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Nature or Nurture Travel Debate

Nature or Nurture Travel Debate #2

At the confluence of the 20th century, the entomologists, E.O. Wilson, realized that he could apply the methods of the biological sciences to the human creature in order to better understand human behavior, the role of culture, the idea of free will, and the repeated occurrences of phenomenon such as war, racism, and totalitarianism throughout history.
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Western New York State, USA, December 31, 2008
Travelogue Travel Photos — Travel Guide

He proposed ideas that went along the lines of the Genetic Leash, which states that human behavior and culture is formed on the basis of deeply ingrained and evolutionarily determined biological forces. They proposed that humans are not fully logical and self-determining creatures but are driven by the same instinctual imperatives as every other animal.

“Wilson defines sociobiology as “the systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior.” By applying the evolutionary principles that went a long way to explaining the behavior of the social insects to understanding the social behavior of other animals, including humans, Wilson established sociobiology as a new scientific field. He argued that all animal behavior, including that of humans, is the product of heredity and environmental stimuli and past experiences, and that free will is an illusion.” –E.O. Wilson

Photo of E.O.Wilson

The views of Wilson generally contrast against the idea of tabula rasa, or the blank slate theory. This notion of development stresses that humans come into the world without any prior instincts and that all behavior is learned from instruction and experience. This idea stresses that humans have a sense of free will that is separate from biology and that culture is founded on learned behavior and is not biologically pre-determined or influenced. “This idea holds that human beings are born without any innate mental content and that culture functions to increase human knowledge and aid in survival and success.” –Tabua Rasa

Aristotle sculpture

Where as the “Psychologist Donald Hebb is said to have once answered a journalist’s question of “which, nature or nurture, contributes more to personality?” by asking in response, “which contributes more to the area of a rectangle, its length or its width?” Nature versus Nurture

What do you think?

Do you think that humans are logically driven or biologically determined creatures?
Do you think that culture is the formation of human design or biological happenstance?
Does nature or nurture have a larger impact on human cultural development?

Please answer in the comments below.

Thank you for participating in this travel and culture debate.

Nature versus Nurture
Tabua Rasa
E.O. Wilson

Related Pages:
Travel Debate Forum
Debate Question #1- Can Culture be Wrong?

Links to previous travelogue entries:
Travel Information on the Internet Survey
Human Rights Violations in China
Traveling is Easy
Travel Information on the Internet

Nature or Nurture Travel Debate #2

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Filed under: Anthropology, Culture and Society

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3169 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Puketi Forest, New ZealandMap