A Troublesome Inheritance

A Troublesome Inheritance

Genes, Race, and Human History

Book - 2014
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Drawing on startling new evidence from the mapping of the genome, an explosive new account of the genetic basis of race and its role in the human story.
Few ideas have been more harmful than one race or another being inherently superior to others. For this understandable reason, discussion of biological differences between races has been virtually banished from polite academic conversation. Human evolution, the consensus view insists, ended in prehistory. Inconveniently, this view cannot be right. Nicholas Wade, the esteemed science journalist who has long reported on new genetic advances for The New York Times, cites the mounting evidence that human evolution has continued to the present day. Because populations stayed in place for thousands of years, substantially isolated, evolution has proceeded independently on each continent, giving rise to the various races of humankind. Here, Wade explores the possibility that recent human evolution has included changes in social behavior and hence in the nature of human societies. Rejecting unequivocally the notion of racial superiority, he argues that the evolution of the human races holds information critical to the understanding of human societies and history, and that the public interest is best served by pursuing the scientific truth without fear.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York :, The Penguin Press,, 2014
ISBN: 9781594204463
1594204462
9781594206238
Characteristics: 278 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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c
ceedeegee57
Apr 23, 2016

What Wade has to say about our fear to address these issues, and the dangers and awful historical missteps that have arisen from past theories that used their arguments to oppress people is interesting and worthwhile reading.
That his major arguments here could indeed be true is I think possible, but certainly not proven satisfactorily here. He also falls into the trap of speculating (based on the assumption his premises are true) a bit too widely for my taste. At times one wonders if he read his own comments on the errors of the past.
My biggest complaint is the writing however. His arguments are often thin and unsatisfying. Again this doesn't mean they are not correct, and to be fair he does say that much more research is needed. But i'm not sure this book is the book that will sway the debate either way.
There is a magazine article extracted from the book that captures much of the interesting points about new(ish) research in 1/10th the space. Look for that if you're interested.

n
naturalist
Jun 09, 2015

related articles: . . . . .
“The Troublesome Ignorance of Nicholas Wade” July 19, 2014, by Augustin Fuentes, Professor of Anthropology . . . http://www.huffingtonpost.com/agustin-fuentes/the-troublesome-ignorance-of-nicholas-wade_b_5344248.html . . . . . and . . . . .
“I would not want to be Nicholas Wade right now” May 22, 2014, by PZ Myers . . . http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/05/22/i-would-not-want-to-be-nicholas-wade-right-now/

r
Raleigh16
Jun 09, 2015

If you have always wondered why politically correct statements about DNA seemed bogus, you need to read this book. Proof.

k
kmbunday
Oct 08, 2014

After searching for professional reviews by geneticists and other scientists the first time I had this book checked out, it doesn't surprise me that the reviews are uniformly negative. Wade makes amateur blunders in interpreting the research literature he cites, and this book is not a good guide to current research on human genetics.

m
mclarjh
Jul 12, 2014

The writing is okay, not great, and many of the author's arguments are weak, but the ideas are worth discussing.

d
delfon
May 10, 2014

There is a fallacious belief that western civilization will triumph due to some inherent creative genius.
Examples given have logical explanation, which further disproves the authors assertions.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/05/troublesome_inheritance_critique_nicholas_wade_s_dated_assumptions_about.single.html

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