Latest Issue

Natural science

How can we explain both our disquiet about the new genetics and our enthusiasm biological explanations of human nature?

There were two broad responses to the unveiling, in June, of the first draft of the human genome. Some over-enthusiastic scientists and some gullible journalists gushed about having deciphered “the book of life.” Sequencing the human genome, they said, will enable us to “understand what it means to be human,” and will transform our ideas of man. “We used to think our fate was in the stars,” James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, has said. “Now we know it is in our genes.”

For others, the success of the geneticists was an occasion for dread, not celebration. Many…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect