Consider the story of the identical twins Jim Lewis and Jim Springer, who were raised separately from the age of four weeks. They reunited at 39 and found that they were each six feet tall and weighed 180 pounds; bit their nails and had tension headaches; owned a dog named Toy when they were kids; went on family vacations at the same beach in Florida; had worked part-time in law enforcement; and liked Miller Lite beer and Salem cigarettes. There was one notable difference: Jim Lewis named his firstborn James Alan, while Jim Springer named his James Allan. Had Lewis and Springer never met each other, they might have assumed that their adoptive parents played big roles in creating their tastes. But it appears that those interests were, to a large degree, coded in their DNA.Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, “The One Parenting Decision That Really Matters”
Cochran: “At least in this case, Nature utterly pwned Nurture. … [T]he environment influenced them all right, but it influenced them in exactly the same way.”
Three quick overarching takeaways:
- The majority of what people blame on capitalism, “systemic racism,” “white supremacy,” “the patriarchy,” etc. has little if anything to do with any of the above. Unsurprisingly, our Establishment routinely underestimates the importance of genetics: “The environment influences people want to exist, mostly don’t.” Update your views on politics, history, education, etc. accordingly.
- Parents should think carefully about what they can control and what they cannot control, optimize the former, and not stress out about the latter. If one identical twin is raised by the Amish and the other is raised by hippies, they will be profoundly different in some ways. But they will also be profoundly similar in other ways. Update your views on parenting accordingly.
- People can change, and sometimes they do. But usually not easily, usually not without miracles. Pray accordingly.