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

eBook The Gene Illusion - Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology Under the Microscope epub

by Jay Joseph

eBook The Gene Illusion - Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology Under the Microscope epub
  • ISBN: 0875863434
  • Author: Jay Joseph
  • Genre: Health
  • Subcategory: Psychology & Counseling
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Algora Publishing (February 2, 2004)
  • Pages: 420 pages
  • ePUB size: 1103 kb
  • FB2 size 1300 kb
  • Formats doc mobi docx lrf


Jay Joseph’s timely, challenging book provides a much-needed critical appraisal of the evidence cited in support of genetic theories.

Jay Joseph’s timely, challenging book provides a much-needed critical appraisal of the evidence cited in support of genetic theories.

The Gene Illusion is his first book. Joseph had 3 main goals in the Gene Illusion. His first goal was to explain how modern behavioral genetics is the direct product of the racist eugenics movement. His third goal was to explain why the sub-field of psychiatric genetics is futile.

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 .

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.

The Gene Illusion is a 2003 book by clinical psychologist Jay Joseph, in which the author challenges the evidence underlying genetic theories in psychiatry and psychology.

This book was first published in the United Kingdom in March, 2003. I have taken the opportunity provided by the publication of this book in North America to update the text where necessary

This book was first published in the United Kingdom in March, 2003. I have taken the opportunity provided by the publication of this book in North America to update the text where necessary.

Under the Microscope Dr. Jay Joseph provocatively challenges current . 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.

Algora Publishing, 2004. Algora Publishing, 2004.

The Gene Illusion book.

Like schizophrenia, he concludes that the evidence in support of genetics in these areas is weak. pdf An interview with Jay Joseph.

Comments: (7)
Nern
Some of us, most of us, take what science tells us very seriously. Our view of ourselves, and of others, is heavily informed by what we believe is the scientific position. If it turns out that we are little more than our genes, that we are biochemical robots, then we must face up to the truth, dispiriting as it may be, and deal with it as best we can. We must not shirk. The philosopher J.R. Lucas said: `Modern man is inclined to be a metaphysical masochist, drawn to any world-view that denies his humanity by cutting him down to merely animal or thingly size.' In the face of genetic determinism, we are many of us masochists, and nearly all of us half-believers. Our `thingly size' is the size of a gene.

Is this masochism really necessary? Is this view of ourselves really demanded by current science? Addressing the fields of psychiatric and behavioural genetics, Jay Joseph argues that the genetic determinism so taken for granted in modern times is not based on sound science. This is a serious and controversial claim. Many people become angry if you even so much as suggest that a psychiatric disorder may not be genetic. Strong arguments are therefore needed. With the knowledge that he is militating against a well-entrenched orthodoxy, Joseph has written this extremely detailed, rigorously argued book, dedicating many of its chapters to lengthy critical assessments of original research papers. While some may be put off by the rather pedantic level of argumentation, it is, to my mind, absolutely necessary; and if you are willing to put the time in, occasionally exhilarating. It is too easy for genetically oriented researchers to blithely dismiss serious criticism as the work of know-nothing `armchair critics' with ideological agendas. Joseph is no armchair critic. Although he is a clinical psychologist and not a research scientist, his doctoral thesis was a critical examination of the schizophrenia twin studies literature, and the majority of his publications since then have been dedicated to this very specific, and very important, area. This is one of those publications. It is the first of a pair of books dedicated to psychiatric and behavioural genetics, the other being the equally excellent The Missing Gene. (This review is an altered version of my 'The Missing Gene' review, available on this website.) As both books make clear, Joseph is often more familiar with the foundational research of psychiatric genetics than the researchers themselves.

The large majority of this book's contents are devoted to trenchant scientific analysis. Joseph's critique of the Equal Environment Assumption is a supreme example of logical analysis. Here Joseph cuts to the quick of psychiatric and behavioural genetics, because if the EEA is invalid, as Joseph cogently argues, then the vast majority of twin studies done to date are scientifically useless. When one considers their many other, more particular, invalidating flaws (biased statistical manipulation, the post hoc redefinitions of the disorder under study to achieve statistical significance, among many others) the case for the genetic transmission of psychiatric disorders is about as scientifically compelling as phrenology, and have lead, and still lead, to medical treatments just as dubious and far more dangerous than the blood-letting of yore.

Most of this book is dedicated to scientific, conceptual and historical analyses of the schizophrenia twin studies. There is a fascinating chapter on the misunderstandings and attendant misuses of the heritability concept, and an informative chapter on intelligence. The latter, however, is not as detailed as it could be; most of the book's time is concerned, and rightfully so, with schizophrenia research, it being psychiatric genetics's oldest and most influential field, and the one in which Joseph is a real expert. While using cogent reasoning and analysis to come to generally sound conclusions, I think this chapter could be expanded upon in order to come slightly closer to matching the detail of the chapters on schizophrenia. Explication of the work of K. Anders Ericsson, for example, would strengthen the chapter's positive case for the environmentalist view of intelligence, and also establish the compartmentalisation of cognitive ability, which runs counter to the 'general intelligence' of the IQ doyens. Though the book is already very long, and I wouldn't want to see any of the chapters shortened, so perhaps I'm asking for too much.

There is much more to this book than a one thousand word review can do justice to. Joseph's work has convinced me that the well-publicised claims about the genetic determination of psychiatric disorders and psychological attributes are based more on politics, rhetoric and second- and third-hand information than sound science. It took both of Joseph's complex and detailed books to convince me. Vague humanistic platitudes, while comforting for a time, are hard to sustain against a countervailing science. It is liberating to know that, in the case of psychiatric and behavioural genetics, the `countervailing science' is largely built on air, a sort of tabloid science, and that the evidence, in fact, supports a more open view, where human beings are genuine individuals, not shambling automata, whose psychological difficulties are not the fault of their broken genes, but caused by well-known, and repairable, psychological and environmental factors. I will end this review as I began it: with a quotation from J.R. Lucas, former president of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science. His writings on human identity and value are among the best I've ever read, and show that to be scientific does not imply belief in the brutal pessimism of reductionist science, of which psychiatric and behavioural genetics are complementary parts. I am confident that Joseph would agree with the following passage.

`Each [of us] is a definite individual, ultimately responsible for what he decides to do, while being also an indeterminate shimmering of different personalities, revealed and developed in different personal relationships. Each is unique, of infinite complexity, transcending all stereotypes and neat classification, while needing also to be a safe pair of hands, who can be relied on to do his bit when required.'
MisterMax
The author is to be congratulated for what is an incredibly thorough, comprehensive, and well researched book on a controversial topic. It is amazing the depth of research and investigation he has undertaken, in order to set the record straight - namely, that studies which purport to 'prove' that mental illnesses are genetic in origin, are often shonky and need to be critically re-appraised. Far too often, people assume that just because something appears in a scientific journal, then it must necessarily be factual and free from bias. Dr Joseph has shown this not to be the case when twin and adoption studies are used to try and prove the genetic basis of mental illnesses. I thought my limited knowledge of genetics, biology, and heredity may have made it difficult for me to read this book, but that was not the case. It is well written, with all the technical terms clearly explained.
Alister
This is a great book. It is an essential part of my library and my work.
Fararala
Wonderfully researched. Should be required reading for all mental health professionals from psychiatrist to psychologists to social workers to counselors.
Mr Freeman
The book is excellently written consistent with its main topic and my ideas on the genetics of the Uner Tan syndrome.
Thank you very much...
Risky Strong Dromedary
Joseph had 3 main goals in the Gene Illusion. His first goal was to explain how modern behavioral genetics is the direct product of the racist eugenics movement. His second goal was to explain the false underlying assumptions of twin research studies which behavioral geneticists use to back up the majority of their eugenic claims. His third goal was to explain why the sub-field of psychiatric genetics is futile.

The flaws of twin research:
There are several flaws in twin research that Joseph pointed out in the Gene Illusion. First of all, Equal Environment Assumption (EEA) is built on the premise that identical twins and fraternal twins share the same environment. He pointed out the fact that parents tend to treat identical twins in a more similar way than fraternal twins. He went on to explain a list of other environmental influences that make identical twins more alike than pairs of randomly selected members of the world's population:

* They are the same age.

* They are the same sex.

* They are almost always the same ethnicity.

* They usually are raised in the same socioeconomic class.

* They usually are raised in the same culture or subculture.

* They frequently share the same religious beliefs.

* They shared the same prenatal environment.

* They typically spent a certain amount of time together in the same family environment, were aware of each other's existence when studied, and often had regular contact over a long period of time.

Secondly, many twin studies claimed their studied were based on twins reared apart when in reality the twins were reared in different homes in the same neighborhood during which they would see each other on a daily basis, or they were reared in different cities in the same US State during which they would often see each other, or they were separated after they were raised together for a certain amount of time that ranged from a couple of weeks to a few months. I used to think that social scientists, especially psychologists, had a tendency to make biased mistakes, but I changed my point of view when I read of this seemingly deliberate attempt to mislead the general American public.

There are a few vital flaws in his analysis of twin research. He fails to point out and probably is not aware of the research that shows identical twins are physically identical, but not genetically identical. Articles on Science Daily, the Huffington post and Psychology Today discussed the discovery of gene copy variations (CNVs) also called somatic mutations in monozygotic (identical) twins. Here is the list of articles:

[...]

[...]

[...]

The second flaw of his analysis of twin research is the fact that he did not discuss the problems of genomic - wide association studies (GWAS) even though he mentioned this method of genetic research this publication. GWAS can be used to study diseases that are caused by single genes, but it is not as effective for finding and explaining how the complex interaction of a set of genes causes certain diseases. For his bachelor's and master's degrees he studied psychology. He does not have extensive knowledge of evolutionary biology and he made no effort to explain how genetic mechanisms such as polygenes, epistasis and pleitropy affect how temperament (personality) could be genetically inherited. He also did not discuss the role of epigenetics in the inheritance of temperament. The fetal environment can epigentically affect the inherited temperament of children.

A side note:

I have an identical twin brother. Our personalities are dramatically different. I'm more of a single minded individual while he has a tendency to dabble in different hobbies. We also differ in intellectual abilities. He's bit smarter than I am. The fact that I had a twin brother made me question the basic premise of twin research and it motivated me to look for psychology books about the flaws of twin research.

The flaws of personality research:

He identified the assumptions behind the pseudoscience of personality research. Personality researchers assume personality can be identified by describing behaviors, can be quantified by administering self - report questionnaires, are stable across a person's life time, and are normally distributed in the human population. I think he could have offered solutions to the problems of personality research by suggesting studies from the emerging field of behavioral ecology.

Psychiatry is a pseudoscience:

He even mentioned with the work of Thomas Szasz when he wrote about the US perception of poverty and crime as mental illnesses and concluded that poverty and crime are the symptoms of sick societies. I feel that he did not write enough about the origins of schizophrenia and other popular metaphorical illnesses in the field of psychiatry. Like Szasz, he did not explain the illogical and irrational thoughts behind the formulation and wide acceptance of other popular "illnesses" such as bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD which I think would have made his argument against psychiatric genetics much more effective. I also felt that he should have devoted at least one chapter to the origins and rise of the pharmaceutical industry to better explain the American public's acceptance of psychiatric genetics.

The alternative to genetic determinism:

He did not suggest an alternative to the nature - nurture dichotomy. I felt that his description of how the environment shapes a person's personality and intelligence shifted the nature - nurture debate toward the nature side. I have yet to find a comprehensive theory for the interaction of environment and genes. I feel that he could have suggested books about cultural anthropology and cross cultural psychology that would have further helped readers understand how the environment shapes an individual's personality. In general social scientists are moving away from the nature - nature paradigm to the interactionist paradigm (nature interacts with nurture). I suggest reading the work of Geert Hofstede and the works of comparative political scientists if you want to better understand culture, economics, and politics shape human nature. Overall, I felt that he pointed out many problems within the field of psychology, but offered too few solutions.

A final note:

Joseph suggested getting rid of the term "heritability" after citing Stolenberg's idea of changing the word heritability to selectability because the concept of heritability only applies to animal and plant breeding. He went to great pains to explain the racist origins of eugenics, but he did not explain the difference the latter and neo - eugenics. Neo - eugenics involves genetic screening for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's disease and it also involves the creation of design babies e.g. the genius sperm bank. I believe neo - eugenics along with the creation of democratic governments can be used to enhance the well - being and standards of living of the human species. I think selectability should be included in the field of behavioral genetics so that neo - eugenics as an ideological goal can be actively pursued. I believe that we should worry equally about our genes and environment.
eBooks Related to The Gene Illusion - Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology Under the Microscope
Contacts | Privacy Policy | DMCA
All rights reserved.
lycee-pablo-picasso.fr © 2016-2020