English X Honors
21 October 2013
The Great Debate: Nature or Nurture
Humans have debated for the longest time whether nature or nurture has had the most effect in how humans turn out to be and how they act in certain situations. The argument is over whether the genetics of persons determines everything about them, nature, or whether the environment and other people dictate what the original person’s makes of their lives. To prove that nature is the dominate cause, scientist have conducted studies dealing with twins, homosexuals, and disease infected patients showing the strong link between how they were born and how they were during the study. Whereas scientist who believe nurture is the basis for a person’s personality and attitude toward circumstances produced studies from the same test subjects but with different results saying nature made the sicknesses and differences between twins what they were made to be. However, the most common “side” picked in the arguments comes from the idea each of the two factors produces the same effect on human beings as the other does.
One study done to find evidence to support nature’s side of the argument would be to split identical twins up at birth and reunite them many years later and judge how much alike they still were. A famous experiment of this study came from Ohio with brothers who were split up five weeks after being born. “Reunited 39 years later, they would have strained the credulity of the editors of Ripley's Believe It or Not. Not only did both have dark hair, stand six feet tall and weigh 180 pounds, but they spoke with the same inflections, move with the same gait and made the same gestures. Both loved stock car racing and hated baseball… Both drove Chevrolets, drank Miller Lite, chain-smoked Salems and vacationed on the same half mile stretch of Florida beach. Both had elevated blood pressure, severe migraines and had undergone vasectomies…Their heart rates, brain waves and IQs were nearly identical” (Colt and Hollister “Were you born that way?”). What can be said about these uncanny similarities is the brothers are most likely the way they are is the forces nature could only provide to them with their genes they were gifted with at birth. The big idea of this experiment is to show how, with almost four decades passing by, the brother still carried intricate details that made them who they were for 39 years without having the outside environment, nurture, affect them. The most convincing part of these results nature trumps nurture is they both spoke with the same inflictions and had many of the same gestures because many people would think that these traits would be largely affected by nurture oppose to nature.
The mental aspect of humans can also be argued to take a large contribution from nature. Other studies have shown links between matters such as happiness, pessimism, or taste orientation with genetics given to a person at birth, “One study even concluded that happiness is 80 percent heritable—it depends little on wealth, achievement or marital status… A third study claimed a genetic influence for the consumption of coffee but not, it seems, of tea” (“Were you born that way?”). The fact that a persons over all happiness being a 80% direct result of nature and not as much a result of events through one’s life. Mental traits are commonly used to describe who a person is, meaning if a person is being described as a trait that is over 50% affected by nature rather than nature would in fact make a good claim for nature to be the dominate of the two forces.
Skills that people learn, or even have a natural talent for, are also affiliated with who a person is because the actions that a person does signify them as being themselves. For example if a person has perfect pitch and can tell the difference between a f sharp and a f natural then they are known as a musician; significantly enough, perfect pitch has been seen as a hereditary...
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