Elected to the University of Iowa's Delta Center

By David Shenk

I was honored to recently be elected an affiliate member of the University of Iowa's Delta Center, which is a loose-knit collection of scientists and other researchers dedicated to a more nuanced understanding of genetics and human development. To quote the center's website:

The Delta Center does not abide the "nativist" vs. "empiricist" (or "nature" vs. "nurture") debate. We reject traditional concepts of "origin" and "cause and effect"-- eschewing both the concept of a "blank slate" at the time of birth, as well as the modern fixation on "hard-wired" brain functions or genetic building blocks.

You will not find us publishing nativist-oriented papers with titles such as "How Brain Region X Controls Human Function Y." Although this type of research is mainstream and media-friendly, it ultimately turns a deaf ear to the real story.

We favor a new model of exploring learning and development--one that embraces complexity, employs a "systems theory" approach and listens in on fascinating dialogues among the myriad forces of change.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2010/08/elected-to-the-university-of-iowas-delta-center/61128/