Methods of Critical Thinking
December 11, 2010
Nature vs. Nurture One of the most enduring debates in the field of psychology is the controversial idea of nature vs. nurture. Throughout the endless history of the debate, no clear conclusion has been met, only hypotheses have been formed. At the center of the debate, human behaviors, ideas, and feelings are being determined, whether they are learned or inherited. Determining physical traits, such as eye color or hair color, are simple because they are hereditary traits. The idea of having a certain personality, intelligence, or ability is under discussion because scientists cannot determine if these traits are learned, or predetermined by genes.
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But if homosexuality could be inborn, as Hamer hypothesized, then these laws would be invalidated by courts. As years went by, Hamer never finished the work he started. He was accused by colleagues of changing and almost “forcing” the end results in his favor. As a gay gene is not yet found, homosexuality cannot be in favor of the nature point of view. Sexual orientation cannot be genetically determined without this gay gene; therefore, an individual’s sexual orientation is created based upon the surroundings and environment he or she grows into (Chakravarti & Little).
Another discussion that is brought about when on the topic of nature vs. nurture is the idea of developing diseases. The role the environment plays on DNA might actually be quite surprising: “The inability of geneticists to easily identify common disease genes has been seen as a vindication of the importance of nurture” (Chakravarti and Peter, 2). The nurture side of the debate is critical in affecting DNA and its products; mutations are not the only way for changing gene function. For example, cancer research reveals that a specific tumor develops only from changing the activity of the genes. Mutations and a variety of different exposures interrupt the cell metabolism. This is another example of how external environmental prompts influence how the DNA functions. Therefore, DNA interacts with the environment, directly and indirectly, to predispose or