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The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nurtureby Matt Ridley
Synopses & Reviews
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.
Book News Annotation:
Journalist and science editor Ridley examines the endless nature v. nurture controversy and, in essence, dismisses it. He believes our genes are the servants of our environment rather than its masters, and that they are the "consequence as well as causes of the will." Ridley believes, based on recent research, that genes enable rather than restrain our potential and our ability to make the best use of our experiences. He also believes that instinct and learning are not opposites but work together in complex ways in brains in which the only constant is change.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The bestselling author of Genome chronicles a new revolution in the world's understanding of genes.
About the Author
Matt Ridley's books have been shortlisted for six literary awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (for Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters). His most recent book, The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nurture, won the award for the best science book published in 2003 from the National Academies of Science. He has been a scientist, a journalist, and a national newspaper columnist, and is the chairman of the International Centre for Life, in Newcastle, England. Matt Ridley is also a visiting professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.
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