Реферат: Biological Determinism Essay Research Paper Biological Determinism1

Biological Determinism Essay, Research Paper

Biological Determinism

1. According to the author of the article “All in the Genes?”, there is no

intrinsic causality between genetics and intelligence. The author analyses

different aspects of biological determinism, and supplies many examples, which

illustrate aspects of this problem that are being discussed since the time

when these ideas became popular. He does not agree with biological determinist

that the intellectual performance of a person depends on genes inherited from

his parents. There are a lot of different theories about intellectual

capabilities. All these theories reflect different points of views, depending on

the period of time the authors of these theories lived.

The author argues for the theory that in the nineteenth century,

artificial barriers in social hierarchy prevented people from achieving higher

intellectual performance. In the end of XX century, in most places these

barriers were removed by the democratic processes, and nothing artificial can

stand between the natural sorting process and social status of the people. These

changes can not be considered as historical because the age of democracy is just

two hundred years, and the time when inequality between classes and between

people was a natural situation is almost as long as the history of the world.

The author insists that there is no connection between environmental

differences and genetics. In support of his idea the author state that any

Canadian student can perform better in mathematics than some ancient professors

of mathematics. The author comes to the conclusion that changes in a cultural

environment are the main factor that determines level of intellectual

performance, not inherited combination of parent’s genes. He argues that

genetic differences that appear in one environment may easily disappear in

another. A theory that twins were raised in different social conditions will

have the same level of intellectual performance because identical genetics

constitution was used by the ideologist of biological determinism. The author

rejects this theory because from his point of view, all these cases cannot be

considered as always reliable on a close look, in most cases, twins were

raised by the members of the same family or in other words, not in a diametrical

opposite level of society. The author believes that there is no convincing

measure of the role of genes in influencing human behavioural variation.

During the argumentation of questions of biological determinism, the

author supports his idea with numerous examples. He gives examples of supporters

of bio determinism and outlines that these examples are not reliable. One of the

fallacies of biological determinism is the result of IQ testing. According to

some scientist only 20% of performance depend on environment and other 80%

depend on genetic variations. The author state that this is completely

fallacious because there is no connection between the variation that can be

ascribed as genetic differences and whether an IQ performance was affected by

environment and by how much. IQ measures little more than a person’ s ability

to take a test. Scores increase dramatically as a person is trained or

familiarised with a test. It means that an IQ level does not depend on the

intellectual abilities of parents but on the manner of studying and preparation

that can be considered as environmental changes.

For the author, there is a casual relationship between genetic and

environmental differences. He gives us an example of a fruitflies with more

bristles under the wing on the left side than on the right side. He says that

these differences are caused by random chances of cell during growth and

development and that every organism is a unique combination of genes and

environmental random chances. Another fallacy can be illustrated by the

statement provided by the author, which is built on the ideology of biological

determinism: “... if most of the variation in, say, intelligence among

individuals is a consequence of variation among their genes, then manipulating

the environment will not make much differences”. The author argues that the

proportion of variation in genes is not fixed properly, but one that varies from

environment to environment. So, the author of the article provides many examples

and rejects the fact that the intelligence is only affected by genes.

2.We can characterises the ideology of biological determinism as an

explanation of social, cultural and physical inadequacy among people based on

their inborn biological differences, which are passed along from parents to

children. Scientists who support the theory of biological determinism insist

that all people differ in their fundamental abilities because of some innate

differences, such as genetic constitution. This ideology of genetic inequality

states that there is a bridge between racial genetic constitution and the size

of the brain. Many scientists believe that the evaluations of people’s brain

sizes correspond to a person’s intellectual ability. Samples of skulls from

around the world confirmed Western European supremacy. The “scientists” in

pursuit of studies such as biological determinism always failed to clarify how

typical these skulls were of their respective populations. Simple selection of

skulls easily biased results, without a scientist necessarily realising his own

subjectivity. The theory of biological determinism appeared primarily to

legitimate forms of social inadequacy and control. Such ideas were the product

of industrial revolution, as well as cultural and ideological.

Some ideologies of biological determinism assert that sophisticated

behaviour is not taught, but develops automatically. There is a difference

between mankind and animal’s behaviour. For example, child learns how to speak

his first words under the influence of the parents or relatives, but a child

who is raised in an isolated environment cannot communicate in a normal way. We

can conclude from this example that a child begins to speak not because of

genetic variations of his or her parents, but because of the environment he is

located in. History knows the cases when a child was raised among animals, but

his human’s inherited genetic constitution did not influence his intellectual


The fact that so many oriental children do well seems to be more of a

nurture/environmental reason rather than a nature/genetic reason. Their parents

may have come from villages with little or no chance of an education. When they

migrate to the West, many, as a result of conflict such as the Vietnam war,

brought their ideologies with them. But they may not have the higher

intelligence as an innate ability, so therefore neither would their children.

This is an example to show that in some cases nature can affect the way nurture

rules your life, and it is completely controverts the ideology of biological


Another author’s example that contradicts the theory of biological

determinism is Wilson’s disease, which causes suffering from inability of

detoxify to cooper, which is an example of a genetic disorder. A few centuries

ago people with such behaviour could not be considered fully functional.

However, because of achievements of modern medicine, a treatment for these

genetic disorders was found, and just by taking a pill, such a genetic disorder

can be eliminated. Today we do not accept people with genetic inability

because these people are different from us, but tomorrow they will be full

members of our society.

3.From my point of view, biological determinism does not have a direct

bridge to social inequality and political control. In my opinion, intelligence

is shaped by a mixture of genes and environmental influence. The question, is

whether all people have approximately the same capacity to think and to work.

But it is not appropriate question to ask. The question should be, whether all

people are motivated by the same things? Given the cases consider, the answer is

“no”. This is an important distinction. Every one of us has different

surroundings which in one way or another shapes our perceptions of social

reality. Rules of the society where we live can tell each of us to act a given

way in certain situations. Our nature is our genetic endowment. It determines

our basic physical appearance: our hair and eye colour, etc. It determines the

types of emotions and motivations we can experience. We have different inner

responses to different environments. However, our genes depend on the

environment to fill in the missing details. So, if we are genetically

predisposed to become agitated in a crowded setting, but we never experience

such an environment, we will not have this genetic behaviour. We cannot tell

whether that people in our society are distinct from each other because of

those unexpressed innate differences. No two people are motivated by the same

experience; that’s why we are so different. There is no doubt that our

achievements in a society are predominated by our own contribution to any

business and how much effort we put to it. It requires 100 % contribution in

order to achieve the deserved result. In every layer of society we can

encounter cases when individuals are raised above the average because of the

level of their intellectual ability, but not because their parents were rich

and famous.

One historical example that contradicts the theory of biological

determinism is a the world famous scientist Albert Einstein. Jewish immigrant

from Germany, he was not rich, his parents were not professors or politicians.

Because of his significant intellectual power, he became famous all around the

world. And even after his death, his brain was taken by a scientist who tried to

figure out what was the difference between him and the rest of us. Nothing

unusual in his brain was found. This specific example contradicts the theory of

biological determinism. Einstein’s innate capacities were not transmitted from

generation to generation biologically. Thus is his efforts made him famous and

acceptable through the world. Thus is his contribution to science could give him

a control and a power, if he desired it.

Yes, Einstein was in some way different from others. What can it be? If

we assume that all individuals were raised in the same environmental condition,

such as family, school and neighbourhood, than the differences between them and

others can be explained by the genetic constitution, but it still does not mean

that this genetic constitution was 100% inherited from their parents. From my

point of view, these genetic differences can be explained only by the random

combination of genes. I think it can not be explained by any logical way or by

genetic science but only as a result of play of nature. The best proof of

this idea can be that after all of successes in the field of genetic science,

there is still no any remedies that can let to produce smart children. Another

example that contradicts a theory of biological determinism, that we do not live

by our natural, instinctual, primitive way because we do not live, as primitive

animals do in nature. Civilisation is a subversion of nature. In a global

contest there is a huge amount of examples when people whose parents did not

have any money or power, achieved the higher level of power. For example

Napoleon, a son of the ordinary people, citizen of Corsica, just with the help

of his intellectual power he became the first person in the France. He did not

inherit any imperious qualities from his parents, but he manages to become an

imperator. We can say that his existence causes the death and starvation of

millions people during the wars that he had. What can be the best proof of the

power when person’s desire for control decides for people to die or to live?

History knows an example where it is not innate abilities bring people

to the power and control. A monster of the 20th century came to the power that

responsible for the World War II. Anything is known about Hitler’s sadistic

behaviour or harmful acts in his childhood. Hitler’s hate came from the fact

that he was an outsider who did not belong anywhere, who never found a safe and

secure place in a society. The environment he lived in, the unfairness of German

society, the crisis in his family made him mad and furious This is an influence

of a society made him a bloody criminal of the 20th century. Hitler’s

remarkable power as a speaker and the will to the revenge made him a very good

orator that helped him to lead the masses. Hitler and Napoleon had inner

responses in different ways to different environment. No one can assume that a

hunger for a domination and an authority came to them with their mothers’ blood.

Therefore, there is no bridge between biological determinism of innate

capacities and a desire of people with a power to invade and kill the innocent

population. Our genes encode only what they need to, to conserve genetic

material. The rest of the detail is left for the environment to fill in.

4.For thousands of years humans ask the question of their “human” nature.

They have attempted to find themselves in relation to the animal kingdom.

The quest for knowledge is universal in Frankenstein: It is well-known

that the scientific revolution of 17th centuries initiated a profound

intellectual upheaval in western thought that replaced the philosophical

universe of Aristotle and the Middle Ages with the new infinitary and

mechanistic universe of Copernican astronomy and Galilean-Newtonian physics.

And this new mechanistic universe dominated western thought until the early

years of the 20th century-shaping almost all aspects of the further development

of western culture and setting the stage, for the revolutionary scientific

developments of the present century.

The scientific revolution that resulted in the new mechanistic universe

of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton also resulted in an equally profound upheaval

in the development of western medicine. In Science and Literature in the

Nineteenth Century Mary Shelley’s theme of scientific interference with the

fundamental mysteries of life makes Frankenstein the prototype of numerous works

of science fiction. She creates the typical representative of her time.

Frankenstein is a great medical scholar, exaggeration of Shelley’s simple

student. A “Frankenstein Effect,” the suite of moral and ethical problems

encountered when man tries to improve our nature.

The monster, being a sort of matter duplication of Victor, has a

physical and psychic link with his creator. If the monster is wounded, Victor

also gets the same wound.

This transforms the story from its usual allegory of the relationship of

God and Man to one of the two sides of a single person’s personality.

I do think that Frankenstein’s monster can be considered as a product

of theory of biological determinism. Biological determinism states that

intellectual abilities are enclosed in us by genes inherited from parents.

The main idea of Victor Frankenstein, was a creation of some kind of

machine or robot, which, like we assume, does not have any genes background and

therefore, according to the theory of biological determinism, does not have any

intellectual future. Despite this assumption, a monster begins to show the sign

of the intellect, he tries to get knowledges, and it means that something going

on with him. This something changes his intellectual structure, shifting him

from the animal state to the human being. If we follow the ideas of biological

determinism, it should be nonsense: Monster does not have any intellectual

background. He does not even have parents.

But in fact, happened something opposite, according to the book, the

monster very much wants to stimulate his intellect and has a great desire for

knowledge. He eagerly listens the humans’ discussion and teachings and he revels

in finding some books: ”The possession of these treasures gave me extreme

delight; I now continually studied and exercised my mind upon these histories.

Just like his creator at the beginning of the narrative, he is thirsty for

knowledge and reads everything that he can lay his hands on.

The artificial man is put in a number of situations where one would

expect a human being to react in one way and a machine or construct in another.

The monster that Frankenstein creates has all of human society against him from

the start. Wee see Shelly’s intentions to show that monster and his behaviour

reflect the image of our society, where humans are not very kind to each other

and not to mention how they treat somebody who is not human or looks repulsive.

The monster or the people that he tries to be friend with and who consistently

refuse his offers of friendship on the basis of his appearance. We see the

author’s intentions to show comparisons between the monster and other people.

She illustrates the presence of human’s characteristics that are traditionally

thought to be defining characteristics for a monster.

The monster did very human thing when he risked his own life and saved

a young girl who has fallen into a rapid river. We see than a monster has very

negative impression about a society he meets, but despite of that, he has very

good intentions to contact a human race. However, the influence of a society

makes him depressed and dissatisfied with his life situation. “The feelings of

kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before gave

place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth. Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal

hatred and vengeance to all mankind.” Having come this far, one might be

forgiven for wondering which is the most ”human” the monster or the people

that he tries to be friend and who consistently refuse his offers of friendship

solely on the basis of his appearance. Therefore, from author’s intentions and

Frankenstein motivations we can tell that the monster is a by-product of the

theory of biological determinism.


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