Saturday, May 22, 2010

More on The Nurture Assumption

So, I've been looking at a bit more on The Nurture Assumption - I found a review by Steve Sailer:
In contrast, her third assertion -- parents don't matter -- is plausible only within her narrow, arbitrary boundaries. To fully explain human behavior, everything matters. Anything conceivable (whether genes, peers, parents, cousins, teachers, TV, incest abuse, martial arts, breastfeeding, prenatal environment, etc.) influences something (whether personality, IQ, sexual orientation, culture, morals, job skills, etc.) in somebody
More interestingly, a review by a psychologist:
Ms. Harris notes that her largest problem with her book since its publication is that of people quoting her ideas and statements out of context, and making judgments of the book without having read it.
*Cough*, who, me?

He also has a more detailed criticism of the book, arguing that she overstates her case.

Let's be more specific. Ms. Harris says that smart parents read to their children, and their children grow up smart. Thus, some conclude, reading to your children makes them smart. She offers instead that smart people have smart genes which they pass to their children, and that's what makes them smart; the reading is irrelevant. But take this further. Parents who are great swimmers may pass on genes for great swimming to their children. But, if they never take their child to a pool, lake, or ocean, the child is unlikely to learn to swim and will never be a great swimmer regardless of her genes.
I think Ms. Harris is correct in pointing out that even with great genes, your daughter may learn to swim, but may never be a great swimmer unless her friends value swimming or at least don't devalue her for her swimming. Likewise, if you want her to swim, sending your daughter to a school with a swim team, and making sure she has the opportunity to associate with other children who value perseverance, athletics, internal motivation, and swimming are more likely to be effective than pressuring and ordering her to swim.
(emphasis mine)

The main thing to take away from the book would probably be that peers matter more than parents would expect. And, maybe we shouldn't fret too much about how the way we raise our kids.

Anyway - that PsychPage website looks like it has quite a few interesting posts - I'll look at the rest later.

No comments:

Post a Comment