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last modified: 7 September 2001

Selected Works of Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

rat haus reality press is deeply honored and greatful for the opportunity to mirror local copies of the following papers, speech transcripts, and other works by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho. Like Dr. John Gofman, she has unconditionally committed herself to champion, honor and serve life's needs. Like Laurens van der Post she values Carl Jung's contributions to seeing our selves and our modern world wholistically and thus to apprehend the formidable forces of light and dark that make us both what we are and what we can be. We collectively owe a debt of gratitude to those like Mae-Wan who employ their wisdom, intelligence, and creativity to make science once more accountable to life. Only in this way can we, as a species, successfully grow beyond our adolescent reductionist and mechanistic phase that promotes commercial gain as the paramount goal of scientific exploration of our world and universe.

In 1999, I co-founded the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) of which I am Director. I-SIS is a not-for-profit organisation, promoting socially and ecologically accountable science and the integration of science in society. I-SIS also represent a group of scientists around the world (currently 364 from some 40 countries [457 scientists from 56 countries as of Sept 2001]) who have co-signed a World Scientists Statement and Open Letter to All Governments, calling for a moratorium on environmental releases of GMOs on grounds that they are unsafe, and to revoke and ban patents on life-forms and living processes, on grounds that they are unethical.

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, 26 Oct 2000 Witness Statement at the Chardon LL
(a GM "line" [Aventis -- T25 Maize], approved for animal feed) Hearing in London.

In an e-mail sent to dave, Mae-Wan emphasized the point:

We must actively connect the genetic engineering debate with holistic, ecological sciences. It is the most effective way to recapture the agenda from the corporations.

May others be as inspired and as expanded as we are being by taking inside the awareness and perceptions of Dr. Mae-Wan Ho.

Many remarkable individuals and local communities are indeed changing their own lives and the world around them for the better. They all do so by learning from nature and recognizing that it is the symbiotic, mutualistic relationships which sustain ecosystems and make all life prosper, including the human beings who are active, sensitive participants in the ecosystem as a whole [44].
        The same organic revolution has been happening in western science over the past thirty years. Jim Lovelock’s Gaia theory, for example, invites us to see the earth as one super-organism [45]. Even more remarkable is the message from quantum theory: that we are inseparably entangled with one another and with all nature, which we participate in co-creating [46]. It is this holistic, organic perspective that can enable us to negotiate our path out of the moral maze of genetic engineering biotechnology. It provides the basis of a new ethic of science that can reshape society and transform the very texture and meaning of our lives. Seattle has shown us that things can be different. Society does not have to be ruled by the dominant culture. Science can transcend the dominant status quo to reshape society for the public good, which is also the private good. We begin to appreciate how the purpose of each organism and species is entangled with that of every other. Our humanity is a function of this entangled whole, and we cannot do arbitrary violence to one another, nor to the nature of other species without violating our own. The ethic of science is no different from that of being human.

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Towards a New Ethic of Science, 16 Mar 2000

If you want to stay informed on the GM debate why not subscribe to the Institute of Science in Society's free newsletter I-SIS news. All issues are available at, but by joining the I-SIS information list you can have new editions, and other press releases sent straight to you.


The following files are mirrored with permission from
their sources at the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website.

All works by Mae-Wan Ho with additional authors indicated where present.


ISIS Titles Listed Topically and Alphabetically:

See Also: Equivalent listings linked to highlights
of each work (with link to file itself).

The debate on genetic engineering biotechnology is dogged by the artificial separation imposed between "pure" science and the issues it gives rise to. "Ethics" is deemed to be socially determined, and therefore negotiable, while the science is seen to be beyond reproach, as it is the "laws" of nature. The same goes for the distinction between "technology" -- the application of science -- from the science. Risk assessments are to do with the technology, leaving the science equally untouched. The technology can be bad for your health, but not the science. In this article, I shall show why science cannot be separated from moral values nor from the technology that shapes our society. In other words, bad science is unquestionably bad for one's health and well-being, and should be avoided at all costs. Science is, above all, fallible and negotiable, because we have the choice, to do or not to do. It should be negotiated for the public good. That is the only ethical position one can take with regard to science. Otherwise, we are in danger of turning science into the most fundamentalist of religions, that, working hand in hand with corporate interests, will surely usher in the brave new world.

--Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, The Unholy Alliance, 1997


Biotechnology / Genetic Engineering


Biomedical applications


Conceptual Articles


Legal Briefs and Legislation

Public Debates


Science and Government

I am making a case for organicist science. It is not yet a conscious movement but a Zeitgeist I personally embrace, so I really mean to persuade you to do likewise by giving it a more tangible shape. The new organicism, like the old, is dedicated to the knowledge of the organic whole, hence, it does not recognize any discipline boundaries. It is to be found between all disciplines. Ultimately, it is an unfragmented knowledge system by which one lives. There is no escape clause allowing one to plead knowledge `pure' or `objective', and hence having nothing to do with life. As with the old organicism, the knowing being participates in knowing as much as in living. Participation implies responsibility, which is consistent with the truism that there can be no freedom without responsibility, and conversely, no responsiblity without freedom. There is no placing mind outside nature as Descartes has done, the knowing being is wholeheartedly within nature: heart and mind, intellect and feeling (Ho, 1994a). It is non-dualist and holistic. In all those respects, its affinities are with the participatory knowledge systems of traditional indigenous cultures all over the world. . . .
        The organism maximizes both local freedom and global intercommunication. One comes to the startling discovery that the coherent organism is in a very real sense completely free. Nothing is in control, and yet everything is in control. Thus, it is the failure to transcend the mechanistic framework that makes people persist in enquiring which parts are in control, or issuing instructions; or whether free will exists, and who choreographs the dance of molecules. Does "consciousness" control matter or vice versa? These questions are meaningless when one understands what it is to be a coherent, organic whole. An organic whole is an entangled whole, where part and whole, global and local are so thoroughly implicated as to be indistinguishable, and each part is as much in control as it is sensitive and responsive. Choreographer and dancer are one and the same. The `self' is a domain of coherent activities, in the ideal, a pure state that permeates the whole of our being with no definite localizations or boundaries, as Bergson has described.

--Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, The Biology of Free Will, 1996


New Science of the Organism

Public Lectures

Scientific Papers

Sustainable Agriculture


All the elements for a science of the organism are there between the disciplines, precisely as envisaged by the pioneer thinkers. I have put some of the key elements together in my book, The Rainbow and The Worm, The Physics of Organisms, ... which is patterned after Erwin Schrödinger's What is Life? It attempts to explain organic wholeness and complexity based on contemporary quantum physics and non-equilibrium thermodynamics. It gives new insights into physiological regulation, bioenergetics and cell biology, many of which were predicted by the pioneers. Also consistent with their vision, the new science of the organism promises to restore all the qualities that have been exorcised from life and nature, to reaffirm and extend our intuitive, poetic, and even romantic notions of nature's unity. . . .
        Science shapes society not just through the technologies it creates, but through values and assumptions that motivate human beings, define social norms and inform the policies of nations. That is where I believe the science of the organism may hold the key to a more sustainable and spiritual world.
        I take science, in the most general terms, to be any active knowledge system shared by a society of human beings that gives both meaning to their way of life and the means whereby to live sustainably with nature. Science, therefore, has an overriding obligation to be socially responsive and responsible. It is inseparable from the entire culture of society and its highest moral values, which define the public good. Sustainability is a moral imperative to achieve and safeguard the manifold conditions of a healthy and fulfilling life for present and future generations.
        What does it mean to be an organism? To be an organism is to be possessed of the irrepressible tendency towards being whole; towards being part of a larger whole. One of the key concepts in understanding organic wholeness is coherence, the ideal of which is quantum coherence. Quantum coherence aptly describes the perfect coordination of living activities in our body, and there is growing empirical evidence that it may indeed underlie living organization, as described in my book.


Science and Society

Science and Commerce

Science and Government

Science and Art

Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture is predicated on a holistic, ecological perspective anathema to reductionist mechanistic science. Mechanistic science has been thoroughly discredited in the course of the 20th century. Mechanical physics went first of all with relativity and quantum physics. Biology was the last to go with the new genetics.
        The new genetics is radically ecological, organic and holistic. That is why genetic engineering, at least in its current form, can never succeed. It is based on misconceptions that organisms are machines, and on a denial of the complexity and flexibility of the organic whole.
        The challenge for western scientists is to develop a holistic science to help revitalise all kinds of non-corporate sustainable agriculture and holistic medicine that can truly bring food security and health to the world.

--Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Taking Science Seriously in the GM Debate, 16 Apr 2000

ISIS Titles Listed Alphabetically and Topically:

See Also: Equivalent listings linked to highlights
of each work (with link to file itself).

To try to understand disease in terms of genes and protein interactions is worse than trying to understand how a machine works in terms of its nuts and bolts, simply because the parts of the organism, unlike those of a machine, are inseparably tangled up with one another. Mechanistic understanding in terms of interacting parts is extremely unlikely to lead to the design of better drugs. For that, we require knowledge of the design of the human organism. And no amount of information on genes and protein interactions will ever add up to the complex, entangled whole that is the organism.


Links to other works on the
Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website:

Works by Dr Mae-Wan Ho

Personal Qualifications listed at the top of Report on horizontal gene transfer - Department of Public Prosecution versus Gavin Harte and others, New Ross, Ireland, March 22, 1999:

Mae-Wan Ho, Reader in Biology at the Open University, B. Sc. (First Class) 1964, and Ph. D. 1967, H K University; more than 30 years in research and 25 years teaching experience; nearly 200 publications covering human biochemical genetics, molecular genetics, evolution, developmental biology, and biophysics. Awards include, Chan Kai Ming Prize for Biological Sciences (HK) 1964: Fellow of the National Genetics Foundation (USA) 1971-1974; Vida Sana Award (Spain) 1998; Guest of Honour in Women of the Year Luncheon & Assembly (UK) 1998. From 1994, Scientific Advisor to the Third World Network and other public interest organizations on biotechnology and biosafety. Debated issues in the United Nations, the World Bank, the European Parliament, in the UK, USA and many other countries all over the world. Author of many papers and reports for the public and for policy-makers, frequent broadcaster and public lecturer. Recent publications relevant to genetic engineering:

  • Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare? Mae-Wan Ho, Gateway Books, Bath, UK, 1998; (revised, 2nd. edition, 1999).

  • Gene Ecology and Gene Technology of Infectious Diseases, Mae-Wan Ho et al, Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 10, 33-59, 1998.

  • Genetic Engineering and Infectious Diseases, Mae-Wan Ho et al, Third World Network, Penang, 1998.

  • Fatal Flaw in Food Safety Assessment: The FAO/WHO Joint Biotechnology & Food Safety Report, Mae-Wan Ho and Ricarda A. Steinbrecher, Third World Network, Penang, 1998.

  • Fatal Flaw in Food Safety Assessment: The FAO/WHO Joint Biotechnology & Food Safety Report, Mae-Wan Ho and Ricarda A. Steinbrecher, Environmental and Nutritional Interactions 2, 51-84.


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