Human Nature Exists
Debate Rounds (4)
Human Nature: Distinguishing characteristics including ways of thinking, feeling and acting which humans tend to have naturally.
I will argue that human nature exists.
My opponent gave a simple yet solid definition of human nature, defining it as "Distinguishing characteristics including ways of thinking, feeling and acting which humans tend to have naturally." Note the word "tend," meaning that these behaviors are incredibly common across humans, though there may be a few exceptions.
A basic characteristic that is universal across human beings is smiling. Smiling is our way of non-verbally communicating to others that we are happy. Some people used to believe that smiling was simply a behavior we learned by observing our parents when we were a few weeks old, but this was refuted when we realized that blind people naturally smile as well. This led us to accept that smiling is innate .
Another innate human feature is laughing. "Researcher Disa Sauter, of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, says that laughter and smiling likely evolved as ways of diffusing confrontation. She said: 'Even other primates laugh, if you [tickled] a gorilla or orangutan'" . Laughing is certainly innate. If you think about it, the array of different muscle groups used during laughter is too complex to be learned by observation. A baby could not know to contract its abdominal, facial, jaw and throat muscles if laughter was not an innate response to a pleasing stimulus.
Some behaviors are universally considered wrong. For example, incest tends to be seen as a taboo by all cultures. Anthropologists believe this encourages exogamy, relationships outside of one's family or clan, which usually results in greater genetic variation. Studies have shown that women tend to avoid their fathers during peak fertility. They were found to be half as likely to call their fathers compared to low fertility days. "In humans, women are only fertile for a short window of time within their menstrual cycle. Sexual decisions during this time are critical as they could lead to pregnancy and the long-term commitment of raising a child. For this reason, it makes sense that women would reduce their interactions with male genetic relatives, who are undesirable mates" .
Certain behaviors tend to be seen as immoral by all humans, such as murder, theft and rape. Humans seem to be biased to develop notions of empathy when born, as shown when babies cry upon hearing other babies crying.
Lastly, I will bring up music. Many call music "the universal language," and for good reason. All human cultures have music. "Studies show that people are pretty good at detecting the emotions conveyed in unfamiliar music idioms - that is, at least the two basic emotions of happiness and sadness" .
I believe I have demonstrated that human nature does indeed exist.
I look forward to my opponent's response!
I would like to argue that nothing is innate do to evolution itself.
One of the methods for a species to evolve is through genetic mutation. The way we got to being how we are today is thanks mostly to changes in our genetics. Our genetics influence the way we think, act and empirically interact with the world. But genetic mutations are random. Genes do not mutate at the will of what will be beneficial to the organism. In fact, 70% of gene mutations cause harmful effects or non at all.  This itself disproves the notion of any innate nature because nature is always changing, or evolving. The organism with the more favorable genes will mate and it's genes will be passed on. But since nature is always changing, so will what nature deems "favorable". This in itself should prove that "nature" is not innate.
I will wait for your rebuttal.
For example, all babies are born with the rooting reflex, where they will involuntarily turn their heads and begin sucking when you stroke their cheek with your finger. This evolutionary response prepares the baby for breastfeeding, a crucial step in the baby's development.
Con states "...since nature is always changing, so will what nature deems "favorable". This in itself should prove that "nature" is not innate." Yes, nature is always changing. But not to the extent that we must change our behavior on a daily basis in order to adapt to nature. When we say "human nature," we are talking about the general behavior of Homo sapiens (aka modern humans), who have been around for approximately 200,000 years . Nature may have changed, but most of the traits that nature views as "favorable" have more or less remained the same in that time. This includes behaviors that have survival advantages, like the rooting reflex.
Premise 1: Humans have certain behaviors that we've evolved.
Premise 2: Humans evolved these behaviors to better survivability in nature.
Premise 3: Nature is not innate as it evolves as well.
Conclusion: Therefore, "human nature" cannot be innate since nature itself is not.
" When we say "human nature," we are talking about the general behavior of Homo sapiens (aka modern humans), who have been around for approximately 200,000 years . Nature may have changed, but most of the traits that nature views as "favorable" have more or less remained the same in that time. This includes behaviors that have survival advantages, like the rooting reflex."
My opponent claims that we have mostly stayed the same for most of the time. This couldn't be further from the truth. Our height has changed and we have evolved immunity to many diseases since we've officially become homo sapiens. Because of this shift our behavior could greatly change in the next couple hundred to thousands of years or maybe much sooner. Because of our close proximity to many different kinds of people we have most likely accelerated human evolution making behavioral changes more likely and more frequent than ever before..
My opponent states "...our behavior could greatly change in the next couple hundred to thousands of years or maybe much sooner." Perhaps, but this debate is concerned over whether "Human Nature Exists," as in the present. I believe I have shown that it clearly does.
To conclude round three, I will write my own premises in a way I believe is more accurate than that of my opponent's.
Premise 1: Humans have exhibited the same basic behaviors despite changes in nature.
Premise 2: These behaviors have evolved to better human survivability.
Premise 3: Human behavior is passed down genetically and socially.
Conclusion: Humanity still exists, therefore "human nature" must be innate.
Thank you for this debate. I would have most likely put more effort in but I have been busy with life.
My opponent writes that "Since nature changes constantly so does what is naturally present in human behavior." It is imperative to acknowledge that certain behaviors remain favorable despite changes in the environment. For example, say (hypothetically) 200,000 years ago the average global temperature was forty degrees cooler than today. As the temperature gradually rose over time, humans would have stopped growing as much body hair, which they had needed to keep warm. But throughout those years, behaviors such as crying have always persisted as an innate behavior. Why? Because they are still beneficial to the survivability of the species. Just because nature changes does not mean that humans must start over with a blank slate. Of course our behavior is subject to change just like nature is, but our behavior doesn't have to change if it remains beneficial.
This debate was whether human nature exists. My opponent wrote "...I am not denying there are many things we do naturally." I believe I have demonstrated that human nature most certainly exists.
Thank you Saberen, I had fun debating you!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 8 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: The topic is ?Human Nature Exists?, not ?Human Behaviors are Unchanging?. He admits at several points throughout the debate that there are human behaviors that are natural and ingrained, or in other words, innate. That means that, to some degree, human nature exists. Con doesn't challenge any of the behaviors that Pro discusses in his opening round, instead just stating that those behaviors may eventually change. He didn't show that that's at all likely, and Pro showed that some of these behaviors are likely to remain consistent, but that argument's irrelevant. Human nature isn't defined by being static. Human nature can change with evolution and still be human nature. The definition doesn't require absolute adherence in the future. But even on these arguments, Pro established that there are some human behaviors that have survived the entire history of our species, and will likely continue to survive our future. Given the concessions and these arguments, I vote Pro.
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