Comments: 22
Grrrr ...!
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
Yeah, and he's since wandered off in another direction which has given me a few WTF moments...but I'll need to finish the section to see where he is taking this.
Oh, no -- and this is only the 2/3 point ...
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
Not really. There is a large reference section and there are only about 20 pages left in this section, and only about 100 left in the book (last section + epilogue). I'm just hoping these last sections would spoil the book.
Sigh. Fingers crossed!
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
I'm intrigued what you make of the book once/if you get around to it.

As for the matter in question, he did manage to turn it around but not gracefully, and the overall notion I got from this part is that his imbalance of discussing some topics (i.e. spending more time relating the more controversial and sensational aspects than on refuting the argument/hypothesis in question) makes him come across as unqualified to discuss the topic. It takes a serious investment on the part of the reader to pick out from the writing what message Mukherjee is trying to support here.
Oh, I have every intention of reading it.

What's the topic of the section you just read?
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
It's Part 5 "Through the Looking Glass" and consist of chapters about various attempts to explain aspects of identity (intelligence, gender, attitude/temperament, proclivity for behaviour) on genetic predetermination.
Lillelara 2 weeks ago
Oh, that chapter. I remember not being interested in that topic at all.

Overall I liked the first half of the book much more than the second half. Which explains why I flew through the first 200 pages and then it too me ages to finish the book.
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
Oh, I'm interested but I'm not sure he is the best, or even a good, author to discuss the topics he picks. I'm not doubting his qualifications in the field of genetics but I have issues to believe he is equally qualified to discuss when the pure science mixes with other disciplines such as endocrinology, psychiatry or psychology or evolutionary biology.

As soon as the chapter swung back to genetics and epigenetic, the writing picked up again.
Umm. OK. So we get a whole lot about the "gene for crime" nonsense, but no clear idea why Mukherjee thinks it *is* nonsense (if he does)?
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
It's nowhere as bad as that. However, the explanation of why "the gene for [insert trait here]" is either nonsense or not proven is really short ... or in some cases just "well it's fate". LoL. There is more to it, but his writing just does not get to the points here. There is a lot of skirting about and I was left wondering why he brought the topic up in the first place. There is quite a bit of meandering.
Well, I suppose in a book entitled "the gene" a lot of people would expect him to address whether there really is "a gene for XYZ trait" (and to what extent it's nature, nurture, a combination of both, or neither). But it's disappointing to hear that he's meandering -- arguably, a few clear, concise statements would go quite a way towards dispelling some of the misconceptions out there.
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
...also, there is a distinct lack of discussion of environmental factors of some of the topics: While he takes apart the social construct of intelligence in the context of intelligence testing, bell curves, and racial stereotyping, he doesn't seem to do that when discussing other topics whose categories are based on other social constructs such as good/bad, "normal" etc.

He does have a discussion of "normal" earlier in the book but doesn't refer back to this here, not even as a reminder (which, imo, would have been useful).

And again, I can see that this discussion may be outwith the scope of this book, but with the add-on that there is a separate discussion to be had, his writing comes across as "limited" to the extent that he looses credibility in my eyes.
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
Yes, exactly. (Sorry, cross-posted the above at the same time that you were posting a reply.)
Well, I guess I'll see what I'll see then ... thanks for the warning about that section, in any event.
Tannat 2 weeks ago
That sounds frustrating.
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
He does get around to discuss the topics but it is not until the next section in the book.
Tannat 2 weeks ago
I meant have to wade through what sounds like a mental morass instead of having it laid out concisely for you.
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
Yeah, that's how the book lost the 5th star...for being in a structural muddle.
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
Btw, how the hell am I supposed to write a comprehensible review for this book that even somewhat incorporates the rollercoaster passing such a variety of topics that Mukherjee has tried to address?
Tannat 2 weeks ago
Um...do what I do and just link to all your update posts at the end? Shrug.