Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 23 Jul '10 20:18
    http://media.gn.apc.org/members/3/index10.html

    Is crime in the blood - the case of the mean genes.

    This article by Gareth Huw Davies was first published Radio Times, May 1996.



    Dutch scientist Dr Han Brunner was recently approached by a lady terrified of men behaving badly in her family. There seemed to be something "in the blood" and she feared that if she gave birth to a son, he too would grow up a violent, tempestuous chip off the old block. With the menfolk's cooperation Dr Brunner peeled away the machismo and peered into their irreducible genetic essence. He made a startling discovery. One young man was found to have an anomaly in his DNA, the chemical code in the shape of a twisted ladder found in every cell. Just one letter wrong in three thousand million, but that was enough. That mutation changed an enzyme, which altered the chemistry of the brain, which messed up the way the nerves communicate with one other and pushed this man towards the threshold of rage. Had Brunner discovered the "gene for crime"?

    Two American attorneys, Charles Taylor and Daniel Summer, certainly thought so. Their client Stephen Mobley is on Death Row in Georgia, convicted of shooting a shopkeeper in the back during a robbery. Taylor and Summer believed they could save Mobley from the electric chair if they could call science in evidence and show that his appalling criminality was gene-driven, that in some way he wasn't altogether responsible for his actions. They even harboured hopes that any inborn defect might be treated and rectified, just as some genetically transmitted diseases like haemophilia and schizophrenia can be treated.

    But the case hit a snag. If one son is, literally, a natural born killer, does this brand the rest of the family's menfolk as criminals-in-waiting? Mobley's father did not wait to find out. He sacked the attorneys and, at the time of writing, Mobley is still on Death Row, his genes untested.

    ...

    This much he will concede. "The science behind the Brunner findings is watertight. There is quite good evidence that the Dutch family's highly anti-social behaviour is associated with a single gene mutation that they carry. I am convinced there are genes that pre-dispose some people towards criminal behaviour." However, it's a long way to the popular press's seductive headline "gene for crime." Then, quite astonishingly, Professor Jones seems to dissent. "Yes, there is a gene for crime. It's the gene that leads the very early embryo, which is nearly always female, into the path of being male. It's the male gene. Almost all criminals are male. That shows what happens if you pursue this argument to its logical conclusion."

    ...
  2. 23 Jul '10 20:20
    guessing here that the Dutch family is melanin-deficient.
  3. 23 Jul '10 20:27
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    guessing here that the Dutch family is melanin-deficient.
    What are you trying to say?
  4. 23 Jul '10 20:30
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    What are you trying to say?
    Thread 132433, racial profiling, p. 4:

    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    I highly doubt whether 'melanin' has anything to do with someone's preponderance to crime.
  5. Subscriber Proper Knob
    Cornovii
    23 Jul '10 20:45 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    Thread 132433, racial profiling, p. 4:

    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    [b]I highly doubt whether 'melanin' has anything to do with someone's preponderance to crime.
    [/b]
    I would hardly call that evidence. He maybe found the gene for aggression.

    "Yes, there is a gene for crime. It's the gene that leads the very early embryo, which is nearly always female, into the path of being male. It's the male gene. Almost all criminals are male. That shows what happens if you pursue this argument to its logical conclusion."
  6. 23 Jul '10 20:48
    supposedly there are 100 genes or so for height, out of which 50 have been discovered.

    i much doubt they'll be able to boil a tendency to commit crimes down to one gene.
  7. 23 Jul '10 20:49
    P.S., i'm agreeing with Proper Knob's original statement re melanin!
  8. 23 Jul '10 20:50
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    Thread 132433, racial profiling, p. 4:

    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    [b]I highly doubt whether 'melanin' has anything to do with someone's preponderance to crime.
    [/b]
    Well, surely there are genes linked to agressive behaviour. But are those genes linked to genes coding for melanin?
  9. 23 Jul '10 21:23
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Well, surely there are genes linked to agressive behaviour. But are those genes linked to genes coding for melanin?
    I'm no biologist.... However, I'm pretty sure that alot of agressive behavior can be explained psychologically without reference to DNA. Why should I suppose that there are genes linked to agressive behavior? By "linked" I don't take you to mean "loosely correlated with." Has the biology literature established any strong correlation or causation in this area? I find alot of evolutionary psychology to be much too speculative.
  10. 23 Jul '10 21:26
    Originally posted by mrj0hn50n
    I'm no biologist.... However, I'm pretty sure that alot of agressive behavior can be explained psychologically without reference to DNA. Why should I suppose that there are genes linked to agressive behavior? By "linked" I don't take you to mean "loosely correlated with." Has the biology literature established any strong correlation or causation in this area? I find alot of evolutionary psychology to be much too speculative.
    Under no circumstance will empirical science establish causation.
  11. 23 Jul '10 21:53
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Under no circumstance will empirical science establish causation.
    That's what I keep telling 'em! How 'bout a strong correlation?
  12. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    23 Jul '10 22:38
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Well, surely there are genes linked to agressive behaviour. But are those genes linked to genes coding for melanin?
    In the first part of the 20th Century lots of people thought all sort of stuff was "instinctive - there were instincts for everything, including stealing apples from your neighbour's garden. It sounded scientific but it explained precisely nothing whatever.

    The fashion for genes "causing" behaviour is just a fresh run at the same rubbish. The fact that it is often promoted by "scientists" with lots of qualifications does not make it any more coherent as an explanation.
  13. 23 Jul '10 23:41
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Well, surely there are genes linked to agressive behaviour. But are those genes linked to genes coding for melanin?
    doubt it. PK's melanin comment is just the initiator, not the topic.
  14. 23 Jul '10 23:42
    it's incumbent upon the scientists who made to the study to find people with the same gene but raised in different families.
  15. 23 Jul '10 23:43
    wow, look at that. kind of a stub, though.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosocial_criminology

    Biosocial criminology is a subfield of criminology and sociology. While many sociologists and criminologists focus on the the role of environmental effects as primarily responsible for causing crime, the influence of biology on crime is also often studied.[1] Biosocial theories may argue, for example, that humans predisposed by their genes to taking risks may also be predisposed to criminal behavior.[1]

    Contents

    * 1 History
    * 2 Theories
    * 3 See also
    * 4 References
    * 5 Further reading