Wednesday, June 30, 2010

19 Comments:

Blogger Metamorf said...

Of course, if you are your brain, then you made you do it, no?

7:15 PM, June 30, 2010  
Blogger Major-General said...

At least its less of a cop-out than "the gun just went off."

Seriously though, didn't the philosophers already but the kibosh on the idea that the evil genius makes someone do something? By saying "my brain made me do it" you're trying to claim that your brain made you do something against your will.

9:52 PM, June 30, 2010  
Blogger God Of Bacon said...

In our enlightened age, violent asshole is now a mental illness and it's not your fault.

8:44 AM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

So, they suggest that many criminals are criminals because their brains function differently. While at the same time, many members of the same profession are trying to define conservatism as a mental illness.

Color me less and less impressed with the mental health profession. My impression of them was first established many years ago when my wife, a nurse, worked some shifts at a local mental health facility for young people. The kids were kept there until their insurance covereage ran out, then they were released as "cured."

9:36 AM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

If psychopaths and sociopaths brains function different and these people have no empathy for others and aren't aware when they commit a crime, then why do they run and hide after they commit a crime, lie to the police and then do everything they can to avoid being convicted? They must have an inkling they are doing something illegal when they are doing it.

9:59 AM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

They are aware that they are committing a crime, they are just neurologically and historically programed to not care that they committed a crime.

They care about getting caught, they care a lot about that.

Trey

10:56 AM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger Eric Blair said...

Kind of reminds of Edmund in "King Lear" who wouldn't allow astrology to excuse his actions.

At some point, ownership is central.

12:06 PM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

It's sometimes difficult in borderline cases to pin down the point where someone is culpable for his actions.

If a man rolls over in his sleep - truly unconscious - and bruises his wife in the process, hardly anyone would think that he should be judged guilty of battery.

Going up a notch, if someone is truly a raving lunatic - without even the sense of a beast - whether due to a severe head injury or being given a powerful hallucinogenic - most people would not judge him guilty of what he does under that influence, especially if he is not responsible for the condition himself (for instance by voluntarily drinking too much).

After that, it gets difficult and I think most people think that culpability should be attributed to someone's actions. Wherever you stand on the issue, here is one way of looking at it: Even if a person's actions are the result of an intense compulsion, he could have that compulsion again, so even if he has reduced culpability, he should be locked up to protect the public.

1:38 PM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:42 PM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:43 PM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

There is also a philosophy that conscious control of your actions is an illusion. Deeper levels of the brain control your actions, and consciousness just kind of rides along.

That's not as far-fetched as it sounds, experiments have shown that your body starts taking an action before you consciously decide to do so (for instance in a test where you have to wait for a while and then press a button whenever you feel like it - the EEG portion of a conscious decision comes later than the EEG portion of readiness to engage the specific muscles, up to a half-second later).

1:46 PM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger Doom said...

On top of all the other arguments against the notion of much of the defenses (both scientific and legal) regarding crime, and on into social and ethical areas, the idea that we are not capable beyond our form (body, brain, whatever) also assumes that our form (body, brain, whatever) is the sum total of who we are.

Could this, beyond bad science (typical though), and poor legal consideration, also be another gaming of the system in order to eliminate religion (by making God, the soul, etc., non-functional with regard to law... essentially a materialistic phasing of the law in order to eliminate anything other than flesh and bone)?

I wish them luck with that (not really, but roll with me). Communists and socialists, Vikings, and Mongol hordes... could not murder faith out of people, or murder enough of them to eliminate hope. I have less faith (ha!) in a legal maneuver, especially one which few of even it's authors or actors regarding which can fully comprehend.

I think you actually have to be religious to see the fault in the logic. Anyway, just thought I would mumble something somewhere other than where I usually mumble and this looked interesting.

10:09 PM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

Isn't this all more the argument for locking the criminal up? After all, if his or her penchant for crime and violence is uncontrollable, letting them walk free would be abhorrent.

12:57 PM, July 04, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

50 years from now, this research will be sitting next to phrenology and be laughed at for the same reason. Unfortunately, until then genuinely guilty, violent people will go free and perpetuate more violence and, I have no doubt, innocent people will be sent to jail on testimony of these charlatans.

1:01 PM, July 04, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

"50 years from now, this research will be sitting next to phrenology and be laughed at for the same reason."

-----

I don't know about that.

Helen Smith aside - because she sounds like a smart cookie - most people in the left wing "studies" today are moronic. "Angry studies" from the get-go, but also a bit into the areas of sociology and social work and (maybe) psychology.

In any case, people studying "consciousness" will come up with much better ideas.

2:44 PM, July 04, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

I always thought of them as victim studies, but angry studies works.

I minored in African-American studies in college, and I learned a lot. The chair of the department was a great man from Jamaica. He made sure that the program had a focus on history and the accomplishments of blacks instead of their grievences.

At that time, in the late 70s, I needed those courses to know more about American history. I hope that American history is more inclusive now as there are great and inspiring stories in black history.

Trey

3:32 PM, July 04, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

JG, this is totally bullshit "science." They are looking at an extremely minor subset of brain scans and making massive extrapolations and absurd declarations about cause and effect with absolutely no evidence for that.

Furthermore, what these brain scans show isn't remotely as clear as what is being claimed. Read up on it and you'll quickly see that these self-proclaimed experts are simply seeing what they want to see (which is why they hide most of their work and won't let much of it be reviewed.)

(The images that are shown to the public are extremely modified and enhanced. How? They won't tell you. Sound familiar?)

3:50 PM, July 04, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Joe, Daniel Amen has a database of 20,000 spect scans. CHeck his work out at brainplace.com.

Trey

5:58 PM, July 04, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

Wake up Trey; 20,000 scans is nothing. More importantly, in any given diagnostic category there are precious few scans. And where are the double-blind scientific studies? Where is the peer review by skeptics?

Amen is doing EXACTLY what phrenologists do--he "read" on a person and then uses his "science" and tells them what they want to hear, after taking money from their wallets.

Daniel Amen is a obvious quack. The failure for intelligent people to see that is nothing short of astonishing.

(And please note that, as with any scientist, Amen's own claims are worthless without valid scientific studies that have been reproduced multiple times by truly independent parties. For anyone to reference his site as any sort of support for his claims is unbelievably bogus. Anyone remember Pons and Fleischmann? I suppose a sucker is still born every minute.)

1:24 PM, July 05, 2010  

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