Racist thinking – that intelligence is influenced by racial origin, for example – was part of mainstream science a century ago and, surprisingly, is still endorsed by maerick scientists at some of the world’s most respectable institutions today. The myths being perpetuated on genetics, race, IQ and general intelligence are what Black Brain, White Brain challenges – precisely, systematically and in painstaking detail.
In this immensely readable book Evans tackles highly complex subjects, from the origin of humans and the genesis of intelligence to athletic performance and genes, IQ and cleverness, in a fluent and engaging style that makes science accessible and the facts absorbing. Persuasive, without being didactic or sermonising, and lightened by a wry sense of humour, Evans’s text weaves it all together in such a way that one is keen to follow all the threads the better to see the larger tapestry.
Carefully balancing claims, testing dodgy propositions and presenting fairly the theories of modern scientists and evolutionary psychologists, Evans shows just how uniform we are, genetically, as a species and that it’s mainly the environment we grow up and live in that’s the strong determining factor in general intelligence.