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Unread March 16th, 2006, 03:18 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 271
Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Tom, a very reasonable reply.

You said,
I just don't think this is a subject yet that we can objectively discuss; we don't have enough facts.
But then why have a forum like this on EP? Isn't that the point? IMO this discussion is another version of the nature-nurture dichotomy that has dogged the natural sciences for 200 years. As more is discovered about the brain and human nature it changes the views that we get when we re-examine the question. That's what I find fascinating about this question and it's what I'm interested in exploring.

You can say that most people can be anything and point to some examples of white basketball players and black PhDs, others would call them expected outlyers. They would point out distributions of test scores and NBA players and you would say culture and environment. I would say it's a mixture of genes and environment.
I agree with you that it must be some mixture of genes and environment. As I see it, the question is, just what part each of those takes in determining who we are. I think Gould's statement on dialecticism expresses it very well -
"When presented as guidelines for a philosophy of change, not as dogmatic precepts true by fiat, the…classical laws of dialectics [formulated by Engels] embody a holistic vision that views change as interaction among components of complete systems, and sees the components themselves…as both products and inputs to the system."
I think that's what makes it so difficult to unravel just where nature and nurture have their effects. Different components can be both inputs and outputs, and probably on several different levels simultaneously. I love those kinds of puzzles.

You add,
But only one side can be discussed without getting into PC trouble, maybe that's where Jim's sensitivity comes from.
It seems that since this is his forum, he's the only one who can't get in trouble here. That genetic differences can affect who we are or who we become is a perfectly valid idea and many parts of that concept are useful in the discussion. The problem is that ever since Spencer coined the metaphor, "Survival of the fittest" those who had accumulated the most power in society or in the world, have used it to justify that power - often by using the latest science to instituitionalize that power and making it inaccessible to others. Now, when JimB starts thread after thread that mocks efforts to distribute that power more equitably (anti-PC) as violations of the natural order, I have to wonder if he is more interested in protecting the status quo or unravelling the nurture-nature puzzle.

That's why I have challenged him to make that clear. And so far, considering his mostly ideological, in-your-face responses, it seems that it's the former. Still, I'm willing to accept that maybe he had some bad experiences with nurturites - and now, anyone who doesn't see things his way scientifically is his ideological enemy. Kind of like Fred. But, that's all cool by me. I don't see him as my enemy. There are definitely some strong emotions happening there - and I can accept those things to a point before I decide that my online time would be more profitably spent elsewhere.

Note: I hereby claim authorship of the terms nurturites and naturites for all time - as the ideologically obsessed proponents of each side of this supposedly scientific debate. Except that anything that good has probably already been coined by someone else.

But, I'm learning a lot about this stuff, especially the ideological side. I do wish we could get past that though because that is not resolvable. I'm liberal and JimB is not and we'll always see the distribution of power in society in different ways. But the science is available to discuss if we try.

One thing you said puzzles me,
Closer to the equator, there were at least these fewer pressures. Plus, if women can sustain themselves, they're more apt to breed better dancers than better savers.
I don't understand that statement. Can you explain it in a different way?

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