Nature vs Nurture
We know that genes contribute, but we don’t know how much
That’s a really good question. So we know that genes contribute, but we don’t know how much, that’s exactly the point: we don’t know the extent to which genes control, for example, intelligence, and to my mind I don’t see how we can ever possibly know that. How can we ever do a trial with all else being equal? You’re going to be affected by the environment, you’re going to be affected by thepeople around you, by your parents, by the weather, everything is going to affect the way that your genes manifest themselves. So scientists or people in the government who say right, intelligence is 80% genetic and 20% your teacher, there’s no way that we can actually ascertain that and, even if it was, what could we do with that information? We’re still not going to…can you imagine a world where we say OK, you’ve got eight out of ten in your intelligence gene so you’re going to go in this classroom and we’re going to give you the best teacher. Or would you give the best teacher to the people who only have four out of ten in their intelligence gene?
So it’s just a tricky way of trying to define the world. Genetics is so important to know where we came from and what our potential is, but it absolutely doesn’t stop us from going past it, or mean we’re going to meet it. We just don’t know exactly what other influences are going to affect it.