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Nature vs. nurture debate.
Yes I agree genetics have a strong influence upon our expression as individuals (physiological, cognitive, behavioural, etc.), and there is string support in the research. It is also apparent that our potential is shaped by the social / physical environment we live in. There are some interesting developments currently in the field of epigenetics exploring how our choices and intentions can influence our genetic expression and how this is a malleable and ongoing process. Unless genetic cognitive problems, everything is influenced by the environment, so nurtured. There's a difference in terms of time though. Certainly, there are people who tend to develop different abilities in less time that others, but with enough effort and practice everyone can obtain the same result. Yet the so-called "intelligence", as well as personality traits and life choices can all be attributed to the various environmental influences that effect the developement of all individuals including identical twins on a macro level. Nurture is part of nature, it is not against it! I really like your approach on this topic.
What do IQ tests measure?
You will be better in golf, but golf is not very creative, while reading manga will help you develop imagination which has a lot to do with creativity. I think everybody *is* creative, yet not everyone exercises that "muscle". Some people do, and they get a lot better. I think the best way to look at it is like sports -- play a lot of golf, you'll be better than a twin who stays home and reads manga. it all has to do with desire upon
desire upon desire stretching back to time immemorial. Why, if everyone is equal(as we are
on the spiritual platform), do we start off with varying handicaps? Why do small innocent
children suffer and die? Why do we get bad even when we do good? Like dumb animals no one
asks, no one cares. All caught like hares in the headlights. Splat!
> Nature determines the range of what you can achieve, and nurture can either minimize or maximize your abilities. It's fair to say that if all serial killers were raised right, most would become angry and frustrated Walmart greeters at least. Or, the individual might try to blend in, and bring out more negativity in the negative environment. Who knows? I don't!The fact that nature does not change the individual nature is not true. An environment that is not orthodox or is an extreme of the generally accepted norms, would highly influence the individual. The individual would generally try to bring out more positivity in him than is ruled by his genes, if there is negativity in his environment.Mostly genetics, I would say. The environment does play a role but it does not change the true individual nature. I arrived to this conclusion after reading several studies on twins separated at birth. Identical twins separated at birth, living in very different environments and not aware of each other's existence have shown to possess similar intelligence, personality traits and made similar choices in life. It is far easier to blame a child for a failure than to actually connect with it and help trigger a discovery.
Common argument is that intelligence for most remains roughly the same trough out the life. To me that doesn't mean that it cannot change, it means that most children are not reached and thought well enough.
I want to stress again this important distinction. Whole 'nature versus nurture' debate in my opinion is focused around wrong questions. It tries to define normal intelligence levels of individuals, and than to tell you that this levels can go up or down only so much. What 'extreme' examples presented here show is that whatever these 'normal' levels may be, environmental and educational effect can be huge. This whole debate seems to be an excuse for the ineffectiveness of educational system. Going above normal, when by normal I mean a person who's achievement put her among the most fascinating people of 20th century! Precisely, being such an achiever is normal! Some may say she is a genius, and she almost certainly is, and in a way what I just wrote previously is circular explanation. Yet, how and where can we draw a line for anyone's 'normality'. We cannot assume that we know it. What we can do is learn from Helen's and her teacher's example, to learn and teach as best as we can.
What is 'normal' intelligence in Helen's case that was affected first negatively and later positively by her environment? I don't see how it is possible to tell with certainty. However, it seems obvious that initial state was not 'normal', as she was not happy then, and she overcame it. Also, she probably considered her later 'enlightened' state normal. Extending on this example, it seems that going above normal is not achievable, as what we achieve is normal for us. Any contradiction here? Both. This example shows that (lack of) proper education had first very negative and then very positive effect on the person. Her inner drive was as essential as were teacher's skills. Some may argue that this was possible because Helen was 'born' genius, but denying that 'environment' was also crucial would be really ignorant.
I guess that this eliminates answer a) and definitely leaves us with answers b) and c) which means that environment is definitely part of the 'genius equation'.
Take for example Helen Keller. Due to physical disabilities she could neither hear, see, or speak, nor in any way define and express her thoughts. Lack of proper education was not helpful either, and affected further negatively her development. However, when she gained a good teacher, she made an immense progress, wrote books, graduated from university, and became a hero of many. Was this Helen's or her teacher's achievement?
To repeat new questions that came up. Can educational impact be as significant as nutritional? Can this impact be as positive as it can be negative? How do we define 'normal' intelligence that is then affected positively or negatively by environment? Where ever discussion leads us from now on, we did answer one unasked question - society can certainly nurture impairment thru nutrition, while the education part is still to be answered. The absurd claims by some that everything is in genes, is exposed. We still did not consider educational role, but even the nutrition one tells us that we must not only try to make geniuses of all of us, but have to prevent developmental delay. My psychology class omitted this part!
Environment can nurture an impairment. A very poor diet will affect negatively on intelligence. In China, millions of people were supplied with iodising salt to deal with related problem. This example alone eliminates option a) as an answer, and leaves us with b) and c). Or does it? The question is now, since impact can be negative in relation to 'normal', can the impact also be positive. Also, can the impact be based on education as well as nutrition, as that was implicit N vs. N question.
Although there is this fuss about geniuses being born, rarely you hear someone questioning the effect of environment on developmental delay. Is a developmentally delayed person born or made? Can our intelligence decrease due to environment? As you can see now, depending on how the question is asked, different responsibilities arise. Society may not be able to nurture a genius - asked the first question, but is is able to nurture an impairment - asks the second one?
Now that I wrote down possible answers, it is time to define intelligence. Not just yet! I've heard that procrastination is a characteristic of intelligent people, so I want to appear intelligent ;O)
Like other things in life, answer probably here too is not simply black or white, but some colorful combination, and therefore answer c) is most probably correct. But that is a jump to conclusion. Lets be more pedant about this. I will talk about psy. class last, as these things were omitted.
c) combination of decent proportions of a) and b)
By decent I guess ~10% suffice, as imagine being more efficient in you job for about 10%, which gives you about 1 month/year. That's a nice vacation! Implication of this is that even if environment can influence only ~10%, you will probably want to choose environment that will improve your intelligence as much as possible. Therefore, you want to do things mentioned in 'answer' b).
b) intelligence is 100% environmentally shaped.
If true than we better hang around smart people, learn many things, teach well, and stop blaming our genes. Implications: if a person tells you that you cannot do something, either ask that person to teach you, or you do it and teach that person. We all can do great things, and hopefully be happy, since I assume that more intelligence will guide us to more happiness.
Before I start exploring this topic with actual examples, let me try to formulate possible answers and its implications. I will define intelligence after!
a) intelligence is 100% genetically determined.
If true then what and how we learn or teach makes no difference. Discovery of this answer has implication: find a smart partner and make smarter kids than yourself, because more intelligence, whatever it may be, is certainly good - although, the line between genius and insanity is thin!
I can imagine how other characteristics like honesty and integrity can help in developing a genius, but that is a separate question that also assumes that genius is developed and not born. For now, I will consider the question of intelligence, as implications of different answers to this question are far reaching. The 'answer' I was presented with in psychology class was bothersome in several ways including the selection and interpretation of questions and examples that led to it. Although all these characteristics are similar, most analyzed is intelligence (and IQ in particular). Basically, the question is whether genius is born or made? More general, is intelligence, however it is defined, determined by genes, or can we significantly improve it. In essence, it goes like this. Genetics determines you a lot - eye color, height, and other physical properties are greatly determined by genetics. Environment can influence your height if you starve for example, or if you do lots of sports. Note that environment cannot, as far as I know, influence your eye color. More interesting and difficult to answer question is intelligence, how much is it influenced by nature, and how much by an environment? Or honesty? Integrity? Aggressiveness? Nature vs. nurture debate. genius born is nurture.