Nature has won

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

In reviewing Robert Plomin’s Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are, Gregory Cochran says, forget Nature versus Nurture. Nature has won:

Assuming that this work is correct, what does it mean? What are the implications?

It means that we have to completely rethink and rebuild the social sciences. Steven Pinker said: “For most of the twentieth century it was assumed that psychological traits were caused by environmental factors, called nurture.” This was completely wrong. Problems like p-value fishing and the current ‘replication crisis’ are nothing compared to the tsunami that’s coming.

Indeed, social scientists have done such a terrible job that it’s hard to see how the field can be repaired. They wanted the false results they got, and they still do. I’m sure their descendants will as well. Isn’t heritability grand?

We need a different kind of social science researcher, smarter, less emotional, and more curiosity-driven. Intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic. But where will we find them?


  1. Harry Jones says:

    Nature vs nurture is what you get when you throw out free will from the get-go.

  2. Jim says:

    “Intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic” are found on Mars.

  3. Mikeski says:

    “But where will we find them?”

    …in the hard STEM fields.

    “How will we get them to do work in the soft science-esque fields, instead” is the hard question.

    “How will we get the politicians out of the soft science-esque fields, so that the real scientific results can be researched and presented” is the really hard question.

    This isn’t currently treated as a science, after all. It’s pure politics.

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