Genes Determine Social Behavior Essay

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Genes Debate

Genes are units of hereditary information that tell the organism to produce a particular chemical, or to display a particular characteristic, e.g. blue eyes or brown hair. In this genes debate, genes are said to not only display these physical characteristics, but also determine our social behavior (contrary from being a result of who we are from the way we are socialized).

In the past, biological determinism has been used to justify racism, sexism and class inequalities. However, recent claims of biological determinism seem to be more outstanding and more scientific. The most well-known version of genetic determinism is sociobiology, advocated by E. O. Wilson. The theory is:
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Generally, sociologists reject genetic determinism. However, some of its assumptions are accepted. For example, functionalists like Parsons agree that because of the biological differences, men and women have different roles in the family i.e. the men being the breadwinner and the women being housewives and mother. Also, some radical feminists agree that male power derives from biological differences (e.g. physical strength of men is stronger than that of women’s, or, restrictions given to women due to child-bearing).

But still, functionalists believe that humans are mainly the products of their social structures and the culture values they’re socialised to accept. Also, feminists believe that inequality to women is the product of, again, social factors. Meanwhile, interactionists believe that characteristics or personalities are built from socialising (i.e. interacting) with other people since the day we’re born. Finally, Marxists also believes that human characteristics such as greed and social inequalities are products of an exploitive, competitive capitalist system, and not because of biological factors.

If we are all controlled by our genes, human behaviour would be almost the same in every part of the world. Furthermore, we would not change for a very long time because evolutionary changes take a long time.

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