Evolutionary psychology Genetics

New York Times electrifies corpse of “it’s in your genes” – even while admitting that it’s sort of like, not true

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“In Genetic Basis for Crime: A New Look” New York Times (June 19, 2011) , Patricia Cohen tells us

Researchers estimate that at least 100 studies have shown that genes play a role in crimes. “Very good methodological advances have meant that a wide range of genetic work is being done,” said John H. Laub, the director of the justice institute, who won the Stockholm Prize in Criminology last week. He and others take pains to emphasize, however, that genes are ruled by the environment, which can either mute or aggravate violent impulses. Many people with the same genetic tendency for aggressiveness will never throw a punch, while others without it could be career criminals. 

The subject still raises thorny ethical and policy questions.

In which case, these findings should – or should notconsign people to jail?

A rash of new research has focused on self-control as well as callousness and a lack of empathy, traits regularly implicated in the decision to commit a crime. Like other personality traits, these are believed to have environmental and genetic components, although the degree of heritability is debated.

The witness Gene may stand down. Case dismissed!

2 Replies to “New York Times electrifies corpse of “it’s in your genes” – even while admitting that it’s sort of like, not true

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    Here it comes again. The attempt to bring ethnicity/sex into determining the moral and intellectual destiny of mankind.
    They give up>
    In fact until christianity calmed things down everyone, by our standards , was a criminal.
    These are stupid ideas and its stupid to give prizes to these boneheads getting paid to make these conclusions.
    The bible has some ideas on these matters also.
    it seems to me they are saying the bible is wrong.

  2. 2
    Ilion says:

    Ah, but our desire to define criminality and then punish criminals is *also* genetically determined, and so cannot be opposed.

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