The Corner

Cads and Dads

Thanks, Rich.  I declare a pause here.  Prof. Wilcox has kindly offered to send me his report.  I am also getting in touch with Judith Rich Harris for her comments.  (I.e. on our exchanges, and on Prof. Wilcox’s paper, I hope.)

And as to her not being a scholar:  She has spent her entire life–she is in her late 60s–in the field of child-development psychology, studying & writing textbooks.  Chronic illness has prevented her from doing much active research, but she has a *very* comprehensive knowledge of the research that’s been done, & has made trenchant criticisms of it… which, of course, has made her no friends in the field.  To compound her sins, she had the nerve to write a nonfiction bestseller!  Disgraceful!  In any case, nobody should be dismissive of writers of little academic standing who come up with startling new ideas.  Remember a certain Swiss patent clerk…

To quote one of Ms. Harris’s Amazon reviewers:

“In point of fact, Harris graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis in 1959 and was awarded the Lila Pearlman Prize in psychology. In 1961 she received a master’s degree in psychology from Harvard University. After receiving her master’s degree, Harris worked as a teaching assistant in psychology at MIT (1961-1962), and as a research assistant at Bolt Beranek and Newman (1962-1963) and the University of Pennsylvania (1963-1965).

“Her academic career was effectively halted by two things…the birth of her children and a chronic autoimmune disorder that has been diagnosed as a combination of lupus and systemic sclerosis. She spent the late 70′s bedridden. From 1981 to 1994 she was a writer of textbooks in developmental psychology

“In sum, even if she holds no doctorate, Harris is a highly trained psychologist, with experience in academia and more than a decade under her belt as a writer of developmental textbooks.”

(Though in one of her books Ms. Harris says that Harvard would not let her finish her Ph.D. because she was “not the right material,” or some such.)

I shall report back if I have anything to say about Prof. Wilcox’s paper, and/or if Ms. Harris has anything to say that she’s willing to have posted on The Corner.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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