What better time to crawl under a warm blanket and read a compelling book than when snow is falling, the wind is blowing, and the streets are too treacherous to hazard a step outdoors? Fortuitously, our book for February was near the top of innumerable lists of best science books of 2018. No doubt we’ve all been eagerly reading it.
To repeat from our most recent announcement, Publisher’s Weekly called it “a magnificent work exploring virtually all aspects of heredity.” In it, journalist Zimmer, who regularly writes on science for The Times as well as other publications, “masterfully blends exciting storytelling with first-rate science reporting. Although he lucidly explains the basics of Mendelian genetics–addressing inheritance and biological diversity, for example–he goes far beyond these to explore the complexities of genetic inheritance.
Zimmer takes on such controversial issues as how to biologically define race, stating incontrovertibly that there are no “genetic fingerprints for race (‘Ancient DNA doesn’t simply debunk the notion of white purity. It debunks the very name white’)” and proceeds to make the case that “it is currently all but impossible to draw significant conclusions about the roles genes play in overall intelligence.” Will you, our members, go along with the case he makes, or will you demur? This highly provocative book is no doubt leading us into fascinating observations of our own. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the weather doesn’t interfere with what is sure to be a terrific meeting next week! We expect to welcome some new participants to our group as well.
The book selection for March 21 is The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey.