I recently finished a book (I’m a little embarrassed of the title…let’s just say it’s one of my strictly for pleasure books, okay, series) that discussed clones, and it got me thinking about the old nature vs. nurture debate.

I wrote a paper on this in high school, which did not endear me with my English teacher (probably the one English teacher who didn’t like me, as it was always my best–and sometimes only good–subject) as I filled the supposed-to-be-research paper with anecdotes about me, my friends, and some I’d even gotten in books.

(I thought copying over good stories from research books was enough research for a paper like that. I learned that lesson quickly).

My conclusion was, adamantly, that nurture is all that matters. We are what we make, do, become.

In the book I just read, the police officer encountered an entire school full of perfect females that had been cloned. When several murders were committed by a clone, it got problematic when it turned out the clone and her two “twins” had taken turns committing said murders. Their lives had been the same: they’d been married off to one man, and were able to switch between him and several exotic locales every few years. They’d even given the man children. They called themselves “we” and acted like the same person.

The psychologist in the story argues that they can’t be the same; they must have had some differences in their upbringing. When it turns out they didn’t, she agreed they were all, basically, the same person, having the exact same thoughts.

I disagree with this. I am one of those “every choice could make a vital difference” types of people (which is why it’s so hard for me to make any decision) and even though these women had almost identical upbringings, they didn’t have the exact same experiences. Sure, they would take turns hanging out in Italy, but surely the exact same things did not happen to their twin when she took her year in Italy.

I mean, one woman would go to the store, and meet a certain grocer that wouldn’t be there when the other her twin when to pick up some milk. A storm would flood the house, which wouldn’t happen at the same time under the same circumstances when her twin took her turn the next year.

It is our experiences that shape us, after all, not necessarily how we were born and who we were born to. Sure, maybe there are some things that are predestined (that’s a whole different ball game), but I find it interesting that in this same book, the main protagonist is a self-made cop. She doesn’t seem to find any caveats with the fact these women are all claiming to be the same, and she often questions whether they are thinking the same thing at the same time.

I guess I don’t know much about cloning–in truth, it really creeps me out, so much so that the extent of my knowledge is about Dolly, that Scottish sheep that was cloned some time ago.

(I’m obviously really knowledgeable on Dolly, as well).

Also, with the work I do (as in, with underprivileged children with pretty much a zero chance of graduating high school) I can’t really believe that nature will always triumph. There is that old adage “blood will tell” which I think is bogus. I wouldn’t be doing this job if I thought these kids would end up exactly like their parents.

So, I refuse to believe that because I was born with certain genes I am destined to be a certain way.

Which is why I can never decide what to eat for dinner, much less whether to go to grad school (and what to go to grad school for).

(On a different note, stay tuned…when I finish!…for my new type of book review that I hope to make a regular feature: travelogues!)