Thanks for responding to my comment. I'm still not following, though:
Yes, typo from a sleep addlled mama brain! Nurture wins out pretty much every time---with things like intelligence, it's not even a competition. I've also read Gladwell's outliers and the thing is that the 10,000 hours study isn't the same as surveying adult twins and adopted kids and asking them how happy they are with their life, seeing how successful they are or measuring their IQ.
Are you saying that nurture beats nature every time only with things like intelligence, where it's not even a competition, whereas with other things, like happiness, it's different? Or did you mean that nature wins out every time, and you just mistyped it again? Because if you're arguing that nurture is more important than nature, you're agreeing with me and disagreeing with Caplan, at least in part.
Originally Posted by Geist
Also, Caplan talks a lot about what he calls "fade-out." For example, while nurture does have an effect on IQ when the babies are younger, by the time they reach a certain age, the effect is gone. Parents can influence their children (think of Tiger Woods' dad making him play gold and the Williams sisters' dad making them play tennis) and alter their paths, but obviously not without the cooperation of the children. And also, it should be noted, his book discusses outliers. Woods' dad or Williams' dad probably don't fall within the typical, average parent range.
But the point of Gladwell's book is that outliers become outliers not because they are brilliant and unusual, or even because their parents pushed them, but because they have access to resources, like a tennis court, a piano or a computer on which to practice.
Thanks for the link to the twins study and the summary of the results--very helpful.
I also have to add that it's also important to "think like an economist" to fully understand where he's coming from. Economists think on the margin instead of looking at the entire picture. So instead of saying, "I want to get my kid every possible IQ point possible, no matter how much the cost" an economist would look at it and say, what is the cost of each additional IQ point and is it worth it? If a point of IQ cost (to put it in simple terms I'll use money though obviously you can't buy them!) $5, I'd probably go for it. Afterall, I've spent $5 on stupider things. $50? Eeeeh maybe. $500? No. $5000? Definitely not! It's the same thing wit parenting. If you're going from 0 units of parenting to buying 1 unit of parenting, the marginal benefit for you and your kids are going to be HUGE but the marginal cost probably not very small. Now, pretending the maximum number of units of parenting you can buy is 100, how much are you willing to give out for that 98th and 99th and 100th point? How much benefit are you and your kids going to get out of it? What if they would prefer having some time to themselves? What if your marriage is suffering because of it and everyone is super stressed because mom is pissed all the time because she's not getting enough sleep? Look at the marginal cost and benefit of your parenting choices and not just the whole picture that says "this is what I have to do to be a good parent and anything less is failing and my kids will end up homeless."
Which is all extremely silly, since parenting doesn't actually work that way. I mean, it's also the reason that admitting nurture makes a difference doesn't require you to stand over the child forcing him to practice the piano. I just don't think it's a binary choice between being relaxed and accepting and helping the child realize his or her potential, and I'll never be able to swallow the idea that all achievement is due to the individual's inherited qualities.