Richard Lewontin's Legacy of Fighting Racism in Science

The late evolutionary biologist made a reputation—and enemies—by speaking out against the idea that genes are destiny. Science still needs people like him.

When Donald Trump invoked genetics at a campaign rally in Minnesota in September 2020, commentators were quick to connect his language to the eugenics and Nazi science of the early 20th century. “You have good genes, you know that, right?” Trump asked his nearly all-white audience. “You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe?” The implication was that—by dint of its race—his crowd was genetically distinct from, and superior to,

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