Happily ever after

Great podcast over at the Maudsley. My favourite bits:

  • Robert Plomin: “… you can’t come up with a personality scale that doesn’t show about 30% heritability… but it isn’t enough to show it’s all determined. […] I don’t really think the genetics of this is all that relevant myself.”
    Robin Murray, slightly taken aback: “Well this is… is a first.”
  • Rachel Perkins: “But actually I have to say that… it always strikes me as the last resort that you go to, you know… survival value for primitive man seems to be when we run out of explanatory ideas.”

Fodor on evolution

Over the years, people keep proposing theories that go: “what everybody really wants is just …” (fill in the blank). Versions fashionable in their times have included: money, power, sex, death, freedom, happiness, Mother, The Good, pleasure, success, status, salvation, immortality, self-realization, reinforcement, penises (in the case of women), larger penises (in the case of men), and so on. The track record of such theories has not been good; in retrospect they often look foolish or vulgar or both. Maybe it will turn out differently for “what everybody really wants is to maximize his relative contribution to the gene pool”. But I don’t know any reason to think that it will, and I sure wouldn’t advise you to bet the farm.

—spotted over here in an old Mindhacks post.