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523 comments

It must be in clinical testing... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877629)

Because I saw some MIT guys talking to GIRLS!

Army sponsored! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877923)

Army approved! Probably been in use in the field since the Iraq War started (soldiers get injections and aren't told what they are)--Go Army!

In unrelated news... (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#19877641)

President Bush introduced a bill this week to eliminate all research funding at MIT.

Re:In unrelated news... (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | about 7 years ago | (#19877793)

President Bush introduced a bill this week to eliminate all research funding at MIT.

Absolutely, now that he's got the chemical that causes fear identified, the only remaining part of his plan is to sneak down to the water reservoir with Cheney.

Re:In unrelated news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877865)

President Bush introduced a bill this week to eliminate all research funding at MIT.
Why would he do that? This is the last thing he needs for a perfect army.

Soldiers no longer afraid of dying in combat would be a great new toy for him to try out against his daddy's enemies (right before he leaves office).

What's the matter, soldier? Afraid of the huge losses we would incur from invading Iran via Iraq? Just have some more compound X.

OR (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 7 years ago | (#19878101)

President Bush introduced a bill this week to provide unlimited funds from the pentagon budget to further research at MIT.

Re: In unrelated news... (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | about 7 years ago | (#19878125)

That is weird... he could use some of this stuff himself to overcome his fear of terrorists, democrats, God, or anything else that will haunt him until ehm.. forever.

Hasn't he learned anything from his book 'How to overcome fear for Dummies' ?

A cure for fear already exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877651)

It's known as alcohol.

I'm feeling brave, mod me down you fuckers!

Not news...I found this years ago (5, Funny)

sqlguy33 (898340) | about 7 years ago | (#19877653)

It is also called Liquid Courage. Drinking enough alcohol leaves me with no fear as well...

Re:Not news...I found this years ago (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | about 7 years ago | (#19877885)

"It is also called Liquid Courage. Drinking enough alcohol leaves me with no fear as well..."

The alcohol doesn't remove your fear, it propagates your stupidity.

Re:Not news...I found this years ago (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19878091)

The alcohol doesn't remove your fear, it propagates your stupidity.
That is to say, it causes accidental procreation.

Re:Not news...I found this years ago (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | about 7 years ago | (#19877915)

Yeah, but the loss of motor skills kinda spoils the whole thing, eh?

Did they use a polymorph? (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 7 years ago | (#19877657)

You know, to turn into your worst fear, then suck it out of you? Dave Lister got that treatment a while ago.

How long until (2, Interesting)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | about 7 years ago | (#19877667)

this finds its way into MREs given to soldiers?

uh oh... (5, Insightful)

leeharris100 (890639) | about 7 years ago | (#19877671)

Why would you want to cure fear? Fear keeps me from giving in to a friend's bet and swallowing a live hamster. But seriously, unless you could target certain fears to help people with crippling phobias, this seems dangerous.

Re:uh oh... (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 7 years ago | (#19877743)

Why, it'd be great for the military and terrorists. So now I'm confused: have the terrorists won or not?

Re:uh oh... (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 7 years ago | (#19877887)

Why, it'd be great for the military and terrorists.
sure about that. Fear is a useful biological mechanism, I would expect that soldiers without fear would not be, on the whole, as good as soldiers without it. A healthy dose of caution (based on fear) will save lives -- and for the US at least, minimization of loss of soldiers' lives is a prime determinant of strategy. A lack of fear can lead to foolhardiness, which can endanger not only the fearless soldier, but those around him.

Terrorists, OTOH, I have no idea. I would imagine the smaller side of any asymmetric war would benefit from fearlessness. Suicide bombers? Definitely. But not all terrorists are suicide bombers -- so would fearlessness benefit, or harm, a terrorist who plants bombs covertly? I'd guess it would limit their effectiveness, since they'd be more likely to take inapproprate risks.

Re:uh oh... (3, Interesting)

i_ate_god (899684) | about 7 years ago | (#19878039)

I don't think a lack of fear is going to make a terrorist more cocky when planting bombs. Removing fear doesn't necessarily remove logic. You have a mission, there are consequences personal or otherwise to the failure of that mission. Logically, those consequences are bad for the over all purpose of the mission. Getting rid of fear may cause you to knowingly inflict more personal damage (suicide bombers), but it won't make you forget that goals have to be achieved.

Re:uh oh... (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#19877811)

You got it. Fear is a good thing. It keeps you from getting killed. Like so many things this could be abused or used to treat real afflictions.

Re:uh oh... (5, Interesting)

dotpavan (829804) | about 7 years ago | (#19877831)

yes, isnt fear supposed to be an in-built mechanism to prevent us from putting ourselves in dangerous situations (in which others have suffered bad consequences), just like comedy tells us that everything is OK with a false alarm like situation [bbc.co.uk] ["So what I'm arguing is, laughter is nature's false alarm. Why is this useful from an evolutionary standpoint? So what you are doing with this rhythmic stocatto sound of laughter is informing your kin who share your genes, don't waste your precious resources rushing to this person's aid, it's a false alarm everything is OK. OK, so it's nature's OK signal."]

Re:uh oh... (1)

catbutt (469582) | about 7 years ago | (#19877841)

this seems dangerous.
Sure, you think that NOW....but that is only because you haven't had your fear cured.

Re:uh oh... (1)

Brian Boitano (514508) | about 7 years ago | (#19877849)

Because of that crippling fear of eating hamsters you have?

Re:uh oh... (1)

ookabooka (731013) | about 7 years ago | (#19877991)

Oh eating hamsters is no big deal. . it's eating live ones that is terrifying. . have you ever seen Mr.Lemiwinks? [youtube.com] I don't know about you but the idea of a hamster going on a quest through my insides is definitely terrifying. . .

Re:uh oh... (1)

timster (32400) | about 7 years ago | (#19877875)

Well, I don't think it's that simple. Fear is not exactly a rational process -- we can be afraid of things for bad reasons or for no reason, because the world is very complex and fear is a fairly simplistic instinct. For many people, it would be a great help if their fear could be brought more under the control of their intelligence.

Take swallowing a live hamster, for instance; your intelligence should be good enough to prevent that, even if you're not afraid. But if you weren't irrationally afraid of rodents with tails, you'd own a rat in the first place, as they are much better pets.

Re:uh oh... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#19877899)

Why would you want to cure fear?


Exactly!

PH33R m3! What? No?

PH33R M3! 1 W1LL H4X0R UR G1BS0N!

Damn it. No one seems afraid of me anymore. Guess I'll have to find a new hobby... :(

Re:uh oh... (1)

metlin (258108) | about 7 years ago | (#19877925)

I agree - fear has some definite benefits, but on the other hand, some people suffer from some irrational fears and this could be useful in curing those.

There was this guy I used to go climbing with who slipped once while doing some trad climbing and has been afraid of heights ever since. Mind you, he did not fall down or even get injured. All he did was take a look down at the ravine below him and freaked out. Ever since, he's stopped climbing and is deathly scared of heights.

People are scared of some pretty ridiculous things - heights, water, closed spaces, dark, spiders etc. are for the most part irrational fears with little to no basis whatsoever, often the result of a traumatic incident.

If my friend could forget his fear and go climbing again, he'd be the happiest person of earth. I am sure there are several people like him.

While not all fears are unhelpful, a few definitely are and these get into the way of doing things we could otherwise appreciate and enjoy.

Re:uh oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877937)

I imagine this would be good for people with anxiety/panic disorders. Imagine your body fighting against every rational thought you have. If this could fix the actual physical mechanism it may be a cure for people with real* anxiety and panic disorders.

* A lot of people claim have anxiety and/or panic disorders when in fact they are capable of fixing the problem with simple cognitive therapy. In those cases I don't consider them to have the real disorder.

WoW fans rejoice! (1)

FlatLine84 (1084689) | about 7 years ago | (#19877969)

Soon, you will actually be able to avoid intimidating shout.

Re:uh oh... (1)

ashtophoenix (929197) | about 7 years ago | (#19877997)

I think you are confusing with fear nature's mechanism of preventing unwanted or bad things from happening to us. For example the impulse to not touch something very hot is instilled in us. (think abt when you are taking your hand near a hot iron) Fear as we know it, is not a good thing. Or maybe you could categorize differently psychological fear as that of nightmares or of imaginary creatures, or of an exam or of bungee jumping or the fear of getting out in baseball. I still don't think this research is anywhre near the bounds of being employed practically. There is a lot that is unknown to us about psychology, mind and fear and until things become very clear, this should NOT be used practically. We don't know the consequences of inhibiting this chemical or gene or whatever it is. Of course, we should keep on researching more but not only in the area of genetic or molecular biology but also in the area of thought/mind/psychology, the hows and whats of fear.

Re:uh oh... (2, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 7 years ago | (#19878055)

It was the plot of an episode of Batman: The Animated Series:

Nothing to Fear [aol.com]

Jeffrey Combs as the voice of the Scarecrow.

Re:uh oh... (1)

Himring (646324) | about 7 years ago | (#19878065)

We have nothing to fear but ... oh, wait....

Re:uh oh... (1)

hey! (33014) | about 7 years ago | (#19878111)

Or you can decide that the economic value of the bet is not worth the projected harm of swallowing a live hamster.

Of course, a hamster is a bad example because it's probably physically impossible to swallow one -- but perhaps we could stipulate a mouse instead. Using simple hedonic calculus, it's easy to see that the pleasure you can get from $20 is less than the unpleasantness of swallowing a live mouse. However, the answer for $100,000 might be different.

The reason fear is useful is to provide us with a quick trigger for survival behaviors where it is not possible to evaluate the situation quickly enough. Better to assume that movement over there is a tiger in the grass than to go over and investigate personally. However in weighing the costs and benefits of a future action, fear is quite useless, in fact counter-productive.

So how long did the mice survive? (3, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | about 7 years ago | (#19877675)

Conspiracy theorists believe the funding was provided by a group of cats ...

Good news for cannon fodder (1)

Dude McDude (938516) | about 7 years ago | (#19877679)

Die with no fear! Hurrah!!!

The origins of a 'fear gas'? (1, Insightful)

haluness (219661) | about 7 years ago | (#19877683)

Interesting study. If the research can be generalied from context-specific fear, to general fear, it may the starting point for fear gas (described by Alastair Reynolds), which might be a useful non-lethal crowd control weapon

Re:The origins of a 'fear gas'? (1)

rainmayun (842754) | about 7 years ago | (#19877723)

I suspect the Pentagon would be far more interested in creating fearless "super soldiers".

Re:The origins of a 'fear gas'? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#19877855)

While getting rid of some fear would be nice, you don't want your soldiers running to cower in a corner when they aren't in danger, eliminating all fear could be bad thing. If you had no fear, you might run head first into enemy fire, without thinking about whether or not you would die. Fear makes us cautious of our actions, and stops us from doing stupid things.

Re:The origins of a 'fear gas'? (1)

Control Group (105494) | about 7 years ago | (#19878089)

Fear makes us cautious of our actions, and stops us from doing stupid things.

I disagree. There are lots of things I don't do not because I'm emotionally afraid of them, but because I recognize them as bad ideas. I don't drink a twelve pack a night because of the health problems and discomfort it would cause. That's not a fear response, it's a "that's stupid" response.

Unless one categorizes all desire to avoid negative consequences as fear - which I think is neither accurate in itself, nor the definition of "fear" used in the article - I see no reason to think that people without fear would suddenly become crazed, irrational actors constantly committing unintentional suicide.

Re:The origins of a 'fear gas'? (1)

toleraen (831634) | about 7 years ago | (#19878103)

Wouldn't getting rid of fear allow one to think clearer about the situation though? It seems to me that fear just inhibits what could be done under normal circumstances. Instead of worrying about the "what ifs", one could be taking in the situation and planning on what to do.
Simple e.g., I have no fear of driving, but I still pay attention to everything going on around me. Having no fear of driving doesn't cause me to drive around at 100+ MPH weaving through traffic.

Re:The origins of a 'fear gas'? (2, Insightful)

dbolger (161340) | about 7 years ago | (#19877819)

People do crazy things when they are afraid. Turning a large protesting crowd into a terrified mob could potentially cause more casualties than it would prevent.

Re:The origins of a 'fear gas'? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19878027)

Yeah, but then it's their fault. Not yours. You didn't kill 'em. They killed each other in a fear crazed stampede.

It's win-win for you. First of all, the demonstration is over, and those that would demonstrate against you are no more.

This is scary (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877685)

I am terrified at the implications of this!

Re:This is scary (3, Funny)

Tuoqui (1091447) | about 7 years ago | (#19877713)

Dont worry, they can fix that.

Cool! (4, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 7 years ago | (#19877689)

I hope to see commercials advertising fear-curing pills within the next few years so I can rush to the pharmacy with a prescription. In fact I think we should charge ahead with this and eliminate fear everywhere by putting it in the water with the fluoride. I see no downside or risk!

Re:Cool! (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | about 7 years ago | (#19878075)

It looks like you didn't get a placebo.

Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877691)

Now maybe I can get a real ID on slashdot.

bad? (2, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 years ago | (#19877693)

How can it be known fear won't be suppressed in similar situations where necessary flight or fight reactions are necessary to survival? oh, and also I for one welcome our new fearless squeaky rodent overlords.

This Fills Me With Fear. (1)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | about 7 years ago | (#19877695)

Am I the only one reading too much pulp scifi or are there others out there who are also worried about what will happen when one of the fearless genetically modified super-soldiers decides to seek vengence on those who wrought his unnatural life?

It could be messy.

Although, it occurs to me that soldiers without fear might die often. I mean, fear is not without its uses.

No worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877883)

We've got a shot that will ease your concerns. Just step into the doctor's office. He'll be right with you.

Re:This Fills Me With Fear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877891)

...occurs to me that soldiers without fear might die often

No, as they still lack the ability to respawn.

Now maybe a cure can be found for (2, Funny)

1shooter (185361) | about 7 years ago | (#19877697)

uncertainty and doubt. I have no hope though that a cure will ever be found for stupid.

Re:Now maybe a cure can be found for (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | about 7 years ago | (#19877767)

"uncertainty and doubt. I have no hope though that a cure will ever be found for stupid."

The fundies already have prior art on "curing uncertainty and doubt." You "just gotta believe!" As for curing "stupid" ... do you really think any government or religious group would allow that?

I... (1)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | about 7 years ago | (#19877701)

...am afraid that we're doomed.

Re:I... (2)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#19878081)

...for one welcome our new fearless rodent overlords!

I thought we already had a cure... (1)

kurtinatlanta (467133) | about 7 years ago | (#19877703)

a sufficient dose of alcohol.

Am I the only one... (1)

Mick D. (89018) | about 7 years ago | (#19877707)

That this scares the crap out of?

Re:Am I the only one... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877761)

Well fortunately there's a cure for that now!

In other news... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877721)

...the Darwin Awards suddenly recieves a flood of new entries.

Fear is a good biological function. (1)

jdp816 (895616) | about 7 years ago | (#19877725)

Fear is what keeps you from doing dumb shit that might get you hurt or killed. Unless this can be very targeted or shut on/off at will it will have very little effect in the average life of a person. Soldiers and others in high stress and fear jobs may actually do better, but there are many reasons they may do worse. If you aren't afraid of the enemy bullets, you won't duck when they are fired at you. And you might die. THat's a bad course of action on the battlefield. Fear == good.

Re:Fear is a good biological function. (1)

Baron von Pilsner (1115373) | about 7 years ago | (#19877803)

I agree, also fear of getting caught is what keeps a lot of people from doing bad things. Not a good sense of morals/ethics.

Re:Fear is a good biological function. (1)

greytone (1017182) | about 7 years ago | (#19878001)

Um what? It removes fear, it doesn't make you stupid. Just because you aren't afraid of enemy bullets doesn't mean you will forget they will kill you...

Peril Sensitive Sunglasses... (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 7 years ago | (#19877727)

Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses have been specially designed to help people develop a relaxed attitude to danger. At the first hint of trouble, they turn totally black and thus prevent you from seeing anything that might alarm you.

- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Yeah! (1)

jgoemat (565882) | about 7 years ago | (#19877731)

No more little death that brings total obliteration. I no longer have to let it pass over me and through me!

In other news, species doomed! (3, Insightful)

evilpenguin (18720) | about 7 years ago | (#19877735)

In all seriousness, what's the half life of this compound in the mice? I realize this is a long way from human use, but this seems like a damned foolish invention. You might think, for example, that you want soldiers without fear, but I would argue that a fearless soldier is soon a dead soldier. And I think even in everyday life this would be a dangerous state. Fear is a very primitive emotion and all creatures (well, certainly all mammals) seem to have it in varying degrees. In so many places it has a clear survival function. I'm not sure I'm keen to see a population messing about with such fundamental emotions.

Fearlessness is easy (1)

crabpeople (720852) | about 7 years ago | (#19877747)

Just keep repeating "fear is the mindkiller" till you realize that you have control of your brain. It really does work!

What do you mean cure? Fear is not a sickness! (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 7 years ago | (#19877749)

Fear is a useful mechanism in preventing humans from doing things that have potentially bad consequences for the person.

Re:What do you mean cure? Fear is not a sickness! (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 7 years ago | (#19877935)

Some people are afraid to leave thier houses.

Re:What do you mean cure? Fear is not a sickness! (1)

hoy74 (1005419) | about 7 years ago | (#19878085)

not only bad for that person, but bad for the person's neighbors and fellow Earth dwellers.

Crippling Fear is a sickness! (4, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | about 7 years ago | (#19878127)

And I share the concerns about the abuse of this potential drug.

But there are mental illnesses that deal with crippling fears, where extreme fear of seemingly insignificant things can prevent a person from interacting with society in a meaningful way. For those people, this drug could bring relief, and a chance for a normal life. But control is paramount, and I'd need to see a LOT of clinical trial and years in the open market before it gets into military use. Fear will keep you alive on a battle field, but crippling fear will get your unit killed. Not only that, but being in a war zone isn't 24x7 guns blazing and shells falling. It's minutes of near death experiences followed by minutes, hours, days, even weeks of no activity. Knowing that at any second an explosion could rip you to shreds, or small arms fire could light you up. That is the stress that kills, the constant fear tearing at the back of your mind. Some people have even described the start of an attack as a relief, as they no longer do they have to sit in anticipation of the attack. If this drug could help prevent soldier from locking up in high stress moments, and relieve the pressure from the tedium of war, then I could have a solid benefit for the military.

If on the other hand, it takes away their fear of bullets, reprisal, and other control mechanisms... then it is nothing we want to give to anyone with a gun.

-Rick

Good idea? (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 7 years ago | (#19877753)

I guess I can understand some rare and extreme cases where this could be used in positive ways. There are some people who are unable to function in their daily lives due to irrational fears. However, it seems like this sort of thing could be abused, and that disturbs me a bit. I hope people consider that fear, anxiety, and angst are appropriate responses to many situations. I don't know if it's a good idea to take these things lightly.

Re:Good idea? (1)

sircastor (1051070) | about 7 years ago | (#19877943)

My Wife's mother suffers from severe anxiety when driving. She has all kinds of (In my opinion) unreasonable fears. I can see some value in this for her, but I wouldn't want to eliminate all of her fear. I wouldn't want her to turn into some madwoman stunt driver out on the freeway. This is a tricky thing, and I frankly hope that we don't end up with a marketable "fear killer".

Unfortunatelly (1)

aysa (452184) | about 7 years ago | (#19877757)

mice died short afterwards.
They were not killed by the injected enzyme, but by a shocked cat that could not believe all those mice were standing in front of its nose.

No thanks (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 7 years ago | (#19877763)

I'll stick with good old Dutch Courage thank you very much!

Hypothalamus (1)

narsiman (67024) | about 7 years ago | (#19877769)

So it impacts one of the essential functions of the reptilian brain. (4Fs Fighting, Feeding, F-ing, Fleeing). The other three (Fighting, Feeding and F-ing) will compensate !!

Re:Hypothalamus (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19878087)

I sense a disturbance in the force, as if all spammers prepare to sell me herbal antifear...

Social Anxiety (4, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | about 7 years ago | (#19877785)

Aside from treatments for shell-shocked war vets, I wonder if this could be used to treat more mundane fears as well such as phobias and social anxiety. That could be a boon to many, many people; social anxiety may sound wussy, but it is a misery-inducing and debilitating condition.

Bush's 11th hour plan for Iraq... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877787)

Super Army of Hyper intelligent

ahref=http://www.princeton.edu/pr/news/99/q3/0902- smart.htmrel=url2html-29657 [slashdot.org] http://www.princeton.ed u/pr/news/99/q3/0902-smart.htm>

Fearless remote controlled

ahref=http://www.touchlab.mit.edu/news/index_000.h tmlrel=url2html-29657 [slashdot.org] http://www.touchlab.mit.edu/n ews/index_000.html>

  (pan-dimensional)

Rodents.

And the winners are... (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | about 7 years ago | (#19877789)

Professional athletes will no doubt find this new drug most useful, particularly in the more violent or fear-inducing sports. They can add it to their pharmacopoeia of performance enhancers.

The real winners will be the sports fans, of course, as athletics is taken to even higher levels,

I'm screwed (1)

Tabernaque86 (1046808) | about 7 years ago | (#19877799)

I have a crippling fear of needles being inserted into my brain. So it looks like I'm going to have to get over my arachnaphobia the old-fashioned way -- a trip to Australia.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877813)

The WoW priest forums errupted in chaos over the latest fear nerf in patch 2.1.5

Emotion and the human spirit (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | about 7 years ago | (#19877815)

I'd say this is, upon reflection, will come as a huge blow to proponents of an ineffable soul. If emotions have a chemical basis (and i suppose, pheromones and hormones and the like already prove this, if not as viscerally) then ones innate moral and ethical feelings may ultimately be stripped of environmental causation.

I'd hazard that imbibing such a chemical is the equivalent of running magnetic bulk erasers against your spirit. Not that it's not interesting for use in PTSD cases, or hell, asking the lady you love out on a date, but if there is no causative relationship between what you learn and what you feel, is that any different then not learning at all?

That our intelligence is a better guardian then our heart, may be or may be not, but the coup is underway!

(and i've read enough science fiction to handle it, baby!)

Re:Emotion and the human spirit (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 7 years ago | (#19878069)

I'd say this is, upon reflection, will come as a huge blow to proponents of human rights. If emotions and logic have a chemical basis (and i suppose, pheromones and hormones and the like already prove this, if not as viscerally) then ones innate moral and ethical feelings may ultimately be stripped of environmental causation.

If humans can be reduced to chemical reactions then there is no need for human rights "endowed by a creator".

Oh no... (1)

cgrayson (22160) | about 7 years ago | (#19877835)

I was afraid this would happen.

Fear is important (4, Funny)

Dun Malg (230075) | about 7 years ago | (#19877839)

Fear is what keeps us from doing dangerous things. Fear is an important part of our survival system. Targeting contextual fears could be therapeutically useful, but I think "cure" is the wrong word. The ultimate word on fear, though, comes from Jack Handy:

Fear can sometimes be a useful emotion. For instance, say you were an astronaut on the moon and you fear your partner had been turned into Dracula. The next time he goes out for moon pieces, WHAM!, you just slam the door behind him and blast off. He might call you on the radio and say he's not Dracula, but you just say, "Think again, Batman!"

It would be the end of courage (2, Insightful)

Bullfish (858648) | about 7 years ago | (#19877873)

Because it take no courage to do something you are not afraid of doing (or saying)...

Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19877897)

Cool!! Give it to the republicans so we can stop invading countries pointlessly!!!!!

In related news... (1)

SlowMovingTarget (550823) | about 7 years ago | (#19877917)

In related news, gangs of emboldened mice terrorize cats in Massachusetts neighborhoods. One cat, who preferred to remain anonymous, puts it in his own words, "So I was just standin' there, right, snappin' my fingers and hangin' out, OK? And these freaks in white gloves start beatin' me up! I was like, 'Hey it's cool dudes!' but they kept sayin' somethin' about 72 cheeses in Florida, or somethin'." Said cat is currently in "Groovy" condition in a nearby hospital.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic, Phobia. (1)

Lijemo (740145) | about 7 years ago | (#19877963)

"the extinction of fear learned in a particular context."

Fear learned in a particular context? That makes this actually useful: for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Attacks, and Phobias.

Something that eliminated fear indiscriminately would clearly be problematic, since fear is a key part of our self-preservation instinct. I haven't RTFA, but from that sentence, it sounds like this could potentially be used more selectively, to cure debilitating fear that comes up in contexts where it is not helpful. I'm sure there is a lot of research that needs to be done before this information could be applied clinically, but if this is the direction it's heading, it could make a huge difference in the lives of many people.

How useful is fear, really? (4, Insightful)

Control Group (105494) | about 7 years ago | (#19877973)

Everyone seems to be hopping on the "but fear is useful!" bandwagon - but I'm not sure it is. Fear, the emotion, is an instinctive reaction to danger, whether that danger is real or simply perceived. I don't see that it's necessarily bad to replace the gut response with a rational response.

That is, I doubt the drug will remove awareness of danger, simply the emotional reaction to it. While supersoldiers leap to every SF fan's mind, imagine what this could do for everyone who's got any kind of irrational fear. Fear of flying, fear of public speaking, fear of talking to girls, the whole list of phobias. Even in situations where fear is justified - wartime combatants, for example - I don't know that fear is helpful in comparison to the ability to rationally assess threats.

Regardless, in society at large most people most of the time aren't afraid of real threats, they're afraid of imagined (or at least, disproportionately perceived) threats.

Besides which, even the real threats faced by a significant percentage of people in modern industrialized society strike me as predominantly not susceptible to the "fight, flight, or freeze" response.

Bad title (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | about 7 years ago | (#19878009)

(..) Cure For Fear

As if fear is a disease (it is not), and it's better to not be 'bothered' by it. Fear helps you keep out of situations you shouldn't or don't want to be in, and prevents you from doing dangerous things.

One obvious application is the military. Good? Hmmm... do current-day armies really need more fearless, hell-surviving, brutal killing machines? I doubt it, that's what weapons are for. Let soldiers please have some brains, common sense, be aware that it's real people (with families) they're shooting at, and shit their pants sometimes when the situation calls for it.

Other than that, thumbs up for the researchers to crack this one!

My Biggest Fear: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19878013)


is the world's largest crime syndicate [whitehouse.org] .

Thanks for your help.

Regards,
Kilgore Trout

Might actually be useful for first dates. (1)

sehlat (180760) | about 7 years ago | (#19878017)

Some of this stuff and viagra.

I Must Not Fear. (1)

morari (1080535) | about 7 years ago | (#19878021)

Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Holy Scarecrow, Batman! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19878025)

Didn't The Scarecrow do this to The Batman in Detective Comics??

Re:Holy Scarecrow, Batman! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19878105)

Nah, this is more like the beginnig of the Super Soldier Serum. Lets go Captain America!

RTFA! (5, Insightful)

kiick (102190) | about 7 years ago | (#19878059)

I see from all the comments that nobody actually read the article.

The 'cure' doesn't eliminate any and all fear. It doesn't address situational fear at all.
What it 'cures' is LEARNED fear responses. It's specific application to, for example, soldiers would be
for PTSD.

And even if there was a way to get read of all fear reactions, you'd still have a BRAIN and the ability
to choose not to do things that you reason are too risky.

Seriously, read the article. It's interesting.

Sheesh.

Cure? (1)

wal (56225) | about 7 years ago | (#19878073)

I don't know that I would call it a "cure". You can hardly call fear a disease, sickness, or even a problem. It's usually a healthy reaction to a dangerous situation.

"Particular context" (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | about 7 years ago | (#19878107)

The "particular context" is traumatic fear, such as the result of previous bad encounters - for example, as seen in post traumatic stress disorder. It doesn't sound like this "cure" will do anything for other forms of fear, but I'm guessing that the human brain is so far beyond the mouse brain that this "cure" might not be useful for anything but mice.

Maybe temporary in combination with therapy (1)

boris111 (837756) | about 7 years ago | (#19878115)

I would hope this could be used for temporary therapy. Once you can face your fear with the aid of the drug... The memory that you're no longer afraid anymore becomes stronger than your fearful one. You can then be weaned off the drug. This will allow you to be afraid of things you should be afraid of again.

It probably has side effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19878119)

One of my buddies has to take a pill an hour before he goes to the dentist. Among other things, it removes his fear. Of course, he isn't allowed to drive himself to the dentist's office ...

So, because everything in the body is inter-related, what are the side effects of tampering with the fear gene? I'd be willing to bet a bottle of beer that there are some.
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