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(Telegraph)   Is there evil in our genes? "Criminals are not born, but the odds at the moment of birth of becoming one are not even"   (telegraph.co.uk) divider line 30
    More: Scary, neurochemistry, genome sequencing, Institute of Psychiatry, good behaviour, University of New Mexico, Stanford Prison Experiment, brain tissue, genes  
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1692 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Apr 2013 at 11:54 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-12 11:56:01 AM
That's why they are called "odds"....duh
 
2013-04-12 11:56:01 AM
dkmz.net
/Oblig
 
2013-04-12 11:59:00 AM
There are strong statistical correlates that are "set" at birth, but the consensus as far as actual science (as opposed to whatever the Telegraph is using this week, Tarot readings or Ouija boards or whatever) seems to be that aside from a few genetic drives toward competitiveness which can apply equally to legal things, these correlations have primarily environmental causes.

So... no.  Evil is not in your genes.  Check your origin socioeconomic class and your psychological history for that.
 
2013-04-12 12:18:34 PM

Jim_Callahan: There are strong statistical correlates that are "set" at birth, but the consensus as far as actual science (as opposed to whatever the Telegraph is using this week, Tarot readings or Ouija boards or whatever) seems to be that aside from a few genetic drives toward competitiveness which can apply equally to legal things, these correlations have primarily environmental causes.

So... no.  Evil is not in your genes.  Check your origin socioeconomic class and your psychological history for that.


It's been my (limited) experience as a new police officer over the past 3 years that there are evil people. Most of us know the difference between right and wrong. Evil people ignore the right and always choose the wrong. Something wrong in the wiring tells them to go ahead when you or most everyone else wouldn't. It's depressing and difficult being in law enforcement.
 
2013-04-12 12:19:21 PM
People are monsters. This is why we are a social species - it helps us keep an eye on each other. Small settlements or traveling groups work well together, as do rural situations where we have plenty of space separating each other and minimizing contact; large cities, as well as social segregation (by choice or otherwise), allow people to disappear or work unseen amongst large numbers of people only help those who haven't been properly socialized.
 
2013-04-12 12:36:41 PM
there's evil cream in my jeans
 
2013-04-12 12:40:57 PM
How many serial killers come from happy, stable homes? There might a possible predilection to "evil" but that is true for so many illnesses as well.
 
2013-04-12 12:43:55 PM
Didn't we already visit this in the past with the "double-Y" theory?
 
2013-04-12 12:46:47 PM
Criminals are easy to spot.  Just look for their sloping brow and cranial bumpage.
 
2013-04-12 12:55:03 PM
I think a lot of circumstances and variables made him a killer. Sure his DNA might have cause him to be awkward or different but it didn't turn him into a killer. If he was born in another time or place he might of never did what he did. One thing could have been different in his life and the outcome could have been completely different. I believe as he got older he probably started reflecting on the past and realized he wasn't normal. He probably started feeling alone and neglected which caused him to become angry and confused. He moved from school to school so he probably lost potential friends or people he trusted along the way.  Then something someone said or did to him probably triggered a mental breakdown. And at that turning point he had no one to turn to and became lost in his own little world.

Being surrounded by guns and taken to a gun range when he was special needs probably didn't help either.
 
2013-04-12 01:33:03 PM
Rhoda Penmark seen whistling innocently.
 
2013-04-12 01:40:10 PM
This is important. Mortimer and Randolph have a dollar on it.
 
2013-04-12 01:41:38 PM

Pentaxian: How many serial killers come from happy, stable homes? There might a possible predilection to "evil" but that is true for so many illnesses as well.


Yup.  I'm pretty sure I've read studies on this before.  I'd expect that the majority of violent offenders are from unhappy, unstable families.  Most likely they also suffered direct abuse (either physical or psychological).

I believe that most people have the capacity to be fairly decent folk if they are given a decent upbringing.  If every single person on the planet was given a decent upbringing I'd expect there would be a great deal less violence in the world.

That said, I think there are also exceptions to the rule.  I seem to remember reading about one of the more famous serial killers who had a pretty average childhood.  Can't remember who it was though.
 
2013-04-12 01:42:53 PM
I have often wondered what 'True Evil' is. Does it actually exist?

I can go down a whole list of 'evil' people, ranging from Genghis Khan to every terrorist who blew up innocent civilians for a cause.

Yet, when you start calculating factors, influences, illnesses, peers, socio-economic status, religions and political climates as well as education and a host of other factors -- evil can turn out to be a mental illness or a corrupted life style. Wealth tends to play a big role in the factors also.

When you have people brought up in a ruthless, bloody environment where life has little value -- you get 'peaceful' folks who suddenly join rebellions and commit genocide. When your religion controls everything you do and chooses who or what you should like -- you get terrorists and fanatics.

Look at Stalin, Hitler and Tojo. Hitler gave the commands, his generals chose the methods of carrying out his orders. Some were psychopaths. The majority of his soldiers were basically just following orders -- under the threat of being killed themselves. Stalin was a true psychopath, having no problems with wiping out friends and family alike. He managed to get more of his own people killed without war than Hitler did in the Holocaust.

Then, there's the Warrior's code Japan used, which had served them well in the past, but did not mix with growing global politics. Soldiers were taught to be merciless.

Look at our own Civil War. Based mainly on politics, factoring in slavery as a major economic necessity, those with the most money to loose managed to fire up entire populations with propaganda until it was brother against brother on the battlefields.

Go further back. Entire populations had no problem with using slaves. We they evil? People who used slaves came from races who had been slaves themselves and saw nothing wrong with it.

Assorted religions deliberately started Holy Wars to promote their causes, gain wealth and power or even to pacify their wealthy, rambunctious followers.

A Pope initiated the Crusades mainly because the bored rich had far too many young knights ready to do battle and were picking fights with each other. He decided all of that energy was best spent on other folks, not in slaughtering those of his own flock for no reason. So, he gave them a Cause.

And millions died.

Evil or cunning? Life was cheap back then. Religious power could often be bought.

How many wars were not started by the political rulers of a nation, who then forced the populace to fight the battles?

Look at the Clerics of Islam and then compare them to the Evangelists of Christianity. Who is evil? Both belief systems come from the same source -- a third religion; Judaism. Yet both systems have been altered by the leaders.

I would have a problem going hunting and killing an animal for food. It's not my nature. I wasn't raised that way. Yet I depend on people who kill animals for a living to feed me. Also, the majority of hunters are not sadists, and they respect the hunt, taking no more than they need, reveling not only in the source of food, but the environment they must track through.

So, who's evil: me or them? In deep necessity, I'd kill animals to feed myself and my family. Right now, I let others do the blood work and pay them to do so.

Society has changed a whole lot since I was a kid. There are now laws preventing things that no one used to consider bad or abusive. In retrospect, I can now see how bad or abusive those old 'freedoms' were.

Like discrimination, both racial and sexual. Eugenics. Businesses having the ability to virtually poison their consumers with impunity. Toy makers manufacturing toys that were hazardous to adults as well as kids.
Back then, we all grew up with it. No one actually considered it wrong. When it was pointed out as wrong, many resisted the changes. Some for financial reasons and some mainly because they had been taught from birth that something wrong was acceptable.

So. What is evil? True evil?

Many rulers of the past were born into privilege, taught they were better than anyone else and raised in an environment of selfishness. So when they oppressed their people, they considered it a right to do so. After all, they were taught from birth that their people were there to serve them.

We they evil or just misinformed?

My religion speaks of evil, yet I don't think I've ever encountered anyone that I could tag as being truly evil. Crazy, stupid, warped or selfish, but not actually evil.

Plus, I've seen addiction travel though family lines, along with assorted diseases and I've noticed the tendencies for various forms of mental illnesses to do the same.

I don't consider homosexuality evil for they can't fight their genes. Homosexuality is not inherently evil. Various heterosexuals decide it's evil and their decisions are based on a whole line of complex thought, influences, genetics and teachings.

But, even they're not evil. They just don't get it.

I knew some nasty little f**ks when I was a kid, who HAD to be evil. Until I happened to glimpse their home lives. To me, what they went through and considered normal was a nightmare. Like, my folks never allowed us kids to beat the krap out of each other.

I found out that in other families, they did. They even encouraged it. They even ridiculed the looser.

That understanding put a whole new spin on those 'evil' little f**ks. I still didn't like them, but I understood things better. I wasn't surprised when many of them grew up and accumulated criminal records, with a few doing many years in prison.

However, they were not truly evil. They had been influenced.

I look at society now and see how easily the few can influence the many, for reasons not acceptable, and I worry. People are far too easily herded like sheep.

A thing like Eugenics just might become possible if the right folks convince enough people that it is good and just and beneficial.

After all, they managed to do it for a time, decades ago. Yet, the promoters were not evil. Not possible? Look how much damage has been done by the automobile, which has been carefully pushed and advertised for generations in order to make major profits for the companies -- especially the oil industry.

Can you identify TRUE evil?

I can't.
 
2013-04-12 01:45:27 PM

Jim_Callahan: There are strong statistical correlates that are "set" at birth, but the consensus as far as actual science (as opposed to whatever the Telegraph is using this week, Tarot readings or Ouija boards or whatever) seems to be that aside from a few genetic drives toward competitiveness which can apply equally to legal things, these correlations have primarily environmental causes.

So... no.  Evil is not in your genes.  Check your origin socioeconomic class and your psychological history for that.


True, but as we start to get a little better at deciphering genetic links to complex phenotypes, we will probably find there are some stronger genetic correlates than what we currently think. Although we run into much the same problem we are currently faced with complex diseases with known genetic correlates: The missing heritability problem.
 
2013-04-12 03:04:34 PM
Especially if you live in a country with a massive corporate prison system.
 
2013-04-12 03:06:44 PM
Evil implies a sort of consciously malice force...  First replace the word evil with "what society deems wrong" since good and evil don't exist independently from our minds.

People absolutely have a genetic disposition for certain physiological conditions which may or may not result in "good" or "evil" acts.  It's more so about how many genetic and environmental predispositions (positive or negative) you have and how those all interact.  The interactions are the key, although the quantity of factors is a factor in its own right.

The predispositions all have the ability to independently function or play off each other is a positive or negative way. Another layer of complexity is time and sequence.

A serial killer in this day and age is potentialy a war hero in another.
 
2013-04-12 03:54:57 PM

indarwinsshadow: Jim_Callahan: There are strong statistical correlates that are "set" at birth, but the consensus as far as actual science (as opposed to whatever the Telegraph is using this week, Tarot readings or Ouija boards or whatever) seems to be that aside from a few genetic drives toward competitiveness which can apply equally to legal things, these correlations have primarily environmental causes.

So... no.  Evil is not in your genes.  Check your origin socioeconomic class and your psychological history for that.

It's been my (limited) experience as a new police officer over the past 3 years that there are evil people. Most of us know the difference between right and wrong. Evil people ignore the right and always choose the wrong. Something wrong in the wiring tells them to go ahead when you or most everyone else wouldn't. It's depressing and difficult being in law enforcement.


working as a public defender on the other side, I totally agree with your assessment.
 
2013-04-12 04:00:56 PM

Pentaxian: How many serial killers come from happy, stable homes? There might a possible predilection to "evil" but that is true for so many illnesses as well.


Charles Starkweather, Ted Bundy, and Eric Harris came from ok homes.
 
2013-04-12 04:05:15 PM

indarwinsshadow: Jim_Callahan: There are strong statistical correlates that are "set" at birth, but the consensus as far as actual science (as opposed to whatever the Telegraph is using this week, Tarot readings or Ouija boards or whatever) seems to be that aside from a few genetic drives toward competitiveness which can apply equally to legal things, these correlations have primarily environmental causes.

So... no.  Evil is not in your genes.  Check your origin socioeconomic class and your psychological history for that.

It's been my (limited) experience as a new police officer over the past 3 years that there are evil people. Most of us know the difference between right and wrong. Evil people ignore the right and always choose the wrong. Something wrong in the wiring tells them to go ahead when you or most everyone else wouldn't. It's depressing and difficult being in law enforcement.


newsflash: wiring is both nature and nurture. One sets the guide, the other implements. all the SCIENCE indicates that brokenness comes from social brokenness - there is no "criminal gene"
 
2013-04-12 04:23:50 PM

eynonmcwanker: Pentaxian: How many serial killers come from happy, stable homes? There might a possible predilection to "evil" but that is true for so many illnesses as well.

Charles Starkweather, Ted Bundy, and Eric Harris came from ok homes.


Not going to argue with you, because I don't fully know their stories... but "OK homes" sometimes just seem OK.

I grew up in a typical middle-class (somewhat upper-middle maybe) home.  No physical abuse.  Typical fighting.  However, my family never showed emotion at all.  It was inherently frowned upon.  That made my teenage years difficult, I was horrible at relating to people.  And had anger issues because when you hold crap in, it tends to eventually explode.

All in all I came out OK, and I doubt the level of farked-up-ness in my family could have taken me as far as being a killer.  However, you never know what goes on behind the doors of an "ok house"... if that makes sense.
 
xcv
2013-04-12 05:03:23 PM

Kazan: indarwinsshadow: Jim_Callahan: There are strong statistical correlates that are "set" at birth, but the consensus as far as actual science (as opposed to whatever the Telegraph is using this week, Tarot readings or Ouija boards or whatever) seems to be that aside from a few genetic drives toward competitiveness which can apply equally to legal things, these correlations have primarily environmental causes.

So... no.  Evil is not in your genes.  Check your origin socioeconomic class and your psychological history for that.

It's been my (limited) experience as a new police officer over the past 3 years that there are evil people. Most of us know the difference between right and wrong. Evil people ignore the right and always choose the wrong. Something wrong in the wiring tells them to go ahead when you or most everyone else wouldn't. It's depressing and difficult being in law enforcement.

newsflash: wiring is both nature and nurture. One sets the guide, the other implements. all the SCIENCE indicates that brokenness comes from social brokenness - there is no "criminal gene"


Criminal gene no? But Intelligence has significant hereditary components. Sub-standard intelligence puts individuals at an inclination for poor decision-making, judgement, poverty, impulsiveness, low frustration tolerance and possibly acting physically violent, though aggression can also be linked to testosterone, and that also has genetic influences to hormone levels and sensitivity. So certain physiological characteristics can interact in a manner to create people that more likely to run afoul of the law.

Are they evil? No, just broken or impaired, they were dealt an unfair hand in life.
 
2013-04-12 05:18:01 PM

xcv: But Intelligence has significant hereditary components


intelligence is 50/50. not all criminals are dumb.
 
2013-04-12 07:41:44 PM

Kazan: intelligence is 50/50. not all criminals are dumb.


Yeah, thats a common fallacy... most of the people who run this country and its businesses/wealth are criminals.  The only difference is that the dumb ones make poor risk-reward decisions and end up broke and in jail for it, instead of... you know.. owning the company you work for or whatever.
 
2013-04-12 08:02:22 PM

Alonjar: Kazan: intelligence is 50/50. not all criminals are dumb.

Yeah, thats a common fallacy... most of the people who run this country and its businesses/wealth are criminals.  The only difference is that the dumb ones make poor risk-reward decisions and end up broke and in jail for it, instead of... you know.. owning the company you work for or whatever.


exactly
 
2013-04-12 10:03:23 PM

Alonjar: Kazan: intelligence is 50/50. not all criminals are dumb.

Yeah, thats a common fallacy... most of the people who run this country and its businesses/wealth are criminals.  The only difference is that the dumb ones make poor risk-reward decisions and end up broke and in jail for it, instead of... you know.. owning the company you work for or whatever.


Or getting elected president.
 
2013-04-13 01:55:09 AM

Pentaxian: How many serial killers come from happy, stable homes? There might a possible predilection to "evil" but that is true for so many illnesses as well.


Difficulty: define "happy", "stable" homes.
 
2013-04-13 10:25:30 AM
There is a gene that some people have, that makes then log into any Fark rape thread and insinuate that they were "sort of" raped a long time ago (but it was never reported to the police, natch) and who try and use this as a way of getting the "moral high ground" and calling anyone who disagrees with their opinions a "rapist".
 
2013-04-13 10:47:37 AM
Well, it's certainly not due to a social milieu where people are encouraged to be douches to each other, and put their own needs first, let's get that straight.  It's just a few bad apples.
 
2013-04-13 08:31:33 PM
indarwinsshadow:

It's been my (limited) experience as a new police officer over the past 3 years that there are evil people. Most of us know the difference between right and wrong. Evil people ignore the right and always choose the wrong. Something wrong in the wiring tells them to go ahead when you or most everyone else wouldn't. It's depressing and difficult being in law enforcement.

I know what you mean.
There are otherwise fine, upstanding people in my community who every day put on a badge and do things like write people citations for not wearing a seatbelt when they were wearing one and have 3 other witnesses in the car who can testify to that fact.
It boggles the mind that these people would go out of their way every day to oppress and harass law abiding citizens.
Some day I'd like to ask someone who has been doing it for a few years why they do it, but I doubt I'll ever get the chance to so where I will both be free of reprisal and receive and honest answer.
 
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