Nature vs. Nurture
The nature versus nurture debate is a heated debate concerning the relative importance of an individual’s innate qualities vs. their personal experiences. Although both instances shape you as a human, personally I think nature is more captivating and significant. Although throughout your life you can have different experiences, and your behaviour may change, your human nature is still remarkably important. When you speak about nature, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is camping, weather and the outdoors. Nature is so much more than the physical that we see every day. In this essay, I will be arguing the significance of nature in human life. I will be talking about human nature relating to genes, heredity, natural selection, and in the body. Our environment can be directly observed and predicted.
Nature of human beings, on the other hand, is a completely different story. Nature refers to the humans innate qualities. It is our eternal guide. We are all a product of our genes. We had no choice as to who we were as we entered this world. We were born with no knowledge or ability to care for ourselves. Over time, the nature of society came into play. That indeed did change us, but right from the beginning we were the same person all along born with genetic traits. The physical and personality traits determined by your genes stay the same irrespective of where you were born and raised. Quite often your intelligence can be a product of your genes. How you process information within your brain can be completely genetic. Although as you grow and mature, you modify your brain, you were still born with a certain way of thinking. Your genetic makeup influences numerous things. When you entered this life, you were given a gender, and DNA. Your gender directly influences the way you do things. For example, young baby girls are more attracted to pink than blue. (Dusheck, J. 2002) Why would this be if it wasn’t a direct result of our human nature? We are programmed, without realizing, to go with the nature of life. We need to discriminate the forces in the environment from the forces in heredity. Our heredity can make a lot of choices for us. Sometimes, if your parents are prone to anger or get angered easily, you will too. This is because it is in your nature. It’s in your background and what you were born with. Other examples of this could be alcoholism, addictive personalities, behaviour, and your “want” for certain things.
Personality is a frequently cited example of a heritable trait that has been studied in twins and adoptions. Identical twins reared apart are far more similar in personality than randomly selected pairs of people. Likewise, identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins. Also, biological siblings are more similar in personality than adoptive siblings. Each observation suggests that personality is heritable to a certain extent. Recently, the nature versus nurture debate has entered the realm of law and criminal defense. In some cases, lawyers for violent offenders have begun to argue that an individual’s genes, rather than their rational decision-making processes, can cause criminal activity. (William, B. 2007) If a single gene mutation is the reason for aggressive behaviour, there is a possibility that aggressive offenders would have a genetic excuse for their crimes. (Halwani, S. 2004) Adoption studies also directly measure the strength of shared family effects. Adopted siblings share only family nurture. Most adoption studies indicate that by adulthood the personalities of adopted siblings are little or no more similar than random pairs of strangers. This would mean that shared family effects on personality are zero by adulthood. As is the case with personality, non-shared environmental effects (your nature) are often found to out-weigh shared environmental effects. That is, environmental effects that are typically thought to be life-shaping (such as family life) may have less of an impact than non-shared effects, which are harder to identify. One possible source of non-shared effects is the environment of pre-natal development. Random variations in the genetic program of development may be a substantial source of non-shared environment.
These results suggest that “nurture” may not be the predominant factor in “environment”. Environment and our situations do in fact impact our lives, but not the way in which we would typically react to these environmental factors. We are present with personality traits that are the basis for how we would react to situations. An example would be how extraverted prisoners become less happy than introverted prisoners and would react to their incarceration more negatively due to their present extraverted personality. (Pinker, S. 2000) Natural selection plays a huge role in the nature of our everyday lives. Organisms well adapted to their environment will flourish and produce more offspring. We can look at animals in the wild, and see how natural selection is so important. Only the strongest survive. In nature with animals, it is the survival of the fittest. Giraffes, for example, over time have adapted and changed. They have adapted to their environment with having longer necks, because over time they stretched to reach the tallest branches on the trees. Animals in nature have a natural tendency to progress from one form, to a more complex one. They will adapt to their surroundings. This is a great example of nature being important in our lives. In the body, human nature is absolutely amazing. We have a natural tendency to do things we wouldn’t even think about. For example, breathing. We do not need to think about every breathe we take.
Other examples would include shaking when we are cold, digestion, sweating, and goose bumps. Nature plays a very important role in the body with reproduction as well. Puberty in uncontrollable and it’s our bodies natural way of becoming an adult. Woman are capable of controlling their urge to do the act that gets them pregnant, but they have no control of fertilization or deciding when the right time is to release their egg. Our body is naturally always healing itself and changing. Alternatively, you might imagine that all humans are about equally predisposed to aggression and their degree of aggression that an individual displays arises in the response to features in the environment. (Gerrig, R. 2012) However, when it comes to genes, heredity, natural selection, and human beings, nature is not something you can avoid. The nature of things is important in physiology because we need to truly understand there are many things that cannot be controlled by nurture. Throughout our life, we cannot control everything and things will happen naturally. Sometimes you are blessed with what you were given naturally, in your genes and how healthy you were born, sometimes you’re not. Nature has its own way of taking its course, and often it is uncontrollable.
Bernet, William; Vnencak-Jones, Cindy L., Farahany, Nita, Montgomery, Stephen A. (October 18th 2007)”Bad Nature, Bad Nurture, and Testimony Regarding MAOA and SLC6A4 Genotyping at Murder Trials” Dushek Jennie, (October 2012) The Interpretation of Genes. Natural History. Gerring, Richard. (2013) Phychology and Life Textbook. (pg. 238) Pearson Toronto Inc. Halwani, S. (2004) “The Genetic Defense: The Impact of Genetics on the Concept of Criminal Responsibility”. Health Law Journal Pinker, S. (2006) The blank slate. (Chapter 19). NY: Viking.