Sociology- Nature Versus Nurture

Topics: Nature versus nurture, Psychology, Human behavior Pages: 5 (1801 words) Published: May 23, 2011
Nature versus Nurture

The roles of nature (what we genetically inherit) and or nurture (what we learn) in making us what we are have long been argued. The idea that humans are determined by these two influences dates back to the ancient Greek philosopher Protagorus who in the fifth century BC compared physics (nature) and nomos (tradition). It is however difficult to unravel the separate influences of nature and nurture. If the children of musically talented parents are themselves musically talent, is it because of genetic inheritance (nature) or because of a musical environment at home where they grow up(nurture)? The nature versus nurture debate concentrates on the question of how far our behavior is determined by nature at birth or by nurture after birth.In seventeenth century philosopher John Locke claimed that the mind of a child was like a Tabula Rasa (blank slate). People became what they were taught to be. By the second half of nineteenth century many social scientists started to argue that human behavior is determined by nature. Charles Darwin’s theory came up with the idea that humans and other animals have descended ultimately from the same ancestors. Animals are governed by instincts (fixed traits that are inherited and shared by all members of a species). These inherited mechanisms enable members of the species to perform complex tasks. For example twice a year the New Zealand cuckoo travel 4000 miles between New Zealand and Islands off the coast of New Guinea. The adults’ leave New Zealand before their eggs are hatched. The young cuckoos later on travel 4000 miles and join their par4ents-without ever having made the journey and with no one to guide them. Experiments have indicated that other birds also seem to have some inborn sense that guides their migration.Because animals are governed by instincts and human are also animals, some scholars reasoned that human behavior must also be governed by instincts. As a result many social scientists searched for the supposed instants that would explain all kinds of human behavior when they saw a mother feeding her baby they attributed it to the maternal instinct, when they were asked to explain war, they explained it was the aggressive instinct. They eventually discovered more that 14000 instincts, ranging from laughing instinct to a religious instinct. But these ideas of instinct have many short comings. Firstly the concept of instinct was tautological. (i.e. the explanation was true by definition. The instinct that was discovered was just another name for what was to be explained. For example the aggressive instinct was just another way of saying that they engage in warfare, in the same way that high temperature is another way of saying hot weather. Secondary the same instinct was used to explain contradictory actions for example the acquisitive instinct was used to explain both hard honest work and bank robbery. Thirdly, instincts are supposed to be in all human but human behavior around the world varies greatly. For example Arapesh of New Guinea or the Tasaday of Philippines do not have aggressive, nature in their behavior, if human have self preservative instinct then they would not have committed suicides. In 1969, An American psychologist Jensen claimed that only to percent of the variation between peoples intelligence is due to their social environment while 80 percent is fixed from birth by genetic inheritance. Another American psychologist, Professor Thomas Bouchard of Minnesota University carried out an experiment on Jim Twins which also help to argue that human behavior is determined more bye nature than by nurture. For example, James Lewis and James Springer were identical twins who were separated in the first year of life and brought up separately. He discovered an amazing number of coincidences about Jim Twins: • Both had married women called Linda.

• Both had been divorced and had then married women called Betty. • One of them had...
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