Oh no, not again…! The research is back to one of our oldest human debates: Nature or Nurture? Only by our age, you and I can no longer get away with just a few handy theoretical answers.
We’re not in school anymore. This is the classroom-of-life so the world expects something more specific as to why you are what you are instead of all those might-have-been you’s you’re not. You’re probably not a gang member, a terrorist, or a Wall Street hustler; but at the same time you’re probably not a council member, a world leader, or a philanthropist.
Whatever you are, the biologists are once again back arguing the how and the why. And silly you , you thought the battle had been settled long ago.
Everyone agrees on this much — our genes aim us but our environment goes on to shape us. However, which does what and why? Lauren Brent of Duke University has just sent a shot over the Nurture bow by showing in her monkey research, “Behavior is not simply learned, but rather it can be affected by gene mutations.” This reaffirms the work of geneticist pioneer Seymour Benzer who argued as far back as the 1960s, “Specific gene mutations can be identified which relate to learning, hyperexcitiability, homosexually, and unusual circadian rhythms like my own which have made me wholly nocturnal.”
This month Eric Turkheimer of the University of Virginia pushed the Nature case one more giant leap for mankind, stating not only do genes play a role in this saga, but: “The first law of behavior genetics is that all human behavioral traits are heritable.”
Lock-and-load, biology fans, because these guys just kicked the hunt up a notch or two. Gays now have new ammunition! so do parents with hyper-charged kids! so does my nocturnal actress-wife who has never really gotten over her career in which you come to life in the night then sleep in the day.
Oh wait! Some theologians might also find some new ammunition here. Say, in the case of Calvin’s “predestination” and the Vatican’s “original sin.” Yep, there’s plenty to argue whether you prefer doing it when the sun is up or the moon is high. Just remember to bring ALL your genes to the argument.
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