The Gene Illusion: Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology Under the Microscope

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Algora Publishing, 2004 - Psychology - 407 pages
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Jay Joseph's timely, challenging book provides a much-needed rebuttal of the evidence cited in support of genetic theories in psychiatry and psychology, which are based mainly on twin and adoption studies. He shows that, far from establishing the importance of genes, psychiatric genetic and behavior genetic research on twins and adoptees has been plagued by researcher bias, unsound methodology, and a reliance on erroneous theoretical assumptions. Furthermore, he discusses how this faulty research has been used to support the interests of those attempting to bolster conservative social and political agendas. Under the Microscope Dr. Jay Joseph provocatively challenges current genetic theories and the evidence cited to support them - in particular, genes' alleged role in criminal behavior, IQ, heritability and molecular genetic research - and maintains they are all part of the "Gene Illusion."

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Chapter 1 Introduction
Misunderstanding Twins From Galton to the 21st Century
An Environmentally Confounded Research Technique
Genetic Studies of Twins Reared Apart A Critical Review
A Measure of Inheritance or Inherently Misleading?
Adoption Studies
Chapter 8 Is Crime in the Genes? A Critical Review of Twin and Adoption Studies of Criminal and Antisocial Behavior
Chapter 9 Genetics and IQ
An Exercise in Futility?
Chapter 11 Where Do we Go From Here?
Index of Names
Subject Index

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Page 13 - There is no escape from the conclusion that nature prevails enormously over nurture when the differences of nurture do not exceed what is commonly to be found among persons of the same rank of society and in the same country.
Page 12 - No method of enquiry which I have been able to carry out — and I have tried many methods — is wholly free from this objection. I have therefore attacked the problem from the opposite side, seeking for some new method by which it would be possible to weigh in just scales the respective effects of nature and nurture, and to ascertain their several shares in framing the disposition and intellectual ability of men. The life history of twins supplies what I wanted.
Page 14 - ... of his brother). He then asked to be bled, which was done, and afterwards, declaring himself to be better, went out on the pretext of executing some commission, but really to drown himself in the river Steir, which he actually did, at the very spot where Martin had attempted to do the same thing a few hours previously.
Page 17 - The facts then are easily, simply and completely explained by one simple hypothesis : namely, that the natures of the germ cells — the conditions of conception — cause whatever similarities and differences exist in the original natures of men, that these conditions influence body and mind equally, and that in life the differences in modification of body ami mind produced by such differences as obtain between the environments of present-day New York City public school children are slight.
Page 1 - We often hear of hereditary talents, hereditary vices, and hereditary virtues ; but whoever will critically examine the evidence will find that we have no proof of their existence. The way in which they are commonly proved is in the highest degree illogical ; the usual course being for writers to collect instances of some mental peculiarity found in a parent and in his child, and then to infer that the peculiarity was bequeathed. By this mode of reasoning we might...

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About the author (2004)

Jon Beckwith is American Cancer Society Research Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School.

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