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“The Impossible”
Posted: 19 May 2013 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 106 ]
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You can Pinker all you want.  But if you listen to or read Pinker closely, he does not take the extreme position that George seems to want (i.e., that culture and environmental learning play little or no significant role in the development of skills that humans need in order to become most effective.)

Well, in this case at least I will “Pinker all I want” as his arguments are cogent and backed with mounds of facts. There’s an extensive biblio. At the end of each book and my my, here we are back to the nature v. Nurture argument I engaged in with George over a year ago. My contention then was the nurture trumps nature every time but after reading Pinker and others I found that it’s fifty fifty i.e. both cultural AND genetic. And BTW, the use of YouTube to watch a lecture is no different than listening to a podcast on an academic subject and while it dosen’t trump a monograph or peer reviewed paper it is a good place to begin research. It also depends on who is lecturing and the material presented. In this case, from what I’ve viewed so far, Pinker offers a detailed explanation of his contention concerning Jewish intellectuals. but once again, I haven’t finished the series. More later.

 

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 19 May 2013 10:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 107 ]
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Pinker is great at showing that those -  who think that cultural and environmental factors matters supremely, AND that genetic endowment matters little - are wrong.  He argues against this extreme position and does it effectively. (IMO, debunking an extreme position should not be particularly difficult, but Pinker does it entertainingly and adds to our body of knowledge.)  So, by all means, Pinker away.  But Pinker cannot legitimately be used to support the opposite extreme position that George seems to have, i.e., that genetic endowment matters supremely while culture and learning matter little. 

Pinker demonstrated to me that, in some ways, nature matters more than I previously thought, but I have known, unequivocably, since my earliest classes in the behavioral sciences that behavior IS a product of nature, but that it CAN BE affected by learning - except not so much for some reflexive and instinctive behaviors - (AND that it is often necessary for learning to occur for some behaviors to emerge).  FOR EXAMPLE, I think that Pinker effectively supports the position that the ability to develop language IS PRIMARILY INNATE (not 50/50), while the particular language that one develops IS LEARNED (not 50/50). 

IMO, it is utterly foolish to engage in a nature v. nurture debate if one takes the extreme position that nature matters and nurture doesn’t, OR vice versa, UNLESS you are speaking of a particular behavior, or a particular class of behaviors.

The thing that makes me react so passionately about those who would, erroneously, have us believe that we are solely a product of what we are born with, is that this stance can be used to suggest that efforts at early childhood education are meaningless, when in fact, I am convinced, it is one of the most important factors that a society should be concerned with.

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Posted: 20 May 2013 05:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 108 ]
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The thing that makes me react so passionately about those who would, erroneously, have us believe that we are solely a product of what we are born with, is that this stance can be used to suggest that efforts at early childhood education are meaningless, when in fact, I am convinced, it is one of the most important factors that a society should be concerned with.

Absolutely, and as far as I’m concerned, as I mentioned in my last post it’s fifty fifty. Having been involved in educationing kids for 36 now going on 37 years I have been able to see for myself the long term effects of both. I have now taught students whose parents (damn I’m getting old) I originally taught and whose families have lived in the same environments for nearly a century (no, I’m not that old). some are biracial as intermarrying, although frowned upon, wasn’t considered illegal here. The ancestors of several of our African-American students can actually trace their heritage back to 1854 when a Va. Slave owner freed all of his slaves and bought them land here. We have many mixed race students (when I attended here it was as high as 30%) but now have an influx of Mexican-American, Chinese and Filipino and South East Asian. So, in essence I have been able to view a crossection of various races and cultures, all existing in a similar environment and have interaction with exchange students from Germany, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, China, Finland, Bulgaria (that guy was a hellova chauvinist who got his clock cleaned by one of our girls), and Slovakia, all of whom I had as students. They were all from stable, well off families back home and spoke very passable English. Regrettably, they all performed at higher levels than most of our students. I have some suggestions for revamping the Amican educational system but that’s for another post but my point is that I have seen for myself the effects of both nature and nurture and in addition to what I’ve read so far nature does play a larger role than what I first suspected; Pinker and others have taught me that. but It isn’t all one or the other IMO but a mixture of both but this totally depends on the individual you are studying. Still watching the videos though and chasing the whale.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 20 May 2013 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 109 ]
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VYAZMA - 19 May 2013 11:54 AM
George - 19 May 2013 06:43 AM

No, it’s not cultural. Jews have very high average IQ. One of the theories is that they have been selected for higher intelligence during the Middle Ages. Jews were not allowed to farm and Chritians were prohibited from charging interest. Jews, then, could only work in the finances and only the children of those who had what it took cognetively could have made it. Look it up. There is a talk about it by Pinker on YouTube.

Here’s a perfect example of George’s “sharp mind”.  George-“No it’s not cultural.”.....then he goes on to explain in the paragraph above Cultural!! significance.
The whole paragraph sounds like some goofy fairy tale.
The Jews were the little elves that lived down the road from the Smurfs.  The evil warlock wouldn’t let them farm.  He had them slaving at desks all day long doing math.  And that’s how the Jews got smart….
You-tube….what a great educational tool.
I bet we wouldn’t even notice Jews at all; for any attributes, if they weren’t highlighted against historical factors, and contrasted through the lens of christian based society.  That’s my bet! I’m going with that.

I don’t think you are understanding this correctly. The Jews didn’t get smart because they were doing a lot of math, just like horses don’t get fast because they do a lot of running. The Jews got smart because the dumb ones didn’t get to have babies. It’s called natural selection. The only thing that is “cultural” here, is the environmental pressure.

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Posted: 20 May 2013 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 110 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 19 May 2013 06:17 PM

You can Pinker all you want.  But if you listen to or read Pinker closely, he does not take the extreme position that George seems to want (i.e., that culture and environmental learning play little or no significant role in the development of skills that humans need in order to become most effective.)

Well, in this case at least I will “Pinker all I want” as his arguments are cogent and backed with mounds of facts. There’s an extensive biblio. At the end of each book and my my, here we are back to the nature v. Nurture argument I engaged in with George over a year ago. My contention then was the nurture trumps nature every time but after reading Pinker and others I found that it’s fifty fifty i.e. both cultural AND genetic. And BTW, the use of YouTube to watch a lecture is no different than listening to a podcast on an academic subject and while it dosen’t trump a monograph or peer reviewed paper it is a good place to begin research. It also depends on who is lecturing and the material presented. In this case, from what I’ve viewed so far, Pinker offers a detailed explanation of his contention concerning Jewish intellectuals. but once again, I haven’t finished the series. More later.

 

Cap’t Jack

What about WASP intellectuals?  German intellectuals?  Italian intellectuals?  Russian intellectuals?
What about the fact that there is a non-genetic heredity involved in passing on professions from father to son?
And what kind of raw intellectual power is needed for banking anyways?
Again I think the cart is before the horse here. I repeat: would we be having this discussion about jews if they weren’t highlighted against a backdrop of
christian dominated Westernism? Let alone all the naked stereotypes?
What about all the WASP bankers, the Chinese Bankers, The Swiss Bankers? The Mexican Bankers?  Do you want to figure out their lineage too?

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Posted: 20 May 2013 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 111 ]
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One other thing…did the jews gain this supposed selected trait by natural selection?
Because I know that there were literally millions of jewish peasants, shoemakers, jewelers, landlords, ironworkers, etc etc..killed off by
the Russians and Germans.
The impact on the jewish population by political forces between say 1899-1945 was so dramatic that I would beg to say that
studying forces of natural selection would hit a speedbump to say the least.
I know that the post mentions times of these selections from the Middle Ages, but like I said millions of jewish peasants and craftsmen were killed off later.
Do we have figures that decisively show a larger than normal percentage of bankers(intellectuals) amongst the backdrop of craft/proletariat/peasant jews?

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Posted: 20 May 2013 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 112 ]
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I also wonder about the effect of the massive annihilation of Jews in the early 20th century.  But back to what Pinker does address.  He effectively pressents data that intelligence is heritable and that genetics account for 50% to 80% of the variance of IQ advantage.  To me, what is remarkable about that is that AT LEAST 20% of the variance may be attributable to culture and environmental learning.  SO should we ignore the possibility of giving our children a 20% chance of having a higher IQ?  OF COURSE NOT.

My contention is that this chance for contributing to a child having a higher IQ is in the window of opportunity of early childhood.  This is obvious as it is well established that IQ scores tend to become quite stable AFTER early childhood.

Now, the other thing about the potential benefits of education and cultural effects is that it matters REGARDLESS of IQ.  e.g., One may have an average IQ but could have inherited all of the traits to become a master automobile mechanic.  But if this person is Amish and never has any training in auto repair, he or she WILL NEVER REACH THEIR potential as an auto mechanic.

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Posted: 20 May 2013 11:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 113 ]
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I’m sure there are genes for intelligence. Or genes for more robust parts of the body(brain) that create intelligence(nitpicking…I know. But I don’t know.)
If height is genetic, then certainly every other body part is too.  No one doubts this.
The whole jewish banker thing though…..how hackneyed!
What about the Chinese bankers?
Am I missing something with this?
TimB, the part of early childhood learning is HUGE!  No doubt!!
Just goes to show…necessity is the mother of invention(innovation). Obviously we don’t have a need for lot’s of intelligent people.
And we really don’t.

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Posted: 22 May 2013 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 114 ]
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Not to discount your questions and statements, Vyazma, but going back to the initial topic of this thread:
The celebrity, Alexis Bledel, who is half Mexican and half Argentinian, has very pretty BLUE eyes.  Can we assume that she has a grandparent on each side that has blue eyes?

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Posted: 22 May 2013 02:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 115 ]
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Short answer: Although she is claimed by the hispanics, “She was born to an Argentine father, Martin Bledel who was originally from Denmark and a Mexican mother, Nanette Dozier of French and German origin.”

All this ethnicity stuff can be rather confusing.

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Posted: 22 May 2013 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 116 ]
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What’s confusing? That she looks white and is of European ancestry? How is that confusing?

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Posted: 22 May 2013 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 117 ]
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George - 22 May 2013 03:12 PM

What’s confusing? That she looks white and is of European ancestry? How is that confusing?

The concept of ethnicity can be confusing.  e.g., hispanics don’t have to have any Spanish geneology to be hispanic.  They don’t even have to speak Spanish to identify themselves as hispanic.  You don’t have to be born in a country that is primarily made up of other people who are of Spanish geneology or who identify themselves as hispanic. Apparently, you just have to have something in your background that associates you, in some way with hispanic culture.

In Alexis’s case, she does speak Spanish, and has two parents of Latin American nationality (but zero Spanish geneology), and she is a native Texan.  Still, she is considered by hispanics, to be 100% hispanic.  Whereas I have seen someone like Emelio Estevez considered to be only 25% hispanic. 

IOW, “hispanic” does not appear to constitute a very well defined group.

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