Home > Uncategorized > Dude, Where’s My Theory of Everything?, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Dude, Where’s My Theory of Everything?, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Almost all traits run in families.  But why?…  Social scientists finally discovered a Rosetta Stone to disentangle nature from nurture.  Or to be precise, they discovered two Rosetta Stones.  The first was the twin study: comparing identical to fraternal twins.  The second was the adoption study: comparing adoptees to their adopted families – and occasionally their biological families as well…

Tyler [Cowen]:  “It’s sometimes the individual family which is impotent, not the surrounding culture as a whole.”

Plausible.  I’ve made such arguments myself.  But twin and adoption methods are poorly designed to test such claims, and it isn’t reasonable to expect them to.

Twin and adoption studies measure the effects of the kinds of parenting that people in the First World frequently use.  I say this repeatedly in my book.  If you want to do social policy or weigh whether to join the Amish, it’s an important limitation.  If you want to answer the kinds of questions that most parents in the First World are actually asking, it’s not.

[Is he basically saying, the nature/nurture question is structured only to answer specific questions of specific cultures? -JR]

via Dude, Where’s My Theory of Everything?, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.

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