July 8, 2011

"Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts."

"A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order."

A fascinating article in The Atlantic by David Eagleman. It begins with a recount of the murders committed by Charles Whitman at the University of Texas in 1966. Whitman left a suicide note asking that his brain be examined for abnormality and, in fact, a tumor was found. The note also said:
It was after much thought that I decided to kill my wife, Kathy, tonight … I love her dearly, and she has been as fine a wife to me as any man could ever hope to have. I cannot rationa[l]ly pinpoint any specific reason for doing this...
Once you get past brain tumors pressuring specific areas of the brain that control aggression, fear, and impulse, it gets much more difficult.

74 comments:

The Drill SGT said...
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The Drill SGT said...

who needs lawyers and judges, we'll turn the justice system over to surgeons. Now there is an unopinionated mellow group of citizen peers :)

my favorite line: Stories like Whitman’s are not uncommon: legal cases involving brain damage crop up increasingly often.

The twinky defense, with dueling neurosurgeons on the stand.

damikesc said...

...so, just execute rather than imprison since it is not possible to correct their problems?

Pogo said...

Thomas Sowell has discussed that the problem with many intellectuals is their belief that expertise in one field confers the ability to to be smarter tha the rest of us on other unrelated questions.

Here a neurosurgeon leaps from rare brain tumors to a question of free will. He knows no more about free will than my dear old Dad does.

No, my Dad studied philosophy, so he knew more.

But neither of them knew enough about crime or free will to claim that they could remake criminal law.

Arrogant and dangerous twaddle, the usual product of intellectuals.

Shouting Thomas said...

Thanks for the nod to us old farts, Althouse. The early posting is much appreciated.

I'm trying to find something to argue with here.

Do you suppose a brain tumor explains Casey Anthony? Crack her skull open, pull out her brain and let's take a look.

So, we're looking for a way to rationalize away personal responsibility for crime in a liberal publication. That's unheard of!

And, of course, Whitman is the very archetype of the sort of person routinely involved in crime... white, middle class, married, college student.

Hmmm. What percentage of crime do you suppose is committed by that class of people?

traditionalguy said...

This discovery that all people are brain defectives only confirms that a strong fear of punishment/deprivation is the traditional answer for a good reason.

The key thought in this article is that people may have a free will, but lack a free wont.

The socialization of people therefore must include continual punishment/deprivation to create a wont in them.

Take AA for an example. They deal with the lack of a wont to drinking alcohol by behavior modification that assigns sponsors/minders and require attendance at meetings that monitor the participants into a wont mode on consuming alcohol.

nevadabob said...

"The choices we make are inseparably yoked to our neural circuitry, and therefore we have no meaningful way to tease the two apart. The more we learn, the more the seemingly simple concept of blameworthiness becomes complicated, and the more the foundations of our legal system are strained."

Claptrap.

Sick folks who start blasting people from clock towers need to have their brain tumors removed instantly with a .32 caliber insta-scalpel.

We're not killing them.

We're operating on them.

That they don't usually survive the operation is beside the point.

virgil xenophon said...

This all leads into some very sticky societal waters. IIRC a couple of years back there was a young killer who got off the 1st degree murder charge on the basis of the fact that the SCOTUS bought the argument that new scientific research/evidence shows that the brain is not fully formed until age 25 and thus he was deemed incapable of "adult" reasoning, etc. The implications for this line of reasoning are staggering. The majority of people who have fought in every war we've ever fought are under age 25--to include almost ALL who handle nuclear weapons today--as well as fly the most complicated military aircraft, etc. Are these people NOW to be labelled as "incompetent" because their brain has not yet "fully developed?" Will someone bring a lawsuit charging that no one may be inducted into the armed forces until age 25 on the basis that they are incompetent to handle weapons of death-dealing destruction? Or in the civilian sphere that people may not marry until age 25 because they are incapable of making "adult" decisions. Voting age? Age of consent? How about age 18 as ability to sign contracts, etc., as age of majority? The mind boggles at the possibilities for societal mischief..

Triangle Man said...

More blasphemy. Those people were born sinners and followed Satan to their just reward in Hell. Neurobiology indeed!

Sixty Grit said...
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Paul Zrimsek said...

Here a neurosurgeon leaps from rare brain tumors to a question of free will. He knows no more about free will than my dear old Dad does.

Word. You notice how much of that last page he spent trampling his own premises? (For instance, he decided to keep the idea of blameworthiness around after all.)

Shouting Thomas said...

Take AA for an example.

Take Ann Althouse for an example?

No way.

Althouse, did you really read that whole thing?

I skimmed and tried to find the punch line, but it didn't seem to be there.

No wonder you're the schoolmarm and I'm the... well, whatever the hell I am. No way I could read that whole thing.

Speaking of crime, did you see the YouTube of the Asian kid in Vancouver apologizing for his involvement in the hockey riot?

The apology was pretty verbose, and the screen is covered with all kinds of unreadable text.

He even apologizes for that...

Please read before you go TL;DR!

Triangle Man said...

Pogo, that's a sweet little trap you set there. A brain surgeon can't possibly know enough about philosophy to make a statement about free will, but neither can a philosopher know enough about neurobiology to opine about boological mechanisms.

gerry said...

Flash mobs looting stores are an indication of widespread genetic defects - yep, I can believe that.

Don't you know, looting/beating/robbing flash mobs of young black men are caused by flash mob members' concerns about racial profiling.

Sixty Grit said...
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gerry said...

Fixed the link

The Drill SGT said...

white, middle class, married, college student.

You left off "veteran"

Pogo said...

Now you've got it, Triangle.

Neither "expert" can opine about crime and punishment, or at least their opinions really carry no weight. Their opinions are rightly drowned out by the testimony of thousands of years of crime and punsihment.

Ann Althouse said...

"Thanks for the nod to us old farts, Althouse. The early posting is much appreciated."

I saw that request from you yesterday, and if that is the reason I woke up too early (after only 5 hours) and couldn't get back to sleep... I'm a little annoyed.

Michael said...

Maybe Obama has a brain tumor. That would explain a lot.

John Thacker said...

Frightening possible consequences. The author wants to be "forward-looking" and throw out culpability. Under such a regime, there's no moral distinction between someone who has committed a crime, and someone who has not. Someone with bad genes (likely poor and from a bad family) may be more likely, according to this science, to commit a serious crime in the future than someone from a good family with good genes who has actually done something.

So under his logic, we should lock up the person with bad genetic luck who has committed no crime, while letting free the person with the good genes. We shouldn't feel bad about this, he implies, because we're being "forward-looking" and not considering culpability.

warlocketx said...

There was an SF story a few years ago about the result of a Supreme Court decision that "criminality" was what us old-fashioned non-PCers call a "birth defect", an inborn disability.

Now apply the Americans with Disabilities Act to that.

It does seem where this is going, doesn't it? I'm starting to realize that in the few cases where science fiction really does predict the future, we would really prefer that it didn't.

Regards,
Ric
tw: "tickabu" -- don't'cha just luv it...

Shouting Thomas said...

I saw that request from you yesterday, and if that is the reason I woke up too early (after only 5 hours) and couldn't get back to sleep... I'm a little annoyed.

You are very driven by your sense of responsibility.

Look at it this way. Get the posting and arguing out of the way early. Throw down the requisite amount of coffee. Then, you can get in a 20 mile bike ride by 10 or 11.

That's the way I'm looking at it.

But, today, it's off to the city. Attend to the music biz.

Sixty Grit said...
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traditionalguy said...

The AA reference was accidental. I think TP is The Professor's acronym.

But the will or decision maker within people is the sole issue.

Religion looks for a Repentance Decision before any help is possible to change people. In this way AA is also a religion.

But what do you do when people will not decide to want to behave? Death? imprisonment ( an internal exile)? Or external exile? Those have been the traditional answers.

A 4th answer, which has become the most used today, is medications that exile the brain's normal functions.

And then you get to deliverance from demons experiences.

But surgeons, starting with that Kennedy daughter's maiming, have not had any answers.

Shouting Thomas said...

And seriously, Althouse, why are you so driven to prove yourself again in the weblog? Tough to just walk off into the sunset and enjoy life?

Not criticizing, just asking.

I have a good friend who hosted a very successful weblog for a few years.... 2Blowhards.

He wore himself out. Answered every comment. Posted 5 to 10 items every day.

And, for all that effort, just about no money. He finally had to throw in the towel. Way too much work. Way too confining.

Aren't you beginning to wonder whether some leisure and peace and quiet might be in order for you?

Rialby said...

So, not to go too far off topic, but I'm really perplexed by the headlines today re: the execution in Texas yesterday. When illegals come here and commit no crimes, they're supposed to be considered de facto "Americans". But when they come here and murder young girls in the street using 40 pounds of asphalt, they're "Mexican Nationals" who should be afforded every right under the law of treaties? Ok. Got it.

William said...

Fascinating article, true. Terrifying article, double true. It boils down to the 'why' behind the crime, not the crime itself. It seems to me that if someone is a criminal because his(her)synapses don't synapse right, he(she)is still a criminal and should be treated accordingly.

If Eagleman's theories are allowed to enter the courtroom, the criminals will get off and then commit the crimes again (and again and again).

Very scary stuff.

Robert Cook said...

I am not sure what arouses the scorn of the Althousians to this article...the uncontroversial idea that behavior is a result of activity within our brains, and that physical damage to the brain (in the form of traumatic injury or the appearance of tumors) or chemical imbalances can cause unusual behavioral changes, (including anti-social and violent acts)...or the perception that discussing such phenomena is intended to offer absolution to those guilty of criminal acts?

I wonder what sort of brain damage/chemical imbalance gives rise to the binary black/white, good/bad, yes/no thinking that is distressingly prevalent among the regulars here?

Rialby said...

"I wonder what sort of brain damage/chemical imbalance gives rise to the binary black/white, good/bad, yes/no thinking that is distressingly prevalent among the regulars here?"

Ah yes. The old canard rears its ugly head again. You should be ashamed for suggesting as much. But you won't be. Because your hippy parents didn't teach you the concept of shame.

Shouting Thomas said...

...or the perception that discussing such phenomena is intended to offer absolution to those guilty of criminal acts?

Because, Kookie, it's The Atlantic.

And, we're able to count. 1 + 1 = 2!

The Atlantic is a liberal publication. Liberal publications are always trying to find a way to explain away personal responsibility.

Got it!

Jesus, the things that have to be explained to you.

And, my God, a Marxist stooge complaining about people seeing things in black and white!

You are too much, Kookie. As I said... if you are over 25...

No kids? Nothing to bring you down to earth?

Rialby said...

By the way, do you sense the cognitive dissonance apparent when you come in here and suggest an insane/sane binary? Or are you that stupid?

Robert Cook said...

"Because your hippy parents didn't teach you the concept of shame."

Hahahaha!

My midwestern, conservative Republican parents, born in 1928 and 1933, respectively, would be very surprised to learn they are actually "hippies."

They try to inculcate in us the concept of "thinking."

Robert Cook said...

"By the way, do you sense the cognitive dissonance apparent when you come in here and suggest an insane/sane binary?"

Uh, no, because I suggested nothing of the kind.

gerry said...

So under his logic, we should lock up the person with bad genetic luck who has committed no crime, while letting free the person with the good genes.

Progressives have been preaching this for years. Laws constrain and guide the slobs that are badly bred. Abortion prevents more slobs, which is good. Bad genes shall be banished from the pool.

Shouting Thomas said...

They try to inculcate in us the concept of "thinking."

Yes, and when are you going to get it?

They "thought" and they were conservative and Republican.

Get the hint?

Matt Brown said...

I read this and thought about someone using Lady Gaga's argument. "I can't help but to kill - I was born this way."

Peter said...

The "ghost in the machine" (human consciousness, and the perception of free will) is certainly an inconvenient obstacle to accepting a purely materialistic view of human existence.

Sometimes it does seem that the pure materialists' assertions approach the border between science and dogma (just as surely as do the arguments of those who do not accept a purely materialistic explanation-of-everything).

Robert Cook said...

"They 'thought' and they were conservative and Republican."

They thought, but their thinking was inextricably tied up with their brain chemistries and genetic predispositions, their personal experiences and their family influences and the times and cultural milieu in which they grew up, and they came to certain different conclusions about the world than I.

I accepted their world view wholly and uncritically until I grew up and my own experiences and those I witnessed among people I knew caused me to develop different ideas about the world. Of course, my own thinking, too, is tied up with my brain chemistry and genetic predispositions.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts."

But not women driving men crazy. No changes there,...

Just sayin'.

TMink said...

The prefrontal orbital cortex is a little part of the brain that develops from 20 weeks in utero until 9 months post partum. Then it is done and will develop no more.

It controls our ability to have empathy and sympathy, to attach to others, to trust others, to calm ourselves when we are upset, that sort of thing. The POC needs a calm, ordered life with empathic, attuned, and attentive caregiving to develop fully.

The kind you get with a stay at home parent in a happy marriage. Not the kind you get at daycare. Not the kind you get from a stressed single parent.

You do the math. This is an everyday fact while rare barin tumours are just that. Rare.

Trey

Sam Hall said...

I was on a jury once faced with a guy who had damaged his brain by smoking marijuana dipped in embalming fluid. We decided that he was unable to stand trial and would be confined in a mental ward until he was capable of standing trial. We assumed that this was a life sentence. If it wasn't, then he would have to stand trial for his acts.

You are who you are and are responsible for your actions.

Shouting Thomas said...

I accepted their world view wholly and uncritically until I grew up and my own experiences and those I witnessed among people I knew caused me to develop different ideas about the world. Of course, my own thinking, too, is tied up with my brain chemistry and genetic predispositions.

You are so confused, Kookie. The notion that you are a critical genius is the very epicenter of your confusion.

I'll ask again. Are you over 25? No kids to bring you down to earth?

Fred4Pres said...

Pure medical causes (ie, tumors) are rare. Most criminal activitity is due to people who spent years being a criminal and things get progressively worse.

chr1 said...

"..explain away personal responsibility"

Well, of course, many people want to disassociate religion and religious morality from the laws. Many others would simply want to ride waves of public sentiment against the experiences of individuals within hundreds of years of common law and separation of powers...in the name of peace and equality and justice and science.

In part, I think that's what neuroscience is for some, a large post-Enlightenment moral structure into which they can place their thinking and not have to think for themselves...

Shanna said...

I do think it's sort of fascinating that Mr. Whitman, in the midst of his homicidal thoughts/actions, worried about this and wanted his brain to be studied.

Maybe this makes him an unusual case in and of itself, and not something that can be tied to other killers.

phx said...

I hold myself personally accountable for my actions. I don't have to make a judgment about others accountability.

madAsHell said...

Let's focus on something important.

Can we find what makes one woman a Sunday School teacher, and the next woman a $500-a-night hooker?

I don't think it's a tumor.

Dan in Philly said...

Same crap, different forum. Similar to the way the concept of evolutionary psychology allows people to justify anything, the neurologists are having a field day allowing people to justify their actions through a material explenation.

Once Freud was discredited this sort of thing was an inevitable for those who really, really don't want any restrictions on what they want to do. People used to say the devil made them do it. People never change, ever.

John Thacker said...

or the perception that discussing such phenomena is intended to offer absolution to those guilty of criminal acts?

My concern, as stated, is that the premises and arguments offered in the article, far from offering absolution to those guilty of criminal acts, advocates punishing people for precrime. It removes all moral distinction between locking up someone because they are likely to commit a crime and because they have.

Not that different from the eugenicists.

Paddy O said...

This is a big topic in theology, with the question of identity (and thus the question of sin) being re-examined in light of contemporary science. Very interesting stuff. It's especially big hereabouts where I'm at, with a few major contributors to the topic(Nancey Murphy>, Joel Green, Warren Brown)on faculty.

Questions of brain chemistry are definitely interesting not only for law, but also for religions, and I think understanding the interplay of volition with neuroscience is very, very worthwhile. The danger comes in the sort of 'rehabilitation, not punishment' responses that begin to either excuse behavior or 'fix it' through mucking around with the brain. I had a great aunt who dealt with major depression, was put into a facility, and shocked until she became essentially catatonic.

Rehabilitation excuses good sounding people to do major medical experiments or lock people up for significantly long times, making it much more cruel and unusual in the long run. Certainly, when medication or other proven methods work, then that's a great response. But, in the meantime we need to keep people who do terrible things, for whatever reason, away from people they could do dangerous things to.

traditionalguy said...

At the base of all Laws given there is an educational attempt to teach what is bad.

People are verbal learners of self control who must be taught a language that identifies Bad Things before they can be taught to control their actions.

Our Cookie is open minded and wants to learn more. That is commendable.

But teaching confusion is also a license for Scientists to exploit us using as their science to imply that their ability to name something is also the ability to cure something. But it is usually another great Hope and Change con.

So I say to study the latest popular system of ideas, but realize that in 20 years it will be announced that it was all wrong, but another sure thing is now for sale in Academia.

Geoff Matthews said...

Isn't this more justification for the death penalty (for untreatable tumors) or medicating crime (for treatable conditions)?
Not all people with brain tumors kill. We still need to demand some level of culpability for crime. And if that culpability is simply for going through more doors towards being a murderer than others, so be it.

edutcher said...

OK, about 60 years ago, there was a big push to give criminals lobotomies because that would make them make nice.

Sounds like we're coming full circle. Almost.

What's interesting is that they include "sexual preference" in the concept. I can't wait to hear what the Demos think of giving homosexuals lobotomies.

The Drill SGT said...

who needs lawyers and judges, we'll turn the justice system over to surgeons. Now there is an unopinionated mellow group of citizen peers :)

my favorite line: Stories like Whitman’s are not uncommon: legal cases involving brain damage crop up increasingly often.


There was a theory Clay Allison, the Western gunfighter, had a similar problem brought on by the Civil War. Read about him and he sounds just plain insane.

Robert Cook said...

"Certainly, when medication or other proven methods work, then that's a great response. But, in the meantime we need to keep people who do terrible things, for whatever reason, away from people they could do dangerous things to."

Exactly the opinion of the author of the Atlantic article.

ricpic said...

...it is likely that because she was playing dead the bear moved on.

Planking pays off!

ricpic said...

That was for the grizzly thread. I'm so verschimmelt.

virgil xenophon said...

Nice post, Paddy O..

grackle said...

From the article:

The current actuarial approaches do not require a deep understanding of genes or brain chemistry, but as we introduce more science into these measures—for example, with neuroimaging studies—the predictive power will only improve. (To make such a system immune to government abuse, the data and equations that compose the sentencing guidelines must be transparent and available online for anyone to verify.)

“immune to government abuse…?” Sure. Why not? What could possibly go wrong?

Robert Cook said...

Research into the brain and how its functioning drives behavior is interesting for its own sake, but also for the potential it offers into our finding answers to eternally vexing problems of human behavior, particularly, how to understand and deal with criminal behavior.

But, just as "law and order" types may decry such research because it offends their convictions that all humans are freely responsible agents of their own behavior and destinies, and thus subject to punishment for offenses to society, whatever the "cause," progressives, also, should find the implications of such research to be potentially fearful: if we are defined as strictly puppets of our brain chemistry, how difficult is it to assume that governments will begin prescribing--compelling--all citizens deemed "troublesome" to be subjected to forced "treatments" (surgical, chemical, or both) to "cure" their troublesome behaviors?

The author sees the potential for humane prescriptions of appropriate treatment for those whose anti-social behaviors (violent acts, criminal behavior, sexual predation, etc.) might be amenable to cure, (or management). This is not an unjustified hope, but it assumes a humane social order interested in finding the best solutions for problems on the individual level. However, it may be all too easy for such "treatments" as are devised to be used as a blunt "one size fits all" coercive instrument to mold the citizenry to a uniform acceptable behavioral model.

Yes, this research is fascinating but it is not a panacea, and as with all products of science, the tools derived from what is learned will be beneficial or detrimental to humanity according to the aims and purposes of those wielding them.

Amy Schley said...

As I'm recovering from a major depressive episode, I've been thinking a lot about brain chemistry and its effects on thoughts and behavior. I wonder why my suicidal thoughts, which I have struggled with for years, is considered abnormal and requires medication and counseling, while my bisexual desires do not apparently require any treatment. Both types of thoughts have been present in my brain for 10-18 years, and both are at least non-helpful (in an evolutionary sense) if not actively destructive. But one requires me to change to be more normal, and the other would require my friends/ family/ etc. to be "politically correct."

I've come to rely on the idea that criminal punishments must be based on actions alone. Thoughts can be misleading, the product of chemical imbalances, but so long as a person retains even a basic sense of right and wrong, they must be held culpable for their actions. Even in the case discussed, the husband knew that something was not right with himself and his actions, which prompted him to write the note requesting the brain autopsy.

Lance said...

Eagleman sounds like he's two steps away from advocating eugenics.

Paddy O said...

Amy, thanks for sharing your experiences.

One thing that I've been wrestling with in situations in my own life and in situations of friends/family, is the idea that 'sin' which is what we in Christian theology call distortions of identity, can have socially unacceptable and socially acceptable expressions.

This has come into greater focus as I wrestle with my brother's recent divorce. He exhibited expressions of socially unacceptable behavior, but his wife pursued equally relationship destroying attitudes and priorities which were, for the most part, socially acceptable. Both were destructive for all kinds of reasons, but he got the focus of the judgment.

What is accepted or unaccepted by society is wrongly correlated with ultimate right and wrong, something that Christian culture has long misunderstood, making a big deal out of socially unacceptable behavior while ignoring even worse issues like pride, greed, etc.

Which makes me ponder some more.

The question those of us wrestling with these issues ask isn't what is compelling us, or what direction we're compelled to go, but what level of human response is able to choose right within a battering of seemingly compelling behaviors.

Here the man wrote a note which acknowledged his awareness something wasn't right with his brain. Which said that he had enough awareness to know something was wrong, that he was being compelled to do something wrong, and he has the foresight to ask for some kind of analysis. His culpability, I think, comes in his embrace of what he knew was wrong, and acting on it. Instead of writing the note for after the fact, he could have used this same awareness to get help prior to his actions.

We're tempted by sin, but we're not, I think, compelled to act on our temptations. That society sometimes encourages our indulgence doesn't help, and neither does a legal system that excuses our indulgences. We remain culpable and that's what the legal system should consider, the 'what' not the 'why', because that 'why' leads to all sorts of subsequent abuses.

traditionalguy said...

Paddy O...Free will gives responsibility to the actor on free will.

Its like hot and cold. Two sides of a coin.

A finding that free will is not real means that responsibility is not real.

I suggest that you read Rom 8:1 and Gal. 5:1 over and over until you can quit trying so hard to to make the law work out right.

David Baker said...

A leopard cannot change his spots, but a person can be yanked into a different reality. Same person, different reality. Same person, same reality. Same leopard, different jungle.

So I'll just repeat what I said when the subject of free will came up before: We have no free will. The leopard has no free will. Nothing in the known universe possesses "free" will. It's an illusion, a coping mechanism, a social compact, a religious tenant - but it's not free will.

Phil 3:14 said...

This has become and will be a bigger and bigger issue within medicine. As has already been discussed severe depression is not a lack of moral will, it is to a great extent a chemical imbalance and fixed not by pat admonitions to "buck up" but with a medication.

Having said that its not either/or. When I worked on the res I regularly had severe alcoholics claim they were powerless over their disease. I would point out that there were many diabetics on the res (everyone had a relative with diabetes so the alcoholic would understand). I would say they too have a disease. And yet they still have to choose what foods to eat, whether they exercise, whether they take their insulin. In short, having a disease doesn't absolve one of responsibility or eliminate free will.

So yes we should pursue neuroscientific breakthroughs regarding abnormal behavioral AND at the same time maintain our societal expectations of what's "good" and "bad" behavior.

And as an aside, when we discuss the neurochemistry of "abnormal behavioral" we have to expect that some day we'll discover the chemical or abnormal connection that leads to same-sex sexual attraction. When we get there will we want to "treat it"?

Phil 3:14 said...

Even a liberal like Leonard Bernstein understood the problems with all of this.

He is psychologically disturbed!

RC3 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

We are incapable of distinguishing between origin and expression. It is a limitation inherent to our existence within a system which we hope to characterize.

Since the enlightenment, when individual dignity was recognized to supercede collective or superior dignity (e.g., emperors, kings, lords, mortal gods), we have followed a path to denigrating individual dignity and devaluing human life.

It is a truly demented faith which rejects the fundamental concept of freewill. It is an argument for a regression to the natural order, where survival of individuals is determined purely by their fitness, strength, or viciousness. It is a defense of the progressive substitution of totalitarian policies for moral knowledge.

Incidentally, it is the conveyance and acceptance of moral knowledge which optimizes individual liberty through the normalization of self-moderating behavior, including general temperance.

We are, after all, just a collection of objects, which are cohesive for a short duration, and then are no more, right?

I wonder how many people would willingly accept this philosophy, if they understood the implications that necessarily follow. Upon what basis would we be able to condemn slavery, murder, rape, and other acts of involuntary exploitation? If we could normalize these deviant behaviors, and contain their contagion, then there would be no effort to further mitigate them.

RC3 said...

Whether will is free or deterministic, society will hold you responsible for your "personal will."

Paul Zrimsek said...

You know what the opposite of a "religious tenant" is?

An unconfirmed roomer.

Paddy O said...

tradguy, as long as you read the rest of Romans 8. Paul didn't write sentences. He wrote whole letters. And throughout all his letters, he told those in the churches they were to act in a certain way, precisely because they were in Christ Jesus.

Freedom means being truly who we are made to be, by God, empowered by the Spirit, not in contrast to grace, but because of it.

"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!"

Jose_K said...

I guess they need to read Lombrosio before taking it seriously.
BTW: the evidence is not new unless they dont know about Phineas

Jose_K said...

There are no Althousians here.They , or we is im allowed to,are neither structuralist nor postmosernist. if they, we, were Althousias they, we,would fully agree with the article since is the line of Althousian creed. He was a precursor to Foucalt.