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Does Crime Leave a Genetic Trace?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the finally-an-explanation-for-the-hamburgler dept.

Science 160

gallifreyan99 writes "Scientists have spent decades trying to understand and fix social problems like violence and alcoholism, usually focusing on the poor and disadvantaged. But now a small band of researchers is claiming that biology plays a vitally important role — because trauma can change you at a genetic level that gets passed on to kids, grandkids, and perhaps even beyond." Part of the research involved testing the effect of stress on the genetics of mice. A number of mice were subjected to stressful situations and then allowed to raise their children. The children, when later subjected to stress, were more vulnerable to it than normal mice (for example, they would stop struggling in a potentially fatal situation earlier than 'happy' mice). This was expected. What's interesting is that when those children were later bred with normal mice, and that third generation was raised by normal mice (so that parental neglect wasn't a factor), they still showed the same vulnerability to stress. A subsequent generation showed the same.

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"crime" (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280285)

Let's not put judicial labels on psychological behaviours, eh? C20 liked doing that rather too much.

What about cats? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280319)

So how did the cats react to eating the stressed out mice?

Re:What about cats? (5, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#46280329)

The cat translator is still in early stages, however the reply was more or less "it tastes like chicken".

Re:What about cats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281935)

Stressed out mice are not as tender and delicious than well rested individuals. The most common reaction: "I can haz more tender mice?"

Biological psychology treads on dangerous ground (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280333)

We're just a hop skip and a jump away from eugenics.

we're already there: genetic testing of In Vitro.. (4, Interesting)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about a year ago | (#46280547)

... fertilization. I think it was the NYT that discussed this a week or two ago. A woman who carried a gene for a cruel genetic disease wanted to have children, but not to pass on the disease. So she opted for In Vitro Fertilization, with the fertilized zygotes being genetically tested. She has had I think two or three children from zygotes that tested negative. If everyone who carries her disease gene does this, than a rare but terrible scourge could be eliminated from the earth. Her father, for example, is doomed to die young and is already suffering. However I myself have Bipolar-Type Schizoaffective Disorder [warplife.com] . It is as yet unclear whether that is a unique disease or the, uh, "lucky" combination of Manic Depression and Schizophrenia. The cause of Schizophrenia is as yet unclear but is thought to be due to infectious disease of the brain. It may have other causes, as it is likely to be more than one disease, each of which causes the psychotic symptoms of delusions and hallucinations. Manic Depression is quite clearly genetic, due to studies in which twins were adopted out to different parents at birth. There is a strong correlation between whether one twin is Bipolar, and whether the other is. That can't be due to environmental factors, or how one is raised. Manic depression is arguably a horrible disease. I myself have attempted suicide in a serious way a number of times, the last time in 2010 when I wrapped my car around a concrete highway overpass post at a hundred miles per hour. But dammit I forgot to unbuckle my seatbelt. It was a sudden decision, the end it all, you see. However Manic Depressives are well-documented to be uncommonly creative. Besides coding, I have a BA in Physics, while I did not complete my doctorate I stymied my fellow students, even the faculty, with my insight into the nature of reality when was in grad school. I draw, paint, sculpt, compose for and play the piano, sing and play drums. I invent all manner of things. I could have lots of patents if I could be bothered to ever file for them. Kay Redfield Jamison is a noted authority on manic depression, and a Johns Hopkins University psychology professor. She speculates that Manic Depression has persisted through evolution despite its obvious disadvantages because "it brings new ideas into the social consciousness". Hollowell and Ratey propose a similar theory for why Attention Deficit Disorder has persisted through evolution as well. Their theory is that people with ADHD are able to connect otherwise unrelated ideas in a way that the brains of normal people would be incapable of, thereby synthesizing novel ideas. For example despite being bent on suicide the whole time I worked at Medior, I invented then implemented a novel lossless bitmapped graphics compression algorithm and format, that enabled the company to stuff more assets on its multimedia CD-ROMs. Now suppose you chose In Vitro Fertilization because you or your mate had spent your whole lives contemplating suicide. You have a choice of a normal zygote, or one that will quite obviously bear a child who will be Bipolar as an adult. Which one do you choose? Were manic depression eliminated from the species, what would our society be like a thousand years from now? Jamison's new ideas wouldn't be getting contributed to the social consciousness nearly as much anymore.

What's wrong with eugenics? (3, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#46280627)

And what's wrong with eugenics? Hitler gave it a bad name with his fancifully eugenic atrocities, but it's not like we don't already apply the principles to every other species we domesticate. We even do it to ourselves - all else being equal, I assume you would prefer a beautiful, healthy, and probably smart and/or strong reproductive partner. Eugenics just requires doing what we're already doing to ourselves bit more consciously.

As for biological psychology, I'll admit it can be abused in fanciful ways, just as Social Darwinists abuse the principles of evolution. But ignoring it leads to such patently ridiculous claims as Tabla Rasa and the sameness of the sexes.

Meanwhile in this case we're talking about epigenetics anyway, extrapolating the results to humans (always dicey, but...) the results suggest that subjecting people to traumatic or other high-stress stimuli will harm not only their own well-being, but also that of at their children and grandchildren. In other words - working that horrible high-stress job so that you'll one day be able to bring your children into a better life may actually be counter-productive, because while you're providing them with more luxuries and opportunities, you're also saddling them with a genetic disability.

Not to mention the implications of having children with somebody with PTSD - you're potentially saddling your children with not only an emotionally damaged parent, but also a genetic predisposition to follow in their footprints. On the other hand, as we come to understand the mechanisms involved we may well learn how to reverse such epigenetic changes, and that could have enormous benefits for our society.

Re:What's wrong with eugenics? (1, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#46280937)

Yea, and whats wrong with Communism? All of those mass genocides just gave it a bad name. Surely we can do it right if we try again.

Sorry, some ideas are poisonous, and can be identified as such from the results of every time they were attempted. How many times should we attempt eugenics before concluding that it just leads to genetic discrimination, forced euthanasia, and forced sterilization?

Re:What's wrong with eugenics? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281029)

How many times should we attempt eugenics before concluding that it just leads to genetic discrimination, forced euthanasia, and forced sterilization?

More than once, preferably not led by a guy wearing a moustache this time.

Re:What's wrong with eugenics? (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about a year ago | (#46281119)

Done! Gentleman, I present to you Kim jong ii, dictator of Korea. You will observe how clean shaven and youthful his face is.

It still has a bad name. Please, some experiments are not worth trying again, bigota or no bigota.

Re:What's wrong with eugenics? (0)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a year ago | (#46281399)

Actually, eugenics is an extremely common (primitive) human activity, although it's typically called genocide.

Re:What's wrong with eugenics? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#46281499)

Not just genocide. Why do you suppose Nordic women tend to be so attactive? Hundreds of years of Vikings raiding the rest of Europe and kidnapping the most beautiful women they found did wonderful things for their gene pool.

Re:What's wrong with eugenics? (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#46281195)

And what's wrong with eugenics?

The key question in any eugenics debate is "who gets to decide?". Most people who favour the idea assume that THEY will get to make those decisions, and that everyone else will just be delighted at their inspired decision-making.

Most people who favour the idea are, in fact, wrong about who will be making the decisions.

but it's not like we don't already apply the principles to every other species we domesticate.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a domesticated animal that is better at survival than its wild cousins. Not even sure I can think of one that's close to as good, though cats might come close.

So, do you want your descendants to be 100% dependent on an advanced technological society to survive? Because sure as shooting, sooner or later something in our environment will change in a way that's adverse to survival of a domesticated species. And when that time comes, we don't want to find out that the domesticated species in question is US.

Re:What's wrong with eugenics? (1)

pellik (193063) | about a year ago | (#46281329)

I dunno, would descendants who are 100% dependent on an advanced technological society to survive live in an advanced technological society which is significantly more likely to persist than one who's occupants are not genetically adapted?

Re:What's wrong with eugenics? (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#46281461)

>Who gets to decide?

How about everyone? It doesn't need to be handed down from on-high, we could go a more grass-roots GATTACA route and simply encourage people to be more conscientious about choosing their genetic pairings, and give them access to the information to do so (hopefully with protections against genetic discrimination by governments and corporations). Some social changes could also help - for example encouraging a distinction between choosing a spouse and choosing a reproduction partner. And there's no particular reason children need to be raised by their biological parents - I'm sure we could nudge society in a direction where those with good genes are encouraged to reproduce, and those with bad genes but good child-rearing instincts are encouraged to adopt. And then there's the whole genetic engineering or selection route as well - no particular reason that "love children" should be the norm.

>Off the top of my head, I can't think of a domesticated animal that is better at survival than its wild cousins.
Survival in the wild, or within the context of their role in our civilization, past and present? Besides, we bred domesticated animals to better serve *our* needs, not their own, and efficient survival instincts tend to conflict with being a willing slave or meat-animal. Presumably we would want to shape ourselves to be "better" according to a different set of standards.

> Because sure as shooting, sooner or later something in our environment will change in a way that's adverse to survival of a domesticated species.
Sorry man, that change has already been happening over the last 100,000 years at least, and we display most of the tell-tale attributes: Thinner skulls, weaker jaws, less violent temperment, etc. All we're missing is the splotchy coloration that is a side-effect of a particular behavior modifying mutation that encourages a much greater acceptance of the "other" at a young age, and appears to be shared by most domesticated species. Just pick a fight with a chimpanzee that masses half as much as you and you'll discover very quickly just how domesticated you are.

Evolution doesn't stop just because we're not fighting for survival on a daily basis. Evolution shapes a species through mutation and death, and once you remove death as a meaningful factor it's pretty much down to who breeds the most. Most any social policy that affects who reproduces and how frequently is a form of eugenics. Welfare? Check. Not handing out free birth control? Check. A culture that idolizes violent sports stars and encourages them to sleep around? Check. etc,etc,etc.

Re:Biological psychology treads on dangerous groun (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#46281241)

Crime is a social construct. It's usually a case of being rather poor and/or having opportunity outweighing the risks.

In some fundamentalist country homosexuality is a crime by law. If the regime would be toppled today, and said laws
would be reversed, would the genetic makeup of aformentioned criminals suddenly flip?

Lamarck Vindicated? (4, Interesting)

man_ls (248470) | about a year ago | (#46280341)

Does this mean Lamarckian evolution is partially correct after all?

Re:Lamarck Vindicated? (5, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#46280407)

Ehhhhh...I wouldn't go that far. Lamarkianism relies on a feedback mechanism to pump info back into genes, which is far more complicated that natural selection, where variation introduces info into genes, then the less-well-adapted genes survive less well and are replaced in subsequent generations by omission.

This is probably more related to epigenetics, where certain chunks of DNA are coated to stop their effect, and this can be responsive to the environment as well as passed down to children.

Also the exact causal relationships, if any, between stress, abdominal belly fat deposition (in the gut), and things like heart disease and insulin resistance, and even bacterial fauna population differences is also a hot area of research, and much of thatccan be passed on via non-DNA methods.

Re:Lamarck Vindicated? (4, Informative)

kaliann (1316559) | about a year ago | (#46280567)

In the broad general understanding that the environment can induce acquired changes that can then be inherited, yes. It's called epigenetics, and it's a fascinating field, wherein modification of packaging on DNA affects how and when it is read.

In the specifics of pretty much any of the claims made by Lamarckian adaptation, no, that's bunk.

One of the major differences is that epigenetic changes aren't always adaptive; that is, they aren't necessarily helpful to the organism's reproductive success. These changes can result from environmental stresses as a kind of "side effect", and the change affects later generations. Epigenetic changes are inherited, but they can be reversed in as little as a generation or passed on, and they are never responsible for new transcripts or proteins being produced. They modify amounts and timing of products from existing genes - and that's impressive - but they do not introduce novel products on a cellular level, the way changes in genetic code does.

Re:Lamarck Vindicated? (1)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#46280905)

I guess it depends on what you mean by 'adaptive'. We can make a jump here and assume that abuse and stress will cause your offspring to have lower intelligence- making them more able to survive under those conditions.

Curious (4, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year ago | (#46280347)

I'd be curious to see how many generations will exhibit this characteristic, of course using the initial pre-stressed generation as the baseline for what normal behavior would be considered.

I always find it interesting when science proves something from ancient verbally-passed records, particularly when it's something which couldn't possibly* be scientifically concluded as truth in ancient days. Specific to this case, I believe the Bible says something like "your sins will be visited upon your children and your children's children for seven generations" or some such thing. Ignoring the biblical propensity to refer to everything in 'sevens', it'd be interesting to see if there's correlation.

* per our current understanding of ancients and their scientific capabilities

Re:Curious (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280403)

I always find it interesting when science proves something...I believe the Bible says...

A stopped clock is right twice a day.

The people who wrote the Bible weren't idiots (2, Interesting)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about a year ago | (#46280433)

It has a great deal of wisdom about human nature. That it is unscientific in origin doesn't make it false, or like your stopped clock analogy, only coincidentally true.

Re:The people who wrote the Bible weren't idiots (1, Offtopic)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about a year ago | (#46280491)

But of course it's false. Gods and the supernatural are fantasy concepts, and it shouldn't need to be pointed out here that they don't exist in the real world.

The Bible discusses other things than Gods (1)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about a year ago | (#46280565)

human nature, for example. I don't believe in G-d, but I own a bible and read it from time to time. It helps me to understand other people. G-d has nothing to do with that.

Re:The Bible discusses other things than Gods (2, Insightful)

Sabriel (134364) | about a year ago | (#46280719)

Um, just curious: if you don't believe, why are you self-censoring?

Re:The Bible discusses other things than Gods (1)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#46280953)

That's funny you bring that up- was raised Orthodox Presbyterian but am now agnostic at best. However I am respectful of others religious beliefs and tend to do that myself.

Re:The Bible discusses other things than Gods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281567)

I can be respectful while still writing the word "god" can I not? Im not American and I have no idea why you self censored there in the slightest. Its not self evident.

When you say that you dont believe in Allah, where do you put the -?

It's only disrespectful if you destroy the documen (1)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about a year ago | (#46281597)

The Jewish faith does not in fact consider it disrespectul to write "God" as "G" "o" "d". What it considers disrespectful, is to spell the word "God" correctly, then destroy the document that it is written on.

Re:The Bible discusses other things than Gods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280991)

Maybe he's one of those sensible people that is mature enough to not feel the need to scream "THERE IS NO GOD" at every possible moment.

Something Roger Ebert said before he died: "I don't get into the whole atheism/theism debate, as that demonstrates too much certainty about the unknowable". It's a very reasonable stance to take.

Out of respect for Jewish people (1)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about a year ago | (#46281131)

Some of my best friends are Jewish. Actually it was Kuro5hin's LilDebbie who started doing it over there. I picked it up from him. The Jewish faith holds that it is disrespectful to ever destroy a document that has the word "God" written on it, if it is spelled correctly. The explanation I read pointed out that the attics of very old synagogues held used collection of worn-out Torah, because they spell the word correctly and so would be disrespectful to destroy. My understanding is that it is not considered blasphemy to do so, only disrespectful. Among Jewish people it is customary to write "G-d" unless one can be reasonably sure that the resulting document will never be destroyed. While I no longer believe, I was raised as a Presbyterian. Religion at one time was a big part of my life. I'm not sure I follow the arguments of those who regard religion as evil incarnate because the belief in supernatural beings is unrealistic or unscientific. Consider that these days, it is very uncommon for most Americans to ever speak to their neighbors. But among religious people, we get to know the others in our church. I am often advised by those who don't even believe, to attend church anyway as it's a good way to meet women who want to get married and have children, as I want to.

Re:The Bible discusses other things than Gods (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#46280939)

What's a g-d? Gold god glad gland god glanced galvanised gained god googled gazed god gambled god germinated gesneriad god gadoid gaggled gibed gagged god gestured gainsald god Galahad ghosted gallivanted god gibbeted giggled gambolled god gamed gilled god gimped gangboard gangland ginned god ganoid gipped gangrened gaped god gapped gasconaded Garand girthed god garboard gardened Garfield god gizzard glaciated gargled god garmented gastropod garnered glamorized glamoured god garrotted garrisoned gartered god glared glassed gasfield god gashed gasped gassed god Gleed Glenoid glimmered glimpsed god glinted gloated globalised gauffered god gauged gauntleded god gloried glorified gawped glossed god gloved glowed geared glued god geed greed grid geld gelled glutted god geminated gemmed gnarled gnashed generaled goatsbeard gobbled gobsmacked gentled goffered genuflected god goldplated goliard gonoblasted goofed goosed gopherwood god gouged gourmandized Gould Gowd Gozzard grad gradated god god graduated graded grafted grandstanded granted granulated god god god graphed grappled god grasped grassed dog grassland gratified goldenrod Grayhound god grayed greasewood greased grazed grandchild good god god Greenland greeted grieved grilled god grinded griped gripped grizzled god groaked god grokked groaned god groined
  groped grooved grossed god groomed god grooved grouched groundspeed grovelled god grouped growled grubbed grumbled grunted guard guggled guestimated god guessed guideword guilliotined gulped gulled gummed gurnard gushed gussied god gusseted gutted guyed glued gypped Gyrland gyrated there is no god.

Re:The Bible discusses other things than Gods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46282353)

Referring to the deity as G-d is a Jewish thing. Some sort of English equivalent of the YWH bit where you avoid taking the lord's name in vain by not fully spelling it out.

It's stuff like this that make Jews such good lawyers. Accomplishing the same goal via loopholes while still technically remaining in compliance with the law. However, there are some other bizarre situations where they take the polar opposite approach and overgeneralize a particular stricture. For example, their refusal to consume dairy and meat is due to the prohibition of boiling a kid goat in its mother's milk. From that they conclude you can't have cheese on your chicken.

Re:The people who wrote the Bible weren't idiots (-1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#46280669)

But of course it's false. Gods and the supernatural are fantasy concepts, and it shouldn't need to be pointed out here that they don't exist in the real world.

Modern science 'knows' that there is a fourth dimension, though scientists have not yet been able to prove that it exists, yet. And they think that there may be as many as nine or more dimensions, all occupying the same space. To the uninformed, the possibility of a 4th dimension might be thought of as ''fantasy'', just as humans flying was always considered to be impossible.

I don't see anything wrong with keeping an open mind to unproven possibilities. In my 50+ years on this planet I have personnally been witness to a couple of events that cannot be explained by 'rational' knowledge. And I'm the ''prove it up'' type of guy. And I know that there's more going on in this life than we are able to comprehend.

Re:The people who wrote the Bible weren't idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280931)

Of course it's false. I'm an atheist as well. But just as Aesop's fables and other traditional stories present messy, imprecise "rules of thumb" for life in a metaphorical way, there seems to be a similar kind of relationship here. It may be coincidence, but it may be that ancient people noticed that stuff.

Think of it this way: children have perceptions that are much more "big picture," animal-like, and imprecise - but they can manipulate adults in a way most adults have long forgotten how to do. We tend to forget that stuff as it gets crowded out by all the details of higher reasoning.

In the same way, ancient people didn't have phones to look at every waking moment, and maybe they noticed some important stuff in their own way. They couldn't describe it with any kind of precision, but they still may have noticed it and described it as best they could with primitive, magical-thinking language.

Re:The people who wrote the Bible weren't idiots (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280959)

To call "gods" a "fantasy concept" is like calling a sword a "fantasy weapon". Yes, it's obsolete now, but once upon a time it was a state-of-the-art mental model that people found very useful to make sense of the world.

And just as people killed by swords are still dead, so conclusions reached by people who used "god" as their mental anchor - may still, in many or even most cases, be valid.

Re:The people who wrote the Bible weren't idiots (1)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about a year ago | (#46280987)

But of course it's false...

Nope. As the title of GP's post makes clear, the bible was written/translated by human beings, not "God". Nothing in it is of supernatural origin. GP's point that the bible contains insights into human nature is completely valid. Other cultural mythologies are also great sources of insight into the human condition.

Because the faithful believe that their particular scripture is the "Word of God" doesn't diminish the sapience contained therein.

Re:The people who wrote the Bible weren't idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281033)

There is no evidence that the proverbial man-in-the-sky exists.

Absence of evidence, however, is not disproof.

And furthermore, more (intellectually) enlightened believers don't think of God as a man in the sky. It would be more accurate to say something like "the ground of being wills." While such a statement also has no proof, neither does it have any disproof. Statements thereabout are a matter of pure intuition.

That's why strong philosophical agnosticism is the only logically defensible position.

Re:The people who wrote the Bible weren't idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281115)

I think it's cute that you're so certain of your knowledge of the reality of a universe we still know very little about, having existed in our present form for a paltry one million years compared to the universe's estimated age of ~13.5 billion years.

We're less than a flicker in a grain of sand on an endless beach.

Re:The people who wrote the Bible weren't idiots (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#46282245)

The fantasy concepts were metaphors, and were always intended to be understood as such.

So "false" really doesn't apply to them, any more than "true" does.

What is real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46282385)

Gods and the supernatural are fantasy concepts, and it shouldn't need to be pointed out here that they don't exist in the real world.

Yet, we still believe, based on the evidence, that Han shot first. Any depiction otherwise is just fantasy. Our definition of "real" is highly mutable.

When you stub your toe, is the pain real, or is it all in your head? "Both" is the most meaningful answer. Is God real, or is it all in your head? Again, "both" is a more meaningful answer than trying to force the false dichotomy.

Re:The people who wrote the Bible weren't idiots (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a year ago | (#46281445)

And a lot of that "insight" has to do with influence by evil spirits and demons, hence Jesus' and others' exorcisms and such. Yeah, on the vague surface, they recognized that some but not all people do bad things. On detailed examination, they had no clue as to why.

Re:Curious (2, Insightful)

Ramirozz (758009) | about a year ago | (#46280453)

In theory as many as possible... but one thing to remember... that predisposition (not predetermination) can be corrected if the ofspring is given the opposite that caused that epigenetic change... meaning with that: love, empathy, education, safety. I always wonder why studies do tests with the most harming techniques and not the opposite.

Re:Curious (1)

Lotana (842533) | about a year ago | (#46282375)

I always wonder why studies do tests with the most harming techniques and not the opposite.

My guess would be because causing harm is so much easier, reproducible and gives back obvious and immediate results.

Re:Curious (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280475)

People with religious insanity, or any other delusional belief, will try to shoehorn facts into their delusion. Passing traits to your children and grandchildren does not have anything to do with anyone's superstitions.

Re:Curious (1)

Mark J Tilford (186) | about a year ago | (#46281487)

The bible says that the sins will be visited on the descendants of the perpetrator.

This research says that there will be an effect on the descendants of the victim.

"It ain muh fault! Its muh jeans cuz!" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280369)

Liberals trying as hard as they can to excuse niggers for being criminals.

Re:"It ain muh fault! Its muh jeans cuz!" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280493)

Did you learn to be an asshole or did your great grandfather's wife run off with a black guy?

Re:"It ain muh fault! Its muh jeans cuz!" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280529)

80% of people incarcerated in the united states are minorities. 50% of those are niggers.

I'm posting AC, but I have a low UID (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280371)

The reasons should be plainly apparent:

My family was in no way disadvantaged. My father came from a family of modest means, but he was raised in a comfortable home in the country that his father built himself.

My father was a raging alcoholic, violently and sexually abusive to me, verbally abusive to my mother, sexually abusive to my sister.

But he was a good provider. He was a career military officer who retired at thirty, and served honorably in vietnam.

When I was a boy I was brutally bullied by my classmates. I don't know what I did to bring that on, but it was everything I could do to survive elementary school. Why didn't the teachers or the principal intervene when I was being beaten?

The result now is that while I am not an alcoholic, I surely would be if I ever touched alcohol. That becomes plainly apparent to me if I ever do get drunk so I choose not to drink.

I am fucked up beyond all repair. I've spent a lot of time in psychiatric hospitals.

I have a degree and am a good coder, but it is very difficult to provide for myself. I do my best to do right by others, but I myself am poor and disadvantaged. If I can get a job at all I earn more than 100K, but it is very difficult for me to get a job that I can tolerate.

Re:I'm posting AC, but I have a low UID (5, Insightful)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#46280833)

I am fucked up beyond all repair.

No, you're not. The fact that you're you are alive proves that you're a tough survivor.

Kids do not have power over adults who bullied them. As a grown adult you do have the power over screwed up, bullying controlling types. Power to not allow it to happen to you again, at least not without one hell of a good fight from you. You are now stronger than you might realize right now, but strong you are. That strength may come in very handy as you go through life. While your growth as a child was changed, you are not 'fucked'. You would not do the things that were done to you to another human being. That makes you way better than the cowards who harmed you back then. I salute you. Keep on moving forward, maybe just so the bastards don't ''win''.

Re:I'm posting AC, but I have a low UID (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280965)

Go track down the kids who bullied you who are now adults. Catch them alone and beat them to shit, key their cars, leave shit in their mailbox.

Piss on your dads grave. He's no good provider. Find a bitch and settle down, lick her delicious wet pussy like there's no tomorrow. Fuck her good.

Earn your keep as a coder. Don't let the past control you.

I'm afraid that doesn't actually work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46282391)

I used to dream of the day when I'd be old enough, and so big and strong enough, to beat the living crap out of my own father.

By that time he was a tired old man, and no longer able to defend himself. I just let him be.

I ran into some of my old tormentors at a high school reunion. They were all happy to see me, as if we'd always been good friends.

Even young bullies can grow up to be decent people.

Re:I'm posting AC, but I have a low UID (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281077)

Seems to me you have 2 options:

1. Kill yourself.
2. Track down the kids who bullied you and brutally kill their families in front of them. Then kill yourself.

Re:I'm posting AC, but I have a low UID (3, Insightful)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year ago | (#46281369)

Everybody is fucked up in one way or another. The great lie of society is that there is such a thing as normal. Yet this is impossible. It is each person's task - given to him by nobody other than himself - to do the best he can so as to make his way through this fucked-up-ness and figure out why it is so endemic and how he can help himself and others around him out of it. You clearly value your own life as you avoid alcohol because it would harm you. This is a good trait! Use it well. Life gets better the more you work at improving it - this is the joy of being an intelligent animal.

website seems sketchy (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#46280385)

The linked website looks like fad journalism. Big splashy page with a headline. Screems bias found here.

You mean like the Slashdot Beta? $ (0)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about a year ago | (#46280423)

The "$" subject terminator is a Kuro5hin-ism for "Subject-Only Comment". However, Slash does not permit those, so I'm supplying this comment body so Slash stops complaining.

Re:website seems sketchy (2)

ClintJCL (264898) | about a year ago | (#46280579)

Isn't your judging a scientific article by the typesetting of the site that presents it a bias?

Re:website seems sketchy (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#46280583)

Not to mention, even the research in the study is dubious at best, as they completely ignore the 'nurture' aspect of rearing offspring:

Part of the research involved testing the effect of stress on the genetics of mice. A number of mice were subjected to stressful situations and then allowed to raise their children. The children, when later subjected to stress, were more vulnerable to it than normal mice

So, then, was it a genetic anomoly passed down from the parents that cause the behavior, as the "researchers" hypothesis, or was the behavoir learned, i.e. the traumatized parents taught, either through intent or inadvertently, the offspring to react to certain things in certain ways?

Re:website seems sketchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280855)

But then they gave the children to normal mice to raise, and those children grew up and had children, and those children still showed the same trait.

Maybe you're right and the the parents tell their kids about the time the Giant Hairless Mouse grabbed them and pretended to kill them and it was all very scary but they were ok afterwards and they all had a good laugh, like going through a haunted house.

Re:website seems sketchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280907)

Wow, didn't even bother to finish the summary. You... fail.

Re:website seems sketchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281921)

To me, this smells strongly of the sort of scientific rigor that's used in the pharmaceutical industry where 20 trials either show negative results, or no positive effect or are even at best inconclusive, but 2 trials do produce positive effects and then these are the ones chosen to prove the undeniable efficacy of the new drug.

The credentials (and personal biases) of the researchers in question should be examined closely as this seems like something that could easily be used to provide "scientific" cover for the massive wealth transfer and social programs for the dysfunctional groups that are poor, have low-self-esteem and are violence prone because of the "disparate impact" of the historical oppression by and current, continuous alleged "micro-aggressions" of the larger host population. I would call them "compensation and incentives for voting a particular political party", and outright theft under color of authority, but that's just my opinion. Nonetheless, I see this as being something used to justify leftist social policies because now it can be shown to be "settled scientific fact".

INB4! (-1, Offtopic)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#46280425)

In before this topic goes completely off-the-handle racist.

Not so complex (1, Insightful)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#46280457)

Violence happens when otherwise friendly people are provoked. In the case of the poor, it's usually when they are goaded by someone in a position of power. We've all seen the peculiar attitude rich and powerful people develop when they feel free to jut out their chin and say "what are you going to do about it?"

Alcholism happens when powerless people have nowhere else to hide.

People who are powerless become destructive: either to themselves or others. The reason this situation persists is because there are people in this world who are never held accountable for their single-minded pursuit of making other people powerless.

Re:Not so complex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281063)

Nope, "alcholism" happens when someone becomes addicted to alcohol. Rich and powerful people also become alcoholics, but let us suppose it happens less frequently than with the poor and disenfranchised. You can claim the rich people with intact family structures have more resources to draw upon to seek treatment and support, I suppose. Predisposition to alcoholism is a genetic trait, which is well known. Not being predisposed to alcoholism would be a competitive advantage to individuals living in a society where use of alcohol is prevalent. You might have cause and effect entirely backwards in your thesis.

Re:Not so complex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281569)

Violence happens when otherwise friendly people are provoked.

Your view of the reason for violence is so simplistic it is tragic and sickening.

You have obviously led a sheltered life, and you have no clue about what
lurks waiting for you in some parts of the world.

Evil exists, and some people are evil. Provocation doesn't have a goddamned thing
to do with it.

I am guessing you cannot be older than maybe 25 or so, because your level of naiveté is
usually erased in older humans.

Breeding children with mice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280519)

Sure, it's fun, but...

Doubtful (4, Interesting)

DumbSwede (521261) | about a year ago | (#46280537)

I will go on the record predicting this research will widely be discredited within the next 5 years. I’m not saying there is no epigenome, but why would it work in an apparent anti-Lemarkin fashion, let alone anti-Darwinian? The implication is that nobody gets bad-genes, just that genes get shunted aside for multiple generations due to changes in the epigenome.

I think there is some huge motivation on the part of the research here to explain why certain segments of the population remain in a loop of poverty and violence. I think social factors can adequately explain the problems we see. Perhaps there is a genetic component as well to why some groups do better than others, but research of that kind routinely gets the authors in trouble. Here we can have a quasi -genetic predisposition explanation that does away with the shame of having bad genes and suggests that it is society’s fault for not preventing the stressors in earlier generations that lead current generations to underperform.

What is a little strange is the implication that the changes to the epigenome stay permanently, of course only if they are negative changes.

Re:Doubtful (1)

burki (32245) | about a year ago | (#46280609)

Good analysis. If you look at the following graphics, http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.... [europa.eu] you find massive (in some countries up to 20%) changes in Homicide rates within less than five years. I just don't see how genetics would be of any help if you want to understand these trends.

Re:Doubtful (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a year ago | (#46280825)

There has been a massive reduction in all crime over the last 40 years, which coincidentally started just about the time they widely banned widespread lead use, particularly in paint and gasoline. And that the last generation routinely exposed to lead paint and gasoline during their 0-20 years is the baby boomers who are in the process of retiring.

It will likely be impossible to ever confirm this but I believe the dramatic reduction in crime rates can be attributed to reduction of lead in the environment. Lead is massively disruptive to developing brains and causes long term damage that often results in violent or anti-social behavior (this has been confirmed clinically and was one of the reasons it was banned).

I also believe that we're going to discover in the near future that many of the autism spectrum disorders and other similar disorders whose incidence have been increasing in the developed world are similarly caused by a chemical or range of chemicals that interrupt the brain or hormones during development and which are currently in common use. The significant difference is rates of these disorders between the developed world and the undeveloped world I believe is what will eventually lead to the proof.

Re:Doubtful (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#46281473)

It will likely be impossible to ever confirm this but I believe the dramatic reduction in crime rates can be attributed to reduction of lead in the environment.

It is difficult to confirm, but lead was phased out of alcohol on different dates in different parts of the country. By looking at the on time sequence of phase out with the time sequence of onset of crime rate reduction, we could see if there is any correlation. And Rick Nevin did look. He found a correlation. Leaded gasoline was a significant cause for the crime. (Just stay away from the home page. Unless you are ready for a sudden on slaught of geocities meets blogger kind of traumatic experience.) http://www.ricknevin.com/uploa... [ricknevin.com] http://www.ricknevin.com/uploa... [ricknevin.com]

Re:Doubtful (2)

LF11 (18760) | about a year ago | (#46280873)

Your critique is flawed.

It may well work in both directions, but the researchers did not investigate the transmission of positive behaviors. I wouldn't be so quick to discount the results. We are still learning about epigenetics, and there is tremendous knowledge still to be gained. Part of the problem is that the mechanisms of epigenetics are largely invisible to sequencing technology. Our knowledge of epigenetics is hobbled by this.

We already know that dietary factors can be transmitted epigenetically. We know that social factors can alter epigenetic self-expression (methylation of genes). Why can't social factor epigenetics be transmitted to new generations? This research, while interesting, is not particularly groundbreaking or even surprising.

Re:Doubtful (2)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#46280977)

If you think about it epigentics gives an organism tremendous adaptive capability. Sad to say, but in hard times crime does pay....

Re:Doubtful (2)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#46281015)

I guess it depends on what you mean by 'bad'. Epigenetics gives an organism a tremendous adaptive capability- and like it or not, under severe environmental pressures 'crime' does pay.....

Don't Mention This (2)

weilawei (897823) | about a year ago | (#46280553)

Don't mention this to the Aussies.

'those children were later bred with normal mice' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280557)

cross contamination? talk about trauma?

clearly (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about a year ago | (#46280605)

We're all stressed out, and can't deal with it.

Eugenics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280625)

Obviously, this is why violent criminals need to be sterilized!

violent fathers may i & mopery to be desexuali (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280665)

might help? it's not just them? should have been done centuries ago?

...allowed to raise their children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280637)

Well, there's the problem. Mice can't raise children, their offspring, but not kids...

BTW, the "new" /. site is horrible, horrible I say!

Evolutionary Advantage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280697)

So what is the evolutionary basis for this? How could this develop when it seems to provide a wholly negative outcome to survival and the ability to breed?

Posting AC cos of mod points

A huge social and ethical conundrum (1)

PapayaSF (721268) | about a year ago | (#46280699)

On the one hand, nobody wants the poor to suffer, especially poor children. And nobody wants the government to decide who has the right to have kids. On the other hand, you get more of what you subsidize, and our society pays poor people to have children. How much crime, poverty, and general misery is caused by people who should never have children, and yet have children? (Often, lots of children?) People worry about "income inequality," but here's a not-insignificant source of at least part of it.

It's tempting to condition welfare on "no more kids" (sterilization), but that's never going to fly, and feels far too totalitarian. And yet, here we are trapped in a system of positive (the bad kind) feedback: Bad parents are paid to have kids, those kids (epigenetically or otherwise) transmit the same dysfunctional traits to their kids, and so society pays for more crime and poverty and misery. I don't have an answer, but I don't think enough people see the problem. They'll just blame their political opponents or capitalism or whatever.

Re:A huge social and ethical conundrum (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year ago | (#46282285)

If welfare offered everyone a basic standard of living, as in Scandinavia, that could remove the incentive to have kids for money.

no hymen no wedding? no live bride even? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280773)

selective breeding phewwww

Environment is to blame (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#46280877)

I am no psychologist but from the stories it sounds as if the people were surrounded by chaos. They had no loving parent, no guidance and no one to rely on for help. Essentially they are lost souls. They go from one bad situation to another and make poor choices simply because they can't understand a normal life. And even though people try to do better later in life they have a lot of emotional baggage from their youth that comes back to haunt them. And that is when history repeats itself.

Imagine never growing up without money or a parent who gave a damn about you. I lost my father when I was 14 but my mother made sure we had money and got an education. She was on top of us pretty good and saw to it that we weren't getting into trouble or hanging out with the wrong crowd. And if my mother needed help there were other family members to help out.

Contrast that with having little to no family. No money. No education. No hope of ever getting out of that life. It must leave a person with a great feeling of despair. Its so depressing that I can't fathom it. And that chaos is passed down from one generation to another. But cycles can and are broken by determined individuals, often with outside help. Its not completely hopeless but for people in those situations they just don't understand how to get help.

Similar tale of inherited environmental factors. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280913)

This sounds familiar except it was about diet.
Ah yes here it is:


Lead-free (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#46280915)

I'm pretty sure the amount of lead in the environment is a more useful predictor of violent behavior than genetics.

If you look at violent crime in the US, for instance, you see a big drop-off starting with the generation after the regulations were put on lead.

Re:Lead-free (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281177)

> after the regulations were put on lead.

So correlation is causation in your world? It isn't lead. Well to be precise, it's lead of a different sort. More sensible gun laws are the real difference. The drop started with the GCA of 1968. Johnson reduced crime for generations with that common sense measure. Further common sense changes like the assault weapon ban by the Republican-in-all-but-name Clinton cause an even more drastic drop. With some of the new confiscations the past year on CT and NY, we're seeing reduced crime in the northeast by such a drastic amount that it is helping the national rates.

Re:Lead-free (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#46282381)

More sensible gun laws are the real difference.

Oh really? Then why were there decreases in crime in the states that resisted your "sensible gun laws"?

As another poster mentioned above, it wasn't just the correlation, but the way the decrease in crime occurred at varying rates as different states adopted the lead regulations on different schedules. In each case, the lead regulations and crime decreases tracked. Forget about the national rates, look at each state independently.

See, correlation doesn't prove causation, but when it's repeated across a large sample, it becomes a very strong hint for where to look.

Regarding the statistics regarding the "sensible gun laws", the study that's always pointed to is the one by John Lott, whose data has been called into question. He equates "crime" with "murder" and the drop in murder rates may have more to do with the improvements and greater availability of trauma medicine than any magical effect of guns.

And if guns are the answer, then why did the assault-weapon ban lower the crime rates? If guns reduce crime, wouldn't more powerful guns reduce crime even more?

Gun activists...judge them on who they choose to represent them:
http://blog.seattlepi.com/seat... [seattlepi.com]

Re:Lead-free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46282059)

Lead coincides with the baby boomer generation which is another theory I've seen. Violent crime is typically committed by younger males, say 25-40, and as the boomer bulge slipped past this age we saw a decrease.

On the other hand, as an earlier poster mentioned, the timing in different states of the US of lead paint disuse correlates well with crime decreases in those states.

First thing that pops into my head (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46280975)

Crime is not a synonym for Stress

mighty leaps of logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46281091)

that's a mighty leap between the cited study and the association with "crime"
it just goes to show that some people regularly put their carts in front of their horses and shout "pull goddammit!" to no avail...

Does Crime Leave a Genetic Trace (1)

Publiu5 (3542707) | about a year ago | (#46281215)

Hopefully, if there ever is another Minority Report cinematic adaptation, this new research will be taken into account. Because if the propensity or inclination for crime can be inherited in a Biblical sense as a couple of people have already posted, then this should make for a more interesting movie about how the society in that PKD story's universe (or the society that it is commenting about, namely us) can persecute and condemn not only one man members of his family and even their descendents.

Please tell me I am dreaming! (1)

wdhowellsr (530924) | about a year ago | (#46281285)

Please tell me the browser cache is screwing with me. Please tell me that my wife wants to have sex more often ( ok that isn't going to happen, I have a 12 and 15 year old) Do we really have Slashdot.org back?

Animal torture (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | about a year ago | (#46281455)

What disturbs me most about this story is that the "stressful situations" must essentially be mouse torture. Having to do things like that are why I'd never be able to do lab work involving live animals. I'd probably end up releasing them or smuggling them out and turning them into pets.

Re:Animal torture (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year ago | (#46282303)

To save a mouse from torture is to subject a starving snake to torture. Nature is unpleasant.

so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46282333)

Should we neuter murderers and thieves because their kids will grow up to be the same? Or is he trying to explain why we should not blame people for their crimes? The biggest effect would be the environment they grew up in. Its not genetic that makes you a killer or a thief. Why they comparing mindless mice to people? Granted, a lot of people act like mindless mice. lol

Hunger does the same thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46282349)

Norwegian Church documents have been studied and it was discovered that the stress caused by hunger transfers similarly over generations.

Sounds like Epigenetics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46282383)

This sounds a lot like epigenetics. The hypothesis is that an environmental stressor can cause a reaction within the gene. It doesn't necessarily change the gene itself but rather how the gene is expressed, and this different genetic expression can be passed down through to children.

It is like having a beacon atop your genes, certain environmental signals can turn that beacon on and alter how the gene is expressed. This flickering beacon (altered genetic expression) can be passed down to future generations and can have long term effects.

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