An important and challenging book ... This book will help sell a lot of [genomics] kits but will shock, and maybe anger, a lot of people too ... Determinism and striving for a better world are uneasy bedfellows. Plomin probably underestimates the extent to which his message can reinforce existing unfairnesses and encourage fatalism — if fatness is mainly in the genes, what’s the point of trying to stay thin? Plomin may overclaim for genes but he has provided important new evidence in a never-ending argument.
Plomin writes with authority about the ongoing genomic revolution that will unquestionably transform our lives and society ... To think that our society can handle the new world of personal genomics without negative consequences, one would have to be an incurable or an incorrigible optimist. Plomin describes himself as both. I have a bleaker view of the world ... I am happy to bow to Plomin as a psychologist and a geneticist, but I found his sociology rather lacking, in fact quite baffling ... I applaud Plomin for his own scientific achievements, for making this new science accessible, and for discussing its potential implications for society. I think how polygenically lucky he is to be such an optimist: my genes are telling me something quite different about the brave new world of personal genomics.
Although Plomin tries to dispel accusations of biological determinism by repeating the slogan of today’s geneticists that 'genes are not destiny,' I suspect many readers of Blueprint will be left wondering why not ...Frankly I fear for this book. It has an important and valid message, but is sometimes written in a way that almost wilfully invites misunderstanding and reactive opposition ... This isn’t just sloppy writing and editing; it is irresponsible. Even so Blueprint, to its credit, shows that the argument about whether our genes affect our behaviour is largely over, and makes a strong case for why we need an urgent and open discussion of what that means for society.
This is an important book, a must-read guide to one enormous aspect of the human future. It is slow going, not because it is badly written but because of the compression of so many complex ideas into such a relatively short space ... It concludes with the standard scientist’s pay-off calling for more debate because 'genetics is much too important to leave to geneticists alone'. The problem is that genetics also shows that debate will have as little effect as a mother’s love on the outcome.