Talking Genetics and Writing with David Goodman

My journalist friend and colleague David Goodman had me on his radio show “The Vermont Conversation” this past Wednesday, over at WDEV’s fine studios in Waterbury, Vermont, and we spent a few minutes discussing writing about science; my review of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance; depression and neurology; and my mother’s lover. My segment starts shortly after the 2-minute mark and runs to about minute […]

Continue reading →

Whites Win, Because Genes. My Times review of “A Troublesome Inheritance”

Today the New York Times Book Review published its advance online version of my review of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance. (It will appear in print this Sunday.) Others have already reviewed this book elsewhere, with particularly sharp takes coming from Jennifer Raff, Eric Johnson, Michael Eisen, H. Allen Orr, Jerry Coyne, and, also at the Times, Arthur Allen. You’ll find a fuller […]

Continue reading →

Hard-Wired to NOT Be Hard-Wired – Pat Clarkin on Our Marvelous Flexibility

  Humans are hard-wired not to be hard-wired. That phrase, drawn from Ken Weiss, is perhaps the simplest of the many ways that Patrick Clarkin tries to convey, in his wonderful post “Developmental Plasticity and the ‘Hard-Wired’ Problem,” how thoroughly entwined are genetics and experience in shaping and constantly reshaping any organism. It’s silly, in a way, to […]

Continue reading →

Jerry Coyne Mucks Up and Misreads “Die, Selfish Gene, Die”

Below is a corrective comment I left below Jerry Coyne’s second of two posts (his first is here) critiquing “Die, Selfish Gene, Die,” my recent article in Aeon about complaints from some biologists that the “Selfish Gene” framing of genetics and evolution was hindering both public and scientific understanding of genetics and evolution. This is rather a tempest […]

Continue reading →

How Your Friends Get Into Your Genes And Save Your Life – “The Sociable Genome”

I’ve a new feature, “The Social Life of Genes,” in Pacific Standard. It involves bees, birds, monkeys, and how our social life and our genes constantly converse, reshaping us (and our social life) as they go. One of the main characters is a young UCLA psychoneuroimmunologist named Steve Cole, who in the 1990s, reviewing the  health […]

Continue reading →

Do Evolution and Morality Talk Much? David Sloan Wilson & Simon Blackburn Discuss

Morality, even when it doesn’t involve slick trolley problems like killing Whitey, poses a perennial puzzle, particularly in light of evolution. Does human morality rise innately, from culture, or both? Did we evolve merely a capacity to think morally, or a compulsion to do so? What do the evolutionary roots of morality, complex as they might […]

Continue reading →