Nature, Nurture, and Me in the NYT
By Bryan Caplan
Check out Motoko Rich’s new piece on nature and nurture in the NYT. Academics often complain that journalists treat them unfairly, but once again, that’s not my experience. Highlight:
Professor Heckman pointed to research showing that moving children from
bad home environments to more loving and stable ones improves their
cognitive performance and emotional health. Studies of children adopted
from Romanian orphanages, for example, show that the earlier they were
adopted, the more likely they were to have normal adulthoods.
In an interview, Professor Caplan said he did not dispute that better
parenting could change the lives of children living in abject
conditions. But “from the point of view of parents who are interested
in a parenting book,” he said, “knowing that you should not send your
kid to a horrible orphanage is not very interesting, because you
weren’t thinking of doing that.”
The qualification in the last paragraph appears with much greater detail in my book. It would have been easy to omit it to make me look foolish, but the NYT took the high road. If my critics are half as careful, I’ll count myself lucky.