Nature Verse Nurture

August 25, 2010 โ€” Genetics, aka nature, plays the dominant role in predicting most aspects of your life, in my estimation.

Across every dimension in life your genes are both a glass ceiling--preventing you from reaching certain heights--and a cement foundation--making it unlikely you'll hit certain lows. How tall/short you will be, how smart/dumb you will be, how mean/nice you will be, how popular/lonely you will be, how athletic/clumsy, how fat/skinny, how talkative/quiet, how long/short you'll live, and so forth.

By the time you are born, your genes, place of birth, year of birth, parents--they're all set in stone, and the constraints on your life are largely in place. That's an interesting thought.

Nurture plays a huge role in making you, of course. Being born with great genes is irrelevant if you are malnourished, don't get early education, etc. But nurture cannot overcome nature. Our DNA is not at all malleable and no one knows if it ever will be. Nonetheless, it makes no sense to complain about nature. It is up to you to make the most of your starting hand. On the other hand, let us not be quick to judge others. I make that mistake a lot.

I think the bio/genome field will be the most interesting industry come 2025 or so.


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