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The debate

  1. Mar 23, 2005 #1
    does nature or nurture shape us? isnt it just both?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2005 #2
    Interesting question. There was a documentary program here in the UK 'Horizon' Titled Dr Money and the Boy with no Penis.

    It was about a scientific experiement done on a child you had to change sex from boy to girl because of major error resulting its penis being burnt off, (thats Dr money) and the experiement was to show whether if the 'boy' was raised as a girl, he would actually socially become a girl. (i.e. it was a experiement of nurture Vs Nature)

    The experiemnt failed in a sad end, with the boy (as a grown up) killing himself.

    I would say nature shapes us, always.
     
  4. Mar 23, 2005 #3
    im aware of that story...

    But from what I know, both sides nature and nurture have good points...

    but IS there a problem with making a conclusion to that debate saying it's merely both?
     
  5. Mar 24, 2005 #4

    selfAdjoint

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    Reality, as usual, doesn't seem much interested in our debates. There are some things that are purely genetic, some that are purely cultural, a lot of cases where there is some additive contribution from both, and then there is the interesting case of interaction, which is just beginning to be studied. So you inherit a propensity to respond this way or that way to a given environment.
     
  6. Mar 24, 2005 #5
    Interaction... can you give me an example? and explain how it differs from saying "both" ?

    what about nature and nurtured being connected or dependant on eachother?
     
  7. Mar 24, 2005 #6

    selfAdjoint

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    An example of "both" might be height; partly genetic, since tall or short people tend to have tall or short kids. But partly also due to nutrition, getting enough calcium as a child, and so on. The two effects are independent, but the result is a sort of sum of the two of them.

    An example of interaction would be more speculative, since as I say this aspect of things is only now being studied. Take inteligence; part of the genome might not just raise the kid's IQ directly but make her more sensitive to positive cultural forces - education or music or whatever. So instead of saying that kid has a fine mind or a great talent it might be more correct to say the kid is able to take advantage of opportunities better than most. And that talent for taking advantage IS inherited!

    But notice that if the opportunities are not there, the talent will not improve the kid at all. You might explain the Flynn effect this way; if IQ tests are the way to success, the take-advantage gene will enable the kid to do well on them, but if an IQ test is never seen except for some rare scientific investigation then the gene will have no fulcrum to act on and the resulting IQ measurement in those rare cases will be low.
     
  8. Mar 25, 2005 #7

    loseyourname

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    In the long run, genes themselves are shaped by the environment. Interaction is all there is when you step back far enough.
     
  9. Mar 28, 2005 #8
    what if you go back to when the time the first cell was made? Isnt that all environment?
     
  10. Mar 29, 2005 #9

    selfAdjoint

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    The first prokaryotic cell did not just pop into existence. There was some form of history behind it, perhaps as is now thought some kind of RNA evolution that took a turn into DNA. The DNA told the cell what proteins to form and when. So there was inheritance even there.
     
  11. Mar 29, 2005 #10
    but why was there a prokaryotic cell to begin with?
     
  12. Mar 29, 2005 #11

    selfAdjoint

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    BECAUSE there was that prior history! RNA and DNA and all that, plus a long series of more or less random events and subsequent deletion of some of the results but preservation of others in the flux of change. Evolution, in other words.
     
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