Middletown, New Jersey
I haven't traveled to Sofia, Dublin, or the Galapagos Islands. I'm
spending the summer in the same place I spent fall, winter, and springin
exciting Middletown, New Jersey. But things are looking up: yesterday
I was able to take a walk. I walked about the distance of a city block,
to the place where a stream travels under the road. There I rested
for a while, leaning on the brick wall that forms the sides of the
little bridge, looking down at the moving water and the lush vegetation
that competes for space on the banks. The trees growing there are
precariously balanced; occasionally one loses its hold and topples
over, because the soil has been washed away from around its roots.
Why, I wondered, don't all rivers carve out Grand Canyons?
knows, when they begin writing a book, whether they will live long
enough to complete it. But when the odds don't look good, one hesitates
to commit oneself. In the past couple of years I have concentrated
my energies (such as they are) on smaller things that I could be pretty
sure of seeing through to completion. Though I've written a few journal
articles and chapters for edited books, even that has come to seem
too slow, and lately I've turned to the instant gratification of online
publishing. At the end of May the last of my four essays on birth
order was posted on The Nurture Assumption website (the link
is on my Edge Bio page).
So now I'm between things. Deciding what to do next will be my job for the summer. The published studies of Bosentan show that people who take it can walk a bit farther and faster than those who are unlucky enough to get the placebo, but remain mute on the question of whether they can write a book.
mission, should I choose to accept it, is to reveal what I have learned
since the publication of The Nurture Assumption. That book
was a challenge to academic psychology: prove to me that I'm wrong.
Convince me that there is enough evidence for parental influence on
child outcomes to make it scientifically justifiable to reject the
null hypothesis of zero parental influence. Show me the data.
Will I have time to tell my story of deception and illusion in academia? There are some tall trees, with roots still firmly in the bank, who are hoping I won't.