Intelligence; nurture or nature?

Intelligence; nurture or nature?

By Araceli Galarza Posted March 20, 2020

Are you born smart or raised that way? Different arguments can be made that support the idea that intelligence is not something you’re born with. Such as the fact that when one is born they are born knowing nothing, one learns in school, and the idea that if one was born with intelligence one would have nothing to learn. All are solid arguments but fail to consider the basic idea/concept of what intelligence is. Intelligence is the capacity to understand and comprehend a subject. When most make their arguments they are based on what people call book smarts but intelligence is not limited to what you can memorize from a book. Different people have different forms of intelligence, for example, have you ever met someone who could just look at a car and know what’s wrong with it? This is just a good example of intelligence as a girl who understands how to calculate water potential. Of course, one grows up learning and that is attributed to the idea of nurture, but at some point, you reach your mental capacity and you just don’t learn as well and for that same reason, nature prevails over nurture. So to put it simply, you are born smart.

The argument that people are born knowing nothing and learn as they are raised is a nuisance argument at best. While there is validity to the point the opposition fails to consider what intelligence is. One does not learn how to retain information. One is born with the capacity to understand, this is not something that is nurtured nor taught throughout time.

The way that I see it is simple, some people learn better than others. For example, you have two girls in the same AP Psychology course, the same age, the same family stability, and the same grade in the class. The only difference? Girl A can just hear the lecture and understand the concept and can put this learning into practice. Girl B spends three hours every night understanding and applying the same concepts that Girl A understood with a 45-minute lecture. While it is true that some people understand different concepts better than others the simple fact remains, no one taught Girl A how to understand easier. Yes, they both are in a class being taught but one understands easier which is intelligence.

Of course, there is the idea that if one was born intelligent one would be born knowing how to talk, do simple math, and read. This however is quite flawed in the thinking. Once again intelligence can’t simply be measured by how well you do in school. Report cards are one thing but how you comprehend is another. Once again you can not teach someone how to comprehend easier, no matter the math games, or time spent, you can’t teach intelligence, therefore, intelligence is based on genetics.

Genetics plays a big role in everything, from determining hair color to determining how intelligent one is. While true that one has to nurture the intelligence they are born with the fact remains the same. You can not raise someone to be smart, they have to be born that way.