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Nature or Nurture?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I was just reading through the posts in that 'Jamie Bulger' thread that had been resurrected and was surprised to find that some people believe that we are born as clean slates and are only influenced by what we learn.

In my own opinion, I believe a lot of our personalty is pre-determined and we are also influenced by our experiences as we grow.

I mean, everyone starts off as individuals with their own type of personality and even if we are raised and treated the same way as others, we still deal differently with the same issues and are affected differently by different things.

What do the rest of you think about this?

Going back to the Jamie Bulger case... his murderers truly were evil and probably still are. They actually cut off his balls and shoved them in his mouth and shoved a battery up his anus and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

These are the parts of the terrible crime that the media cannot tell us.

But what we did hear in the media made us think this little boy had suffered terribly and we didn't even get to hear it all.

What makes me cry is the thought that this innocent little boy would've been crying for his mummy and daddy while these evil little swines tortured him. If they were normal 10 year olds they wouldn't have taken bullying this far.

Anyway, back to the point... these brothers have siblings that were probably raised and treated the same way as they were and they didn't go out and do stuff like that. So nature or nurture?

Did they learn to be evil, or were their personalities pre-determined to be evil?

I know people that have treated all their kids equally and have been excellent parents and two of their kids have turned out to be complete and utter ass holes as adults, whereas their other 3 are really nice.

I myself have had a shit childhood but it didn't make me evil. And some people have a loving upbringing and turn out to be the evilest b*stards that ever existed.

So come on peeps? What do you all think about this? Born evil or learn evil, or both?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    I went to Uni in Liverpool, all I can say is it doesn't surprise me it happened there.

    As for personality, I would side with nurture being the key component as to how it is determined, but not rule out nature as being a contributing factor. For example, take a 1 day old Rottweiler puppy, wriggling around and looking all cute and fluffy. If that puppy goes to an owner who's an evil bastard and mistreats it, locks it up, beats it, trains it to be aggressive etc, etc then that dog will be a danger of the child-face-chewing variety. The nuture the dog receives will bring out the natural aggressiveness it already has to every situation, to be in an almost perpetual state of aggression as the dog knows no different.

    On the other hand, if the dog goes to a home of dog lovers who know how to train and raise them, to teach the dog obedience and even social skills than the dog will grow up to feel and be part of that family, and any aggressive tendencies will be chanelled to appropriate situations, ie; defense of property and person while on that property. Thus the dog is an angel until someone breaks into the house and then it's back to face chewing time.

    I use Rottweilers as an example because I grew up with them and know a fair bit about their psychology. As another example the first Rottweiler we got was from a home as he had been mis-treated and abandonded by his original owner, it was a challenge intergrating him into the household as he had some very bad habits, but you CAN teach an old dog new tricks and he responded well to all the love we gave him and ended up the perfect pet.

    Only users lose drugs
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree with what you are saying regarding dogs, but I think that the human brain is way more complex than that of a dog.

    I do agree that our environment and experiences affect our personalities, but we are born with something there in the first place. Whether it is to do with genes inherited at conception or our reaction to life in the womb, who knows?

    I believe that our personality that we are born with determines how we will deal with certain issues and experiences in life.

    Maybe its something to do with the stars <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt;

    I try to stay pretty open minded about it all anyway which is why I take a pretty ecclectic view on life.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    Fair enough, I was just using dogs as an easy example.

    To continue the theme on Rottweilers, I think they do have a mean streak bred into them that has nothing to do with the way they are raised, purely down to the intensive inbreeding that creates their distinctiveness to start with.

    So yes, in some way genes do act to influence personality, possibly at a bio-chemical level within the various areas of the brain. There is so much we don't understand about brain functioning and gene interaction that it is entirely possible there is a matrix of specific and related genes that can act to increase or decrease aggression, confidence, friendliness etc, etc.

    I don't think they could act to influence the morality of a person though, morals and ethics are artificially created concepts. Sociological factors are more important here, the environment, parents, peers etc. Moulding the raw material if you like.

    Just to add to the confusion, environmental factors have been shown to influence the expression of genes within some organisms, so there could well be a feedback between genes and the environment that can magnify or reduce how certain characteristics are expressed within an induvidual.

    Only users lose drugs
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hmmmm, lots to consider there.

    I agree with you to an extent about morals.

    I definitely agree that morals are something that we are taught by our carers and by society. I mean, society hasn't always been the same and what wmay have been immoral 50 years ago can be totally acceptable nowadays.

    However, I do also think that some people are just too stupid to 'think' properly or too 'selfish' to care about how they treat others.

    For example: A mother raises her child properly. Loving and justly.

    The child grows up to become a mother and treats her kid and everyone else including her own mother like complete and utter crap.

    Her own siblings treat their own kids well, but this woman has not responded well to how she was raised. Maybe she's not as intelligent, maybe she's just plain selfish.

    What do you reckon? She must have been born this way, right?

    What do u think?


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Without doubt one can have a genetic predisposition to something, but one can also be trained to do things. Both nature and nurture have a role to play: the question is, to what extent?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If being evil or if criminal traits were genetic, Australia would be one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Just think how many convicts were sent out to those penal colonies (I hope thats the right spelling).

    If the media wasn't allowed to tell us those things how come you know?
    I am slightly sceptical of those facts and would like to know where you heard them.

    Forwards ever, Backwards never - Skive
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Skive and Dive. When u have relatives in the police u get to hear all kinds a stuff. believe me.
  • Girl-From-MarsGirl-From-Mars Mega Poster Posts: 2,822
    i think this is becoming a really interesting thread <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt;

    i would agree with you gwai that personality is a lot to do with nature rather than nurture. i mean, if a child has similiar traits to a parent, or a grandparent, that seems to be as if they have inherited this characteristic. i mean, im very similar to my mum's mum in a lot of ways, and this isnt because she was around a lot when i was growing up, because she lives in wales. so i would say thats a genetic thing. and i have similarites to my dad, which i guess could be either, but id be more inclined to say its genetic.

    everyone else has put things far more coherantly than i could at the mo, ill try again another time <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt;

    "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
    ~ Nietzsche
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    To summarise so far;- Personality would appear to be controlled by both nature (genetic inheritance) and nuture (sociological conditioning).

    How much does each contribute though?? I still think nuture will be the dominant influence, except in cases of genetic disorders. I think nuture can overturn the effects of "bad" genes far more readily than genes can overturn "bad" nuture. Going back to my Rottweiler example (I'm rapidly turning into the Rottweiler Advertising Board aren't I??), this is a breed of dog that does inherit aggressive tendancies through it's genes. Therefore, in terms of having the perfect non-aggressive pet, it can be said to inherit "bad" genes, a clear-cut case of nature influencing personality. However through good training and loving owners the aggressive tendancies can be overturned and put to a useful purpose.

    On the other hand if we take a Golden Retriever (a fairly non-aggressive breed) it would take a fair amount of abuse to turn it into a dangerously aggressive animal.

    Of course humans are a lot more complicated as we have developed concepts like culture and society, which actively influence us while we also act to influence them. I'm gonna go off on one now so stay with me!! *deep breath* I believe human genetics are getting increasingly complex and now covering a wider spectrum of possibilities. It used to be that we needed to be "fit for purpose", that is the genes we inherited were good for helping us to survive in the wild, fight with wolves, scavange on the plains, hunt down prey, avoid predators etc, etc. In most of the Western world these conditions no longer apply. No other species hunt us down anymore (apart from other humans), we don't need to go on a daily hunt for food etc. In short we can be entirely unfit to surive in the wild (think of someone who is diabetic and short-sighted, place them in the wild 100,000 years ago without the support of modern technology and see how long they live) but still make a successful living in todays modern world. Therefore genes that don't help us survive in the wild are now being passed on, and they are coding for a whole variety of things that wouldn't normally be seen in the human species. *deep breath*

    So with a whole variety of novel genes in the human species these could now be influencing the way we form our personalities, and indeed these could be recessive and skip generations, quote from Girl From Mars;- "im very similar to my mum's mum in a lot of ways, and this isnt because she was around a lot when i was growing up, because she lives in wales. "

    So what does all this mean?? I think genes do affect us maybe more than we realise, but their effects are very subtle, varied and inclined to skip generations. I also think that these novel genes will widen the spectrum of personalities and influence people to be more extreme in their personalities as well.

    I hope some of this makes sense to someone, somewhere, 'cos it's sure confusing me........
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by GwaiMui:
    Hi Skive and Dive. When u have relatives in the police u get to hear all kinds a stuff. believe me.

    I may have Schizophrenia but I am actualy only one person. Suspect my name is misleading - want to change it to Skive but don't want to lose no. of posts.

    Forwards ever, Backwards never - Skive
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Are you related to shake'n'bake, by any chance?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Karla:
    Are you related to shake'n'bake, by any chance?

    LOL!

    Forwards ever, Backwards never - Skive
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Karla:
    Are you related to shake'n'bake, by any chance?

    oh so witty

    ( <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/tongue.gif"&gt; j/k)

    Look into these tired eyes. See something you might recognise.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by GwaiMui:
    Hi Skive and Dive. When u have relatives in the police u get to hear all kinds a stuff. believe me.

    Doesn't mean it's true though. Think you'll find people exaggerating as a sort of kudos. People trying to make the crime sound worse that it really was - as if that is possible. I would be wary of these sort of rumours. Not saying that they aren't true, but just because it came from a policeman, doesn't mean it's the truth.

    After all it was the police who said the Liverpool fans had pickpocketed the Hillsborough victims, that they were all drunk, that they had urinated on the dead.

    As for the thread, no child is born evil. No child know right from wrong at birth, it is taught - like a language. However they may have a dominant gene which predisposes them to have certain emotions missing or suppressed. Doesn;t mean they will be criminals, just means they are more likely.
    Society has a bigger impact.

    "He's just a pimp, with a limp and some vaseline""
  • Girl-From-MarsGirl-From-Mars Mega Poster Posts: 2,822
    Originally posted by Lord of Little:
    I hope some of this makes sense to someone, somewhere, 'cos it's sure confusing me........

    yeah it makes sense to me <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt; ive just done A level biology, believe it or not, from my incoherent rambling posts! and genetics is something i enjoy and understand, so im not totally dense, despite the impression i managed to give by my last post lol...

    *holds her tongue in the direction of skive and his schizophrenia comment...*
    Originally posted by Man of Kent:
    However they may have a dominant gene which predisposes them to have certain emotions missing or suppressed. Doesn;t mean they will be criminals, just means they are more likely.

    that i agree with.

    "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
    ~ Nietzsche
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    Girl-From-Mars, good to see someone else on the board who'd understand my vague science-type monologues. Did you take any other science A-levels?? Are you gonna go on to Uni to study??

    I'd agree with MoK too, in fact he succintly summed up everything I'd said in a few lines.

    Maybe the genetically inheritable part of our personalities contributes to the "raw material", the whole range of personalities that we could end up with at birth. The nuture we receive after that narrows that range down until eventually we end up how we are now.



    Only users lose drugs
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Lord of Little:

    Girl-From-Mars, good to see someone else on the board who'd understand my vague science-type monologues. Did you take any other science A-levels?? Are you gonna go on to Uni to study??

    I'd agree with MoK too, in fact he succintly summed up everything I'd said in a few lines.

    Maybe the genetically inheritable part of our personalities contributes to the "raw material", the whole range of personalities that we could end up with at birth. The nuture we receive after that narrows that range down until eventually we end up how we are now.


    Spot on, genetics only form the template of a person. Your persona is formed by enviroment.

    A bit like a writing an essay using Word. You start off with a blank template but it's not until you add the text that you get the complete essay.


  • Girl-From-MarsGirl-From-Mars Mega Poster Posts: 2,822
    Originally posted by Lord of Little:

    Girl-From-Mars, good to see someone else on the board who'd understand my vague science-type monologues. Did you take any other science A-levels?? Are you gonna go on to Uni to study??

    <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt; yeah i took chemistry, im going to uni and am supposed to be studying biochemistry but ive changed my mind and want something with less chemistry in it! but i do like the genetics part of that. ill keep you updated on the future anyway, if i EVER decide what i want to do...

    "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
    ~ Nietzsche
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Girl-From-Mars:
    <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt; yeah i took chemistry, im going to uni and am supposed to be studying biochemistry but ive changed my mind and want something with less chemistry in it! but i do like the genetics part of that. ill keep you updated on the future anyway, if i EVER decide what i want to do...


    BioChem's hard, I remember the BioChem students at Uni always looking harassed in the library. I never could understand anything beyond basic principles of chemistry, that's why I chose Applied Bio in the end, it covered a lot of genetics and biotech (my real love in Bio) and kept me happy. Bio Med is another branch of Biology with less chemistry and more Physics, but almost entirely concentrates on human physiology so not much genetics there, but a useful subject nonetheless. Any ideas which Uni you'll be going for??

    Only users lose drugs
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I did Salters A level chemistry and A level physics, Computing and AS Maths. The science courses were the most challenging. Chemistry was real intresting but 2 years on I can hardly remember a thing about it. I did well but Uni didn't apeal. Good luck with Uni anyway. Where are you going?

    Forwards ever, Backwards never - Skive
  • Girl-From-MarsGirl-From-Mars Mega Poster Posts: 2,822
    urgh salters chem. yeah know it well.

    im going to cardiff.... im gonna have to look into the whole degree thing soon i think. i dont like ecology and crap like that, i prefer human biology. and physiology i find interesting. hmmmm i bet i could do some units of genetics and stuff with more human bio/physiology. i dont know what i want to do after uni, but i dont wanna go into medicine or anything like that. i dont have the patience (almost a bad pun) and im a little bit squeamish <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/tongue.gif"&gt;

    heh this has turned into a "what should i study at uni" post instead of gwai's original one, sorry gwai! but thanks guys, youve been helpful (dont stop now <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/tongue.gif"&gt; hehehe)

    "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
    ~ Nietzsche
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