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Nature vs. Nurture
By: Katie N., SNN Editor, Bishops College, St. John's, NF

Humans have a curiosity towards what shapes our behaviour. Scientists work for hours unlocking the intricate secrets of the mind. It has become a battle against nature. Through all the studies conducted one real truth has emerged; brains shape our behaviour and behaviour shapes our brain. Therefore it is like the age old question, ‘what came first the chicken or the egg?’ In turn what makes us who we are? Is it our genes or our environment?


Darwin discovered evolution, and ever since people have been trying to find the secret door to the mind. This was not something that society handled lightly. Evolution challenged religion and the principals that many societies existed around. Yet the idea was an advance that has shaped modern science today.

Social science began from the budding curiosity of Nazi’s and philosophers. Through all the work-conducted nature has been taken over by culture. Biology doesn’t hold the secrets of language, why we enjoy games or feelings. Rather what it can do is explain how an environment shapes us.

Our behaviour is a record that was created from our ancestors’ experiences. Traits form from past experiences of other generations. For instance fat was needed to be stored in order to get a person through famine. Now a day this isn’t needed in a modern society, yet it still occurs. This trait has become the reason for mass heart failure in fast food heaven. Biology shapes impulses and our aptitudes, yet it isn’t a single factor, there is always room for changes. In this world free will exists, therefore biology cannot be the only force that shapes us. There is no real answer to what ultimately shapes us. There is no real answer to what shapes us for it all depends on perspective.

A good website that talks about darwinism and evolution is called the Evolution Website which features audio clips of Randal Keynes, Darwin's great-great-grandson, talking about Darwin.

If “biology is destiny and free will an illusion”then science can be used to control our every move. Whether we believe this or oppose it, it determines our destiny. For the truth is only what you perceive to be real. (Cowley, 1995, p52).

Cowley, G. (1995, March 27). It’s time to rethink nature and nurture. Newsweek, Pg. 52-53

Evolution Website, (2001, February 3). [Online]. Available: Evolution Website

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