Tiffany Jenkins writing in The Scotsman reviews the Edinburgh Fringe production of “HeLa“ by IronOxide.
The controversy looks set to fester long after the Festival, with developments in genetic research and Opera Winfrey and HBO making a movie of Lack’s life story. The dominant narrative is of a poor black woman who was exploited by science, when it is in fact a story of how dedicated researchers helped to save millions of lives in an unequal society. It’s a narrative that does Henrietta Lacks a disservice by focusing on her tumour cells and not on the person: she was always more than tissue. She was a mother, a wife and a woman who loved to dance. That is how she should be remembered.
Good to see a journalist and campaigner for the arts and humanities, who really does see the cultural distorting privilege of “scientism” in policy and economics generally, also defending science from the spurious accusations of race-politics and scientific exploitation in an artistic production. With balance there is hope.
Contrast that with Larry Krauss – the 5th Horseman – disingenuously twisting a story to score scientific and logical argumentation points against a theologian. If people don’t argue with respect and constructive intent, then scientism, and not humanism, continues to reign.
Larry is being pompous, disingenuous, rude and unethical – to use his own words – and “for entertainment” too! Sure, Dawkins doesn’t “set Pell up” in advance of the Q&A conversation. Pell makes a mistake (as a non-expert) in answering the host’s question, by not recognising the particular lines of genetic heredity between specific species, whilst nevertheless accepting that genetic evolution of species is “probably true”. And Dawkins, the expert, ridicules and sneers at him, rather than building on the probable truth between them. We don’t see the context before and after this exchange, but with this kind of behaviour, a pox on both their houses.
We don’t see the full Craig dialogue, so can’t comment further on that either, but ditto Larry’s “stadium rant” in the above clip shamelessly conflating the “explanation of the diversity of life – the origin of species” with the “origins of life” – reprehensible. (Same problem with his “a universe from nothing” thesis – which is really a very good, “something complex from a next-to-nothing potential-energetic vacuum” story. Simply not the same thing, and he knows it. Krauss previously on Psybertron)