It Ain't Necessarily So: The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions
London, Granta Books. 2000, First Edition. (ISBN: 1862072035) Hardcover, 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Book, Leading geneticist Richard Lewontin's It Ain't Necessarily So: The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions consists of a collection of essays written over a period of 17 years for the New York Review of Books dealing with various aspects of biology and human biology in particular. Lewontin discusses Darwin, Mendel, natural selection, heredity, and the current state of play in modern genetics while damning what he sees as widespread biological determinism from the socio-biology of the recent past to the current "vulgar Darwinism" of the present. IQ testing, and gene therapy, evolutionary psychology, and feminist notions of gendered knowledge all come under fire. The title essay "The Dream of the Human Genome" is a review of nine major books up to 1992 and an attack on the Genomic "grail knights" that, in Lewontin's view, represent administrative and financial organisations rather than a promising research program. On this view the sequence of the human genome is not a trail leading to the Holy Grail, it will not reveal what it is to be human nor change our philosophical view of ourselves, nor, perhaps, will it translate into therapeutic techniques. Lewontin wants to arm the general public against the seductiveness of biological explanations which "often seem to smell of material reality even when they are equally speculative". Lewontin is a working scientist who knows the importance of philosophy. He is also a superb essayist and this collection is a waffle-free, informative, unpretentious eye-opener. Small stain to bottom edge not affecting contents. Good/Very Good.
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Book number: 13432
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Keywords: 1862072035 Science Biology Human Darwin Genetics