Nature versus Nurture Two Articles copy Essay

Submitted By rotero20
Words: 1484
Pages: 6

Ryan Otero
02/30/12
Forero
Nature Versus Nurture: What Makes Us Who we Are? What makes us the way we are? What determines our likes and dislikes? Were we genetically programmed to have a certain personality? Or was it the unique environment each of us grew up in or the specific people that helped raise us? These questions have been debated thoroughly throughout history and remain entirely unanswered today. The study of genetics has shed light on why somebody may have the same color eyes as their mother or be tall like their grandfather, but it has not been able to explain the origins of one's personality or, for example, why some are prone to violence while others are not. Duff Alan, a writer for The Evening Post (Wellington), wrote an article where he contends that violence and criminality are primarily determined by the environment one was raised in. This article, titled “The nature/nurture argument in violence,” sides with nurture in this ongoing debate between nature and nurture. George Howe Colt, in a special report for Life Magazine, argues that one’s genetic code is largely responsible for how one matures into an adult. His article, “Were You Born That Way?,” maintains that one’s genetic material, or nature, is an incessant influence that trumps one’s nurture in a person’s development. “The nature/nurture argument in violence’” was published in The Evening Post (Wellington) on July 9, 1996. Alan, in this article, recalls a conversation he had with his teenage daughter about a serial rapist named Joe Thompson. Alan and his daughter noted that Thompson has a particularly abusive upbringing and was exposed to the types of people one would not call good role models. His father, incarcerated for raping his daughters, highlighted this list of influences. So logically, Alan postulated that perhaps this man was simply a product of the environment he was raised in. He also addresses the possibility that perhaps it was the genetic makeup Thompson inherited from his father that turned him into the criminal he had become. Alan draws on his own parents and the genes he assumes he inherited from them and weighs them against the influence of the environment he was raised in. He eventually concludes that while one’s genetic inheritance certainly plays a role in one’s development, the environment a person is raised in trumps these genetic factors. In other words, in Alan’s opinion, nurture trumps nature. “Were You Born That Way” takes on the other side of the nature vs. nurture debate. In this article, Colt draws scientific evidence from known studies and uses it to conclude that one’s genetic makeup is primarily responsible in determining one’s characteristics and traits. Colt does, however, fall short of giving one’s nature full responsibility over one’s development. He mentions homosexuality and violence as two traits that may not be necessarily determined by genetics. Instead, he refers to research of behavioral geneticists that has determined some nurturing techniques to be effective in reducing or intensifying these characteristics. Despite these shortcomings of nature, Colt remains confident that genes go much further than environment in molding one’s attributes and qualities. Perhaps the biggest difference between these two articles lies in the sources from which the authors compound their evidence. Alan, in “The nature/nurture argument in violence,” relies almost entirely on personal experience and conclusions drawn from a conversation with his daughter. He even uses information a “golf acquaintance” gave to him about race horses. However, despite this lack of scientific and academic sources, he uses seemingly sound logic and common sense. He provides an example, Joe Thompson, and, through a rational analysis of his situation, makes a conclusion about how and why Thompson became the person he was. The fact that Alan, in his arguments, remains much on the same plane as the average reader…