The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nurture
Matt RidleyISBN: 006000679X;
In the follow-up to his bestseller, Genome , Matt Ridley takes on a centuries-old question: is it nature or nurture that makes us who we are? Ridley asserts that the question itself is a "false dichotomy." Using copious examples from human and animal behavior, he presents the notion that our environment affects the way our genes express themselves. Ridley writes that the switches controlling our 30,000 or so genes not only form the structures of our brains but do so in such a way as to cue off the outside environment in a tidy feedback loop of body and behavior. In fact, it seems clear that we have genetic "thermostats" that are turned up and down by environmental factors. He challenges both scientific and folk concepts, from assumptions of what's malleable in a person to sociobiological theories based solely on the "selfish gene." Ridley's proof is in the pudding for such touchy subjects as monogamy, aggression, and parenting, which we now understand have some...
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