Monday, July 04, 2011

Unethical nature-nurture experiments

A SciAm blog says:
The idea: One of the oldest controversies in psychology is the nature versus nurture debate. Are innate qualities more or less important than the effects of experience on how a person thinks and behaves?

There is one morally repugnant line of thought Pinker strenuously objects to that could resolve this question. "Basically, every nature-nurture debate could be settled for good if we could raise a group of children in a closed environment of our own design, they way we do with animals," he says. ...

The problem: "There's no end to the ethical horrors that could be raised by this exercise," Pinker says.
Fortunately for science, misguided folks are unofficially doing these unethical experiments anyway. Recent examples are No "boys" and "girls" at gender-neutral preschool in Sweden, and Toronto couple defend move to keep baby's sex secret. I hope someone is recording the outcomes.

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