linkfest – 08/21/11

Breaking down intelligence to environmental and genetic components – from dienekes.

Stress During Early Development Is Inherited by Offspring

“The mismeasure of morals: Antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas”“[A] study in which participants responded to a battery of personality assessments and a set of dilemmas that pit utilitarian and non-utilitarian options against each other. Participants who indicated greater endorsement of utilitarian solutions had higher scores on measures of Psychopathy, machiavellianism, and life meaninglessness.”

Y haplogroup R1b and light hair in Italy – @race/history/evolution notes.

Don’t rely on a pretty face: Beautiful people with symmetrical faces more likely to be selfish

The Secret Language Code“Psychologist James Pennebaker reveals the hidden meaning of pronouns”

Parasite load, race, and IQ – from the inductivist.

Blacks, dopamine, and IQ – also from the inductivist.

Boys Reaching Sexual Maturity Earlier Than Ever

Web Genetic Sudy Confirms Genetic Associations – @futurepundit.

bonus: First life: The search for the first replicator – via malcolm pollack.

bonus bonus: Would You Please Fucking Stop?

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mea culpa?

great article in the telegraph:

The human brain: turning our minds to the law

“Our understanding of the way the brain works could help us create a better legal system, says neuroscientist David Eagleman….

“The problem is that the law rests on two assumptions that are charitable, but demonstrably false. The first is that people are ‘practical reasoners’, which is the law’s way of saying that they are capable of acting in alignment with their best interests, and capable of rational foresight about their actions. The second is that all brains are created equal. Everyone who is of legal age and above an IQ of 70 is assumed, in the eyes of the law, to have the same capacity for decision-making, understanding, impulse control and reasoning. But these ideas simply don’t match up with the facts of neuroscience.

“Along any axis that we measure, brains are different – whether in aggression, intelligence, empathy and so on. Brains are more like fingerprints: we all have them, but they are not exactly alike. As Lord Bingham, the senior law lord, put it, these myths embedded in the legal system do not provide a ‘uniformly accurate guide to human behaviour’.

“The legal system needs an infusion of neuroscience. It needs to turn away from an ancient notion of how people should behave to understand better how they do behave….”

i agree with eagleman 1000%. how can everyone be held equally accountable for their actions when everyone is not equal?

for example, how can someone who is born with the genes predisposing him towards psychopathy — AND who is raised in the right (or should that be wrong?) environment — be held responsible for his actions in the same way that a non-psychopath can be? answer: he can’t.

the psychopath behaves differently because he has a very different neurology than a non-psychopath. how can he be in any way personally responsible for his psychopathic actions? he certainly cannot be reformed! (without a lobotomy or something drastic like that.)

i’m not saying that criminals shouldn’t be locked up — we need to do that to keep society safe. but, we do need to rethink the basis of our legal system given what we now know (and will learn in the future) about our biology.

previously: who’s responsible?

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linkfest – 03/13/11

Giftedness Linked to Prenatal Exposure of Higher Levels of Testosterone

Creativity is an upside to ADHD“For the same reason that ADHD might create problems, like distraction, it can also allow an openness to new ideas.”

Cold War, (relatively) warm feelings – from the a epigone.

Do genes make people evil?“[T]wo recent findings provide strong evidence that evil behavior—mass murder, armed robbery, and perhaps even newspaper theft—might be caused by the right set of genes interacting with the wrong environment.” [subscription req.]

Natural homophobes? Evolutionary psychology and antigay attitudes

Thrill-seeking females work hard for their next fix“[W]omen become addicted to cocaine more easily than men and find it harder to give up.”

Anthropologists Link Human Uniqueness to Hunter-Gatherer Group Structure

Epidemiology: Study of a lifetime“In 1946, scientists started tracking thousands of British children born during one cold March week. On their 65th birthday, the study members find themselves more scientifically valuable than ever before.”

Aging rates, gender gap in mortality similar across all primates

linkfest – 02/27/11

Taming the Wild @national geographic – via steve sailer.

Did Neanderthals use feathers for fashion?

Monkeys ‘display self-doubt’ like humans

Why did French fertility collapse in the 1800s? from hail.

Life of crime begins at three for some children, scientists claim after disturbing traits identified

Ethnic Differences Emerge in Plastic Surgery

Yes, your blood group DOES affect your health

German outpost in Brazil – from jewamongyou.

Promiscuous apes make more sperm

Evolutionary accounts of human behavioural diversity – via occidentalist.

Ice-age child’s remains discovered in Interior – of alaska

Phonology recapitulates phylogeny – from ahnenkult

The Machiavellianism of Our Chimpanzee Politics – from larry arnhart

Conservative Candidates Are Often Better-Looking – via diversity is chaos

Looks matter most to young girls, even in a long-term partner – from agnostic

Craniometric study: Neolithic migrants did not penetrate Northern and Eastern Europe – from euro genetics and anthro blog

What does a 19th century Mormon and a fruit fly have in common? The more wives they have the fewer children the women produce, claim scientists

who’s responsible?

sarah palin said:

“President Reagan said, ‘We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.’ Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them….”

yes. and, well, nuh-uh!

now, i’m no shrink, but after reading (too much) about jared loughner, including police reports and community college “police” reports, i’m gonna go ahead and diagnose him as crazy. in fact, ’cause of his obvious paranoia as well as his disorganized thinking, i’m gonna go ahead and say he’s prolly schizo (which often develops in early adulthood — jared’s friends talk about how he got weird in just the last year or so).

if i’m right, can this guy really be held accountable for his actions?

from livescience:

“People with acute mental disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are two to three times more likely to commit violent crimes (not just homicide) than people without mental illness, Fazel’s research has found. But there’s an important caveat: Substance abuse dramatically increases the risk of violence, up to about eight to 10 times the rate of the general population.

“Substance abusers without mental illness have similarly high rates of violence, Fazel said.”


– schizos and some other crazy people are 2-3 times more likely than the average joe to commit a violent crime;
– those numbers are even worse — 8-10 times more likely — if the schizos/crazies have substance abuse problems;
– those numbers are about the same — 8-10 times more likely — amongst anybody who has substance abuse problems.

first, jared loughner. prolly crazy (schizo) + he drank (like during school) and smoked pot (according to friends/police reports). so he’s one of these 8-10 times more likely folks.

i’m sorry, but can he be held accountable for his actions? i mean, really. the guy was not in ANY sense of the word in control of what he was doing. read the reports from the community college to see what i mean.

i’m not saying that jared loughner shouldn’t be locked up ’cause he’s obviously a danger to society — but can someone like that ever be “reformed”? can they be changed? don’t think so.

what about the substance abuse folks who are not schizo/crazy? aren’t a lot of them prolly just self-medicating and they prolly actually are bipolar or borderline or something but just haven’t been diagnosed according to the dmv dsm (which is screwy itself anyway)? substance abuse, like alcoholism for instance, is partly heritable after all — so how are those people in control of what they’re doing? can they really be held 100% accountable for what they do?

maybe agressive people are just aggressive and there’s not much to do about it once they’re adults.

what about psychopaths? heritable personality — can be bad if the person has an unloving or abusive upbringing. can they be held accountable?

lately i’ve been leaning strongly toward “no” in answer to all these questions.

again, i’m not saying that dangerous people or people who commit crimes shouldn’t be locked up — we need to do that to keep society as safe as possible — but maybe we need to admit to ourselves that we’re not locking these people up to reform them.

perhaps some people can be reformed; but what can you do, for example, with a mentally retarded person (iq below 70) who is aggressive and murderous? are u really going to be able to reason with him to be a better person? medication or other treatments might work, but you’re not really fundamentally changing the person then, are you? you’re just treating the symptoms. and he hasn’t become more accountable for his actions, has he? just more docile in his behavior.

guess i’m just not a big believer in free will, that’s all. if our personalities|intellects|behaviors are products of our natures and our nutures, where does the free (i.e. independent of those factors) enter into it all?

see also: crime times

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a touch of psychopathy

“Psychopathy, like autism, and many of the clinical disorders, is a spectrum…. Many of us are narcissistic, many of us are impulsive at some level. Many of us do all sorts of things that are at least somewhat morally wrong. We’re somewhere on the spectrum.”

an unfortunate, but accurate, quote from marc hauser. (i saw it in october’s hard copy of scientific american [pg. 11]. i didn’t check to see if it was on their website or not.)

psychopaths of the world unite.

about spectrum disorders.

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