Blank Slate: The idea that humans are born with completely empty, completely malleable minds and therefore all knowledge and impulses derive solely from the inputs of experience and perception.

*Once widely held, the blank slate hypothesis is widel discredited by psychologists, yet still maintains a significant presence within the social sciences, politicians and community college education. Postmodernist thought relies on the blank slate idea to distance reality from any referent. Without this nihilistic construct in its foundation, postmodernist social critiques crumble and moral relativism departs from the realm of possibility. Not coincidentally, many assumptions in religious dogma rely on a blank slate theory to justify the universal abolutism of their doctrines.

Biological Determinism: The idea that individuals are strictly guided by the organism’s individual genes. Biological determinism holds that thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are inherent and fixed. This represents the extreme “nature” end of the nature-nurture continuum, opposite the “SSSM”.

*There is no scientific support for biological determinism. However, academic blank slate adherents commonly use it improperly and pejoratively in reference to evolutionary psychology to cast aspersion. It is also commonly regurgitated by laymen who don’t understand, or seek to misrepresent, the position of evolutionary psychology.

Natural Selection: The first of two major mechanisms (in addition to Sexual Selection) suggested by Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution. In natural selection, traits within a population become more or less common due to their interaction with various adaptive ecological pressures which effects the survival or reproduction of individuals bearing them.

Nurture Nazi: An authoritarian adherent to the SSSM and the Blank Slate theory of mind who seeks to impose a specific cultural regime upon humanity in the belief it will lead to a Utopian society. Nurture Nazis use propaganda and other persuasion tactics to engender broad support for their program of guided socialization.

*At first glance, this group appears to be politically left. While this is correct on the progressive-conservative continuum, it is reversed on the liberal-totalitarian continuum. In the parlance of Bob Altemeyer’s work on authoritarianism, Nurture Nazis demonstrate the characteristics of the “Left-Wing Authoritarian Follower”.

Sexual Seletion: The second of two major mechanisms suggested by Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution. Sexual selection can be broken down into intrasexual (within one sex) selection and intersexual (between sexes) selection. Intrasexual selection is a process of competition and dispute resolution concerning the right to mate with individuals of the opposite sex. This competition effects a process of self-sorting within a sex and effects reproduction opportunities. Intersexual selection is the effect that conscious or unconscious mate choice has on reproductive success.

*While Darwin’s theory is often viewed as largely addressed in Origin of Species, and summarized as “survival of the fittest”, Darwin himself viewed his later major work, The Descent of Man, as even more powerful. It’s the later work which covers sexual selection in depth.

SSSM: Acronym for the “Standard Social Sciences Model”. The SSSM is the view that culture acts as a kind of superorganism which is absorbed by the minds of humans born with empty, impressionable minds (aka Blank Slate). This model represents the extreme “nurture” end of the nature-nurture continuum, opposite “biological determinism”. Under the SSSM, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are shaped completely by socialization without reference to biological or evolutionary substrates.

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