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Ethics... (response to 'Wow')

Posted by danbolser on 20 Apr 2009 at 17:17 GMT

Well, we can't really send someone to prison for a crime that they
didn't consciously commit... And if it was a crime born of their
genetic predetermination, how can we say that they consciously chose
to commit the crime?

So should we screen people who are applying for jobs where their risk
taking behaviour may put them in a position of legal responsibility?
Or should we screen the general population and send that fraction of
them to the state funded 'school for the financially challenged'? Or
do we send them to prison without trial based on their genetic guilt?
Or do we unerringly rely on our sanctified concept of the Individual
in society, and ignore such behavioural genetic risk factors?

Or perhaps such determinants will always be so marginal that they will
never require us to rethink our notion of the Individual.

What do you think?

More generally, how do we even begin to reconcile a legal system based
on the notion of culpability with such findings from behavioural
genetics? Should we bury our heads in the sand and say that some
things were never meant to be known ... or do we increasingly look for
genetic determinants of socially significant behaviours and leave the
discussion of the ramifications to 'somebody else'?

In other words, do we insist on the sanctity of the Individual in
society, a free agent, able to choose right from wrong in the context
of socially acceptable behaviour, or do we try to overhaul some of our
social systems (legal, medical and educational) in order to account
for genetic determinants of behaviour?

In the medical context (in the UK at least), people are not penalised
for their genetic diseases. Everybody pays into the system, and the
system looks after everybody. My question is, can we apply such an
egalitarian system to issues of behavioural genetics and the law? In a
hypothetically extreme case, if I carry the gene for murder, what can,
should or could 'society' do about that? And is this really such a big
'what if'?

No competing interests declared.

RE: Ethics... (response to 'Wow')

danbolser replied to danbolser on 07 Jun 2011 at 20:21 GMT

Test response.

I want to see if I get a 'ping' when someone replies to my comment.

No competing interests declared.