Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience, and What Makes Us Human

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Harper Collins, Apr 29, 2003 - Science - 326 pages
42 Reviews

Following his highly praised and bestselling book Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, Matt Ridley has written a brilliant and profound book about the roots of human behavior. Nature via Nurture explores the complex and endlessly intriguing question of what makes us who we are.

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.


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Review: Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human

User Review  - Astha Garg - Goodreads

This was my first science book that I read for leisure and I must say it has got me hooked on the genre. I loved Ridley's style - the humor, logic, experiments and his own thoughts. I wish there were more authors writing not-so-technical science books in my own area of expertise. Read full review

Review: Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human

User Review  - Stefanos - Goodreads

Steven Pinker's the blank slate was one truly influential and mind-altering read for me but i would - from hindsight - prefer this one.It is considerably shorter,offers scignifically more scientific ... Read full review


Twelve Hairy Men i
The Paragon of Animals 7
A Plethora of Instincts 38
A Convenient Jingle 69
The Madness of Causes 98
Genes in the Fourth
Formative Years
Learning Lessons
Conundrums of Culture
The Seven Meanings
A Budget of Paradoxical
Homo stramineus

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About the author (2003)

Matt Ridley is the author of several award-winning books, including Genome, The Agile Gene, and The Red Queen, which have sold more than 800,000 copies in twenty-seven languages worldwide. He lives in England.

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