May 11, 2006
Kin DNA Analysis Could Catch More Criminals

Genetic samples of relatives can help narrow searches for criminals.

A 1999 Justice Department survey found that 46 percent of jail inmates had at least one sibling, parent or child who had been incarcerated at some point.

All states take DNA from all convicted felons, and many get specimens from a wide range of others.

Using conservative assumptions, Bieber and his colleagues calculated that U.S. law enforcement authorities could increase their "cold hit" rate (the percentage of DNA searches that result in perfect matches) by 40 percent if they were to check the DNA patterns of criminals' family members when searches generate near misses.

Cold-hit rates vary widely today. Assuming they average about 10 percent, Bieber said, a 40 percent increase would bump that rate up to 14 percent.

Some people with expansive views of privacy rights argue that if your relatives all give DNA samples then in effect a search is being done to you without your consent. I can't say that I'm much bothered by that idea. I'm more bothered by the idea that criminals could kill or maim me or rape someone I care about.

Imagine police have suspicions about some guy and he won't provide a DNA sample to test against crime scene evidence. In one case cited in the article police followed a suspect and grabbed a cigarette butt discarded by the suspect. This led to a conviction.

But often time the police have no realistic suspect. A comparison against a massive database of convicted felons might turn up near matches that would lead to investigations of relatives of felons. As DNA databases grow in size descendants of felons could come under suspicion due to near matches.

It is only a matter of time before a large assortment of genetic variations which contribute to criminality are identified. Once we reach that point I see a few issues coming up as a result:

  • When felons with genetic traits that increase criminality have kids should their kids get tested both to assess their odds of future criminal activity and also to have them in databases to match against future crime scenes? Ditto fingerprints for matching against crime scenes.
  • Should the genetically criminal have the right to reproduce? How strong should a person's genetic predisposition to criminality have to be before they lose the right to reproduce? Suppose they have a 50% odds of being a rapist or murders due to some genetic variations. Should they have the right to have kids?
  • Alternatively, once we know the genetic variations that contribute to criminality should the genetically criminal be required to reproduce using in vitro fertilization (IVF) with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGID or PGD) where embryos are that do not contain the worst crime genes?
  • Should it be legal to use the DNA samples of criminals against their will in order to do sequencing studies to identify genetic variations that contribute to criminality?
  • Should felons with strong genetic predispositions to criminality be required to get a vasectomy or tubes tied as a condition of parole?

I see the classic arguments for individual rights as being first cut approximations of reality. Some people are greatly deficient in the capacity and desire to respect the rights of others. If we can detect them before they violate rights or can more easily identify them after they violate rights then I'm all for it. We are not born equal in our willingness and capacity to respect rights. Therefore we are not born equal in rights of our own.. It is a pretty myth to say we are. But it is also a damaging myth. The myth is going to become increasingly hard to defend against sicentific advances.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 May 11 09:02 PM  Bioethics Privacy


Comments
Jake said at May 12, 2006 10:34 AM:

We are already limiting the criminal’s ability to reproduce with long prison sentences. Long prison sentences and no parole started in the middle 80s, and today we are seeing the effects of that.

Criminologist Franklin Zimring of the University of California-Berkeley School of Law, said that juvenile crime overall is staying at the lowest level it's been in 36 years.

Bob Badour said at May 12, 2006 11:35 AM:

It's all well and good to fantasize about "50% chance of raping/killing". However, that phenotype does not currently exist in the vast majority of families with criminal members.

For instance, my extended family has at least one murderer. Given the size of that extended family, that incidence rate would make the phenotype less than 1%, and I strongly suspect the phenotype would involve epigenetic factors.

Antinomy said at May 12, 2006 4:51 PM:

I don't believe that even psychopaths are all destined to be criminals. See here, for example.

What happens when some of the genes that increase criminality also confer on their hosts other advantages? Genes that increase testosterone levels are a possible example. Testosterone increases aggression, but it also increases muscle mass and self-confidence.

John said at May 12, 2006 4:58 PM:

>Imagine police have suspicions about some guy and he won't provide a DNA sample to test against crime scene evidence. In one
>case cited in the article police followed a suspect and grabbed a cigarette butt discarded by the suspect. This led to a
>conviction.

Doesn't this bother anyone?? This is clearly a search without a warrant.

There are lots of privacy problems with all of this. What if the police take back some DNA sample, and decide it's not the correct person. Do they then archive the DNA for later? Or what if the person's DNA matches some other crime currently in their databases?

And it's not clear that DNA matching is that accurate. Notwithstanding the possibility of identical twins, triplets, clones, and the like, a DNA "match" only gives a high probability, and that's assuming current theories are correct. Remember that fingerprinting was thought to be a perfect identifier...

Bob Badour said at May 12, 2006 7:15 PM:
Doesn't this bother anyone?? This is clearly a search without a warrant.

Which is? Retrieving a coffee cup from a public garbage pail full of coffee cups? (If we are talking about the same incident, that's how the cigarette butt was retrieved as evidence.) Or finding probable cause from a relative's DNA?

Randall Parker said at May 12, 2006 10:34 PM:

Antimony,

As Adrian Raine at USC has found with brain scans: There are two different kinds of psychopaths. One kind gets caught breaking laws. The other appears to be more cunning and less likely to get caught.

Bob,

When I asked what should we do about people with high odds of becoming criminals I was thinking in particular of a Dutch family which have a mutation in Mono Amine Oxidase A which has a premature stop codon.

A large Dutch family, comprised of many male children, are prone to unprovoked, violent outbursts: one male raped his sister and was subsequently placed into a mental institution, only to attempt murder on a warden; another was criticized by his employer, then attempted to run him over with a car; a third male, who was an arsonist, forced his sister to undress at knifepoint (1).

You have to figure they've done many things wrong that they didn't get caught for. Every one of them with this gene is dangerous. What to do?

Robert Silvetz said at May 12, 2006 10:51 PM:

I really hate being the contrarian on the board...

""We are not born equal in our willingness and capacity to respect rights. Therefore we are not born equal in rights of our own.""

Oh boy, how to unwind 500 years of legal advances in one sentence. It was precisely to prevent the strong preying on the weak, the rich on the poor, the violent on the non-violent, the vested interest on the non-vested, and all the other myriad of human asymmetries that result in the use of force by one man on another, that we were ALL to be equal before the law. In other words, the premise of the law to begin with IS that humans are unequal -- but that due process is to be applied equally. By guaranteeing the rights to the so-called worst, we guarantee them to everyone.

In addition, what constitutes "criminality"? The idea that one will come up with gene profile suggestive of murder/murderers is not realistic. There is no person alive today that isn't the nth generation descendant of murderers. If you don't like that -- think in terms of survival of the fittest. In the endless intertribal strife of prehistory, does anyone doubt that we are the end-product of fierce winnowing in which our ancestors clubbed each other and stole each others females?

Profile tendency towards violence? If so, would we throw all the Founding Fathers in jail? There is no doubt that according to the mores of the time they were treasonous to Britain and certainly terrorists. In the battles for Baltimore and Annapolis, Revolutionary forces shelled civilians. Or maybe antisense lock the DNA of every member of the Armed Forces of every nation? We bombed Dresden to the ground... should we be neutered along with the Nazi guards of Auschwitz?

I suggest that such so-called criminality genetic profiles will be meaningless because of their general prevalence in the population-at-large.


Wolf-Dog said at May 13, 2006 1:05 AM:

Another consideration, is the definition of criminality. How about the white collar criminals like the executives of Enron? Also, there are a lot of smart but immoral people who simply do everything in a "legal" way, but this is due to their fear of getting caught. Such people also have some degree of criminality, and on this occasion I will go as far as saying that such people are even more dangerous. Many Nazi officials had impeccable resumes before they became war criminals. Most Nazi war criminals, carried out their plans only after they came to power legally.

In other words, if we are going to use genetic screening for the right to reproduce, we should also include a more sophisticated version of it to favor benevolence, forgiveness, compassion, etc...

AA2 said at May 13, 2006 5:32 AM:

I think the smart and immoral needs further research. For example I look at Russia and the people there are incredibly smart.. like the chess grand masters and mathematicians. Yet their country is always poor because it is always corrupt. Could it be a lesser genetic inhibition to stealing and hurting your neighbours?

AA2 said at May 13, 2006 5:37 AM:

Jake - good point most violent people are in prison in America today with the key thrown away. Even if they get out in their 50's they won't likely have children, which they would have in their younger years.

There has been a pretty dramatic fall off in violent criem since around 1993. in America. About 40% lower in 2005 then in 1993, taking all into consideration.. rapes, armed robbery, murder etc..

Whereas we should have expected a slight rise because of the larger baby boomer's children generation replacing the generation X in the young adult male category.

Part of it has to be factors like widespread abortion, and putting the violent criminals of yesteryear in prison forever.

CASpears said at May 13, 2006 5:57 AM:

Would you really want your DNA on file in a public government database? As we find out more about what genes do what (such as give us chances for cancer, heart disease, etc) but we still don't have the technology to do anything about it, leaks of such information can result in all kinds of discrimination...sounds pretty scary. I prefer privacy, I will take my chances with crime. I have a .38 and I know how to use it. So far I've never been the victim of any violent crime and no one in my immediate family has as well, because the truth is most crime is not random, it occurs largely in specific areas or between people who know each other. You will have more luck avoiding crime by staying out of dangerious areas and choosing our friends carefully.

Randall Parker said at May 13, 2006 8:18 AM:

Robert Silvetz,

If you do not know what constitutes criminality then there is no point in a law before which we are all equal.

You state:

Profile tendency towards violence? If so, would we throw all the Founding Fathers in jail?

So then you are equating the Founding Fathers with common murderers. I wouldn't throw them in jail for what they did. So why would I throw them in jail for a tendency to want to overthrow that government?

Is the chief goal of the law to make everyone equal before it? No. The chief goal is to protect each person from rights violations by others. To the extent that we can refine the law based on science to more accurately account for human differences we can reduce rights violations.

You are taking political rhetoric from a few hundred years ago and elevating it to dogma. The thinkers of the Scottish and English Enlightenment and their students in America were above all empiricists. Given what we are learning about human nature today those thinkers would revise their theories of government and their views of what constitutes a just society.

Here you ignore differences in degree:

I suggest that such so-called criminality genetic profiles will be meaningless because of their general prevalence in the population-at-large.

First off, surely lots of alleles will turn out to contribute to a tendency toward criminality. Lots of people will have alleles that give them slight tendencies. Increasingly smaller numbers will have alleles that increase their odds. Then at the extreme there are people like that Dutch family with the MAO-A mutations whose tendency toward criminality probably reaches 100%.

Do you think that science 20 or 30 or 40 years in the future won't achieve the ability to predict with 100% accuracy that certain people will commit crimes and that still others will have 80% or 90% odds of committing crimes? Look at the people in prisons who are extremely violent or who have strong pedophilic desires. You think they won't be identifiable in their early teens using a combination of brain scans, genetic sequencing, and other tests? I figure they will be.

There is no person alive today that isn't the nth generation descendant of murderers.

10 generations later your genetic relatedness to any one of your ancestors that far back has gone down quite a bit.

CASpears,

I had a female roommate in college who was raped. I had a girlfriend whose roommate was raped in an apartment complex in an upscale San Diego suburb with relatively low crime rate. Was this their fault that they didn't choose where to go much more carefully? What if someone is out of college, poor, and can't yet afford to live somewhere away from crime. If they become victimized is it their fault? Suppose they aren't too bright and as a consequence do not make much money and can't afford to live in low crime neighborhoods. Are they at fault if they are raped or robbed or beat up? Criminals mostly prey on people who are working for a living. What of them?

Ever been to Homes.com? You can look up listings and click on the Crime tab for a listing to see what its crime rate is. Unless you are living in some of the rarer lower crime areas such as Sioux Falls South Dakota you are putting yourself at more risk of crime than you imagine. Check out this Sioux Falls listing for a very low crime rate.

Randall Parker said at May 13, 2006 8:30 AM:

AA2,

It is unlikely that abortion cut the crime rate.

As for the increase in the rate of incarceration: All those people behind bars first had to victimize quite a few people before getting caught. Some serve shorter sentences, get out, and rack up more victims. Some behind bars (and some not behind bars) killed people. Those people who were killed were not helped by the eventual imprisonment of some of their murderers.

Bob Badour said at May 13, 2006 10:52 AM:

Randall,

I have no particular objection to preventing members of that Dutch family from reproducing either through internment or sterilization -- after due process. However, I suggest such families are so rare that doing so will have an almost immeasurable effect on overall crime rates.

Robert Silvetz,

Why do you presuppose a lack of due process? If presence of the early stop codon renders one uncontrollably and incontrovertibly criminal, then one is innocent until the prosecution proves one has the early stop codon. Is that not so?

CASpears,

My finger prints are already on file with government bureaucracies in multiple countries even though I have never been arrested. Why should I care any more about DNA? People who are honest and law-abiding have less to fear.

Suppose my DNA is on file. Suppose the DNA of some totally unrelated individual is on file. Suppose a sample comes in from a rape and the lab determines there is a small similarity between the sample and each of my DNA and the other individual's DNA. After careful analysis of geneaologies and family histories, suppose the authorities focus their investigation on some third or fifth cousins of mine and identify the rapist.

Would I care that my DNA helped convict a distant relative I have never met? Yes, absolutely. I would be very happy that my DNA helped prevent a violent felon from injuring other innocent people.

Eventually, every individual's DNA will be recorded at birth as a simple matter of procedure. Before that time, people of high moral character (or expected to have high moral character) will voluntarily have their DNA recorded. I expect many licensed professions will require it: doctors, lawyers, police officers, security guards, soldiers etc.

The government will not need the DNA from everyone to expedite criminal investigations.

Robert Silvetz said at May 13, 2006 11:18 AM:

I beg to differ violently, pun intended.

No. 10/100/1000 generations later you are still the product of your ancestors by definition, inescapably. If the nexus of survival had a preponderance of murderers (actually killers, as we know not the morality of the deaths), the distribution of the traits is mathematically guaranteed to be prevalent in the population. Do the math yourself and convince yourself. A one-off of a Monoamine Oxidase defect familty is the extreme exception by which one should NOT forge the rule.

No, one will never achieve the so-called prediction of criminality in any general population person simply because criminality is a moral judgement regarding violent behavior. That was the point of the previous post. I used the equating of the FF with criminals as a rhetorical mechanism. One cannot determine a moral violent action from looking at genes nor can you do the reverse. Violent behavior, moral and immoral, has gotten all of us here and it's encodings are general and ubiquitous. What has to be faced is that all of us have the potential for violent behavior. Put another way, do you think you will find the genetic profile for the "moral human being"? Is that not the logical contrapositive implied by the original article comment? Or Do you think that there is a gene or set of genes that encodes for initiatory violence? And if there is, would it matter (criminally) if most humans had it as they inevitably must, for survival reasons?

No. On the law, you confuse process (equal in court getting due process) with the goal and outcome, which is preservation of life, liberty and property. The purpose of the law is as you say -- protection -- the mechanism is equality before the law thru due process.

You really need to think twice and reread the Enlightenment scholars... They were not "above all empericists". They were above all men seeking to free men from the tyranny of men. Freedom was the guiding light and beacon they followed. They would NEVER, given what we know now, do what you say. They wouldn't dream of restricting a man because of a DNA profile or making men unequal before the law as a result. The inequality of men was already taken into account by their writings. The fact that men may turn out to be more unequal than previously assumed would only reinforce the very conclusions they had reached.

The Enlightenment folks would simply have said, Genes are not destiny.

As an aside, Why must everyone be equal before the law? Because a man with 1000 markers towards criminality should have the presumption of innocence for one thing. If accused of rape, nothing like stacking the deck and lynching the guy because he has rapist genetic profile. If his gene history was evidence it would be nearly impossible to surmount the prejudice.

As always, to the blog owner the last word. Back to real world and real work.


Robert Silvetz said at May 13, 2006 11:31 AM:

Ola Bob Badour

""Why do you presuppose a lack of due process? If presence of the early stop codon renders one uncontrollably and incontrovertibly criminal, then one is innocent until the prosecution proves one has the early stop codon. Is that not so?""

PRECISELY NOT SO.

One should be thrown in jail, not because of potential, but because of AN ACTUAL CRIME. The man is in point of fact innocent prior to that, and that is inescapable.

The question that is raised, in this extreme high-probability cases, is this a disease process? E.g. Innocent by reason of MAO/Gene-xyx deficiency. No different than fainting in a car due to diabetes, or bipolar disorder. In which case medical confinement is a more humane option. THe historical precedent is schizophrenia and the concept of danger-to-self and others.

But I have serious trouble in seeing, as one moves into the broad population, that the genetic basis of violence will have any use, being that we are all descendants of violent barbarians.

Paul Dietz said at May 13, 2006 12:06 PM:

Would you really want your DNA on file in a public government database?

About the only reason I would be concerned would be it making me an easier target for attack with tailored viruses -- but someone targeting me could get my DNA some other way, or use some other means to attack, so that's a weak reason.

But privacy? Get over it. As technology advances and personal WMDs become ever cheaper, privacy is going to increasingly be a luxury society cannot afford.

CASpears said at May 13, 2006 5:21 PM:

Randell:

I'm not willing to sacrafice my privacy for a greater sense of security by the state. I can protect myself...the chance that I can not I am willing to live with.

Bob:

Fingerprints can not tell you more about the individual than identity, in that way it is like a SSN. DNA can reveal things you might not want revealed about you personally, look back at my example. There are a reason medical records are private.

CASpears said at May 13, 2006 5:25 PM:

Paul:

When you are refused life insurance or medical insurance because your public DNA shows you have a 65% chance of getting colon cancer and a 75% chance of developing high blood pressue and heart disease, a 40% chance of becoming an alcoholic, and although these things can be shown to have probability we still do not have the technology to change them...you can get back to me about why privacy is important.

Hitler and Mousalini loved people like you, willing to give away all your rights to the state for a false sense of security. That is how they came to power...fear mongering.

Once again, no thanks.

Randall Parker said at May 14, 2006 7:56 AM:

CASpears,

Lots of other people are willing to sacrifice some amount of their privacy for security. The extent to which they are willing to do so depends on how dangerous they perceive their environment to be.

However, I think privacy advocates are making a fundamental mistake: They think we have a choice. Science fiction writer David Brin has made a very different argument about the death of privacy: Technological advances will continue to make our ability to watch and listen to and measure each other easier and easier. We will not be able to protect our privacy. The death of privacy is inevitable.

He's dealt with this theme in both his novel Earth and his non-fiction book The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?. He imagines a future in which many people walk around with cameras which send their video feeds in real time via wireless networks to their home databases or public databases for watching by whoever wants to watch. Imagine every home with cameras looking outward and ditto cars just like cop cars have video cameras filming all that happens in front of them. Imagine very cheap miniature spy devices that let people record conversations between their bosses or between their employees. Imagine devices you can place on cars to track where the cars go. These already exist and are used by people who think their spouses are cheating on them. They will get more miniaturized and cheaper too.

Brin argues we have two choices, neither of which you will like:

1) Let only government watch us.

2) Let us all watch the video feeds and see the sensor logs and other electronic logs.

He thinks number 1 is a recipe for oppression and favors number 2.

Randall Parker said at May 14, 2006 8:18 AM:

Robert Silvetz,

No. 10/100/1000 generations later you are still the product of your ancestors by definition, inescapably. If the nexus of survival had a preponderance of murderers (actually killers, as we know not the morality of the deaths), the distribution of the traits is mathematically guaranteed to be prevalent in the population.

1) Many generations later you are the product of many ancestors who each inhabited a different niche and felt different selective pressures.

2) Selective pressures change over time. For example and notably, cousin killing is no longer selected for among European royalty. Someone can carry genes no longer have selective value. Another example of that is American blacks with sickle cell anemia or Italians (in the US or in Italy) with beta thalessemia. They no longer are exposed to malaria. The rise of incarceration rates in American states similarly has changed selective pressures and will change allele frequencies. Many selective pressures on humans are local and relatively recent in effect and have produced allele frequency differences between populations.

You erroneously state:

No, one will never achieve the so-called prediction of criminality in any general population person simply because criminality is a moral judgement regarding violent behavior.

Let me give you an analogy: It is a subjective judgement as to what makes a great wine. Imagine one went to a succession of wine tasting competitions and collected info about wine ratings from groups of wine judges. Then suppose one went into thelab and spent a lot of time analysing those wines to come up with differences between wines in chemical profiles. One could develop very accurate prediction technology for which wines will win competitions.

Criminality is in some ways easier since the laws get codified and for many crimes there is a very widespread consensus for what constitutes a crime. That the judgements of what is a crime are moral judgements does not in any way constitute an obstacle for coming up with gene alleles that predict criminality.

A tendency toward anger and violence will predispose one toward acts that the vast bulk of the population will hold to be crimes. Similarly, a tendency to be sexually aroused at the sight of little boys will predispose one to commit acts that the vast bulk of the population will hold to be highly criminal. The latter tendency can be measured. One could screen a whole population for pedophilia and come up with people who are orders of magnitude more likely to molest children than the average person.

As technology advances I expect we will develop much easier means to spot people with mental triggers and urges that make them high risks for committing crimes.

CASpears said at May 14, 2006 9:33 AM:

Randall:

You seem to think science will make privacy impossible...but you don't assume that science (by demand from the populous) will push for greater privacy protection. For every listening device, there will probably be a "scrambler" created to thwart it. For every hacker, there will be a new firewall developed. I seriously doubt the world will become transparent just because of technology.

As far as perceived danger, I think this topic is many ways is linked to the previous one about "female preferences to male faces..."

I honestly believe that most people in America are not as scared as you think they are, or at least alpha males are not...beta males might be. I also think the answer to violence in American society is not labeling people "potentially violent on birth" and putting a scarlet letter on their head. Potential for violence is one thing; actual acting out of such potential is usually pushed by environment.

For example, Germanic people in Europe were extremely violent and barbaric during Roman times and even in the Middle Ages. The further North you went it seemed the more violent they became, however if you look at Europe today it is the opposite. The least violent, most peaceful countries are in Scandinavia. I believe this has everything to do with environment and culture. If the environment and culture changed dramatically (due to war or disease) I am sure that that latent potential will be seen again. Unless you think that the Germanic population of Northern and Central Europe evolved to a higher state of social consciousness with in 2,000 years.

It is likely that the same genes that can lead to violent behavior are also the exact genes we need in a population if we want to see traditionally masculine, alpha male, risk taking, and entrepreneurial behavior. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it is what we do with it, and how we nurture it.

It almost appears to me as if you think human nature is something to fear or repress with your coveted technology. I for one don't want to become a "Borg"...I like my flesh just fine and I think what you suggest is beyond dangerous. If you think this will not be misused by fear mongers and (the weaker class of Beta males and females) in our society that are the majority, than you are deluding yourself. We need our violence and we need our privacy. After these people are discovered and label “potentially dangerous” on a genetic level, what in do you think these fear mongers will want to do with them next?

As I said before I would rather take my chances than live in the type of society you suggest, which is pretty close to a totalitarian state.

Robert Silvetz said at May 14, 2006 11:04 AM:

Ok. Let's do the back of the envelope reasoning.

Selective pressures are utterly irrelevant when the majority of the population is the descendant of violent individuals. Which is what human society has been for the better part of 50,000 years if anthropologists are to be believed. Excepting mutation, genes are solely reshuffled. But go from induction of known examples: What are the estimates of Mongol horde descendants, tens of millions? A couple million for Ghengis alone right? The reshuffling of genes in Ireland has left 1-in-12 descendant of a medieval Warlord. Ya think they might show the Violence Gene? I guarantee it. The Victors Breed. Fundamental principle that cannot be avoided. And if the genes are primary dominants... so much for dilution...

For pete's sake, just alpha male hiearchy behavior in our evolution guarantees the problem. A profile shared by any modest fraction of the population is useless as a marker. Another way to establish the same is that under the organized violence of geographic governments prior to the modern era, approximately 1-in-10 males were warriors and upto 1-in-3 took part in the violence of war for spoils e.g. mercernaries regardless of affiliation to the Empire of the time. This bounds it at a bare minimum between 10% and 33%. Which means I expect the genetic criminality profile to be present in 1-in-4 individuals at a minimum.

Let me rephrase for clarity. The issue is not that one won't be able to identify a subset of humans that are extreme high risks of being criminals. What I am saying is that this subset will be an insignificant fraction of the criminals, and maybe only the worst of the worst, where a genetic basis exists in fact for extreme behavior. What has to be remembered is that between stimulus and response sits human consciousness. The majority of potential criminals on a so-called genetic basis act morally precisely because they are conscious human beings. They should not be branded as criminals because of their ancestors. (And even if we did figure out who the 1-in-4 was -- what... are we going to deploy a fascist V-for-Vendetta surveillance society on them?)

Thanks. Pedophilia is an excellent example. For most of human history nobody thought anything of sleeping with children. Romans had no concept of pedophilia for example until real late in the Empire and only because of the excesses of Caligula. Egyptian women were expected to have children as soon as menses began and were sexually versed long before that. Why? Because the mechanism of sexuality is not dependent on the age of the target. It's only against a backdrop of 75-yr mean life-expectancy that sexuality is moved to relative adulthood. I categorically refuse to brand some set of humans as criminal pedophiles just because their ancestors came of age and reproduced when no concept of pedophilia existed.

I recently watched the America Most Wanted special where some 50-yr old was carted away for looking at child porn pictures on his computer. The tragedy here is that man did not commit an objective crime. As near as can be told, the man never molested anyone and never tried to approach anyone -- but he was treated as an extreme criminal. Imagine if we start deploying the Pedophilia Gene Profile. How many similar non-criminals would such a net drag in?


Bob Badour said at May 14, 2006 2:44 PM:

CASpears and Robert Silvetz,

You are both being very anti-empirical. My comments and Randall's question do not have anything to do with the general paleolithic pressures on the human species but relate to a very specific and rare genetic mutation that causes an uncontrollably violent criminal phenotype.

As I pointed out to Randall, criminalizing that genotype will have a negligible effect on overall crime rates; although, it will have a profound benefit for the victims of those individuals.

Robert Silvetz,

Did the founding fathers so highly revere freedom that they let tigers and bears roam the streets? I think not.

If given an empirical fact that a specific genetic mutation would cause a human to become an uncontrollable predator incapable of respecting the rights of others, I suspect the founding fathers would act to protect the average citizen before acting to protect the predator. Of course, they are all dead now so we will never know for certain.

Bob Badour said at May 14, 2006 2:52 PM:
I recently watched the America Most Wanted special where some 50-yr old was carted away for looking at child porn pictures on his computer. The tragedy here is that man did not commit an objective crime.

One cannot consume child porn without the rape of some child. Whether the man in question committed the rape himself or merely watched the rape is beside the point. Whether the man watched directly or via some recording is similarly beside the point. The man committed an objective crime, and I have absolutely no sympathy for him.

If he wants to claim some ancient moral justification for his crime, I note that the ancients committed suicide for shaming themselves. Let's give him back his shoelaces, shall we?

Paul Dietz said at May 14, 2006 4:38 PM:

When you are refused life insurance or medical insurance because your public DNA shows you have a 65% chance of getting colon cancer and a 75% chance of developing high blood pressue and heart disease, a 40% chance of becoming an alcoholic, and although these things can be shown to have probability we still do not have the technology to change them...you can get back to me about why privacy is important.

Within a few years, the cost of scanning a person's DNA will be so low that most people will have it done. If this predicts you have an increased risk of some diseases, you will be forced to reveal this when applying for life insurance. The insurance companies are allowed by law to ask about known medical risks, and they have to do this, to avoid 'moral hazard' of people who know they are likely to die applying for large amounts of insurance.

So the scenario you imagine is coming even if no move to a less-private society occurs.

Hitler and Mousalini loved people like you,

Mr. Godwin, meet Mr. Caspears A. Loser.

Radeon said at May 15, 2006 2:13 PM:

I believe eventually, all reproduction will be regulated, genetic engineering en masse will be the law of the land. The childhood environment will also be regulated, ensuring ideal genes and ideal environment for an ideal citizen, for an ideal society. Who will stand in the way of this inevitable progress, who will stand against this marvelous change? That is the question, are you in favor of it or agaisnt it? Your answer should you choose to uphold it in your future, will determine your fate.

CASpears said at May 15, 2006 2:39 PM:

people who post on this site have "issues"...scary issues.

CASpears said at May 15, 2006 3:43 PM:

For more on my last post, look up google facism, then replace nationalism with genetic chauvenism. I wonder how many people on this site will be considered too unattractive to breed???

Bob Badour said at May 19, 2006 1:14 PM:
I wonder how many people on this site will be considered too unattractive to breed???

That happens now (more so to men than to women). What's the difference?

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