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Nature Vs Nurture: Do Genes Or Environment Matter More?

993 words - 4 pages

What makes us who we are? Does the answer lie in our genes, our environment, or in the way we are raised? For years, there has been an on-going debate between nature and nurture. T.H. White, author of The Once and Future King, explores the debate through many of the book’s characters. The issue clearly appears in the relationship of Queen Morgause and her sons, the Orkney brothers. The debate caused people to pick a side, to pick nature over nurture, or nurture over nature. However, it does not have to be one or the other. Nature and nurture work together to determine who we are.
Nature does not simply determine our physical traits. In Alina Tugend’s article, “For the Best of the Best, Determination Outweighs Nature and Nurture,” Tugend explores the interaction of nature and nurture when it comes to talent. Tugend states that “’genetics influence how quickly and how well a person can master the expertise necessary to perform at world-class levels’” (Tugend 7). Nature influences our abilities or our capacity to do something. If nature can determine how quickly someone can develop a talent, then it does not play such a minimal role in our actions. Zoologist Matt Ridley argues that is nature via nurture in his article “What Makes You Who You Are.” Ridley states that “[genes] are both the cause and the consequence of our actions” (Ridley 5). Our genes and our actions are more connected than we thought. Genes can produce actions and our actions affect which genes are active in our lives. Nature greatly influences our behavior, but it is not all nature.
Not everything lies in nature; nurture also plays a big role in our behavior. Craig Venter, an American biologist quoted in Ridley’s article, says that “the wonderful diversity of the human species is not hard-wired in our genetic code. Our environments are critical” (Ridley 1). Not every behavioral trait is inherited. Environmental factors affect our actions and eventually our characteristics. “Top-notch musicians are usually born into families where music plays a dominant role. The same is true with sports or any other endeavor” (Tugend 7). Tugend makes it very clear that our environment influences talent development. Our environment, as well as experiences, can affect our likes or our dislikes, or our personality traits. Through the characters of the Orkney brothers and their mother Queen Morgause in the novel The Once and Future King, T.H. White explores nature versus nurture. When T.H. White first introduces these characters he explains that Queen Morgause had brought up her sons “with an imperfect sense of right and wrong. It was as if they could never know when they were being good or when they were being bad” (White 214). This leads you to understand the questionable actions of Agravaine, one of the Orkney brothers. Because Agravaine was not taught right from wrong, it did not seem bad, or good, that he aggressively kills an innocent unicorn. In his article “Nature vs. Nurture...

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