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  • Writer's pictureArnold Schroder

#11: Nature-nurture death spiral pt. 4: Academic gibberish vs. life on earth

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

(09/18/2020) Academic constructs, valid or otherwise, tend to diffuse into our culture at large. How has this impacted social and political conflict? Quite a lot, and mostly badly. In this episode, we look at climate activism, movements against police violence, and the book White Fragility to illustrate the huge range of contentious issues which are still burdened by the legacy of 20th century social sciences and the opposition to human nature. We see how even though scientific debates about human nature have largely ended, the rhetorical devices used in them are very much alive, with real consequences.

Bibliography for episode #11:

DiAngelo, R. Dr. Robin DiAngelo discusses White Fragility.

Edgerton, R. B. (1992) Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony. The Free Press.

Johnson, D. J., & Cesario, J. (2020). Reply to Knox and Mummolo and Schimmack and Carlsson: Controlling for crime and population rates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(3): 1264-1265. doi:10.1073/pnas.1920184117

Clegg, J. & Usmani, A. (2019) The economic origins of mass incarceration. Catalyst 3(3).

Iacoboni, M., Molnar-Szakacs, I., Gallese, V., Buccino, G., Mazziotta, J. C., & Rizzolatti, G. (2005). Grasping the Intentions of Others with One’s Own Mirror Neuron System. PLoS Biology 3(3) e79.

Lamm, C., Batson, C. D., & Decety, J. (2007). The Neural Substrate of Human Empathy: Effects of Perspective-taking and Cognitive Appraisal. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 19(1): 42–58. doi:10.1162/jocn.2007.19.1.42

Miller, T. R., Lawrence, B. A., Carlson, N. N., Hendrie, D., Randall, S., Rockett, I. R. H., &

Spicer, R. S. (2016). Perils of police action: a cautionary tale from US data sets. Injury Prevention doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2016-042023

Tooby, J. (2017) Coalitional Instincts. Edge

Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (1992) The Psychological Foundations of Culture. In: Barkow, J., Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J., eds. The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. Oxford University Press.

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1 Comment

Aug 14, 2022

My theory of the idiotic nature of social 'science' is that they are analogous to the courtier of the king in the palaces of power. They tell the ruling class what they want to hear so that they can collect financial allowances and gifts from their masters.

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