I'm pretty convinced (from the value of my many years on this planet. Which is really a nice way of saying I'm freaking old) that the concept of nature verses nurture is not an either/or proposition. I'm more of a proponent of evolutionary anthropology & psychology. Put basically, as humans we do what we do AND are what we are because over the evolution of time we've found that what we do and what we are works.
From the Washington State University graduate program in Evolutionary Anthropology:
"Evolutionary anthropology may be defined as the comparative and historical study of the culture, genes, morphology, and behavior of humans and other primates conducted within an evolutionary framework. Evolutionary anthropologists use the conceptual and analytical tools of evolutionary biology to address questions such as:
- Why do diurnal primates live in groups, and why has the size of human groups tended to expand through time?
- How has climate change affected human biological and cultural evolution?
- What impact has culture had on human biological evolution? In what ways does culture extend the properties of biology?
- Why do male hunters share the meat they obtain; how do sharing arrangements for other goods and services evolve; and how are they maintained?
- Why are some people able to drink milk while others get sick if they consume dairy products?
- How can models of culture change be simulated? "
Adding my own questions:
- What traits do women look for in a mate and why?
- Where does altruism play in my life and why?
- Why do children tend to look like their fathers at birth?
I have a several other questions that I'd wanted answered. Applying evolutionary anthropological theories has helped to solidify my thoughts on why we do what we do as humans. Then other times I throw my hands up in the air and declare; "They are effing crazy!"
I never really gave this concept a lot of thought until I took a course in college titled Evolutionary Anthropology (it was part of my minor in anthro).
There are some great books and articles written about this subject but my favorite is Human Evolutionary Psychology. So if you are at all interested pick it up. Don't be intimidated by the title or the fact that it is a textbook. It is written in a very down to earth way.
Okay, class over. (can you tell that I'm getting into teacher mode? assigning textbooks and such?) Can you tell I hang out with historians and anthropologists for fun? Do you think I need a new set of friends?
Check out how others have address the topic of nature vs. nurture over at Sprite's Keeper.