Reddit Reddit reviews The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

We found 59 Reddit comments about The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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59 Reddit comments about The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature:

u/Lightfiend · 18 pointsr/psychology

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature - evolutionary psychology, behavioral genetics. (probably most interesting from a Freudian perspective, deals with many of our unconscious instincts)

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces The Shape Our Decisions - Unconscious decision-making, behavioral economics, consumer psychology. Fun read.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - Most popular book on the psychology of persuasion, covers all the main principles. Very popular among business crowds.

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships - Social neuroscience, mirror neurons, empathy, practical stuff mixed with easy to understand brain science.

Authentic Happiness - Positive Psychology, happiness, increasing life satisfaction.

Feeling Good - A good primer on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Also widely considered one of the best self-help books by mental health practitioners.

The Brain That Changes Itself - Neuroplasticity, how experience shapes our brains. Some really remarkable case studies that get you wondering how powerful our brains really are.

The Buddhist Brain - The practical neuroscience of happiness, love, and wisdom from a Buddhist perspective.

That should give you more than enough to chew on.

u/Ho66es · 18 pointsr/books

Off the top of my head, in no particular order:

The Undercover Economist: Easily the best of those "Economics in everyday life - books"

The Blank Slate: Steven Pinker on the nature/nurture debate. This really opened my eyes on questions like "Why are the same people who fight against abortion for the death penalty", for example.

Complications: This and his second book, Better, gave me an incredible insight into medicine.

Why we get sick: Very good explanation of the defence mechanisms our bodies have and why treating symptoms can be a very bad idea.

How to read a book: An absolute classic. Turns out I've been doing it wrong all those years.

The Art of Strategy: Game Theory, applied to everyday situations. Always treats a topic like Nash equilibrium, Brinkmanship etc. theoretically and then goes into many examples.

A Random Walk Down Wall-Street: Made me see the stock market completely differently.

The Myth of the Rational Voter: The shortcomings of democracy.

The White Man's Burden: Fantastic account of the problems faced by the third world today, and why it is so hard to change them.

u/[deleted] · 11 pointsr/circlebroke

>stillnotking is apparently an expert on early childhood development after reading one book covering one side of a two sided debate. Now I know where creationists come from!

Uh, respectfully, I think you're honestly mistaken on this one: AFAIK, this poster accurately stated the general consensus view in the scientific community and even provided a source. Why is CB criticizing him for not providing additional sources that say something else? Off the top of my head, I can give you a handful of sources that will review the relevant academic literature and offer the same conclusion: here, here, here, here, or here. To quote the last source, the excellent GNXP blog (emphasis in original):

>To review, on many bio-behavioral traits the different choices parents make seem to account for on the order of ~10 percent of the differences you see in the world out there amongst their (biological) offspring. Of the remainder of the variation about half of it is attributable to variation in genes, and the other half to unaccounted for non-shared environment. In The Nurture Assumption Judith Rich Harris proposes that that last effect can be reduced down to social environment or peer groups. Her line of argument is such that parents are important because of the genes they contribute, and, the environmental milieus which they select for their offspring.

>On one level I find this banal to review. If it is not the orthodoxy, this position seems relatively uncontroversial, and the results fall out of the data with minimal manipulation. But as a society such facts have simply not been internalized.

If you want to analogize to the evolution-creationist "debate," I think stillnotking is on the side of evolution (and hence didn't mention creationism because it wasn't relevant as a scientific theory), rather than being a close-minded creationist in the analogy.

u/cincilator · 9 pointsr/TrueReddit

I think that what really happened with that gamergate shit (on meta-level) is that it split social constructivists on one side and geneticists/culturalists on the other in culture war. If you believe that any inequality in outcome is always result of oppression you will inevitably find lots and lots of oppression. If you believe inequality is result of cultural or genetic differences you'll find very little. You can also believe in something in between in which case you'll find something in between.

To continue with gaming as an example, if you look at gender disparity in gaming you can conclude one of two things: Either there is pervasive sexism that repels women from gaming. Or, most AAA games are designed to cater to hunting instincts of 16yr old males - thus sexism is the result of lopsided gender ratio, not the cause. (or, again, it is something in between)

Now, the geneticist side was seen as literally Hitler for a long time. And there is no doubt that it was endorsed by some literal Hitlers. But if you read Blank Slate by Steven Pinker (Harvard psychologist, not a neonazi) then it does seem that there is plenty of evidence that genes influence IQ and personality to a large degree. At least on individual level, he says nothing about differences between groups.

The evidence of genetic differences between groups is far more dubious and uncertain. It obviously doesn't help that the whole argument attracts some terrible people who misinterpret evidence to make differences seem much bigger than they probably are. (Although there are some seemingly convincing arguments for increased Ashkenazi Jews intelligence) Culturalist explanations are more convincing, however.

What I think annoys many people -- not all or even most of them Neonazi -- is that social constructivists are completely dominant in academia, and are thus in position to interpret every power differential as result of oppression.

u/mavnorman · 8 pointsr/evopsych
u/raxical · 7 pointsr/DebateAltRight

How about a whole book on it written by a respected democrat in academia?

You really should just read that book. It's going to answer all your questions and give you things to think about you had never considered.

u/wothy · 5 pointsr/consulting

Personally I've found there to be few helpful books which directly relate to management consulting / business strategy. The only one that I've found really helpful is:

  • Winning - an overall look on business strategies and philosophies used by Jack Welch (former CEO of GE)

    But here are some books that are very helpful in developing people / soft skills essential to effective consultants:

  • Getting to Yes - an incredible book on negotating skills.
  • How to Argue and Win Every Time - not as argumentative as it sounds, this is a great book which is hugely helpful on how to present your positions and how to get the best outcome for everyone in a situation.
  • Influence - brilliant book on the ways in which we are influenced to do things.
  • The 48 Laws of Power - a very Machiavellian put pragmatic look on the ways in which personal power is gained / lost.
  • Vital Lies, Simple Truths - how to recognise self deception that we're all prone to and how to overcome its limitations
  • The Blank Slate - a mindblowing book on human psychology and what we're naturally predisposed to be. Helps you to better understand people and their motivations in not just business but all aspects of life. Read from Part 2 onwards.
u/porscheguy19 · 4 pointsr/atheism

On science and evolution:

Genetics is where it's at. There is a ton of good fossil evidence, but genetics actually proves it on paper. Most books you can get through your local library (even by interlibrary loan) so you don't have to shell out for them just to read them.


The Making of the Fittest outlines many new forensic proofs of evolution. Fossil genes are an important aspect... they prove common ancestry. Did you know that humans have the gene for Vitamin C synthesis? (which would allow us to synthesize Vitamin C from our food instead of having to ingest it directly from fruit?) Many mammals have the same gene, but through a mutation, we lost the functionality, but it still hangs around.

Deep Ancestry proves the "out of Africa" hypothesis of human origins. It's no longer even a debate. MtDNA and Y-Chromosome DNA can be traced back directly to where our species began.

To give more rounded arguments, Hitchens can't be beat: God Is Not Great and The Portable Atheist (which is an overview of the best atheist writings in history, and one which I cannot recommend highly enough). Also, Dawkin's book The Greatest Show on Earth is a good overview of evolution.

General science: Stephen Hawking's books The Grand Design and A Briefer History of Time are excellent for laying the groundwork from Newtonian physics to Einstein's relativity through to the modern discovery of Quantum Mechanics.

Bertrand Russell and Thomas Paine are also excellent sources for philosophical, humanist, atheist thought; but they are included in the aforementioned Portable Atheist... but I have read much of their writings otherwise, and they are very good.

Also a subscription to a good peer-reviewed journal such as Nature is awesome, but can be expensive and very in depth.

Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate is also an excellent look at the human mind and genetics. To understand how the mind works, is almost your most important tool. If you know why people say the horrible things they do, you can see their words for what they are... you can see past what they say and see the mechanisms behind the words.

I've also been studying Zen for about a year. It's non-theistic and classed as "eastern philosophy". The Way of Zen kept me from losing my mind after deconverting and then struggling with the thought of a purposeless life and no future. I found it absolutely necessary to root out the remainder of the harmful indoctrination that still existed in my mind; and finally allowed me to see reality as it is instead of overlaying an ideology or worldview on everything.

Also, learn about the universe. Astronomy has been a useful tool for me. I can point my telescope at a galaxy that is more than 20 million light years away and say to someone, "See that galaxy? It took over 20 million years for the light from that galaxy to reach your eye." Creationists scoff at millions of years and say that it's a fantasy; but the universe provides real proof of "deep time" you can see with your own eyes.


I recommend books first, because they are the best way to learn, but there are also very good video series out there.

BestofScience has an amazing series on evolution.

AronRa's Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism is awesome.

Thunderfoot's Why do people laugh at creationists is good.

Atheistcoffee's Why I am no longer a creationist is also good.

Also check out TheraminTrees for more on the psychology of religion; Potholer54 on The Big Bang to Us Made Easy; and Evid3nc3's series on deconversion.

Also check out the Evolution Documentary Youtube Channel for some of the world's best documentary series on evolution and science.

I'm sure I've overlooked something here... but that's some stuff off the top of my head. If you have any questions about anything, or just need to talk, send me a message!

u/truebuji · 4 pointsr/changemyview

Maybe you are just within your ideological bubble within google? it has been know to happen... unless maybe they only hire progressives now? you know the memo did claim conservatives didin't feel confortable coming out, neither did classical liberals, and im sure libertarians neither... anyways.. here is a recompilation of people who claim other sciences disagree on social constructionism of gender, or at least that is more defined by Biology that they claim.

u/christgoldman · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> The idea that the mind is in some way non-physical.

The mind is a product and an element of the physical brain. It may not be concretely tangible (i.e., you can't hold a mind), but that does not mean it is not a part of the physical universe. Physics explains the mind quite well, actually. The neurons in our brain are developed in compliance to the laws of physics and biology, the neurochemicals in our brain are physical substances, and the electric currents in our brains that communicate signals between neurons operate in compliance to the laws of physics.

Evolution also provides insight into the development of consciousness. While, sure, humans are the only terrestrial species with advanced enough consciousness to develop religious and philosophical ideas, we know now that many animals have forms of consciousness and proto-consciousness like what we would expect if humans evolved consciousness from simple origins. The mind is perfectly explainable through naturalistic sciences, and our naturalistic model of human consciousness makes predictions that are falsifiable.

I'd suggest reading Steven Pinker's How The Mind Works. Here's a talk he gave on the book. I'd also suggest his The Stuff of Thought, The Language Instinct, and The Blank Slate.

I'd also suggest Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. While it's main thrust is to show how science can inform morality, it offers some pretty decent layperson explanation of consciousness, and it is written by an accomplished neuroscientist (whatever your opinion on his religious works may be). His pamphlet-esque Free Will also covers some good ground here.

> All able-bodied humans are born with the ability to learn language.

Not at all true. You can be able-bodied and learning disabled. There was a nonverbal autistic student at my middle school years ago who ran track. Trivial point, but still incorrect.

> I would argue humans also have a Spiritual Acquisition Device.

I would argue that this argument is SAD. (pun; sorry.)

You're positing a massively complex hypothetical neurological infrastructure to link human brains to a divine alternate universe or dimension that has never been shown to exist. Not only has this neural uplink never been observed, but it is entirely unnecessary, as neuroscientists and psychologists have a perfectly functional, testable model of consciousness without it. You're adding a new element to that model that is functionally redundant and untestable. Occam's Razor would trim away your entire posited element out of extraneousness and convolution.

u/Octavian- · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

I don't know of anywhere else it's available. It's more aimed towards researchers and serious academics than for everyday readers though.

For more accessible and cheaper reads I recommend these books:

and the chapters on violence and gender in this book:

All of those should be available at any library.

u/TheGreasyPole · 3 pointsr/PurplePillDebate


The single best evo-psych book I can think of is

The Blank Slate by Stephen Pinker. It's extremely readable as well as very informative.

Where you'd want to go next depends on what you'd like to learn more about, and whether you liked Stephen Pinker as an author.

If you'd like to know more about the genetics that underlying the evo-psych then you want.

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

If you're interested specifically in what evo-psych has to say about human sexuality you want

The Evolution of Desire by David Buss

And if you really like Stephen Pinker and want to know what evo psych means for human societies I'd recommend

The Angels of our Better Nature by Stephen Pinker

or (if you don't like Pinker)

Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley.

I've given you US Amazon links, and no. I don't get a cut :(

u/confusedneuron · 3 pointsr/JordanPeterson

As far as the book recommendations go, it would be good if you could qualify what kind of books you're interested in (e.g. philosophy, psychology, history, science, etc.).

Books I recommend:

Psychology (or: On Human Nature)

The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime

Thinking, Fast and Slow (my personal favorite)

The Undiscovered Self

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature


Strategy: A History

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism


Economics in One Lesson

Basic Economics


Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government

As always, the list of books to read is too long, so I'll stop here.

u/greatjasoni · 2 pointsr/JordanPeterson

Your first point about blaming seems absurd to me. How can anyone be blamed for evolution or biology? The idea of ascribing agency to someone for a factor beyond their control is absurd to me. In this case we're talking about evolution which is an extremely large scale abstract process. You can't blame anyone for that except whatever you call God, certainly not women. And as I said in the edit to my first comment, if you did "blame" women for this (blame having a negative connotation) it would be a hugely positive since the increased selection pressure on humanity is what drove us to evolve so far beyond the other species on earth. That said, I don't see how anyone is to blame for evolution. It's too large a process.

Your observation that the discussion hinges on my claim that status is human nature is pretty apt. Disagreement over human nature is the deepest conflict between left and right. The left leans towards a blank slate theory, and the right leans towards some sort of human nature. Most political ideas can be gotten by assuming something along that spectrum and then extrapolating from there.

This is the scientific concept I'm referring to. Unfortunately because of the political ramifications of these ideas, psychology is massively fractured into many different fields and some engage with evolution more than others. Evolutionary biology is an especially hard field to make firm pronouncements on. There are a huge number of competing theories and because of the political ramifications, social scientists and social critics get involved too. I doubt anything I link will be up to your standards of irrefutable proof by authority (status), because of the politics. Some theories of social dominance informed and were informed by Marxist conceptions of hierarchy, and that throws a wrench in things as well.

I think the most well established advocate of these ideas is professor Steven Pinker, who wrote a whole book on this exact subject.

There's a huge amount of evidence on hierarchy among animals and it isn't in dispute at all. There's also a lot on humans. There's no one study I can link you that proves this finding (it would be hard to prove with a single study), so I'll link what I can find.

This article explains a lot of the ideas.

This one by the same author refutes a good bit of criticism.

Here's a study on economic status and partner selection. It found a woman would rather an unattractive partner in high status clothes than an attractive one in a burger king outfit.

David Buss has done a lot of work on this subject. Buss has done large studies spanning many cultures to figure out sexual preferences.

This summarizes a lot of his findings, you can find shorter ones on his wikipedia page. Men emphasize fertility and youth, while women prefer age and status across cultures.

Here is a cross cultural study from Buss.

This section summarizes findings in womens sexul selection preferences.

This study finds women prefer older men, which correlates with higher status.

A study finding womem prioritize status and men prioritize physical attactiveness.

This one shows how the evolution of language can be traced to Primate knowledge of hierarchy.

There's also Jordan Peterson, who used to teach at Harvard and has numerous citations in his field. He constantly makes the argument of the lobster. It basically says that lobsters organize themselves into hierarchys, and we split off from them billions of years ago which means hierarchy's are something billions of years old. The reason he picks lobsters and not some other animal, is that they're so old, evolutionarily speaking, that it makes the example dramatic. The part of your brain responsible for hierarchy is ancient, and a core structure right up there with breathing and eating. Hierarchy is not caused by capitalism, or male power, or whatever social effects you want to ascribe them to, because hierarchy existed before any of that. Those things are rooted in hierarchy, but removing those things won't remove the hierarchy.

The more general argument is that hierarchy is observed in many many many animals in our evolutionary lineage. It is also observed in humans. Animals act based on instinct so if they organize and select for status, it is a biological behavior not a learned one. For your worldview to make sense, you'd have to reason that humans do organize themselves into hierarchys but that it has nothing to do with biology. Somehow that part of our biology, which is observed in our recent primate ancestors, got bred out but also that we arbitrarily made it the core of our social structures. It just doesn't make any sense. It's biological in animals, and it's biological in humans.

u/mehatch · 2 pointsr/Cosmos

The Blank Slate or How the Mind Works by steven pinker

u/MorganWick · 2 pointsr/philosophy

This is only tangentially related to this comment, but I find it odd that Pinker, who's now known for arguing for the notion of perpetual progress and humans constantly becoming less violent and more rational, also wrote this, which is all about the existence of human nature with inherent biases to violence and without pure rationality. I wouldn't consider the recognition of human nature pessimistic when looked at in the right light, but from a simplistic viewpoint of one who believes in a malleable human nature, it's funny comparing his present reputation for "optimism" with his past "pessimism".

u/fingerthemoon · 2 pointsr/TheRedPill

I've been coming across information lately about scientists who bring up controversial topics and how much shit they have to deal with afterwards. Often their careers are ruined, they have to face angry mobs and their lives are threatened.

In Steven Pinkers The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature he devotes chapter 7 to this topic. There are many examples but off the top of my head I remember one guy who did some studies on left-handed people and discovered they are prone to birth defects and some other genetic disorders. He was sued, attacked and eventually the University he worked for made the topic illegal to study.

Another example is Charles Murray's The
Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life
. He has one chapter about IQ tests and race. He talks about the repercussions in this video Charles Murray -- The Bell Curve Revisited. But basically he was labeled a raciest for simply talking about the data.

I don't know if you're familiar with Richard Dawkins but he has also faced extreme criticism for his world changing book The Selfish Gene.

There are many examples and I can't list them all, but suffice it to say, people will take your words out of context, flat out miss quote you and spin your words in order to discredit what you say and have you labeled negatively. Just look at Trump and how they've done this to him. He is compared to Hitler and seen as the epitome of evil itself.

I'm finding that most people are immune to logic. Many people believe that race and sex are social constructs. 40% of Americans deny evolution. Libertarians are demonized and dismissed as idiots all over the place....

I've come to the conclusion that the information I've acquired pertaining to politics, social science, anthropology, evolution, religion, and sexuality, however much it is backed by science and reason, is very, very unpopular, and it's wiser for me to pretend to be and think like others. Getting tingles from some women at a party because you challenge their beliefs is not worth the very real possibility of having your character slandered and your carrier ruined.

You might be more intelligent than I and able to pull it off but I'm probably older, and I've been around long enough to see just how shitty and back-stabbing people can be, even those you considered friends. So I'm playing it safe and keeping my thoughts on controversial topics to myself.

u/backtowriting · 2 pointsr/unitedkingdom

>What is the scientific basis for saying that such stats don't prove the need for feminism?

The onus is on those making the claims. What I'm pointing out is that the existence of a problem does not imply that any given solution is correct or appropriate.

BTW - although I've never managed to track down the UK stats, the American stats show that rape has undergone a massive decline in the past few decades. Not that you'd be aware of that talking to feminists. Far from living in a rape culture, we're probably living in societies in which women are safer than they have ever been at any point in history.

>This is an ideological statement, plain and simple.
[referring to my statement "we're not blank slates to be molded by culture."]

No it's not. It's based on reading Steven Pinker's erudite and fascinating repudiation of the blank slate myth, which corals a tonne of evidence from psychology, philosophy and biology to show that humans cannot be blank slates. Pinker is a very well respected scientist. Feel free to disagree with him, but I thought the point we were discussing is how some people choose to reject science when it conflicts with their ideology.

Edit: Should have written "...evidence from psychology and biology together with philosophical arguments".

u/hiighCalibre · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Yeah but it's damn refreshing when compared to the current post-modern paradigm of endless social constructs socially constructing with no clear imperative or starting point. It's no more a cocktail science than social science in general and both can be valid when they offer us repeatable tests, and both should be taken with a grain of salt. Studying bonobos and chimps and then extrapolating for homosapians is not going to be 100% conclusive, but neither is a dodgy survey.

We can learn a whole lot from the animal world but for a long time thought has been focused on distancing us from said world and I think it's a mistake. I think there are other valid ways to view society than the ones we've devised in academia... I, like Steven Pinker in 'The Blank Slate' also think that genetic science and neuroscience are going to deal some serious blows to other disciplines in the coming decades and that the social sciences have overstepped their bounds and have it coming.

u/MarcoVincenzo · 2 pointsr/atheism
u/cspayton · 2 pointsr/nottheonion

While I don't have the answers to many of your questions, I, too, feel a sense of exasperation when I try to engage in a dialogue about this topic. To me, popular opinions on rape, anything perceived as "victim blaming," and drunken coitous have become "moralized," meaning that the topic has, essentially, become morally offensive to question. Asking further questions aligns you with not a differing opinion but with depravity, as if even asking is akin to committing the original offense. I'm sure many other philosophers have discussed this idea, but I came to it through Steven Pinker's book "The Blank Slate." A quote to summarize from his New York Times article may be better:

> Moralization is a psychological state that can be turned on and off like a switch, and when it is on, a distinctive mind-set commandeers our thinking. This is the mind-set that makes us deem actions immoral (“killing is wrong”), rather than merely disagreeable (“I hate brussels sprouts”), unfashionable (“bell-bottoms are out”) or imprudent (“don’t scratch mosquito bites”).

To me, I find it fair to question the statistical confluence of rape culture on campuses (as I think you accurately describe it) with party/drinking culture. This is often viewed as victim blaming since it puts the victim and perpetrator in similar situations prior to the rape. What if, by some miracle, people stopped gathering in tight confines with copious amounts of intoxicants and no supervision and we saw a dramatic decline in these types of rape cases? If there was a decline, would it not require both young men and women to take the responsibility on themselves to change the society in which they want to relax and have fun? For now, though, as the stronger sex, men need to take far greater care in their drinking habits. I think this is a conversation worth having. This is a good article that is opening the discussion and complicating it - although I disagree on some points.

Also, to me, I think it is also fair to ask "is a sober person who rapes someone more heinous than a drunk person who rapes someone?" Obviously, the victim winds up with the same result, but I don't think that - superficially - those two rapists are equitable. Somewhere, a mitigation must occur in the sentencing of the latter, but how can it be approached when the court of pop opinion and the media frenzy surrounding it looks like this?

Also, welcome to the controversial comments section.

u/typinghairyape · 1 pointr/OldSchoolCool

Margaret Mead was wrong about a ton of stuff (especially nonsense about "the noble savage) source: [this book] (

u/MetaMemeticMagician · 1 pointr/TheNewRight


Darwin’s Enemies on the Left and Right Part 1, Part 2 (Blog Post)*

The History and Geography of Human Genes (Abridged edition) – Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
The 10,000 Year Explosion – Gregory Cochrane
Race, Evolution, and Behavior – Rushton
Why Race Matters – Michael Levin


Intelligence and Mind

The Bell Curve – Charles Murray
The Global Bell Curve – Richard Lynn
Human Intelligence – Earl Hunt
Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence – Robert Sternberg
A Conflict of Visions – Thomas Sowell
The Moral Animal – Robert Wright
The Blank Slate – Stephen Pinker
Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature – Murray Rothbard (essay)



Real Education – Charles Murray
Inside American Education – Thomas Sowell
Illiberal Education – Dinesh D’Sousa
God and Man at Yale – William Buckley
Weapons of Mass Instruction – John Taylor Gatto
The Higher Education Bubble – Glenn Reynolds



u/yoda17 · 1 pointr/

Blank Slate:The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker.

u/barnardsstarsoltrade · 1 pointr/todayilearned

A good book to read on this topic would be Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature.

u/zombie_love_scene · 1 pointr/books

The blank slate: the modern denial of human nature by Steven Pinker. Takes a ton of ideas about humanity and turns them on their heads in a scientific and extremely well argued manner.

u/carrboneous · 1 pointr/Judaism

> The premise that G-d communicated with the Jews and that we are following his word. I believe in a first cause that is above the rules of nature.

I truly hope it doesn't bother you, but that's definitely not Atheism. Sounds like textbook Deism to me.

For what it's worth, I consider Deism a reasonable conclusion. I think it's the only (best?) conclusion I could draw sans Torah.

And if you're interested, Halachically, it's apikorsus as opposed to minus.

> I had my ups and downs. ... The results astounded me (and made me sick and depressed)

It sounds like you've always been a bit of a square peg in a round hole. I really feel for you. It's really unfortunate. And, if you don't mind me saying so, it sounds like ... "mistakes were made" along the way by all parties. I don't know who Rabbi Nissim Kaplan is, but that's neither here nor there.

> after that I was trapped. Couldnt work because then i wouldnt find a shidduch. Couldnt go to college, because then I wouldnt find a shidduch. ...

I am very grateful that I can't relate to this shidduch culture at all, it's so unhealthy, and I don't think Torah-based at all (it allows no room for Teshuva, for example).

> It dawned on me that we are all products of our up bringing, not just our idiosyncrasies or tastes but our very thought patterns too.

Actually, there's a lot of evidence that the our basic nature -- the things you mentioned, for example -- comes pretty much built-in. I think Steven Pinker wrote a book about it (which I haven't read). When you say it dawned on you... Was this just an epiphany, or do you have some reasoning behind it? (I'm just curious about this, I don't think it's really relevant one way or the other).

> That scared me shitless (i dont use that term lightly). I began questioning every thing.

Sounds, honestly, like a fairly run of the mill existential crisis. It's a bit of a late bloom, but I think many or most thoughtful, intelligent people go through them in adolescence (which extends into your mid-20s, apparently). Nothing wrong with that, I'm just making an observation; and I do think it's relevant to your situation, insofar as I would caution you not to make rash decisions while in the midst of an existential crisis (also, you might enjoy some existential literature. I haven't read very much of it myself, but I could point towards some of the big names if you are unaware and interested; I know very little about what culture you grew up with or what you know now, so excuse me if I'm condescending).

> I took a kiruv course where an Aish rabbi

From my little experience, I'd say this is the wrong response to an intelligent person's existential crisis :)

> The results astounded me (and made me sick and depressed)

I'm just curious: care to elaborate? And, as LazerA said, this is probably a sign that the process was inappropriate for your intellectual level and/or was otherwise not run very well. That said, I don't really support the whole "kiruv" thing to begin with.

> Im not sure how to put it, a feeling of "we are different, there is a divide between us".

Alienation? Otherness?

> I only feel anger toward people in a position of leadership who continue to perpetuate great acts of social negligence (at best).

Can you elaborate on this? What social negligence? Also, am I right in saying that your anger is not at their belief or their beings, but at their actions? In other words, you feel pity for, frustrated by, and alienated from religious people, but are angry at people who perform acts of social negligence (that you happen to witness because these "leaders" are in "your" society).

> Like I said before, I am lonely. But I've always been a loner so not much difference there.

Although you do mention it, so there is something different, even though you are accustomed to loneliness and maybe even feeling like an outsider.

Now, please don't take this the wrong way, but have you considered speaking to a therapist? I'm definitely not saying "you're crazy", I've already said that I think your position is rational and reasonable. But some of the things you are experiencing can be symptomatic of something more troubling, or can at least be alleviated with therapy. I'm always nervous to recommend this (same goes for speaking to a Rabbi), because I know a really top-class therapist who says that most others do more harm than good. Still, I think it might be in your interests. And I'm not saying I think you can or should look to be cured of Apikorsus, I'm just concerned, and I think you might be able to have a better life, with whatever beliefs. As LazerA mentioned, it's possible that religion isn't the problem, and if it isn't, then abandoning it will only be a temporary relief, and maybe it is the right thing, but it's only partial.

While I wouldn't discount this advice without at least giving it some thought, it's obviously also entirely possible that I've misread or misunderstood, and I apologise profusely if I have.

Alternatively, maybe you just feel isolated and alone, but when you develop new friendships in the new and wider world, you will feel better and more connected.

> There is no way to accurately describe the feeling other than to say I feel "Bigger".

Well that is certainly a good thing. I'm glad you feel better about life. Although obviously I do wish you didn't feel that being frum was so constraining.

u/whygrendel · 1 pointr/google

Nope. Go read The Blank Slate

u/waterbogan · 1 pointr/RightwingLGBT

Interesting! Proves something that has been known from practical experience for some time. It is discussed in The Blank Slate by Stephen Pinker which is a damn good book all round actually

u/Adenverd · 1 pointr/bodybuilding

This is a basic premise of Evolutionary Psychology.

Steven Pinker, one of the best non-fiction writers of our time, has an entire book about how we all share a common human (animal) nature.

u/ehcolem · 1 pointr/evolution

I do not believe this authors understands the subjects very well at all. She lost me at how Dawkins' theory doesn't explain how a tattoo isn't passed down. She fails to understand that Dawkins' is building on prior works. She seems entirely unaware about epigenetics.

Are you wondering what her article is actually about? What is actually driving her mindless drivel? Read:

In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading experts on language and the mind, explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts. Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.

u/MakLOVIN · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

The Blank Slate

Shaynoodle is damn sexy

u/jart · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

That means you believe in tabula rasa which turned out to be incorrect, and has probably had more damage of western civilization than any other single idea. Please consider reading:

u/RadicalOwl · 1 pointr/politics

When it comes to universities, for instance, yes people are entitled to a platform.

Yes, a lot of conservatives deny evolutionary biology. But a lot of liberals deny that humans (and in particular the human brain) is a result of those same processes.

GMOs are safe.

As for taxes and size of government, liberals have increasingly argued for larger government and increased taxes. You may think this is "right", but it also a shift to the left per definition. Here you go (if you accept quantitative studies...):

u/i77 · 1 pointr/scifi

> Some yes, but I've found that pretty much all of these differences come down to reproduction and child rearing.

That's the politically correct belief. Apparently is not true. That's why I mentioned as an example autism, which affects males a lot more than females (like four times more).

> Statistics are a human creation used to better organize data and to recognize patterns.

I'm not sure what are you trying to say with this, other than dismiss statistics.

> It's worth adding that your social environment, especially why you're developing as a child, can actually effect the development of your brain.

Sure, but not so much as we used to think. There are studies with adopted children (different genes, same upbringing), separated twins (the reverse), etc.

Again, I recommend this wonderful book.

u/hexag1 · 1 pointr/philosophy

>So what does science say about human nature? That it's "not a blank slate"? Well, of course not. No one said it was.


The idea that human nature is a blank slate, an empty vessel into which society pours all of its assumptions, beliefs, behaviors, prejudices etc., has been one of the central, animating ideas for the far Left for many decades.

The idea first emerged the philosophers John Lock and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and later was incorporated into Marxism. Thomas Hobbes in his book 'Leviathan' defended a different view of human nature, in which the human mind is the result of inborn characteristics. The difference between the views of human nature conceived by Lock/Rousseau on the one hand, and Thomas Hobbes on the other, broadly speaking, have outlined the major differences between the Left and the Right over the centuries (as I see it the Left more or less begins in the French revolution).

It is not the only difference between the Left and Right, of course, and one needn't believe in the blank slate to be on the left.

A lot depends on which view is right.

The Marxist ideologies that swept the world in the twentieth century maintained that all of mankind's ills are imposed by cultural inheritance. In this view crime, racism, inequality, selfishness etc. are all consequences of views, beliefs, customs, economic structure of society at large. Marxism claims that human selfishness and malice are imposed by capitalist society and social institutions. Thus all of the ills of society can be fixed by simply changing the circumstances into which human beings are born. If instead humans grow up in a better, more equal, more just environment, then their blank slate personalities will absorb this, and subsequent generations will form a more equal and just society.

With this idea in mind, Marxist political parties seized power in many countries, overthrew the existing unjust order, and built extremely powerful states to force human society into perfection. They thought that human beings, being moldable like clay, would be changed by the newly shaped society, and a more just world would emerge.

The disaster that resulted is a consequence of the incompatibility of human nature with the policies that communism applied to society. If human nature is not a blank slate, and society's ills emerge from the interaction between human circumstance and a more fixed, more inborn human nature, then all the communist projects will have accomplished is to overthrow society and all existing institutions, and create chaos and misery, only to have all of the problems they claimed to be able to solve re-emerge. That is exactly what happened.

You can read more about all this here:

u/dkusa · 1 pointr/linguistics

If you're interested (especially) in why people "do the things they do," I recommend Ray Jackendoff - Patterns in the Mind, as well as pretty much any Steven Pinker book you can get your hands on -- The Blank Slate was an excellent read that goes well beyond basic linguistics as well. These two are some of my favorite "layman" authors for psycholinguistics. Enjoy!

u/Keeping_itreal · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

> Is it because they were raised by their mothers?

Yes and no.

Yes, because most of the time, the kind of woman who allows herself to bring her children into the world, with all its harshness, after failing to find a stable, dedicated and intelligent father is impulsive, irresponsible, high time preference and at the lower end of the IQ scores.

No, because there is a genetic component to these characteristics. The children of single mothers exhibit many of those characteristics because their mothers have "bad" genes, and their fathers are "bad boys" who also have "bad" genes. This is the greatest source of their dysfunction, far more than any environmental cue. This is what the vast scientific literature says (especially Twin studies), each time outcomes are controlled for heredity.

If you want a scholarly look on the subject, I would recommend Steven Pinker of Harvard.

With a welfare state, the natural incentive for women to stay away from unreliable "bad" boys is done away with. They can have kids with the cool, sexy rogues and the state will make sure they do not suffer the consequences of their actions.

There is a corollary for modern married women. You no longer need to screen your mates as harshly, or try to make the marriage work for your husbands as much. If it fails, the state will steal money from your ex husband and award it to you (in the form of child support and alimony), so that you never have to suffer the consequences of your decision to accept and unreliable, unsuitable mate.

>I don't think there are enough single fathers raising their children to draw a conclusion that it is the fault of the gender.

There are. Single fathers are better at raising children. According to the Pew Research Center, they are far less likely to raise their children in poverty and abuse their children only half as much. These are perhaps the most important predictors of positive outcome for a child and single fathers do all this despite largely coming from the bottom socioeconomic classes of society.

>And the lives they spoke of, that I supposedly ruined, were my ex-husbands

You probably ruined their lives, I don't know.

There is the emotional trauma, first. You promised them that you would love each other forever; they probably believed in you, trusted you and made countless sacrifices for you. If so, you betrayed their expectations. Men are not nearly as tough as we like you to think, you probably destroyed some of them, badly.

Of course, there is the financial issue. How much of their wallet did you take each time you left? How did they feel about it?

So maybe you destroyed their lives. I don't really care to be honest. They decided to marry you, they deserve whatever happens to them in my book. It was an easily avoidable situation, with a little research on the eve of the wedding. Instead, they unilaterally decided to hand you the power to do an incredible amount of damage over their lives, should you wish to. They deserve no pity.

>From my simple comment of growing bored by a man after a while they made the presumption that I had been the one to leave the marriages and that my children were miscreants.

I don't think that growing bored makes you a degenerate. If it makes you happier, you should leave, by all means; especially if you don't use the state to steal anything on the way out. I see no reason why you should sacrifice your own happiness for anyone, even your partner. You Only Live Once. Endeavor to enjoy most of it.

As for your children being miscreants? I doubt it. Given the average IQ of a Libertarian, I think there is ample reason to believe that you are an exceptionally gifted woman, intellectually. The children of exceptionally gifted women hardly ever become miscreants. They have good genes.

>that my children were miscreants

u/theorymeltfool · 1 pointr/philosophy

Check out The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker.

As a metaphor, I agree with The_Absurdist that the world could be considered the canvas, and to quote an old Hollywood adage, you have to work to "leave your mark." But yes, it is up to you to decide what type of mark you leave, and how you leave it.

u/roveboat · 1 pointr/Finland

> Yes, those are factors that could plausibly affect the learning curve.

Sure, plausibly they could affect the learning, but that's a bit different than 'it doesn't make sense that every language is as easy to learn', don't you think?

> If we take any language, and then artificially make it twice as difficult to learn by making new, difficult rules to the grammar, it would (almost by definition) mean that such a language would be more difficult to learn to a toddler.

But that's the thing - even very complex grammar rules such as grammatical genders or Finnish-style agglutinated suffixes (and their order!) are pieces of cake to toddlers. They just pick them up very rapidly while second language learners struggle with these for decades.

Here's a paper on the magnificient Stephen Pinker on the topic of language acquisition and also touching a little bit on the different languages topic. If you're interested, his book The Language Instinct is a more in-depth look at the issue at hand and a fun read. Pinker, in general, is a wonderful writer and I'd especially recommend his book The Blank Slate for an interesting look into humanity.

The study you linked to is interesting, but using different parts of the brain - in this case, to decode the tonality of the language - doesn't really say anything about difficulty. Note that the researches uses the term 'different' while the journalist invokes 'more difficult'. This would explain, however, why speakers of tonal languages more commonly have perfect pitch, though..

u/notheanix · 1 pointr/TumblrInAction

Take a look at

Edit: To clarify, I had a philosophy professor that tried to explain everything as being a result of the environment that a thing exists in. These are some of the positions that he held, and I believe they are held to an extent by certain leftists and SJWs.

  1. There is no individual self.
  2. Nothing has an ideal true "Nature."
  3. Knowledge is always localized and subjective.
  4. There is no biological determination and there is no instinct.

    These positions we held for the purpose of "pragmatic" social justice reasons.

    The importance of no self is that it can be used to explain how even a society that is only negative in thoughts towards an "other" can harm that "other."

    Removing a "true nature" was intended to prevent defining people as inherently good or bad. If there is "true nature", then individual differences of not should come from the environment and their society.

    The idea of localized knowledge was intended to prevent dismissive and colonial attitudes.

    That last one means that everything must be learned. This a product of an overly simple understanding of human psychology, which resulted in an acceptance of behaviorism as the end all be all.

u/Pas__ · 1 pointr/TrueReddit

Knock yourself out, The Blank Slate. I don't remember which chapter, but obviously it's around the nurture-vs-nature parts.

u/thisjohnjohnson · 0 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Steven Pinker has completely destroyed the Tabula Rasa argument.

u/WatchOutRadioactiveM · 0 pointsr/iamverysmart

I'm currently reading The Stuff of Thought, which has been very interesting so far, explaining how we learn language and the impact words have on thought in general. I would also recommend The Blank Slate, which argues against the idea of tabula rasa (that people are born as blank slates.) The latter is fairly controversial, in terms of the science and findings, but I think it's a very good read. I also found it fairly difficult, mostly because I wasn't familiar with many philosophers, but he also uses challenging language (a lot of big words, basically.)

u/Judicator01 · 0 pointsr/DebateCommunism

As they say on the left, "educate yourself" The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

u/jbristow · 0 pointsr/raisingkids

In the long run, parental involvement is within a rounding error according to Steven Pinker

u/progressivemoron · 0 pointsr/politics

I don't care if some parents reject evolution and don't want it taught to their kids. It's a difficult thing to accept, and many leftists are evolution deniers. For example, the left denies human nature, or the fact that intelligence is overwhelmingly genetic.

The kid can learn the truth when he is out of school if he chooses to.

u/johnbentley · -2 pointsr/australia

Pinker, Steven. 2003. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New York etc.: Penguin Books, 2003-08-26.

As quoted at

> I believe that the rape-is-not-about-sex doctrine will go down in history as an example of extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds. It is preposterous on the face of it, does not deserve its sanctity, is contradicted by a mass of evidence, and is getting in the way of the only morally relevant goal surrounding rape, the effort to stamp it out. ...

The burden of proof is on you, and defenders of the theory, to show why "rape is about power, not sex" is not also total bullshit.

Note to /u/must_not_forget_pwd and /u/Echospite.

u/mayonesa · -3 pointsr/
u/IamShadowBanned2 · -6 pointsr/AskMen

> Young girls talk a lot more

You could have stopped right there. I'm going to throw a recommendation for this book as its a good read:

Again a teenage girl's desire for communication and social bonding is very well documented. They even have that saying "Talking on the phone like a 16 year old girl".

> caused by societal pressure

I have an issue with this as well. Over the last few decades we have been playing with this idea of "societal pressures" shaping people. I'm on the other side of the fence with the idea that our nature is what shaped our society in the first place.

Throwing out another recommendation on your second point, also a great read.

You are welcome to challenge any of my opinions but calling them "simplistic" seems rather dense on your part.

u/rationalitylite · -7 pointsr/DecidingToBeBetter

Some ideas in 4 categories:

Body Language:

u/quisp65 · -9 pointsr/badscience

I didn't think the obvious needed evidence. Didn't realize you were that clueless on the issue.
Here's a bio criminologist talking about his whole field is held back:
How criminologist who study biology are shunned by their field
Here's widely respected Steven Pinker who wrote a book on the subject: The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

My God.. that linking was too much work to educate the clueless. I usually don't go there.