Here's my point - all anyone needs do is find an instance which falsifies a widely held hypothesis and then the hypothesis crumbles. Did American orphanages turn out armies of sociopaths? The industrial or factory type of "parenting" from American orphanage caregivers was far different from that of parents, in terms of quantity and quality, and yet children raised in American orphanages in the past weren't all sociopaths.
Secondly, what exactly is the precise technique which parents must use to instill conscience building? What if a parent doesn't know how to do this, does this doom the child to being a sociopath?
What's really going on is a child following a developmental path which is largely determined by their genetic inheritance. Negative environmental influences can certainly have an effect and knock them about, sometimes inducing sociopathic traits, but a "neutral" environment of benign neglect, which is the default mode for most of human history, doesn't harm children.
Facts & Statistics
Not all sociopaths, sure, but that pretty much destroys your point.It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report.) The UNICEF orphan numbers DON’T include abandonment (millions of children) as well as sold and/or trafficked children. The current population of the United States is just a little over 300 million… to give you an idea of the enormity of the numbers…
According to data released in 2003 as many as eight million boys and girls around the world live in institutional care. Some studies have found that violence in residential institutions is six times higher than violence in foster care, and that children in group care are almost four times more likely to experience sexual abuse than children in family based care.
Every day 5,760 more children become orphans
Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
Each year 14, 505, 000 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age sixteen
Each day 38,493 orphans age out
Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home
Studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen
These studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals
Your argument depends on the equivalence of orphanage with negative environmental influence. What you have instead is some orphanages which qualify. Those orphanages which do qualify are of the kind that were characteristic of Ceausescu-era Romania. Children having no stimulation, living in wretched conditions, near starvation. American orphanages didn't meet those conditions.
Secondly, high suicide rate and participation in prostitution/crime are more indicative of restricted opportunity and no family support network (doing what one must to survive in the world) than they are of exhibiting sociopathic personality traits.
If you want to falsify my position, best look at the data on American children raised in orphanages before the roll-out of the foster-care system. Boys Town, for instance. See how the children fared. Did a lot of them become sociopaths?
2.) I'm not arguing that orphanages are ideal institutions for caring for children. What I'm saying is that if an orphanage does no harm, then it's on par with parents who do no harm.
3.) To study the effects of orphanages on the personality development of children, we first need to control for the types of children who get placed into orphanages. A lot of these children are coming into both orphanages and foster-care systems because they already exhibit problem behaviors that their parents can't deal with or they're following the same path as their parents due to the heritability of behavioral traits which were already set when the parent abandoned the child, either overtly or through neglect and had the child removed from their custody. The best kids to look at are those who were placed into the orphanage in times when premarital birth was heavily stigmatized in America for that goes a long way towards addressing the selection effect - it wasn't only problem children who were placed into orphanages.
4.) How could children raised in orphanages EVER develop a moral compass if they had no parents to instill a moral compass into them? Whence comes this moral compass?
There is really no validity to the argument that morality and basic human capabilities like empathy are the creation of society. There is however much to support the argument that society is damaging to these basic capabilities.
Last edited by Henrin; 03-11-14 at 08:09 PM.