View Single Post
Unread April 5th, 2006, 03:58 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 271
Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

JimB said,
1) There are possibly more than a few genetic differences between me and thee, some of them related to differences in our minds that emerged from differences in our genes.
Isn't that the question? Did our differences emerge from differences in our genes or in our experiences? I'd say probably both. With the genes laying down a structure that may have been fairly similar, who knows? But our separate experiences seem to have the most to say about our opinions on this - I'd think. I went through a pretty intense attachment to Ayn Rand in the early sixties. I then went through some very emotional times (the anti-war years) and came out of that quite liberal - but emotionally more than intellectually. I didn't think much about those things for many years but then when Newt Gingrich said that people who think like me were responsible for the death of Susan Smith's children - I started paying more attention.

Some of those differences may lead to your rejection of Pinker's work and to my rabid acceptance of it.
Well, I'm not exactly rejecting Pinker's work. I'm asking for help in understanding his main argument supporting his position. And, I don't understand why a scientist would rabidly accept anyone's work. Shouldn't that be left to the ideologues?

You said, In any event, your blindness is yours to manage. I've never been able to appreciate the conservative tendency to see everyone as an enemy or an ally. No wonder Fred is so comfortable here.

You said,
2) You're working on a book and using this forum as a resource. As Bob Wright once commented to me, "It happens more than you would believe."
I'd like to think I had a book in me about human nature. I haven't reached the place where I feel that I have a good overview of the subject. I've written things in the past that seemed really stupid not long afterward. I think if I tried to write a book about this stuff now that's what would happen. Besides I have no credibility in this area. It would be a really tough sell.

Cultural determinism feels like the stronger side of the argument to me but I need to really understand your side better before I can believe that I am right or wrong. That's why I wrote the last post. It's just a fascinating question to me. Most of my writing experience has been technical writing. Although you're sort of accusing me of dishonesty - I am somewhat pleased that you would think I'd be working on a book.

But, I'm not writing a book and I'm not looking for a fight - although I have regrettably responded to some of your posts that way. I just want to discuss these ideas (hereditary determinism which seems to be the underpinning of EP) with someone who is capable of defending them. Someone with PhD who runs a forum on EP that is open to people like me should be able (and willing) to do that - I would think.

So far you've only told me to read certain books and then I'd apparently see why I was wrong. I have been doing that but have not found what you said I would. So, now I'm asking you to tell me in your own words (or your rewording of Pinker's) why you are right.

Reply With Quote