Features of The Agile Gene PDF
The Agile Gene PDF-“Bracingly intelligent, lucid, balanced—witty, too. . . . A scrupulous and charming look at our modern understanding of genes and experience.” — Oliver Sacks
Armed with extraordinary new discoveries about our genes, acclaimed science writer Matt Ridley turns his attention to the nature-versus-nurture debate in a thoughtful book about the roots of human behavior.
Ridley recounts the hundred years’ war between the partisans of nature and nurture to explain how this paradoxical creature, the human being, can be simultaneously free-willed and motivated by instinct and culture. With the decoding of the human genome, we now know that genes not only predetermine the broad structure of the brain, they also absorb formative experiences, react to social cues, and even run memory. They are consequences as well as causes of the will.
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Description of The Agile Gene PDF
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Dimensions and Characteristics of The Agile Gene PDF
- ASIN : B006O3LTIY
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (February 14, 2012)
- Publication date : February 14, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 610 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 352 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Book Name :The Agile Gene PDF
Konrad Lorenz (indeed, I named my son after him)– I’ve read pretty much everything he has ever written!
Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox– various
Richard Leakey– The Origin of Humankind
Stephen Pinker–How the Mind Works
Jane Goodall– everything
and others (Stephen Jay Gould’s “Ontogeny and Phylogeny” is next on my “to read” list)
and Matt Ridley’s the Red Queen.
It is from this background that I say I enjoyed this book mightily even though some of the science went right over my head with nary a look back.
The book engages with some of the deepest questions in this field and does a wonderful job of anticipating my questions as I read it and answering them.
Don’t let the book’s title fool you. If Ridley merely resolved the nurture/nature debate, which most of us already know, the book might be a bust. However, Ridley’s means of resolution is an unsuspected, yet dramatic, one. The book’s strengths lie in applying the resolution of this dilemma to other dilemmas. Not that this approach “answers” these dilemmas; indeed, maybe the reverse, it seems to complicate them. Therein lies the book’s brilliance and novelty, while being entirely scientific.
For example, 18th C. philosopher David Hume raised doubts about humans’ causal inferences, i.e., “cause-and-effect.” E.g. The light goes out (effect). Caused by what: the filament, the glass, the wiring, the switch, the panel, or maybe something else? Many people, including scientists, dismissed Hume’s skepticism as extreme and anti-scientific. Ridley’s Fourth Chapter vindicates Hume, more dramatically than Hume himself (or Popper in 1944). The subject for discussion is “schizophrenia.” The perennial nature/nurture debate and the theories its drawn are investigated, and given Ridley’s insight and science’s “evidence,” the putative “cause(s)” of schizophrenia are all found wanting. How wanting? Incredibly wanting. But ironically, it’s not all wrong. Mostly wrong. And it’s revealed in, through, and by the prism of nature/nurture dispute, seen through the topic of schizophrenia. (The subject of causality in human behavior makes an important reappearance later.)
[N.B. A cautionary note. Chap. 3 seemed uncharacteristically long-winded and redundant. It passes and never recurs.]
Ridley’s encyclopedic knowledge (what field of knowledge does he not know?) is breathtaking. His ability to coordinate all this diverse, even disparate, knowledge in defense of this thesis is extraordinary. To keep all the scientific jargon on an accessible level is masterful. To use an artful device with elegant prose adds creativity and imagination. The implications of these insights are even more stunning. Science does not get better than this!”
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