The Balancing Act: Nature versus Nurture Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:24:05
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Category: Nurture

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That treasure¦bestowed on them by nature, to be bettered in them by nurture, is a very famous statement made by Richard Mulcaster, an educator who has had a profound impact on society even long after his death. This very controversial position has sparked many debates since it was said more than four decades ago because of the uproar that scientists and sociologists make regarding their extreme views on the subject. At one end are the scientific researchers who believe that man is made up of inherited genes that can predict what kind of person an individual can become.

At the other end are social scientists who insist that people grow into who they are through the many factors within the environment that the individual is a part of. These two extreme positions on the debate have been doing their own researches to prove their points. However, these studies can oversimplify the subject to the point that the prejudices and wrong notions that it produce downplay mans ability to develop fully. The debate needs to be ended because it only hinders mans total freedom to choose his path towards the future.

Man is not just made of genes or just a mixture of influences from the environment because he has a choice to become who he is. Genes are the basis of inherited traits in living creatures. These are the reasons why most of us look like our parents or other blood relatives. These make up our basic physiological formations. Genetics has had a profound impact on science because studies have shown that these can predict predispositions to certain illnesses and behavioral patterns too.

For example, many studies have implied that troublesome children come from troublesome parents because of certain genes. This had led many to believe that man is born with traits that predict character and this means that it would be hard for a person to change his behavior or future physical problems because these are innate in the individuals very nature. On the other hand, there have also been many researches on how the environment influences a certain individuals illnesses and behavioral patterns.

Sociologists and psychologists believe that culture, family relations and events are just a few elements surrounding a child that makes for the character he or she develops. For example, a baby born to parents who inculcate certain disciplinary measures on studying can affect the educational achievements of the child in the future. This has produced a lot of books on how to make smarter children. Proponents of this belief insist that how a person has been molded by society will definitely show in his behavior.

Therefore, a person cannot easily change himself because he is entangled in a web of influences that he cannot control. Man is a complex being that goes beyond mere genetic make up and sociological factors. There are many issues about human character that cannot be explained by just one side of the debating nature versus nurture proponents. For example, if genetics is really a powerful predictor of human behavior, then gays must be born to parents who are homosexuals too. This case shows how absurd an oversimplification of this debate in favor of nature can be.

On the other hand, oversimplifying the nurture debate allows criminals to blame their parents for their bad behavior. This can be devastating to parents who have done their best in raising good children. What both sides of the debate seem to overlook is that man can change his destiny because of free will. Although genetics and society can mold a person, each individual has the ability to go beyond these influences to become a different kind of person. Both genetics and culture have been the basis of certain injustices in the history of mankind.

As Francis Waal has cited in his article entitled, The End of Nature versus Nurture, communism, Jewish annihilation and eugenics movement, were all born out of the belief that there are better breeds in the human race. The extreme proponents of the debate can learn from the prejudices that were instituted because of the oversimplification of mans character. The present problem of terrorism can be traced to this debate because of the seemingly underlying reasons of the American government against the religious beliefs and culture of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Bush administration clearly wants to dominate these nations by rallying behind the principle that it will counter terrorist attacks. However, the move to force democracy on these nations is causing prejudice against Islamic culture. Imposing political ideology on these countries disrespects the cultural diversity of man. The injustice is being caused by the belief that these peoples have problems with their behaviors in the international scenario of peace and order. It implies that the religion and cultures of these countries are bringing up people who are responsible for acts of terrorism.

However, behind this facade of counter terrorist attacks is the belief that these countries are inferior and it is causing prejudice against Muslims and citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan. The effect of oversimplifying this issue has led to understanding the problem in the light of the natural differences and sociological factors. Instead of being able to understand the differences between Western and Middle Eastern civilizations, the narrow-minded approach to the situation is leading to political unrest.

Instead of finding out the problems that seem to be caused by the U. S. foreign policies, the American administration uses prejudice as a tool to raise its supremacy in the global political arena. If the problem were to be approached in the perspective that the behavior of these so-called terrorist communities are because of the differences of American culture to theirs, then more amiable forms of communication and understanding can resolve the gap that results to terrorist acts.

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