Monday, November 11, 2013

Nature Vs. Nurture

The only question in my mind is, are you born with a predisposition to favor nature or nurture, or do you learn it?  Just kidding,  John Craig asserts that your stance on nature/nurture forms the basis of everything else you think:

All political philosophies flow from this one piece of knowledge

If you know how a person feels about IQ, and the extent to which it's determined by genes, you'll likely know his entire political philosophy.

You can make an educated guess about how he feels about putting more money into falling schools, and whether that will result in a more productive society.

How he feels about criminals' vs. victims' rights.

About taxes.

About welfare.

About immigration.

About nation building abroad.

About foreign aid.

About affirmative action.

These are all political positions which are, to a certain extent, subjective, and a function of the values that people hold.

But the IQ controversy itself -- the extent to which it's nature and not nurture that determines one's intelligence -- is not a subjective, or moral, matter. it's a scientific one. And as with all scientific matters, the truth is far less squishy.

To determine which side is right, study the issue with an open mind -- a truly open mind. Read what Stephen Jay Gould (who felt intelligence was just a social construct) had to say on the matter, then read what Arthur Jensen (who believed our intelligence is mostly determined by our genes) had to say. Take a look at the various separated twin studies, of which this is one. Ask yourself whose opinion was informed by science, and whose by propaganda and wishful thinking.

After you study the issue, see if it affects your political thinking.

Too many people have either no knowledge of the nature vs. nurture controversy, or have been fed propaganda rather than facts. And when your entire view of human intelligence is based on propaganda, you're bound to have a lot of wrongheaded political views as well.


  1. Nature versus nurture is less of an issue if you think the orthodox Christian notion of free will is misguided.

    If the human will is not absolutely free, then it scarcely matters whether the involuntary impulses of the unconscious mind come from a hereditary biological source.

    If the yogis are more correct about free will than the Christians, then one should not waste time debating such issues - one should find some means of spiritual liberation - either yoga or something else that can take its place - and become more in control of your own actions. If the yogis are no more correct than the Christians, well, then, we can keep debating...

    1. How about that? I've been DRAWING yogis (well, gurus, at least) for 40-odd years and that never occurred to me.
      Gurus By Baloo

  2. Baloo --
    Thank you very much, as always. (And thanks for correcting that typo.)

  3. Stephen Jay Gould was an egregious promoter of egalitarian propaganda who outright falsified evidence when it disagreed, such as when he claimed that Samuel Morton falsified data on human skulls to present Africans as smaller-brained (Point of fact: African skulls were, and are, smaller. Morton actually slightly overestimated the size of African skulls). He was firmly of the belief (along with Steven Rose, a fellow Marxist), that scientific fact should, always and everywhere, take a backseat to Marxist (anti-white) propaganda.

    In the main, our society is as heavily controlled by distorted information and outright lies as that of the Soviet Union, although the methods of pushing those lies more closely resemble (usually) the gilded tyranny of the World State in Brave New World than the iron-fisted despotism of Big Brother.