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Reconciling Faith with Evolution

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Postby genovese » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:38 am

david 23 brought to light another of my pet theories. "Will Power" If this is a function of the genes, then it does throw a different angle onto the problem of criminality.

If criminals have inherited a weakness in Will Power, then because I have already suggested that we are all programmed to be able to KILL,Steal etc. That means that we are dealing with an inherited disease and that drugs or genetic interference rather than prison might be a better way to solve the problem.
We used to lock up the mentally ill - we don't anymore.
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Postby alextemplet » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:23 pm

It might not be a lack of will power; it could just as easily be a lack of morals, which has more to do with how a person is raised than anything else.
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Postby genovese » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:41 pm

I quite agree with you regarding the lack of education although most people (including criminals) would be aware of the laws of the land and would have heard about societies moral codes. I cannot conceive that most criminals are unaware of the standard moral codes pertaining to their society. The question is "why do they not live up to them". If we are programmed (genetically) to steal for example - that does require some effort or Will Power to negate this drive. Is every person born with the necessary Will Power to apply the Moral Codes?
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Postby AstusAleator » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:50 pm

Actions deemed as "criminal", particularly the more heinous ones, might be an aspect of selection in what could be referred to as socio-cultural evolution. For a culture to be fit, it selects for certain behaviors in its populace, and those that don't fit are punished in one form or another...

Just a thought.
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Postby greeneye55582 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:16 pm

AstusAleator wrote:I think that no particular DNA sequence codes for such things as anger, fear, aggression, sexuality, etc. I think that there are many factors contributing to the comlexity of human behavior. It is an interesting topic, to be sure.


Astus I see what you mean. But let me propose this:

DNA codes for certain elements. The ability to have a certain behavior will be complicated and based on the presence/absence of certain proteins (and their abundance) that the DNA may or may not code for, as well as environmental factors, people factors, lifestyle.

If there wasn't some validity to this argument, scientists wouldn't study some areas like 1) genetic predispositions to produce certain neuronal chemicals that cause a lower anger threshold in individuals 2) genetic predisposititons that cause elevated levels of sex hormones in individuals.

Note I say predisposition. Not genetic determination, which I think is too strong of a word at this time. Unless you're talking about pathology or morphology. But behavior is just too variable & complex. ;)
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Postby greeneye55582 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:28 pm

genovese wrote:f we are programmed (genetically) to steal for example - that does require some effort or Will Power to negate this drive. Is every person born with the necessary Will Power to apply the Moral Codes?


Scenario Time! ;)
I just want to know what you think the predicted outcome will be.

Let's say Jill's original parents were thieves, and their parents were thieves. As a matter of fact, they've been darn proud to be from a long line of thieves over the last century!

Jill's given up for adoption at age 1 & is raised by a wealthy, generous family. They convinced her to get involved in community service-related things at an early age. And her family's fortunate enough to be well-off so she's never had to deal with a living environment without sufficient resources. Growing up her family imprints their values on her - generosity, good morals, etc.

Does she continue along this path?
Or does her "genetic program" start to kick in?
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Postby alextemplet » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:32 am

genovese wrote:I quite agree with you regarding the lack of education although most people (including criminals) would be aware of the laws of the land and would have heard about societies moral codes. I cannot conceive that most criminals are unaware of the standard moral codes pertaining to their society. The question is "why do they not live up to them". If we are programmed (genetically) to steal for example - that does require some effort or Will Power to negate this drive. Is every person born with the necessary Will Power to apply the Moral Codes?


People can choose to break the law for a variety of reasons that have little or nothing to do with genetics. For some, it might as simple as believing they can get away with it. For others, desperation and poverty might drive them to steal or kill.
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Postby alextemplet » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:34 am

AstusAleator wrote:Actions deemed as "criminal", particularly the more heinous ones, might be an aspect of selection in what could be referred to as socio-cultural evolution. For a culture to be fit, it selects for certain behaviors in its populace, and those that don't fit are punished in one form or another...

Just a thought.


A very good point, and one must question whether these tendencies or directly influenced by genetics or are simply put in place by a person's upbringing. Either method could produce this effect.
Generally speaking, the more people talk about "being saved," the further away they actually are from true salvation.

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Postby alextemplet » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:37 am

greeneye55582 wrote:
genovese wrote:f we are programmed (genetically) to steal for example - that does require some effort or Will Power to negate this drive. Is every person born with the necessary Will Power to apply the Moral Codes?


Scenario Time! ;)
I just want to know what you think the predicted outcome will be.

Let's say Jill's original parents were thieves, and their parents were thieves. As a matter of fact, they've been darn proud to be from a long line of thieves over the last century!

Jill's given up for adoption at age 1 & is raised by a wealthy, generous family. They convinced her to get involved in community service-related things at an early age. And her family's fortunate enough to be well-off so she's never had to deal with a living environment without sufficient resources. Growing up her family imprints their values on her - generosity, good morals, etc.

Does she continue along this path?
Or does her "genetic program" start to kick in?


I have seen plenty enough examples of "criminals" turning their lives around once they found the right influences. I personally think that our social environment, beliefs, morals, upbringing, etc. plays a much greater role in our behavior than our genetics. I say Jill would follow in the footsteps of her adoptive family.
Generally speaking, the more people talk about "being saved," the further away they actually are from true salvation.

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Postby genovese » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:40 am

Greeneye55582 has provided an interesting scenario. He has also provided much of the answer, for the environment, such as up-bringing and education and other factors will all interplay with any genetic factors. Certainly, if conditions are such that "stealing is not necessary" (such as wealth and a good moral upbringing) then you would not need such a strong Will Power to negate the "stealing drive". But put that same person with 10 other people with only enough food for 5 in a closed system, and just wait & see if the "stealing drive" doesn't kick in.
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Postby greeneye55582 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:03 pm

I'm a "she" by the way. :) No big deal. And no, my name is not Jill for anyone that asks!

But genovese, I think that in your scenario more people than Jill would get desperate and steal. Even those who didn't come from "a long line of thieves" like my scenario above.
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Postby genovese » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:24 pm

Greeneye55582, Sorry that I turned you into a male. I absolutely agree with your last reply. Sure - I think in that scenario which I drew up, they would all try to steal - no matter how good their moral education. I see that as meaning that we are all programmed to steal - and only effort on our part will counteract this desire. Laws,education, moral codes are all there to help us achieve this control and we lock up those people who are not capable of achieving that level of self-control. Does this mean that we should be thinking of medication/gene therapy or prison?
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