What it Means to be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and their Genes

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9780520226159: What it Means to be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and their Genes
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An `iconoclastic, witty and extremely readable' study of how science can uncover the mysteries of the relationship between humans and animals, and how much we take for granted in terms of what genetics can tell us about the evolutionary development of the human species. Using the human-ape debate, Jonathan Marks explores various issues including racism, animal rights, and cloning, through an approach that lies somewhere between genetics and holistic anthropology - molecular anthropology. `Marks demolishes the pretensions of scientists who try to use genetics to answer questions about the kinship of nations, the rights of animals, the racial identity of Kennewick Man, the hereditary Jewish priesthood, and the existence of God. Marks has a lot of fun with all this - and so will his readers' - Matt Cartmill, author of A View to a Death in the Morning.

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From the Inside Flap:

"In this clever, entertaining, and thoughtful book, Marks lays out some important limitations of science in general and genetics in particular. Using terms that everybody can understand, he demolishes the pretensions of scientists who try to use genetics to answer questions about the kinship of nations, the rights of animals, the racial identity of Kennewick Man, the hereditary Jewish priesthood, and the existence of God. Marks has a lot of fun with all this-and so will his readers." Matt Cartmill, author of A View to Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature through History

"What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee covers a range of contemporary issues that are likely to be with us for a long time to come. No book written by a geneticist comes anywhere close." Jon Beckwith, Research Professor, American Cancer Society, Harvard Medical School, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

"This witty book takes on perhaps the most fundamental biological, political, cultural, and epistemological question: How do we know what is similar to what, and when does it matter? Yet I hardly minded being dispossessed of a tale or two, left with a much better account of human genetic history and diversity, the triviality of too much that passes for science, and the important task of crafting a biological anthropology that takes both parts of its name seriously." Donna Haraway, author of Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science

"Marks provides an informed and powerful critique of reductionist claims about genetics as an explanation of human behavior, cognitive abilities, and racial differences. His colorful examples range from the common ancestry of humans with daffodils and our similarities with fruit flies. A great book!" Dorothy Nelkin, coauthor of The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon

"Marks’s superb teaching, lively wit, razor-sharp logic, and impeccable scientific insight come together in this book. While controversial, this narrative also proves that science and humanism can and must (if we are to navigate the unsettling future that biotech promises) mix." Gina Maranto, Quest for Perfection: The Drive to Breed Better Humans

"A compulsively readable, erudite, and intensely personal view of our biology and our place in nature. Marks unhesitatingly plunges into the morass of human cultural, genetic, and political diversities, and in the process produces much for all of us to ponder." Ian Tattersall, author of Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness

"There is no book just like this one. It will open further a needed debate on quality of scientific argumentation and the inherent politics of human science." Alan H. Goodman, coeditor of Building a New Biocultural Synthesis: Political-Economic Perspectives on Human Biology

"This book is timely, engaging, authoritative, and provocative." Kenneth Korey, Professor of Anthropology, Dartmouth College

About the Author:

Jonathan Marks teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the author of Human Biodiversity: Genes, Race, and History (1995) and coauthor, with Edward Staski, of Evolutionary Anthropology (1992).

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9780520240643: What it Means to be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and their Genes

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Publisher: University of California Press, 2003
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