Latest Issue

The place of genes

Dear Lewis,

You and I have fenced over one of the central questions in biology-and indeed life-for many years now. It may be instructive to try to set out our differences more systematically. The question is how best to understand and explain living processes, in particular the role of genes within these processes. You, in common with many molecular biologists, are content to place DNA and its replication at life’s centre. My book, Lifelines, is an attempt to rebut the claims of this genetic imperialism which, I contend, derives from mistaken metaphysics, misunderstands the nature of…

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