A Lost Debate! (Nature versus nurture)

What do you usually do when you lose your temper? Do you cry, shout and scream? Do you become more violent towards people or objects? Do you isolate yourself or drink alcohol? Or do you simply let it go and forgive? What causes your behavior? What makes people different?

A dispute between philosophers has evolved over the years in an attempt to respond to this question. The answers were limited to nature (impact of traits that you are born with), nurture (impact of environment and society that surround you) or a combination of the two.

A major flaw in the nature/ nurture debate is degrading and belittling humans by negating the significance of freewill. If our behavior is a product of our anatomy, environment or a combination of these acting together, this means that we are compelled and forced to act the way we do and we are left with no choice. Thus, downgrading humans to machines and all the good virtues and deadly sins become equal, and therefore irrelevant, as they are not the product of choice. In that respect, we should not punish a perpetrator or credit a scholar, as both didn’t choose their inherited genes or the environment they have been raised in. They are programmed to do what they have done. Have you ever punished a computer for crashing or rewarded it for finishing a certain task?

Despite the advancement of scientific research and its intriguing findings, it is clear that the debate, throughout the years, has ignored the possibility of the existence of the soul that may override both the biological and environmental impact on human behavior.  Indeed, metaphysics is beyond the realm of science, but this does not mean that it is insignificant.

In conclusion, while we are witnessing a breakthrough in the evolution of science, in the advent of the 21st century, the nature/nurture argument has not been settled yet. In my view, the nature/nurture debate will never be resolved since biology and the environment may determine our abilities but freewill determines what we do with them. This freewill is driven by our souls, which cannot be revealed by science. To simplify my view, imagine that our bodies are like cars manufactured with specific shapes, colors and motor abilities that affect speed and stability (nature). Meanwhile, the type of petrol and maintenance provided alter their performance throughout the years (nurture). However, it is the driver who chooses to go in this direction or that, at what speed, and whether or not to abide by traffic laws.


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