It makes absolutely no sense that I should take on Steven Pinker on the subject of genetics. A distinguished Harvard professor of psychology, best-selling writer and popular lecturer, Pinker is one of the best-known and presumably most-respected scientists in the world.
I have a B.A. in English from some college in Rhode Island.
Pinker has been a director of Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT and a few years ago was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
On stage in a debate with Pinker, I would last about 90 seconds. And even that would be a privilege, since my chance of ever getting to debate him directly are about as good as becoming an Olympic archer. (I don't arch).
"The most prominent finding of behavioral genetics has been summarized by the psychologist Eric Turkheimer: “The nature-nurture debate is over. . . . All human behavioral traits are heritable.” By this he meant that a substantial fraction of the variation among individuals within a culture can be linked to variation in their genes. Whether you measure intelligence or personality, religiosity or political orientation, television watchingor cigarette smoking, the outcome is the same. Identical twins (who share all their genes) are more similar than fraternal twins (who share half their genes that vary among people). Biological siblings (who share half those genes too) are more similar than adopted siblings (who share no more genes than do strangers). And identical twins separated at birth and raised in different adoptive homes (who share their genes but not their environments) are uncannily similar."