Author: Daniel L. Everett

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A Nonfiction Dud in Review: How Language Began

April 5, 2021 Uncategorized 8

A Nonfiction Dud in Review: How Language BeganTitle: How Language Began: The Story of Humanity's Greatest Invention
Author: Daniel L. Everett
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:one-star

Summary: This book was a mess of inaccuracies, poorly supported arguments, and logical leaps.

I was excited to read this book about the biological and grammatical origins of language, so it’s with great disappointment that I say it’s only redeeming quality was that complaining about it with my science nonfiction book club was delightful. The author lost a bunch of book club members very early with some basic genomics errors. He describes the genome as including DNA and RNA, credits histones with gene activation, and acts as though the debate about whether DNA or RNA came first is undecided. Worse, he never even uses the info presented in his genomics primer. This was an entirely unforced error. He didn’t need to talk about this field he clearly doesn’t understand to make his argument! That gave a lot of us in my book club pause, because it made us question his credibility in areas where we don’t have the knowledge to factcheck. There were some complaints about the accuracy of his description of the fossil record as well, but that’s one of the topics outside my knowledge base. Read more »

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