Talk:Nature versus nurture

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Delete subsection on Free Will?[edit]

Seems only tangentially related to the main topic. Instead of an entire subsection, perhaps a link or "See Also" will do. Memills (talk) 01:58, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads-up. I'll check what the main secondary sources squarely on topic say about this section topic, and edit accordingly. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 02:51, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Requested move -- Change title of article to back to Nature versus nurture?[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Speedily moved back per WP:RM requirement that potentially controversial moves be discussed through the WP:RM process ("Use this process if there is any reason to believe a move would be contested") before being carried out. bd2412 T 19:56, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Nature and nurtureNature versus nurture – This article's title was recently changed from Nature versus nurture to Nature and nurture; see #Change title of article to Nature and nurture?, this, this and this.

A change like this should be discussed among the wider Wikipedia community. Being very familiar with this topic and having done a quick Google search on the titles two hours ago, I wouldn't state that "nature and nurture" is more common than "nature vs. nurture" (or "nature versus nurture") for this topic. And if anything, the "Nature and nurture" title more so implies that scientists are suggesting that things are both of nature and nurture components; while some sources on this topic are stating exactly that, this topic has traditionally been, and mostly still is, about whether or not something is a result of nature or nurture instead of a result of both. WeijiBaikeBianji stated that the "Nature and nurture" title "is by far the more common phrase in the professional literature." However, what is most common in "professional literature" is not the same as what is most common in general. WeijiBaikeBianji cited Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (medicine) (WP:MEDRS) as part of the reasoning for the change; it seems Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles#Article titles is what WeijiBaikeBianji was referring to. Still, the "nature versus nurture" topic is not mostly (not by a vast margin) a medical topic and it should therefore not mostly be sourced based on the strict WP:MEDRS standards, not unless the topic quite clearly concerns biomedical content that should be based on WP:MEDRS sourcing. If you look at the top of this talk page, you will see that it is currently tagged with WP:WikiProject Philosophy, WP:WikiProject Psychology and WP:WikiProject Sociology, but not with Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine (WP:MED). If the WP:MED banner is added, it might be removed. WP:MED has generally restricted its WP:MED banner to articles that are mostly medical or are otherwise substantially medical. See this and this discussion for further detail. I am a part of that project and I sometimes see the banner removed from topics that are not mostly medical or are not otherwise substantially medical; the editor who usually removes that tag in such cases is Jmh649 (Doc James). That stated the "nature versus nurture" topic is substantially medical (meaning that a substantial part of its focus is on biology). Flyer22 (talk) 19:10, 2 January 2014 (UTC) Flyer22 (talk) 19:10, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Note: I've alerted the aforementioned WikiProjects to this move request matter. Flyer22 (talk) 19:28, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.
Wow somebody went ahead and did it, which was kind of precipitous. The following edit-conflicted with the move. I don't think it is accurate or useful to make any accusations about how the change happened. User:WeijiBaikeBianji suggested it on Talk, had no significant response, and was WP:BOLD and made the change. No need to get all indict-y. At the end you seem to take the very reasonable position that this article must be very well grounded in the literature of human biology and you seem to accept that MEDRS is our best guideline for using that literature. That is a good thing. I am going to ignore the rest of what you wrote except for this: "this topic has traditionally been, and mostly still is, about whether or not something is a result of nature or nurture instead of a result of both". I think what you are saying is the following --- although today, with our dramatically expanded understanding of human biology, we know that the "tabula rasa" concept is a dead letter and therefore "nature vs nurture" has no relevance to the contemporary conversation... although all that is true, this article should cover the inquiry as it has unfolded over the centuries, and for almost all of that duration, "tabula rasa" was very much a live letter and so for historical reasons we should retain the "nature vs nurture" title. Is that what you are saying? If so I think that is a compelling argument for changing the title back. Even if that is not what you are saying, it is a compelling argument for changing the title back. Jytdog (talk) 19:58, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Wow. You know, generally when a move gets contested afterwards, the person making the move had no good reason to believe that it would be contested, and I strongly suspect that this is true here, too. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:06, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Does one person objection = "contested"? that is what surprised me with the quick revert. Jytdog (talk) 20:19, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Jytdog, I was not faulting WeijiBaikeBianji in any ill way, so I don't understand your "I don't think it is accurate or useful to make any accusations about how the change happened." and "No need to get all indict-y." comments; I pointed others to the areas that explain/show how the article move happened, I stated "A change like this should be discussed among the wider Wikipedia community." and I brought up WeijiBaikeBianji's reasons for making the change. And, no, my argument is not what you've characterized it as. I clearly pointed to other fields (besides the medical field) that cover the "nature versus nurture" topic, and stated that "nature versus nurture" topic is not mostly (not by a vast margin) a medical topic and it should therefore not mostly be sourced based on the strict WP:MEDRS standards, not unless [the aspect being discussed] quite clearly concerns biomedical content that should be based on WP:MEDRS sourcing." That means exactly what I stated. WhatamIdoing's "20:06, 2 January 2014 (UTC)" post below adds on to that quite well. Flyer22 (talk) 20:22, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Your post read like an accusation to me. Glad it was not. In any case, I am agreeing with your desire to move it back. I agree very much that for most of the duration of the debate, or inquiry rather, biology was irrelevant because we knew so little, so for most of the article MEDRS does not apply. But as far as the contemporary conversation goes the article does need to be grounded in the current literature on human biology and MEDRS is our best guide to using that literature for that part of the article. Jytdog (talk) 20:34, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Jytdog, I try to be very aware of the WP:MEDRS guidelines as I edit most of the articles I edit (which are predominantly about IQ, an issue assessed as part of some occasions of medical diagnosis) and I make special trips to my state's flagship university medical library to look up sources. So my question here is, what do the sources that fit the WP:MEDRS guidelines say about preferring either the phrase "nature and nurture" or the phrase "nature versus nurture" or any other phrase? What sources do you have at hand to establish what the current professional usage is? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 22:11, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) I saw the note at WT:MED. The main rationale appears to be that the current professional literature eventually traces back to a dead white European male who wrote "nature and nurture" in the 19th century. About this, I have two things to say: This is the same guy who is directly credited with coining the "Nature versus nurture" phrase, and, really, who cares what the exact phrase used more than 100 years ago was? He may well have used more than one. Our article titles policy prefers current common names, not 19th-century ones. This psych dictionary-encyclopedia uses "nature versus nurture", as does this soc encyclopedia. This med anthro encyclopedia uses the term, but says the interesting future research will be in interactions between the two. Their preferred phrase is likely gene–environment interaction, since they're focused on medicine (the phrase appears only in a discussion of mental retardation).
    Also, the new title feels like that particular wishy-washy-ness that one finds in article titles when editors are trying to be "neutral" and don't want to suggest that there is any tension between the subjects, like choosing an article title of "Gay people and religion", when you really intend to write an article about "(Mostly bad) treatment of gay people by religious institutions" and skip or gloss over anything about whether gay people want to join religious groups or how gay people treat religious institutions. So I'm not very impressed with the new name, and I'd be inclined to go back, but at the same time, it was a reasonable move, and IMO it's not a disaster if it stays here. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:06, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Edit conflict here too, so I'm not even sure what reply level I should put this reply at. Anyway, I thought by asking twice here on this article talk page after checking the sources cited inline and then reading the response of the editor who responded earlier would be enough, but there appears to be disagreement on that point. Here is what I wrote as the edit conflict was happening: : Thanks for bringing up this discussion. I have responded on the requested move page that the basic rationale here is WP:COMMONNAME (as I recall the move summary saying, but I may be remembering incorrectly). The first three inline references now in the article (long in the article) go back to Francis Galton's phrasing, which was "nature and nurture." It was seeing that that first prompted me to check what other sources say. I'll check the article text now to see if it has been updated, at least as to its further reading section, with a book-length treatment of the issue that I recently read, namely Keller, Evelyn Fox (21 May 2010). The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4731-6. Lay summary (12 November 2013).  -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 20:10, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Note: Keep in mind that, with the article title having been moved back to Nature versus nurture, the alternative title Nature and nurture can be presented in the lead as the alternative name, per WP:Alternative title; significant alternative titles should usually be mentioned in the lead, but, if there are at least three significant alternative titles, a section lower in the article covering that is suggested. Flyer22 (talk) 21:20, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Question: Now that several editors are watching this talk page, is it germane to ask for a positive rationale for one title rather than another? For example, if the title an editor supports is "nature versus nurture," what sources would support that title? What Wikipedia policies or guidelines should be kept in mind to decide the issue one way or another? Thanks to all of you for your thoughts on this issue. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 21:27, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Please note: The source mentioned in an earlier section of this talk page, listing useful sources about the topic of behavior genetics, includes a source Keller, Evelyn Fox (21 May 2010). The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4731-6. Lay summary (12 November 2013).  that goes into great detail on the history of the terminology and the effect the terminology has had on scientific research. Just now, reality-checking the WP:COMMONNAME subsection of the Wikipedia article name policy, I did the always debatable, but perhaps informative, search of Google Books and of Google Scholar, and again found that the popular literature and the scientific literature are agreed in tending to use the phrase "nature and nurture," Galton's phrase, much more often than "nature or nurture" (a redirect) or "nature versus nurture" (the article title at this moment. So again, if I may ask politely, what is the positive rationale for an article title other than "nature and nurture," and which sources support a different title? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 21:47, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
I just re-read the article. This appears to focus on current scientific understandings, with really minimal nods to the long history of the debate. I looked at the articles Gene–environment interaction and Behavioral genetics and Behavioral epigenetics and Human behavior genetics and it appears to me that Wikipedia has a messy thicket. (Are there other relevant articles that we should be considering?) And importantly, what should the scope of this article be, especially in relationship with the others? I think this article should cover the historical sweep, and rely on one of the other articles wikilinked here to provide the detail of contemporary understandings... and with that scope it should be called "nature vs nurture" Jytdog (talk) 22:23, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
"Nature vs. Nurture" is not an issue of current scientific interest. It is of historical significance only. I know of no scientist who is not a "nature-nurture interactionist" (if someone does, do share.)
Suggest changing title back to "Nature and Nurture" or "Nature-Nurture Interactionism."
Another article can be created titled "History of the Nature vs. Nurture Debate." Memills (talk) 22:47, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Fine you want this focused on contemporary understandings. How should it relate to the other (at least) four articles? This is really a question of scope and in considering scope we should consider the related articles. Jytdog (talk) 23:15, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Jytdog, you write above that "I looked at the articles Gene–environment interaction and Behavioral genetics and Behavioral epigenetics and Human behavior genetics and it appears to me that Wikipedia has a messy thicket." Yes, I am trying to clean up that mess. And as a first step, I have been looking at multiple sources, which I am mentioning on the article talk pages, so that it is clear to all editors looking on that I am doing the necessary preparation before plunging in with top-to-bottom article edits (which I will begin in user space, to be less disruptive). I came to this article from some of those other articles you have encountered. I have a plan to link everything together in a coherent way, with extensive article expansions for several of the articles (and an extensive update of this article). Having just read quite a few of the sources from cover to cover, taking extensive notes as I have been going along, I have to agree with the editor who responded earlier about this article's name change that the phrase "nature and nurture" is the historically established phrase (my point, backed up by the first few references in the article) but it is also the current professional phrase. (He has invited editors to bring forth sources if they think that "nature versus nurture" is as widely used in the relevant disciplines as "nature and nurture," and so far no one has cited even a single source to back up the less common phrase.) Really, as you can see from what I post to the WikiProject Medicine project talk page, I'm all about digging into the sources. If someone suggests medically reliable sources, I bless the person who made the suggestion and then go read the sources. Based on the sources, what should we be doing about the issue under discussion? What sources do you recommend on a terminological point like this? What specific sources do you have at hand? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 23:38, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── it makes no sense to discuss the title until we understand the scope of the article, and thinking about the scope of this article means thinking about the scope of the related articles so we can see how they all fit together. Could you perhaps open a new section below and describe the overall picture you envision? by the way just found Biological determinism and Genetic determinism and tabula rasa there must be a bunch more. Also want to say it is so great (!!) really great - that you have an overall scheme in mind. Jytdog (talk) 23:53, 2 January 2014 (UTC) (additional note - on the sofixit front, i did a cleanup around the epigenetics articles, which is what led me here. and i worked with a bunch of others to clean up articles related to genetic engineering. i do understand sofixit!) Jytdog (talk) 00:01, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

WeijiBaikeBianji, you keep seeing/framing this topic as mostly a medical topic, and that is not something I'm seeing...per my comments about the other fields covering this topic. I'm not speaking of "historical" when I mention those other fields either. Flyer22 (talk) 23:56, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Memills, I have no comment (as of yet) on the other argument you made on this topic, but Nature-nurture interactionism as a title does not pass WP:COMMONNAME or Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles#Article titles. Flyer22 (talk) 22:54, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Section break[edit]

Pinging EvergreenFir really quick, since EvergreenFir deals with sociology topics quite a lot. Perhaps you, EvergreenFir, have something to state on this topic? The title and/or article focus? Flyer22 (talk) 23:25, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Hey Flyer22! Tough one in my opinion. In sociology, we rarely frame things as "versus"; it's always about the interaction between the two. That said, the COMMONNAME would be "Nature versus Nurture" if we go by mainstream speech (even though academically it's rarely framed like this). But the article is mostly about academic research, and not pop science it seems... so I am torn. Regardless of which one is used, I think the alternate title option would be best here and an inclusion of both the "versus" and the "interaction" discussions. I do kinda like "History of the Nature vs. Nurture Debate.". Sorry I'm not much help here. EvergreenFir (talk) 23:36, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for weighing in, EvergreenFir. Flyer22 (talk) 23:56, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Hi there - i just saw the note on Wikiproject philosophy about this move - I've researched a lot about feminism and nature vs nurture - where the stakes are pretty high and from that perspective as well as a general public perspective I would definitely vote for 'versus' not because of a reliable source in the academic literature but because in the popular imagination it is a topic about comparative influence and a sense of competition between the two forces - everyone knows that both nature and nurture influence our behaviours but it is always the question of how much and which side is strongest that is interesting - that says to me that 'versus' is a title that people will look for and find meaningful. Just my two cents. I can see the more involved editors are tackling complex issues with all the related articles - tricky - good job and go for it Depthdiver (talk) 06:14, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
It is the "popular imagination" that needs some schooling. That is what folks come here for. It is misleading to suggest that "nature vs. nurture" is the appropriate way to frame the issue. It isn't. "Nature and nurture" is.
The issue of the relative weight of environmental variability (given typical environmental parameters) is covered in the article (see, in particular, obligate vs. facultative traits). "Nature vs. nurture" "biology vs. culture" is asking the wrong questions; framing the issue in a way that makes scientifically correct thinking about the issue impossible.. Memills (talk) 06:33, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I have been following this discussion over the past few days and been pondering this issue. At first, I agreed with the move to "and". In then end, however, I conclude that it should be "versus" and that the article needs to be re-written. My reasoning is as follows. When I studied behavior genetics longer ago than I care to admit, I was already told that the "nature versus nurture debate" wa "old hat" and based on a fallacy. Nowadays, hardly anybody still refers to this, except from a historical point of view. Historically speaking, it is certainly notable and raged along for a while, with people taking very extreme positions, from "nature is everything" to "nurture is everything". The current position is actually not "nature and nurture", but should perhaps be given as "nature with nurture". "And" suggests additivity, but we have known for decades known (long before epigenetics came into vogue) that genotype and environment covary and interact (although human BG still has a hangup with heritability). In short, I think that our articles on BG, human BG, and psychiatric genetics should reflect the current understanding (nature with nurture, without actually needing to use that expression) and that this article here should be about the historical nature versus nurture debate. --Randykitty (talk) 12:22, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure that "nature and nurture" necessarily suggests additivity. But, as I have suggested above, renaming this article to "nature-nurture interactionism" would much better convey the bi-directional causal interaction.
Then, a separate article, "The History of the Nature vs. Nurture Debate" would deal with a review of the mis-framed historical perspectives and debates. Memills (talk) 18:54, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Thanks to everyone for the various thoughtful comments. I'm digesting what each editor has said individually and hope to reply in more detail after more thought, perhaps tomorrow. I had been doing specialized online searches of various kinds to see how differences in terminology might match up among the several academic disciplines that have WikiPprojects that include this article in the scope of the article, and was just at a general academic library doing research on this and other topics. While I continue to digest your thoughtful comments, I thought I would share with everyone the phrase history revealed by the Google Books Ngram viewer, which confirms that the collocation of the words "nature" and "nurture" as a distinct topic largely began with Francis Galton, whose role in promoting the phrase is already well sourced in the current article text. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss what this article is about and how it is situated among other articles on Wikipedia. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 23:46, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Comment: It's probably a bit late to count my $.02, but I'll add it anyway. I don't see a problem with either title as long as all 'sides' are covered in the article. I think it may be preferable to move the article to "Nature vs. Nuture debate", with an early segment of the article outlining the history. There could be also a section that summarizes where each academic discipline currently falls on the debate matter, such as biology tends to come down on the 'nature' side while sociology tends to come down on the nature-nuture interaction side of the issue. As long as all POV are covered in the article, I think the title is less important. Regards, Meclee (talk) 08:32, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Biology doesn't come down on the "'nature' side," it is fully nature-nurture interactionist (as evidenced by the word "phenotype"). There is scientific consensus on this issue. Again, I know of no scientist, from any discipline, who is not a "nature-nurture interactionist" (if someone does, do share.) Memills (talk) 21:39, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Exactly, that's why the "nature-nurture debate" (certainly a notable encyclopedic topic) is only of interest in a historical perspective. The "debate" has been over for decades. --Randykitty (talk) 11:25, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
You know, I've tried to explain that matter (combination of biology and sociology) to certain editors, such as Cavann, on the topic of sexual orientation. I've very clearly pointed out, in "The text about what causes sexual orientation in the lead" discussion at the Homosexuality article, that the vast majority of scientists believe that sexual orientation is determined by a complex combination of biology and environment (not just natal environment, a part of biology, but social environment as well). Yes, scientists appear to favor biological models of sexual orientation, but some of these models are not strictly biological. Cavann considers even mentioning the social aspect, as this American Psychological Association source does (when relaying that many scientists "think that nature and nurture both play complex roles"), to be WP:Undue weight, and so therefore the lead of the Homosexuality article and now the Sexual orientation article present sexual orientation as though it can only possibly be biological. The WP:Consensus lead of the Biology and sexual orientation article currently still presents that matter more accurately. Some people, especially if LGBT, think that even mentioning that one's sexual orientation may be partly influenced by one's non-biological environment is suggesting that sexual orientation is a choice and/or that parenting helped determine the person's sexual orientation; however, that is not necessarily what it is suggesting, especially when the text is clear on that matter to begin with. Scientists are already clear that sexual orientation is generally not a choice, and that it is unlikely to change once it is formed. They simply aren't clear about when or how it begins forming and how it forms so solidly that it is unlikely to change. Like the American Psychological Association states, "According to current scientific and professional understanding, the core attractions that form the basis for adult sexual orientation typically emerge between middle childhood and early adolescence." It's at that point that they think sexual orientation is unlikely to change, but they are not entirely sure when it began forming and what contributed to its formation.
As for a scientist believing that the way a human thinks and/or behaves is only due to biology, I wouldn't be surprised if there is at least one or a few scientists with such a WP:Fringe view. Flyer22 (talk) 13:35, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Most probably, albeit no serious scientist :-) As for the sexuality issue, I remember that an article was published in Science claiming that homosexuality was determined by a single gene (not surprisingly, this turned out to be just a teenie weenie bit more complicated than that, but Science is not for nuances...) Regardless of the scientific merits of that study, I was fascinated by the reactions of people to this. LGBT activist saw it as vindication ("See! It's natural" - meaning to say "it's good" or at least, "it's not a sin"), whereas religious conservatives saw it as proof that it was a heritable disorder ("Poor people, we need to find a cure", hence: "bad"). Mixing science with morality seldom makes for a good combination. Of course the question whether homosexuality is "good" or "bad" has absolutely nothing to do with how it is caused, those are separate issues. In addition, "environmental" does not necessarily mean "choice", as you already indicate. --Randykitty (talk) 16:22, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, the gene matter you mentioned is the gay gene topic, which redirects to the Biology and sexual orientation article and is covered in that article. Either way, now I feel a bit silly for stating part of the following in my above move request: "And if anything, the 'Nature and nurture' title more so implies that scientists are suggesting that things are both of nature and nurture components; while some sources on this topic are stating exactly that, this topic has traditionally been, and mostly still is, about whether or not something is a result of nature or nurture instead of a result of both." I was somehow under the impression that when scientists broach the nature vs. nurture topic, they are still mostly debating that human thinking/behavior is an "or" matter (nature or nurture) instead of an "and" matter (nature and nurture). I likely confused this matter with scientists still often asserting that some things are more of a biological matter than they are a sociological matter and vice versa, and their responses on aspects that are also political matters...such as sexual orientation (where they are addressing public perception). Flyer22 (talk) 16:42, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Just being alive is always the result of nature and nurture. Everything else follows.

The correct question to ask isn't whether it is nature or nurture. It is the degree to which, given typical environmental variability, a trait (homosexuality, having two eyes, a secure attachment style, getting a tan, etc.) is generally obligate or facultative. Until that distinction is appreciated, the question is not framed properly. In fact, imho, the obligate or facultative distinction is so important, and so clarifies this issue, that it deserves its own WP article. Memills (talk) 18:51, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

  • I'm perhaps a bit dense, but it seems to me that obligate/facultative is just nature/nurture using other words. --Randykitty (talk) 19:12, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
It can sound the same, but it isn't.
  • The obligate/facultative distinction first is not categorical (either/or), but a matter of degree, or range, of sensitivity to variations in typical environments.
  • Second, it assumes that all organismic traits/behaviors are a consequent of evolved adaptations interacting with the environment (nature and nurture is a given).
  • Example: The development of two eyes requires both nature and nurture. Having two eyes is an example of an obligate trait -- typical environmental variability doesn't change the number of eyes we have. Imagine it was a facultative trait. For example, the more bright light you were exposed to as an infant might increase the number of eyes you have to 3 or 4. However, the ability to tan is a more facultative trait: the more bright UV light you are exposed to, the darker your skin becomes. Memills (talk) 19:28, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Memills, your Psychology Today link [that was in your above "19:28, 8 January 2014 (UTC)" post] points to at least one type of scientist still asking "Is it nature or nurture?" -- some social scientists. These type of scientists relate to my "16:42, 8 January 2014 (UTC)" post a little above; so there are definitely scientists still asking the "Is it nature or nurture?" question instead of asking "Is it more so nature or more so nurture?". And there are many scientists who seem to regard biological sex as only a matter of biology; for example, the whole sex and gender distinction matter. Flyer22 (talk) 19:42, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Many folks are confused by the nature vs. nurture distinction, including some social scientists. I don't think you would find any true scientist who would put their reputation on the line defending the idea that it is nature OR nurture. There are some non-scientists who might make that claim (some postmodernists, cultural anthropologists, sociologists, etc. who eschew science itself). Many folks, even those who should (and really do when pressed) know better, confuse nature vs. nurture with what is actually obligate/facultative. Memills (talk) 20:07, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Proposals: article rename / additional articles[edit]

Seems as if we are nearing consensus and it is time to move forward. Perhaps we can discuss the proposed new titles for this page, and additional pages.


This page: rename to either "Nature and nurture" or "Nature-nurture interactionism." Reviews the current scientific thinking.

New Page: "History of the nature vs. nurture debate." Reviews the historical debate. Memills (talk) 16:16, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

  • It may be possible to do this in one page Simply on WP:COMMONNAME grounds, I think the article title for current thinking on the topic might best be titled Nature and nurture, as that exact phrasing is most commonplace in English-language books on the article topic. (That term also provides numerous grammatically smooth possibilities for wikilinking from other articles. This article already enjoys an exceptionally large number of wikilinks, with wide variety in the link text.) To cover the current usage right almost necessitates a treatment of the history of the controversy, some of which is already referenced in the current condition of the article, and I have several references at hand with which I could join the labor, in collaboration with other editors, of updating the treatment of that history and the description of current thinking in the article's text. It may not be strictly necessary to hive off a new page, although I fully agree with the suggestion that Nature and nurture is the article title for this article that best fits WP:NPOV and the specific guideline WP:COMMONNAME. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 21:28, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
I can go with that. Memills (talk) 04:54, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Update of support for proposal I really want to honor the correct principle here mentioned by both Randykitty (who wrote of "scientific consensus") and Flyer22 (who writes about avoiding undue weight in articles on a user page) by going back to the sources and what they say. I was amused today, when I checked the article history to see how long ago the first three references in the article were added, to find out that a previous editor searched Google Books for "nature versus nurture Galton" but found that Galton's term was "nature and nurture." (That's what all the cited books say.) From the beginning, the thing for editors to do is to look at what the sources actually say and then follow the usage of the best reliable sources. On that basis, I have a two-fold (so far) rationale for supporting the proposal before us.
Rationale 1 The Wikipedia policy on article titles Use commonly recognizable names says, "Wikipedia prefers the name that is most commonly used (as determined by its prevalence in reliable English-language sources) as such names will be the most recognizable and the most natural." The three sources cited first in the article since at least as far back as February 2011 all quote Francis Galton for the phrase "nature and nurture,"[1] and more recent sources also credit Galton with originating the phrase in that form. Moreover, the Google Books Ngram Viewer[2] shows that "nature and nurture" has been the predominant phrase in English ever since the topic has been discussed in English-language books. Of course the core Wikipedia content policy of Wikipedia:Verifiability suggests that we should follow the sources in what terms we use as we write articles.
Rationale 2 Besides recognizability through using the most common name, the Wikipedia guideline on article titles suggests the title criteria of naturalness, precision, conciseness, and consistency. The article title Nature and nurture allows convenient, neutral point of view wikilinking from the dozens of other articles that link to the main article (either through inline wikilinks built into article text or through see also references). It also allows for a more neutral point of view and readable lede paragraph and development of the article. Several of the thoughtful comments that came up from other editors in earlier discussion on this point mentioned that [Nature versus nurture] is an old-fashioned, minority point of view, not the mainstream view found in the sources today.
I think by supporting the name change here I am agreeing with the best ideas of all the editors who have kindly commented on this issue. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the issue. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 16:50, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Nature and nurture" or "Nature-nurture interactionism" are basically the scientific consensus and build-in into so much of current (behavior) genetics that I don't see any reason to have a special article for it. Instead, it would be much better to re-write this article to become a review of the historical debate and move it accordingly to "Nature versus nurture debate". Randykitty (talk) 17:08, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Randykitty, quoting your rationale here, "'Nature and nurture' [is] basically the scientific consensus," what would be the harm in titling this article Nature and nurture (which is also Galton's set term, and also the term most represented in English-language literature on the topic, both popular and scientific) and then proceeding to follow your helpful suggestion to "re-write this article to become a review of the historical debate," which still has lingering aftereffects today? I still think (as I thought when I suggested, and then made, what has proved to be a more controversial move than talk page discussion in early December suggested it would be) that the WP:COMMONNAME guideline on naming articles basically tells us to look for the most common article name, and then use that name while updating the article on the best reliable sources, quite possibly including sources that comment on the common terminology and its appropriateness. I suggest for all that considering the recent book Keller, Evelyn Fox (21 May 2010). The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4731-6. Lay summary (12 November 2013).  will provide many helpful references for updating this heavily wikilinked article. (Preserving one of the several names already used as a redirect term or formerly used as the article title helps preserve the numerous wikilinks to this article from dozens of other articles.) -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 21:28, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Randykitty -- I personally don't see behavioral genetics as dealing with the entire scope of the nature and nurture topic. The nature and nurture article can include brief overviews of several related topics (with links to the topic page) including gene-culture coevolution, phenotypes, the obligate or facultative distinction, the heritability index etc. Memills (talk) 04:54, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Whatever Galton wrote, the historical (heated) debate was about "nature versus nurture" (or often also simply referred to as the "nature-nurture debate"). AFAIK, it was mainly restricted to behavior genetics, but certainly not limited to it. As far as the modern "nature and nurture" goes, this is not a debate, nor an issue. Very few people express the current state of biological knowledge in these terms. For some interesting comments see here (it's very long and on many different topics, I am referring to the comments by Simon Baron-Cohen and Robert Sapolsky). --Randykitty (talk) 19:04, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion of the responses to this year's question. I'll read those. What other sources will be helpful for illuminating the issue of the article title (and, thus, presumably useful for updating the article, whatever its title)? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 19:11, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment: WeijiBaikeBianji, once again, I fail to see how "nature and nurture" is more so the common name for this topic than "nature versus nurture"; others echoed my view on that above. Again, you seem to be referring to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles#Article titles rather than WP:Common name. But, like I stated, I'm not seeing this topic, not even current thinking on it, as mostly a medical topic. Again refer to the other fields that tackle this subject: philosophy, psychology (which is mostly but not solely a medical field) and sociology. Flyer22 (talk) 12:10, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
Reply: Thanks for your comments, Flyer22. Going back to the beginning, a few weeks ago I read (among other books) the extensive book Keller, Evelyn Fox (21 May 2010). The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4731-6. Lay summary (12 November 2013). , which includes a detailed history of different authors' terminology related to nature and nurture issues from the point of view of several disciplines. Somewhere around that time, I took a look at this article, which I have examined before, and noticed that the sources in the article (still in the article, as I type this, and in the article for quite a while as far as I can tell from the article history) include three references[1][2][3] that trace the terminology back to its origins, the phrase "nature and nurture" pioneered by Francis Galton. (The article's account of the history agrees with the book-length work I had just read when I noticed the references here.) A while after that, on 19 December 2013, I thought it would be collegial and collaborative to ask here on the article talk page about changing the title of the article to match the terminology in the article sources.[3] That was the first edit there had been to this talk page in a while. Randykitty was the most active editor on the article itself as I added some sources for this article to the talk page and then suggested again on 21 December 2013[4] that there is warrant for changing the article title from Nature versus nurture (which will in any case remain as a redirect) to Nature and nurture (which has long been a redirect). Another editor agreed with that suggestion the same day.[5] He and a bot made a few more edits to this talk page, and then I made the article name change (move) on 27 December 2013. That was uncontroversial through 2 January 2014, when perhaps it came to the attention of more editors as I updated some redirects from other articles. You kindly revisited the issue on 2 January 2014[6] and suggested that using the project talk pages to ensure more visibility of the discussion would be a good idea. I am very grateful for that suggestion, and will follow it from now on and in any comparable case in the future, and I have taken care to invite suggestions from interested editors on each of the project talk pages where you opened discussion of the name of this article. I see on your user page that you write,

WP:Due weight makes clear (when scrolling down to the Balancing aspects and Giving "equal validity" subsections) that there should not be an attempt to give "equal validity" to things that are not on equal footing with regard to coverage among sources. Wikipedia follows the mainstream; it does not try to create the mainstream. I am all for making an article more neutral, but not to the point where we are attempting to give "equal validity." I will always give more weight to what the significant majority of sources state, so do not be surprised if I reword or revert any changes that go against WP:Undue weight.

I see a commendable concern there to go to the sources and see what the sources say. (I disclose my approach to editing in the "how I edit" page that I link to from my signature. I too like to go where the sources lead me as I edit Wikipedia.) So I think, with much appreciation for your reminder to cast a wide net in looking for project participants to invite discussion, that we can reach a consensus here about how to move forward here by looking at what the mainstream says, both as to points to emphasize in the article itself, and in choice of terminology to prefer for titling the article among the several redirect terms[7] and dozens of wikilinks that lead to this article. With your thoughtful principle of honoring WP:WEIGHT in mind, what sources do you recommend editors turn to for information about what the current mainstream view is on the article topic, and for information about what terminology is considered mainstream by those authors?
Thanks very much for your thoughtful suggestions. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 15:45, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Listing Gene–environment interaction in the "See also" section[edit]

There is disagreement whether Gene–environment interaction should be listed under "See also."

Per the discussion above, the article on gene-environment interaction is highly related to this article. There is a link to it in the body of the article, but it is not easy to find. Imho, it should be included under "See also" given its extremely high relevance, and, per WP:ALSO: "Whether a link belongs in the "See also" section is ultimately a matter of editorial judgment and common sense." Memills (talk) 19:28, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

  • The article has a whole section about gene-environment interactions. "See also" is for subjects that are not (or hardly) mentioned in an article. What we could do is move the wikilink to gene-environment up to the beginning of that section (only a slight re-wording would be needed), that should solve the problem. --Randykitty (talk) 20:20, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

External links to be added[edit]

Above article is reccomended to be added for this topic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:11, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Why that link, and why on this article? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 04:27, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Read article please, it demonstrates how genetics have more influence on human than environment. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:49, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Do you have that opinion solely because of your genes, or have you considered the underlying facts of the matter as they relate to the much broader topic of this article? ☺ (I'm not saying it's a bad article, and I'm familiar with the general conclusions of behavior genetics research, but why that particular external link for this particular Wikipedia article? What do you think the overall topic of this Wikipedia article is?) -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 21:48, 10 July 2014


The article demonstrates aspects of the mainstream research which prove the dominance of nature over nurture, this article is called 'nature versus nurture' after all. (talk) 21:39, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Another article for external links section[edit] (talk) 04:35, 19 September 2014 (UTC)