Sunday, September 05, 2004


Textbook Bias, Part II

First of all, I know I really need to get to blogging on the experience of being a lower middle class student in a Ph.D. program in English, finally starting the conversation with J.V.C. we talked about almost a month ago. That requires careful thought, though, and posting some quotations from a terribly written textbook doesn't.

So, without further adieu, here's "Environment Versus Heredity."

Leftists believe that human behavior is learned and can be changed by proper environmental incentives. Antisocial behavior is largely the result of poverty, prejudice, lack of education, and low social status rather than human nature or lack of character, as in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith.

Rightists believe that character is largely inborn and genetically inherited. Hence the emphasis of many right-wingers on lineage and the advantage of coming from "a good family," as in Late Spring and Late Autumn. In some Asian societies especially, ancestor worship is common.

First of all, Giannetti obviously knows nothing about cognitive and evolutionary psychology, and hasn't a clue really about the subjects he's decided he is somehow qualified to pontificate upon.

But beyond that, this passage reads like a parody of something a leftist would say (though this joker is apparently serious). And a stupid leftist at that, given that both positions are a gross oversimplification of what we might expect to hear from the left and the right on this issue. And the right is represented by the fascist point of view, as is so common in leftist accounts of what the right thinks.

Yet we can see that the position of the left offers hope. Everything can be fixed if we just adopt their view of human nature, and look upon human beings as blank canvases upon which to paint the picture we want to see.

Why does that sound so familiar? Oh, yeah. Mao said something almost exactly like that, didn't he? Well, that certainly worked out well.

And this is a college textbook?
I don't want this comment to sound contrary, but what marks this comment as being particularly leftist? Does the writer explicitly identify himself as such? Note: I'll agree that it's a silly, reductive comment, one that would make me cringe if I found it in a textbook I was teaching, no matter the author.
BTW, I'll be interested to hear more about your experience as a PhD student from a lower middle class background, in that I have a fairly similar experience.
Well, there's a definite left = good, right = bad equation being made here.

When you read the entire section--and I need to post some more subsections--the only conclusion you can draw is that the left is kind and caring and the right is most definitely not.

So you're at Wordherders, eh?
earth science textbook are so expensive. I agree, We have been looking for earth science textbook all night for a new earth science textbook class but havent been able to track down used earth science textbook that I can afford. Anyway, I enjoyed looking at you earth science textbook blog...

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