Health Fetishism Among The Nacirema: A Fugue On Jenny Reardon’s "The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, and Knowledge After The Genome" (Chicago University Press, 2017) And Isabelle Stengers’ "Another Science Is Possible: A Manifesto For Slow Science" (Polity Press, 2018)
Organisms: Journal Of Biological Sciences
Personalized medicine has become a goal of genomics and of health policy makers. This article reviews two recent books that are highly critical of this approach, finding their arguments very thoughtful and important. According to Stengers, biology’s rush to become a science of genome sequences has made it part of the “speculative economy of promise.” Reardon claims that the postgenomic condition is the attempt to find meaning in all the troves of data that have been generated. The current paper attempts to extend these arguments by showing that scientific alternatives such as ecological developmental biology and the tissue organization field theory of cancer provide evidence demonstrating that genomic data alone is not sufficient to explain the origins of common disease. What does need to be explained is the intransience of medical scientists to recognize other explanatory models beside the “-omics” approaches based on computational algorithms. To this end, various notions of commodity and religious fetishism are used. This is not to say that there is no place for Big Data and genomics. Rather, these methodologies should have a definite place among others. These books suggest that Big Data genomics is like the cancer it is supposed to conquer. It has expanded unregulated and threatens to kill the body in which it arose.
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Scott F. Gilbert.
"Health Fetishism Among The Nacirema: A Fugue On Jenny Reardon’s "The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, and Knowledge After The Genome" (Chicago University Press, 2017) And Isabelle Stengers’ "Another Science Is Possible: A Manifesto For Slow Science" (Polity Press, 2018)".
Organisms: Journal Of Biological Sciences.