Not in Our Genes

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Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology and Human Nature is a 1984 book criticizing biological determinism, racialism, sociobiology, and related pseudosciences. It was written by Richard Lewontin, Steven Rose, and Leon Kamin, a geneticist, neuroscientist, and psychologist, respectively. It also take a decidedly political stance, criticizing biological determinism etc. as supposedly being devised to justify social inequalities, and promoting a radical socialist alternative to such concepts.


Unsurprisingly, prominent sociobiologist Richard Dawkins gave the book an unfavorable, tongue-in-cheek review. Some select quotes: "…to think that, through all these years working in universities, I had imagined that the purpose of science was to solve the riddles of the Universe: to comprehend the nature of existence, of space and time and of eternity; of fundamental particles spread through 100 billion galaxies; of complexity and living organisation and the slow dance through three billion years of geological time. No no, these trivial matters fade into insignificance beside the overriding need to legitimate bourgeois ideology."[1] Also unsurprisingly, socialists were much bigger fans of the book, with one of them dubbing it an "indispensable ideological weapon" against "bigotry" like that espoused by Charles Murray.[2] The book has been criticized for its discussion of IQ testing and its dismissal of research supporting a genetic basis for schizophrenia.[3]