Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Awkward Question of Nature vs Nurture

Which is better, nature or nurture?  Which influences more of who someone is: nature or nurture?  While science has been asking this question less and less, people are still asking adoptees to give their answers.  I think these questions are unfair for a variety of reasons, namely, because it asks adoptees to choose between two families and say which is better.  Who does the adoptee then validate?  Whose feelings do they hurt?  Not to mention, is it really any of the question asker's business to begin with?

But the question, scientifically speaking, is outdated.  According to the book, Nature via Nurture (2003), the author, Ridley, says:
"For more than 50 years sane voices have called for an end to the debate.  Nature versus nurture has been declared everything from dead and finished to futile and wrong--a false dichotomy.  Everybody with an ounce of common sense knows that human beings are a product of a transaction between the two....The discovery of how genes actually influence human behavior and how human behavior influences genes, is about to recast the debate entirely.  No longer is it nature versus nurture but nature via nurture."
I have always said that I am both nature and nurture and I see how both have shaped me and I am sure there are things I haven't seen yet, may some day see differently, or may never see.  I also make my own choices.  Adoptees (and other individuals such as donor conceived persons) have likely been asked to give their take (using their own lives as an example, no less) on this debate more than any other group, what say you about the quote?  If you've been asked a nature vs. nurture question by a random, curious person, do you answer or tell them to mind their own business?