Monday, June 20, 2016

The Blank Slate BS is Not Dead

Pinker's 2016 afterword to The Blank Slate sees some progress in acknowledgement of biological reality in the social sciences and society more generally, but a lot of BS survives. He discusses a number of more recent examples, including the feminist lynch mob that helped bring down Larry Summers at Harvard. Here is another observation likely to raise feminist hackles.

Another recent journalistic obsession has been the incidence of sexual coercion among university students. The only mentionable explanation is that college campuses, like American society in general, have a “rape culture” that glorifies and encourages the crime. Entirely taboo is a far more plausible explanation: since that men, on average, are more eager for impersonal sex than women are, if you throw large numbers of young men and woman together in a “sex-positive” campus culture with plentiful opportunities for private drunken hookups, encounters that verge on and shade into sexual coercion will be among the hazards. Indeed, this bit of common sense is seen as tantamount to accepting, forgiving, or even condoning rape— perhaps the most bizarre among the many blunders in moral reasoning that are still part of the conventional wisdom when it comes to human nature.

Pinker, Steven. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (p. 434). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.