The Blank Slate

I’m reading “The Blank Slate” by Steven Pinker. This guy is a professor of psychology at MIT and he wrote the book in order to refute the idea that should be obselete by now, but that some people still hold on to, that each person’s brain is like a blank slate and we need only to control experiences in order to shape personality and the mind. I got to one paragraph that dealt with exactly the same subject I wrote about on Friday (except his writing is better which makes me want to kick him in the nutz). First my paragraph:

I will further assert that when I speak about the operations of biological reductionism it is not my contention that people are acting with the conscious knowledge that they are acting for the propagation of the bloodline. When a man sees a woman with the optimal childbearing figure (waist 67% the measurement of the hips), he is not thinking “Hey, there is a woman with whom I can procreate with health and hormonal indicators which give a high likelihood of her ability to carry a child to term�, he is rather thinking “Ooooeeee, I want to tap that ass!� The proximate cause of his actions is what Freud termed The Pleasure Principle or, more precisely the idea that all human action is predicated on the goal of ultimate self interest (a corollary of the anti-altruism idea).

And now his:

None of this means that people literally strive to replicate their genes. If that’s how the mind worked, men would line up outside sperm banks and women would pay to have their eggs harvested and given away to infertile couples. It means only that inherited systems of learning, thinking, and feeling have a design that would have led, on average, to enhanced survival and reproduction in the environment in which our anscestors evolved. People enjoy eating, and in a world without junk food that led them to nourish themselves, even if the nutritional content of the food never entered their minds. People love sex and love children, and in a world without contraception, that was enough for the genes to take care of themselves.

Great book, it validates much of what I’ve already read in published studies but it also provides a more in depth analysis of the subject of the genetic component of the mind. I’m glad it’s a good book because I had to pay $33 in late fines to renew my library card. That kind of pissed me off because the only reason I lost my other book was because I’m hard-wired to have a bad memory but in the end it’s worth it because now I can read even more books.

6 Responses to “The Blank Slate”

  1. Nice Rack says:

    Be funny, this shit sucks, lol!

  2. mexi says:


    This is what is known as a comedic pause!!!

  3. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    A Psychologist you are not. Can I get some beer drinking pool shooting blogging

  4. Mexigogue says:

    I can’t drink very much anymore. I try, I swear I do. I just end up getting sleepy. I’ll go play some pool tonight and blog about it, how about that?

  5. guy in the UNLV Jacket says:

    Drink a couple of pitchers, fight a dude, bank an insane chick, play pool and then blog about it

  6. […] For those who don’t recall I posted a favorable review of Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate” and I regard it as a must-read for anyone with an interest in the nature/nurture debate which is key to understanding both human nature and the rightful nature of politics.  For the record Mr. Pinker stated that he is all for teaching students about world religions, just not as a requirement.  His view is that religion should not be put on the same level as religion and he compared it to a requirement that students study both astronomy and astrology. […]

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