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Amy Chapman
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You and Pinker are engaged in the old nature nurture debate. I have been disappointed by your recent books because I believe you now start with a subconscious premise, that nuture is the more powerful force, then seek the proofs which sustain your beliefs. It's a common problem. You began, I believe, as someone with a more open mind. Society in general fantastically over estimates the role of nurture and underestimates that of nature. Pop culture favors the self-help model, even when it is inadequate. As a mother who has tried to influence her children all their lives, and a daughter whose father suffered from mental illness, I have come from painful experience to believe that our genetic destiny is greater than any of us would like to admit. Obviously I wish your research supported my pre-existing beliefs! But the best course would be if you could try to banish from your mind the desired outcome of your research so you might accept studies that contradict preconceived notions.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2009 on Pinker on "What the Dog Saw." at gladwell.com
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Nov 17, 2009