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Nature Via Nurture by Matt Ridley
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Nature Via Nurture (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Matt Ridley

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8101311,256 (3.97)8
Member:mabith
Title:Nature Via Nurture
Authors:Matt Ridley
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Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Non-fiction, Science, Psychology

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Nature via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human by Matt Ridley (2003)

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Armed with extraordinary new discoveries about our genes, acclaimed science writer Matt Ridley turns his attention to the nature-versus-nurture debate in a thoughtful book about the roots of human behavior.

Ridley recounts the hundred years' war between the partisans of nature and nurture to explain how this paradoxical creature, the human being, can be simultaneously free-willed and motivated by instinct and culture. With the decoding of the human genome, we now know that genes not only predetermine the broad structure of the brain, they also absorb formative experiences, react to social cues, and even run memory. They are consequences as well as causes of the will. ( )
  MarkBeronte | Jul 28, 2013 |
An incredible popular-science book; it's on the same level as The Selfish Gene. Ridley gives a fascinating account of how our environment exerts a tremendous influence on our development through what are known as "promoter genes." Promoter genes pick up on our environment, and, in response, turn "on" and "off" other genes. Promoter genes have the power to retard our development, or allow us to grow into our full potential.

The central premise of the book is that this interplay between environment and genetics gives lie to, and turns upside down, the tired debate of "nature vs nurture." ( )
1 vote AdamRackis | Aug 23, 2011 |
To me this book felt like a padded out version of Genome, incidentally an excellent book. If you have read Genome recently, then you will notice many, many facts being repeated here almost verbatim. On it's own, this book is probably great, but it is a lousy read if Genome is still fresh in your memory. ( )
  voodoochilli | Jul 13, 2011 |
Fabulous look into the relationship between genes and environment. Though it's left me more confused than ever. Though more informed than ever too. In summary, and as the title of the book sums up very neatly, there is no "versus" in the nature v. nurture debate. Great writer - the amount of information is enormous but the text is eminently readable all the same.
  nocto | Dec 8, 2010 |
Enjoyed it from beginning to end. ( )
  rm80780 | Oct 11, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060006781, Hardcover)

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 genetic controls. Nevertheless, "the more we understand both our genes and our instincts, the less inevitable they seem." A consummate popularizer of science, Ridley once again provides a perfect mix of history, genetics, and sociology for readers hungry to understand the implications of the human genome sequence. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:36 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"In February 2001 it was announced that the human genome contains not 100,000 genes, as originally postulated, but only 30,000. This startling revision led some scientists to conclude that there are simply not enough human genes to account for all the different ways people behave: we must be made by nurture, not nature. Yet again biology was to be stretched on the Procrustean bed of the nature-nurture debate. Matt Ridley argues that the emerging truth is far more interesting than this myth. Nurture depends on genes, too, and genes need nurture. Genes not only predetermine the broad structure of the brain, they also absorb formative experiences, react to social cues, and even run memory. They are consequences as well as causes of the will." "Published fifty years after the discovery of the double helix of DNA, Nature via Nurture chronicles a revolution in our understanding of genes. Ridley recounts the hundred years' war between the partisans of nature and nurture to explain how this paradoxical creature, the human being, can be simultaneously free-willed and motivated by instinct and culture. Nature via Nurture is an enthralling, up-to-the-minute account of how genes build brains to absorb experience."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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