Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-nr4z6 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-21T21:17:26.630Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

11 - Psychology and Cardinal Bellarmine

from Part II - Intelligence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2016

James R. Flynn
Affiliation:
University of Otago, New Zealand
Get access

Summary

What I have to say at the end is worth only a page. The science of psychology shows that those who are pre-scientific in their worldview must think again. They must all recognize that science is the best instrument to explore the real world, including the real world of human behavior, and that “common sense” cannot compete. However, I sympathize with Cardinal Bellarmine in his advice to Galileo: science should revise scripture (what ordinary people think about the significance of what they do) only when the evidence is decisive and interpretation of its consequences lucid.

Like Pinker (2002), I have no sympathy with those who believe that human nature is a blank slate that environment may do with as it will. I accept the main thrust of the twin studies. But I reject post-twin pessimism. I also have little sympathy with those who interpret the twins as a genetic veto on our sense of social justice and our efforts to improve our children, our selves, and our species. Whether this short book represents what the best science has to say, and whether it represents what most people suspect to be true, and whether I have reconciled the two, readers both expert and general can decide at leisure.

I have struck another note of optimism. The distinction between the meta-theory of psychology and scientific theories of psychology should prevent us from repeating the mistakes of the past. In addition, the meta-theory's heuristics offers good advice, good enough to allow scientific theories to get on with their job. These theories compete with one another in terms of explanation and prediction, and it will be sad if all of them are not eventually transcended. But I do not foresee the kind of failure that would require the radical step of a new heuristic.

Type
Chapter
Information
Does your Family Make You Smarter?
Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy
, pp. 159 - 160
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2016

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×