So are we born this way? Or Made? Are We Created or Nurtured? Is Aggression Inherited? Is Genius Born?
This is a never-ending debate, the ancient and yet very current discussion of nature vs nurture. Galton in 1874 defines the two as:
a convenient jingle of words, for it separates under two distinct heads the innumerable elements of which personality is composed. Nature is all that a man brings with himself into the world; nurture is every influence that affects him after his birth (English Men of Science: Their Nature and Nurture)
In simple terms it is how much of our behaviour is pre-determined by genes, and how much is the effect of our environment during development. So let us look at both sides of the argument:
I was born this way! Nature is King and Genes Rule!
It is well known that genes predetermine physical characteristics – eye colour, hair colour, skin colour and so much more. Actually, on this side of the argument, we believe in Behavioural genes, and we believe that we are totally born this way. On this side of the fence, we believe for example, that aggression is inherited.
There are several studies that suggest that there are genes that predispose aggressive behaviour. In 2008, Burt & Mikolajewski found that there was a genetic influence on anti-social behaviour in adolescents. Moreover, their findings “offer preliminary evidence that the genetic processes underlying aggressive and nonaggressive antisocial behaviour may be (at least partially) distinct”. So it must be true…Hang On, Lets head over to the nurture side first!
It’s all about how you grew up, Darling. A 4 letter language does not define me!
On the other side of the fence, we have the nurture debate. On this side, it is not that genes do not pre-dispose or influence your behaviour, but that, ultimately it does not matter. Simply put, that behaviour is about how you are bought up. A classic example is classical conditioning, A great example that comes to mind is Pavlov’s dogs. In his experiments, a buzzer was sounded when the dogs were presented with food, every single time. After a while, the dogs salivated to hearing the buzzer without being presented with food. So they were taught to salivate in response to the buzzer. Several studies including the controversial little Albert experiments of John Watson (who using classical conditioning basically gave a child a phobia of a white rat) point to the power of the environment on our behaviour.
So, So, which side is right? The BioBeast Nature x Nurture Equation
Personally, I think both are right after all genes are obviously playing a part, but so does the environment. It is a scary world where genes are given precedence, Eugenics is not an old idea. It is the idea that you can improve the genetic quality of humans, it may sound nice to some, but what do you think Hitler was doing?
It is a very reductionist view to say either one dominates. The truth is a lot more interesting, When the Human Genome Project was started the world thought that was it no more secrets, instead we discovered that our own behaviour and our own environment can cause changes in how our genes work and that in itself is a whole new science called Epigenetics. The study of how our behaviour and our environment can cause changes that affect how our genes function. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change our DNA sequences. Add this to the fact that the mother’s feelings and environment have permanent effects on their children, and we suddenly get it – We are the product of the interaction between our genes and our environment.
In other words, it’s actually Nature x Nurture and not Nature v Nurture!
So what that means is that if we know our genes, and we optimise our environment, we can achieve everything, from packing on muscle to losing weight, to achieving every dream and goal and desire you want. You can Unleash Your Awesome, and that is the core of the BioBeast Method, we optimise the Nature x Nurture Equation, We unleash the secrets of your body, discovering your own SNPs, and continuously track and measure your progress using the Fitness 4.0 Kit, tailor your training to your fitness goals and optimise your nutrition.
In closing, I would like to share an interesting story I came across, apparently nature vs. nurture was a debate started in thirteenth-century France. A manuscript of a story called Silence by Heldriss of Cornwall was found in the 1990s. It mentions the story of a girl, who was bought up as a boy and excelled against her peers in all the “male” pursuits of the day including wrestling. Throughout the book both Nature and Nurture act as allegorical personas. In the beginning, the debate for the heroine’s allegiance, and in the end on who is the real Author of a person.
Personally, the fact we even debate these points shows how we are a product of the interaction. How the environment plays a role in our genetic story, and how we can unleash our inner awesome.