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                     Nature versus nurture is centuries old debate. Scientists are trying hard to figure out whether it is the environment or genetics that determine the characteristics of human beings. We readily accept that genes determine our biological factors such as our eye color, height, blood type etc. But does it also determine our social behavior? I would say no. Genetics can explain our anatomy but it can’t explain why some people are homosexual, why some people are more intelligent or why some people are more violent than others. It is the environment, society, parental and neighborhood behavior, education etc that make us what we are. In other words, man is the product of nurture and not nature.

                           Through out the history of human intellectual thought, a question that demands answer and thus made philosophers, intellectuals and scientists ponder is about Human Nature. What is the true nature of human beings? Are we simply an end product of a long process driven by genes where the same genes determine our sex, skin color and height? But human beings are more than that. Human beings love, hate, fear, feel and all these are not shaped by genes. Environmental factors ranging from parental care to societal influence are responsible for it. The Ancient Greek Sophist came with the slogan that man is the architect of its own fate.6 We are not subjected to the commands of nature but we are what our environment shapes us. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel’s class struggle is also traced back to the same thinking. Al Gazali in his spiritual autobiography “Deliverance from error” questions the same.1 Why a child born in a Muslim family is always a Muslim? Why a Christian child always grows up to be a Christian? Is it in the nature of the child? No, it is not the nature but the environment he nourishes in, which determines his or her beliefs. Social Scientists today emphasize that for a better understanding of any individual in the history, one must first know the cultural, social and political realities of that particular era that shaped the mind of individual.

                    American psychologist John Watson, greatly known for his controversial experiments and ventures with a young orphan named Albert, evidenced that the acquisition of a phobia could be explained by classical conditioning. He said, “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select; regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors.”2 Thus now we are in a position to say that man’s experience and his interaction with the environment is the real determinant of his behavior.

                               When we talk about the concept that man is the product of nurture and not nature, the problem of homosexuality arises. Advocates of gay say that a person becomes a gay because this thing lies in his genes or DNA. A man is attracted towards other men because the nature has made him like this. Being a gay isn’t his fault at all. On the contrary, critics of homosexuality blame the environment of a person which helps him to become a gay. In addition, medical science hasn’t proved anything related to this notion. American Academy of Pediatrics in a research on 4700 gays has verified that the genes or DNA of gays are no different than that of any other normal person.3 The sexual orientation of a man is greatly affected by the environment, social and parental behavior. A person who has little social contact with girls or a person whose parents are gay or a person who is sexually abused in the childhood is more likely that he would become a gay.5 Let’s say justifiers of gays are right, still we can change the sexual orientation of gays through counseling, mentoring and through proper guidance. We can bring them back to the reality. We can tell them that living like a normal person is far better than living like a gay. It means that nurturing of a person can bring the difference.

To prove that man is the product of nurture and not nature let’s take the subject of intelligence among human beings. If a person is a product of nature that is due to his genes then we would know that this certain numbers of people are intelligent and we would only pick them for the brainy jobs. It’s a waste of money and time to educate all people when we know that all of them can’t be intelligent. But in real life we see that there is an opportunity for every child to get education and teachers do their best to teach everyone on the same level. Those who work hard and do well with their studies go ahead of other children. It shows us that it is nurturing of a person and not innate intelligence that is nature that takes him ahead in life.

If genes determine the traits and personality of twins then they must be exactly alike in every aspect even if they are raised apart. But we find this theory completely wrong. To testify, an experiment was carried out by Stefan Blankertz on two Russian twins, a boy and a girl. When they were born they were separated and taken away from their family. They were let to live in different environment and social class structure. Each one of them lived a different life according to the customs, culture and tradition of the places they lived in. They got different education. When they turned 18, they were examined from every aspect, from their social behavior to intelligence. It was found that they were quite different. When asked from one that why she keeps herself neat and clean every time, the reply was that her mother told to do so. The other twin was asked that why is he so irresponsible and don’t care about his stuff, he replied that he got this attitude from his family member. There IQ level was also different. This experiment shows us that despite being identical twins sharing same genes and blood, the two were quite different from each other. It was because they got influence from their own environment and society which affected their behavior. It means that nurture and not nature designates characteristics to an individual.4

                              All human beings are equal. This phrase is found in almost every Holy book and text books of the world. If we go into the depth of this phrase, equality means that every human being is born with same intelligence, brainpower and learning ability. But then why some people are more successful in their life than others? The reason is that nurture makes the difference. If a person is a hardworking, shows good academic result, learns good manners and etiquettes would probably get success in his life, we are ignoring the affect of bad fortune on one’s life. While another who errs hard work, remains illiterate, unaware of morals and ethics would probably end up as a failure in his life. Suppose the above phrase is incorrect and the one’s capabilities and intelligence is determined by the nature that is through their genes and DNA then it’s a very bad news for black people and for women because they would always be losers.

                 We agree that we get our eyes and skin color from our parents and our physical characteristics are hereditary but from where do we get the talent of dancing? Why do some of us get a better life than our parents? When it comes to individual’s behavior, personality and intelligence, it becomes clear that genetics has nothing to do with these. When someone does something wrong we shouldn’t blame the nature for it and say that he did it because he was born this way. Rather we should criticize the way in which he was brought up because man is the product of nurture and not nature.

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