Yesterday a supporter asked me if I knew anything about ‘dick swab’. I said I didn’t, worrying he might be about to regale me with a story about a type of cotton bud used in STD clinics. But it turned out he was referring to Dick Swaab, a distinguished 69-year-old Dutch brain scientist, whose book WE ARE OUR BRAINS: From the Womb to Alzheimer’s was recently published. A broadsheet review of the book included this:
At the hear of the book is Swaab’s insistence that neuroscience has settle the nature-nurture argument in favour of nature. As he rightly says, the orthodoxy a few decades ago was that at birth we are blank slates, destined to be scribbled on by our families and societies. The left, in particular, was obsessed with this idea, convinced it meant we could be altered by social and political change. Swaab reports bitter confrontations with nurturist gays and feminists as he tried to refute the idea of the blank slate.
In fact, he and his pro-nature colleagues won this battle some time ago and neuroscience has sealed the victory. It is plain that, at birth, we have a whole range of innate tendencies, most of which will be only marginally affected by our experiences.
The supporter then reminded me I’d had an article published by AVfM, drawing on a couple of books, Professor Louann Brizendine’s The Female Brain and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen’s The Essential Difference. The article was titled, ‘Is there a psychological driver behind feminism?’ and it’s here: