Meetup : Seattle, Diseased Thinking and evidence on parenting

post by jsalvatier · 2012-01-11T16:33:05.210Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 13 comments

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  Discussion article for the meetup : Seattle, Diseased Thinking and evidence on parenting
  Discussion article for the meetup : Seattle, Diseased Thinking and evidence on parenting
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13 comments

Discussion article for the meetup : Seattle, Diseased Thinking and evidence on parenting

WHEN: 15 January 2012 04:00:00PM (-0800)

WHERE: 950 N 72nd St, Seattle 98103

We haven't had a serious-ish meetup in a while, so I'd like to do that this Sunday. Walid has graciously volunteered to host the meetup (call me to be let in 360-602-1069). There are two cats in the apartment that can be quarantined if necessary. The plan is read Diseased Thinking about applying reductionism to notions about diseases. I'd also like to discuss the role of parenting on life outcomes of children. Bryan Caplan's book "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids" presents strong evidence that parenting style has surprisingly little impact on long term life outcomes of children. I'll begin by summarizing the evidence in the book and some of the things Caplan uses that evidence to argue and then we'll discuss for a while. I'm a bit of a Bryan Caplan fanboy, so come with your skeptic hat on. After that we'll have dinner and hang out. I'll try to bring a case of beer.

Discussion article for the meetup : Seattle, Diseased Thinking and evidence on parenting

13 comments

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comment by Dr_Manhattan · 2012-01-11T18:31:46.087Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interested on what you guys come up with on parenting. I'm not in Seattle (but from Seattle!) - would appreciate if someone publishes some notes.

comment by jsalvatier · 2012-01-11T20:36:31.041Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't know you were from Seattle! Definitely give me/us a message if you visit.

I am in general interested in seeing Caplan's work publicized on LW. I may do it myself at some point. If we come up with anything other than "what Caplan says makes sense for the most part" I'll be sure to at least make a discussion post.

comment by BenLowell · 2012-01-17T02:27:10.895Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems like some of his ideas are similar to those of Judith Rich Harris who wrote a book on how parents don't seem to have much of an effect on the personality of their kids.

An article can be found here: Where is the Child's Environment? A Group Socialization Theory of Development

comment by jsalvatier · 2012-01-17T04:28:53.635Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yep.

comment by Shephard · 2012-01-12T20:46:39.175Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've been reading up on Caplan's ideas, and I plan to cause some serious trouble, so it should be interesting.

comment by juliawise · 2012-02-07T18:42:32.624Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not in Seattle, but I read the book recently and would love to hear your "trouble".

comment by Shephard · 2012-03-03T05:22:23.536Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sorry, I didn't respond to this sooner. We actually ended up having a long and by no means conclusive conversation about this.

There's a lot more to it but the two biggest problems I have with Caplan are as follows:

  1. He relies a great deal on separated-at-birth twin studies. These studies tend to include subjects in the dozens, and are prone to a number of mitigating inconsistencies (After all we're not talking about rats here. You can't just engineer the perfect circumstances, and the window of time between science being sufficiently advanced and the intentional separation of twins beginning to be frowned upon is extremely narrow).

  2. He makes the assumption that most (if not all) mental traits are heritable in a linear fashion. For example that alcoholism begets alcoholism. This obviously can and does happen, and the identical replication of certain mental traits may indeed be largely a result of genetics, but it leaves no room for the degree to which a parent's alcoholism may result in gambling, depression, eating disorders, anger issues, or some other drug addiction instead (which I think is more than a little plausible).

I also found Caplan to be extremely glib in general. His arguments had the tone of pronouncements, and the lay-people (to whom the book is marketed) are likely to read that as "These are accepted truths in the scientific community at large" which is decidedly not the case.

Btw, I highly recommend "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts", Gabor Mate's book about addiction. It's not an exact counterpoint to Caplan's position, but it's definitely a perspective that's based on some very different assumptions.

comment by jsalvatier · 2012-01-13T19:03:19.375Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Great! Looking forward to this.

comment by ESRogs · 2012-01-12T23:40:20.304Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Who are you?

comment by Shephard · 2012-01-13T01:26:21.204Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Someone jsalvatier invited to this meeting. Who are you?

comment by ESRogs · 2012-01-13T01:56:20.388Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Someone who will be there. Looking forward to meeting you. :)

comment by Shephard · 2012-01-13T06:28:32.741Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Likewise.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-01-13T01:41:38.762Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wrex.