(Copyright © 2000 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
This is the least professional of all the books Ridley has written on genetics-related topics. He tries to prove that the outstanding debate between nature (you are determined by your genes) and nurture (you are determined by experience) is meaningless because the two cannot be clearly separated. Ridley points to the
fact that genes respond to experience (true: genes are triggered by what happens
in your life, so they are not necessarily on or off). Ridley calls it "nature via nurture", and claims that this is the mechanism that differentiates individuals and species.
Humans and chimps share almost the same genetic repertory.
According to Ridley, the reason you are a human and not a chimp is not the
tiny difference in genes, it is the difference in the way those genes are triggered by experience. Despite the amount of information he provides, he never
really proves his claim. None of the many pieces of information he provides
is about his claim. It's like a theorem based on poor mathematical logic.
An emphatic journalistic style proclaiming the beginning of a new age in science
does not help increase his credibility on those claims.
The book is noteworthy for its introduction to genetics. Few books provide such a clear and updated description of what we know about genes. As for Ridley's theories, they are just that: his own theories. Unfortunately, he presents them as proven facts that the entire scientific community shares. Which is certainly not the case.