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Free Nature Vs. Nurture Essay

532 words - 2 pages

Nature vs Nurture

The exponential growth of scientific and biological knowledge over time has facilitated the genesis of radical fields of specialization, namely biological determinism, sociobiology and eugenics, just to mention a few. The common thread between these fields is this- their proponents collectively postulate that all human traits, including weight, strength, intelligence, aspects of personality such as temperament (aggression for example), criminality and morality, are ultimately determined by the information encoded in DNA. They espouse that "we are who we are" because of our genes solely; that biodiversity in man is ultimately precipitated by phenotypic variations, caused by purely genetic differences, amongst individuals, therefore ostensibly offering little or no gravity to nongenetic factors.

Nongenetic factors, generically labelled as the environment, encompass not only the physical, chemical and biological criterion, but also the numerous social and psychological ones that shape our lives as we grow and mature. Can we seriously take the influence of the environment, an intangible but nonetheless powerful force we experience every single day, out of the equation? Are we really who we are simply because our genes deem it so?

History itself has illustrated the perilous ramifications, both personal and social, of eugenics and biological determinism1, so it would be wise to assimilate these ideas with a pinch of salt. It is rather ironic that these scientists use the concept of heritability2 , which in essence is a function of both genes and the environment, rhetorically to substantiate their work, while consciously and explicitly understating the very role of the latter....

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