Nature vs. Nurture Essay

1127 Words 5 Pages
The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest issues in sociology (Davidson, 1991, n.p.). The debate centers on the relative contributions of genetics and environmental factors to human behavior (Davidson, 1991, n.p.). Today, the majority of experts believe that behavior and development are influenced by both nature and nurture (Macionis, 2009, p. 73). The biggest question now is which one affects human development more: nature or nurture? According to Macionis (2009, p. 72), in the past, it was always common knowledge that human “behavior was instinctive, simply our nature.” Some scientists thought that people behaved as they did according to genetic tendencies or even animal instincts (Macionis, 2009, p. 72). This is known as …show more content…
Davidson (1991, n.p.) goes on to explain the “long and often ugly… nature-nurture debate” and how it is “based on a false dichotomy.” One’s behaviors are not necessarily determined by only nature and only nurture, but “both genes and environment” (Davidson, 1991, n.p.). So the real debate is: Which one plays a bigger role? Davidson (1991, n.p.) then supplies concrete examples of specific instances when human behavior research was “perverted” by certain scientists, such as the time when white males converted genetics to “prove their intellectual superiority over women and blacks.” Davidson (1991, n.p.) concludes by explaining that while there have been many discoveries made in the nature-nurture debate; it has generated a lot of worthless matter and controversy. In James Trefil’s “How Much of Human Behavior Depends on Genes? Or Nature vs. Nurture, Tabula Rasa vs. Original Sin, Predestination vs. Free Will” he discusses the issue of nature versus nurture and questions whether humans are “free to behave as they wish or whether their actions are determined in advance” (Trefil, 1996, n.p.). This mysterious controversy has many people questioning the source of human being social behavior (Trefil, 1996, n.p.). Do our genes determine our personality or is it shaped by our environment? Trefil (1996, n.p.) then explains that in the middle part of this century, “Americans had an almost religious faith” that

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