#Nature vs. #Nurture and the great Human Crap Shoot

Nature vs. Nurture is one of the great debates of history and science, at least since the origin of the science of genetics, i.e. whether human lives are more the product of genetics or experience. This is closely related to the previous philosophical debate of free will vs. determinism. The subject is literally something of a ‘chicken vs. egg’ question, though, largely unanswerable and ultimately futile, that egg and that coop both necessary and more or less equal. So let’s call it a draw.

It turns out we have far fewer genes—a mere few tens of thousands—than would account for the variety of human and biological experience, and many of those only come into play when ‘turned on,’ oh baby. If the hand you’re dealt cannot really be changed (would you even want to? That’s YOU), then the hand you play is (almost) infinitely open-ended, so fair enough. If you’re lucky you may even get to throw a few cards away and request some new ones. Bottom line: get off your ass and create your life.

The question took on new social urgency as issues of human sexuality demanded explanations and reconciliation with issues of human religiosity. Somehow it’s perceived that genetics trumps choice in this regard, ‘doing what comes naturally’ being the categorical imperative, too much experimentation perceived as perverse and best prohibited—or at least not encouraged. But sometimes you can never escape the circular arguments of questions without answers, and the discovery of a ‘gay gene’ may not make any difference whether it’s ever found or not. And there is always that issue of ‘turning on’.

So what’s a mother to do? Love ’em and keep the faith, I reckon. Personally I’m hoping they find a creative aspect to genetics, if not the dreaded ‘inheritance of acquired characteristics’, then at least a memory device that avoids the inheritance of acquired mistakes. It certainly seems as though evolution is leading ‘up’, not ‘down’. But where are the transfer particles? That is always the conundrum of a materialistic science, the necessity of a particle to fulfill mathematical predictions.

BTW I take serious issue with science-lovers who bash on religion-lovers as if they have the upper hand and don’t mind saying so—and frequently. Don’t be so cock-sure of yourselves. Science and religion are both ongoing processes, acknowledgment of that the only reasonable attitude. The conclusions you draw depend on your starting points. The other great unspoken debate—in my mind at least—is whether reality is built ‘up’ of material components or trickles ‘down’ from pure consciousness. The search continues…

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