Re. Innate skills?

Subject: Re. Innate skills?
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 9 May 1995 11:38:38 LCL

Robert Plamondon <paraphrase> expressed some scepticism that writing
could be considered an innate ability (vs. a learned skill). For
evidence, I profer the recent book "The language instinct" by a
renowned linguist/neurologist Steven Pinker. (Hope I got both names
correct.)

This debate is sterile, folks, and is approaching the status of a
religious argument. Perhaps another one to take off line? No one has
satisfactorily won the nature vs. nurture argument in the biological
community, and if you're not a neurobiologist, you probably can't add
anything to the debate that hasn't already been said. Virtually all
biological phenomena partake of both genetics (innate) and environment
(learned), and I'd go so far as to say that this is almost 100% true
for anything concerning human intelligence. Some people write well
naturally, others can learn to write well, most of us improve through
practice and criticism, and still others (e.g., those with certain
types of brain damage) will never learn, no matter how you teach them.
Trying to arrive at a more definite answer isn't likely to succeed,
and will just raise tempers.

Please agree to disagree and move on to more fruitful ground, such as
how to best train writers/editors to improve! That should at least
provide us with some practical tips for improvement.

--Geoff Hart #8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: These comments are my own and don't represent the opinions
of the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada.


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