking Biology offers many useful perspectives on a range of topics: why neuroscience and brain imaging threaten to create a reductive view of self and behaviour every bit as misleading as the genetic one, why adaptationism needs taming in evolutionary narratives …

Public Understanding of Science

Biologists always need to grapple with integrating two explanatory approaches. On the one hand, there is necessarily an effort to drill down to the lowest possible level to explain what is happening in whatever is being studied. That involves looking at how higher-level processes arise from lower level ones. On the other hand, there is a need to consider how the broader context influences bottom-up processes; that involves looking at how the whole influences the parts. Neither approach is satisfactory on its own. There is always a need to integrate the consideration of how parts influence wholes with how wholes influence parts.

This book arises from a concern that in the public dissemination of biology the need to integrate these different perspectives is not coming across well. In popularisations, simplistic micro explanations always seem to arouse most interest and to capture the headlines. That risks distorting and simplifying the complexity of biological processes, and can mislead people. In this book we are urging a concerted attempt to come to grips with the interactive complexity of biology, and to find ways of conveying it to the public accessibly and effectively.

We are particularly concerned with how biology is communicated to the public. Too often, what comes over to the public is a crude, out-of-date, simplistic, mono-causal, reductionist biology. Why so? Why is biology so misrepresented? Who is responsible? It is partly the media, of course, but we suggest that biologists themselves are often partly responsible. When it comes to communication with the public, they tend to over-simplify in a way that distorts.

Related Link(s)Here’s how public dissemination of biology is going wrong ? Too often, what comes over to the public is a crude, out-of-date, simplistic, monocausal, reductionist biology. Why is biology so mis-represented? And who is responsible?

About the author
Univ College London, UK

Additional information

Weight0.598 kg
Dimensions22.9 × 15.2 cm





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