Melissa Benn in the Guardian repeats the myth that “Neuroscience shows that a child’s brain is approximately 25% formed at birth, and that by the age of three it is 80% formed” to argue against grammar schools and for early intervention. This kind of fatalism about working class children can only blame parents and fuel unhelpful interference in family life. Was Einstein’s brain ‘80% formed by 3’? Mozart’s? Stephen Hawking’s? Bertrand Russell’s? Melissa Benn’s?
This kind of determinism is in the worst tradition of British Fabianism. Tony Benn recognised it when he saw it, ridiculing Tony Blair’s claim that future criminals could be identified in utero. Remember fetal ASBO‘s?