The Nature vs. Nurture Debate Essay

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The Nature vs. Nurture Debate

No change in circumstances can repair a defect of character. Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the great controversial debates in Psychology is determining if characteristics and behavior are primarily due to genetics or the environment. We can now readily accept that genes determine our eye color, height, blood type, and other biological factors. Do these same genes that determine anatomy also determine our tendency towards traits such as violence, homosexuality or alcoholism? Some Psychologists, such as Freud, will argue that the home environment is primarily responsible for molding personality, while others cry genotype. There have been countless studies to find out if our destiny is written in
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If media exposure is to blame, then it is conceivable to assume that all children will eventually display similar behavior. To examine another theory, Dean Hamer, a geneticist at the National Institute of Health, has found evidence that biology could play a part in determining violent behavior (Pool, 1997). He found that low serotonin levels in the brain contribute to violent tendencies. So which theory explains Kinkle's outburst of seemingly senseless brutality? Based on the evidence that he was raised in a wholesome community, the most comfortable answer is a biological dysfunction he was born with, perhaps low serotonin production. We as a society do not want to believe that we are capable of producing abhorrent individuals, therefore it is easy to choose nature over nurture as an explanation, even though it is most likely a combination of the two.
One of today's most controversial arguments is whether homosexuality is due to chromosomal predetermination or a conscious decision. This argument is fueled by religious conviction, scientific findings, and standard social structure. Individuals with certain religious beliefs that cannot believe that God would make or accept a homosexual support their thoughts by quoting from The Bible, specifically Leviticus. To defend that theory, passages such as Leviticus 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as with a

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