Epigenetics, ethics and the evolution of science

by Shea Robison (@EpigeneticsGuy) In this post and others, the historical, cultural and philosophical underpinnings of the scientific assumptions of genetics are discussed. That the assumptions of genetics are contingent on these historical and philosophical precedents likely seems trivial to laypersons and nonsensical to geneticists. Genetics, as a product of modern science, exhibits the patina of scientific … Continue reading Epigenetics, ethics and the evolution of science

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A Brief History of Epigenetics: Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

by Shea Robison (@EpigeneticsGuy) (See also A Brief History of Epigenetics: C.H. Waddington) See updated posts on Lamarck here, as excerpts from my forthcoming book: Lamarck’s Actual Lamarckism (or How Contemporary Epigenetics is not Lamarckian) Lamarckism and the Biology of Discontent in the 1800s The Unfortunate Legacy of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Epigenetics is just now emerging into the scientific and public awareness … Continue reading A Brief History of Epigenetics: Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

A Brief History of Epigenetics: C.H. Waddington

by Shea Robison (@EpigeneticsGuy) Read updated posts on Waddington here, with additional details, as excerpts from my forthcoming book : C.H. Waddington: Genesis of the Original Epigeneticist More About Waddington: Socialism, Science, and Epigenetics (See also A Brief History of Epigenetics: Jean-Baptiste Lamarck) In the history of contemporary Western evolutionary theory, the first use of the term epigenetics is generally attributed … Continue reading A Brief History of Epigenetics: C.H. Waddington

Epigenetics and the Extended Synthesis

If there are so many science-based reasons for the inclusion of epigenetics within genetics, why has it been so maligned for so long? A plausible answer is that there are even stronger non-scientific reasons for this exclusion of epigenetics, and my working theory in this post is that these non-scientific reasons are a function of key differences in the ‘hidden’ ethical commitments of epigenetics and conventional genetics.

The Genetics of the Ethics of the Science of Genetics

My working theory in this project is that many of the scientific criticisms of epigenetics are ultimately political and ethical in origin, and that these scientific disagreements will not be resolved until these underlying ethical complications from epigenetics are at least acknowledged and addressed. Elaborating these ethical challenges from epigenetics through an analysis of fundamental concepts in political philosophy is the primary purpose of this post.