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Hardwired for Life?

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Previous FORAtv comments:
Mark LaJoie Avatar
Mark LaJoie
Posted: 11.16.11, 05:33 AM
Doyle appeals to a first century philosopher, and the ideas of blame and responsibility. We know that there are genetic predispositions to certain moods and behaviors, and we know that environmental factors can cause epigenetic changes that can also chemically alter behavior. Combine the genetically determined trait of low impulse control , and a failure of emotional bonding by the age of three years, and you have a sociopath, who may become very manipulative, add a history of violence and you are very likely to get a serial killer. We need not even consider motives, blame, responsibility, when determining how to handle "offenders". We only need determine whether they committed an offense, and how to keep them from re-offending. Of course a thirst for vengeance is also a trait that has been selected for by evolution, so that reason is unlikely to be societies guide in such matters.
Andrew Atkin Avatar
Andrew Atkin
Posted: 10.04.10, 01:06 AM
That's right. how do the genes know how to respond to the environmental triggers? We are "obscenely" complex.
anne Avatar
Posted: 08.21.10, 02:49 PM
Quote: Originally Posted by Andrew Atkin My favourite way of putting it: Your genes are the piano, and your environment is the pianist. The music is the manifestation. Of course the piano does not "verse" the pianist. maybe, but who writes the music? Re the CBT speaker - she says we can all change our behaviour - perhaps, but that behaviour does not necessarily reflect what is going on in the person - witness official and legislated conformity to human differences(racial/ religious/) but the real situation can emerge at times when these constraints are removed. I changed my behaviour at boarding school because there were punishments associated with not doing so, but this has affected my adult life in many ways that are damaging. Changing one's attitude to an event does not always mean that its effect will go away. The memories can't be erased. I was waiting for Stuart D. to get on to the most interesting part - if we do have some measure of free will what or who is in control? But you shortened this programme for the internet viewer at the most interesting point when perhaps someone might have asked this question.Did they?
Andrew Atkin Avatar
Andrew Atkin
Posted: 05.15.10, 06:59 AM
My favourite way of putting it: Your genes are the piano, and your environment is the pianist. The music is the manifestation. Of course the piano does not "verse" the pianist.
icouce Avatar
Posted: 05.15.10, 03:17 AM
I think it is absolutely telling that there is not one neurogeneticist, cognitive neuroscientist or developmental biologist on this panel. Instead, we have Mr. Bailey, a journalist; Jean Smith, a fundraiser; and Mr. Shenk, an author on subjects from chess to biology and social issues. They are all undoubtedly intelligent and capable people, but not experts in the crucial fields. The only scientists on the panel are two clinical psychologists, whom I am sure are very capable and distinguished as well. However, since the interplay of environment and biology is central to answering the question "Hardwired for Life," I find the exclusion of these three critical aforementioned scientific disciplines, and the exclusion of a scientist with a contrary view of the evidence, smacking of "ax grinding." The relationship between biology and environment is complex, but we are certainly not a "tabula rasa" and it's about time sociologists and their fellow travelers in the scientific community abandoned this outdated 18th century notion. Genetics does not "determine" behavior, but the interaction of genes with the environment do determine brain structures from which behavior springs; it is not pixie dust or some other extra-physical agent which is responsible. These brain structures are distinguishable and categorizable in as distinctive people, and as varied environments, as Arctic Inuit, Congo Pygmies, Amazonian Yananomi Indians, or Wall Street Investment Bankers. The plasticity of the brain, which what these arguments boil down to, is often exaggerated or misinterpreted for political purposes. Therefore, if the goal of the panel is a scientific elucidation of the subject on scientific terms for the layperson, then the contribution of neurogeneticists, cognitive neuroscientist or developmental biologist, and of similar experts holding a contrary viewpoint, is critical to our understanding. I suspect the purpose of this panel is something else. Dr. Derbyshire's defense of free will and human agency is glib, as is his downplay of human consciousness as an emergent phenomena. However, the rankest amateur, yours truly, realizes chemistry occurs in space and time. Therefore, the chemical reactions in the brain necessary for me to develop these thoughts and come up with this critique, as it is also necessary for his contribution, occur sometime in the past in relation to the instance in which I, or he, become “aware” of them as conscious thought. I think that this in not a settled question by a long shot. I also believe all other interpretations are contingent on this one, i.e., what is the nature of free will if decision-making is dependent on chemistry, which occurs in space and time subject to its laws. That is, what does it mean for a human being to make a decision if the chemistry involved must have necessarily occurred before he/she was aware of making a decision?
theknopfknows Avatar
Posted: 05.07.10, 04:52 PM
Helloooo, Predisposition from genes which no one mentions, Genes do not create personality traits--- it`s the angle of Sunlight, changes monthly and therefore, power of attraction plus angle of sunlight ASTROLOGY, the first science. Solomon said "nothing new under the Sun". Why? Because nothing lives without the SUN. Nature and nurture are one and the same only institutionalized thinking as always separates them-since 17 century. With theory of premature cognitive committment, where chid abuse is directly related to Adult addiction, food,sugar, salt, drugs etc, Mankind Globally was and is born into addictition the last 8oo years from coca plants to qat in Yemen Alcohol smoking throughout the world, TV yes another addiction fine line between passion and addiction money technology, the new acceptable addictions, now creates a different brain in a few short generations. My children can`t focus concentrate, no muscle for decisions. My mind says SO WHAT; TELL ME SOMETHING useful, self-sabotage keeps victims of consumer society. Corporte dictatorship Macdonalds Coca cola shapes the new mind. I am the dinasaur of Knowledge, we are not to be replace but to reframe, perception management and of coarse "The Singularity is near" by Ray Kurzweil and by Aubrey de Grey with Micheal Rae, there arte your answers there lies your future. Mahalo and Manana! off into the sunset of life.
jimec Avatar
Posted: 04.25.10, 11:23 PM
It sounds like you should read Phillip K Dick if you haven't discovered him already. For my part I think the guy at the end might be right - the neuroscientists should get out more - maybe even down to their local primary school where they might learn something about the wave of consciousness that emerges there!
digitalheir Avatar
Posted: 04.21.10, 03:21 PM
The sucker at the end is arguing against a deterministic worldview by telling adherents should 'go out more' and that things man have achieved are evident of free will? Could a very sophisticated, hypothetical robot not do, extensionally, all the things man has achieved? If anything should separate our minds from that of robots, it is in spiritual sense. And this too, maybe, can be broken down to material relationships. Anyhow, there is no indisputable evidence for a truly free will. (Furthermore, I don't think your brain actually performs differential equations in anticipating the future location of a moving object. Not very elucidating if he meant it in a metaphorical sense.) I think consciousness is an emergent phenomenon, much like a wave produced in a pool of water. You don't understand the wave by analyzing water molecules only, but by analyzing the relation they have to one another, panning out to macro level.
Jon Irenicus Avatar
Jon Irenicus
Posted: 03.26.10, 04:23 AM
Quote: Originally Posted by Trevar @Jon: There was a lengthy back and forth Q&A session with the audience, but unfortunately the video footage had some technical issues and we were not able to salvage it. Apologies for any inconvenience. Best, Trevar Director of Media Production Is the audio intact? If so that would be good enough ! That is probably gone too, oh well.
Trevar Avatar
Posted: 03.22.10, 10:44 AM
@Jon: There was a lengthy back and forth Q&A session with the audience, but unfortunately the video footage had some technical issues and we were not able to salvage it. Apologies for any inconvenience. Best, Trevar Director of Media Production