The Instigator
Saberen
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
JayShay
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

Human Nature Exists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
JayShay
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/10/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 535 times Debate No: 86418
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)

 

Saberen

Con

I don't believe there is any scientific or philisophical evidence for any innate human behavior. The whole proposition has become a false axiom made to justify doing socially unacceptable actions.

Human Nature: Distinguishing characteristics including ways of thinking, feeling and acting which humans tend to have naturally.
JayShay

Pro

Greetings! I thank Saberen for creating this interesting debate topic. Seeing that my opponent did not list a format for this debate, I will go ahead and begin.

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 [1].

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'" [2]. 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" [3].

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" [4].

I believe I have demonstrated that human nature does indeed exist.

I look forward to my opponent's response!

Sources
1. http://www.livescience.com...
2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
3. http://pss.sagepub.com...
4. https://www.psychologytoday.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Saberen

Con

I would like to thank pro for accepting this debate.

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.[1] 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. [2] 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.

Sources:

http://evolution.berkeley.edu... [1]
https://teaching.ncl.ac.uk... [2]
JayShay

Pro

My opponent writes that because life is constantly evolving and Earth is constantly changing, there cannot be human nature. With all due respect, this is a poor understanding of evolution. Evolution does not only determine changes to a species' physical structure, it also influences behavior. Its goal is for us to be prepared to survive before we are even born. If certain behaviors increase our odds of survival, they will be passed down. This is the fundamental principle behind the growing field of evolutionary psychology. The basic assumption is that we are born biased (though not necessarily determined) to express certain behaviors with respect to the environment we are exposed to, among other stimuli. At certain points in our ancestor's history and even still today, these behaviors improved our odds of survival.

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 [1]. 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.

Sources
1. http://humanorigins.si.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
Saberen

Con

I don't exactly understand why you think I didn't know evolution influences our behavior as my entire argument against the notion was based on evolution. My argument goes like this:

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 [1]. 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.[1] 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.[1][2][3].

Sources:
http://anthro.palomar.edu... [1]
http://www.wired.com... [2]
http://johnhawks.net... [3]
JayShay

Pro

Con writes "My opponent claims that we have mostly stayed the same for most of the time." This is not what I said. I stated that "...most of the traits that nature views as 'favorable' have more or less remained the same in [the time humans have existed]." Of course our height may have changed a bit and our immune system has certainly developed; I am talking about the most basic traits. It is still beneficial to have legs and to have eyes. I am saying that the baseline traits and behaviors that have kept our species alive over the last 200,000 years are still at work today. For example, crying is another innate behavior. "Scientists who study evolution say crying probably conferred some benefit and did something to advance our species - because it's stayed with us" [1]. It is accepted that crying has evolved as a way for the mother to know when her child needs help, something that is still very much beneficial today.

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.

Source
1. http://www.npr.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Saberen

Con

Now you are just re-stating things we naturally do and label it as human nature as you have for most your arguments. When i say i disagree with the existence of human nature i am not denying there are many things we do naturally. What i am denying is that they are innate and are not subjected to change based off external factors, regardless of how long it takes for the change takes. This whole debate just comes down to a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of human nature. Human Nature: Distinguishing characteristics including ways of thinking, feeling and acting which humans tend to have naturally. Since nature changes constantly so does what what is Naturally present in human behavior.

Thank you for this debate. I would have most likely put more effort in but I have been busy with life.
JayShay

Pro

Evolution wouldn't be true if there was no such thing is innate behavior. Natural selection is mostly known as the force that causes physical changes to a species, but it also influences their behavior.

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!
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
Does the nature of water exist ?..It has no will...... Its nature is a relative of possibileties.... Does the "no nature" of water exist ?..It has no will.....Its "no nature" is where it can not be a relative of any possibileties.
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
innate?
Posted by Briannj17 1 year ago
Briannj17
If this is still open tomorrow I'll accept.
Posted by ThewordofGod 1 year ago
ThewordofGod
If we are not the same why do all cultures, no matter how remote, have the same fundamental practices?

In Europe, every cave across the continent has the same 12 shapes drawn on the walls. We all drew the same stuff independently. Likewise we all have religion, we all have leaders who become removed from the rest of us as the society grows larger.

Chomsky found that language is rooted in our brain and is not altogether learned. I could list for hours the similarities between cultures and people.
Posted by condeelmaster 1 year ago
condeelmaster
Marx must be turning in his grave! hahaha
Posted by ThewordofGod 1 year ago
ThewordofGod
My philosophy is grounded in the belief that there is a human nature. I would love to debate this.

with so many proven innate behaviours, what do you think is not natural?

We like bright colours because of fruit, we are attracted to mates for reproduction, we become illogical with anger, we have all the same emotions and body language, we all crave acceptance, we all fear harm and death, we all hate isolation (permanent), we all follow the crowd, we are all the same! But our environment and society shape us.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
SaberenJayShayTied
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Total points awarded:03 
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.