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Aug
17

That kind of blows a hole in our entire notion of crime and punishment

Parental income and education are the best predictors of whether a three-year-old will end up in the boardroom or in prison.

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Beyond Blame | Boston Review
Wilson’s answer was an unequivocal no. He has lots of company, which should come as a surprise given what scientific research into the determinants of human behavior has told us over the past four decades. Most of that research, as Wilson says, points to the same conclusion: our worldviews, …

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3 comments

  1. John Poteet
    John Poteet says:

    This is a large part of why conservatives hate science. Science tells us that initial conditions largely determine outcomes. Seed sown on bare rock is unlikely to grow into a lawn for instance. 

    Instead of looking at the probability of failure, 99.99% for such seed they will identify the one outlier in 10,000 growing in a crack with a pinch of dust for soil and claim that outcome was available to all the seed. 

    It's complete insanity.

  2. Woozle Hypertwin
    Woozle Hypertwin says:

    It's true that conservatives seem to reject the very notion that one's childhood circumstances can have an effect — even a mild one — on one's later success. issuepedia.org/fairness_fallacy

    On the other hand, it doesn't help when people overstate the case; free will (in a fairly specific sense) does exist, and does influence the outcome; it just doesn't determine it.

  3. John Poteet
    John Poteet says:

    Yep, a 30 foot ocean sailboat and an aircraft carrier both have a rudder. In a typhoon the rudder on the second craft has a lot more influence on the direction of sail than the first. 

    A person can steer all they want to and still get dashed upon the rocks if they're born on the wrong side of the marina.

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