classical, in the sense that it aspires to a kind of perfection of proportions, means, and ends that isrecognizable across all human cultures. However, if we accept that human beings do indeed havea nature, one that is the product of their evolutionary history, education becomes a crucial issue.If our genes determine who we are, what is the point of education, and how do we educate forcreativity? The evolutionary perspective suggests an interesting answer.Studies of the relative weight of hereditary as opposed to socially acquired characteristics seemto indicate that our genes are about three times as influential as our upbringing. Suppose for thesake of argument we accept the roughly 70/30 ratio of nature-nurture determinants given us bythe scientists, as far as it goes. But it does not go very far, and indeed falls short on two counts.The first is that advanced animals, especially ourselves, seldom inherit complete behaviors, butrather predispositions that must be activated by experiential and social triggers. Thepredisposition, for instance the human capacity for language, often has its own weakly-determined structure, that is revealed when a society must reinvent that behavior from scratch.Derek Bickerton ("Creole Languages."
, July 1983) has discovered thatwhenever a community of people is cut off from their ancestral language, they tend to invent aCreole language whose basic grammatical and lexical structure is always the same. Baby-talk,the transitional phase through which infants must pass to get to full mastery of their language, isstructured like a simple Creole. However, that default structure is not necessarily the best thatcould be found; nor is a human baby constrained to use it forever, or seriously hampered byhaving to pass through a period of creole-structured baby-talk to get to the more complicated andrefined structure of a regular "natural language." A simple analogy would be the capacity ahuman being has, given a tennis racquet, to hit a ball over a net when one has never done itbefore. This default option is replaced later, with the help of a tennis pro, by a proper forehand orbackhand.