The End Of Nature Vs. Nurture

1274 words - 5 pages

The End of Nature Versus Nurture The article "The End of Nature Versus Nurture" was about the arguments and debates over the past fifty years over the issue of nature versus nurture. The first thing that de Waal mentioned in the article was how we can't possibly think about where the issue will be at fifty years from now without looking back fifty years first (1999). He talks about learning and instinct, which fifty years back was as hot a debate as nature versus nurture is now. There were two main views of behavior; the fact that it was a product of trial and error learning (de Waal, 1999) and that species are born with fixed-action patterns de Waal, 1999). Both groups of people eventually had to learn that both of their philosophies had to be combined in order to draw a more accurate conclusion. The only problem with this was that neither side wanted to accept this fact and one of these outraged people even resorted to pouring a bucket of cold water over his opponent's head. After de Waal talked about learning and instinct, he went on to talk about some burdens of the past. He mentioned how it is typical for humans to believe that human behavior can be easily changed since it is learned. This is exemplified with situations like communism and Nazi Germany. Both of these attempts at changing human's behavior failed. Communism failed because it was out of touch with human nature and the Nazi Germany failed because they were trying genetic manipulation instead of social engineering (de Waal, 1999). He continues by saying that even political agendas today are inspired by social-Darwinism, which is the idea that the strong will out compete the weak and eventually make for an improvement in population (de Waal, 1999). This is a main reason why categories of suppressed people fail to see biology in good light. These things are continuing to fade away though because a connection between genes and behavior is getting larger and larger. Studies now prove that you can like genes in almost everything we do and in who we are (de Waal, 1999). This fact is not making people who have dedicated their whole life to the idea that biology has no influence on human behavior very happy at all. They are very reluctant to switch their views on the subject.He wraps up the article in the section about the best of both worlds. The first thing he mentions in this part is that genes by themselves are like seeds dropped onto the pavement; powerless to produce anything (de Waal, 1999). He stresses the fact that when someone says that some gene has been inherited, that all it means is that it can be explained by genetic factors. A Swiss primatologist named Hans Kummer once said that trying to figure out how much of a trait is genetic and how much is environmental influence is useless. De Waal states that a mapping of the links between genes and behavior is going to be continued in the future (1999). He finishes his article with the point brought up by...

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