[ExI] Evolution - 'Nature versus Nurture', but random noise as well

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Tue Mar 24 13:13:10 UTC 2020

On 23/03/2020 21:20, billw wrote:
> Well Ben, what can we do?  If I say that my height is mostly genetic 
> am I wrong?  If I say that learning my name is mostly nurture, an I 
> wrong?  How could I express myself without giving a lecture?  bill w

I don't know. I don't know how to express it in a concise and easy way.

"is my height mostly genetic?" is not, imo, a valid question, though. It 
seems to mean a lot more than it actually does. The same with learning 
being 'mostly nurture'.

'Nurture' isn't the right word to use in the first place, and neither is 
'nature'. We're talking about the interaction between genomes and a 
dynamic environment, with many factors involved in both. I have no idea 
how to conceptually condense and simplify a process that changes the sex 
of crocodiles depending on the temperature of their eggs, for example. I 
do know that characterising it in terms of 'nature vs. nature' is not 

Maybe, as with many things, we need a new vocabulary. I don't know what 
it is. I just know that the old one is unhelpful, to say the least.

Maybe a lecture is a necessary part of the process. Who just made the 
jump from Ptolemaic to Copernican cosmology without a few lectures being 
involved? Very few, I suspect.

Ben Zaiboc

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list