Nature or Nurture?

This article has been distributed previously to friends and family but the mariner feels it is worth the attention of other readers of the blog.

Bundle all the atrocities since Columbine. Include the hurricanes and flooding, all the people that choose repeatedly to live and die in river flood zones, all the shootings, all the bombs. Throw in another 30,000 deaths by hand guns each year. And another 30,000 killed in automobile accidents. Go overseas and add in 1,000,000 dead in the wars in Bosnia, the Middle East and Africa and the dead by starvation. Top the number off with small wars, drug deaths and suicides.

Retreating further back in history would quickly exceed 100,000,000 deaths. Not a big number compared to the human population of 7 billion (7,000,000,000). Are a million deaths to humans comparable to say, friendly fire deaths in a war? Oops, didn’t mean to kill that one hundred million – just got caught in the cross fire of history; wrong time, wrong place, you know.

How much is nature and how much is nurture? The answer is both complex and simple depending on how the case is made.

The complex argument occurs if the list is sorted into categories; which are mostly nature, which are mostly nurture? Maybe some are neither nature nor nurture. Once the categories are sorted, a second look suggests many can’t logically be separated.

Some wag will call on secondary causes like economics and supply and demand. Other wags will blame everything on the chaos theory, sort of like the assassination of King Ferdinand started WW I. Or Iraq had nuclear weapons. That damned butterfly in Africa has sure caused a lot of catastrophes.

Let’s make it simple. Human beings are extremely intelligent predator apes. Our nearest relative is the chimpanzee (98% identical DNA). Chimpanzees will hunt other species of monkeys, trap one, and literally tear the monkey apart. Sometimes the chimps eat the carcass, sometimes not. Actually, that sounds kind of human. Our brains give us different choices: murder by weapon; ostracizing and starving; excluding many from the profits of the elders; outright genocide by many methods – all as cruel as tearing an innocent monkey into pieces.

That leaves only nature’s ferocity and indifference. It is comforting that nature has no judgment for the wee Homo sapiens that try to “attack” nature by living in flood zones or possessing land subject to natural disasters like landslides or earthquakes. In recent years homo has learned to unbalance the slow but sensitive chemical systems of nature – like carbon dioxide altering the climate, or the effect of warming on ocean currents that will slow and stop. The Gulf Stream slows more and more each year. New York had better be prepared for frigid changes in temperatures.

This can be claimed as nature but it isn’t. It is the homo aggressiveness and the pursuit of more and more and more that will be the undoing of our balanced ecology – an agreement we should honor with the nature within which we live and LITERALLY depend on for survival.

We are the modern age dinosaurs. We have over populated the earth and wreak havoc on global systems far beyond our corporate control.

It is a gamble – you can take odds – which will come first, an ecological collapse or an asteroid.

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