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Race?: Debunking a Scientific Myth (Texas A&M University Anthropology Series) Hardcover – September 1, 2011
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About the Author
ROB DESALLE is a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics. He curated the American Museum of Natural History’s new Hall of Human Origins (2006) and has written more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific publications and several books. Tattersall and DeSalle recently coauthored Human Origins: What Bones and Genomes Tell Us about Ourselves (Texas A&M University Press, 2007).
Top Customer Reviews
All of this is explained very well in this book, which makes the point (over and over again!Read more ›
The authors, in my view, have amply demonstrated some of the many pitfalls of assigning imagined racial differences as the sole source of a great many human variations.
As I read the book, I found myself thinking of the concept "love." It is something that nearly all have experienced and recognize. The genetic basis, if any, of why some love deeply and some not at all remains largely unexplored. Yet, love is a useful and deeply held construct, however flawed, incomplete, and difficult to define and extricate from surrounding facts and influences.
This book provides ample cautionary reasons to avoid facile racial characterization. It does not, in my view, and at the current stage of genetic research, demonstrate that categorization is without hope or merit. For that reason, expect the government to continue using the concept while asserting, as the census bureau does, that it is a social construct. The real differences behind our current understandings of race have yet to be fully defined. Readers in this field should be aware that many excellent books exist on race, IQ, and their historical controversies.
I have to admit that I had hoped for more from this book, based on the authors’ smart takedown of “A Troublesome Inheritance” (“Mr. Murray, You Lose the Bet” in GeneWatch (6/30/14). (I also enjoyed Tattersall’s “Masters of the Planet.” This book is a sort of hybrid between an academic discussion of human evolution and population genetics and a book aimed at a general audience, and is not entirely successful as either. I applaud the authors’ conviction that the notion of biological race must be defeated on scientific, objective grounds. They are at their best showing that human populations have always mixed and mated, and that cluster analysis doesn't prove that “race” exists. However, they fail to convey the urgency of the question, or the grimness of its social reality (as I write this, the city of Ferguson, MO is still enveloped in tear gas following the gunning down of an unarmed young black man by the police). They also don’t clarify the strongest arguments against biological ‘race’ until the end of the book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful book. The science is explained in a way nonscience people can understandPublished 13 months ago by Deborah Ammerman
The message I got from the book is that today’s races scientifically don’t exist because they can’t be clearly defined as separate entities due to blurring at geographical borders... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Roy F. Johnson
This book is more a history of the study anthropology and genetics. I guess its thesis, regarding race, is that concepts of race are concepts of subspecies, and subspecies cannot... Read morePublished 21 months ago by prometheus