Pharmaceutical companies bend or withhold scientific data and lie about their drugs, in ways which endanger, harm or kill sick people, to make a profit. That is the shocking reality laid bare in Ben Goldacre’s new book, ‘Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients’. This is  a prime example of the way the profit motive rewarded by Capitalism stands in front of human progress.

Every scientific theory goes through a period of consolidation, where new discoveries strengthen and extend it. At a certain point these new discoveries lead to a new and more accurate interpretation of the same data. Starting with the development of the same theory in a new form, at a certain point, it becomes a new theory. This is how scientific development evolves, trough dialectics: a quantitative approximation of reality that, at a certain point, produces a qualitative leap forward that incorporates the main discoveries of the previous theories but also denies important aspects of those same theories.

Darwin’s theory produced a complete break with previous ideas about natural life. We will touch on two points that are particularly important for the shaping of bourgeois ideology. The first is the end of teleology in science. As Marx put it: “It is here that, for the first time, ‘teleology’ in natural science is not only dealt a mortal blow but its rational meaning is empirically explained.”[1]

Every ruling class has an ideology to back up its domination. Before capitalism, the productive forces were growing so slowly that the very idea of change seemed irrelevant. The ideological justification of class power then was based on the idea of a motionless life, a universe always identical to itself that God had created that way and had given to humankind (that is to the ruling class) to rule over. Everything was identical since the Creation. Evolution was meaningless, in nature as in society. On the contrary, tradition, ipse dixit, and old habits held sway. [part 1]

On the 24th August 2012 Samsung was ordered by a court in San Jose, California to pay Apple just over $1 billion in damages for patent infringement. Apple is now seeking to ban the sale of certain Samsung products in the USA and a hearing is scheduled for 20th September for that claim. This long-running dispute between these technology giants over infringement of smart phone patents shines a spotlight on the failings of a decaying capitalist system.

Ten years ago the great palaeontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould died in New York of cancer. It was the second time that Gould had faced this terrible disease and this time he was defeated by it. The name of Gould will always be linked to his “punctuated equilibrium theory”, published in 1977 with his colleague Niles Eldredge.

Modern scientific research has identified the major physiological, neurological, and genetic differences between humans and our biological ancestors. In particular, it has been found that the human brain is qualitatively different in terms of the development of the parts of the brain that control abstract reasoning, social behaviour, and manual abilities. This discovery is yet more evidence in favour of the explanation that Frederick Engels gave for the evolution of humans in his essay “The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man”.

The Stop Only Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP Act, PIPA) are two bills that were put before the US House of Representatives and Senate in 2011. The two bills are supposedly designed to defend owners of copyrighted content, trademarks and pharmaceutical patents in their long-standing struggle against “pirates”. But there is a lot more to it than that!

A new documentary produced by the BBC, called ‘The Secret Life of Chaos’ has attempted, with a degree of success, to reveal how the latest developments in science through ‘chaos theory’ are finally beginning to make redundant any religious explanation of the workings of the universe and the emergence of intelligent life.

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. This book revolutionised thinking about the living world because for the first time it provided an explanation for the evolution of species. It was a triumph of the materialist world outlook and for that reason its publication was celebrated by Marx and Engels.

We are constantly bombarded with the myth that capitalism drives innovation, technology, and scientific advancement. But in fact, the precise opposite is true. Capitalism is holding back every aspect of human development, and science and technology is no exception.

November of this year sees the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's famous book, Origin of the Species. The beautifully simple idea embodied in his book - evolution by natural selection - was a revolutionary departure with profound scientific and philosophical implications.

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