screen-2011-04-02-06-54-29_thumb[2]Steven Pinker, one of the greatest minds in linguistics and evolutionary science, thoroughly debunks the blank slate theory that still dominates the standard social science model.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature is a best-selling 2002 book by Steven Pinker arguing against tabula rasa models of the social sciences. Pinker argues that human behavior is substantially shaped by evolutionary psychological adaptations. The book was nominated for the 2003 Aventis Prizes and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. (wikipedia)

This tabula-rasa/blank-slate theory is responsible for most serious mistakes in social theories and public policies of the last century in fields like education, discrimination, gender relations. It also is related to rejection of inheritance based evolutionary theory. All this is very central to Human-Stupidity: how can a ridiculously false theory dogmatically dominate science and public policy for decades.

One simple example of always repeated conventional wisdom:

  • “Children that are beaten by violent parents become violent adults”. There usually is no test for the alternative  hypothesis that this has nothing to do with genetics, but that these children could have genetically inherited violent traits from their parents.

Steven Pinker: Chalking it up to the blank slate

 

 


The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

See also real important readings

  1. Evolutionary Psychology Primer & Reading List Leda Cosmides & John Tooby
  2. Evolutionary Psychology: Evolutionary Theory, Paleoanthropology, Adaptationism
  3. Evolutionary Psychology Primer & Reading List | Human-Stupidity.

The Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television

screen-2011-04-02-06-54-29_thumb[2]Steven Pinker, one of the greatest minds in linguistics and evolutionary science, thoroughly debunks the blank slate theory that still dominates the standard social science model.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature is a best-selling 2002 book by Steven Pinker arguing against tabula rasa models of the social sciences. Pinker argues that human behavior is substantially shaped by evolutionary psychological adaptations. The book was nominated for the 2003 Aventis Prizes and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  (wikipedia)

This tabula-rasa/blank-slate theory is responsible for most serious mistakes in social theories and public policies of the last century in fields like education, discrimination, gender relations. It also is related to rejection of inheritance based evolutionary theory. All this is very central to Human-Stupidity: how can a ridiculously false theory dogmatically dominate science and public policy for decades.

One simple example of always repeated conventional wisdom:

  • "Children that are beaten by violent parents become violent adults". There usually is no test for the alternative  hypothesis that this has nothing to do with genetics, but that these children could have genetically inherited violent traits from their parents.

Steven Pinker: Chalking it up to the blank slate

 


The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
See also real important reading
  1. Evolutionary Psychology Primer & Reading List Leda Cosmides & John Tooby
  2. Evolutionary Psychology: Evolutionary Theory, Paleoanthropology, Adaptationism
  3.  Evolutionary Psychology Primer & Reading List | Human-Stupidity.

The Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television

screen-2011-04-02-06-54-29_thumb[2]Steven Pinker, one of the greatest minds in linguistics and evolutionary science, thoroughly debunks the blank slate theory that still dominates the standard social science model.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature is a best-selling 2002 book by Steven Pinker arguing against tabula rasa models of the social sciences. Pinker argues that human behavior is substantially shaped by evolutionary psychological adaptations. The book was nominated for the 2003 Aventis Prizes and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  (wikipedia)

This tabula-rasa/blank-slate theory is responsible for most serious mistakes in social theories and public policies of the last century in fields like education, discrimination, gender relations. It also is related to rejection of inheritance based evolutionary theory. All this is very central to Human-Stupidity: how can a ridiculously false theory dogmatically dominate science and public policy for decades.

One simple example of always repeated conventional wisdom:

  • "Children that are beaten by violent parents become violent adults". There usually is no test for the alternative  hypothesis that this has nothing to do with genetics, but that these children could have genetically inherited violent traits from their parents.

Steven Pinker: Chalking it up to the blank slate

 


The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
See also real important reading
  1. Evolutionary Psychology Primer & Reading List Leda Cosmides & John Tooby
  2. Evolutionary Psychology: Evolutionary Theory, Paleoanthropology, Adaptationism
  3.  Evolutionary Psychology Primer & Reading List | Human-Stupidity.

The Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television

Some more entertainment

Steven Pinker – The Language of Swearing (1/2)

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Some more entertainment

Steven Pinker – The Language of Swearing (1/2)

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Some more entertainment

Steven Pinker – The Language of Swearing (1/2)

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4 Comments

  1. Thaddeus G Blanchette says:

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    Er, sorry. Nice rhetoric, but the “blank slate” model has NEVER dominated the social sciences. From Boas on down, social scientists have admitted that there’s probably a biological component to human behavior. WHAT it is and HOW MUCH it influences is the issue, not whether it exists.

    Schlinger’s critique of Pinker’s work is quite interesting.

    http://www.calstatela.edu/academic/psych/html/Graduate/ABA/PDF%20articles/TheAlmostBlankSlate.pdf

  2. K(yle) says:

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    From Boas on down, social scientists have admitted that there’s probably a biological component to human behavior. WHAT it is and HOW MUCH it influences is the issue, not whether it exists.

    Nice try. The name of your link says it all. What’s the difference between the Blank Slate and the Almost Blank Slate? Probably a biological component to human behavior…that is so infinitesimal as to be irrelevant; the Almost Blank Slate.

  3. AndrewV says:

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    I just downloaded and skimmed the Schlinger critique of Pinker and
    I did not appreciate the swipe at Chomsky among other things.

    I am now sold on the idea that I should read Pinker.

  4. Bastian Baum says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Sounds like the social psychology equivalent of the “saturated fat equals heart disease.” Conventional wisdom, especially when it is dead wrong, has a way of sticking. Could be because ppl want to belive in it.

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