Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Making Sense of Heritability   posted by Darth Quixote @ 5/16/2006 12:11:00 AM

Neven Sesardic is a philosopher of science at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. In an earlier thread I recommended his new book Making Sense of Heritability. From the dusk jacket:

In this book, Neven Sesardic defends the view that it is both possible and useful to measure the separate contributions of heredity and environment to the explanation of human psychological differences. He critically examines the view - very widely accepted by scientists, social scientists and philosophers of science - that heritability estimates have no causal implications and are devoid of any interest. In a series of clearly written chapters he introduces the reader to the problems and subjects the arguments to close philosophical scrutiny. His conclusion is that anti-heritability arguments are based on conceptual confusions and misunderstandings of behavioural genetics. His book is a fresh, original and compelling intervention in a very contentious debate.

There is actually nothing new here of substantive scientific interest to devoted GNXPers. Read it instead for the pleasure of watching the numbing anti-hereditarian catechism of "heritability-estimates-are-meaningless" skillfully and methodically dismantled by a sharp and incisive mind.

This is an expensive academic book. You can find free copies of Sesardic's journal papers on these matters here.