Futuribles Journal n° 309

Population - Recherche, sciences, techniques

On Genetic Determinism. Review of Cerveau, sexe et pouvoir


In reviewing Cerveau, sexe et pouvoir (Brain, Sex and Power. Paris: Belin, 2005), Julie Bouchard re-examines the misguided notion that human behaviour is basically the result of genetic factors, an idea that has kept popping up since the 19th century. She shares the view put forward by the book's authors that there is no universal law dictating the way individuals behave, for the purely scientific reason that the human brain is so supple and so variable that it is impossible to establish immutable rules. Experience - and therefore culture - is far more important than nature in shaping different types of behaviour, in particular the differences between men and women.
Julie Bouchard goes on to warn against certain misguided attempts at the present time, especially in the field of neurobiology, to "improve" the human race thanks to technological progress. It will require strong convictions, such as those held by the authors of this book, to prevent such notions from spreading.

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