The Nurture Assumption

In one of the episodes of the documentary Brainwash (Hjernevask) a Norwegian guy named Herald Eia (apparently a comedian!) has investigated a subject of inheritance vs. parental care (nurture) in respect to child development. In other words, do parents have as much effect on their children as we think they do. You can watch this episode here or here.

One of the scientists interviewed in this episode was Judith Rich Harris wrote a book The Nurture Assumption in which she argues that parental effect to children is very small or insignificant. I just started reading this book and there is a quote at the very beginning, which I like very much:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

—Kahlil Gibran

Most, if not all scientists, in this documentary have the same opinion. Except the social “scientists” who defend their positions with no arguments at all. Herald Eia says: “Pedersen doesn’t want to see videos with what other researchers have said. He only wants to answer questions about his own research.” It’s really funny to watch these guys defending their theories which are based only on their own experience and various anecdotes. I was embarrassed just watching it.

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