Thus Objectivism rejects any form of determinism, the belief that man is a victim of forces beyond his control (such as God, fate, upbringing, genes, or economic conditions).
I'm curious about this. Specifically the bolded part. I understand the cases against God, fate, et cetera, but I want to know if Objectivism has a case against upbringing and genetics, or if this is merely an assertion made by the ARI without reference to reality. I'm taking a college level Intro to Psychology course right now, and modern psychology seems to contradict this. A study conducted by McClearn et. al. in 1977 determined that about 50% of a person's general intelligence (IQ) is inherited, and attributed the other 50% to environmental factors during a child's upbringing. Other aspects of intelligence have been measured and assigned heritability values as well: about 32% of spatial ability is inherited, and 55% of verbal ability and memory is inherited. While this certainly doesn't make man the "victim" of forces beyond his control, it does point toward a certain level of determinism (in a scientific, rather than religious, sense).
Let's take things to an extreme for a moment, and examine the case of the child dubbed Genie, sometimes known as "The Wild Child." She spent the first thirteen years of her life immobilized in her bedroom, with limited human contact. She was rendered incapable of all but the most basic speech, and she walked stiffly. Without getting into any of the other aspects that the Genie's case touches on, it certainly seems to make a case for the importance of upbringing on a person's life. For further reading, I direct you to this Wikipedia article. Admittedly, Genie's condition could have been due to severe mental problems, but in other cases of "feral children," similar problems with language use were noted.
I want to hear what you all have to say about this. Was this statement made by the ARI consistent with Objectivism, as stated by Rand, and, if so, does Objectivism have a defense against this modern science (should it)? I am proud to call myself an Objectivist, but this particular issue really bothers me.
Edited by realityChemist, 22 April 2012 - 07:39 PM.