[LMB] Sociopaths and Psychopaths and why we might not engineer them out

M. Haller Yamada thefabmadamem at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 13 14:10:15 BST 2019


So, we have touched only very lightly on the nurture part 
of the nature (DNA manipulation) vs. nurture debate, but 
there's a neuroscientist named James Fallon who writes 
for The Atlantic, and in the course of his journalism, he 
had a brain scan done that identified him as a psychopath. 
Very interesting article. The Atlantic has recently changed 
its access, but I think you get a few free articles, and 
this one is definitely one to read. 

He had no idea; IIRC, when he told his family the news, 
they were kind of like, "Yeah, that makes sense." But he's 
nonviolent, and he's a good writer as well as a neuroscientist. 
All in all, an asset to the community (at least, in the article he 
wrote, he comes off that way. Maybe he throws pens at the 
copyeditors). 

His theory is that nurture helped him learn how to be a 
productive member of society. And that it's the psychopaths 
who sometimes push the envelopes of research -- of course, 
sometimes in bad ways, but sometimes in good and interesting ways. 

The gene screening that goes along with the gene modification would 
mean that people who have those genes could be nurtured properly 
so they don't go around "shooting people to watch 'em die" and all 
the horrible stuff. 

I'd also like to add that someone's figures about random genetic mutation 
were quite interesting, and suggest that even with gene modifications 
by parents, little quirks and sports could happen. 

Gwynne said something about "heaven help the kid who didn't turn out 
like the parents ordered" and that is worrisome. I tend to think that the 
control freak parents who design their kids to the last optimum drop are 
more likely to be disappointed when the nurture fails to mold the child 
"properly". I hope the societies have a back-up plan. The Betans have 
parenting classes that might weed some of that out, for example. 

Micki


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