Another great read by Pinker that takes on the nature versus nurture debate head on. He argues against the blank slate and gives good evidence why the people your kids hang out with have significant input as well.
Yes. It was very lengthy. One get's a sense that the theories and their support can be represented in less words and time. Sometimes the narrative drifts to evaluating individual scientists with some degree of spite.
The four fallacies; The Blank Slate, The Moral Savage, Deterministic Environment and The Ghost in The Machine
No Change, good title
Good book, I feel it could be shorter with no loss of substance.
No B.S. reviews. I'll never soft-pedal bad writing or inept narration.
The Blank Slate is an intellectual tour-de-force into heretofore unacknowledged aspects of the human mind. Pinker pieces together information from many scholarly sources to substantiate his claims, and the book is thoughtful and well-researched from first to last. Very occasionally, the thoroughness of Pinker's logic can be a bit overwhelming, but the end does, indeed, justify the means. The book is packed with insight into human nature, and intensely interesting. Easily one of the most intellectually satisfying books I have ever listened to. Victor Bevine's reading is more than adequate, with none of the kind of trivializing affectations that can ruin a challenging listen. Highly recommended.
We live in an age of affirmation, not to be confused with information. Its easy for us to spend time only consuming news or data that affirms what we already believe. Good science does not suffer that. Good science uncovers truth and it does not care if it steps on the toes of any dogma, religion, or philosophy. This book is about such science.
An educator and senior who listens to his books from his phone through his hearing aids.
He who could explain all variance in nature would know what God knows. He who could manipulate all nature's variance would be God.
Pinker makes a convincing, witty, engaging, and creditable argument that at 50% of what we are is heritable.
How the Mind Work and The Language Instinct.. They were both excellent productions
No, it took about two weeks of one-hour commutes during which I listened at 1.5 times normal speed.
Private intellectual, writer, and retired academic. Currently R&D director for Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.
The book starts slow and peaks in the middle, while the last few chapters were nearly worthless. There is a lot of good scientific overview in this book, yet the cultural bias of Pinker comes through so strongly that I often questioned the use of my time to finish the book. I have read many of the popular, and some unpopular, works on the same topic but this is one of the most hubris-tic of the lot. For me there was little new actual information, but lots of intellectual hubris and unsupported certainty. Additionally, this book fails to embrace much of the current thought on topics such as epi-genetics and the conscious/unconscious dichotomy as expressed in books like the happiness hypothesis.
If you are interested in this topic I do recommend that you read this book. However, you may want to prepare your self for Pinker's hubris by reading sex at dawn first.
I was particularly troubled by his attacks on other scientists, and the time he spends dragging their names through his mud. While after investing 20+ hours in this text I feel that I have been left with little of actual value, and even less that was memorable.
This audiobook lacks structure. You don't quite know where it's going, and some issues are not takled as deeply as they should be. So once you're done, it feels like you've been to a 15 minute lecture.
It's not bad, and worth listening to anyway. But it was disapointingly light in its problem raising.
Granted I'm only a little over two hours into this book, but I'm giving up. This is, to say it bluntly, trash -- one of the most unsatisfying pieces of sophistry I've read in a long while. The author knocks down scores of straw men to make his case, quoting, often out-of-context, mostly 17th, 18th and 19th century philosophers. His conclusions and summaries of psychology and psychologists are sometimes just simple-minded, but far too often just simply wrong. I honestly don't get how this was accepted for publication, let alone made it as an Audible audio book. Granted, I might have found gold inside if I had stuck with it longer -- but if there's really gold there, the author or his editors ought to have introduced it with something a little more compelling than this garbage. Just my opinion but: Don't bother.
This book is an emotionally charged mess. It was also published in 2002 and has become obsolete by new findings in neuroscience. Don't even bother.
Its hostile angry tone, a juvenile use of belittling language, and a full array of annoying logic that runs in circles would be enough to cause frustration. When you add to that a continuous misunderstanding of the latest findings of science and the arrogance to divine the future of science as well, it becomes unbearable.
Also, the book is about the classic "nature vs nurture" argument and he spends the majority of the time fighting and belittling an extreme "Nurture" stance that no one believes in anyway. This stance makes his arguments out of touch with the reader, who is left asking him to move on. But Steven is stuck. It feels like someone with an emotional grudge, always making one more point, and misinterpreting the other side at every turn. The number of straw man fallacies and other spin tactics that are present here are simply too many to count.
I am not a professional scientist but I am very curious about brain science. I have read many of the scientists against which Mr. Pinker rails and I have never sensed the tunnel vision that he proposes to refute. I have read extensively about brain plasticity but I have never sensed that its proponents feel that it represents a complete rejection of a genetic component in the development and specialization of the brain and, in turn, human consciousness and intelligence. It is expected that someone who spends his or her life studying some aspect of science will have a bit of a one-track mind but Mr. Pinker seems to assume that focus precludes any common sense about the limitations of one theory or another. The narrator's taunting, sarcastic delivery doesn't make the authors adversarial tone any better. At this point (about a third) I am still hoping there is something of value coming but whether or not I can listen long enough to find remains to be seen.