Nature vs. Nurture
When we look at the world around us today, we are struck by the amazing diversity that we see in people. There is a vast diversity in the characteristics of people that are immediately obvious: short, tall; fat, thin; Asian, Caucasian; and many other characteristics. Each person as an individual is unique, be it in physical outlook or character. How is it that of the 6 billion people on Earth, there are no 2 individuals who are exactly alike? Every persons physical and psychological characteristics are determined by many factors, and these can be divided into 2 main groups: our genes and our environment, or nature and nurture.
What are our genes? Genes are the chemical blueprint unique to each person. Different people may have the same genes but in different combinations and so they may have some similarities in their characteristics, but never all. Genes determine a vast array of discontinuous characteristics such as hair and eye colour as well as playing a great part in many continuous characteristics (which also depend on other factors) such as height. Our environment is all other factors that may contribute to the development of an individual such as nourishment, climate and even culture or upbringing. It also includes the element of chance.
Since we are all different as individuals, what would happen if we were to eliminate the differences due to our genes? The only situation where we have genetically identical individuals is in identical twins that came from the same fertilised egg. Anyone who knows a pair of twins knows that even though they are physically almost identical (which is where the phrase "only their mother can tell them apart" comes from), psychologically they may be vastly different. From this we can infer that any differences between them arose from environmental factors. But identical twins are usually raised by the same mother in the same home making their environment rather similar. This shows that even in similar environments, differences will still arise regardless of their genetic constitution, i.e. minor variations will result in large differences in phenotype regardless of genotype.
Human behaviour is a complex interaction between genes and the environment. In its more advanced forms, behaviour is not determined by genes. For example, the most common behaviour found in adults of any race is the use of language, whereas in newborns, language must be taught. If it was genetically determined, then the baby should be able to speak once born: the tongue and throat would not have to distort into positions they are not used to. Primitive behaviour is more likely to be genetically...