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Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology, and Human Nature
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"We share a commitment to the prospect of the creation of a more socially just---a socialist---society," they inform us (p. ix). Well, okay, this is 1984 and there were still many smart people with good hearts out there who believed that Marxian socialism was the path to social justice. Lewontin, Rose, and Kamin argue that sociobiology of the sort developed by Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene) and Edward O. Wilson (Sociobiology) is a deeply conservative defense of the status quo, capitalism. The authors' concept of ideology and its position in society is refreshingly simple: "we use the term ideology here and throughout this book," they say, "with a precise meaning. Ideologies are the ruling idea of a particular society at a particular time. They are ideas that express the "naturalness" of any existing social order and help maintain it." (p. 4) There then follows a most famous and indeed lyrical quote by Marx and Engels from The German Ideology: "The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas... the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships.Read more ›
This book has some useful insights worth exploring. Having said that, as with many other books that argue specific areas have controlling influence on human behavior, this book needs to be read with discretion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is amazing how an academic and a scientist can be so politically biased and unscientific. Lewontin would have thrived as a Soviet scientist, especially working with the likes of... Read morePublished on September 15, 2012 by Ivan
This book might still have some historical value as a warning what can happen when scientists start to write about things they know nothing about. Read morePublished on January 8, 2012 by Jackal
This book was published in 1984. Funnily enough, 24 years later and despite important scientific advances, "Not in our Genes" remains as fresh, interesting and fascinating today as... Read morePublished on October 8, 2008 by Amadeus 888
This book does a fine job of dispelling the view the genes solely determine cognitive ability. The problem is that virtually no researchers in the fields of differntial psychology... Read morePublished on April 11, 2004 by Polemicus
I read this book for a college human nature class and found it highly enlightening. I have long been an opponent to the rigid structure of the nature v. Read morePublished on May 16, 2002 by Spongie
I hadn't read much at all dealing with this subject matter but am glad I read the book. It points out the flawed nature of (some) science research in this area. Read morePublished on March 24, 2000
As a lecturer and writer in critical psychology, this book is a key resource in highlighting the way in which psychological enquiry is shaped by the context in which such enquiry... Read morePublished on November 29, 1999 by David Jones