Laura's Reviews > Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors

Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade
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's review
Jan 21, 08

it was ok

The first half of this book is a fascinating look at what light DNA and current studies of genetics shed on human evolution. I learned much more abour our ancestors, the origin of language, and genetics than I ever did in school.

But the second half of the book goes into quesionable territory. He starts drawing conclusions from the still-developing understanding of the human genome that I just don't think are yet supported by the evidence. The science in this half of the book is somehow both too complicated for the lay reader, and over-simplified to support controversial conclusions. For example, he argues that race has a genetic basis and acknowledges, but minimizes concerns raised by social scientists about the implications of such an argument. Overall, this part of the book really made me question the validity of what I had read in the first half.
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message 1: by .: .A.E.R. (new) - added it

.: .A.E.R. Race does have a genetic basis. If an intelligent and conscious being encounters something new and strange, does it continually react through fear; does it instinctively avoid the unknown and unexpected? Curiosity always overcomes all lower-order processes in higher-order functioning creatures. Intelligent and conscious beings do not practice cruelty; they do not kill tiny fish simply because tiny fish are less capable. Small but important mutations in human populations -- minuscule variations less removed than a fish -- do not imply a need for aggression. Violent people will always cherry-pick reasons by which to justify violence: Violent people will always support violence by conglomerating relatively disjointed ideas.* Likewise, practitioners of various harmful chemicals during times of want, those who are sexually aroused and those possessed of an unalterable dogma, e.g., induce lower-order mental functions to compel higher-order functions to choose unrelated concepts by which to uphold the desire.

*Cherry-picked and disjointed with relation to the sphere of perception titled as human social interaction.

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