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Author Topic:   Biology is Destiny?
Tangle
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Posts: 2520
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 1 of 129 (641292)
11-18-2011 9:39 AM


There's a guy called Fred, married for many years, normal.

At the age of 40 his personality changes, he starts developing overt and inappropriate sexual tendancies. He starts looking at child porn. He gets kicked out by his wife for making sexual advances to young girls. He is finally prosecuted for a sex offence and put on the sex offender's register.

He also starts getting bad headaches and when he finally turns up at a hospital, they find an enormous tumour on his prefrontal cortex. They remove the tumour and his paedophilia is cured.

A couple of years later he starts having sexual problems again, he checks in to hospital, they find that the tumour has returned. They remove it, it cures the paedophilia. He's currently fine.

So this particular 'evil' was caused by neurology. Perhaps then free will and morality are dependent on the way our brains work rather than how Satan works.

quote:

"Studies suggest that when damage is done to the frontal lobe before 18 months, people never learn right from wrong," Swerdlow said. "When damage is done after that time, people can learn right from wrong but they can't control their impulses. There is no longer regard for long-term consequences, only short-term gratification."

"Nothing puts the brakes on their behavior. They are always in trouble," he said. "If their brain wants something, they take it."

Swerdlow said this was the case with his patient. The man knew his actions were wrong "but the pleasure principle overrode his restraint. [snip]

"He concluded: "We're dealing with the neurology of morality here."


Scientific paper here:
http://www.ahealthymind.org/...y/right%20OFC%20pedophile.pdf

Article here:
http://www.rifters.com/real/articles/brainontrial.htm

Biology is Destiny? Discuss

Edited by Tangle, : Linguistic improvement

Edited by Tangle, : Fixed broken link


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Jon, posted 11-18-2011 1:13 PM Tangle has responded
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 Message 73 by Hyroglyphx, posted 11-25-2011 8:06 PM Tangle has responded

  
Admin
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Message 2 of 129 (641294)
11-18-2011 12:57 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Biology is Destiny? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Jon
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From: Minnesota, U.S.A.
Joined: 12-29-2005
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Message 3 of 129 (641298)
11-18-2011 1:13 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
11-18-2011 9:39 AM


Biology is Destiny? Discuss

What's there to discuss?

It is known that neurological damage can alter thinking abilities and, by extension, any related behaviors.

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tangle, posted 11-18-2011 9:39 AM Tangle has responded

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 Message 5 by Tangle, posted 11-19-2011 2:46 AM Jon has responded

  
Larni
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Posts: 3776
From: UK
Joined: 09-16-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 4 of 129 (641333)
11-18-2011 4:02 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
11-18-2011 9:39 AM


That renowned brain box and all round sane non fantasist L. Ron. Hubbard thought (very firmly) that the physical brain was quite apart from the personality.

No one would contradict him any more than one would contradict a vicar who tells people they act in bizzare ways because of Yahwah or the Devil.

Or, thinking that the brain is the root of all behaviour and leave it at that.


The above ontological example models the zero premise to BB theory. It does so by applying the relative uniformity assumption that the alleged zero event eventually ontologically progressed from the compressed alleged sub-microscopic chaos to bloom/expand into all of the present observable order, more than it models the Biblical record evidence for the existence of Jehovah, the maximal Biblical god designer.
-Attributed to Buzsaw Message 53

Moreover that view is a blatantly anti-relativistic one. I'm rather inclined to think that space being relative to time and time relative to location should make such a naive hankering to pin-point an ultimate origin of anything, an aspiration that is not even wrong.

Well, Larni, let's say I much better know what I don't want to say than how exactly say what I do.


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Tangle
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Posts: 2520
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 5 of 129 (641418)
11-19-2011 2:46 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Jon
11-18-2011 1:13 PM


quote:
What's there to discuss?

Well rather a lot if you're a believer in the concepts of free will and evil, right and wrong, sin and absolute morality.

It's interesting to defense lawyers too, if you can say 'my brain made me do it' you can't be culpable.

Of course, the fact that Fred's brain was changed by a tumour is what makes this case interesting and proved how behaviour can be changed by extreme circumstances. But once you accept the fact that brain, beyond our own will, is responsible for behaviour, you can legitimately ask to what extent we are in control of our own actions generally.

Edited by Tangle, : Second thoughts....


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 Message 3 by Jon, posted 11-18-2011 1:13 PM Jon has responded

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 Message 6 by Larni, posted 11-19-2011 4:27 AM Tangle has not yet responded
 Message 8 by Parasomnium, posted 11-19-2011 5:23 AM Tangle has responded
 Message 21 by Jon, posted 11-20-2011 7:36 PM Tangle has responded

  
Larni
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Posts: 3776
From: UK
Joined: 09-16-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 6 of 129 (641419)
11-19-2011 4:27 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Tangle
11-19-2011 2:46 AM


We have a predisposition towards behaviour but our executive functions review our actions so we could be seen to a a 'manager' keeping our behaviour in check.

The above ontological example models the zero premise to BB theory. It does so by applying the relative uniformity assumption that the alleged zero event eventually ontologically progressed from the compressed alleged sub-microscopic chaos to bloom/expand into all of the present observable order, more than it models the Biblical record evidence for the existence of Jehovah, the maximal Biblical god designer.
-Attributed to Buzsaw Message 53

Moreover that view is a blatantly anti-relativistic one. I'm rather inclined to think that space being relative to time and time relative to location should make such a naive hankering to pin-point an ultimate origin of anything, an aspiration that is not even wrong.

Well, Larni, let's say I much better know what I don't want to say than how exactly say what I do.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Tangle, posted 11-19-2011 2:46 AM Tangle has not yet responded

    
Chuck77
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 129 (641420)
11-19-2011 4:44 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
11-18-2011 9:39 AM


Tangle writes:

So this particular 'evil' was caused by neurology. Perhaps then free will and morality are dependent on the way our brains works rather than how Satan works.

Rather than how satan works?

If your trying to dismiss satan as a real entiy because you think it rediculous to believe such a thing that's fine, but to say tumors cannot be attributed to him because of neurology is forgetting about what and who caused the fall of man that was then followed by sickness and disease (according to what we know of him). This isn't a good case to make against him.

Also it's seems no different than is someone is on antidepressants for depression if they were to leave it untreated and the depression came back as a result of going off the medication how would that have anything to do with morals or ruling out satan as a cause?

Who's claiming this? I don't see how a physical symptom and behavioural changes reflects ones moral compass.

Edited by Chuck77, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
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Parasomnium
Member (Idle past 23 days)
Posts: 2175
Joined: 07-15-2003


(2)
Message 8 of 129 (641421)
11-19-2011 5:23 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Tangle
11-19-2011 2:46 AM


'My brain made me do it'
Tangle writes:

It's interesting to defense lawyers too, if you can say 'my brain made me do it' you can't be culpable.

But who is this 'you', if it isn't the brain? Is there a separate entity that 'owns' the brain? If we have to believe that, we're right back at dualism, which I think modern science has done a good job of getting rid of.

There are of course cases where someone ultimately can't be held responsible for their actions, as in the case of Fred, where medical science was able to show that Fred's actions were due to his tumor. But if I were a judge in a trial against a psychopath, in which medical science could show that the defendant's brain was just wired that way, and the defense would plead "his brain made him do it", then I would answer "Well, I can accept that, but in that case I am left with no other choice than to incarcerate his brain. So it's the defendant's choice whether he wants to accompany his brain in confinement, or whether he would like to be separated from it."

Even if we are all victims of our biology, there are still cases where the interests of society take precedence over those of the individual.


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Tangle, posted 11-19-2011 2:46 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Tangle, posted 11-19-2011 9:40 AM Parasomnium has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 2520
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


(1)
Message 9 of 129 (641424)
11-19-2011 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Chuck77
11-19-2011 4:44 AM


quote:

If your trying to dismiss satan as a real entiy because you think it rediculous to believe such a thing that's fine,

It's fine then :-)

quote:
but to say tumors cannot be attributed to him because of neurology is forgetting about what and who caused the fall of man that was then followed by sickness and disease (according to what we know of him). This isn't a good case to make against him.

Well that's all fairy tale stuff to me. But in any case my reference to Satan was simply metaphorical, my real interest is in how much of our behaviour is simply outside our conscious control and therefore how can we be held responsible for it? If what we call good and bad behaviour is simply neurology, what on earth is morality?

quote:
Also it's seems no different than is someone is on antidepressants for depression if they were to leave it untreated and the depression came back as a result of going off the medication how would that have anything to do with morals or ruling out satan as a cause?

Leaving Satan aside, you are making my point for me. Drugs are capable of changing mood. To take it a bit further, an extreme bi-polar or schizophrenic person who stops taking his drugs can display behaviour that 'normal' people would describe as immoral and even evil. There's evidence that serial killers at the extreme end of psychopathy have differently wired brains - are they as culpable as murderers with 'normally' wired brains?

quote:
Who's claiming this? I don't see how a physical symptom and behavioural changes reflects ones moral compass.

Don't you think Fred's moral compass was changed by the tumour?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Chuck77, posted 11-19-2011 4:44 AM Chuck77 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Chuck77, posted 11-20-2011 5:32 AM Tangle has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 2520
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 10 of 129 (641425)
11-19-2011 9:40 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Parasomnium
11-19-2011 5:23 AM


Re: 'My brain made me do it'
quote:
Even if we are all victims of our biology, there are still cases where the interests of society take precedence over those of the individual.

Yes, I accept that point. Even if we could have a legal defense of 'my brain made me doi it' the individual would still have to be put somewhere where he couldn't harm the rest of us.

But it would (should?) change our views of the crime - Fred would become a patient rather than a criminal and hopefully treated rather differently.

But Fred is an extreme, where is the point when we cross the line from culpable to not culpable?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Parasomnium, posted 11-19-2011 5:23 AM Parasomnium has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Parasomnium, posted 11-19-2011 6:04 PM Tangle has responded

  
Parasomnium
Member (Idle past 23 days)
Posts: 2175
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 11 of 129 (641493)
11-19-2011 6:04 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Tangle
11-19-2011 9:40 AM


Re: 'My brain made me do it'
Tangle writes:

where is the point when we cross the line from culpable to not culpable?

How about this: if (1) you know that your actions are wrong; (2) you could have done otherwise; and (3) you knowingly and willingly did what you did; then you are culpable, whereas in all other cases you are not. By this I mean that all three conditions must be met for a charge of culpability.


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Tangle, posted 11-19-2011 9:40 AM Tangle has responded

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Larni
Member
Posts: 3776
From: UK
Joined: 09-16-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 12 of 129 (641494)
11-19-2011 6:12 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Chuck77
11-19-2011 4:44 AM


If one's psychology changes as result of neural damage one will behave in a different way. This is well documented.

Morality is just degrees of what the individual considers acceptable and desirable. If what one considers acceptable and desirable is altered by damage, what does that imply?

Please don't tell me you are leading up towards 'absolute' morality.


The above ontological example models the zero premise to BB theory. It does so by applying the relative uniformity assumption that the alleged zero event eventually ontologically progressed from the compressed alleged sub-microscopic chaos to bloom/expand into all of the present observable order, more than it models the Biblical record evidence for the existence of Jehovah, the maximal Biblical god designer.
-Attributed to Buzsaw Message 53

Moreover that view is a blatantly anti-relativistic one. I'm rather inclined to think that space being relative to time and time relative to location should make such a naive hankering to pin-point an ultimate origin of anything, an aspiration that is not even wrong.

Well, Larni, let's say I much better know what I don't want to say than how exactly say what I do.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Chuck77, posted 11-19-2011 4:44 AM Chuck77 has not yet responded

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 Message 14 by Tangle, posted 11-20-2011 4:35 AM Larni has not yet responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 2520
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 13 of 129 (641531)
11-20-2011 4:15 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Parasomnium
11-19-2011 6:04 PM


Re: 'My brain made me do it'
quote:
How about this: if (1) you know that your actions are wrong; (2) you could have done otherwise; and (3) you knowingly and willingly did what you did; then you are culpable, whereas in all other cases you are not. By this I mean that all three conditions must be met for a charge of culpability.

In Fred's case he gets a pass on 2 and partially on 3. A pure psychopath would pass on 1.

But these are extremes. They point to a much more general issue that it's likely that we will all have your 1,2s and 3s differently calibrated in our wiring - just as we're all different heights and weights organised around a mean.

Logically, this means that the playing field isn't level as far as our ability to choose right from wrong is concerned but our laws (and religious folk) assume something quite different - that free will is perfect. (With exceptions for age and illness)


This message is a reply to:
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Tangle
Member
Posts: 2520
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 14 of 129 (641533)
11-20-2011 4:35 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Larni
11-19-2011 6:12 PM


quote:
Please don't tell me you are leading up towards 'absolute' morality.

I'm leading to exactly the opposite, so I'd like to hear how the religious folk here repair the damage it does to their absolute morality and perfect free will beliefs.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Larni, posted 11-19-2011 6:12 PM Larni has not yet responded

  
Rrhain
Member
Posts: 5720
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 15 of 129 (641535)
11-20-2011 5:08 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Chuck77
11-19-2011 4:44 AM


Chuck77 writes:

quote:
to say tumors cannot be attributed to him because of neurology is forgetting about what and who caused the fall of man that was then followed by sickness and disease (according to what we know of him). This isn't a good case to make against him.

Ooh! We're back to the question no one ever answers!

Is there anything that happens on its own or is god required for everything?

Now, granted, this is a variation, since we're talking about the devil rather than god, but the basic concept is there: Is there anything that happens on its own or are all things caused by supernatural agents? When I drop a ball from my hand, does it fall to the ground all on its own or does some divine agent come down and deliberately, consciously, and purposefully push it down to the ground such that if that agent decided against it, it would float in mid-air?

Hopefully, you can see the point behind this question: If there are things that can happen on their own, what makes you think this isn't one of them? But before we can get to that question, we need the answer to the first one.

Now, if I recall correctly, I think crashfrog is the only person who has ever answered that question (and I've been asking it of people in such debates for more than a decade). Let's see if you can be the second:

Is there anything that happens on its own or is a supernatural agent required for everything?

It's a yes-or-no question. You can explain why you say yes or no all you wish, but you have to say yes or no first.


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can use mine.

This message is a reply to:
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