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All people are equal but, as Human Diversity explores, all groups of people are not the same -- a fascinating investigation of the genetics and neuroscience of human differences. The thesis of Human Diversity is that advances in genetics and neuroscience are overthrowing an intellectual orthodoxy that has ruled the social sciences for decades. The core of the orthodoxy All people are equal but, as Human Diversity explores, all groups of people are not the same -- a fascinating investigation of the genetics and neuroscience of human differences. The thesis of Human Diversity is that advances in genetics and neuroscience are overthrowing an intellectual orthodoxy that has ruled the social sciences for decades. The core of the orthodoxy consists of three dogmas: - Gender is a social construct. - Race is a social construct. - Class is a function of privilege. The problem is that all three dogmas are half-truths. They have stifled progress in understanding the rich texture that biology adds to our understanding of the social, political, and economic worlds we live in. It is not a story to be feared. "There are no monsters in the closet," Murray writes, "no dread doors we must fear opening." But it is a story that needs telling. Human Diversity does so without sensationalism, drawing on the most authoritative scientific findings, celebrating both our many differences and our common humanity.


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All people are equal but, as Human Diversity explores, all groups of people are not the same -- a fascinating investigation of the genetics and neuroscience of human differences. The thesis of Human Diversity is that advances in genetics and neuroscience are overthrowing an intellectual orthodoxy that has ruled the social sciences for decades. The core of the orthodoxy All people are equal but, as Human Diversity explores, all groups of people are not the same -- a fascinating investigation of the genetics and neuroscience of human differences. The thesis of Human Diversity is that advances in genetics and neuroscience are overthrowing an intellectual orthodoxy that has ruled the social sciences for decades. The core of the orthodoxy consists of three dogmas: - Gender is a social construct. - Race is a social construct. - Class is a function of privilege. The problem is that all three dogmas are half-truths. They have stifled progress in understanding the rich texture that biology adds to our understanding of the social, political, and economic worlds we live in. It is not a story to be feared. "There are no monsters in the closet," Murray writes, "no dread doors we must fear opening." But it is a story that needs telling. Human Diversity does so without sensationalism, drawing on the most authoritative scientific findings, celebrating both our many differences and our common humanity.

30 review for Human Diversity: Gender, Race, Class, and Genes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lois

    *** Edited to add a TW: This review is apparently EXTREMELY triggering to racist white supremacist men. Proceed at your own risk: ~A current book which deals with this subject matter and the rise of racist pseudo science is How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality by Adam Rutherford. It explains the history of this unscientific viewpoint.~ Racism and transphobia passing as science. No surprise since this is the same racist that brought us The Bell Curve. This books doesn't offe *** Edited to add a TW: This review is apparently EXTREMELY triggering to racist white supremacist men. Proceed at your own risk: ~A current book which deals with this subject matter and the rise of racist pseudo science is How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality by Adam Rutherford. It explains the history of this unscientific viewpoint.~ Racism and transphobia passing as science. No surprise since this is the same racist that brought us The Bell Curve. This books doesn't offer anything new to what we know to be a racist analysis. He doesn't take into account facts like the college cheating scandal which end the myth that white people are smarter. They're not even taking their own tests. They don't write their own papers in university. Many of the papers they buy are written by POC in foreign countries. Or poor often POC students. I funded part of my college writing papers for my buddies at Yale🤷🏽‍♀️ Without actually looking at how white people cheat. This ends up like The Bell Curve. It wasn't the racism it was the shitty science. Intelligence can't be measured has been the scientific conclusion for decades. The tests are base level biased. The IQ Test is a test that you can be taught to raise the score so it's not an accurate measure of base intelligence. Period. It was shitty science to pretend otherwise. Even in 1994 when the book was released. I was enrolled at University and my psych prof cracked up and tossed the book in the trash.🤷🏽‍♀️ There are more than 2 genders. Science has recognized this for sometime. Advanced cultures in the middle ages, which ONLY existed outside of Europe at this period, (Europeans aren't able to advance until they steal smarter people who share their knowledge while being held in captivity by ignorant monsters), recognized more than 2 genders. Genitals aren't an accurate indicator of gender or the Olympics wouldn't do genetic testing on women athletes. They'd just look at their crotch which is cheaper and what they did before realizing that genitals aren't an accurate measure of gender, lol. This author is a conservative racist and white supremacist.🤷🏽‍♀️ If this is true why doesn't he favor simply giving POC a fair shot. If we are less than and doomed to fail then why try so hard to stop us from voting, getting an education, having equal health care and experiences in the justice system. This author's real fear and the real fear of all white supremacists is that if we level the playing field white folks will not be able to keep up. He doesn't include white supremacy as a part of his analysis. He just blames POC for the results of poorly thought out and openly racist policies. He hasn't considered new science or research. He's frightened of real verifiable data. Or a real analysis of data. It's just more or less the same 'black on black crime' style rhetoric as if all crime isn't intraracial. As if straight white cis men aren't disproportionately terrorists and mass shooters. This isn't science. It's just racism. It's also boring and poorly written.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Roger John Jones

    It ain't what you know... It's what you know that just ain't so. "The debate about nature versus nurture is not just one of many issues in social science. It is fundamental for everything involving human behavior." I assume you have read the book description above so I will not regurgitate. My best description is that this is a very dense, fact packed meta analysis of decades of meta analyses. It is not for the faint of heart. I expect to read it at least twice more before it sinks in. (Thank goodn It ain't what you know... It's what you know that just ain't so. "The debate about nature versus nurture is not just one of many issues in social science. It is fundamental for everything involving human behavior." I assume you have read the book description above so I will not regurgitate. My best description is that this is a very dense, fact packed meta analysis of decades of meta analyses. It is not for the faint of heart. I expect to read it at least twice more before it sinks in. (Thank goodness I will not be tested.) Dr. Murray explodes the PC myths about human diversity. But this is neither a "black and white" book nor "settled" science but an interim report. The most telling comment to me was about meritocracy. Dr. Murray points out that some people are just better equipped (primarily by high "g") than others. So a pure meritocracy is impossible. A worthwhile read... I recommend it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emil O. W. Kirkegaard

    Formal review https://emilkirkegaard.dk/en/?p=8351 Formal review https://emilkirkegaard.dk/en/?p=8351

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steve Stanton

    This revolutionary book is structured around ten empirical Propositions which are rigorously defended by veteran political scientist and sociologist, Charles Murray. He argues that the social sciences are about to be transformed by individual genetic data known as “polygenic scores” that will replace traditional IQ measures. Decades ago, when I was a university student, the debate between Nurture vs. Nature was lively. But now the results are in: It's all nature! Human children are preordained b This revolutionary book is structured around ten empirical Propositions which are rigorously defended by veteran political scientist and sociologist, Charles Murray. He argues that the social sciences are about to be transformed by individual genetic data known as “polygenic scores” that will replace traditional IQ measures. Decades ago, when I was a university student, the debate between Nurture vs. Nature was lively. But now the results are in: It's all nature! Human children are preordained by their DNA blueprint. According to Murray's exhaustive study, no matter what parents or educators do (apart from wilful abuse), children will exhibit their predetermined genetic destiny. The “Enlightenment” idea of a tabula rasa at birth is simply not true. Personality traits, abilities, and social behavior have been proven to vary by sex, ethnicity, and class. Even political and ideological views have been found to be substantially heritable. Despite the anger and revulsion we feel about it, the genetic lottery is real and final and easily measured by a cheek swab. In my own field of science-fiction literature, authors used to dream about designer babies created in CRISPR labs, but the reality is far more complex. There are hundreds of DNA markers for different traits, and some markers are shared by different traits. The best we can do is create genetic probability maps for individuals, which, of course, are fixed at birth. Analysis of the voluminous data is already underway for groups and individuals, and Charles Murray warns us that dramatic changes are on the horizon. Polygenic testing will soon be routine in medicine, education, and psychology. Indeed, the author suggests that the lack of genetic background checks will soon be regarded as professional malpractice. For example, babies with 70 out of 100 markers for schizophrenia should be channelled for special care and early treatment. No one would argue against that. But what about babies with 70 out of 100 markers for white supremacy, or violent crime? These are the questions society will soon face as science-fiction becomes fact. In general, Charles Murray does not seem optimistic. He notes that the cookie-cutter approach to social manipulation has failed miserably. Economic disparity has accelerated despite the removal of barriers to education in the previous century. No amount of tutoring is going to increase a person's cognitive potential, all the books in the world cannot change a culture that eschews reading, and no wage increase is going to help a family that is unable to manage monetary assets. Charles Murray unfolds numerous speculations about the future and builds on some of the ideas in his previous books, but he offers no panacea, no pathway to utopia beyond some general statements such as “the first step is to reconstruct a moral vocabulary for discussing human difference.” At issue is the definition of success in society. How can humans find fulfillment and actualize their genetic potential across a wide spectrum of diverse interests and abilities, and what role should those with influence have in the formation of new strategies?

  5. 4 out of 5

    ICanJustComeback

    Ok so this is a response to a person called Lois who wrote a very wrong and dishonest review. This person is also deleting every single response to her review in order to just insult the person and misrepresent his statement. So let's rewrite this response - Not any proof of this cheating thing, btw you can't cheat on an iq test and there are many other test are showing the same gap (SAT, LSAT, ACT). - False concensus fallacy, Intelligence can be measured the first dimensions (the g factor) accoun Ok so this is a response to a person called Lois who wrote a very wrong and dishonest review. This person is also deleting every single response to her review in order to just insult the person and misrepresent his statement. So let's rewrite this response - Not any proof of this cheating thing, btw you can't cheat on an iq test and there are many other test are showing the same gap (SAT, LSAT, ACT). - False concensus fallacy, Intelligence can be measured the first dimensions (the g factor) account for 40% of the variance. - Tests aren't biased, I they were biased there wouldn't be strict measurements invariance see : https://www.sciencedirect.com/science... There is also a study were item judged as the least biased against blacks shows the biggest gap. Raising your iq is possible via training but this gains aren't on the latent factor (g) see : https://www.sciencedirect.com/science... These gains would create measurement variance because their effect isn't on the latent factor. - nice anti-white stuff and misconception about medieval Europe, as an European I find this funny (Have you ever heard of antiquity, The Roman Empire, the Greeks, Charlemagne, the holy Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Venitians and the entire Renaissance which is the rediscovery of the antique Greco-Roman culture in northern Italy). Btw every single advanced culture at that time recognized 2 gender ex: Arabs, Mongols, Chinese, Persian, etc.. The existence of intersex people (genetic defect btw) doesn't falsify the existence of only 2 genders. You have no proof POC as you say (more like 50 shades of brown lmao) are not treated fairly see more about it here https://ideasanddata.wordpress.com/20... Or here for economic inequality https://psyarxiv.com/qty3n/ https://infoproc.blogspot.com/2015/04... - Most terrorist in WEIRD country are Muslims :) As a French I find you somewhat offending. The only racist thing is what I call the equalitarian syllogism : The equalitarian syllogism. P1:Race differs in outcome P2:Race differences in phenotype that causes these outcomes are environmental C1:Some race are environmentally privileged C1:it's right to discriminate against certain race to ensure equal environment and therefore equal outcome The response : https://pastebin.com/6ZBDx2pB

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    This is probably the book Charles Murray should have written, instead of The Bell Curve. It was basically a pretty reasonable introduction to modern genetics, combined with 10 basically uncontroversial assertions supported by evidence that there are sex and ancestral-population differences, and then reaffirmation that differences don't mean superiority, and that humans have value independent of their test scores, skin color, etc. If it had been written by anyone without the rather controversial This is probably the book Charles Murray should have written, instead of The Bell Curve. It was basically a pretty reasonable introduction to modern genetics, combined with 10 basically uncontroversial assertions supported by evidence that there are sex and ancestral-population differences, and then reaffirmation that differences don't mean superiority, and that humans have value independent of their test scores, skin color, etc. If it had been written by anyone without the rather controversial background Murray now has, it would probably not get the same level of readership, but also wouldn't be hated.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dora Milaje Crochet

    This is not as racist as The Bell Curve. Because of The Bell Curve I went into this book with the knowledge that this author is a racist white supremacist, he has softened his stance but it is clearly still the driver of his work and 'science'. Mostly a white supremacists wet dream as evidenced in the reviews that give 5 stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Golden

    Surprisingly well-rounded interpretation of the literature in a broad spectrum of subjects, all treated with respect and nuance. Colour me surprised!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vagabond of Letters, DLitt

    7.5/10 Not as good as 'The Bell Curve', but less theoretical and more irrefutable. No one with an iota of openness to the evidence could read this book and its references and consider race or gender to be social constructs; however, Murray at times backs off of his earlier hereditarianism and leaves the door open to environmentalism/constructivism - even when his evidence doesn't - likely in a bid to avoid the firestorm of controversy the publication of his earlier work occasioned. He goes to ext 7.5/10 Not as good as 'The Bell Curve', but less theoretical and more irrefutable. No one with an iota of openness to the evidence could read this book and its references and consider race or gender to be social constructs; however, Murray at times backs off of his earlier hereditarianism and leaves the door open to environmentalism/constructivism - even when his evidence doesn't - likely in a bid to avoid the firestorm of controversy the publication of his earlier work occasioned. He goes to extreme lengths to defend himself from accusations of determinism, racism, or sexism and weakens his argument in the process, turning what could have been a magnum opus of truth in to a pink-pilled primer. Nevertheless, this book is a worthwhile read and is a welcome and needed update and extension to the science contained in Levin's 'Why Race Matters', and provides the best - though rather too irenic and gentle - demonstration in print of the absolute essentialism of sex differences. Recommended alongside for the biological determinist starter pack are the aforementioned books, Sarraf, Feltham, and Woodley of Menie's 'Modernity and Cultural Decline', Rushton's 'Race, Evolution, Behavior', Devlin's 'Sexual Utopia in Power', and Hertler, Figueredo, Peñaherrera-Aguirre, et al's 'Life History Evolution: A Biological Metatheory for the Social Sciences'.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Fred Grün

    Before writing my review, I would like to quickly address a question you might ask yourself about this book if you haven't read it: is it a racist, white supremacist pseudo-scientific book? I think a few quotes from the book itself may help you form a more informed opinion on this matter than anyone's wild speculations, so here we go: "For the United States, founded on ideals of liberty and equality, that record (colonisation, slavery and segregation) was a fatal flaw that in my view ensured the Before writing my review, I would like to quickly address a question you might ask yourself about this book if you haven't read it: is it a racist, white supremacist pseudo-scientific book? I think a few quotes from the book itself may help you form a more informed opinion on this matter than anyone's wild speculations, so here we go: "For the United States, founded on ideals of liberty and equality, that record (colonisation, slavery and segregation) was a fatal flaw that in my view ensured the eventual unraveling of the American project." "Historically, it is incontestably true that the word 'race' has been freighted with cultural baggage that has nothing to do with biological differences. The word carries with it the legacy of nineteenth-century scientific racism combined with Europe's colonialism and America's history of slavery and its aftermath. Scientifically, it is an error to think of races as primordial." "Franz Boas and Ashley Montagu were right to say that many nineteenth-century conceptions of race were caricatures divorced from biological reality. Richard Lewontin was right that race differences account for only a small fraction of the biological variation existing among humans. (...) We have before us an exercise in modifying our understanding of race, not resurrecting nineteenth-century conceptions." "Nothing we are going to learn will diminish our common humanity. Nothing we learn will justify rank-ordering human groups from superior to inferior—the bundles of qualities that make us human are far too complicated for that. Nothing we learn will lend itself to genetic determinism. We live our lives with an abundance of unpredictability, both genetic and environmental. Above all, nothing we learn will threaten human equality properly understood. I like the way Steven Pinker put it: 'Equality is not the empirical claim that all groups of humans are interchangeable; it is the moral principle that individuals should not be judged or constrained by the average properties of their group.' " "The more kinds of people you know and the better you know them, the easier it is to recognize that 'equality of human worth' isn't just rhetoric. You will also find it easy to talk about the reality of human differences if you know in your gut how unimportant those differences are in deciding whether the person next to you is someone you respect." I shall now let you be the judge of whether those quotes sounded like they came from a bigoted white supremacist. MY REVIEW "Human Diversity" is well written, clear and cleverly organised. Most importantly, it is extremely informative. Charles Murray provides countless references for every single assertion he makes and there are a lot of very detailed notes (some of them full-fledged essays) at the end of the book as well as an appendix containing, among other things, useful explanations for people who struggle with statistics. There are also many suggestions for further reading, including articles and books that contradict Charles Murray's views as he frequently encourages readers to do their research and form their own informed opinion. Unlike some other books criticising and contradicting today's academic orthodoxy (in the humanities...), "Human Diversity" is extremely satisfying in that it provides very robust arguments. It elaborates on everything that needs to be elaborated on and gives you all the references you need should you want to investigate the validity of any claim. It does not feel like Charles Murray is preaching to the choir, but rather conversing with an open-minded and potentially adversarial readership, especially in the chapter on race, as Murray is aware that even among the most open-minded readers in 2020, any discussion of race as a biological concept remains an extremely sensitive matter that most people approach with a fair deal of justified scepticism. I learned a lot about ongoing developments in genetics and neuropsychology while reading this book, which made me feel excited about the future of the social sciences which Charles Murray thinks will soon have to integrate those new findings as the present-day orthodoxy is slowly fading in the face of an accumulation of contradictions that will soon become insurmountable. Those new developments should be welcomed with interest and curiosity, not with dread, as Murray argues very convincingly. My favourite part of the book, however, is its concluding chapters. I think Murray really hit the nail on the head when he argued that our current problem with average differences between various human groups is our moral approach to those findings, fostered by an intellectual elite ("the new upper-class") that has made intellectual ability the ultimate gauge of human worth. He argues that we need a new, secular version of "all equal before God" that brings back humility with regard to unearned talents and intellectual abilities and allows everyone to feel truly valued. I strongly recommend this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nelson Zagalo

    Perhaps it will be Charles Murray's last book (77), showing an immensely careful and calculated tone in the introduction of his ideas, as if he wanted to redeem himself from past sins and leave a legacy of his best. With some pity, I cannot say that he achieved it. Murray is not as offensive as he was before, but he was unable to detach himself from the methodologies that led him to the previous alley. He continues to be obsessed with universal biological categories, and he doesn't seem to be ab Perhaps it will be Charles Murray's last book (77), showing an immensely careful and calculated tone in the introduction of his ideas, as if he wanted to redeem himself from past sins and leave a legacy of his best. With some pity, I cannot say that he achieved it. Murray is not as offensive as he was before, but he was unable to detach himself from the methodologies that led him to the previous alley. He continues to be obsessed with universal biological categories, and he doesn't seem to be able to get away from there. He defined ten crucial points to debate in the book, but none adds anything new to current knowledge, and even less seems to contribute to the affirmation of the book's own title, "Human Diversity" (2020). ... The full review can be read at my blog, only in Portuguese: https://virtual-illusion.blogspot.com...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Juan

    VERY clear. Touchy subject but VERY good. Reality and facts are painful at times but are necessary for progress for if you live your life making excuses for your short comings instead of admitting they are at least possible, you will eventually be delusional and distant from reality. Much like the leaders of a certain political party that refuses to celebrate anything other than change.. All things do not require change but one must recognize truth and Face facts. Denial is very unhealthy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ciro

    A very challenging read. Very dense and exceedingly dry. If you are a geneticist that loves talking about standard deviation, this is a great book for you. If you aren't, then you will struggle to finish this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael Shore

    Far too technical for the lay reader. Large portions of this thick volume are devoted to P-values, significance levels, correlation co-efficients, etc. It reads like a very long methods section in a technical academic paper. This is especially ironic since Murray alludes to his desire to make this material accessible to a wide audience in the introduction. He fails at this miserably. A bad case of what Steven Pinker calls “the curse of knowledge.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Silvia

    I appreciated the detailed attention to science in this potentially divisive book. Murray is almost obsessively careful to document his sources at every step of the book instead of just lumping them in a bibliography. He frequently refers to notes. He presents alternative viewpoints. He points out where the science is settled and where it's still in progress. In summary, this book is the polar opposite of a screed, a diatribe, or a one-sided politically motivated polemic. You can choose to disagr I appreciated the detailed attention to science in this potentially divisive book. Murray is almost obsessively careful to document his sources at every step of the book instead of just lumping them in a bibliography. He frequently refers to notes. He presents alternative viewpoints. He points out where the science is settled and where it's still in progress. In summary, this book is the polar opposite of a screed, a diatribe, or a one-sided politically motivated polemic. You can choose to disagree with his conclusions (I don't) but you will find it difficult to argue with the science.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Otto Lehto

    Socioeconomic inequalities remain burning problems. Some claim that gender, race, and class inequalities are determined by genes. Others believe that they are determined by culture. Neither extreme view seems supported by evidence. Human Diversity comes with an aura of danger, but those looking for a scandal will be disappointed. Instead, the book offers a cautious and balanced survey of the biological literature on race, class, and gender. It highlights the complex role of genetic factors in de Socioeconomic inequalities remain burning problems. Some claim that gender, race, and class inequalities are determined by genes. Others believe that they are determined by culture. Neither extreme view seems supported by evidence. Human Diversity comes with an aura of danger, but those looking for a scandal will be disappointed. Instead, the book offers a cautious and balanced survey of the biological literature on race, class, and gender. It highlights the complex role of genetic factors in determining social inequalities. It constitutes a useful examination of the balance of forces, including genetic and cultural factors, that affect human performance, flourishing, and misery. It admittedly leans conservative but only modestly; the analysis is about as value neutral as you can expect from social science. I disagree with some of the conclusions of the book, but the analysis is admirably clear and intellectually honest. This means that it is possible to trace back any possible errors to their source and, if possible, correct them. So, there is no need to avoid reading this book just because you happen to disagree with Murray. The book's survey of the current science is valuable in and of itself. In fact, the more you disagree with Murray's conservative leanings, the more you will benefit from reading this book. The book ends up recommending rather conservative and libertarian conclusions, but with government support to the poor in the form of Universal Basic Income. These conclusions, however, are only suggestive. The science is foregrounded in a way that allows all readers - whether more conservative or left-leaning - to make up their own minds. There is nothing particularly scandalous about this book or its conclusions. It represents a moderate, middle of the road position between genetic determinism and social constructivism. Thankfully, Murray is upfront about the policy positions that he advocates but also aware of the various indeterminacies in the literature. As a progressive, I tend to more optimistic about the power of social relations in empowering individuals than Murray is. Nor do I think that critical theory is worthless, as Murray seems to think. But ultimately it a matter of following the science wherever it leads. The emerging literature on the genetic roots of socioeconomic inequalities poses a challenge to established wisdom. The power of social interventions to solve social problems is real but limited by genetic as well as cultural factors. We have every reason to be full of hope and optimism in our struggle to eradicate prejudice and oppression. And we have every reason to work even harder at it. At the same time, we need to be aware of genetic constrains in our ability to use "nurturing" techniques to solve social problems and reshape humanity. Otherwise we will keep on failing. Whatever unwelcome social prejudices the scientific investigation of race, gender, and class may contribute to, it is vital for a) understanding the causes of inequality and b) coming up with lasting remedies for them.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    The Goodreads blurb does an excellent job in giving an overview, although the part that claims the orthodoxy of race as a social construct should probably be that it is mostly a lie rather than a half-truth. I've not looked for the barbs that have likely been hurled at his work yet, but that will keep. I think Murray has done this brilliantly. The closing blur paragraph, "It is not a story to be feared. "There are no monsters in the closet," Murray writes, "no dread doors we must fear opening." The Goodreads blurb does an excellent job in giving an overview, although the part that claims the orthodoxy of race as a social construct should probably be that it is mostly a lie rather than a half-truth. I've not looked for the barbs that have likely been hurled at his work yet, but that will keep. I think Murray has done this brilliantly. The closing blur paragraph, "It is not a story to be feared. "There are no monsters in the closet," Murray writes, "no dread doors we must fear opening." But it is a story that needs telling. Human Diversity does so without sensationalism, drawing on the most authoritative scientific findings, celebrating both our many differences and our common humanity," recaps my reaction pretty much perfectly.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan David Botchlett

    This was a tough review to write. I don’t review every book I read, but after reading some of the reviews posted here the reviews posted here I thought some may find it helpful to see a review that wasn’t pushing pushing a political agenda (either left or right). I don’t agree with all the author’s political beliefs, some of which one could call left wing (universal basic income) and some could be called right wing (affirmative action in any form is bad). But I do believe that most of the 1 and This was a tough review to write. I don’t review every book I read, but after reading some of the reviews posted here the reviews posted here I thought some may find it helpful to see a review that wasn’t pushing pushing a political agenda (either left or right). I don’t agree with all the author’s political beliefs, some of which one could call left wing (universal basic income) and some could be called right wing (affirmative action in any form is bad). But I do believe that most of the 1 and 5 start reviews of this book may be from people that began reading with a pre-formed opinion what this book was about. The Goodreads summary is a fair overall summary of what is encountered in Human Diversity. This is a very dense book filled with lots of facts, science and math. Because of all the science and math it can be a slow read at times. The book is broken into four parts: Gender, Race, Class and Appendix (which should really be called opinions). The first 3 sections are fact-based, although (like all authors) Murray tends to pick facts that support some of his opinions which he presents in the Appendix. I’ll try to summarize some of the takeaways. Gender: The author explains some of the genetic and physiological differences between male and female sexes (and those qualifying as intersexual). It’s important to note here that NO WHERE does the author say that one sex is better than the other, and in fact states that despite their differences they have more in common than they do not. He talks mostly of “average” men and women, but does get into the men and women at the extremes of abilities. The point that I took away was that no matter how equally treat people there are always going to be some differences between men and women. He says some “typically” male or female characteristics are a social construct but some are biological, and until we understand that we are approaching bringing about gender equality in a way that will never bring about that goal. Race: Here the author tackles the genetic differences between races. Again NO WHERE does the author say and/or imply that people of one race or from one part of the globe are any better than others. In fact, he states many times that he does not believe that one race is any better than any other. The real takeaway for me from this section is there in more that we all have in common than separates us. Class: If there’s one section of the book that challenges the general orthodoxies (on both the right and left) and is a little uncomfortable to read it is this one. This section of book states that SOME, but not ALL aspects of an individual that lead their station in life. The premise is mostly things like IQ and certain abilities are inherited. One idea I thought was interesting was Mozart would be a genius in any time period, but nowadays he would likely not be writing classical music. The author uses various twin studies to illustrate this point. In this section the author seems to focus more on the extremes (genius, extremely upper class, extremely lower class). He is quick to point out that genetics does not play a 100% role in class, and that it’s near impossible to tell the amount of roll it plays. Appendix: In this section the author spends much of his time presenting his opinions on the statistics and facts from earlier in the book. He also talks about what he believes are the best ways to solve the problems that occur due to differences between gender/race/class in individuals. It’s striking that some of his ideas/opinions come from the far left and others come from the far right. Once again the author states that there’s more that all humans have in common than separates them. My opinion on the overall book: Human Diversity is an interesting read. Sometimes it’s a bit dense and gets bogged down. Several times the author repeats himself from chapter to chapter, which made me wonder if I lost my place by accident. I give it 4 stars on subject matter, but if I could rate the quality of the writing separately I’d give it 3 stars. The subject is something that is worth talking about without calling anyone sexist, racist, white suprematists, inferior, morons, hippies, idiots, or whatever. Personally, I found nothing in this book offensive, even when I disagreed with it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    The author is a famous political scientist and sociologist. If you are unfamiliar with his book, The Bell Curve, the Middlebury riot, etc. then you should probably read the 1-star reviews here, the vitriolic biographical entry at the Southern Poverty Law Center's web site, or his Wikipedia article. As a politically liberal person, someone who thinks that it is wrong to beat-up those who think differently than you do, and a life scientist with some knowledge and interest in statistical analysis, The author is a famous political scientist and sociologist. If you are unfamiliar with his book, The Bell Curve, the Middlebury riot, etc. then you should probably read the 1-star reviews here, the vitriolic biographical entry at the Southern Poverty Law Center's web site, or his Wikipedia article. As a politically liberal person, someone who thinks that it is wrong to beat-up those who think differently than you do, and a life scientist with some knowledge and interest in statistical analysis, genetics, and neuroscience, I don't see any problem with this book. It is an excellent survey of the data and it is punctuated by several very well done brief introductions to the terminology and basic ideas necessary to understand the discussions with statistics, genetics, and neuroanatomy in them. There is a short appendix that is an introduction to very basic statistical concepts. The author is even-handed and goes out of his way to include alternate points of view when he moves away from the data to their policy implications. He indicates the many areas where our knowledge is imperfect. He mentions his belief that any evaluation of human worth should be completely independent of the traits whose variance the book explicates and his support for universal basic income.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zachary R. Caverley

    Tried to post a positive review on Amazon and they would not post it (sigh). Book is very challenging and well-researched. I cannot say I didn't enjoy a single chapter. I rarely read books this dense with information but I finished this one in a week. Would highly recommend even if you have a passing interest int eh subject matter.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dave McCracken

    The author a well known Social Scientist assesses both knowns and unknowns of contemporary social science core elements of human diversity, gender, race and class. His clear eyed assessment of the state of social science in terms of its successes and failures places the reader securely in the knowledge that a balanced criticism is forthcoming, of which Charles Murray delivers. The state of social science ranges from pseudoscience to groundbreaking theories on both human behaviour and diversity. The author a well known Social Scientist assesses both knowns and unknowns of contemporary social science core elements of human diversity, gender, race and class. His clear eyed assessment of the state of social science in terms of its successes and failures places the reader securely in the knowledge that a balanced criticism is forthcoming, of which Charles Murray delivers. The state of social science ranges from pseudoscience to groundbreaking theories on both human behaviour and diversity. The successes are grounded in biology which the author demonstrates as the bedrock of social science despite its detractors. Charles Murray addresses 10 propositions (listed below) in which he both proves & disproves, presenting solid research and interesting advances in genomics & neuroscience that in future will catapult social science away from its pseudoscience anchors into mainstream acceptance. I highly recommend this read for those investigating current political discourse on "Diversity", where it originates, its validity & veracity, and where human diversity may lead with advances in genomics and neuroscience within the next decade. Charles Murray propositions: 1. Sex differences in personality are consistent worldwide and tend to widen in more gender-egalitarian cultures. 2. On average, females worldwide have advantages in verbal ability and social cognition while males have advantages in visuospatial abilities and the extremes of mathematical ability. 3. On average, women worldwide are more attracted to vocations centered on people and men to vocations centered on things. 4. Many sex differences in the brain are coordinate with sex differences in personality, abilities, and social behavior. 5. Human populations are genetically distinctive in ways that correspond to self-identified race and ethnicity. 6. Evolutionary selection pressure since humans left Africa has been extensive and mostly local. 7. Continental population differences in variants associated with personality, abilities, and social behavior are common. 8. The shared environment usually plays a minor role in explaining personality, abilities, and social behavior. 9. Class structure is importantly based on differences in abilities that have a substantial genetic component. 10. Outside interventions are inherently constrained in the effects they can have on personality, abilities, and social behavior.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brian Fang

    Top notch academic-style work, less dry than 'bell curve'. Goes over statistics and recent findings concerning human diversity in a rigorous and detached manner... a little boring at times, but the dryness and impartialness of the work dispels any notion of Murray being an irrational bigot. If you are an intuitive looking for the real-world implications of what these studies reveal, Edward Dutton's work should satisfy your itch.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Peter Heinlein

    advice to laypeople like me who want to get into charles murray's ideas without getting lost in the science: gloss over the technical language and simply focus on his ideas. murray's humility and good nature shine through the data and the research he has so carefully amassed. this is a book that deserves a wide audience of open-minded people.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ben Madsen

    Extremely well done. Murray’s extreme caution leads him to nearly overwork himself in making his points clear. His effort pays off for the reader, who is now armed to analyze every step in his logical approach towards the issues he analyzes. This book ends up feeling like a capstone to all of his work, especially in the final chapter, where he brings together the policy suggestions and the research behind them to drive home his main points from “Coming Apart.”

  25. 5 out of 5

    Panashe M.

    4.5 stars. Charles Murray, the controversial author behind *The Bell Curve* dips his toes into more controversial territory with *Human Diversity*. The central thesis of this book is that there exist notable psychological differences between groups of human beings, and these differences are due in large part to genetic factors. Examples of groups differentiated in these ways include males/females, races (or the more academic 'ancestral populations') and social classes. He argues that these differ 4.5 stars. Charles Murray, the controversial author behind *The Bell Curve* dips his toes into more controversial territory with *Human Diversity*. The central thesis of this book is that there exist notable psychological differences between groups of human beings, and these differences are due in large part to genetic factors. Examples of groups differentiated in these ways include males/females, races (or the more academic 'ancestral populations') and social classes. He argues that these differences are biological in origin (not merely socially constructed) and have proven robust to any social policy interventions we could throw at them. We cannot hope to erase these differences though social policy. Instead, policy makers should acquaint themselves with the nature of these differences, and understand what is or isn't amenable to change. Considering that Murray is a policy analyst and not a psychologist/anthropologist/geneticist/neuroscientist/some other -ist, his arguments are surprisingly good. It is clear that he has engaged the research, and explores the implications of very recent developments in all of these fields (as of early 2020) to the topic of human diversity. This book is rigorous enough that it can be hard to follow, even for a philomath like myself. Even then, I think he does well to illustrate his basic point, while making sure to expound on the relevant data and references for the interested reader. He never seems to overstate his point, coming to modest conclusions from the evidence. The weakest chapter is probably the final one, where he leaves the data behind and begins to expound on his personal conservative views, calling for people to rally around family, community, faith, and vocation.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Harald Groven

    Well sourced and well researched critique of the prevailing dogma within social sciences, namely variation on the theme "..... is a social construct" and "..... is entirely due to socialization". Murray describes the left wing/social science orthodoxy as: — "Call it the sameness premise: In a properly run society, people of all human groupings will have similar life outcomes. Individuals might have differences in abilities, the orthodoxy (usually) acknowledges, but groups do not have inborn diffe Well sourced and well researched critique of the prevailing dogma within social sciences, namely variation on the theme "..... is a social construct" and "..... is entirely due to socialization". Murray describes the left wing/social science orthodoxy as: — "Call it the sameness premise: In a properly run society, people of all human groupings will have similar life outcomes. Individuals might have differences in abilities, the orthodoxy (usually) acknowledges, but groups do not have inborn differences in the distributions of those abilities, except for undeniable ones such as height, upper body strength, and skin color. Inside the cranium, all groups are the same." Well aware that his opponents are hostile to evolutionary psychology and will do anything to find any errors or obvious cherry picking, Murray has done a huge effort in finding the best data sets, meta-analysis and review articles covering the biology of gender, race, and class. "The conversation today within the new upper class seems always to be about the ways in which individual differences are created by environmental conditions that we must fix. It is seldom about how to deal with differences that can’t be fixed."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark O'mara

    An accomplished work of social science for the general reader. Very much informed and driven by the widely accepted conclusions within the disciplines researching the influence genetics and environments have on human diversity, outcomes and behaviour. The book is structured around ten propositions (truths) about human nature put forward by the author and then supported by a lot of data. The data part can get a little tedious at times but I think it was necessary to support the propositions. Murra An accomplished work of social science for the general reader. Very much informed and driven by the widely accepted conclusions within the disciplines researching the influence genetics and environments have on human diversity, outcomes and behaviour. The book is structured around ten propositions (truths) about human nature put forward by the author and then supported by a lot of data. The data part can get a little tedious at times but I think it was necessary to support the propositions. Murray is a conservative of sorts but is not especially driven by this in this book. Murrays’ humanity was clearly evident throughout the book. Murray has suggestions on how both conservatives and liberals should reflect on the evidence and act in the world. Murray’s reflections, toward the end of the book, on the influence and condescending and/or bigoted attitudes of (what he terms) the new upper class I found of particular interest. I found some unifying themes here that well meaning liberals and conservatives have no need to fear. Great social science.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeff J.

    Charles Murray convincingly argues that Gender, Race & Class are not social constructs, but are founded and regulated by measurable science. His earlier work, The Bell Curve, sparked outrage and this book will as well. The difference is in this case Murray addresses the critics upfront in his book. He especially disparages university professors who are more concerned with tenure at the expense of facts. This reads like the capstone book of a long and successful work, if this is the case thank yo Charles Murray convincingly argues that Gender, Race & Class are not social constructs, but are founded and regulated by measurable science. His earlier work, The Bell Curve, sparked outrage and this book will as well. The difference is in this case Murray addresses the critics upfront in his book. He especially disparages university professors who are more concerned with tenure at the expense of facts. This reads like the capstone book of a long and successful work, if this is the case thank you Dr. Murray for your contributions to social science.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike Horne

    As an educated, science interested reader who has no clue of the current scientific consensus, I would be interested in what the journals say. I read the NYT review. The author willfully misreads Murray. The New Republic wrote a review without reading it. I listened to this book and am now going back to reread it. Nothing that shocking. But I am a huge "nature" not nurture person.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jukka Aakula

    A fine book by a compassionate and empathic man who loves truth.

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