Nurture vs. Nature

In the debate that goes on between nurture vs. nature, we often forget that “culture is a part of reality too“.

As for violence in women, it is not something I have never encountered. Does anyone believe, however, that coincidence alone accounts for the fact that nearly all crimes involving bloodshed are committed by men? That only little boys play at war? And that it is men, almost exclusively, who wage war and sometimes find pleasure in it? This tendency, you will say, is a matter of nurture as much as, or even more than, of nature. Perhaps it is, but what difference does that make? I have never said that feminity and masculinity were exlusively biological. Sexual difference is too important and too ubiquitous to be explainable without reference to both our bodies and our education, to both culture and nature. Culture is a part of reality too.

There is a tendency to think that since it isn’t biological, it is easily changeable. It is perhaps time, for most of us, to think again.

The recent controversy over the cartoons of Muhammad can be used as one such example that nurture can have as tight a grip on how we behave as does nature.

Religion is a product of society. We are not born biologically Islamic, or Christian, or Jewish. A Chinese boy born into a Muslim family will take up the religion of his adopted family.

By the time he is old enough to know what religion is, the demands of his environment make it difficult, if not impossible, to change his religious beliefs.

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