Re: Evolving Geeks?

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Sat Jan 26 2002 - 10:20:12 MST (Alex Ramonsky) writes:
>Is there any evidence to suggest a link between autism and birth / early
>parenting methods? I read some while ago that this was the case but have
>been unable to find any reference to it.

 Judith Harris, in a book called The Nurture Assumption, makes a strong
argument against the general claim that parenting methods affect children's
behavior outside of the home. She specifically says that "autistic children
are born that way", but doesn't refer to any evidence that is specific to
autism. (Simon Baron-Cohen, the autism researcher quoted at the start of
this thread, describes The Nurture Assumption as "shockingly persuasive").
 The book Shadow Syndromes, which has a good chapter on autism, says
"Autism is not caused by bad parents", but it also fails to cite any
specific evidence to support that claim.

 It sure looks to me like the increased ability of autistic people to
reproduce is a significant part of the increase in people diagnosed as
autistic, although changing criteria for diagnosis probably play a big
part too.
 I think it's misleading to credit the airplane for enabling people to
change their culture. The automobile was more important at doing that
than air travel was.
 I also doubt that a mildly autistic person is more readily accepted
in places where cultural differences make social oddness more normal.
I think the main effect is that it has become easier for mildly autistic
people to find cultures (such as that of Silicon Valley) that attract
other mildly autistic people, and therefore become cultures that seem
less foreign.

Peter McCluskey          | Free Jon Johansen! | 

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