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Scientists Seek Biomarkers For Violence

timothy posted about a year ago | from the thoughtcrime-or-a-propensity-thereto dept.

Biotech 294

An anonymous reader writes "A Newtown couple, both scientists, who lost their daughter in the school shooting, are wondering whether there were clues in the shooter's physiological makeup — his DNA, his blood, his brain chemistry. They are now involved in a search for biomarkers, similar to those that may indicate disease, for violence. They are raising money to help fund this research, but the effort is running into obstacles, in part, over ethical concerns. 'I'm not opposed to research on violence and biomarkers, but I'm concerned about making too big of a leap between biomarkers and violence,' said Troy Duster, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. There is concern that science may find biomarkers long before society can deal with its implications."

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AC Post (2)

milgram (104453) | about a year ago | (#44299331)

That would be my guess as a good marker... :>

Re:AC Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299385)

What did you say about my mother?!

Re:AC Post (4, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#44299413)

Makes sense in most cases.
More on-topic: Just today I was reading about a guy with Down Syndrome managing to pass exams in my country which would be the equivalent of post-high school exams. He even passed with pretty good grades, while lots of "healthy" individuals failed soundly.

How does that link to this article? Well, even if people with Down Syndrome usually can't achieve that, some do. I think the same would apply to biomarkers: they might raise awareness but definitely wouldn't bring certainty that violence WILL occur. It's pretty dangerous to make assumptions based on the fact that you "might" become violent.

Re:AC Post (2, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44299539)

Sadly, his accomplishment is far more likely related to the quality and expectations of most high schools. Most places have been slowly lowering the bar for quite some time.

Re:AC Post (4, Interesting)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#44299765)

I don't know about that, while I can't argue about most places dropping the bar, my step-mother is a special needs teacher. Many of the students she deals with I've gotten to know personally and have no doubts in my mind they have the same intelligence level as a lot of other people their age. I find a lot of the time their issues revolve around their lack of communication skills, similar to how someone who is super smart is perceived as dumb because they can't talk to others or have trouble writing things down.

Re:AC Post (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#44300079)

That's why I said "in my country" - which is located in the EU. Here, your exams are handled by teachers who don't know you.

Re:AC Post (3, Insightful)

Evtim (1022085) | about a year ago | (#44300009)

According to YouTube 21 M people have already seen this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w [youtube.com] [Zeitgeist 2011].

I thought the matter is settled already - trying to find "gene for violence" is futile and dangerous. One of the cited studies found some such gene, but if the individual was not raised in harsh environment it did not turn on [and that group actually scored lower than "normal" on violence in such cases] but in the opposite case the gene was turned on. Also - if you don't have that gene and are abused you will also likely become violent.

So what do we have here? If you carry that gene you are more sensitive than others to violence against you. You run higher risk than others to become violent yourself if exposed to abuse. Such individuals then would require a tad more consideration rather than being already stigmatized as "potential troublemaker". See how this research will do the opposite of what they supposedly intent? See the pavement on the road to Hell? Yhea, me too...

Re:AC Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44300041)

The real problem is that they are seeking a marker that everybody, EVERYBODY has. What they need to be searching for are the triggers for violence and try to remove those. (some people are triggered more easily than others, granted)

Re:AC Post (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44299569)

That would be my guess as a good marker... :>

It's all T'Pring's doing. Her and her impeccable logic.

So what then? (5, Insightful)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about a year ago | (#44299361)

"This guy has a biomarker for violence... Shoot him! Get him before he attacks!"

I'm reminded of the parody video from The Onion (I think) where you had a jock who was killing the misfits at his high school so that they wouldn't snap and create another columbine.

History repeats itself. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299487)

How to find people with a certain undesirable trait. [wikipedia.org]

And these folks are scientists.

Everything they submit for publication should go trough peer review twice.

There's nothing more dangerous than a parent on a cause that they think killed their kid(s).

Phrenology and undesirable traits (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#44299625)

I don't like people who have certain bumpy patterns on their heads.

Phrenology is a great way to find such people.

It's also about the only thing Phrenology is good at, besides maybe keeping Phrenologists employed.

/s/Phrenology/any_bogus_measuring_tool/g
/s/certain bumpy patterns on their heads/actual_thing_bogus_measuring_tool_measures/g
/s/Phrenologists/users_of_bogus_tool/g

Re:Phrenology and undesirable traits (1, Funny)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year ago | (#44300017)

Well, I suppose if I pick a fight with someone, and he slams my head into the pavement, I'd have the proper bumps for violence. :-P

Re:So what then? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44299489)

well.. put them on mandatory lithium and acid medicine. *kaching*
well, I suppose it's better than trying to ban rock music and jeans because shooters at some point listened to rock and wore jeans...

aaanyhow... would they be running monthly tests on the teens? since the biomarkers if similar to disease, like high cholesterol, couldn't be tested at birth or at admission.

what they're going to find out that it's stress related markers and adrealine and that the entire football team is plotting to blow up the city.

Re:So what then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299517)

"This embrio has a biomarker for violence... Abortion required !"
FTFY

Re:So what then? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299855)

Dogs were created from generations and generations of primitively culling the vicious and dangerous wolves from the gene pool. I for one welcome our new french poodle overlords.

Re:So what then? (1)

drakaan (688386) | about a year ago | (#44300067)

Not the dangerous and vicious ones, the ones that couldn't interpret human gestures and sounds. The primary difference between wild and domesticated canines is that domesticated canines can understand us to a certain extent.

Re:So what then? (2)

FunPika (1551249) | about a year ago | (#44299611)

Then it is similar to a real life version of The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick, but with a different crime prediction method.

Re:So what then? (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#44299993)

Then it is similar to a real life version of The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick, but with a different crime prediction method.

The crime prediction method is the same as that in David Brin's Sundiver [wikipedia.org] novel. This is the first book in his Uplift trilogy, all of which rely on directed genetic manipulation.

Re:So what then? (3, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#44299689)

The problem is that any biomarkers of an individual is at best half the story.

What would they find? A propensity to act impulsively or violently to certain stimuli, perhaps? What if such a person could gain enough experience to control those impulses?

Alternately, otherwise perfectly normal people go bananas because they are subjected to people who are not violent, but they are incredibly manipulative. Or perhaps situations completely outside their control like a terrible accident or terrorist attack. Their otherwise non-impulsive nature might, over time, be turned to murderous rage.

There are real concerns about labeling people in a way that could cause immediate action to be taken against them before the whole picture is understood. Incomplete science can always be used as a particularly potent excuse for atrocity.

Re:So what then? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44299777)

The problem is that any biomarkers of an individual is at best half the story.

What would they find? A propensity to act impulsively or violently to certain stimuli, perhaps? What if such a person could gain enough experience to control those impulses?

Alternately, otherwise perfectly normal people go bananas because they are subjected to people who are not violent, but they are incredibly manipulative. Or perhaps situations completely outside their control like a terrible accident or terrorist attack. Their otherwise non-impulsive nature might, over time, be turned to murderous rage.

There are real concerns about labeling people in a way that could cause immediate action to be taken against them before the whole picture is understood. Incomplete science can always be used as a particularly potent excuse for atrocity.

I channel my violent urges into coding spells.

I'm very sorry for writing that bit which the NSA has been using...

Re:So what then? (2)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about a year ago | (#44299859)

What if such a person could gain enough experience to control those impulses?

....or use them in a criminal prosecution defense strategy.

Re:So what then? (2)

khasim (1285) | about a year ago | (#44299715)

1. I don't believe that there are any "biomarkers" for "violence" that are not common to every person alive today.

2. Remember "The Bell Curve"? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bell_Curve [wikipedia.org] Once you start attempting to match biology to behaviour you run into all kinds of problems with biases and statistics.

Gattaca or Minority Report? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299397)

Very interesting but given our track record for abuse it scares the hell out of me how evil people could benefit from this.

Re:Gattaca or Minority Report? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299637)

I like how your "track record" consists of fiction.

Re:Gattaca or Minority Report? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about a year ago | (#44299877)

and a track record of FUTURISTIC fiction at that.

Re:Gattaca or Minority Report? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44299981)

Well then how about our track record with people with darker skin or left-handedness or whose ancestors were from certain places or had certain jobs?

Post from the future (2)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a year ago | (#44299399)

Hi! This is a post from the future.

The good news is that they found the "bio-markers" indicating a propensity towards violence

The bad news is that human being alive has them.

Re:Post from the future (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299455)

Turns out it was the X-chromosome all along.

Slippery slope (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299415)

Biomarkers and "predispositions" to behaviors are going to be used to pre-judge individuals. This is inevitable.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44299671)

It's not inevitable if medical records stay private.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44299725)

It's not inevitable if medical records stay private.

Where's the profit in that? Industry has no desire in private medical information, they need to monetize it, and you would be impeding their free speech by denying them the ability to market a drug to them.

*sigh* I'm not seriously making that argument, but someone will.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year ago | (#44299947)

The sad part is that it isn't that much of a stretch. I think I remember reading a ruling on a similar subject that puts it fairly close, I think it had to do with the phone book.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44300001)

And furthermore, what would be the point if all you could do is tell someone they have a predisposition to violence and put it in a private medical file? I'm sure that's not what these folks are intending.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44299757)

Biomarkers and "predispositions" to behaviors are going to be used to pre-judge individuals. This is inevitable.

We already do our best to do that by use of every other available data point...

Re:Slippery slope (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299789)

Like beign black...

This is beyond stupid. What about chimpanzee cannibalism? Bad Biomarkers?

Everyone is a killer, it's just education, rules, laws that make us not to behave like that. Fix powerty, education, social services... that's the way to go.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year ago | (#44299871)

yep obama already working on the law to use this new found (non existent) bio-marker to exclude people form owning a gun. "Sorry sir you have a biological marker that says you gonna be violent.. no gun for you"

Cue the Pre-Cogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299437)

Now I'm afraid about getting arrested for a crime I may possibly commit in the future.

Serenity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299463)

It reminds me of Serenity [imdb.com] . Remove violence and you might end up with a population of people not willing to live anymore.

What if there is, and it correlates with race? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299475)

What then?

Liberals tramplin my rights!! (2)

swampfriend (2629073) | about a year ago | (#44299477)

Those aren't biomarkers for violence... they're biomarkers for self-defense! USA! USA!

Re:Liberals tramplin my rights!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299705)

Go back to reading about your MKULTRA stuff homey.

Re:Liberals tramplin my rights!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299781)

Yes, you were making a joke, but you raise a good point. Those biomarkers would be useful in identifying potential soldiers and police.

Government will fund the shit out of this. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44299499)

Our current climate of the past ten years has been all about pushing the concept of pre-crime. It seems that politicians, media, and scare-mongerers are driving us toward the inevitability of a future where every student is forced - by law - to undergo psychological evaluation during the school year (and adults, perhaps forced to undergo regular psychological evaluation as part of the government mandated "free" health care coverage). Waver much off the accepted "norm" and welcome to pharmaceutical based alteration sentences reinforced by an alternate sentence of incarceration if you refuse. Not because of crimes you have committed, but by crimes everything from your genes to your attitude toward authority or critical-thinking or being too social or not social enough suggest you could theoretically, possibly, maybe, be suspected of potentially in some greater-than-zero probability be able to commit.

This is why you constantly see news coverage during tragic events like shootings veer quickly toward "how could we have caught this with mental evaluation" and "why wasn't he taking more meds?". After all, we are too weak as a society to accept that it might be better to accept a dozen or two dead people from a horrible crime than to violate billions of citizens (over the years).

Re:Government will fund the shit out of this. (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#44299763)

No, the US government will not fund this. Why? The US government doesn't expand funding on any kind of science, unless it directly benefits the military or the military-industrial complex. This doesn't directly benefit either so it will be lucky if it ever sees a single federal dime.

Re:Government will fund the shit out of this. (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year ago | (#44299921)

It would give them the chance to enhance military recruitment efforts. If you have a database of people with the "violence gene", you're going to target them for the next batch of soldiers.

Re:Government will fund the shit out of this. (1)

leonardluen (211265) | about a year ago | (#44299929)

The govt would benefit from this...wouldn't you want the "violent" ones in your military? the pacifists don't fight very well [wikipedia.org]

also understanding the psychology of your own troops (and civilians) helps you control them better.

Re:Government will fund the shit out of this. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44299943)

No, the US government will not fund this. Why? The US government doesn't expand funding on any kind of science, unless it directly benefits the military or the military-industrial complex.

OK, so spin it that you can find the most suitable soldiers and weed out the conscientious objectors and the pussies. This way you can get the super-soldiers.

Problem solved.

Re:Government will fund the shit out of this. (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#44300103)

No, the US government will not fund this. Why? The US government doesn't expand funding on any kind of science, unless it directly benefits the military or the military-industrial complex.

OK, so spin it that you can find the most suitable soldiers and weed out the conscientious objectors and the pussies. This way you can get the super-soldiers.

But how do you prevent the psychopaths from going off into villages to rape and murder when the campaign is taking the evening off? How do you prevent the psychopaths from murdering their fellow soldiers if they are annoyed by an order?

Re:Government will fund the shit out of this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44300057)

I blame it on our rabid fear of death of any kind. Did Grandpa die peacefully in his sleep at age 60? Dammit, he should have lived to at least 85 before losing a decade-long struggle with cancer! Did your neighbor overdose on Tylenol after being laid off? Dammit, we should have put her in a room with soft walls and lots of pillows and talked with her about her feelings! Did 20 people die to a bombing? Dammit, we should create an industry of TLAs so that we can feel safe for the rest our natural (and prolonged) lives! (add or replace actions as your politics find appropriate.)

I would much rather die at 20, 30, 40, whenever, content and having been productive, than have my life stretched out to 100 or 200 or NaN by restricting any aspect of society that might harm me (including myself) and devoting ever-increasing amounts of resources to replacing my failing body/mind. We used to debate over whether living as a vegetable should be considered 'life' at all, but what about living in a sanitized world that is the equivalent of a padded cell, forbidden to go near anything remotely harmful?

But anyway, that's just the rant I bring out for any time when it appears that humanity's fear of death gets in the way of actually living.

potential SF story here (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#44299503)

parents of a child killed in a school shooting research for DNA markers that trigger violence. They succeed.

Nationwide program is created to find potential killers before they can strike. Everyone submits a DNA sample. Original researcher is flagged as having the bad DNA. He runs from police, jumping over maglev cars and spoofing retina recognition systems by having a new eyeball surgically implanted.

Oh wait nevermind, Tom Cruise might sue.

Re:potential SF story here (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44299999)

On a related note, it there a marker for being sue-happy?

DNA? pah! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44299543)

We all know that markers for violence can be found in the shape of one's skull.

Re:DNA? pah! (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44299655)

Phrenology [wikipedia.org] , revised edition.

Scary Implications... (4, Interesting)

artfulshrapnel (1893096) | about a year ago | (#44299557)

...even if their markers are accurate. What do you do with a person that carries known biomarkers for violence? If they later do something wrong, are you legally liable for allowing them to be born if you've done prenatal testing and found the markers? What about doctors who notice them midway through the person's life, should they be legally required to report such people to the police for observation?

I'm getting flavors of both Minority Report and Brave New World from this: You're left in a place where one of the most ethical options is to pre-judge the people, push medication and counseling on someone who's never done anything just to be safe, or encourage them into a societal role where their violent tendencies won't be as risky. Perhaps you put the violent kids in their own special (high security) elementary school, where they're guided towards a profession in the military, police, sports, or other violent profession?

Very scary, despite how potentially useful such a discovery might be.

Re:Scary Implications... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44299685)

We all have monkey brains, given the right stimulus, we'll all turn into raging murderers. They'll most likely find that we all have propensity for violence.

Re:Scary Implications... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299911)

This isn't new territory. During the 1980's, someone proposed that males who have a second Y-chromosome (XYY trisomy) were prone to violence.

Phrenology Thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299575)

Hi. Please keep all phrenology-related comments here. Thanks.

Obligatory (4, Interesting)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44299577)

Someone must have caught Gattaca on Encore a few weeks ago. Sounds like a great idea, let's find the biomarker (a.k.a. genes) which identify violent behavior. Then what? Lobotomies? Indefinite internment? Put them on an island where they fight to the death on pay-per-view? Deny them the full rights accorded to them as citizens of the United States?

I seem to remember an era when scientists claimed that African-Americans were inferior to people of Caucasian descent. That proved to be ridiculous, racist, and fraudulent science. This concept is so flawed I can barely scratch the surface. Biomarkers do not determine who a person is or what they will become. Look at the Twins Studies. It is neither nature nor nurture, it is both.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299729)

It is neither nature nor nurture, it is both.

I think you'll find that it is neither nature nor nurture exclusively, it is both.
 
Also, lets find a bio-marker for poor grammar, and put those people in camps.

Re:Obligatory (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about a year ago | (#44300039)

Lets find the bio marker for grammar nazi's and put them into camps. Then pit the pro vs anti oxford comma camps to fight tot he death.

Re:Obligatory (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | about a year ago | (#44300049)

Yes, please, let's resurrect the failed idea of eugenics so that we can find convenient, easy to test for attributes so we can selectively breed for the desirables traits and exterminate the undesirables. We'll finally get it right this time!

Poverty? Crime? Ignorance? Lack of cultural appreciation? Failure to adopt our preferred political ideologies? Those are all genetic traits that an individual couldn't possibly overcome through self-determination, so send 'em to the ovens and keep only the pretty people that share our perfect ideas perfectly. </sarcasm>

Re:Obligatory (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44300105)

Now that you mention it, I am going to blame JJ Abrams for eugenics being considered by these folks.

KHHHHAAAANNNNNN!!!!

they should find the "power seeking" markers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299607)

Anyone who seeks power over others should be culled from the gene pool. Unfortunately the opposite is true, they are rewarded and exalted.

Re:they should find the "power seeking" markers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44300011)

You'd have to cull basically everyone, then, since a central human drive is to control one's environment, including the people in it.

Ethicality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299623)

Society has already developed and widely distributed lethal weapons before learning to deal with their implications.
It's not at all clear how delaying a search for genetic biomarkers of violence could make that ethical lapse worse, and it MIGHT improve matters.
It seems ethics is often used as an excuse not to look at problems to which we might not like the answers.

all human males have biomarker for violence (1, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#44299631)

Just think, dear slashdot reader, people just like you have been conscripted into armies throughout the ages, and made to kill and maim. Many gave in to peer pressure and raped too.

Maybe developing conscience and education in human dignity, rights and respect is a better pursuit than trying to find excuses to pre-judge

at least the focus is on the bad guy (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about a year ago | (#44299661)

yeah, it goes too far. is it legal to get the murderer's (Adam's) DNA for this research?

Everyone has capacity for violence ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44299673)

I'm betting that under the right circumstances, every human on the planet has the capacity for violence.

And this will never show you a causal relationship, because it will turn into a debate about nature vs nurture. How much about how you turn out is pre-programmed, and how much is a result of your life experiences? Should we think child soldiers were more inclined to violence? Or the circumstances of their life helped bring it about?

And further, what would you do about it? Brand children as potentially violent because of a genetic marker? And what happens when someone without the marker ends up being violent?

This is just someone looking to assign blame. This will (in my best guess) provide almost zero predictive value, even if there are such markers.

You are not just your DNA (1)

kye4u (2686257) | about a year ago | (#44299681)

The environment that a person grows up in can significantly impact the person they become in not so obvious ways. There has been research using identical twins that demonstrates this key point.

Re:You are not just your DNA (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#44299791)

Biomarkers are beyond DNA. Biomarkers are proteins, metabolites, epigenetic markers, and a variety of other things that are beyond just the DNA itself.

Re:You are not just your DNA (1)

kye4u (2686257) | about a year ago | (#44299957)

Correction: You are not just your biomarkers. The environment that a person grows up in can significantly impact the person they become in not so obvious ways. There has been research using identical twins that demonstrates this key point.

Say what? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44299707)

Doesn't the phrase "There is concern that science may find biomarkers long before society can deal with its implications." carry some implication that society's ability to deal with such implications is actually improving, or at least might actually improve at some point?

On the one hand, I'm not sure why we would expect society to ever be able to 'deal with its implications'. Moral philosophy isn't exactly a progress-packed field, and people have been chewing on the issue of what moral responsibility does or doesn't mean in the absence of free will for centuries, without apparent result.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that having data delivered that we aren't ready to deal with would actually be all that unfamiliar: In the absence of good data, we don't sit, serenely withholding judgement until the facts become clear, we charge forward based on whatever scraps we have, held together with wild-ass guesses and whatever assumptions happen to flatter us.

Consider, the golden age of Eugenics, the late 19th to mid 20th century: aside from better recordkeeping, we barely had a clue beyond the vague selective tendencies that we've been using on plants and livestock for millenia. Did we let that stop us? Hardly.

Really, the biggest novelty of a (at present hypothetical) biological test is that it might defy our comfortable expectations about who the right sort of people and the wrong sort of people are. As long as it's just adding a stamp of 'objectivity' to the parol board's decision to deny some undesirable with an impressive rap sheet an early release, nobody will care; but once it shows up in little timmy from the 'burbs the hand-wringing will start.

1984, Minority Report, PRISM, yada, yada, yada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299723)

Am i the only one seeing the patterns here? Aren't we going, FAST, towards a true fascist police state?

Re:1984, Minority Report, PRISM, yada, yada, yada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299963)

No. We are already there. Have been for a long time. It got started in earnest when government created the dependency class with the "New Deal."

Travon Martin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299731)

There's you're baseline right there.

XYY [Jacobs] syndrome (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year ago | (#44299749)

About one in a thousand males. Urban legend [wikipedia.org] has it is much more common in prisoners.

Eugenics by any other name... (2)

reubenavery (1047008) | about a year ago | (#44299773)

Please, "scientists", we've been down this road before... and it did not end well.

Good SciFi WARNS about doing this sort of stuff... (2)

dryriver (1010635) | about a year ago | (#44299775)

What is the point of 1984, Brave New World, Minority Report and Gattaca if, instead of drawing important lessons from this kind of dystopian work, a bunch of nutty scientists & government do PRECISELY WHAT SCIFI WARNS NOT TO DO... This stuff was meant as a warning about constructing the wrong kind of future, rather than as a manual or blueprint for FUCKING THE FUTURE UP FOR EVERYBODY... News like this just makes me sad. Nuff Said...

Re:Good SciFi WARNS about doing this sort of stuff (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44300047)

What is the point of 1984, Brave New World, Minority Report and Gattaca if, instead of drawing important lessons from this kind of dystopian work, a bunch of nutty scientists & government do PRECISELY WHAT SCIFI WARNS NOT TO DO

You presume a uniform response to what should and shouldn't happen.

There are always going to be people whose ideal of a perfect, ordered society is exactly this kind of thing.

They will proclaim loudly they're Doing It For The Common Good, and believe we should be thanking them for it. In their mind, it will be Right and Just as long as Everyone Follows Their Plan (by choice or by force don't matter so much).

Eugenics is alive and well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299805)

Eugenics is alive and well, it never ehm died :)

Scientists Seek Funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299811)

FTFY

These guys are looking for a job?

Is anyone else noticing a trend? (2)

harvestsun (2948641) | about a year ago | (#44299817)

Any time some spectacular event like this happens (shootings, acts of terrorism, etc.), the end result is that our rights are further diminished so we can "prevent this from happening again in the future!"

Because unfortunately, the average voter makes decisions based on emotions/short-term benefits, without considering the ramifications to the society as a whole.

The Patriot Act was bad enough, but now we're going to stereotype people based on physical attributes they have no control over? Ridiculous. I'm almost ready to side with the conspiracy theorists... I mean, face it, if someone in power wants a more authoritarian government, the best way to accomplish that is apparently domestic terrorism.

It's already figured out (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299821)

The only way to stop a bad violent person with a gun is to have a good violent person with a gun.

Existing Known Causes? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44299837)

What ever happened to the claim that Lanza was on fanapt [webmd.com] ? Others said he was on other psychoactive drugs with potentially violent side effects.

I read that the autopsy only screened for illegal drugs & alcohol. If he was on drugs with known violent side effects, it seems like quite a leap to ignore those and go looking for inherent biomarkers. Has the list of his prescribed meds ever come out?

Biomarkers rarely work out as advertised (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#44299853)

There has been a lot of research done in recent years towards looking for biomarkers for a variety of ailments. The problem though is that the biomarker based tests rarely end up being statistically reproducible across a meaningful number of samples; often suffering from too many FPs or too many missed diagnoses. This is worth looking in to, but the odds of it ever developing into a single assay to find the nascent psychopaths in our population are not very good. It has a better chance of becoming a screening method for "hey these people should consider seeking mental health help" than anything but of course you can't force someone to see a shrink just because of a blood test if they are otherwise functioning adults.

Wrong place to search (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44299865)

The biggest factor that makes us violent or not is cultural. If you want to fix violence, fix the cultural factors that creates it. Unfortunately, some of those factors are tied to money (i.e. if you live in a culture that teach you from kid about justice and find that the rich are above the law [rollingstone.com] won't make you more peaceful), so won't be fixed.

The Sandy Hook Actors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299867)

Would it be one of these couples, who are all obviously ACTORS?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QVKu4_JxcE

From 0:49 onwards - do you actually believe that that couple's daughter was shot dead only two days before that interview took place?

won't last long (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299879)

The plug will get pulled on this as soon as it is discovered that nearly all politicians test positive for violent and sociopathic genes.

Who will be left in upper management? (1)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about a year ago | (#44299913)

Sadly, there is a strong correlation between the same psychopathic personality characteristics and people in upper management:

http://www.softpanorama.org/Social/Toxic_managers/psychopath_in_the_corner_office.shtml [softpanorama.org]

Will we just end up selecting for docile personalities and anyone who shows biomarkers for violent tendencies gets "special treatment?"

Cheers,
Dave

There will be biomarkers, but then what? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#44299919)

You're dealing with probabilities at that point. Child A has a 5% chance of becoming a violent psychopath. Child B had a 95% chance. Do you strangle child B at birth? Or give them their 5% chance of becoming something other than a violent psychopath? Where's the cutoff? And who decides?

Disclaimer: I live in Texas. We'd let child B grow up malnourished and abused in a slum before killing him for obvious psychopathic behavior verified by objective measurement, but we wouldn't abort ahead of time even if it was an option.

Not violence (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#44299933)

I doubt that there are biomarkers for "violence". What can be are biomarker for aggressiveness, which is necessary trait for mankind, if you don't want to turn it into a mass of apathetic zombies.

Re:Not violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44299973)

We have them now, they are called Democrats and liberals, and slashdot posters. Cheers

Anbody's son will do (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year ago | (#44299941)

There may be markers for violence, but I think they are pretty universal. Armies have been turning young men into killers for millennia. As military historian Gwynne Dyer says, "Anybody's son will do." Virtually any young man can become a violent killer if the right buttons are pushed. Of course most young men are able to control these tendencies -- if they didn't, we would need front-end loaders to remove the bodies from the streets every morning. I think it's more likely that they will find a missing marker for self-control among people who are inexplicably violent.

The cure for violence? (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44299949)

The Ludovico technique...

newspeak: BioCriminal (2)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44299969)

There is a saying: if you look hard enough for evidence, no matter what and where, soon or later you will find it.
I just wonder what would this biomarker look like? Improper skull form? Skin color? or, missing DNA chain?

We already know what the biomarker is... (0)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#44299977)

...it's called the "Y" chromosome.

Now what do these geniuses propose to do about people with that biomarker?

An uncomfortable topic but still needed (1)

afxgrin (208686) | about a year ago | (#44299997)

If we never bother to explore the question we just don't really know. There very well could be many biomarkers for violence. How we act on that knowledge is the real moral dilemma. I personally think they are too close to the subject and really if they want to help others they would just fund the research. However, we already have one linked biomarker, and that's lead exposure [huffingtonpost.com] - but we can't just start rounding up everyone with higher blood-lead concentrations and force them into chelation therapy. Obviously the benign solution is to remove lead sources, such as paints and leaded gasoline. If the culprit turns out to be DNA, then obviously this becomes a much larger issue.

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