The Political Gene: How Darwin's Ideas Changed Politics
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The Political Gene: How Darwin's Ideas Changed Politics

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  27 ratings  ·  4 reviews
This narrative isafascinating examination of the way that many scientists and politicians have sought to use Charles Darwin’s ideas to solve social problems or to bolster political ideologies. Darwin not only sparked a revolution in science, but also radically changed the way millions of people thought about themselves, their societies, and their values. The evolutionary s...more
Hardcover, 270 pages
Published November 6th 2009 by Pan Macmillan (first published 2009)
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Andrew Leon Hudson
The Sunday Times, quoted on my paperback copy, calls The Political Gene "A disturbing and provocative book", and they are absolutely dead on. It is both, though I would say the manner in which it disturbs is not the same in which it provokes. I read Dennis Sewell's polemic at the end of 2010, and it's only now that I can bring myself to comment. Call it a three-year cooling off period.

As a keen reader of Richard Dawkins and other popularisers of science and/or evolutionary theory--and of write...more
James Law
A searing expose of how scientists and politicians have sometimes collaborated to flout human rights norms and perpetrate crimes of bestial inhumanity. Terrible things were done during the 20th century in England and the US of which I was only dimly aware before reading this book. Much has clearly been swept under the carpet.
A perceptive analysis of how Darwinism informed dubious political beliefs such as the Eugenics movement of the early twentieth century and modern Social Darwinism which regards poor people as sub-human. Very interesting section on how eugenics movement re-branded itself as 'genetics' and became involved in the abortion and euthanasia debate.
Shane Wallis
As promised in both the backcover and the introduction this was quite a light and emotive introduction to various implications of Darwin's ideas. It is very much a readable book, and flows with an interesting pace. It is not to be taken as a serious critique of biological determinism, however it never claims, or aspires, to be one.
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