The following is an excerpt from Miracle Man. Dr. John Uhlman meets a young Robert James Austin, our anti-hero protagonist, for the first time:


Uhlman took some time to just look at Bobby.

There he sat, all forty-seven pounds of him, feet dangling in his shiny black dress shoes. A cute but unremarkable looking four and a half year old, whose only distinguishing physical characteristic was his striking eyes. He would blend into any pre-school play-room without difficulty. Uhlman tapped Bobby’s thick file. Could this child really be so unusual or was he just another in the ranks of the top one or two percent of the population that psychologists and educators routinely encounter? Why would this little boy be so special—why should he be? From what Uhlman had read, there was no reason to believe that this child had any extraordinary genetic inheritance. He was likely the progeny of, at best, mediocre genetic material—and very possibly sub-medicore. ‘Nature or nurture?’ What populist rubbish, Uhlman thought. There was no ‘nature’ here and no ‘nurture’ either. Bobby’s parents weren’t brilliant avant-garde educators who had devised a revolutionary learning program starting in the child’s infancy. Edith and Peter were ordinary people who provided nothing more than the average home environment. So what was this child? A genetic mutation –like a two-headed horse or a child born with four arms? Uhlman scratched his head, wondering if he should start getting religious. Leaning forward at his desk, he cradled his chin in the beefy palm of his left hand. There was so little that he and the others really understood. The more he studied and the more research he did, the more he realized how little about human intelligence was known.


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Related: June 20: 60-Second Read From “Miracle Man”