Matt Ridley zu Nature vs. Nurture

In seinem Buch „The Red Queen“ gibt Matt Ridley eine kurze Einführung in seine Gedanken zu „Nature vs. Nurture“ (S. 172):

This chapter begins to follow the logic of these arguments into the heart of human behavior: Those who think this unjustified on the grounds that human beings are unique usually advance one of two arguments: that in humans everything about behavior is learned, and nothing is inherited; or inherited behavior is inflexible behavior, and human beings are clearly flexible. The first argument is an exaggeration, the second false: A man does not experience lust because he learned it at his father ’s knee; a person does not feel hunger or anger because she was taught it. They are human nature: We are born with the potential to develop lust, hunger, and anger. We learn to direct hunger at hamburgers, anger at delayed trains, and lust at the object of our affection—when appropriate: So we have „changed “ our “ nature. “ Inherited tendencies permeate everything we do, and they are flexible. There is no nature that exists devoid of nurture; there is no nurture that develops without nature: To say otherwise is like saying that the area of a field is determined by its length but not its width. Every behavior is the product of an instinct trained by experience:

The study of human beings remained resolutely unreformed by these ideas until a few years ago: Even now, most anthropologists and social scientists are firmly committed to the view that evolution has nothing to tell them: Human bodies are products of natural selection; but human minds and human behavior are products of “ culture, “ and human culture does not reflect human nature, but the reverse. This restricts social scientists to investigating only differences between cultures and between individuals— and to exaggerating them. Yet what is most interesting to me about human beings is the things that are the same, not what is different—things like grammatical language, hierarchy, romantic love, sexual jealousy, long-term bonds between the genders ( „marriage,“ in a sense).

These are trainable instincts peculiar to our species and are just as surely the products of evolution as eyes and thumbs.‘

Das ist meiner Meinung nach ein ganz wesentlicher Punkt: In vielen Bereichen bildet die Biologie die Grundlage des menschlichen Verhaltens, die durch Kultur ausgestaltet werden kann, aber nicht beliebig umgestaltet werden kann. Sie kann in bestimmte Richtungen entwickelt werden, aber das erfordert eben eine gewisse Mühe um so eher es von der Grundlage abweicht. Was gleichzeitig zur Folge haben würde, dass sich die biologischen Grundlagen gerade dann zeigen, wenn die Gesellschaft relativ frei ist.