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The Gene Illusion
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The Gene Illusion (Paperback)

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This book is essential reading for anyone seeking an alternative to the increasingly popular, yet mistaken view that 'genes are destiny'. What are the forces shaping who we are, how we live, and how we act? Are we shaped primarily by our environment, or by our genes? These are very old questions, and form the basis of the 'nature-nurture debate'. Increasingly, we are told that research has confirmed the importance of genetic factors influencing physical and psychiatric disorders, personality, intelligence, sexual orientation, criminality, and so on. Much of the scientific evidence cited as supporting these ideas has been produced by the fields of behaviour genetics and psychiatric genetics. It has been delivered to the public in numerous magazine and newspaper articles, as well as by the authors of several popular books. In particular, studies of twins (both reared together and reared apart) have been cited as providing conclusive evidence supporting the importance of genetic influences on psychological trait differences.

The reared-apart twin studies by researchers at the University of Minnesota have been the subject of much attention, including stories of individual pairs of reared-apart identical twins who, it is claimed, displayed remarkable similarities upon being reunited. Family and adoption studies are also cited in support of the importance of genetic factors. Schizophrenia is the most studied, and at the same time the most feared and misunderstood, of all psychiatric diagnoses. Two chapters are devoted to problems with genetic research in this area. One of these chapters reviews the schizophrenia adoption studies, which include the well-known and frequently cited Danish-American and Finnish investigations. Another chapter looks into the alleged genetic basis of criminal behavior - an idea more popular today than at any time in the past 50 years. Additional chapters look into other areas of current interest in genetics, such as IQ, heritability, and molecular genetic research. In contrast to the bleak view of humans and their future laid out by those claiming that heredity is of overriding importance, there exists a radically different perspective.

The threat to the future of humanity does not come from peoples' genes. Rather, it comes from well-known and well-documented psychologically traumatic events and environments.

Philosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesAnthropologyPhysical anthropology & ethnographyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesPsychologyScience & MathematicsBiology, life sciencesHuman biologyScience & MathematicsBiology, life sciencesLife sciences: general issuesGenetics non-medical Publisher: PCCS Books Publication Date: 01/01/2003 ISBN-13: 9781898059479  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Jay Joseph, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist practising in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Since 1998, his articles on genetic research in psychiatry and psychology have appeared in journals such as Developmental Review; The American Journal of Psychology; Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs; Politics and the Life Sciences; The Journal of Mind and Behavior; Psychiatric Quarterly; New Ideas on Psychology; and Ethical Human Sciences and Services. He is currently an Associate Editor of Ethical Human Sciences and Services, and an Assessing Editor of The Journal of Mind and Behavior.

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