PopScience Book Reviews

Monday, 20 August 2007

“Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code”, Matt Ridley

I enjoyed this book immensely! Biographies of brilliant people might be a completely untapped source of reading pleasure for me. Surely, a lot of it is due to Ridley’s easy style and entertaining anecdotes; I have only read his “Genome” and can’t remember how I felt about it, but I’ll definitely read more of his works in the future.

But what I loved the most was finding out about this astonishing man, who I always thought had stood in Watson’s shadow, which was apparently not the case at all.

I was so enamoured with Crick by half-way through the book that I was totally shocked by the revelations about his radical views (at least he held them in the 1960s and 70s) on races, eugenics and sterilisation of “genetically inferior” people. I don’t know what to do with this information and it seems like neither did Ridley. It is mentioned dutifully but the author doesn’t really take a position and maybe that is not the job of a biographer. As I uneasily read on about this man with the incredible imagination, admiration gained the upper hand again and by the end I cried when he dies.

The fact that Crick was a raging (yes!) atheist helped, of course, but the main reason for liking him is expressed in this last sentence of the epilogue: “He would have liked to find the seat of consciousness and to see the retreat of religion. He had to settle for explaining life.”

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1 Comment »

  1. Über welches Buch freust du dich eigentlich nicht? Tut mir leid, dass du am Schluss weinen musstest. Ich kenne niemanden, das seine Lebensfreude so zum Ausdruck bringen kann wie du!

    Comment by Mu ! — Tuesday, 21 August 2007 @ 3:13 pm | Reply


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