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Nature Vs. Nuture

             No change in circumstances can repair a defect of character. Ralph Waldo Emerson One of the great controversial debates in Psychology is determining if characteristics and behavior are primarily due to genetics or the environment. We can now readily accept that genes determine our eye color, height, blood type, and other biological factors. Do these same genes that determine anatomy also determine our tendency towards traits such as violence, homosexuality or alcoholism? Some Psychologists, such as Freud, will argue that the home environment is primarily responsible for molding personality, while others cry genotype. There have been countless studies to find out if our destiny is written in our genes or determined by circumstance. Attempting to ascertain whether people are genetically programmed to be good-natured or prone to violence, sober or alcoholic, homosexual or heterosexual has perplexed man since the beginning of history. Nature vs. nurture purists believe that we are either molded entirely by our surroundings or our genetic make-up, however, it is not necessarily so black and white. Characteristics such as homosexuality, alcoholism, and violence are determined by both environmental and genetic factors. Nature or nurture? The media reports numerous acts of violence every day, for example, in 1998, a 15-year-old boy in a small Oregon town took a gun to school one day and randomly opened fire on a crowded cafeteria. Was this horrific act a product of nurture or nature? This individual was supposedly raised in a loving, supportive, two-parent home with a strong moral upbringing, yet his obsession with weapons and violence may have led to this tragedy. It is possible that Kip Kinkle was exposed to a great deal of violence on television and in the media, but it is also likely that, due to a glitch in his "mainframe", he was predisposed to violence, hence the attraction to it.

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