Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Nature Versus Nurture

I once did a course on psychology (child development). At O level, which tells you how long ago it was. What I remember is that there was a debate about whether behaviour was innate, or whether it was down to environment. The famous nature/nurture debate. If I remember correctly, a guy called John Bowlby reckoned that we are genetically programmed to behave in a certain way, while another guy called Piaget believed that this had little to do with it. It was how you were brought up that made a difference.

After a while, a consensus emerged that we are a culmination of the effects of nurture upon our natural tendencies.

The word, "Nurture" tends to have positive connotations. If someone is nurturing, they are caring, giving, motherly, etc. But in a sense, it's actually neutral. If all the flowers in my garden die, because I haven't bothered to water them, this is as much down to the way I've nurtured them as if they've flourished after I've lavished attention upon their every need.

But what does this have to do with the Whole Damn World???

I suppose it comes down to James Lovelock, and his idea of the World being a living organism (in a sense)

Since we have to power to influence it's development, we have become it's "parents", or at least it's stewards.

But it also does what it does because of forces beyond human control.

So it's also to do with Climate Change Deniers.

I've watched the arguments used by them change over the years, from "Global Warming isn't happening" to "Yes OK, it is happening, but it's a natural process, so we can't/shouldn't do anything about it"

Lately, I've seen that modified in a couple of places I go to online to "Climate Change is happening, and humans are having some effect, but the vast majority of it is natural", and even "Climate change may be happening, and humans may have something to do with this, but it's a good thing, because we will be able to grow crops further north"


They also attempt to misrepresent those that think that AGW is happening as believing that nature has no effect at all, which is ironic given where they, en masse, have come from.

But at least even those who wish not to believe are showing some sign of changing their position.

I suppose this is something to nurture.

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