October 22, 2002
Brain Tumor Causes Pedophilia

This is evidence that there is a part of the brain that is involved in moral enforcement:

The sudden and uncontrollable paedophilia exhibited by a 40-year-old man was caused by an egg-sized brain tumour, his doctors have told a scientific conference. And once the tumour had been removed, his sex-obsession disappeared.

The cancer was located in the right lobe of the orbifrontal cortex, which is known to be tied to judgment, impulse control and social behaviour. But neurologists Russell Swerdlow and Jeffrey Burns, of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, believe it is the first reported case linking damage to the region with paedophilia.

Did this guy have this behavior as a result of the tumor's increasing the amount of pleasure he felt for forbidden activities? Or did the tumor disable a part of the brain that enforces moral constraint? Either way there is an important lesson here for future human genetic engineering: It will be possible some day to genetically engineer humans who do not feel as much constraint to respect the rights of others. Genetic engineering will make possible the design of minds that have a different set of desires than the typical range of desires seen in fairly normal law-abiding humans today.

Some day in the future it will become possible to genetically engineer a mind to find obesity or an old age appearance to be attractive. Or a person's tastes could be changed to find sweets to be repulsive or bitter taste to be yummy. So there will ways to make changes that will result in people whose tastes are, at least by our standards, extremely weird and even repugnant. These odd changes in tastes can create problems if, for instance, a fraction of the human race is made to like color schemes and designs that the rest of us think are disgusting. Imagine the political fights that could result over zoning ordinances or the appearance of public parks.

But the real danger from mind engineering comes from the ability to fiddle with the parts of the mind that involve moral constraints and intense desires that involve other humans. A mind could be engineered to feel no remorse at killing someone or to feel joy from beating and dominating others physically. A mind could be made to derive pleasure from deception, hurting others physically, and insulting others. Minds can be thought of as complex computer programs. Using the terminology of programming then modification of moral programming and modification of programming of desires that are controlled by moral programming are the greatest future potential dangers from genetic engineering.

A lot of attention is being paid to ethical arguments about choosing the sex of children or about selecting sperm and eggs that have higher intelligence. In terms of the potential danger to society these issues are small potatoes next to the issue of changing the genetic code in ways that affect moral and desire programming.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2002 October 22 12:50 PM  Biological Mind

Tamara Charles said at December 12, 2002 6:36 AM:

I want to know what causes a tumor?

GT14 said at January 6, 2003 10:21 AM:

If a tumor is found in any given part of the brain, and the obvious choice would be to surgically remove the tumor, does it often cause a negative outcome, meaning: will there be a sufficient amount of damage, therefor disabling you from everyday activities?

curious jane said at January 6, 2003 10:52 AM:

what causes a tumor?

Randall Parker said at January 6, 2003 11:10 AM:

Some types of brain tumours do not form well defined masses. Instead the cancerous cells extend and intertwine with normal healthy cells. These sorts of tumours are not operable. Some types of tumours are hard to get to without cutting thru good parts of the brain and that cutting, yes, will mess up someone. The exact nature of the damage varies.

What causes a tumour: Answer that question with sufficient precision and you can win a Nobel Prize. Generally speaking, they are thought to be caused by a series of mutations in DNA that cause a cell's normal growth control regulatory mechanism to break down. Basically, there's no longer a foot on the brake and the cell starts dividing like mad.

There was a promising report recently on the use of stem cells to kill glioma tumours. I think I have a post about it in my archives in the Biotech Therapies archive.

michael edington said at February 11, 2003 8:44 AM:

what would a person be like if they had no brain
by being alive???????????????

venugopal said at July 22, 2003 5:46 AM:

I am a research scholar in university of madras. i am doing research in the field of brain tumors so please send the information about that causes of brain tumor

Ami said at August 22, 2003 8:24 PM:

im working on an assignment for school on brain Tumors i was wondering if you could help me ....
What is the Nature of a Brain Tumor? what is going on and causing a brain tumor?
If your could help me i would be very thankful

Joel D. Marable, MS said at September 28, 2003 10:43 AM:

I am in the process of completing a book geared toward adult men who were sexually abused as children, and of concern, is the cause for pediphilia. I have heard that the brain can possibly control, or have an affect on the cause of pediphilia. Any informatin would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Joel D. Marable, MS

ernest said at October 2, 2003 2:00 PM:

My brother was diagnosed a brain tumor. unfortunately, I do not have the actual details about the tumor. He is 28 and a very fit person. He was once involved in a car accident two and a half years ago, hurt his head but not very serious. He has been very fit all along, playing football as well. he is an Auto-electrician. He suddenly started having severe headaches and minor fits since last month. He is supposed to go for an operation next week.

Can you please advise on what might be the cause? What is the best treatment he can get? Will he recover fully? If not, what complecations might he develop?

I am a second year Biomedical Sciences student.

Your earliest help is greatly appreceated.


Lynn Solomon said at May 21, 2004 5:12 PM:

Has anyone heard of a Burmese Beetle? AWW II pilot (was in Burma) has a large growth on his throat, right side. Claims it moves and is a Burmese Beetle.

What are some tumors that are caused by bugs, beetles, etc? His tumor seems to move to the back at times and shrink or grow.

Mole said at June 13, 2004 5:11 AM:

I'm writing a script for a short film about a man involved in a car crash that subsequently leads to him developing a brain tumor - and only giving him a certain amount of time to live.

I need scientific help!

What part of the brain would a tumor be in to cause this type of effect? What sort of symptoms would a person have with this type of tuma? What sort of treatment would a person have for it? Could the tumor come back?

Any help would be really appreciated, as i'm quite stuck on this one!

kathy said at November 15, 2004 4:55 AM:

my son has been accused of pediphilia and all of its implications. he comes from a "normal" home, regular upbringing...i am really interested in how to treat and determine the course of action. he is incarcerated...he has a masters degree and to our knowledge is the sweetest most loving man. could he have a tumor and we are not aware of it? i know now from experience that there is a big difference in criminal sexual conduct cases. i would applreciate any answers or comments please.

anon said at January 4, 2005 3:03 PM:

Hello Kathy,

Could you give more information as to your sons 'normal' upbringing? I mean, are both parents alive? Was your son in any way abused or bullied when younger? If your answer to these questions is both No, then you need to ask your son if this is the case, i.e. find out if anything has happened which he has yet not discussed with you. Good luck.

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