Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Origins of the Human Mind Part 2

This is the second part of the lectures. The focus here seems to be on diseases and the nature vs. nurture debate. There seem to be more questions than answers. And even the answers can be ambiguous. In nature vs. nurture, the answer seems to be "both". Genes can set somebody up in a path. The environment can help trigger the action based on the genetic structure. However, there are many genes for each condition, and most things require a bit of each.
As for diseases, there is a lot of subjectivity as to what is a disease and what is not. There is also the issue of "continuous" or "discrete". For many things, an arbitrary point on a continuum is considered "disease". Is this accurate? What makes something a disease versus a simple deviance from the norm. Big changes in cases of mental disease seem to be more closely related to the redefining of what is disease rather than actual changes in society. Some mental diseases are also more present in certain types of society. (ADHD for instance is common when students are stuck in sedentary learning environments. It is not so much an issue when they are out on a hunt.)
There are also questions as to how mental illness was propagated in society. One possible explanation is that a heterozygous gene provides benefits, while homozygous could have the disease. However, many mental problems occur due to complex interactions of multiple genes and the environment. It could be that some mental issues were actually benefits, or that some aspects of the mental problem were beneficial and only become problems when combined with others.

The lectures provide some interesting material and a lot to think about. While it does touch on origins, this would be more accurately title "Mental Illness: What is it and where did it come from"

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