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Man's Most Dangerous Myth


THE author's thesis is that experience rather than inborn traits determines standards of social conduct, that most so-called lower-grade human types would reach high standards in this respect if given opportunities, that we must not assume standards other than our own to be necessarily inferior but must allow that adaptations in diverse environments give rise to different standards, and that outbreeding promotes vigour. He therefore condemns racial discrimination, especially in the U.S.A., and urges a policy of social amelioration and education, looking to the lowering of racial barriers and to implementing the first principle of the American Declaration of Independence. Race discrimination has, in any event, failed to prevent widespread mixture. He spes the human individual as the developed result of a bundle of genes of many origins, the bundle re-sorting itself in the development of every child. He might perhaps have gone further in this direction by acknowledging that genes are hypothetical, even though the gene hypothesis has more in it than the race hypothesis.

Man's Most Dangerous Myth

The Fallacy of Race. By M. F. Ashley Montagu. Pp xii + 216. (New York: Columbia University Press; London: Oxford University Press, 1942.) 15s. 6d. net.

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FLEURE, H. Man's Most Dangerous Myth. Nature 153, 604–605 (1944).

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