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Title: Gene Worship: Moving Beyond the Nature/Nurture Debate over Genes, Brain, and Gender
Contributor(s): Kaplan, G (author); Rogers, Lesley (author)
Publication Date: 2003
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Abstract: Genetic explanations for human behaviour are popular and pervasive but not because they have scientific validity. Over the past decade we have heard widely promoted claims about discovery of the gene "for language"; the "gay gene" or sequence of genes; a gene that causes schizophrenia, or at least increases our chance of becoming schizophrenic; and another causing depression; together with claims of finding genes that cause Alzheimer's disease, dyslexia, alcoholism, and even homelessness. Many more medical and social syndromes have been singled out for such biological scrutiny, as if they were clearly defined units of behaviour neatly matched and determined by discrete and direct actions of genes. This groundswell of gene-based explanations, stretching well beyond scientific facts, has refueled much older debates, especially about genes and sex differences in behaviour. ... Gene technology, with its associated genetic explanations that resolve human behaviour into simple units, has, we believe, moved us dangerously close to a new false religion, that of worshipping the genes as the key to understanding human psychology, society, and existence. At the same time as tracing the origins of these ideas, and seeing some fearful social changes that might flow from them, we offer an optimistic antidote to their gloomy, deterministic perspective. We do so by proposing a strong case for an alternate interpretation of research of genes, brain and behaviour and we do so primarily in the age-old battleground of the sexes and sexual orientation. What really does cause the differences between men and women? What does the "gay gene" debate signify? How much outrage should we feel when contemporary scientists either inadvertently or quite openly promote a new form of eugenics?We tackle these questions and put them in a new perspective, not by denying any role of the genes but by recognizing the complex dynamics between gene expression and environmental influences.
Publication Type: Book
Publisher: Other Press
Place of Publication: New York, United States of America
ISBN: 1590510348
Field of Research (FOR): 160808 Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology
HERDC Category Description: A1 Authored Book - Scholarly
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Extent of Pages: 294
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Appears in Collections:Book

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