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The Molecular Vision of Life: Caltech, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rise of the New Biology (Monographs on the History and Philosophy of Biology) Reprint Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195111439
ISBN-10: 0195111435
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"[Kay's] description of the establishment of this biology and her analysis of its implications represent an important contribution to our understanding of the social role of science in the late twentieth century." --The Historian


"As a contribution to the history of the American involvement in molecular biology, Kay's book is a work of considerable value, and it is written with clarity and intelligence." --Science


From the Back Cover

The organizational history of Caltech is the loom on which Kay has woven an intricate fabric of the molecular vision of life.
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Product Details

  • Series: Monographs on the History and Philosophy of Biology
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (November 7, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195111435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195111439
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By David Chenard on June 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The information in this book is astonishing. A summary can only sell the book short, but here goes it. The Rockefeller family was hated for lack of business ethics, so they hired a PR man to improve their image. He recommended they give to a worthy cause like improving the health of people or something like that. What they did was form a committee to research what it would take to reform the practices of western medicine. It was determined that buying a relatively small number of the largest medical institutions and controlling what was taught to medical students, they could control how medicine was practiced in America. Well he bought up some medical schools, closed the rest, and effectively removed nutrition, and holistic and herbal medicine from the curriculum, and replaced it with a doctrine of pharmaceuticals and surgery. Of course he owned major shares in the pharmaceutical producing companies and could only profit from this. So instead of doing something that would improve their family image, they improved their family image and began to prey on the ill. I hung on every word in this book and the information it contains is invaluable. I wish everyone could read it.

I'd also like to make a side point. Successful industries create their market, so what do you do if you need to sell drugs to make a profit? You create sick people. How do you do that? You promote unhealthful practices, cure nothing, and make sure doctors only treat symptoms. You also lobby to make it mandatory for children to take vaccines containing aluminum, mercury, cancer causing viruses, foreign DNA, etc., etc. resulting in chronic disease and allergies. That's how, and that is just for starters. Believe it or not, that is what was and is being done to us, and then some. Kind of makes you sick, doesn't it?
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Format: Paperback
For those interested in the true history of the Rockefeller Foundation's patronage of the life sciences, this is a fantastic book. The author avoids putting a positive or negative spin on the objectives of the Rockefeller Foundation, which adds to her credibility. The first and last quarters of this book deal with the wider social implications of the Foundation's influence and funding. It is in these sections that Kay speaks of the Foundation's twin goals of Eugenics and Social Control. The middle section of the book is more concerned with the history of molecular biology. I find the middle section horribly dry because it is not my area of interest.

I don't know what book the previous reviewer read, but I don't remember anything about the Rockefeller family improving its PR, or owning pharmaceutical companies. Those statements may be true, but I don't remember them from this book.

The conclusion states that in the popular imagination it is logical and natural for science to begin investigating the possibility altering individuals' genetics to weed out disease and promote desirable traits. The author contends that this is not merely the next logical step, but one of the primary reasons why the Rockefeller Foundation supported the life sciences in the first place. The other primary reason is to understand human-kind better so that we can be managed systematically.

The author also clearly explains that the Foundation's influence on scientists is not one of top-down command, but one of mutually reinforcing interests. The symbiotic relationship that the foundation forms with the scientific community is best described by the author as "Hegemony".

Overall, this book was very well written, very credible, and not afraid to call it like it is.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I feel like the author has a lot to say that is of interest on this subject. The trouble is that she writes in such a way that she assumes the reader has much more background on the topic than the average reader is likely to actually have. The effect is that she has made the book inaccessible.
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