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22 November 2013


Bill Tozer

Good topic Dr. Rebane.

I personally believe we are born with an innate sense of right and wrong, a conscious or moral compass if you will. Coupled with this is a prepensity to do wrong or rebel against the inner sense of doing right.

On the tendency to do "evil", take any 3-5 month infant. Cannot even crawl properly or speak. The infant rolls over to an electrical outlet and tries to put its little fingers in the socket. Mom or Dad catches this just in time and scolds the infant, whether it be a swat on the hand or the usual "No!"
Later the infant makes its way back to the electrical outlet. The baby is thoroughly intrigued with putting its fingers in the outlet. But this time the infant turns back to see if Mom or Dad are watching him/her and to see if he/she will get caught this time before continuing on. The infant knows right from wrong or else it would have never looked back to see if he/she could get away with it.

On the innate sense of right and wrong, I have to go back to an old Bible story that has always puzzled me. Cain killed Abel as was set to wander. But, he knew that others would kill him as punishment for the murder of his brother. So God put a mark on him so other would not harm him.
The first less important question is who are these "other people" if he was the first one born?
The second question points to the innate sense of right and wrong. Cain knew that he deserved to be punished and knew that other people had the same conscious (or moral compass) and in the sense of fairness, justice, goodness, and morality, those others would feel what he did was wrong and seek to exact a pound of flesh. There was no Bible, no Ten Commandments, no written word, no oral tradition developed at the time, yet Cain and others knew what he did was wrong. Where did this "knowledge of good and evil" come from if not being born with it? Its a part of us, just as being born with a mind and emotions.

However, Dr. Rebane takes the individual propensities to the social and culture level which leaves much to ponder.

Ben Emery

Our environment and how we are taught is the biggest influence in who we become. We have biological influences but the more I study human behavior the more I am convinced nurture plays a much bigger roll than nature. Vast majority of people are born giving, compassionate, and trusting a.k.a. good. Either through experiences or teaching we become racist, discriminatory, suppressive/ oppressive, and greedy. Day to day behaviors are our family influence but what drives us and gives us passion are key experiences in our lives especially at a young age after the first memory cleanse but even prior. Those key experiences stick with us and change how we perceive the world we live in. If it was a profound experience it can shape the trajectory our lives will take. Mine was a series of experiences that shaped who I am today. My dad never passed by a broken down car without helping in whatever way he could.

My dad also was the enforcer in the neighborhood I grew up in. I lived in a rough neighborhood or should I say my oldest brother lived in a rough neighborhood and I lived in neighborhood that was growing more peaceful but still pretty rough. I have seen my dad fight many times and have never seen a single solid punch get landed anywhere on his body. His fights were 100% started through protecting others either by strangers speeding down our streets where tons of kids played and the drivers talking sh!# back to him. Lots of drug deals where I grew up and lots of fights, weapons, and knives involved in those fights. My dad kick the crap out of every last one of the tough guys and they basically stayed away from our corner. The lesson I learned that shaped me for the rest of my life is to always help people in need and never let bullies or people who endanger others get away with it without a fight. Unfortunately growing up in school beating up the bullies wasn't looked upon as good behavior and I was suspended from school many many times and multiply that by ten and we might come close to my detention days.

My dad is and has always been my hero. He is now 81 years old and unfortunately was diagnosed with the worst form of Parkinson's about 6 years ago. Even at 81 and in steep decline he is giving me life lessons through his actions.


My dad was the guy (counselor, later Boy's VP) who caught students fighting and suspended them. The lessons I got were that school was important and that I went there every day to learn what was being taught, not to fight; fight and there would be consequences.

However, the few times when a bully insisted on fighting, they got it. We'd get caught and the authority would figure out who started it. Quite Easily Done, especially after a couple years of karate classes that taught me both how to fight and why I had a responsibility not to.

In short, I avoided the angry losers who went to school every day looking for fights because they weren't learning squat (of which there were more than a few) and hung out with good kids who didn't try to solve their own problems by hitting other people.

Bill Tozer

Whatz in your genes? Nature or nurture? Here is an article that is 1) on topic, and 2) worth pondering.


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