The program of The Ashley Montagu Institute incorporates dissemination, extension, and application of the lifework of its namesake, Ashley Montagu.
Dissemination demands education. This website is one modality for making knowledge of Ashley's work widely available and for distributing the ideas themselves. From time to time, it will feature reviews of his books, reports of his perspectives on vital topics, news of his current activities and those of others involved in related work or in the Institute. Other means of dissemination will be electronic and print publication, broadcasting, and course offerings.
Extension of Montagu's lifework requires adoption of his method of rigorously disciplined generalist/specialist investigation to find new knowledge for its own sake that might or might not carry practical utility. An example is the pure research he did long ago on the embryology of the maxilla (upper jaw) -- which unforeseen turned out decades later to hold the key surgeons needed to make possible effective repair of cleft lip and palate. Our predicament as a species demands that, within the boundaries of care for ourselves, other organisms, and the environment, we continue to invest in acquiring knowledge for its own sake. We hope to reinforce the benefits of this perspective not just to schools, colleges, universities, many of which already support it, but also to government, private industry, religious and other community organizations, first in this country, and then around the globe, that sometimes do not.
Application involves identifying a significant problem, studying it enthusiastically with generalist/specialist expertise, and then designing a suitable solution --- that is, one which is consonant with both the scientific evidence concerning the problem itself and the needs and potentials of ourselves, other organisms, and the planet. The final step, after thorough evaluation of costs, benefits, and side-effects, is fostering implementation.
A successful example from the past in which Ashley participated is the finding of proof of the terrible toxicity of plutonium in air and the successful campaign to ban testing of nuclear bombs in the atmosphere. Current possibilities AMI is exploring are:
1) the grinding poverty of half the Earth's human population, and the precise utility of methods of providing them better access to credit such as microbanks;For current AMI endeavors, please click on the link entitled AMI Program Plan for August, 2007