There is evidence that brain-damaged patients can recover lost cognitive skills if the environment is tolerant, even when the supposed "learning window" is long since passed. Metastudies show that the missing factor distinguishing "unexplainable" recoveries after brain damage from the control group where such recovery did not happen is a tolerant environment. (reference: Kurt Fischer, Christina Hinton: "Mind, Brain and Education".).
There are even documented cases of mentally symptom-free people with no cerebral cortex at all. That is really extreme. Studies of gene expression shows that virtually all of the difference between human, chimpanzee and macac brains are concentrated to the cerebral cortex, and that the gene expression in the cerebral cortex of any mammal is more complex than that in the non-cortical brain of even humans. So these extreme recoveries are even more extreme than a kangaroo learning to think like a human, almost as extreme as a lizard learning to think like a human.
The case of a boy in England who shows no symptoms of brain damage despite having no cerebellum or pons (reference: http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/12/chase-britton-boy-without-a-cerebellum-baffles-doctors/) is extreme too.
Recoveries of personal memories after brain damage may be due to the law of conservation of information. In intolerant environments, fields of pure information containing no energy at all would be completely drowned in cognitive biases caused by justification, but tolerant environments removes pressure to justify, making minds so unbiased they can tap into the law of conservation of information.
There is evidence that although some pairs of "identical" twins raised separately behaves very similarily, there are also cases where they behave very differently. There is, in other words, no generalizable nature/nurture percentages. The theory above predicts that the cases where they behave very similarily can be linked to cases where both faced the kind of environmental factors that prevents recoveries after brain damage (hampering plasticity keeps them staying put, so inherited behaviors show up) while cases where they behave very differently should be linked to cases where at least one of them faced a plasticity-favoring environment (only one of them have to detour for them to end up very different). This metastudy have not yet been done, but doing it is welcome. Anyone who have done it, please write the results here.
See also advice of ways to stop justifying.
The counterproductivity of bans and punishmentEdit
The importance of tolerant environments means that bans and punishment is counterproductive. The counter-productivity of punishment means that the existence of punishment/vengeance is due to the fact that the punisher thinks it works (timeserving makes the banned actions less visible), consider the fact that violence rates are highest in countries with severe punishment and lowest in countries with mild punishment, implying that a significant factor in the decrease of violence is that punishments have become less severe which falsifies any claims that penal law should be a protection. Any sign of inheritance of a will to punish can be explained by inheritance of acquired characteristics. Because punishment is counter-productive, there is no way natural selection could have selected for it. Indeed, it should have selected against it. The reason why natural selection failed to eliminate punishment is most likely because natural selection by mere death or sterility of whole individuals is a way too blunt means of evolution to have any chance to fine-tune complex behavior, see self-organization. This does not disprove that directed self-correction can, under the right environmental circumstances, do anything natural selection can and more, since discoveries and ideas such as knowing the counterproductivity of punishment are environmental circumstances too.
Any attempts to explain the counterproductivity of punishment by Darwinian selection for alliances clashes with the fundamental Darwinian assumption of random mutations. If mutations were truly random, then evolution of a new instinct would always have to take into account that there would always have to be a one first individual with the new instinct and its viability where no other individuals shared that new instinct. In the absence of other individuals reacting against punishment, a first individual reacting against punishment would not have survived. So whatever the reason why punishment is counterproductive is, it cannot be Darwinian. And yet there is evidence that punishment is counterproductive.
The counterproductivity of punishment is not uniquely human. Research on pet training shows that punishment is counterproductive there too.
This does NOT denigrate cultureEdit
The concept that punishment is counterproductive is NOT the same thing as claiming that culture as such is destructive. There are different kinds of culture. Culture in the sense of sensible discussions and knowledge is constructive.
Fear of the plasticity is totally unwarrantedEdit
Most importantly, arguments from adverse consequences are not valid scientific arguments. The only reason why they have any place on this wiki is because possibility of science denying evopsychists use them themselves, so they must be refuted.
Since tolerance is a crucial factor for plasticity too, dictators cannot abuse the plasticity. Fearing that neuroplasticity and inheritance of acquired characteristics should be abused by dictators is thus totally unwarranted, as are imprecise, conflational pejoratives like "environmental determinism". For more differences between the theory of unlimited brain plasticity if the environment is tolerant on one side and the "blank slate" strawman on the other, see "Unlimited initial guesses and science" below.
Fearing that the idea of brain plasticity only being limited by intolerant environments should lead to blaming of parents for being intolerant ignores the fact that since all intolerance is counterproductive, so is blaming of parents. Parents should NOT be blamed for their intolerance, because that blaming would only prevent them from changing their behavior from intolerant to tolerant. Anyone who blames parents for their intolerance after reading this neuroplasticity theory have, frankly, not understood this neuroplasticity theory at all. This also refutes any interpretation that this neuroplasticity theory should lead to persecution of social classes with "unfair" advantages, as if that fear were not sufficiently non sequitor already, based only on historicism-based association fallacies. See also moderating the free will debate.
The fear that the concept of neuroplasticity should lead to centrally directed "utopian" architecture is totally non sequitor, especially in the case of the tolerant environment version of neuroplasticity theory. Central direction is against the principles of tolerance. Tolerance can exist in all possible forms of architecture, and diversity of architectures is good for testing. If you never try different things, you never learn if something is better than anything you knew before.
And just because biolimitationist evopsychists think that individuals are implastic snot machines does not mean that it gets a free pass from "social engineering", it just means that it predicts the possibility of more ruthless versions of it. Biolimitationist evolutionary psychology predicts the possibility of creating master races or obedient slave races through selective breeding on individual personality traits and carefully chosen psychiatric conditions. The means, killing and/or sterilizing, is arguably not any better than forcible reschooling (on top of the fact that forcible reschooling is only predicted to be effective by the traditional blank slate model and NOT by the tolerant environment plasticity model). Just because Stalin got more years in power than Hitler and therefore more time to carry out his actions does not mean that Hitler's ideas were any less bad than Stalin's. Furthermore, the tolerant environment plasticity model predicts that tolerant environments gives hope for anyone regardless of genetic background and is therefore also a protection against the selective breeding version of "social engineering" that biolimitationist evolutionary psychology predicts the possibility of.