Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cultural history colors thought about bioethics, evolution

Date:
February 21, 2010
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
Popularized ideas about evolution assume that some human groups are more evolved than other human groups. These cultural views of evolution can have important ethical implications, says an expert on theological and biomedical ethics.

Cultural views of evolution can have important ethical implications, says a Duke University expert on theological and biomedical ethics. Because the popular imagination filters science through cultural assumptions about race, cultural history should be an essential part of biomedical conversations.

Amy Laura Hall, associate professor of Christian ethics at Duke University, argues that many popularized ideas about evolution assume that some human groups are more evolved than other human groups.

"I believe that evolutionary biology, as depicted in the popular press, too often uncritically reinforces ideas about race that privilege white, Western bodies and cultures. I see this at work today in new arguments for paternalism in Haiti, for example" says Hall, who participated on a panel at the AAAS annual meeting called "Genetics and Ethics: Different Views on the Human Condition" on February 17.

The panel of scholars from the fields of genetics and theology will focus on how genetics and its medical applications are communicated to the general public.

Hall's current research looks at ways evolutionary biology is conveyed in the popular media. She cites examples of television documentaries about evolution that portray human evolution commencing in Africa, using images of dark-skinned people "almost as living icons" to represent humanity at our genesis. "When evolution is depicted as an upward slope, those representing the origin are also often perceived as the nadir," she says.

Hall is looking at how these popular portrayals are reinforced in recent media coverage of the earthquake disaster in Haiti, coverage that she says depicts Haitians as more primal and less developed, and how this may influence relief efforts that are more paternalistic in nature.

"In order to seek more collaborative, less hierarchical models of international engagement or relief work, we need to discuss head-on the racist ways evolutionary biology has become dispersed," she says.

"In order to collaborate, you have to consider your potential collaborators as adults, rather than as people further down a slope of human development, thus assuming a kind of tacit paternalism," says Hall, whose training is as a moral theologian.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Cultural history colors thought about bioethics, evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100221143154.htm>.
Duke University. (2010, February 21). Cultural history colors thought about bioethics, evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100221143154.htm
Duke University. "Cultural history colors thought about bioethics, evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100221143154.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins