Acclaimed author Matt Ridley's thrilling follow-up to his bestseller Genome. Armed with the extraordinary new discoveries about our genes, Ridley turns his attention to the nature versus nurture debate to bring the first popular account of the roots of human behaviour.
What makes us who we are?
In February 2001 it was announced that the genome contains not 100,000 genes as originally expected 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.
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 new 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.
'This clever and ambitious book is full of novel insights and reflections.' James Le Fanu, Sunday Telegraph'Ridley belongs to the coterie that truly pushes science forward and brings it within the broader purlieus of "culture". Nature via Nurture is another fine contribution to an already outstanding oeuvre.' Colin Tudge, Independent Magazine'An unrivalled view of cutting-edge research into the roots of human behaviour.' Clive Cookson, Financial Times'A balanced, entertaining gallop through the world of environmental influences and genetic impulses.' Robin McKie, Observer'Eminently readable.' Dylan Evans, Evening Standard'Profoundly intelligent and persuasive.' John Cornwell, Sunday Times'Nature via Nurture will not end the debates about human nature between those who look to biology and those who prefer the social sciences. In his plunge into the fray however, Matt Ridley offers and excellent view of the battlefield.' The Economist'Characteristically for a book by Ridley, there is much fascinating material here, lucidly and entertainingly presented...Elegantly written and highly instructive' A C Grayling, Literary Review'Nature via Nurture sets the modern terms for an ancient debate, and at the same time delivers a superb tutorial on contemporary genetics; the feedback loop that embraces genes and environment is generally not well understood. And yet this plasticity, this elegant mutuality, seems crucial if our new understanding of human nature is to inform public policy. These times need a book like this.' Ian McEwan'Lucidly explains the most recent discoveries on what makes us what we are, and how we should think about these discoveries as we ponder who we want to be...A treat, written with insight, wisdom, and style.' Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate'Bracingly intelligent, lucid, balanced -- witty, too. Nature via Nurture is a scrupulous and charming look at our modern understanding of genes and experience.' Oliver Sacks'A real page-turner. What a superb writer he is, and he seems to get better and better.' Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 4th May 2004
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.5 x 13.8
Weight (kg): 0.24